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Sunday, August 5, 2012


Discoveries from Time in Exile
by David Moskowitz

Celebrating the moments of your death:

Carrion Vision ™  (i.e. troll-marked) Crystals and Ayevories.   

A Carrion Vision  Crystal is an enchanted piece of glass, generally about 3”x6”x3”[1] with at least one face polished and clear.  When placed in the brain, liver or heart of a dead individual, a reaction of kremm and decay fill the glass with images of the being’s final seconds of life. Anyone can perform this operation, and even non-mages (and others sensitive to kremm) will be aware of the process: the crystal will glow slightly, feel warm to the touch. Once full, the crystal maintains the glow but will always feel cooler than its surroundings.

Who commissioned these crystals originally? The top three candidates are legendary swordsmaster Jkornia to help train her troops, the el-Nossad assasins to help with bookkeeping, or the ogre King Ulceinor about who, the less said, the better. 

It’s showtime!
Viewing the contents of the crystal is simply a matter of concentration.  Anyone within view of the activated crystal can watch its contents, but someone must hold and operate it. (This is why regardless of their origin, the crystals are most prized by rulers who didn’t want to soil their hands—literally and figuratively—with essential assassinations).

The individual activating the crystal must make the highest level saving roll possible, up to fourth level, against their WIZ or IQ, whichever is higher.

Level one: Success provides five seconds of viewing time and a picture of the individual only. Each higher level gives another five seconds, an extra meter of view space and the following:
Second level: Replay ability—without saving rolls--as long as the individual holds the crystal.
Third level: Tilting or rotating the crystal moves the “camera” on all three axes. Otherwise, the default view is the “best” perspective.
Fourth level: Zoom functionality, both in and out.
Fifth: Forward, reverse, slow-mo, speed up, freeze.

Ordinary failure yields no AP for the trybut no other penalty. AP can be gained only once per level per crystal.

Fumbles are handled below:

Clearing the contents: The original spell, the one which could be memorized safely, is lost. Existing versions are all written, and must be read

For Necromancers (see Khaydiak’s Book of Specialist Mages clearing a crystal requires a successful saving roll on IQ at the mage’s level, or that of the being imprinted within, whichever is lower. Ordinary mages must use the higher level. Rogues can only clear crystals containing beings of a lower level.

Fumbles and the crystals: a “life” changing experience:
Clumsiness and necromancy are a bad mix. In the case of a fumble on any action saving roll:

The crystal turns to coal, useless except at a barbecue.

 If the crystal is empty, the holder automatically loses level x 10 AP due to the kremm-energy implosion.

 If the crystal is full, the recorded death is projected deep into the player’s consciousness. It is not pleasant. The character must make a saving roll at his or her level based on the average of the highest and lowest attribute.

If the roll misses (non-fumble), take ½ number missed by (rounding up) off each of the two attributes. Any value reduced to zero kills the character immediately.

For fumbles, if the roll would have succeeded were it not automatically a fumble, reduce each attribute by 3. Otherwise, treat as above, using whichever penalty is higher.

Make or fail the roll, surviving players get 5x the normal AP for the saving roll.

Torturing the Ayevories
Some feel the artistry of a kill is best judged by the victim’s final utterance, be it a baritone gurgle or an alto scream. Best made from the ribs of swans or sirens, Ayevories are the audio analogue of the Carrion Vision ™ Crystals. A simple application of the enchanted bone on the decedent’s tongue will permanently record the otherwise lost sound waves. (Note to GM’s: any pretense or abhorrence of dignity in your campaigns will determine whether it’s appropriate to require the magic trigger words: “Cey-Aaaahh.”)

Play us a scream, Sam
The best way to get a sound from an ayevory, is to touch it with a hot poker or anything that would cause pain to the bone’s “donor”. Any change to the ayevory’s shape will also modify its sound. Craftsmen will take rough ayevories and with a stone grinding wheel shape, buff and whittle them to produce the desired note. Collections of ayevories then find their way into xylophone-like instruments.[2]

It is rumored that the war between Khara Kang and Khazan was almost settled by a battle of the bands using such instruments. However, Khazan heard the distinct squeal of a favorite aunt from Khara Kang’s rehearsing musicians and the contest was off.

Final note to GM’s
These are fun, sick toys, but they do have scenario applications. Consider their use to detectives, bounty hunters, blackmailers (Whose name was on her lips?)

[1] Please note: this is Khazan (the city)-era magic. Those playing in the 9KW will have access to hi-def, widescreen, 3D projectors—something to be dealt with later.
[2] For those interested in such applications, the Goes-To-Eleven amplification spell is slated for publication somewhere in the Trollverse at some point in the future.

Copyright © 2012, David Moskowitz
Free for use clip art.


  1. Gruesome.... I would be tempted to make the symbolism worse.

    When place in
    the brain - Records the cold facts
    the heart - Records the feelings, hopes, and fears
    the liver - Records this death, each past life's death, as well as the next incarnation's birth

    How the crystal is used reveals a lot about the master mind.