I’ve just uploaded and completed my first contribution to Vaults of the Order, the so-called “Hermetic Museum” project byTimothy Ferguson detailing a collection of interesting and unique items for general use by the ArM5 community.
Not unexpectedly, my first contribution involves jinn, well an ‘afrit to be specific , but the point is jinn are something I’m interested in, have already written about and have a bit of a reputation for jinni related material these days.
So why not?
(I did write Chapter 4: The Jinn in The Cradle and the Crescent supplement after all).
While poking around the OASC section of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s collection (these are the images that Timothy has suggested we use for the “VotO” site) I came across the above image of a brass foot lamp and for some reason I thought it looked a lot like a severed foot… the brass made me think of Brass Bottles and Solomon and then in a somewhat macabre way I thought that imprisoning a jinn in its own severed foot made some kind of sense. This germ of an idea led to a story about a battle, some more history and an idea about a Flambeau magus and a feud with a Levantine sahir… and so the concept began to take shape.
From a design perspective, I really wanted to link this item into the adventure from Tales of Power that I helped Marko with, as well as giving some sort of hook into the Mythic Middle East and beyond. The lamp form suggested Soqotra and Timothy’s incense based sorcerers from Rival Magic, which triggered the concept for the readily identifiable power of the device and then the rest of the description filled itself in with a few final polishes and links. The mechanics were a bit tricky as I wanted to create a spell that was more than just a simple stationary ward, but by shifting the parameters it became something useful in a battle, fitting nicely in with the Flambeau thief who had “sourced” it initially during the Crusades.
At a 1000 words or so, it was also what I considered a useful piece of writing – both in terms of for game use but also as a technical exercise for me in between crafting longer articles or designing more extended mechanics heavy pieces.
I’m quite happy with this piece – it achieved the goals I set for myself and provides some decent hooks into some of the supplements I’ve worked on or enjoyed, while still retaining a basic level of usability for players who only have access to the ArM5 corebook. I think that’s one of the key qualities for a contribution to VotO to work.
I’ll likely expand on the concept and the character of the ‘afrit more in the future, as well as perhaps flesh out some of the back-story of Rho, the elder filius of the Flambeau Archmagus Tau, who was first introduced in Niall Christie’s ArM4 Blood and Sand: the Levant Tribunal. Perhaps I can link in some of the existing and future items together to help create some sort of meta-story behind the collection?
I think I’ll return to the Redcap theme (and perhaps a Provencal origin) and base my next item on this very interesting image from the OASC: