Friday, August 19, 2011

Crystals and Curses: What's Faldelac up to Today?

I see you Faldelac!
Faldelac, aforementioned High Priest at the Church of the Big Charade, has the great (mis)pleasure of possessing an Amulet of Inescapable Location.   I'd never heard of this particular magical item before but there it is on page 137 of the DMG: it's a cursed item that makes the wearer significantly easier to track via crystal balls and other scrying type magic.  On top of this, it poses as an implement that is supposed to prevent exactly these sorts of activities. Now, in 100% of the D&D I've ever played such a potent artifact of diabolic magic would have been... completely and utterly insignificant.  Seriously, it would have been on par with a cursed silver piece that was really only worth 1/21 of a gold piece.  Given that Faldelac is such a remote character in this module, I would have  dismissed the amulet's presence as nothing more than a bizarre curiosity in this module--except that another Prominent Denizen of Lendore actually has a crystal ball: everyone's favorite sorcerer Pelltar is in possession of a Crystal Ball of Clairaudience.  All of a sudden the ol' cursed amulet becomes a loaded Chekhov's gun

So what is the connection between Pelltar and Faldelac?  Maybe poor, lonely Pelltar is keeping track of Faldie's actions to satisfy his voyeuristic urges.  And perhaps, then, Faldelac's occasional trips into Restenford are in attempt to get Pelltar out of his boudoir.  Or are they requests to get Pelltar to remove the cursed item?  A response to orders given by Pelltar via crystal ball?  Do crystal balls even work that way?  No, sadly, they don't.   A Crystal Ball of Telepathy might achieve that end, but Pelltar's crystal ball allows him only to see and hear what's going on.  The only meddling it allows is the casting of certain detection-type spells.  But still, if Pelltar has reason to keep an eye (and ear) on Faldelac, whatever backstory exists between them might help to explain why Faldelac and his secret cult of hotties live in an impregnable fake casino hidden deep in the woods.

This raises another point; is Faldelac even aware that someone, Pelltar or otherwise, is watching him?  According to the DMG description of Crystal Balls, spellcasters have a chance of detecting scrying equivalent to their percent chance to detect invisible creatures.  Faldelac, according to the Detection of Invisibility Table on page 60, as a 10th level cleric with a 14 Intelligence, would have a 15% chance of detecting scrying.   Not great, but if it happens frequently then he's probably picked up on it by now.  Does he realize, then, that his magic amulet is not doing its job; as mentioned above it gives the misleading impression that it prevents scrying. Is he aware that it is actually cursed?  Or does he just assume that it is just less effective than he hoped? In any event, this amulet presents a rather odd chink in the otherwise aloof defenses of the enigmatic character that is High Priest Faldelac. 

2 comments:

Nemo235 said...

I've been following your blog with interest and recently re-read L1.
Some other points for considration:
1. A random NPC named Telver/ Major baddie named Tolvar. Coincidence?
2. Who summmoned the Spectator to guard the Libram of Gainful Conjuration? The 15th lvl MU whose skeleton is now chained to the wal? How long ago?
3. Why would a thief have a hideout in a guardhouse?
4. The wraith's ring of elemental control requires the sacrifice of a 7 HD creature from the plane of air. The baron has a 7 HD djinn from..the plane of air. Connection?
5. How were the zomire, skelter and undead created? By the same force that made the wraith?
6. Where do the purloined and defaced statue from "a temple of good" actalluy come from?

There's probably more I missed.
So what is "the Secret"?
The mysteries get deeper and deeper...

Timrod said...

Excellent points! I had not noticed the djinn/wraith connection before.

I wrote something up on Tolvar the Conjurer--who's so "down on his luck" that he's camping in the hills and considering a gig as a henchman--and his brother Telvar the Magician/King of the Bugbears. I don't know that I'll post it any time soon. though.

You also inspired me to read up on the spectators: they are "summoned from Nirvana by Monster Summoning V and the sacrifice of 3 small eyes (or more) from a beholder." Monster Summoning V is a 7th level spell, available to 14th level MUs which does point to our friendly skeleton-wizard. However, the spectator's term of service reads as follows: "once it is given a task it will guard for 101 years." Our imprisoned wizard has been "imprisoned, not wholly alive yet not wholly dead, and this torture has gnawed at his spirit for centuries" thus eliminating him from contention.

Adding further to the mystery, the Libram of Gainful Conjuration is useful only to neutral MUs who, if they spend a week studying the tome, advance one level. Non-neutral MUs who read it take 5-20 points of damage. And it's a one-shot deal; once read it disappears forever. Who would value such an item enough to summon a family of spectators to protect it? Why would they leave it in a cave under the castle on Bone Hill?