One of the things I am enjoying most in running an Al-Qadim game is developing a genie mythology that fits the setting and allows the players to engage with it early and often. While engagement with the genies themselves is a high level endeavor, the constant reminder that genies loom large in the lives of mortals, rivaling the gods, is a good thing. Quite some time ago, I wrote at length about lore infusing everything you do, regardless of if players decide to engage with it or not. I practice what I preach, and the item I will be presenting today is a good example of just such an occasion.
This item was discovered by the players during an adventure when they were escorting a higher status noble woman to find her family’s ancestral tomb that had been lost to the ages. The players were seeking to collect all funerary implements as a primary goal within the tomb, so that the dead that were buried without them could be dug up and then properly prepared before moving them to the ancestral tomb, should the tomb be deemed safe. In the audience chamber of the tomb, the players discovered a throne upon which sat an emerald half-crown.
After the players defeated beings of air seeking the crown, the noble woman declared the crown to be the Crown of Mej’Het, an heirloom for her family. The players, in accordance with the appropriateness of status and contract, let her have the crown. Later, after one of the group was asleep for far longer than his drunkeness could account for (the player in question had to miss a session, and the reason given was sleeping off the drunken revelry of the night before), the sorcerer grabbed the crown, which was vibrating, and placed it upon the chest of the sleeping barbarian, who was beginning to manifest strange signs.
The players were then taken into a dreamscape caused by the nature of the crown, and the players found themselves dealing with the nature of the crown itself, and the manifestation of what was occurring within the slumbering barbarian who would not wake. Still, the item itself was not examined by the players at any point, though they could have certainly done so. They had ample opportunity, and means. I found it interesting that this was the case, and it spoke volumes to the concept of steeping everything in lore, whether the players engage with it or not.
The lore behind the item was already created, allowing a ready-made plug-and-play solution when called upon for the resolution of the slumbering barbarian. While the lore of the item itself wasn’t needed, it gave me ready made hooks into everything else going on at the time, and allowed for easy integration. After the encounter, several players now greatly care about the genies and the mysterious Mej’het, but others are focused on other matters. As mentioned before, this is fantastic, as it provides lore for those who want it, and doesn’t require it for those who are not interested.
Crown of Mej’Het
Wondrous item, legendary (requires attunement)
The Crown of Mej’Het is a half-crown, very much like a tiara but more resembling a traditional crown, made entirely of emerald with an etched eye in the center of the crown. According to legend, the great dao Mej’Het split himself into kingly regalia upon resigning himself to be sacrificed in defeating a powerful foe, long lost to history. He pasted down this regalia to the families pledged to him, and granted his scepter to his most loyal dao subject, Khem-Nefer. This crown possesses three charges.
While in the presence of a genie’s curse from any genie that is not a dao, the Crown of Mej’Het will emit a bell tone, signalling that the curse is near and being held back. Should a triggering condition be met, such as curing magic actually triggering a particular curse, the crown will negate the condition, so long as it is not a hostile opposition. Placing the crown on a person bearing a genie’s curse will allow those tied to be person to enter a pocket realm created by the crown to face a physical manifestation of the curse. Doing so uses a charge.
Should the giant emerald crystal representing the shard of Mej’Het creating the pocket realm be met while within this pocket realm, non-hostile creatures can call upon the power of Mej’Het to bestow prophecy unto them, using one charge for every six creatures.
Using charges cracks the crown. Once all three charges are used, the crown is irreparably destroyed. One charge may be restored for every 10,000 gold pieces in emeralds sacrificed to Mej’Het made in a brazier made of obsidian and prepared for this purpose.
Wearing the crown grants the wearer the guidance cantrip to herself as an action, provides low-light vision up to 30′, gives the wearer resistance against poison damage, and allows the wearer to see invisibility after invoking a prayer to Mej’Het in a loud and stately voice. Once this power has been invoked, it may not be invoked again unless the crown is entirely covered with earth and dirt for twenty-four hours.