Cheating Death–Magic Items that Give a Second Chance from my Dungeon Crawl Classics Campaign
I made up the following items to give the players a little boost, so that they could keep playing the same characters even if disaster befell them, so they could get just a little further up the adventurer food chain. My initial thought was that they might use them a session or two after they found them, maybe even later in their careers.
At this point most of these items have been used, many of them almost immediately after they were found by the adventurers.
It’s clear that I forgot I was running a DCC game there for a minute.
Anyway, without further ado, some of the death cheating items that my adventurers have managed to come across in my DCC campaign.
Balance Sheets of Necessity
The Balance Sheets of Necessity appear to be a stack of papers with various questions and worksheets upon them. Anyone reading the papers will understand the language as their own, although the actual phrases and what they mean may be confusing to the reader.
A character that succeeds on a DC 10 skill check, based on intelligence, that pertains to things cosmic or arcane may attempt to fill out the Balance Sheets, which are actually a petition for exemption from mortal harvesting, with various questions and formulas for proving one’s cosmic worth.
Once filled out, the pages disappear, to be filed by the comic accountants of the Lords of Necessity. If filled out correctly, if a character is killed, they immediately appear exactly where they were when they died one round later, at full health.
The Cat Lord’s Ring of Nine Lives
This ring appears to be a simple silver ring with eight cats carved into its surface. For any character that has a Luck score of 9 or higher, the ring will activate if placed on the finger. If at any time the ring’s wearer’s Luck score drops lower than the number of cats left on the ring +1, the ring disappears.
Once the ring is active, each time a character fails a “recovering the body” check, they may instead burn a point of Luck to survive in the same manner that they would have should they have made the “recovering the body” check. Once this happens, one of the cats on the ring disappears.
Once all of the cats are gone, or the character’s Luck score drops below the number of cats on the ring +1, the ring disappears. Rumors abound that these rings were created by the Cat Lord to grant others the nine lives of a cat, in exchange for stealing part of their intrinsic luck, and when the rings leave the wearer, the go to the Cat Lord to deliver the stolen luck.
The Replacement Heart
This heart appears to be a relatively large, still beating heart. No blood escapes the heart unless it is squeezed, but it remains slightly wet and sticky to the touch. If a character that has died within the last 24 hours has their chest cavity opened, and the heart is successfully placed within, it will revive the dead character, but it will not restore any lost body parts or recover any afflictions suffered by the character.
For example, a character that has lost an arm, suffered a disease, or is poisoned will not recover from those conditions, but they will be alive just as if they had survived a “recovering the body” check. In order to properly place the heart in the dead character’s chest cavity, a DC 10 Agility based skill check related to cutting into flesh or doing precision tasks that demand hand eye coordination is required.
Rings of Sacrifice
These rings are always found in a matched set. One ring has a circle with arrows pointing in, while the other ring has arrows pointing out. Whenever the wearer of the second ring suffers damage that they would like to transfer, the damage is instead suffered by the wearer of the first ring. Once the damage has been transferred, both rings crumble to dust. The player may find out how much damage they have taken before choosing to use the ring, and the first ring may be placed on any living being that can hold a ring on an appendage (for example, the ring could be put on a dog’s tail or a monkey’s toe).
Stopwatch of the Captured Moment
Whenever activated, this watch allows the wearer to reset their bodily well being to a point in the past up to 1d6 rounds in the past, plus the amount of time the watch has been wound before it is activated. So a character that just activates the watch for the first time at the beginning of combat without winding it can roll 1d6 and reset themselves to their state up that that amount of time in the past.
If a character spends 1 hour winding the watch, and then activates it, they can reach back one hour to reset their well being. A character that spends six hours can go back in time six hours to reset their status. If the character was at full hit points at some point in that time, they will be at full hit points when they chose to use the watch. If they lost a spell sometime between the beginning of the timeframe that the watch has been wound to, and the current time, they will recover the spell as well. If they lost a limb, suffered a curse, or were poisoned within that time frame, again, they can recover from those conditions as well.
Once the watch has been used to rest a character’s status, the watches various springs and gears fall apart and can never be reassembled.