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Old Screeds

Hat's the Ticket! [17 May 2016] Three magic hats from Erfworld, for use in D&D 3.5 and Pathfinder.

Erfworld is a webcomic set in a fantasy world, and as in most fantasy worlds, there are magic items. Here are three Erfworld magic hats, repurposed for use in Dungeons and Dragons (Third Edition) and Pathfinder games. All these items are directly inspired by Rob Balder's Erfworld, and the images are screenshots from the Erfworld webcomic, used with grateful thanks.

Message Hats

Aura strong conjuration; CL 9th
Slot: Hat; Weight 1 lb. each.
Construction Requirements: Craft Wondrous Item, teleport
Send Only Hat: Price 5,000 gp
Receive Only Hat: Price 5,000 gp
Dual-Use Hat: Price 10,000 gp
Adds +1 Luck Bonus To AC: Price +5,000 gp
Description: To use a message hat, you place a small object into the hat, then wave a wand over it while speaking a command word; the object is then teleported to a destination hat. You can use message hats to exchange gems, written messages, and any object that has zero encumbrance. A magical ring could be sent ("Weight "), but not a magic cloak ("Weight 1 lb."). The receiving hat rumbles when something is sent to it, but to retrieve the item, you must wave a wand over the hat and say a command word. Each hat has a magic wand associated with it, and is useless without its wand. Simply owning a hat uses the hat slot, so you cannot use another hat at the same time. Some hats can send only ("Abjure Hats"); some can receive only ("Conjure Hats"); and some can do both ("Dual Use"). You can send to a hat that you know or know of, or you can send at random to some other hat. Generally, sending at random is a waste if you have a send-only hat, because you cannot receive anything back; in general, sending at random tends to push sent objects to dual-use hats rather than to receive-only hats. Rarely, a message hat will offer a +1 luck bonus to armor class.

Design notes The obvious parallel here is to the traditional D&D Ring Gates magic item. Message hats are much less powerful, however: No casting through hats, no attacking through hats, requires standard actions and hands (holding wands) to activate, fills the hat slot, zero pounds of matter can be sent. I've reduced the price, CL, and spell needed to create accordingly. A game master who makes these items as ubiquitous as they are in Erfworld may want to add some cultural expectations around how random sendings operate. In Erfworld, for example, hat magicians act as message relayers and job boards, allowing news to pass around a loose network of dual-use hat owners. For more on message hats in Erfworld, click here.

Frosty Hat

Aura strong transmutation; CL 7th
Slot: Hat; Weight 1 lb.
Construction Requirements: Craft Wondrous Item, chill touch, ice storm, resist energy (cold)
Frosty Hat: Price 16,000 gp
Description: This item animates a snowman, giving it the stats for an ice golem and the appearance of a snowman. To use a frosty hat, place it on the snowman's head. Because you have to make an actual snowman first, the utility of the hat can be limited. It is useful primarily where there is natural snow, but it is possible to use other snow in making a snowman, such as the precipitation that falls during an ice storm spell or the waves oracle blizzard. Wearing a frosty hat, you can make a snowman in 1d4 rounds. After the frosty hat is placed on the snowman, it will not melt due to normal temperatures while it is wearing the hat. The snowman uses the ice golem statistics but lacks the ice golem's breath weapon, cold, icy destruction, and immunity to magic abilities. However, it is immune to all cold effects, and heals 1 point of damage for every 3 points of damage the attack would otherwise deal. The frosty hat functions for up to 8 hours per day, or until the hat is removed. Once removed, it will not function until the next day. When worn by you, the frosty hat bestows cold resistance 5 and allows you to make snowmen quickly. When worn by a snowman, it still occupies your hat slot and allows you to give telepathic commands to the snowman within 100 feet.

Design notes I primarily looked at the tan bag of tricks for pricing on this item, which gives slightly more power for 20 minutes per day. The difficulty in making a snowman first, both in action economy and in obtaining snow, compensates for the longer duration. Also, it takes up a slot! For an example of a caster making a snowman in Erfworld, click here.

Laurel of Napster

Aura strong divination; CL 17th
Slot: Hat; Weight 1 lb.
Construction Requirements: Craft Wondrous Item, divination, true sight
Laurel of Napster: Price 75,000 gp
Description: When you wear this item, you gain an intuitive sense of an enemy's capabilities, as well as the ability to give telepathic suggestions to your allies. These two combine to grant you keen insights into battles. You gain the following powers: (1) As a swift action, you can learn the alignment, AC, and current hit points of a creature within 50 feet. You also learn whether that creature would feel Hostile, Unfriendly, Indifferent, Friendly, or Helpful with regard to any other creature within the same range. (2) As a move action, you can telepathically suggest to an ally in 50 feet that they should attack a particular foe; they gain a +1d4 insight bonus on attacks, damage, and saving throw DCs against that foe until the current engagement is over. (3) As a standard action, you can designate yourself or an ally to be "screened"; until the end of the battle or until a new person is designated, you and all your allies gain the Bodyguard feat to be used to boost the AC of the screened individual.

Design notes Designing, balancing, and pricing this item was hard, because the powers of the Laurel are not similar to other D&D items. In Erfworld, the Laurel is powerful, maybe unique, like a lesser artifact. So a very high price seems reasonable. To read about a character wearing a Laurel of Napster, click here.

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