Thirteen Masks of the Gulf

Many magic items and ancient treasures are said to exist in the Gulf, and rumors about them abound and many ancient tomes grant clues to their location.  Given the significance of today’s date, today we will look at 13 types of masks thought to be lying in wait in the Gulf, waiting for brave adventurers to find them.

The Mask of Power

This mask was broken into 5 shards in time immemorial, yet even its shards contain great power.  It has been said that the full mask’s power is such that it can even make the greatest wish of its wearer come true.  Wars were fought as kingdoms brought their armies to bear to try to claim that power for themselves, yet none were able to gather all five shards.

Records tell that the Saint-Hero Lucius managed to gather the four shards of Asila, and set sail for the Cursed continent to find the 5th.  Many rumors exist about his point of landing and ultimate fate, but many modern scholars believe the Gulf is a fairly likely destination, and perhaps not only Lucius’ four shards, but the 5th shard exists in the Gulf as well…

Hood of the Just Executioner

It is said that these hoods were once the final appeal measure of an ancient magical empire, many know this empire once was active in the Gulf region, but it is unclear how many of these hoods still exist.  The hood is an ancient cloth executioners hood, embroidered with various runes to invoke their ancient god of justice.  The hood is not see-through, even for the wearer, so any wearing it is effectively blind.

That said, if the wearer declares a specific crime (IE, “Murder of John Smith of Main Street” and not merely “Murder”) and that the sentence for that crime is death, they may swing their blade and if the guilty is within their reach, their blade will find their neck without fail.  The wearer of the hood can not kill or permanently harm those innocent of the declared crime (though they may be guilty of other crimes), but it is said that getting hit with their blade still really hurts.

The King’s Mask

The story goes that a King of long ago feared that he was being targeted by assassins.  In order to better protect himself, he commissioned the greatest mages of the time to create an item that would fool any assassin coming for him.  The an enchanted mask was the result of their research.  A mask that would allow any of the King’s bodyguards to appear to be the King’s exact double.  So good was the enchantment that none could even tell the bodyguard was wearing a mask until it was removed.  Ironically, the King ended up being killed by a conspiracy of his own bodyguards, each of them taking a turn with the mask to live as the King.  Some versions of the story end with the bodyguards turning on each other and them all ending up just as dead, but many agree the mask is very real.

The wearer of the King’s Mask assumes the form of a human man in his early 40s with long blonde hair, green eyes and a regal bearing.  His facial features look vaguely foreign to the Salvati, but not too different from their countrymen.  The illusion is quite convincing and stands up to even touch and most common magical detection (although those who know the trick could still remove the mask if given the opportunity).  While in the past this mask was used to imitate a King, only the most well versed scholars of history are likely to recognize the form the wearer assumes as such, in effect, this allows the wearer to assume a second identity while the mask is worn, with little fear of their disguise being seen through.  Of course, because they assume the same form every time, there is a decent chance that their second form will gain a bad reputation as well.  When removed, the king’s mask looks like a clay imitation of the ancient king.

Mask of the Lord of Ages

Contrary to the other masks listed here, the Mask of the Lord of Ages is not thought to have magical properties.  It is said that this Mask was once the symbol of office for the Lord of all the Elves, made of crystallized light of the first stars, it is a treasure beyond value.  The story goes that the Mask was stolen by the Lord’s brother, one of the first elves to have turned to the paths of spite and one of the first of the Dark Elves.  This kicked off a great battle which eventually lead to the Dark Elves retreating underground, but the mask was lost.  The elves of the Elda Spires have long believed the mask is in this land, but it says an ancient Dark Elf curse prevents any elf from finding it.  To return the Mask to the Elves would earn their eternal gratitude, but the right buyer might be willing to pay something more tangible than gratitude for it…

Mask of the Forge

The Dwarves have a lost mask of their own.  While Dwarven craftsmen regularly use forge masks to protect themselves from the heat of their mighty forges, THE Mask of the Forge is on a whole other level.  It is said that a Dwarf wearing nothing but the Mask of the Forge could use his bare hands to shape a blade in the very heart of a volcano and not even singe the hair of his knuckles.  It is even said to resist dragon-fire and the fires of hell called forth by demons.  The Mask of the Forge will not make anyone a master craftsman, but true dwarven artisans could probably use it to create a masterpiece the likes of which have not be seen in a Gigashift.

Mask of Spirit Sight

Appearing as a death mask of a nondescript person, the eyes of this mask have a green-blue filter over them.  While worn, this mask allows the wearer to see into the world of magic and spirits.  Viewing magic auras, leylines, and various spirit and fey activity.  Often this can make viewing the physical realm at the same time very difficult.

Mask of the Beast

Treasures of the Kalotti, Mask of the Beast is a special magic known only to them.  Warriors who have undergone special spiritual trials overseen by the the village elders will, as their final ritual, venture out into the wilds of the gulf and craft a mask imbued with the spirit of a wild beast.  While more recent arrivals to the Gulf might be quick to dismiss this as superstition, the Masks due seem to grant the wearers some aspects of the animal they represent.

The Kalotti are also Salvati by origin, just removed by many generations of tradition, so it would not be impossible for one to learn this technique if they were to gain the trust of the Kalotti.

Veil of Secrecy

Thought to be crafted by spies from an ancient nation of the nearby desert, the Veil of Secrecy is an opaque Veil that covers the nose and mouth.  The Veil is said to have two unique powers.  The first, is that the holder of the veil can make copies of the veil if they have any reasonable skill and supplies to make clothing.   These copies will crumble to dust in a week’s time, but they have all the same powers as the initial Veil, including the ability to make additional copies (which always last a week no matter if they were made from a copy or the original).  The second power is that the wearer of the veil can speak in such a manner that all the wearers of the veil (whether copies or original) can hear them, and no one else can.

While this allows any number of people to communicate secretly, if any outside party gets their hands (even for just a short while) on one of the Veils, they may continue to make copies and listen in on these communications without anyone else knowing about it.

Rider’s Mask

Looking like a highly decorated helmet, this mask is said the embody the spirit of an ancient hero.  It is said it makes your fist strike like iron, and can inspire others to acts of greatness for a just cause.  It is thought to only work for those of noble hearts.

Domino of the Assassin

This unassuming black half-mask is said to have once belonged to the Saint-Hero known only by her criminal alias of Reine Noire.  The “Hero” in Saint-Hero has long been held to mean one who has accomplished great deeds, not merely heroic deeds, but Noire’s status as one is still a sore point among many of the nobility.  In particular, this is due to her having been known to assassinate at least four monarchs and dozens of minor nobles for reasons that are unclear to this day.  Some hold her up as a folk hero, believing her to be striking against tyranny, others believe she did it as a test of her own skills, or for the fun of it, while others believe she was just well paid.

Regardless, it is said that her Domino imparts some of her skills on the wearer, allowing them to look as though they belong in places they do not, and strike deadly blows on the unsuspecting.

The Bloody Wedding Veil

A man slain while at the alter.  His bride fueled with rage and a desire for vengeance.  Tracks the killers down takes justice into her own hands.

The exact details of this tale, including whether the bride succeeds or fails, vary with every telling.  Many however believe there is some truth to it, and her bloody wedding veil still exists and is ready to empower whoever wears it with a spirit of vengeance (and all the brutality that entails)

The Serpent’s Hood

Some believe this is just a Kalotti Beast Mask, yet the Kalotti claim it is a vile thing, and never make their beast masks out of snakes.  The Serpent’s Hood goes over the head goes over the head and covers the eyes.  It is said to give the wearer snake-like senses, the ability to command snakes, and to spit poison.  It is also said that the longer you wear it, the more snake-like you become…

Mask of the Necromancer

Made out of the front part of a skull of unknown origin, this mask is coveted by those who wish to raise and command the dead.  It is said that with it, even a novice could animate and command skeletal and zombie minions.  In the hands of one who has already mastered the black arts however, it might grant them the power to raise an army.

Current PaDC score: 31/31

Happy Halloween everyone! I’ll likely have a bit of a reflection piece on how this challenge went in a few days!


36 Facts and Rumors From the Gulf

My Gulf of False hope game is going fairly slowly, but still chugging along.  Shortly I hope to bring several of my online roleplaying friends into the West Marches style, which will hopefully lead to a bit more frequency in sessions all around.

To that end, I have decided to refresh the rumors and current happenings in the Gulf, and local talk of the gulf. While I will likely update this as the game goes on, I’ll likely be distributing my updates through events and roleplay in the game world, with only the most common rumors directly told to everyone.

I’ve sorted them into a table using 2d6 with the first d6 also determining the origin of the rumor.  Thus if I need to randomly pick a specific rumor, I can filter it by location and only roll on the location sub-table, or roll on the whole table to get rumors from the gulf in general.  The Elda Spires is not listed as many of the players will be humans and the Elda Spires is a secret place known only to the elves.

  1. Ashford’s Folly
    1. Locals are privately grumbling about the burden of quartering a contingent of Duchess Varrok’s men.  The Captain, however, seems to have some work for Adventurous sort.
    2. Mayor Timothy Ashford seemingly has come down with an illness, the healers say he will not survive the winter without medicine
    3. Local man, James the Drunk has been ranting about some undiscovered treasure in a nearby Cave
    4. Sailors tell of an island North of the Citadel which has mysterious dais
    5. On Nights when Nephis is full, sailors will refuse to sail the Gulf, for claims that the Kraken patrols the gulf on such nights
    6. Divers have been finding riches in ancient shipwrecks among the shallows of the gulf.
  2. Citadel of the Saints
    1. Two Adventurers just arrived from the House of Three Squires, claiming it has been overrun by kobolds!
    2. A great chasm in the earth can be found to the south east, some suggest it leads directly to the underworld.
    3. An magical circle seems to have been built out of standing stones to the east ancient times, but none know how to work it.
    4. The Citadel is militarizing in response to reports of a dangerous cult.
    5. Merchants are complaining about the citadel’s restrictions of gathering medical plants artificially driving up prices.
    6. Inquisitor Darris is said to pay a bounty for heretical artifacts so that they may be “properly disposed of”.
  3. Mine of Dalmand
    1. The Dwarves of Dalmand will pay well for survey data about the mountains to the east.
    2. A party of adventures was exploring one of those peaks when an Earthquake shook the mountain, they have not been heard from since.
    3. A new excavation seems to have run into some trouble when it hit an ancient ruin.
    4. The Dwarves seek their ancestral home in the Gulf
    5. The quality of iron from the mine seems to be falling
    6. Thorvin Karsson is telling anyone who will listen that he believes he has located the decanter of endless beer
  4. New Callumsville
    1. Hobgoblin Raiders have been assaulting Traders on the road
    2. Kalotti hunters have been coming into the town and trading for weapons.
    3. A young man by the name of Erik is begging for any willing brave souls to lend him and his village aide
    4. A respected merchant claims to have a treasure map featuring local terrain
    5. Harrod the cook is says he is on the verge to creating the world’s greatest dish, but needs assistance in collecting the more exotic ingredients
    6. A highly regarded priest of the Way has gone missing, his parish offering what little they can pull together by way of reward
  5. The Tower of Vazadrax the Mad
    1. The scholars of the tower claim that the great dragon known as the Terror of the Gulf, likely lairs east by northeast of the tower.
    2. It is said that Vazadrax’s personal library contains every spell still known in the modern era, and even a few that aren’t.
    3. People are vanishing in the middle of the night
    4. Several students of Vazadrax were banished for their practices of black magic, but they continue their research in a secret location
    5. The mages will pay well for magical reagents found in the mushroom forest to the south, but many who go there fall ill to an unknown disease
    6. An ancient temple to some unknown religion can be found in the hills to the southeast
  6. Outlying Villages
    1. Hommlet lost its guard captain and few remaining militia in a struggle with bandits
    2. While Skogenby’s undead problem has been solved, a previously unseen blight is threatening to take their crops.
    3. A traveling trader has reported very single member of the village of Riverbend disappeared between his weekly visits
    4. Whispers speak of a cult of the “The Lady of Eight” slowly corrupting remote and vulnerable settlements
    5. The word from the remote village Chaves is that a star fell to the ground and impacted in the hills nearby
    6. Several towns have reported raids by the Kalotti

Current PaDC score: 4/31