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Grumpy, yet verbose.

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Curious Objects: Amulet vs Crystal Balls and ESP


Nothing to see here!
In my experience the go-to anti-scry device in BX doesn't see a lot of love, and I can sort of understand that. Like all "misc. magic" it's not a super likely item to come up randomly. The "Miscellaneous" items' table is never specifically tagged in the treasure types' table, so there is only a 5% chance of rolling on the table at all IF you even successfully roll that there are even magic items in the loot! (Here's a pro-tip: If you really want to find magic items, your best odds are to go kill or rob dwarfs.) Another issue with the item's rarity is that I don't think it gets placed deliberately very often. I think the likeliest scenarios are ones where some plotting NPC has one to stop people from scrying their nefarious schemes. 
I would've gotten away with it, too! If it weren't for those meddling scryers!
The description of the amulet is so brief that it's simplest just to repeat it here in its entirety:
Amulet vs. Crystal Balls & ESP: The wearer of this item is automatically protected from being spied on by someone using a crystal ball or any type of ESP.

A few quick things to note.

  • Protection is "automatic." Not a bonus to a save, not a contested roll. Not "when activated." Automatic. Which is par for the course with these types of items, but useful to keep in mind.
  • Works vs. "any type" of ESP. This includes spells, items, and magical abilities. 

Does "any type" of ESP include clairvoyance? Telepathy? That's probably a DM call.I would be inclined to say yes, but other DMs might feel differently.

Keep in mind that the amulet protects the wearer from this type of magical surveillance, but not the rest of the party. If the wearer is telling a party member the Big Plan, the other character's thoughts are ripe pickings. 

Like a lot of miscellaneous magic items, I see this one as one the PCs would need to think outside the box a bit to get more than simply keeping it on all the time just in case some seer starts crystal gazing. While its utility in the dungeon may be limited, such items in a relatively high magic world might be high demand by merchants, diplomats, and the like. Alternatively, higher level "endgame" PCs might use it themselves in such situations.

1 comment:

  1. I've never came across this item in a game, probably for the reasons you mention.

    Like your analysis I think that it becomes most useful after name level has been reached and the phasis in role playing moves away from combat to politics and intrigue.