My father is a dentist and I had terrible teeth when I was younger (extractions, plates, braces, root canal etc etc), so believe me when I say I know the value of good dentistry!
It’s something I never thought I’d find useful in terms of RPG inspiration – until now. The more I think about, the more potential enchanted dental prostheses have. Odd but intriguing.
ArM4 Sanctuary of Ice (The Greater Alps Tribunal), page 20 introduced the concept of lickstones, small concealable objects that can be readily concealed within the mouth of a Redcap:
…The least conspicuous Whitlams are called lickstones; small metal or opal plates that fasten magically to the palate, and hide beneath a layer of illusion. Initially designed for dealing with faeries, which can see magical objects and are sometimes attracted to them, the stones are also used in situations where it is possible the Redcap will be imprisoned. The only serious defect with lickstones is that they become inactive on holy ground. This design feature was included to ensure that no redcap forgets he is wearing one, and takes Communion with it still in his mouth. Since this accident is yet to occur, no one is sure what the result would be…
The image on the right is from a website of odd antiques and although anachronistic (the golden dental plate is apparently circa 1850), I think it gives a good impression of a full palate shaped lickstone might look like.
Magical footwear has been around as a concept for a long time – in my mind, ever since I read about Dorothy wishing she was back in Kansas but I have since learnt the motif is much, much older than that. I have fond memories of boots of elvenkind, boots of striding and springing and Shoes ofFharlanghn’s from when I was younger and rolled more dice than I care to remember.
ArM5 versions of the first two examples have no doubt made their way into several Sagas already, but I think the third example may be the most inspiring for Redcap footwear. The Shoes of Fharlanghn (at least according to Wikipedia):
…are thick-soled shoes that never wear out. Those who walk in them will never tire from ordinary walking. Those of neutral or neutral good alignment who wear them gain a variety of additional benefits, including immunity to being tripped, slipping, falling into a pit, or tiring from climbing hills. Those who worship Fharlanghn cannot become lost or surprised, and can use the Shoes to climb even vertical surfaces.
Nearly all of these effects could be readily replicated by Hermetic magic, except the enchantment preventing Fatigue breaks the Limit of Energy and would therefore require a Breakthrough, Faerie boon or the use of hedge magic (perhaps a variant of the Folk Witch’s Healing Ability, see HMRE page 38).
Perhaps the metallic shoes pictured here are a bit ostentatious and anachronistic for the average Redcap, but they certainly look magical enough. Here therefore are several ideas for magical footwear that Redcaps may find attractive.
(Thanks kindly to Timothy Ferguson for the inspiration of Marco’s “Unlose-able” shoes, which despite his initial reservations, I may well nag him to write up as a Faerie).
In order to prevent raising unwanted suspicion, many Redcap items take the form of traditional charms and amulets used by common folk – although the Church may disapprove of this practice, the use of forms familiar as folk magic eases the doubts of the local peasants and merchants that Redcaps interact with during their travels. Discretion is considered a relatively cheap but valuable design principle throughout House Mercere’s artificers and alchemists.
Like the folk charms they resemble, many enchanted items used by Redcaps are small in size, typically Tiny (size multiplier x1), to aid in concealment. This generally limits the instilled enchantments to relatively low level effects (50 spell levels if made of a base metal) as noted in the various descriptions below. Although many of the forms can incorporate more precious or exotic materials, this in turn makes them more appealing to theft by mundanes (or other Redcaps).
If there’s one thing a medieval traveler needs, it’s a good walking stick and Redcaps are no exception. Ever since I saw the picture in ArM3 Houses of Hermes, page 79 of Enomil, the Gifted Mercere sworn to follow in the steps of Mercere by delivering messages for seven years without casting magic, I’ve always considered Redcaps employ walking sticks.
The first instalment of this series of pages describes the potential and characteristics of such mundane and magical tools. I’ve included details for local variants such as the alpenstock(Greater Alps), the Way of Santiago pilgrim’s bordon (Provencal, Iberia) and the Basque makila (Iberia) in the article.
I’ve decided to try my hand at NaGaDeMon, but since I’m starting a bit late I’m not going to follow “the rules” as such, I’m just going to try and post as many ideas about Redcap Magic Items as possible within the month and see what I can build up as a resource.
Some of the material will be new, some will be drawn from previously worked up ideas or material cut from various supplements and articles I’ve worked on. The material will be a mixture of design notes, fully worked up items and perhaps some musings on the role, economy and traditions of Redcap equipment.