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Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Seal of Paquin

The name Paquin is a dark stain on history. Few mages have achieved such heights or fallen so low as Paquin did. Once advisor to Kings and Emperors, Paquin ended his life a hunted fugitive and was eventually tried and convicted on charges of consorting with demons and witchcraft. After his death, a few brave souls ventured into his sealed tower, searching for treasure or magical lore. Among the items recovered was Paquin's Seal.

At first glance this item appears to be nothing more than an ornate personal seal. It is made from a six inch long piece of ivory with a hollow handle, designed, perhaps, to hold a block of wax. The polished platinum face of the seal depicts a complex sigil surrounded by an array of incredibly tiny symbols and runes. The item radiates Superb alteration and protection magic, and a Great test of divination magic is required to determine the item's command words. Furthermore, to properly make use of the Seal special formulations of wax must be used. The formulas required are inscribed in magical runes upon the face of the seal itself, though they are so tiny that some form of perception enhancing magic is required to read them. There are three unique wax recipes inscribed upon the Seal, each requires three to five mundane and two to three special ingredients to make (obtaining ingredients can be an adventure in and of itself, powdered dragon tooth anyone?) Translating the runes and properly interpreting the process and ingredient list described is a Superb test of magical lore and/or linguistic skill. Once all the ingredients are obtained, the process of creating the waxes is a Superb test of alchemy skill.

Once the proper waxes have been created or obtained, the Seal can be put to use by placing a small quantity of wax on the object being sealed and touching it with the Seal while speaking the command word and designating a key word that allows the seal to be broken without consequence. The wax instantly melts to form a perfect impression of the sigil embossed on the Seal (though there is no sign of the symbols and runes circling the main sigil). The resulting wax seal has one of the following properties, depending on which wax was used in the process:
  • Seal of Fire - A bright red wax that is most suited to sealing letters or similar documents. This seal can be safely broken only by speaking the key word. Breaking the seal without speaking the appropriate key causes the seal to transform into a pool of animate liquid fire that instantly consumes the object it was sealing and slithers onto whomever broke the seal, inflicting Good damage each round. The fire has Fair toughness and is unaffected by mundane weapons, but can be extinguished by normal means (i.e. water). Should the fire slay its victim it will slither toward the nearest flammable object or living creature and continue to wreak havoc until it is put out. Sample ingredients: the eye of a hellhound, the heart stone of a fire elemental, the skull of a murderer drowned in lava.
  • Seal of Iron - This oily gray wax causes whatever surface (generally a door or gate) to gleam with a metallic gray sheen. Any door or gate sealed in this way is enhanced to resist opening. The door itself gains a Superb structure bonus, while any locking mechanism or traps it contains are automatically engaged. Attempts to disarm or open these mechanical devices suffers a Superb penalty. The seal itself cannot be broken by mundane means, but should the door be forced open it disintegrates into gray powder. This seal lasts until the door is forced open, or until an appropriate key word is spoken. Sample ingredients: the heart of a gorgon, the finger bone of a giant, an earth dragon's eye.
  • Seal of Affliction - This greenish wax creates a seal that seems to quiver and pulse when exposed to the light. If it is broken without speaking the proper key word, it shatters into a million tiny fragments that swirl forth in a foul-smelling cloud. These shards instantly bond to the flesh of anyone within 10' of the broken seal. Anyone so touched suffers Paquin's Affliction (see below) unless a Superb resistance check versus magic is successful. Ingredients: a harpy's tongue, a leper's hand, the eye of a cockatrice.
Paquin's Affliction

Those afflicted with this magical curse must make a Great resistance check versus magic each day or suffer one of the following consequences. Removal of this potent malediction is an Epic test of dispel magic. Individual afflictions can be cured with an appropriate application of Good healing magic. The consequences:
  1. Blindness - The victim suffers magical blindness.
  2. Deafness - Magical deafness.
  3. Vitality Drain - Lose one rank of vitality.
  4. Confusion - The victim is mentally confused.
  5. Decaying Flesh - The victim is afflicted with a flesh destroying disease, suffering an Average wound each day.
  6. Babble - The victim loses the ability to speak, any attempt at speech becomes gibberish.

I've written about some of Paquin's other magical creations elsewhere, including Paquin's Deceiving Circle and Paquin's Spellbook. He's not a nice guy.


Geek Ken said...

I'm totally stealing this for my campaign. What a wonderful idea on securing documents and the like for a guild of arcane mages. Neat post!

Mark Thomas said...

Glad you like it Ken. When I was writing it I was a bit stuck, but I think it came together nicely.