Masks of Magic: Flawed and Dangerous

In “The Story of the Masks,” you found out that most of Lady Eva’s sorcery-laden masks were made deliberately flawed. They played directly upon the weaknesses of the warlord’s generals and aides, appearing to give them what they wanted while leading them into chaos and danger. Here, then, you will find a handful of these masks.

Special Results

As before you’ll often find multiple possibilities listed under the Danger and Overdrive results. Choose the possibility that best suits the relevant character, the power level of your campaign, your plot, the circumstances, or whatever. You can even have the mask produce different results at different times or in different circumstances.

Examples

Consider these masks to be examples rather than an exhaustive list. Feel free to create masks of your own that suit your whims or your campaign’s needs; use what you see here as a basic template and play around a bit. Tailor the masks you create to certain non-player characters (NPCs) or player characters (PCs). Tailor them to your plots or your world’s background story. Also remember that, as in “A Perfect Trio,” while the masks are difficult to destroy, they are not impossible to destroy. So if any of these masks are inappropriate or unbalancing for your game, simply decide that they have been lost or destroyed.

We’ll include more information on suiting the masks to your campaign in a later article. For now, on to the masks themselves!

Jeweled Eyes

Revelation’s Eyes

Appearance: A thin, gauzy, white material wraps entirely around the wearer’s head; through it, observers can see the faint outline of his features. It opalesces in the light, and shadows play across it in unnatural ways.

Personality: Revelation’s Eyes wants to know everything and see everyone. It likes to behave as a scholarly and academic sort with a professional interest in learning, but when secrets are afoot its true puppy-dog eagerness and curiosity surface. It cares little about things that get in the way of its search for knowledge and becomes frustrated if not presented with something new and fascinating.

Background: Eva prepared this mask for General Septerres, who occasionally indulged a taste for occult secrets. Eva hoped that it would lure him too far, to the point where he’d allow his responsibilities to languish. Revelation’s Eyes likes small mysteries and secrets as much as large ones, and so will often be found in unexpected places.

Normal Effect: This mask allows its wearer to see traces of hidden things. These traces take the form of ghostly patterns, forms, or shadows. If two people claim to have never met but have had a secret association, a faint pattern would connect the two. If an empty pedestal once contained an item of power which has been lost, a faint image of that item might remain, perhaps with some clue as to where it went from there or could be found now.

Danger Effect: The wearer sees false patterns and connections, paranoid delusions of betrayals and secrets. Or, the wearer goes blind for a time. Or, the wearer becomes a ghost for a time–visible, but unable to touch or interact with the world around him.

Overdrive Effect: The ghostly traces and patterns become much more solid and easy to interpret. Perhaps the wearer can see emotional states, read ancient languages, divine the purposes of occult items, or some other act of sight or insight.

Jeweled Skies

Appearance: Soft doeskin makes up the backing of this mask; long, dark blue feathers cover it and trail from it. Semi-precious gem-stones in green and blue (jade, lapis lazuli, apatite, turquoise, and others) ring the gold-rimmed eye-holes.

Personality: Jeweled Skies exudes confidence and sensuality; it understands its beauty and its effect on others. It likes to make friends, but will sacrifice friendship to acquire what it needs to make itself and its host more comfortable. It likes the trappings of comfort — good food, rich clothes, expensive items. When upset, however, it sees rich or beautiful items and people as a threat to it and will work to destroy them.

Background: Eva designed this mask for a handsome sorcerer who called himself Eloquence. She knew that only the most elegant of masks would appeal to him, and she made the mask to exacerbate this flaw in his personality, hopefully to the point where it would override all other concerns in his life. Jeweled Skies will only stay in a place that will show it off without overpowering its beauty.

Normal Effect: People who come into contact with this mask’s wearer feel favorably disposed toward him; they wish to help him as long as it doesn’t cause them problems. Even negative emotions aimed at the wearer (such as hatred, envy, or anger) feel muted.

Danger Effect: People respond to him with a zombie-like zeal, but subvert the meaning of his instructions so as to cause him trouble. Or, people respond to him with unreasoning hatred.

Overdrive Effect: People adore him at first sight, and carry out any order he gives as long as it will not cause them direct physical harm.

Sunray

Appearance: A sturdy leather provides the backing for this mask. Eva glued many gold coins onto this surface, after first hammering and working them until they formed a rippled, dappled surface. It shines like a roaring fire or a strong ray of sunlight.

Personality: Sunray has a fiery, emotional temperament. One moment it might be happy and delighted; the next moment some small offense could send it into a rage. Whatever its mood, it will be extreme.

Background: Eva designed Sunray for Delos, the warlord’s nephew and closest advisor. Delos had a reputation for steadiness, unwavering calm, and utter reliability. Eva designed Sunray to spark enough aberrant behavior in him that his own people would no longer trust him. Sunray prefers to stay in warm, sunny climates.

Normal Effect: Sunray energizes its wearer, allowing him to stay conscious, active, and clear-thinking even when he is exhausted.

Danger Effect: This mask can cause a number of possible ill effects:

  • It causes mild mood-swings and erratic behavior.
  • It makes its wearer feel as though he has infinite, manic energy. He will run himself until he drops, often injuring himself or others or making himself seriously ill.
  • It makes its wearer feel as though he can do anything, causing him to take wild risks.
  • It sends the wearer into violent rages, causing him to strike out at anything and anyone around him with surprising strength.

Overdrive Effect: Sunray increases its wearer’s strength and speed in addition to making him energetic, clear-headed and optimistic.

Moon’s Lake

Appearance: A thin layer of smooth silver overlays thick, immovable hide. A large moonstone adorns the inner corner of each eye-hole. The mask covers the entire face, with no hole for the mouth and only a small breathing-hole for the nose.

Personality: Moon’s Lake plays things cool and collected, but it has a devious and cunning nature. Deception coils at the heart of this spirit, and it will lie even when it does not have to. Only when it knows that lying will actively harm it — or when the truth will cause more damage — does it tell the truth. Moon’s Lake hates rules, laws, truth, clear morality, and anything that acts to make it behave, and bends its will toward destroying anything that promotes such values.

Background: Lady Eva created this mask for Ariane, the warlord’s chief judge and arbiter. Her presence was one of the concessions the warlord made to the people he ruled: she provided a fair and impartial ruling when great laws were broken. Eva hoped that undermining this last bastion of fairness and impartiality would cause people to rise up against the warlord. Moon’s Lake prefers to undermine the rule of law from within, choosing as its host a judge, lawyer, or law-maker.

Normal Effect: Moon’s Lake has such an affinity for lies, trickery, deception and illusions that anyone who wears it can recognize such acts more easily.

Danger Effect: The wearer cannot help lying, deceiving, and breaking the law at every possible opportunity. And/or, she will act to reward liars and thieves and punish honest, hard-working people.

Overdrive Effect: The wearer’s lies will sound particularly convincing to others (even a truth spell will probably not detect them), and she will find it easy to get away with trickery and deceit. She will also find it inordinately tempting — when in Overdrive, events around this mask tend to order themselves such that the wearer will find it more to her benefit to tell lies, however small, than the truth.

The Smithy

Appearance: Dark metal curves in the shape of a half-mask that covers the wearer’s upper face and nose. Ornate scrollwork decorates the entirety of its surface, giving it an exotic and elegant look.

Personality: This spirit thinks in simple terms, but is not stupid. More than anything else it cares about physical labor, craft-work, and the results thereof. It sees no value in work that cannot be held in one’s hands. This spirit can achieve great feats of concentration, able to ignore anything that annoys it as long as the distraction doesn’t interfere with its handiwork.

Background: Eva created the Smithy for General Maridien, who trained as a craftsman before he was drafted as a soldier. Through speaking with him she knew that he had always wished to go back to that life, that in his heart he preferred to be able to hold the results of his efforts in his hands. She hoped this mask would tempt him to neglect his duties to the warlord in favor of his true passions. The Smithy prefers less wealthy climes than some of its brethren — the work ethic of craftsmen rather than that of the nobility.

Normal Effect: The Smithy aids its wearer in the creation of superb works of craftsmanship.

Danger Effect: The wearer’s view of his work becomes twisted, and he introduces non-obvious (often dangerous) flaws into it. Or, he obsesses over a project and refuses to acknowledge anything or anyone else.

Overdrive Effect: The wearer produces his works with great speed and skill, doubling the rate at which he creates his goods and guaranteeing that each piece will be seen as a true work of art.

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