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Hippogryph Reliquary

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Before the dawn of the current age, other civilizations walked the world, filled with races alien to us now, and they worshiped other gods. They wielded strange magics and fought with strange technologies. They rose, they loved, they feuded, and in the end, as is the way of things, they fell. Those other societies, those other people, those other deities, are now dust particles scattered by the fickle winds of history.

Yet some small remnants survive. We know that these cultures did exist and that these tales and legends did happen. Some, at least, were based on small kernels of fact. What we have are their greatest creations, cruel and wonderful but made to last.

Items as Worldbuilding

One of the things that I loved about the “Artifacts and Relics” section presented in the First Edition of Dungeons & Dragons was the roundabout worldbuilding. Names were dropped as if the reader should be familiar with who people were, but no real explanations were given. They were mysteries, and my earliest worldbuilding efforts as a teenager were directed toward creating adventures to solve them. These often led to even deeper mysteries. This approach drove my players to want to explore and learn, rather than simply hack and slash. It inspired me creatively.

To this day, elements of my fantasy campaigns contain secret histories that my players will never see. The young innkeeper, for example, is a descendant of one of the Seven Rightful Heirs. That unassuming scimitar originally belonged to a personal bodyguard of the Merchant Queen Calithys. This unusual temple was originally a fane of the Lost Gods of Qho. No one knows it but me. It doesn’t have a lot of impact on the adventure, but it helps me to tie together and give my world a historical through-line.

When I started writing this book, my goal was to create versions of those artifacts and relics some impact and importance beyond their ridiculous levels of power. I wanted to stay true to the spirit of the originals, but tie them together and offered fragments of a shared history. Woven throughout are hints about legendary heroes and villains, epics wars, worlds beyond, lost races, and forgotten gods that have, in ways both large and small, helped create the setting that the player characters are experiencing now.

Using These Items

These are not everyday magic items. These are the Hippogryph equivalent of the Ark of the Covenant, the Spear of Longinus, Frodo’s Ring, and Elric’s Stormbringer. They should make the most jaded dweller in a world of high magic step back in awe. These are items of myth and legend, that can change lives and alter worlds. From them come great quests, epic wars, and lasting tragedies.

Unless otherwise noted, there are only one of each of these items. They are beyond the ken of even the greatest mages and tinkerers to reproduce. We do not know how to construct them, but what we may know is how they might be destroyed. We know this because their power can be frightening. We know this because each item has a story that has lived on, beyond the races and gods that created them. These are things that should not exist. They are terrible echoes of the past, haunting the future.

You, the gamemaster should be very careful about introducing these artifacts and relics to your campaign. Their existence should not be casual, but represent an act of grave intention. It has been left up to you to fill in details that best suit his campaign. Who are the Dwarven Lords, in your world, or Nym the Trickster, the Hag, and the Demon Prince C'thaaghi? What relationship did they have with the Seven Kingdoms, or the Three Nameless Kings? These things may have answers in your world, or remain nagging mysteries to disturb the player characters’ dreams.

Lore Checks

Because each of these items is famous (or infamous), there is a good chance that the characters will know what they are, some of their back story, what their powers are, and even how they work. The difficulty ratings for various Lore checks, and what the characters can learn, are presented for each item.

Complications

This book introduces the idea that powerful items come with complications. No one can possess such an artifact or relic without drawing attention to themselves. Someone else will desire that power and want to take it from the player characters. Cults will be devoted to the item or its original possessor. Secret societies may exist that are constantly on the lookout for the item, either to recover it or destroy it. Almost all great power comes with a great price. The gamemaster should feel free to explore these plot hooks and develop them as best suits their campaign.

Destruction

Some adventures will center on acquiring an artifact or relic. Others might focus on taking them away from an antagonist that is abusing its power. In the grand tradition of epic fantasy, an entire campaign can be built around the quest to destroy a powerful item to prevent further tragedy and horror. For that reason, the means to destroy each item is presented in its entry. A few are easy. Many border on the impossible. A good number require the use of another artifact or relic, leading to yet another quest.

This book includes:

  • Lost Gods of Qho: Artifacts of the alien beings that once invaded the world, and the Hoary Hag Amaranth Vex, a witch who rose up to drive them out.
  • The Nameless Kings: Remnants of the Three Nameless Kings, appointed by Celestial, Fiendish, and Natural forces to rule the world.
  • Warrior-Saint Melisant: The artifacts of legendary hero Melisant, champion of Celestial Path, and her nemesis the vile Demon Prince C'thaaghi of the Cult of Fiends.
  • Gylbert the Martyr: Relics of the venerated Saint Gylbert, central figure of the Venerable Church and martyr for the Celestial Path.
  • Nym the Trickster: Items associated with the god of frolics, the Final Maelstrom, and the Abbot who became the infamous Tybalt Marchant.
  • Queen Calithys: The wondrous items of the Merchant Queen, mother of shapeshifters and sought after by lycanthropes.
  • Arch-Lich Razgodath: Relics of the despicable Arch-Lich, and the Cult of the Lichbane Champion that arose by order of the King of Nature’s Glory to oppose him.
  • The Seven Kingdoms: An empire of seven separate kingdoms, founders of magical schools, its famous artifacts, and the Secret Order of Disciples that guard their legacy.
  • Dwarves of Demordulin: Legendary items from the lost cairn of Demordulin, among the most powerful Dwarven artifacts ever devised.
  • Glossary: A collection of terms used frequently throughout this book, including vocabulary specific to the history of the artifacts and relics themselves.

A hippogryph combines the elegance of a giant eagle with the stability of a horse. It is a hybrid of two things that cannot logically go together. Somehow the unlikely remix produces something that elevates both of its antecedents. The Hippogryph system pairs foundational fantasy roleplaying tropes with the creativity and flexibility of story gaming. Its toolkit approach allows you to design characters, worlds, and adventures the way you choose.

Lightspress Media is a tabletop roleplaying company with a lo-fi approach. Utility of content takes precedence over ostentatious production value. Graphic elements should enhance the message of the text, not act as page filler and eye candy. Physical books need to be compact, portable, and sturdy. This minimalist aesthetic results in powerful toolkits that are both useful and affordable. After all, tabletop roleplaying isn’t the book. It’s the creativity and collaboration that takes place around the tabletop. Our mission is to give you as much as you need, then get out of your way.

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Product Information
Copper seller
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Pages
96
Publisher Stock #
DXP31003
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0.91 MB
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File Last Updated:
August 23, 2022
This title was added to our catalog on August 01, 2022.