A is for Alcove #atozchallenge

The countless winding halls contain many grotesque caricatures of gothic art: small shrines to forgotten saints and family members.

So much exposure to the have infused a few of these objects with strange powers. Any visitors unlucky enough to lose themselves in one of these strangely beautiful objects open themselves to life-changing effects.

There’s a 1-in-6 chance that any shrine is cursed. Anyone taking a moment to look at one of these ojects must pass a Wisdom saving throw or become transfixed. Anyone who takes a close look (to search or study) will have disadvantage to this roll.

Those who become transfixed are given a vision that seems to last several minutes, but in fact lasts only a very brief moment. The next time that they wake up from sleep, the effects listed below will take full effect.

Here is the list of effects, depending on the type of relic:

  1. Reliquary (Skull): (1-jewelled, 2-painted, 3-gold-plated, 4-painted plaster, 5-mummified, 6-bare) the character can now freely converse with any skull. Only this individual can hear the reply and no one else can hear what they’re saying to the skull. They can be asked anything that makes sense: who they were, what they’ve seen (assuming that the skull was in a place where it could “see” anything) or even convinced to reveal other secrets. However, the character now has a skull-like tattoo permanently etched upon their face. It can be hidden with make up but never removed.
  2. Figurehead: (1-mermaid, 2-horse, 3-lion, 4-dragon, 5-cockatrice, 6-sea deity (e.g., Poseidon, Manannan, Yu-Kiang, Ahti…). The victim will henceforth never be troubled by storms during journeys across bodies of water (the storms will still happen, but the vessel and its crew will emerge unscathed). However the character will be visited on the first night that they have on shore by the spirit of a drowned mortal. This ghostly figure will give them an ominous premonition that will unsettle them deeply. For an entire week the target will be at a disadvantage to all Fear-related checks. If the character is somehow immune to fear in any way, they won’t be for this duration (no disadvantage, however, to their rolls).
  3. Amphora: this ancient clay vessel is filled with the remains of wine created from water through a miracle… but an assassin had taken advantage of the moment to poison the wine and murder a monarch. Henceforth, whenever the character pours a cup of wine or ale for another, that drink will be lethally poisoned (save or get reduced to 0 hit points and dying). After the deed is done (if someone imbibes the poison) the character’s moon shadow is horned and winged for a fortnight.
  4. Urn: this classic art object is filled with the ashes of a martyr who was burned at the stake for profanity and apostasy. Whenever this character is killed their body turns to ash. The next sunrise, they will re-appear unscathed in an open grave by the nearest cemetery but one of their body parts will be permanently grey and colourless (roll to determine which part: 1-hair, 2-left eye, 3-right eye, 4-all fingers, 5-all teeth, 6-both feet; re-roll on a result that they’ve already acquired). The third time that this happens, death will be permanent.
  5. Tome: an ancient illuminated book with a silver coated cover. Any words that the character reads in a book or scroll will vanish. The words will still be visible to any being with a gaze that is deadly in some way, such as petrifying or some kind of “Evil Eye”.
  6. Incorruptible: a remarkably well preserved body in a beautiful glass casket. The character ceases to visibly age; in fact, they gradually look younger and more beautiful over the next few days (until they physically become 18 years old. Each hit point of damage that they receive ages them by a year (once healed, they become young again). However if they ever become old enough to get grey hair, that feature becomes permanent. Creatures of the night and vermin become attracted to the character: moths fly about them, rats and spiders follow in their wake.


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