The Burnt World of Athas

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Presenting the Sunstone, a minor artifact for use in your Dark Sun games.


(minor artifact) Created By Earl Roach

Sunstone by June Soler

As all Sun priests are intimately aware, when the harsh rays of the Athasian sun no longer strike the ground they walk on, no longer can the powers bestowed upon them function. To remedy this frustrating, and at times fatal drawback, the paraelemental lords sometimes grant extremely powerful Sun priests the ability to carry a piece of Sun with them all times. In many ways a thing of wonder, those blessed by the Sun’s fire quickly discover its terrible price.

Item Powers:

Warmth: bestows warmth upon a Sun priest. As long as it is worn around the neck, in plain sight, any natural cold has no effect on the well being of the wearer. It also grants the wearer +2 save vs. Cold based spells.

Spell Memorization: allows the Sun priest to both memorize and cast spells related to paraelemental Sun in the dead of night, underground, or in any other situation in which the priest is unable to feel the rays of the crimson sun. The drawback to this ability is that any spell cast while utilizing only the light provided by the Sunstone, functions at 50% less efficiency than normal. All spell effects are diminished by 50%. (Ex: a 16th lvl Sun cleric, is still 16th lvl in regard to spells memorizable and abilities available, but all such effects are only cast, or used at the 8th level, or 50%,of ability.)

Note: Any spell or ability with a static effect, such as ‘Duration 1 turn’ is also subject to the 50% penalty, thus becoming 5 rounds. Always rounded down. Memorization times are also extended by 50%.

Sunray: allows use of the sunray ability as if used by a 7th lvl Sun cleric, 3 times per day. If used at night (or underground, etc), this consumes all three uses. (In case of night use, the ray issues forth from the stone).

Each time the Sun priest uses the ability beyond the first, or uses it at night, they are subject to a System Shock roll. Success indicates that the sun priest takes 2d4 damage. Failure means that the Sun priest is also subject to the effects of their own sunray, forfeiting any resistances granted for being a sun priest, and taking 4d8 damage.

Banish Water: allows the Sun priest to banish/expel the element of Water, including mud and steam, at 2HD/lvl (elemental beings), or 1 cubic yard per level of the Sun priest. Each use of this ability drains 2 points of Constitution from the Sun priest for 24 hours, and forces a System Shock roll. Failure causes instant dehydration. If at least a half gallon of water, or like liquid, is not ingested within 1 turn, the Sun priest begins to suffer from heat stroke. This ability can be used up to 3 times a week.

Each time the ability is used beyond the first in a given week, the Constitution drain is twice that of the previous use and includes the following: 2nd time - failure results in dehydration and taking 4d4 damage (no save); 3rd time - failure results in dehydration and taking 12d4 damage (no save).

Sun Portal: allows the Sun priest to open a portal to the paraelemental plane of Sun*. The portal lasts for 1 turn, in which any creature can freely pass in either direction. The chance of a creature from the paraelemental plane of Sun coming through the portal is only 2% ( 1-2 on a d100.) The portal not only allows free passage of creatures, but also emits an immense amount of Sun’s light into the Prime Material Plane. This sun blast has similar effects to the sunray ability, but has a much more catastrophic effect. (Think of an atomic explosion….) Upon opening the portal, the Sun priest points the Sunstone at a target and utters a single command word.

The target point, which must be within a radius of 100 yards, is subject to an instant 10d4+60 Sun damage (magical fire damage; Save vs. Death Magic at –5, for half damage. Any fire resistance spells cast by a 1st-10th level character reduce the save to –3, those cast by a 11th-18th lvl character reduce the penalty to –2, and those cast by a 19+ lvl character reduce the save penalty to -1.) The area beyond the first 100 yards out to 1000 yards is affected by a sunray effect for 4d8 damage. The specific target of the effect takes triple damage from the sun blast and, if not outright annihilated, their remaining physical substance (along with any soul inhabiting) are shifted into a Quasi-Elemental or Demi-Plane of Imprisonment. Any creature subject to the sun blast effect and consisting of 90% or more of elemental Water (such as water elementals) or related materials (mud, steam, etc.), take double damage.

Note: The Sunstone is totally destroyed in the process. This does NOT make the Sun Lords happy. So the Sun priest is subject to the same normal effect at full –5 Save, No exceptions. If the Sun priest survives the blast, he is gated to the paraelemental plane of Sun and held there for an undetermined period of time by the Sun Lords. (i.e. DM’s discretion.)

Special Note: The Sun Stone has NO negative effect on the chosen Sun Warrior (unique to my personal campaign), including the damage of the sunblast. Though unharmed, the Sun Warrior is gated to the paraelemental plane of Sun to answer for their actions, but unlike a normal Sun priest, such a journey may not be nearly as traumatic.

Item Curse:

Scarring: merely wearing the Sunstone (normally worn around the neck) has no effect on a Sun priest. Upon the first use of any power, however, the Sun priest permanently loses 1d6 hp, as the stone burns the surrounding skin and permanently scars the character. These scars can never be hidden or covered from the sun’s rays or the priest risks angering the paraelemental lords of Sun; in some extreme circumstances, the character can lose 1-2 points of Charisma permanently.

Burn the Infidel: any non-Sun cleric that even touches the Sunstone immediately takes 1d8+8 damage per round of contact and permanently loses 1hp/round. In some circumstances, the scarring can cause a permanent loss of 1d4 points of Charisma.