Excerpts from Liber Reliquarum
Creating an artifact is a lengthy and arduous process . . . and not one for the unskilled! These rules can produce items that would be difficult or impossible for player characters to create during a course of a campaign, but they will provide guidelines for Game Masters wanting to introduce unique and powerful items to enhance their game.
Only a being with a sufficiently advanced tie to the Symphony can make such powerful items. Any creature with 6 or more Forces has the basic ability to create an artifact, though the actual practice may be more difficult! The Enchantment skill (based on the Enchanter's Forces in the realm of the item being created, p. 29) is also necessary and it cannot be used as a default.
A basic limitation is that the enchanter cannot imbue an object with skills or Songs which he does not have. Fortunately, the lead enchanter can have a number of assistants up to his Enchantment skill level to provide the necessary knowledge. In fact, most powerful objects will require both the Enchantment skill and several powerful assistants to have any chance at success. The skill or Song imbedded in the artifact can never be at a higher level than that known by the character providing it.
Each assistant, in addition to lending knowledge to the project, can also provide character points or Essence during the final ceremony. In the event that the main enchanter is incapacitated, any of the assistants can take over the ceremony, but the skill roll will need to be recalculated to take the differences in skills into account. The skill roll can never go up because of a last-minute substitution!
After designing the artifact, the enchanter needs to gather materials and "bond" to them. Time spent building an object can count for this purpose as well! Gathering materials for a corporeal artifact is relatively simple and takes no time, since all that is required is a suitable object. For ethereal and celestial creations, travel to the appropriate realms for supplies will be necessary. For beings unable to get to the ethereal or celestial planes, this may require bargaining with creatures that can, or tracking down appropriate substances that may have been brought to the corporeal realm in the past. As an alternative, the Game Master may set up adventures to help find the proper items or substances needed. Perhaps that pesky mortal alchemist has a rare element that would greatly speed the process, or an ancient spirit in the Farthest Marches has a globe filled with the Celestial Fires of Creation. (See Artifact Creation Checklist, p. 18 for the amount of time required.)
One of the easiest ways of "gathering" materials is to take over someone else's nearly-completed project. Sometimes human sorcerers will die before finishing an artifact, or have a laboratory with a variety of suitable materials. Ten to fifty percent of the already-accomplished work might have to be redone (due to spoilage or other factors), but this is a great leg up on what is usually a lengthy process! Likewise, any project that is delayed might have the components degrade over time (GM's decision).
Once everything is together in one place, the final ceremony can commence. In general, the more character points invested in an object, the longer and more elaborate the ceremony. Certain Superiors grant their Servitors bonuses when creating artifacts. Most notably, Servitors of Vapula and Jean have an advantage when creating technological talismans, and all Servitors of Eli (especially Elohim and Mercurians) have a bonus when creating any artifact.
Due to their close ties with invention, servants of both the Archangel of Lightning and the Demon Prince of Technology have an easier time making technological talismans. They may add their level of a single appropriate skill to the enchantment of an ethereal artifact. So an Impudite of Technology with 4 Ethereal Forces, Enchantment/2, and Throwing/4 would have a base roll of 10 to make an Infernal Mortar Launcher (before subtracting the penalties for the number of character points used). On the other hand, Jean knows the laws of the universe, rather than having to guess them by experimentation, so his servants can also add their Celestial Forces to the equation. If the celestial above was a Servitor of Lightning with 3 Celestial Forces, the target number would be 13.
Servants of Creation have an intimate attunement for creating things, artifacts included. When calculating their Enchantment skill, they get to double their Forces in the appropriate realm. In addition, Elohim of Eli with the Transubstantiation attunement do not need to roll at all when creating a relic or reliquary – they don't even need to know the Enchantment skill. Likewise, Mercurians of Eli are automatically successful when making a talisman. (The Enchantment skill will make them even more adept, however.)
The amount of time required for the ceremony is equal to twice the character points required, in hours. This can be reduced by successful use of the Song of Artifacts (p. 29). Divide the time necessary by the check digit plus 1 if the Song succeeds, or add hours equal to the check digit if the Song fails! Helpers who require sleep (such as normal humans) begin to nod off after about 24 hours of constant alertness, or they may begin to unconsciously use their Essence to stay awake. Without stimulants or some other means of keeping them awake and focused (such as the Corporeal Song of Sleep, p. 31), half are lost for the ceremony at the end of 24 hours, and another half for every 12 additional hours that go by. E.g., after 36 hours only a quarter of the human helpers would still be awake or aware enough to continue. All participants must be present and awake for the entire ceremony.
Twice the character points in Essence is spent at the very end of the ceremony. This Essence can come from the enchanter, any assistants, reliquaries (up to one for each enchanter and assistant) or from worshipers/helpers. Large enchantments by human cults typically have worshippers trained to lend their Essence to group endeavors. Up to 10 x [Enchantment skill of the enchanter squared] helpers can add Essence to the ceremony. On average, every 10 helpers can contribute 1 point of Essence. If they have been specially prepared (for example, they have been meditating for days), or they participate in an appropriate Rite, they can give 2 to 4 times that much. A very suitable Rite can grant up to 10 times as much! Anyone who can control his Essence will be able to contribute a maximum of 1 Essence if he is not actually assisting with the enchantment.
Example: A Servitor of Saminga wants to create a relic. He fosters a death cult of fifty people to help with the ceremony. Normally, they would only contribute about 5 Essence, but he had them sleep in a cemetery (the site of the ceremony), and murdered them all with his undead servants at the peak of the ritual. The GM rules that this was worth a total of 50 Essence!
Don't forget that all of this Essence spent will make a lot of disturbance in many cases! In order to avoid this kind of attention, many powerful artifacts are created on the ethereal or celestial planes. Keep in mind that only celestial artifacts can be enchanted in Heaven or Hell, and only ethereal or celestial artifacts can be made in the ethereal realms.
Once all the preparations are done, the enchanter rolls his Enchantment skill with any modifiers. Extra Essence can be used for this roll, but due to the difficulty of any enchantment, it takes 5 Essence per +1 bonus. Any Intervention at this time will produce unforeseen powers and abilities or will prove disastrous. Even if the skill use is automatic (target number of 12 or higher) a roll is still necessary to check for Intervention.
If the ritual fails for any reason (not enough Essence, interruption, failed skill roll) all time and Essence is lost. Around half of the materials for the ceremony will be wasted and have to be regathered. The GM has the option to make all or none (or any amount between) of the components reusable.
If successful, however, a new artifact has been created. The head enchanter decides whether the item will be linked to (owned by) him or one of his assistants. This is one reason few demons trust each other enough to work together on projects like this; who knows what the enchanter will decide to do?
Unique Corporeal Artifacts
These corporeal artifacts have gained legendary status. They are all quite ordinary objects . . . but they are well known either because of their owners, or the way in which they were used, and some celestials might value a famous artifact more than a much more powerful relic.
The Baphomet Cigar Case
This rather dated item is a polished wooden cigar case, with a gleaming silver Baphomet symbol inlaid on the lid. (The Baphomet symbol is the stylized pentagram used by the Church of Satan, and adopted by Satanist-wannabes everywhere.) It has fallen into human hands many times over the years, but it was originally crafted as an affectation for a Servitor of Belial. The Baphomet Cigar Case is a "token" corporeal artifact.
As its design suggests, only a person of a particularly dark nature, or a complete poseur, would own the Baphomet Cigar Case. A human who brandishes it with style may attract demons seeking to recruit a new Soldier. Posturing idiots, however, mark themselves for death at the hands of a demon of Fire.
No one knows what happened to the Malakite named Galen, but his famous weapon still appears from time to time on the corporeal plane. Rather than hunt demons, Galen specialized in the eradication of mortal Hellsworn. Since Soldiers of Hell are still humans, he needed a "mundane" weapon which would cause a smaller disturbance in the Symphony. Thus, the Purifier was born.
The Purifier is a personally-crafted Desert Eagle .50 caliber. This hand-cannon is made of highly polished black gunmetal, and is engraved with both Galen's name and its own along the barrel. The sides of the grip are open, exposing the clip underneath. The Purifier is a beautiful piece, worthy of any collector's case.
The House of the Holy
This house is in fact a very large corporeal artifact. Originally created by Zadkiel, the Archangel of Protection, the House of the Holy is an inviting two-story Victorian home in the Capitol Hill district of Seattle, Washington. It is well known as a refuge for those who have nowhere else to go.
Because of its unique nature, the keeper of the House, currently a Cherub known as Mrs. Hamish, can not only divine the status of the house, but the status of anyone dwelling within.
Whip of Thomas of Psentalet
Thomas of Psentalet was martyred after revealing a whip with which he struck the governor of Alexandria. The original artifact has probably long since been lost, but similar items are quite common. The Whip was simply an ordinary corporeal artifact with the "Concealed Weapon" Feature (p. 55).
Ethereal Artifacts: Talismans
Ethereal artifacts, also known as talismans, are very popular among Soldiers and celestials alike. They function both in the corporeal realm and in the Marches, providing their owners with either a skill or an enhancement to an existing skill. Their utility and relatively inexpensive cost, compared to relics and reliquaries, make them highly useful to any character. Remember that talismans can effectively boost a skill above 6!
Presented here are some typical talismans for use with any game. Although the examples describe the form of the talisman, this does not mean these are the only forms they can take; many different objects are appropriate for some skills. These ethereal artifacts all come in levels 1 to 6 (costing 2 points per level), and may have any additional Features the GM permits. Some of these talismans normally come with one or more Features; these are listed in italics at the end of the item's description.
Possibly the commonest of all talismans are weapons with the appropriate combat skill, from brass knuckles that enhance Fighting to guns enhancing Ranged Weapon. The most powerful ones typically have Features making them usable only by celestials of the same side as the creator, or by the owner only.
Each volume in this infinitely large set grants a single Knowledge skill to whomever holds it. The user must spend at least a few minutes consulting the Encyclopedia before benefiting from its effects. The specific Knowledge is predetermined when the artifact is created. Activation Time: Requires a 5-minute invocation (-2).
Colt .45 Avenger
This highly polished silver handgun is finely crafted, with a no-slip handgrip, an easy-sliding clip, and a wide ejection port to reduce jamming. Both the safety and the clip release are easy to reach. The weight of the gun and its sights are perfect for whomever uses it. These talismans, which enhance the Ranged Weapon (Pistol) skill, are often custom-made for a single owner, adding the +3 Feature "May only be used by the owner." Holy/Unholy Pistols (p. 63) are often enchanted to be ethereal artifacts of this sort also.
This set of silver earrings consists of a tragedy theater mask for the left ear and a comedy theater mask for the right. Both earrings must be worn to receive the talisman's benefits. They enhance the Lying skill; they are very popular among Kobal's Servitors. Convenience: Can be worn (+2).
The Compleat Emily Post
The trade paperback containing the annotated works of etiquette mistress Emily Post is often enchanted to become a Savoir-Faire talisman. Despite any punishment the book may take, it always appears clean and crisp, just the way Emily would want it. The owner must be carrying the book to receive its benefits, but he doesn't have to have it out or opened. Convenience: Can be carried hidden away (+3).
This mirrored set of swimming goggles makes the wearer look as if he had bulbous, fishy eyes. They fit well on anyone, and never leak water. (As a Swimming talisman, it has a form appropriate to its function, and so does not require a Convenience Feature.)
The Deer Heart is a bit grotesque – it is simply the desiccated, leathery heart of a common deer. However, anyone holding it gains a bonus to his Running skill.
Often mistaken for Demon Dice (p. 56), these crimson rear-view mirror decorations are merely Driving talismans – though some Demon Dice are this as well.
Sword-canes are obsolete in modern society – but some old-fashioned celestials still like them. This talisman is an ordinary disguised weapon (Accuracy +0, Power +2), which grants a bonus to the Small Weapon (Shortsword) skill.
This knick-knack appears to be a normal well-balanced pendulum, one that takes days for its motion to stop completely. It is most often found on office desks or in classrooms. The person who starts it swinging gains a bonus to the Engineering skill, as long as he works with the Pendulum on his desk.
Johnson's Professional TV Repair Kit
This talisman appears to be a normal television repair kit. However, it always seems to have the right tool for any electronics repair or tinkering job. It gives a bonus to the Electronics skill. The tools are well-worn, but still in excellent operating condition.
Linguistic Hearing Aids
This talisman appears to be a set of tiny hearing aids. In reality, each set of hearing aids is enchanted to provide comprehension of a single language. Unlike most talismans, this is usually a skill granter, rather than an enhancer. Use Restriction: Only enhances listening comprehension, not reading, writing or speaking ability (-2).
Lucky Rabbit's Foot
These fuzzy talismans really do bring their owners good luck – they are Dodge enhancers! The fad for rabbit's foot keychains actually originated with these ethereal artifacts that have been popular in celestial society for centuries. Don't let a Servitor of Jordi catch you with one, though . . . Convenience: Can be carried hidden away (+3).
At first glance, this talisman appears to be a high-priced bottle of designer perfume or cologne. The scent itself is very appealing, albeit quite subtle. The bottle is vaguely phallic-shaped. The user must wear Lustü in order to receive its Seduction-enhancing effects, but the bottle never seems to run out. (Only one person can benefit from this talisman at a time, of course, and the cologne is detectable as an artifact while worn!)
Illuminator's Drafting Set
This professional-quality set of drafting pens, complete with five different tip sizes and four colors of ink (black, blue, red, and green), is an Artistry (Drawing) talisman. They write more smoothly than any other pen and their tips never clog, whether or not they are regularly cleaned.
This stunning silver woman's bracelet is a beautiful piece of art, with Greek inscriptions and tiny Muses engraved around its edge. It fits tightly on the wrist, clasping on the bottom. Those who wear it receive a bonus to the Singing skill. Convenience: Can be worn (+2).
Musings of the Bard
The most popular form of this artifact contains many of William Shakespeare's more expressive and poignant moments. It appears to be a normal, leather bound book, with simple gold lettering on the cover, although the credits for the book are curiously missing. It gives a bonus to the Emote skill, but only when displayed with flair.
Nocturne Labs Home Laboratory
This Chemistry talisman appears to be a fairly complete home lab set, containing burners, beakers, tongs, chemicals, and the like. It is also accompanied by a rather large tome covering most chemical equations used in both inorganic and organic chemistry.
OS/19 comes in the form of a floppy disk or a CD-ROM. Inserted into any appropriate drive, it creates a phenomenally user-friendly interface, regardless of the operating system, with helpful "wizards" that Microsoft can only dream of. The disk, of course, is a Computer Operation talisman. (It cannot be copied or installed onto a system, though it's rumored that there is a relic that can do this, effectively turning any computer into a talisman.)
Rare and Powerful Relics
The next section details some of the more powerful, non-unique celestial artifacts. The characters may have heard of many of these relics, but they probably haven't encountered them. Most of these artifacts can be created by an enchanter, but they are major projects. The GM should think very carefully before allowing a starting character to purchase any of these items; some of them have the potential to be unbalancing.
Bathtub of Youth
This relic appears to be, and can function as, a normal freestanding porcelain bath with large knobbed feet and brass pipework. The only unusual feature visible is that the pipe for the shower head has a U-shaped bend in it and is extremely sturdy. When used for its true purpose, it is much more sinister.
When a human being is bound and hung from the pipe and slowly bled to death (it must take at least an hour), anyone bathing in the blood can use the Corporeal Song of Entropy on himself to reduce his age. The bath is a relic/6 and a reliquary/1, but will only regenerate 1 point of Essence per week. Despite being made of porcelain, it is strong as wrought iron (45 Body hits).
It's rumored that Kronos, or one of his minions, made the original Bathtub of Youth, but the design has been copied several times to keep the loyalty of valuable Soldiers.
Cost: 13 points. (See Creating Artifacts, p. 24, for a detailed description of this relic's creation.)
Activation: Corporeal Forces + level (6).
The one well-documented example of this artifact comes from the writings of a nameless 13th century demon-hunter and sorcerer. It is about 14 inches long, with a gold hilt carved in cabalistic sigils. The blade is of an unknown ebony material that reflects little to no light. It has the special property that anyone can use its power, even mortals. (A mundane would not normally know how to activate it, however.) Although the dagger described is a relic/6, other versions are known to exist.
The Binding Dagger functions as a normal dagger in combat, but on any successful hit, the wielder can choose to trigger the Song contained within it. If performed properly, the dagger is stuck in the victim, and the target is bound to the current plane of existence for a number of minutes equal to the check digit of the roll times the amount of Essence spent. In addition, a celestial cannot leave his current vessel or assume celestial form on his own. Celestials whose vessels are killed are forced into celestial form for the duration of the Song, but cannot leave the vicinity of their dead vessel. Ethereal and corporeal beings find their spirits bound to their bodies until the duration expires. The dagger can be removed before the Song's duration expires with a Will roll, but the victim will take damage to all three realms (Body, Mind and Soul) equal to the check digit of the Song plus 1.
Cost: 4 points per level. The original Binding Dagger also contained a reliquary/2 that anyone could use, adding 7 points to its cost.
Activation: Celestial Forces + level.
Blade of Punishment
Created by a Word-bound Habbalite, this weapon appears to be a very fine jewel-hilted rapier on the corporeal plane. In celestial form, it is something much more frightening - a twisted, rusting weapon with a jagged edge, dripping with unknown poisons, its corporeal beauty warped like that of its creator.
The Blade is not a very effective weapon in physical combat; it has a Power of 0 and an Accuracy of -1. In celestial combat, it is much more potent, with a Power equal to its level minus 1, and an Accuracy of -2. Its true threat, however, is not apparent until after someone wounded by the Blade in celestial combat returns to physical form.
Immediately upon assuming corporeal form, the celestial will take Body hits proportional to the fraction of total Soul hits lost to the weapon! If the celestial lost any Forces during the celestial combat, his vessel will be dying when he returns to it - he'll have enough time to go celestial (if he can) in an attempt to avoid Trauma, or use a one-round Song, but that's about it.
A Kyriotate is at particular risk from the Blade of Punishment, as its wounds will be transmitted to all the Kyriotate's current hosts, or the very next one(s) that it inhabits. And if a host is killed, the Kyriotate will take dissonance from that.
Wounds caused by the Blade can be healed by the Celestial Song of Healing before returning to a vessel or possessing a host, or the Corporeal Song of Healing after the damage has manifested physically. If a Force has been lost, only the Corporeal Song of Healing will help, and it will bring the vessel or host up to a single Body hit. (Additional Songs can then be performed normally.)
A few copies of the original Blade of Punishment now exist, and using the Blade as a template, other Habbalah have created whips and cat-o'nine-tails with similar effects, used to punish celestial underlings before sending them back to Earth. Such Celestial Scourges have a Power of level/2 (round down) and Accuracy of -3.
Cost: The Blade of Punishment costs 5 points per level. A Celestial Scourge costs 4 points per level.
This artifact is representative of several similar relics around the world. The monstrance is a crystal chamber, large enough to hold a consecrated host, surrounded by stylized rays of light (representing divinity) shaped in gold. While most monstrance are used as symbolic devices, the Blessed Monstrance has another use: it can imbue a consecrated host with healing power.
The Blessed Monstrance was originally created for the Knights Templar, a holy order founded in 1128, for use on the Crusades. After the official suppression of the Templars in 1314, the Blessed Monstrance disappeared. Copies of the relic started to turn up in the possession of holy fighting orders soon after. Most are believed to have been created by a single Elohite of Creation in service to Laurence, but she may have shared the secret with others.
The Blessed Monstrance (and its copies) contains the Corporeal Song of Healing/6. It can be used as a normal relic for this purpose. What is unique about it is that by placing a consecrated host within the monstrance, 2 points of Essence and a successful activation will make the host into a one-shot relic. The roll to imbue the host with the Song is made during the consecration; if successful, the host will automatically take effect when eaten, at any time in the future. (Roll a d666 at that time anyway, to determine the check digit, and for chances of Intervention. The person eating the host does not need to spend Essence.)
The host is still just a perishable piece of bread, despite containing a Song.
The best use for the Blessed Monstrance is in a Soldiers of God campaign. Heavenly soldiers could even be members of a Templar-like organization, with the Blessed Monstrance a relic remaining from more glorious days. Diabolical Soldiers would probably be sent to capture the relic from such an organization. Angels or demons could search for the original monstrance, to present it to human servants of their Superior.
Cost: 19 points. (18 for the relic/6, +5 points for the ability to create "healing hosts," -1 point for bulkiness, -1 point for requiring suitably consecrated hosts, and -2 points for the consecration ceremony.)
Activation: Corporeal Forces + level (6).
A Bridgestone provides a permanent "anchor" for the Song of Location (p. 30), acting as one end of a bridge. Anyone may attune himself to a Bridgestone; this requires either paying character points as if it were a corporeal artifact, or using a Cherubic or Djinn resonance or the Celestial Song of Attraction. The Bridgestone is automatically successful at performing the Song of Location at its end, with a check digit equal to the check digit of the character's Song of Location. The Bridgestone can create a bridge with a capacity in Forces (as if it were spending Essence) equal to twice its level plus that of the individual's level of attunement (determined either by the points he spent, or the check digit of a resonance or Song roll). If the level of attunement plus twice the Bridgestone's level is less than 6, the Song will not work.
Example: A Cherub attunes himself to a Bridgestone/2, and gets a check digit of 5 on his resonance roll. As long as he is attuned to it, he can perform the Corporeal Song of Location to create a bridge to the stone. He must spend Essence normally, but the Bridgestone can handle up to a 9-Essence bridge. If the Cherub had rolled a check digit of 1, the capacity for any bridge between them would be only 5, and it would not work.
A Bridgestone is usually made a permanent part of an installation, such as a Tether.
Cost: 6 points per level. Most Bridgestones have a Convenience limitation, such as Immobile (-4).
Activation: Special (see above).
This is a chip from a Bridgestone (above). Anyone can use the Corporeal Song of Affinity (p. 29) to create an attunement to the fragment's Bridgestone, at a level equal to the check digit of the Song. Thus, anyone who knows the Song of Location can use a Bridgestone Fragment to connect to the Bridgestone, even if he does not know where the stone is located. Some Bridgestone Fragments are relics imbued with the Corporeal Song of Affinity themselves.
Cost: None, for a fragment with no special properties. A fragment that contains the Corporeal Song of Affinity costs 2 points per level (it is cheaper because it can only attune to its Bridgestone).
Activation: None (or Corporeal Forces + level for a relic).
Chessboard of Destiny
These fine marble chess sets contain two effects. The first is to improve the chess-playing skill of the player who takes the white pieces, as a talisman. The second is to perform the Ethereal Song of Harmony upon both players - this effect lasts for the duration of the game. When the pieces are set up, the Chessboard automatically performs the Song as soon as a (legal) opening move is made - it is a self-powered relic. The Chessboard contains a reliquary/1, so it can do this once per day. Many a treaty has been worked out over a game of chess instigated with one of these.
Of late, there have been rumors of dark Chessboards of Fate, which empower the player of the black pieces, and perform both Ethereal Harmony upon both players and Ethereal Entropy in dark undertones upon the player of the white pieces, weakening his mind with every piece he loses.
Cost: 6 points per level, +2 points for the reliquary, for a Chessboard of Destiny. A Chessboard of Fate would add 5 points per level for the Song of Entropy and a larger reliquary to power it.
Activation: 2 ¥ level.
Clock of Fate and Fortune
These relics appear as large antique grandfather clocks, carved of black oak, with an ivory face, silver hands, and a moon dial. The hands of the clock are heavily latticed and crooked. The faces of the moon run from the caring face of the full moon to the cruel and twisted leer of the new moon. They are believed to have been created by a Servitor of Kronos who was trying to gain redemption. He was able to make 13 of the clocks before he disappeared. It is not known whether he gained his redemption, or was caught by his former master.
At midnight on the nights of the full and new moons, a Clock of Fate and Fortune will show any mortals in the same room with it either their bright Destinies or their dark Fates, respectively, as if they had the Fated Future attunement. The clock will spend 1 point of Essence for each person viewing it, up to 14. The clock contains two reliquaries; each one is a level 6 reliquary with 1 extra point of Essence capacity. They both have a special Essence Regeneration Feature; they each regenerate a point of Essence every other night (the two reliquaries alternate), save those of the full and new moons, when neither one does.
Cost: 43 points. (10 points for the basic power; 19 points for each reliquary/6 with +1 Essence capacity (+2) and a slower Essence Regeneration Feature (-1); -2 points for bulkiness, and -3 points for the limitations on its functioning.)