In my previous article, I talked about Convocations as a magic item idea for 4th edition Dungeons & Dragons games. In this post, I’m just going to talk about the Blessing of Anyanna Convocation I just introduced to my Dark Sun campaign. For more information about my Dark Sun campaign, check out the blog The Light of a Dark Sun, which has been discussed on this site earlier.
So, in the Light of a Dark Sun campaign, the characters have been introduced to the idea of a divine god existing and wishing to heal the world. All the characters are members of the Veiled Alliance, so they’ve heard stories of Dark Sun’s green past. But not all the characters are convinced this goddess, Anyanna, is real (and rightfully so). One of them, however, is a devout follower.
After the only priestess of Anyanna cured them of a zombie disease, the player characters gained access to a power called “The Blessing of Anyanna.” They can only use this power if they are Good-aligned and their character has faith in Anyanna, which (as of last game) only one of them claims. Here’s the power card for Blessing of Anyanna:
I know what you’re saying – “A deck of cards? How gimmicky.” Or maybe you’re not saying that. But most of my players are folks who love card and board games, so I think it fits their pre-existing interests.
The deck of cards also gives me a chance to add some more flavor and visual appeal to the game. I whipped out the “Magic Set Editor” software (which I’ll explore in yet another post) and slapped together some cards for the Blessing of Anyanna deck. I’m super-pleased with them:
“Hey Chuck, those look like Magic cards!” That’s what the Magic Set Editor is actually used for – making custom magic cards. Obviously, it’s easily used for other purposes, like these “Blessing of Anyanna” cards. And with a template added into the Magic Set Editor, I made the power card early in the post. The art all comes from D&D Insider’s Art Galleries – I figure that they gave me access to all this art for a reason (to make cool cards for D&D, right?) and hey, I’m paying for it.
Now, normally I am a highly customized kind of guy, but in this case I used the Magic card template for these cards to show what you can do without getting into the nuts and bolts of the software to make customized templates. As promised, I’ll dig into the potential of the Magic Set Editor in a separate post.
Back to the Blessing itself – you can see that these cards might seem varied in power or usefulness. Since the item gives a semi-random result, I tried to give it fairly powerful effects. Of course, it may require some tuning, and it’s easy to go back into the MSE and change the text, print out new cards, and tweak to my heart’s content.
The real purpose of the Blessing is to give players the ability to decide if and when their character ultimately chooses to believe in this goddess Anyanna. The trigger of the power means that the unbelieving character has a chance to call upon Anyanna when his or her need is greatest. The alignment restriction gives the Unaligned warlock in the party (Titus) a reason to reconsider his morality.
But, ultimately, even if the characters never convert, I didn’t make the offer so tempting as to be irresistible. I don’t want to simply force the players into a corner – “Convert or lose out on loot!” That would be a terrible precedent. Instead, I hope to simply give the characters a chance to make a commitment and receive a minor reward.
By throwing in some interesting mechanics alongside things that are essentially roleplaying decisions, I give the players a good reason to think about their characters’ beliefs and personalities. In the future, I hope to throw a lot more things like this at them – choices that are essentially roleplay decisions, but result in bonuses or penalties appropriate to the choice and the situation. This also won’t be the last time they’re offered power in exchange for loyalty…