In determining the first volume of Iron Hills Games’ first product line, we faced a difficult decision. We bounced around the various magic items that are available for the player characters to find over the course of an adventure and decided the ring was the best option for a starting point of cursed item publications. It was not just the fact the ring holds such a position of notoriety in the fantasy genre. It was not just when a party finds a magic ring every player becomes aware there is an item their character could utilize. It was not just the fact the relative power level of the ring can far outpace that of a sword or wand.
That is not to say these reasons did not play a role in our decision, but perhaps the biggest reason behind the selection is the seemingly innocent nature of the ring in general. It symbolizes the beginning without end, the cycle of nature and a union forged between people. In fantasy literature, it embodies a sense of great power, of the duality of good and evil and the blurring of those lines. This inherent symbolism of the ring made it the ideal starting point for this product series.
“But why cursed rings?” you may ask. There are in fact three reasons for our selection of cursed rings. First, while there are countless publications for new magic items, the cursed item tends to get pushed to the wayside. Every GM at one time or another has had a player try to create a magic item and fail miserably. While the generic cursed item characteristic tables are all well and good, sometimes the creation goes really wrong. This is a resource for those times when it comes to ring creation.
Second, while characters confront direct threats in the form of monsters and villains on a regular basis, a cursed item can add a new type of threat for a character or a group to overcome. Their effects range from humorous to deadly and all points in between. A new and unexpected challenge, be it funny or thrilling, can add to a memorable session.
Third, we have some twisted ideas in need of an outlet and this seemed as good as any.
But we could not be completely evil. It’s not in our nature apparently. So we came up with some new toys players will be happy, hopefully, to let their characters use.
Of course we had to come up with cursed versions of these rings as well.
Contained within these pages you will find fifteen new beneficial rings. You will also find two cursed variants of these new rings along with two cursed variants of each Introduction ring in The Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Core Rules, with one noticeable exception.
Being old school gamers, we decided to leave the ring of three wishes alone. That one has bitten us in the past and we felt we should leave it be lest we incur its wrath yet again. We do know it is not the same ring it was back in the day, but that did not dissuade us in our decision. It’s better to be safe than sorry and we did not want to press our luck.
The terminology in this book follows the same guidelines as in this game Core Rules, with two noticeable additions. All elements of a ring’s entry are briefly listed here for ease of use.
Aura: This lists the strength and school of magic radiating from the ring as revealed through use of detect magic.
Caster Level (CL): the caster level of the ring, indicating the relative strength of the ring’s power. It is also used for determining a ring’s saving throw bonus and any level dependent abilities.
Slot: all rings occupy the ring slot (obviously).
Price: the price in gold pieces for which the ring may be purchased if it is available.
Weight: the weight of the item used for determining a character’s carried weight. The default weight of rings is negligible, but the description section may have adjustments specific to a ring.
Description: this section give details on the abilities and functions of the ring.
Creation Requirements: this section gives details on the requirements for construction of each ring including the feats, spells, materials and/or skills required to create the ring. Please note, the cursed rings listed in this book do not have any requirements as they are not intentionally created.
Magic Items (cursed rings only): this is the ring the creator intended to make.
Cost: the cost in gold pieces for creating the ring.
False Identification (cursed rings only): if a Spellcraft check results in at least the False Identification value, but is less than the Identification value, the character identifying the ring identifies it as the intended ring, not the cursed variant.
The rings are broken up into three categories: the Good, the Bad, and the Damnable.
The Good: Each of these rings are not cursed and will benefit the character.
The Bad: This grouping of rings may prove to be a difficult call for some players. While there are negative repercussions for the use of these rings, in many instances the benefits may be viewed as out-weighing the penalties. This will not be the case for all these rings, nor will all players view all the rings in this category in the same fashion. Having rings fall into this grey area is yet another challenge for characters to face and overcome.
The Damnable: When things go wrong, sometimes the end result is unpleasant with no benefit. And then sometimes they go really wrong. These rings are presented as additional challenges for the PCs to overcome. Most of these rings require multiple spells or specific conditions to successfully remove them or to negate the negative effects of the ring’s curse. Some have significant negative effects and as such, these rings should be introduced sparingly.
Damnable Things: Rings. Copyright 2012, Iron Hills Games; Authors: Danny Darsey and Dain Nielsen.