Very powerful artifacts which can be interesting and deadly.
POT 14, Charges 1D4
History: Salgrin was a powerful alchemist whose enchanted artefacts became legendary in his own time. Perhaps some of the most bizarre items he created were his transmuting snakes. Due to their dangerous nature, not many were demanded and all record of how many he actually created has long since been lost in the mists of time.
Description: The snakes appear as a highly ornate golden arm torque, made of two snakes loosely intertwined so that a head appears at each end. The torque is about 15 centimetres in length and gives the appearance of the snakes coiling around the upper arm. The snakes are relatively lose, allowing the torque to be bent to fit anything form a SIZ 5 to a SIZ 18 arm. When properly fitted, the fangs of each head will push against the skin near the elbow and shoulder. The eyes in each head can be of ruby, emerald or sapphire – they will not be mixed, i.e. if one head has ruby eyes, so will the other. (See below). Snakes with other kind of gems as eyes have been rumoured to exist, but whether these rumours are true and what effect the snake has is unknown.
Usage: The snakes are a combination of the fine craft, alchemy and powerful enchantments. Normally they appear as an item of exquisite jewellery, but when worn, they quickly change. To be activated, the torque must be worn in such a manner that most of its inner side is in contact with skin, the fangs must specifically be touching flesh. Wearing the torque over armour or in such a manner that it is not tight against the flesh will not activate it
When donned, the torque will remain inactive for up to an hour, after which the snakes will appear to come alive. The first sign of their activation will be that they constrict the arm coiling so tight that the wearer will be unable to remove them. Once this has occurred, causing the veins to rise under the skin, needles protrude from the fangs, easily penetrating the skin and injecting the alchemist’s toxin into the bloodstream. Once this process complete, the needles will retract and the snakes will loosen their grip, returning to their inanimate state.
The toxin has a POT of 14 and must be resisted like a poison. Should the wearer fail his or her resistance roll, the toxin will poison them as per the Rune Quest poison rules. (I.E. 14 points of damage to global hit points). Should the character successfully resist the following effects will occur, depending on what type of snake “bit” them.
Ruby Eyes: STR enhanced by 1D3. Side Effect: As the alchemists brew burns its way through their veins, the character convulses and is overtaken by an unbearable pain and nausea. They may pass out and or vomit as the potent brew warps their muscles. Resist vs. POT again and if roll fails, loose 1 CON point. The character will also have his/her fatigue points reduced to 1 and must rest up o recover from the ordeal. (Remember to adjust stats to reflect new STR). This process is instantaneous.
Emerald Eyes: Shapechange into a Lizard Man. (Use Shapechange Sorcery Rules). Side Effect: As the alchemists brew burns its way through their veins, the character convulses and is overtaken by an unbearable pain and nausea. They may pass out and or vomit as the potent brew warps their very being and scales push through their skin. Resist vs. POT again and if roll fails, loose 1 CON point. The character will also have his/her fatigue points reduced to 1 and must rest up o recover from the ordeal. (Remember to adjust stats to reflect new STR). this process may take a few hours to run its course. Note: One of the strongest rumours evidencing other types of snake revolves around one with jade eyes that turned someone into a dragon or ogre, depending on who tells the story.
Sapphire Eyes: Stone skin. Increase characters hit points in each hit location by 1 point. Global hit points do not change. The characters skin becomes leathery to form a type of natural armour. This process takes up to a week to complete. Side Effects: As the effect of this snake is more gradual, most of the severe side effects associated with the other two snakes are avoided. Characters may feel nausea and temporarily loose up to 1D6 Hit Points. Once the process is complete however, the characters Fatigue pints will be reduced by 1D4 to reflect the extra weight they now carry around. Any tight fitting clothes and armour would also have to be replaced or adjusted.
Note: Other snakes may well exist, their effects beneficial or deadly, on GM’s discretion. No one has been able to replicate Salgrin’s potent brews although many have tried, with sometimes disastrous results. Thus, when the charges on a snake are finished, they are finished for good. What is left is a nice piece of ornamental jewellers which occasionally “bites” the wearer. A critical success Devise roll will allow an appraiser to access the cavity in which the potions were kept.
This article was first published on XIII July MMII