Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Children of Cthon, Eye of Cthon (NPC/monsters for D&Dish games)

 "Oh I guess it's obvious, I also like to bite!"*

Cthon was a half-elven general thousands of years ago who preached elven superiority and led crusades against other races. He is the most significant historical figure in the culture of East Trepan.

Children of Cthon were once human children. The elves of East Trepan kidnap human children to use as manual labor. They keep them drugged and in trance states. Those that show a special aptitude for magic and/or cruelty are given to the elven Blood Witches to become something else.

After a ritual during which most of the child's blood is drained and replaced with a special alchemical sludge, the child sleeps for 2 weeks and awakes a Child of Cthon. Part of the sludge is the blood of an elven witch (or witches), who the Child is then forever bonded to and receives commands from.

Their eyes and hair are solid black or white; their skin is white, rubbery, and constantly secreting a clear goo that is unpleasant to the touch. They carry long, curved daggers that are often poisoned. They are known to sneak up on prey, then giggle in a whisper to unnerve them.

Child of Cthon
No. of appearing: 1d6 per Elven Witch present
HD: 2
AC: 5 or 15
Movement: as human child
No. of Attacks: 1 + Special
Damage: 1d4 (bite) or 1d4+2 (dagger); poison causes Sleep or a random effect upon a hit and failed save
Special Abilities: They are completely silent and can hide in shadows as Thieves
Scream: Once per combat they can let loose a Scream, which will cause Fear as the spell and cause anyone failing their save to flee from the Child as fast as possible. The Scream also can communicate one sentence of information to the Child's bonded Witch. Elves and Children of Cthon are immune.

There is a 30% chance the PCs encountered the Child in the past when it was human.

From the film, "Grave Encounters"

If slain by magic, there is a 50% chance their heart will animate and burst forst as an Eye of Cthon. These look like a bundled mass of muscle and tissue with a large elven eye in the middle and 1d6+2 tentacles radiating out from its sides. Eyes of Cthon will not attack elves.

Eye of Cthon
No. of appearing: see above
HD: 1
AC: 4 or 16 (small, fast)
Movement: as a human running
No. of Attacks: 2 or Special
Damage: 1d4/1d4 (tentacles)
Special Abilities: If they land two successful hits on a creature with tentacles in the same round, they are latched to that creature with barbs and auto-hit each round until destroyed. The tentacles will cause damage until the creature or Eye is killed, even if severed.
Eye: Every three rounds, an Eye of Cthon may emit a Ray of Confusion that acts like the Confusion spell to any non-elf that can see it within 15 feet. Children of Cthon are immune to this.

I have a picture in my head of an Eye of Cthon, but can't find anything good online. I may add one later.

*The image at the top shows up on film blogs that talk about vampires from a couple of years ago, but I couldn't find a source or credit.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Blood Druid (NPC&PC class for old school D&Dish games)

"There was little about the creature that could still be called human. He made some animal noise between blood-slicked teeth, and was a mass of tattoos, scars, horns, and weird trinkets made of forest detritus. The tattoos and scars were ancient-looking glyphs, but totally unintelligible. I turned to my companion.
'Ketheree, why have we come here? What could you possibly want with'
She could not take her eyes off him. 'To learn.'
That was when it first dawned on me, as I looked between them; this is her future, to become such a...thing. This is her truth, the path she has chosen. A chill went through me."
-from the memoirs of Matas Ceril, adventurer

The Coven of the Heart's Blood (Hart's Blood in some areas) were once scattered from one side of the land to the other. Local covens, more or less secret depending on local norms, were found in and near every settlement. In the last few thousand years, their number has faded, until now their traditions are passed down in secret, along family lines. Every few generations, one of them will set off to adventure. In old age, they usually set up a shack in the woods to focus study on bizzarre, complicated rituals.

Practitioners of this magic are called Blood Witches or Blood Druids depending on the region. The title has nothing to do with the practitioner's gender.

Blood Druid/Witch
Attack and Spell Progression: As a Wizard; Intelligence bonus is added to spells known at first level.
Saves: As a Cleric.
HP: 1d4 + 2 + CON bonus at first level; 1d6 per level gained thereafter.
Weapons: They do not use two-handed weapons, as they keep a hand free to cast. They tend to use smaller weapons like daggers, short swords, sickles, hatchets, and slings.
Level Advancement: As a Fighter
Armor: they only wear armors made from entirely natural materials, and tend to keep a lot of skin showing (at least arms) so they can cast spells easily.

Healing: Magical healing will take away their known spells, as these are stored in ritual scars that magical healing fades. They avoid magical healing like the plague. They can heal 1d6 HP without losing a scar by eating the heart of a creature killed less than 3 rounds ago. At the DM's discretion, they may be able to benefit from non-magical healing without losing spells.

Spells: They cast spells from their scars. The scar must have been imbued with fresh blood in the last 24 hours. The scar is traced with a fingertip or a brief chant is said related to the effect, then the spell goes off.

-Upon waking from a rest of 6 hours or more, a Blood Druid may choose to dissipate the magic from any current scars, energize different ones, or embed new spells on their skin.

-When learning a new spell, they carve a ritual glyph or ideogram into their own skin.

-When choosing spells for the day, they imbue a scar with blood from a recently felled foe and a bit of their own. This causes the druid 1HP damage per spell "memorized". This HP is healed when the Blood Druid sleeps 6 hours or more. A PC may not reduce their own HP below 2 in this manner.  If this HP is healed magically before they sleep again, the spell is lost with no effect and the scar is gone. (The PC may reuse that spell "slot" by carving a new scar, the same spell or a different one.)

-The number of spells that may be upon the Druid and ready to cast at one time is indicated by the Wizard spell progression chart by level; this is modified by INT bonus as the DM sees fit.

-Blood Druids are able to select from the Magic User, Cleric, or Druid (if present in your system) spell lists. Two spells are selected at first level, either randomly or by the player or DM. After first level, new spells can only be learned from other Blood Druids through mutually performed rituals, by finding another Blood Druid's scar notebook, or by studying any unused spells on the corpse of a dead one. Traditional Magic User spell books are of no use in this regard.

-Additionally, the Blood Druid may invent a new glyph that copies the effect of a magical item or a spell from a scroll. This requires (15 days of study - the level of the Druid + the level of the effect) and the destruction of the item or expending of that spell from the scroll. The spell is cast from then on at the Druid's level, regardless of the level it had from the original item. If equivalent to an existing spell (and not some unique effect of an item), the Druid must be of sufficient level to learn the spell.

Nature Lore: Blood Druid magic is the harnessing of life essence and natural forces. Their studies and rituals of endurance typically take place in rural areas, far from civilization. This familiarity with nature gives them a chance to know useful things about creatures and their environment.
15% + (10% x INT bonus) + (10% per level gained) is the chance they will notice and be able to get details about creatures in the area, by studying tracks, offal, and detritus. They may also find out details of the local environment ("There's a natural gas flume ahead that belches fire").
The player should ask the DM specific questions, as close to "yes or no" as possible. A new roll is made for each question, and the player may ask as many questions as the character's level. If the roll fails, the character did not have enough information to find that answer (IE no false positives, they just "Can't tell".)

Stick Charms: At third level, the Druid gains the ability to make the following charm:
By imbuing a charm made of bound twigs with a drop of the Druid's own blood, the Druid can extend her own senses to it. Thus, the Druid can see and hear as if she was where the charm is. The Druid can make one charm per month. This process drains 1HP from the Druid per day they want the charm to have this effect. This is restored when the charm is destroyed or the time is up. The charm may be "recharged" if the DM allows it.
The Druid may make this charm in the shape of any small natural forest animal. On a chance of 1% per level, the charm is permanent and animates as if it were that creature. The charm has the effects above permanently, without further blood from the Druid, and is bonded as a familiar.

-At sixth level, the druid can make a different type of charm:
By imbuing a charm with the blood of another (as well as their own), the druid can see and hear through that creature's senses for 5 minutes per day, or cause the creature harm. If the charm is struck, the creature will suffer the damage. The charm is destroyed after one blow. Starting at 12th level, the Druid may Charm or Dominate that creature, as the spells, as long as the Druid possesses the charm. The Druid may have only one of this type of charm at a time.

Tattoos/Horns: At seventh level and every odd level thereafter, the Druid may make one permanent tattoo  OR horn headdress that captures a spell effect and can release it twice per day. This tattoo or headdress requires a special ink made of rare herbs, and the tattoo size is relative to the level of the spell. The ink and materials cost 100 GP per level of the spell. As the Blood Druid's body has become attuned to their particular type of magic, this cost is 70GP/level if the tattoo or headdress is on the Druid's own body. The headdress will become part of the head of the first person to wear it, and may not be taken off unless all magic is removed from it. (IE, you now have horns, and can't get rid of them unless destroyed as a magic item).

"I don't know how my first impression of him could have been so wrong. Hrvatski is a genial fellow, sharing his food and drink with us. A raven made of sticks brings me tea. He has tended to me well, as I have grown quite ill here in the forest. Hrvatski and Ketheree are drawing blood from me frequently to study the illness and hopefully find a cure. I am content to lie here, writing and studying my memoirs, confident that their odd rituals in the woods around the tent are purely on my behalf."

-from the memoirs of Matas Ceril, adventurer, shortly before his disappearance

I plan to use these as NPC's mainly. I can see all sorts of reasons adventurers might seek them out, or run into trouble they are causing.

Monday, October 22, 2012

The Inquisitor's Blade (artifact sword for D&D type games)

This sword was forged in ancient times, when the human Wizard-King Alons decided that magic in the land was preventing human society from reaching its potential. Through a violent crusade, then arcane pacts, he sealed magic off from the world, including himself. Now, many thousands of years later, magic has returned, but echoes of his fanatical following remain.

The Inquisitor's Blade - This appears as any sword the least magical person present can wield. If the least magical person present cannot wield a sword, they will intuit that they can use this one with no penalties.
+1 attack and damage, +3 vs magic-users and magical creatures.
The wielder of the sword may not memorize or cast any spell except Dispel Magic, even with a scroll or item. Attempts to do so fizzle dramatically.
The wielder can sense magic as per the Detect Magic spell - magic use, effects, and items are like a burning itch in the wielder's mind.
The wielder has a +3 to saving throws vs magic.
Has 4 charges per day. Charges may be used to:
-Dispel Magic as the spell cast by wielder's level +number of charges they pump into it
-add +1 to hit and damage until the next hit of the sword (IE every attack will be at +1 until the sword connects)
-Detect the location, identity, and strength of all magical creatures and items in a 1 mile radius for 5 minutes.
-Determine the whereabouts of any creature who has been wounded by the Blade and see them and a 5 foot radius around them
The Mind Splinter must be used to destroy a magical creature, magic user, or item at least once a month, or it will refill it's charges every day by draining that many HP from the wielder. If this happens or the wielder of the Blade causes damage to themselves on purpose or through a critical fumble (IE the blade tastes their blood), during their next sleeping hours they will be possessed by an anti-magic Inquisitor for 8 hours. This Inquisitor has the abilities of a 5th level Paladin, and will passionately pursue and destroy any magic users, items, or creatures it is aware of. As it inhabits the wielder's body, damage done to it is suffered by the wielder. The Inquisitor knows the world as it was thousands of years ago.

My next blog post is the weird grotto this thing lies in, where the blade may be given up by returning it to it's stone slick with blood. Years and years of magical blood drippings and the ghosts of the slain haunt the place.

Shardik (semi-random Bear race/class for old school D&D type games)

image from the manga BioMega

Shardik are, essentially, bears with the intelligence and language capabilities of humans. Their fingers are more articulate than a normal bear's as well.

Aw, lookit him training the little from here

(If something is not specified below, assume LotFP rules apply.)

Ability Scores: Having a high Dexterity may help due to the lack of fitting armor; a high Wisdom will help the PC use many of the abilities below to great effect. A high Strength is thematic. The DM may impose Charisma penalties based on the fact that you're a bear.

Experience: Shardik advance as Dwarves (or Rangers if your system has that) with regard to the XP needed to gain a level.

Being bears, Shardik have big ol teeth and claws. They can make a claw attack once per round for 1d6 DMG if at least one paw is empty.

It is hard for them to wear armor, but Shardik have a natural AC as if wearing leather armor. They can have custom armor made for them, but the DM should make it appropriately expensive and determine its effects on the character's abilities as gained below.

(The following is heavily based on Zak Smith's random Ranger and Fighter classes from his blog.)

Start with the hit points and saves for a 0-level Fighter in your system (if it has a Ranger, hey, even better). Write those down.

At first level, and each time you level up, you get your hit points as usual, but instead of the attack bonus and saves improving on a schedule, you roll twice on this table (you can choose from items 1-40 instead of one of the rolls, but no doubling up on one item in the same level in that case).
Do what it says--there are also indicators of what to do if you re-roll that same result over again in places where that's hard to figure out...

#1-15   +1 to Hit. SNIKT!

#16-28 +1 to all saves. Shake it off, you're a bear.

#29 You swim like a champ. You get a +1 per level to all checks related to movement in water, or +10% per level to percentile checks related to water movement/tracking. If there's trout, maybe more!

#30-32 Climb as a Specialist or Thief of the same level (if using LotFP Skills, increase Climb skill by 1, if rolled again and using 1E, move one level up on the chart; for more detail consult Zak's Random Thief)

#33-35 In any wilderness environment you will know whatever organic life has been there in the last 24 hours including all typical wandering monsters, and you know about anything that's been there in the last week on a successful roll-under-WIS or roll-under-level (whichever is higher) check. Re-roll this result and it extends to dungeons, then to cities, then to inorganic life. Then if you keep re-rolling you can always do the "everything in the last week" thing in the wilderness, then in dungeons...

#36-37 Christ you're big. +2 to checks to intimidate people. +2 when your re-roll this thereafter. You're all, "RARRRR I'M A BEAR MOTHERFUCKERS!"

#38-39 "SNIFF SNIFF, smells like dinner!" In any wooded environment you cannot be surprised and will always notice anyone coming at least 2 rounds away. Your experience with the landscape and the way it grows allows you to search a wilderness hex at twice the ordinary speed and if you are pursuing or being pursued through the wilderness you add your level, in feet, to your relative speed for purposes of determining who catches who. If you re-roll this, the expertise extends to all outdoor environments, re-roll again and it goes for dungeons, re-roll again and cities, again and it works in like the planes, re-roll again and you should probably just re-roll on this table until you get something different.

#40-41 With a successful WIS check, you can pass through wilderness areas without leaving any trace or making any sound. You can get right up to someone and they will not notice unless they can see you or you purposefully make a noise. This isn't supernatural, and taking nearly any other action but movement and observation will make a noise, at the DM's discretion. If you want to do the movie thing where you take out the guards silently one by one, keep in mind: you're a bear, not an Assassin. Unless you're an Assassin (see below). Roll this again and add +1 to the check. Roll a third time and add your level to the check. Roll it a fourth time and you should reroll.

#42-43 You can knock prone or shove (10') anything that is animal intelligence up to the size of a bear in addition to also doing the usual damage on a successful melee hit. Subsequently re-rolling this result gives you the same advantage against creatures of any intelligence, then a +2 to damage vs animal-intelligence foes, then vs people.

#44 You are capable of one incredible burst of speed once a day. You can move at three times your speed and knock an opponent man-sized or smaller prone at the end of that movement. Twice a day if you roll this result again, etc. Your AC is increased by 2 until your next action.

#45 On a melee hit on a human-sized or smaller opponent you can do your ordinary damage plus your opponent is grabbed if they fail a strength check. Note grabbing is not always what it's cracked up to be since now you're vulnerable to attack from elsewhere, but enjoy it while it lasts. If you reroll this result they get a penalty to their check, +1, then +2 etc. 

#46-47 ROAR!! You can let loose a stunning roar once a combat. Enemies save at a -2 or do nothing but reel in place for a round, shivering in fear. Your buddies get +2 to their save. Roll it again and you can do it twice per combat. Roll this a third time and the saves are -4/+4. Roll it a fourth time and no saves are required - your enemies are stunned, your allies are a little freaked but able to do stuff. If you roll this a fifth time, you should roll something else.

#48-49 You can make a second claw attack per round, as long as both hands are empty. If this is rolled again, you may make a bite attack for 1d4 damage in addition to your claw attacks; the bite is a critical hit on a 19 or 20. SNIKT-SNIKT! (If rolled a third time, your crits do triple damage. If rolled a fourth time, reroll)

#50 +1 CON up to 20 (additional points go to STR or WIS)

Shardik can track anything with a smell with a roll under check against Wisdom or level, whichever is higher.

They can survive in the wilderness without aid from technology or society. With a successful roll-under Wisdom, a Shardik may provide food for a number of others equal to the number of success divided by 2 round up (if succeed by 3, you may feed 2 others one meal or one other 2 meals.) This is in the form of fish, small game, berries, and other edibles from the local flora and fauna.

Humans and other intelligent species cannot tell a Shardik from a normal bear unless they witness it speaking, wearing armor or weapons, or behaving in an otherwise unnatural manner for a bear. Normal bears treat Shardik as any other bear, and will be friendly or aggressive appropriately.

Shardik start out knowing how to speak to bears and the local humanoid tongue. They have additional languages equal to their Intelligence bonus. When they encounter a new animal or humanoid, they may attempt to learn it's language, adding their Intelligence bonus to the roll.
They can communicate extremely basic concepts to any forest animal, regardless of language.

If the player wishes to have skills from another class, they may use XP to gain a level in that class (starting with 1) instead of the benefits above (rolling on the chart, Fighter HP, etc.) at the DM's discretion. Upon gaining a level, the player must declare which class they are working towards for the next, and have diegetic reasons for their character to gain those skills (IE studying under a master, etc)

Shardik never gain followers or set up a compound. Instead, at each level the player may record an animal they have befriended during play or seek one out. Over time, as they check in with those animals and befriend new ones, they gain a network of creatures that trust and confide in them. Starting at 8th level, a Shardik PC may start cashing in on these friendships. Thus, they have a natural area in which they are protected and have eyes and ears everywhere. Examples include a specific wooded area, cave system, some milage of plains, or other natural environment. Of course, if they treat these creatures badly or do not make this effort, they will have no such network.

They are usually isolated and territorial, but seek out another of their kind to socialize with once a month. It is unusual for them to go adventuring, as they see tending to their home forest a life's work. If near humanoid settlements, they sometimes make treks into small towns to play games with whoever's around. "Old Clebus has been coming into town once a month to play chess since I can remember. He's patient, too! Beats me every damn time."


I wrote this up at the request of a player in my home game. They had met an NPC Shardik, then his character died a couple of games later (never split the party. NEVER SPLIT THE PARTY.) I told him he could be whatever even though the world had been relatively low magic, and he wanted to be one. The abilities above are based on his choices from a big list I made, then I added a few more and randomized. I put stuff in from LotFP and AD&D 1E to cover all the bases.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Shen-Drath, "Ol' Two Face", God of War (for old school D&Dish games)

A player in my home game asked about gods, and joked about the next player being forced to play a cleric. I don't think about religion a lot, and for some reason gods are real boring to me; I'm trying to make them interesting, though! I've got at least 2 others to write up. They probably won't be this lengthy or complicated.

Image by Bill Sienkiewicz from here

Shen-Drath, or "Ol' Two Face", is the God of War. Shen, his first aspect, represents training, strategy, order, and duty. Drath, the other aspect, represents chaos, bloodlust, berserker rages, disorientation, and the collapse of order. Together, they are the duality of war.
Shen-Drath's holy symbol is half human face, half bloody skull. The entire symbol is used, even by factions that worship one half over the other. Divisions within the church have emerged over arguments about how many arms the god has - those who favor Shen claim two, those who favor Drath claim many, many more - that he slices off the arms of foes in battle and attaches them as his own.
There is also disagreement as to whether Shen-Drath is a specific being that ascended to godhood through mighty deeds of war in ancient times, or whether the name is a kind of title. Believers of the latter say the mightiest warrior in the land can rise to become the god through a great ritual during which he survives burning away all the flesh on half of his body. A mortal is compelled to undertake this ritual when he or she reaches a level of martial prowess the other gods feel inappropriate for a mortal. Whether born of old or made anew, all agree he is the best military strategist and most bloodthirsty berserker in the land.
Casually worshipped by: Generals, politicians during war, some soldiers and berserkers
Seriously worshipped by: Soldiers, mercenaries, war priests, tacticians, some berserkers and generals

Worshippers favoring Shen must follow orders, know their rank, carry out agreements and treaties, and treat prisoners of war well. Surender and retreat are acceptable if they are the optimal strategy for the situation.
Clerics favoring Shen have the normal armor and weapon choices of the Cleric class.
Worshippers favoring Drath must never retreat, take prisoners during combat, surrender, or spare a foe.

 Clerics favoring Drath or the deity as a whole may use any weapon, but may not wear armor greater than Chain Mail.

Paladins who worship Shen-Drath can not cure diseases or radiate Protection From Evil as other Paladins do.
Clerics may choose to Turn or Command Undead at the time of Turning.

-A History of Violence: The player of a Cleric or Paladin of Shen-Drath may keep a list of all the foes his or her PC has faced in battle; when facing a foe of the same type or from the same area again, the PC intuits some useful knowledge about their strategy, level of sophistication, or something else useful about fighting them. ("The orc tribes of Morath always attack in groups of 3." "Goblins in this area use stone weapons, which easily break." "Pirates from the isles of Neverbottom always ram ships from starboard." [Can you tell I'm not a military type? I hope you get the idea anyway. It should be potentially relevant or useful, but not give the fight away.])
-The Many Arms of War*: At levels 3, 6, 9, and 12, Clerics of Shen-Drath may forgo one of their spells to gain the following ability: during battle, if the Cleric can sever the arm of an animate foe, he or she may attach that arm and command it as if it were one of his/her own. This arm may make weapon attacks, aid in defense, hold items, or anything an arm can do. The foe must be alive or animate at the time the arm is severed; if severing the arm kills the foe, the arm will still work. At the end of the battle, the arm falls off and decays. (IE one arm at level 3, two at 6, etc.)
Paladins who worship Shen-Drath gain The Many Arms of War at 3rd level and may use as many arms as half their level, rounded down.
-Drath's Fury: By covering their face with the removed face, skull, blood, or viscera of a fallen foe, a Paladin or Cleric of Shen-Drath may enter a battle frenzy. During this frenzy, they gain temporary HP and bonus to hit and damage equal to half their level, rounded up. Their AC takes a penalty of 2 in this state and does not benefit from Dexterity bonuses. They must choose one enemy and attack that enemy until it is down, then will move on to the closest creature to attack next. If this is an ally, the Paladin or Cleric may make a saving thrown VS Spell aided by any Wisdom bonus to skip over them for the next nearest creature. If the saving throw fails, the frenzy has overtaken their senses and the ally is attacked until unconscious or dead.
A Paladin may not Lay On Hands the same day they have entered Drath's Fury. A Cleric must give up one spell that day to use this ability (which is gained back as normal at rest).

Shen-Drath's manifestation is 30' tall and appears as one half man, the other half bloody and skeletal - made up of the bodies of mighty warriors and high priests of the past. One arm of any creatures falling in a battle with Shen-Drath will fly to him and defend him, or attack his foes, falling to dust after the battle is over. Shen-Drath carries a mighty battle-axe that he throws unerringly and has hideous laughter. His laughter can Paralyze whether he wants it to or not, but he will not attack helpless foes.
Shen-Drath is part of the Celestial Order, Gods who enforce universal constants, organize to determine rules of reality and enforce restrictions on their priesthoods and those of others. He wants to be the God of Death, and thus both hates and lusts for Derketa. He occasionally schemes to have her deposed or destroyed, but has not been successful. Shen-Drath is respected and considered useful by other Gods; Derketa is feared and beloved.
AC: -4 or 24, HP 400, No of Attacks: 1d4+number of creatures killed so far in combat, First attack 10-100 DMG, second and others 10-40+16; Abilities of a 15th level Cleric and 20th Level Paladin; Laughter causes Paralysis on a failed save.

Labyrinth, Oracle, Trap (stuff for old school D&Dish games.)

This was originally posted to G+ as a response to Scrap Princess' MONSTER, MARVEL, or MYSTERY challenge. I wanted to archive what I wrote here to be able to find it easier later, as I want to put each of these things in my games. Feedback is welcome, and use the ideas at will (but not to make money).

LABYRINTH: Upon the coronation of a leader, the tribe of Nogoaway sends a child under the age of 10 chosen at random from among the villagers to enter the Labyrinth of Death Follows, then barricades that entrance. When the child emerges from the Labyrinth, he or she is the new leader and the old leader is sent back inside, never to re-emerge. It often takes many years for the children sent inside to come back out, sometimes decades. Nogoaway leaders never speak of their time in the labyrinth, and it is unknown what they eat, do, or learn there. The tribe is known to be successful and have good leadership.

(Claytonian JP suggests, excellently: "Each leader's skull has the route etched out upon it. Not that anybody has ever been allowed to see a decomposed leader...")

ORACLE: The Oracle of Weeping is a severed head and hand with a spirit bound inside who must attempt to answer questions asked of it. Only the hand and eyes are able to move, so it is only able to give answers by using it's hand to manipulate the face. The hand is usually bound to the head one one side or top to keep them together. The spirit often becomes frustrated at it's communication limitations, so answers will be shorter and more terse as the interaction wears on. The spirit is said to know of the future, the past, and can see what is happening far away.

TRAP: Anyone opening a tiny latch on one of the links of this chain will instantly be transmogrified into a tiny golden figure of themselves, with the links they openend as manacles. If a creature-charm was already "in" that link, the previous creature will be freed and returned to normal, and the opener will be trapped as above. If the necklace is thrown as the latch is opened, roll 1d8 below:
1. The thrower of the necklace is imprisoned
2-4. The necklace bounces off the target harmlessly.
5-7. The target is imprisoned.
8. The thrower and target are both turned into tiny golden versions of themselves, but not imprisoned.

(I added the d8 chart just now.)