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Thursday, June 11, 2020

The Gallery of Three Wishes

A long, long time ago – eight years, eleven months, and 27 days, to be exact – I casually mentioned that I don’t like thinking of “wishes” as things that you can “spend” to alter reality. Yesterday, for some reason, I started coming up with magic items that would illustrate this for players.

Introducing: The Gallery of Three Wishes. Each item on display has three wishes… but players may be surprised what the items actually do, and how different each item is.

Ring of Three Wishes

The ring is displayed on the finger of a plaster hand atop a pedestal. The sign of the pedestal says “RING OF THREE WISHES: Make circle with thumb and forefinger while wearing ring to activate.”

When activated, a tiny voice from the ring says “I wish I were a human being and not a ring! I wish I had a bag of coins! I wish I owned a farm!”

The ring can be activated multiple times.

Horn of Three Wishes

A sentinel’s signal horn on a pedestal with a sign reading “HORN OF THREE WISHES: Whisper wishes into horn.” The horn’s rim bears an inscription:

Listen to me with thine ear
And my wishes you will hear

When someone “listens” to the horn, they hear the last three wishes whispered into the horn. Nothing else special happens. Whispering a wish into the horn erases the oldest wish and adds the new wish to the list.

The horn is possibly useful as a communication device when the wish-maker is unable to ask someone for help directly, for example if being held captive, but allowed to send a “gift” to their liege along with a ransom demand.

Wand of Three Wishes

A bone wand with gold inlay in a display case with a sign that says “ELEMENTAL WAND OF THREE WISHES: Point wand at an element and make a wish.” A trained spell-caster will recognize the gold inlay symbols as being symbols of elemental water, air, and fire.

If someone aims the wand at water, air, or fire and commands it in the form of a wish, the substance will either move or perform some action it is normally capable of doing in accordance with the command. For example:

  • I wish the air would blow the scroll to me: Raises a wind to blow the scroll towards the wish-maker.
  • I wish the water would capsize that boat: Raises a wave that smashes into the boat.
  • I wish the fire would die down: Extinguishes a fire over the course of a few minutes.
  • I wish the fire would flare up: Causes a fire to burn brightly and increase in size, but at the cost of burning half as long.

Although the wand in a sense animates the three elements, it otherwise doesn’t cause unnatural events, like water turning into wine or molten gold. Other elements can’t be controlled, but some things might be controllable if they contain one or more of the three elements listed.

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