Good day everyone! Work continues on getting Emtpy Thrones and the Legends of Barsaive Compendium 1 into their final shape. I look forward to providing a bit more behind-the-scenes insight into the development of the former book but that will have to wait for after it’s released to the general public and not just Kickstarter backers.
Instead, I decided to offer up a new thread item you can bring into your game, should you wish. This was originally created as an item given to one of the characters in the one-shot Earthdawn game I ran for the folks from the Critshow Podcast a few months back. I really liked the concept of this one and—after a little bit of help from Morgan to polish it up—wanted to share it with you.
This windling bow is made of ghost cedar, giving it an almost spectral white color striped with veins of pale green. The upper and lower limbs were carved to resemble the heads of snakes, holding the string in their mouths. A third serpent head decorates the bow just above the grip, its open mouth just above the arrow rest. On the front of the bow, below the grip are three dyed sigils. Two of them are marred or scratched out.
The bow was made by Yuria Hawkslayer. A windling hunter from Glenwood Deep, Yuria earned her moniker when—during her coming-of-age ceremony—she killed a Horror construct made from a large hawk that was plaguing her village. Yuria tricked the spawn into ingesting a lure infused with extract from a twilight lily.
In the following years, Yuria became a prominent hunter and defender of her clan. She founded the Shadowed Glade, an order of Archers, Scouts, and Thieves who defended the clans of Glenwood Deep in the years before the Scourge. The order survives to this day and continues their self-appointed task of protecting the residents of the Deep.
- Max Threads: 1
- Mystic Defense: 15
- Tier: Warden
- Key Knowledge: The owner must learn the bow’s Name.
- Effect: The bow is Damage Step 4.
- Effect: The owner gains +1 to Attack tests made with the bow.
- Key Knowledge: The owner must learn the Name of the bow’s creator.
- Effect: As a Simple action for 2 Strain, the owner can infuse an arrow fired from the bow with a sleeping venom similar to keesra. The paralytic poison is Step 8, with an interval of 2/1 round (see Gamemaster’s Guide p. 171). When this power is used, the sigil on the front of the bow glows and the snake fangs over the handle drip the poison onto the arrowhead. The bow can create poison in this fashion up to thread rank times per day, regardless of the kind of poison created.
- Effect: The owner gains +2 to Attack tests made with the bow.
- Key Knowledge: The owner must learn the meaning of the sigils on the bow and about the missing sigils. They are Windling alchemical symbols for various poisons.
- Effect: The paralytic venom becomes more potent, increasing to Step 9 and interval 4/1 round.
- Deed: The owner must restore the appropriate sigil to bow. This requires a sample of nightshade serpent venom be worked into the dyes for the relevant sigil.
- Effect: As a Simple action for 3 Strain, the wielder can infuse arrows with a damaging poison (Step 10, Interval 4/2 Rounds). The appropriate sigil glows when activated.
- Key Knowledge: The owner must learn the Name of the Order founded by Yuria Hawkslayer.
- Effect: The bow is Damage Step 6.
- Deed: The owner must restore the appropriate sigil to the bow. This requires a sample of twilight lily venom be worked into the dyes for the relevant sigil.
- Effect: As a Simple action for 4 Strain, the wielder can infuse arrows with a deadly debilitating poison (Step 8, Interval 3/10 minutes). The appropriate sigil glows when activated.
It can be fun to build an item around a theme—in this case, a windling bow with the ability to infuse arrows with various poisons. In addition to the puzzle of how best to represent the item’s mechanical abilities, and resulting power curve, you can’t forget the physical details and quirks. These, along with an interesting backstory connecting to the Key Knowledge, turn a thread item into something special, instead of just another collection of bonuses.
If you like this sort of thing, Morgan has been posting a lot of thread items on his blog the last several weeks. Check those out for even more inspiration.
Art Credit: Joel Biske