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Thursday, August 17, 2017

Curious Objects: Ring of Djinni Summoning

Magic rings in BX are pretty powerful. They usually don't have charges, and most are usable by a variety of classes. This one has –to my knowledge– never shown up in a game I've run or played. Maybe other folks have different experiences, but it's a stranger in my games. So I was pretty unfamiliar with it when I was flipping through the items' listings looking for an idea to ramble about.

Holy lamp oil! This thing could eat a campaign!

To understand what I mean, let's start with the item itself.

"The wearer may summon one djinni to serve for up to one day. The djinni will only serve and obey the person wearing the ring when it is summoned, even if the ring is then given to another character. (See MONSTERS for a description of a djinni.) The ring may only be used once per day."

So one use per day, only one person (the wearer) gets to command the djinni. OK, seems pretty straightforward. Here's the thing about that: a djinni can be summoned each day and can hang around for up to one day! That means the owner of the ring effectively has a djinni on continuous call. Sure, it might get killed and then he's out of luck until tomorrow, but let's talk about the djinni itself.

AC: 5
HD: 7+1
Move: 90' Fly: 240'
Att: 1 + special
Dmg: 2-16 (fists), or 2-12 whirlwind
Save: F14
Morale: 12

So it's got several very cool powers apart from combat. It can create food & drink, it can create metallic objects (temporary) and soft goods (permanent!), it has invisibility, gaseous form, illusions, and whirlwind. It can do any of these 3 times/day. They can also carry fairly heavy loads without tiring.

Having one of these on call would drastically shift most combats in the PCs' favor. Admittedly less so at higher levels, but if the ring were randomly rolled who knows when it shows up?

Three noncombat things jump out at me about the djinni though: 1) the object creation powers and 2) the flight speed and 3) the load carrying.

Why these three? Because if I had a PC with this ring, I would become insanely rich in a very short amount of time. I would have the djinni start by creating beautiful gold statues, as well as things like tapestries and carved wood. Then –while disguised by its illusions and it invisibly watching over me– I would sell the stuff for thousands of GP (preferably in gems). I would then have it fly me the HECK out of town before the gold disappears the next day. Once in a new town, I would repeat the process.

Cue the getaway music!

Now, as a card-carrying member of the SOB GM club, I could definitely find ways to screw with the party that tried something like this. More likely, I would let them get away with it for a bit, then catch them out. Either that, or maybe an NPC might be running the scam and the PCs get blamed.


  1. Oh, that doesn't wreck a campaign, it launches one.

    If your character follows your plan, it'll work at first. But then in short order you:

    - made a lot of money
    - have a powerful magic item others will covert
    - made a lot of rich enemies (poor folks won't have purchased your statues)

    Now you've got a lot of rich people who want your money and your magic ring after you. You can hire some mercs to protect you, but who says they'll want your money more than your ring? Your enemies will probably spread the tale of disappearing magical metal and make people doubt the coins you give them. You'll be wealthy and have this cool item and be in the center of a maelstrom of assassins, armies, adventurers ("kill this evil wizard and you can keep his gold, just give me his ring!"), and backstabbing allies.

    Sounds like a brief, fun campaign.

    Also, it's a good way to introduce a Ring of Djinni Command - this guy is who the PCs take it from, trying to get it before the assassins and armies show up and do it. Perhaps they'll learn to be careful to not use the djinni to perpetrate mass fraud on dangerous people!


    1. With careful use of the illusions and moving around it would be hard to know about the ring at all, but I understand your point.

      It's true that the potential complications could make for a fun time, but it would certainly have the potential to send an existing campaign arc off its rails.