Monday, April 16, 2012

My Monty Haul Adventures Part 1

The following magic items were some of the more famous examples of "Monty Haulisms" (and represent only a small portion of the early treasures). They live on because they were eventually turned against us (one way or the other), by the cruel streak that takes over every DM (myself included), in the stages of playing the game. So without further delay, here are a few of the most ridiculous artifacts to pop out of our AD+D adventures. Enjoy!


1. The Armor of the Cosmos

Origin: A magical suit of armor made from a magic slab of adamantium, dating back to the Era of the Volcano Kings. And before the Jackie Chan movie!

Powers: Of course it was weightless and gave the wearer automatic '18's in every ability score, was fire resistant (to both normal and magical fires), and gave you an AC score of 2, but it didn't stop there. Every third round of combat, it'd improve you Armor Class by 2 (so, after 9 rounds of combat, you'd be impossible to hit with an AC Score of -4). And it’d stay that score for the next 12 hours. Plus, if your opponents landed a hit, the armor absorbed half of the total damage, and the other half was automatically re-directed back to the opponents on your next successful 'to hit' roll. It was our answer to a force field-type device (without fussing over magic resistance issues). And 3 times a day, it was able to cast the following spells, like a 7th level magic user: burning hands, cure serious wounds, fly, invisibility (15’), mirror image, and protection from evil, 10'. It was the armor that could turn any 3rd level fighter into an indestructible demi-god.  

The DM versus the PC(s): There was only one way to stop it: A failed saving throw vs. a thrown vial/potion of gaseous form. Poof, the armor dissolved into a harmless gas, leaving the PC behind, standing around in his cheesy padded undergarments (AC 9 or 10). Then the DM used it against us, explaining that, due to our over reliance, and poor maintenance, the armor had become cursed, and was imbued with all fire spells (cast by a 9th level magic user). The last time we saw it, (after shooting 90' long jet flames at us), it was flying off into another adventure, beyond the Sea of Mists. 

2. The Mask of the Banshees

Origin: A silver helm/mask from beyond the Phantom Gateway in the Land of Skulls.

Powers: It's better to run away and fight another day, unless you are wearing the Helm of the Banshees. Aside from enabling the wearer to, at will, 3 times a day, (we thought that Black Bolt from “The Inhumans” was cool), unleash a banshee's death wail (opponents, in range, must make their saves or die, or if 10+ levels, suffer 10d8+10 points of damage), it also forced a saving throw (vs. a geas spell), to those outside the wail's range of effect(up to 20’). The geas spell could command subjects of 10 HD or less ("to drop your weapon, and stand still"). Plus, twice a day, the crown enabled the wearer to steal 15% magic resistance from magical creatures. And once a day, you may chose one opponent in combat as your "rival monster", granting you an extra +5 for 'to hit' and damage rolls, as well as a +3 penalty to their saving throws.

The DM versus the PC(s): Eventually, the DM decided enough charges had been used without any side effects. So, one was created. Using any of the mask's powers opened the wearer to a Constitution Check with a +4 penalty to the roll. Failed rolls meant the wearer passed out for 1d6 hours, days, or months (DM's choice), and the helm was inoperable until the wearer regained consciousness. Frankly, it was got to be too risky to use after that. And besides, the other players got tired of dragging the unconscious adventurer around for most of the game.

As a side note: The mask was in a treasure chamber blocked by a series of traps designed around the early British import modules/magazines, to challenge the PC's balance ( Dexterity + Strength/2 = the number you had to roll under to successfully climb, swing, or navigate over two 20' deep pit traps), the PCs toughness ( Willpower + Constitution/2 = the number you had to roll under to successfully walk through a hallway of never dying walls of fire) and then there was some strange writing you had to decode carved over the entrance way ( a straight Intelligence Score check meant you got it, even if you, as the player, couldn't figure it out at the "get go"). But even after by-passing all of these traps; didn't mean you were 'home free'. There was also the monster guarding the treasure trove. Of course, it was a dragon, not a banshee.

 I mention this because, as far as I know, the Helm of the Banshee is still hidden behind a loose stone in Lord Byrne’s bedroom (all these years later). It’s practically unguarded.



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