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Scepter of Ages (Major Artifact)

Aura overwhelming transmutation; CL 25th; Slot none; Weight 8 lbs.

DESCRIPTION

Strange metal prongs and rune-marked teeth jut at weird angles from this sword-length key. At one end, numerous gem-studded hoops and disks make up a head similar to an orrery.

The Scepter of Ages can be wielded as a +4 heavy mace with a critical threat range of 18–20. In addition to the damage this weapon deals, any creature struck by the scepter ages a number of years equal to the damage taken. On a critical hit, not only does the scepter deal greater damage, but the victim ages 2 years for every point of damage taken. Creatures aged in this manner might have their physical ability scores reduced; consult Table: Aging Effects for the effects of aging on common humanoids. For the wide range of unlisted humanoids and non-humanoids this aging might affect, GMs should use their judgment, general knowledge, and creature descriptions to decide how the effects of aging apply on a race-by-race basis. GMs looking for a quick way to approximate the ages of minor opponents should alter Strength, Dexterity, and Constitution by –1 for every 10 years aged and consider +40 years to be a creature’s maximum age. Any creature aged to greater than its maximum age immediately dies. Constructs, outsiders, and undead are immune to the effects of aging. The mental abilities of those affected by this form of aging do not increase. Creatures that gain abilities dependent on their age gain these abilities as normal (though, at the GM’s discretion, these abilities might not be immediately usable). The spell regenerate restores 1 year of premature aging for every hit point it heals. Creatures killed by aging can only be restored by true resurrection, miracle, or wish, but even these spells do not heal aging, returning the target to life only 1 year younger than his maximum age.

In addition to its use as a weapon, the Scepter of Ages can open a portal through time. To do this, the scepter’s bearer must spend 10 minutes precisely aligning the delicate mechanisms within the artifact’s head to the exact dates she wishes to travel to. This requires the bearer to make either a DC 30 Knowledge (history) check to program a precise date or a DC 30 Wisdom check to travel to a general period. The bearer can rush through calibrating the scepter, activating it in 1 minute, but doing so increases the associated DCs by +10. Regardless of whether or not this check is successful, a 5-foot-wide glowing tear in time opens within 15 feet. This rift cannot be used as a weapon or to destructive effect. What time the passage opens to is determined by whether the bearer succeeds at the check (opening a portal to the desired time) or fails (opening a portal to the incorrect time, determined by how significantly he failed, as shown on Table: Accidental Time Travel Results below). The time beyond the portal cannot be viewed and can only be discovered by passing completely through. The rift remains open for 1 minute before closing. What creatures or conditions lie beyond the portal are determined by the GM (see Table: Ages below for examples of different times).

DESTRUCTION

Adhering to laws beyond those of this reality, The Scepter of Ages cannot be destroyed, only carried to a time beyond the reach of modern users. Some say this has happened dozens of times, yet still the scepter has been rediscovered ages later, unearthed among ancient ruins or by geological upheavals.

RAMIFICATIONS

Those who use the Scepter of Ages may step through time, with all the dangers and repercussions that might entail.

Laws of Time: The Scepter of Ages is the key to time traveling adventures, and all the perils and conundrums such stories entail. If a GM does not want time traveling elements in her game, is it strongly recommended that she not use the Scepter of Ages.

That said, time travel can be as simple or as complicated as a GM pleases. Nothing says a game has to become bogged down with split timelines, temporal paradoxes, and existence-shattering repercussions. GMs who want the effects of time travel to be like the ripples of a pebble dropped into a still pool might enjoy tracking every deed and ramification. Alternatively, some GMs might prefer the effects of time travel to be like a pebble dropped into a swift moving stream, having minor effects near the point of contact, but ultimately having no effect on the course of the water. Still other GMs might want to do away with popular rules of time travel entirely and invent their own, perhaps making time itself resistant to changes or revealing guardians of time (like the hounds of Tindalos).

Beyond the mundane rules of time, GMs should consider how they want to handle other issues like magic. For example, can a cleric of a god who hasn’t been born yet gain her magic in the distant past? Does magic change, and will it be as reliable in the far future as it is currently? Additionally, a GM should decide whether or not the key can ever open to a time totally antithetical to the scepter’s bearer—such as a past before the creation of the Material Plane or a future where the entire planet has decayed to dust.

Time travel opens the door to innumerable new adventures, but also requires considerable forethought on the laws of reality and the cultures that might be visited. GMs should feel free to create these details to suit the stories they want to tell, but are encouraged to remain consistent so players can enjoy the mystery of discovering these secrets of reality.

Travels in Time: The future is a mysterious time, which might be a setting as fantastical, futuristic, or similar to the real world as GMs please. Traveling far enough essentially opens the door to new campaign settings, which GMs can design however they see fit.

Table: Accidental Time Travel Results
DC Roll Time Beyond Portal*
DC or higher Intended time
DC –1 to –5 Intended time modified by 1d10 years (1–10)
DC –6 to –10 Intended time modified by 1d100 years (1–100)
DC –11 to –15 Intended time modified by 1d100 x 100 years (100–10,000)
DC –16 to –20 Intended time modified by 1d100 x 1,000 years (1,000–100,000)
DC –21 to –25 Intended time modified by 1d100 x 10,000 years (10,000–1,000,000)
DC –26 to –30 Intended time modified by 1d100 x 100,000 years (100,000–10,000,000)
DC –31 to –35 Intended time modified by 1d100 x 1,000,000 years (1,000,000–100,000,000)
DC –36 to –40 Time warp. Roll separately for every creature that passes through the gate

* GM randomly determines whether the result is added or subtracted from the intended time.

Table: Different Ages
Approximate Time Dates Notable Events/Dangers
Primeval past Earlier than –50,000,001 Prehistoric beasts and lethal environments
Prehistoric past –50,000,00 to –1,000,001 Beasts and dragons dominate
Primitive past –1,000,000 to –10,001 Serpentfolk and non-human domination
Legendary past –10,000 to –4,295 Age of Darkness
Ages past –4,294 ar to –1 ar Ancient empires dominate
Distant past 1 ar to 4,605 ar
Recent past 4,606 ar to 4,711 ar
Present day 4,712 ar Modern day
Near future 4,712 ar to 9,999 ar Modern day with political changes
Distant future 10,000 ar to 99,999 ar New cultures, new technologies
Far future 100,000 ar to 999,999 ar Totally alien cultures and science
Extreme Beyond 1,000,000 ar Non-humanoid dominance, revised geography
Section 15: Copyright Notice

Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Artifacts & Legends © 2012, Paizo Publishing, LLC; Author: F. Wesley Schneider.