Articles Tabletop

Dead Sea Almanac – May 16, 2019

Ethereal Absinthe, a story (and a job) from Captain Clarke, and the first installment of a new column: Dungeon Crawl!

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Ethereal Absinthe

This strong spirit, one of our finest, is enchanted by the Necromancers of Westport to ensure the finest ability to contact the dead in concert with its drinking. I confess I have used it before to speak with my own mother, who truth be told gave me a scolding for fooling with such things. When consumed after dark, the absinthe draws ones spirit into the ethereal plane, where ghosts and memories are said to linger. A word of caution, though, to the unwary – not all the dead are harmless.

Flask418 GP
Bottle1040 GP
Crystal Skull1264 GP

When consumed, the absinthe causes the spirit of the drinker to begin passing into the afterlife, allowing them to interact with the spirits of the dead while they remain intoxicated. The spirit has no effect before dusk, but after dark it makes the dead appear as real as when they were alive, albeit greenish and glowing with an otherworldy light. The dead are not necessarily hostile to the creature, and some may even be friendly, but most dislike being disturbed, and some are downright malicious. The effect lasts for one hour, after which another dose must be consumed.

A Story From the Frontier

Today’s story revolves around Captain Clarke, who has written in by courier pigeon to inform us of an opportunity for heroes. Apparently, she has been contracted by a friend on the Isle of Palm to recruit several adventurers for a trip to the still-quarantined Atlantis, where it is said a chest of great doubloons lies, cursed by a potent evil that will release a demonic spirit upon their removal from a treasure horde. Captain Clarke says she would do it herself, if she were not busy with other things, but that she will happily ferry a group of heroes to the isle if they seek out her armada, and put them in touch with someone who knows more. As always, Clarke insists she does so from the goodness of her heart – and for the favor that any such adventurers will owe her going forward.

Update: The Atlantis Syndrome

The first installment in The Atlantis Quintet is almost ready; watch for it to be featured in an upcoming edition of the Dead Sea Almanac.

Dungeon Crawl No. 1

Welcome to the first installment of a new column, the dungeon crawl. In it, we detail a number of traps and other obstacles that our relentless acquisitioners have overcome in the pursuit of magical goods to sell to you at bargain prices.

The Bridge of Blades

This trap was faced by Alec, the apprentice to our very own Diggory McAllistar, in the tomb of one of the ghost-kings of Dena. Formed of millimeter-thick blades spaced eighteen inches apart, the bridge must be walked on by a deft practitioner of acrobatics with specially hardened shoes; the task is made considerably more difficult by the presence of a dart launcher at the end of the corridor which fires down the length whenever the blades are disturbed. Our heroic apprentice managed the task with a pair of climbing boots and a large shield, though he swears it nearly cost him everything.

The Freezing Pool

Encountered by the Marvelous Melinda in her pursuit of the Ice King’s fortress in the north, this pool of clear water shows no signs of being infected with algae or life of any kind; it seem shallow and safe to cross, albeit cold, and at the bottom lies a chest of untold riches. When touched, however, the water freezes instantly, trapping the limb or implement which intruded upon it. It then thaws over the course of several hours if left undisturbed, but continues to remain frozen if the afflicted never ceases struggling. In the arctic clime of the Ice King’s citadel, such exposure to cold water can be fatal; it is lucky for Melinda that she tested with a staff before her assistants sought the fool’s chest at the bottom.

The Room of Darkness

This trap is truly unique, and we’re impressed Diggory managed it. In his quest for the golden skull of the ghost-king Denmar, Allistar was forced to navigate a room of stone tiles, each of which bore a symbol and could flip at a moment’s notice to trap the foot or dump a man entirely into the pit below, where dwelled a foul beast of hideous nature. Limited by magical darkness to the five-foot circle of his torch, Diggory was forced to memorize the symbols that he passed and tested with a rod to ensure he could find his way back while pursued by a horde of slowly creeping skeletal soldiers. He claims the secret lay in understanding the celestial beliefs of the ancient Denans, but we remain convinced he’s simply a genius in disguise.

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