Item: an amphora

Image of an amphora with script on itThis is an amphora, like many used for shipping food, oil or other commodities. There are only two things that distinguish it from a thousand other amphorae:

  • An ancient, extravagant script and glyph are inscribed on it; and
  • A mud stopper (now dried) has been sloppily applied to its end.

There is no apparent way into the amphora without smashing it or breaking the stopper. It is quite heavy — bulk 9 or so — and when moved, it doesn’t slosh or shift; whatever’s inside it is pretty solid.


  1. The script on it says Property of Grenthia of Nirman: Precious! This should excite any bibliologist, because Nirman was the location of the Great Library of the Ancients, and Grenthia was its last Chief Librarian. The amphora contains a few dozen scrolls, hastily assembled from the Grand Library of Nirman, shortly before it was destroyed in fire. Some of the scrolls have been considered missing ever since the fire.
  2. Emperor’s use only: Dragon’s Blood! It contains a few handfuls of Dragon’s Blood, which resembles sand but is a dark red color. No one knows if it actually comes from dragons, or is artificial, or where it comes from — in fact, this is likely the only supply of Dragon’s Blood anywhere in the world. When taken as a drug, the substance amplifies the user’s best qualities quite strongly; taking one grain will increase your highest Trait by one point, taking two grains will increase it by two points, etc.

    However, the drug is also incredibly addictive. Every time you take it, you must roll to avoid addiction, with a penalty equal to the number of grains you’ve used. (Thus, once you’ve used more than 10 grains, addiction is almost automatic.) Once you’re addicted, you must continue to take it or lose one point from one characteristic (determine randomly) per day. The drug was once used to help an emperor conquer all the lands around, but the empire fell a short time later, eaten from within by addiction to Dragon’s Blood.

  3. Dragon Eggs: Handle with Care! It contains a few dozen dragon eggs, very tightly packed. In fact, being packed together for so long has caused them to deform so that most are now cubic or similarly angular. Even if the amphora is shattered, they will maintain its shape. They will not hatch unless exposed to extreme cold for a very long time.
  4. Nefarious Genie: Do Not Open! It contains a genie who has been asleep for a thousand years. Opening the amphora isn’t that hard, but waking the genie is nearly impossible; it has already slept through a thousand years of history. Upon waking, it will be distressed to discover that it has been asleep so long. It will be quite destructively angry, unless it can be persuaded to accept the passage of so much time.
  5. For the Negotiations of Keftud: Important! The amphora contains a plethora of maps, all finely documenting and detailing the border between the states of Kefedra and Tudelmo. The maps lay out a highly complex but thorough resolution to the ancient border dispute which has caused dozens of wars over the centuries. These maps may be the ones fabled to have been lost during the 17th Tudulmo-Kefodra War; if so, they would create a strong precedent that the current borders should be (yet again) rearranged, though hopefully this time for good.
  6. Clothing of Emperor Sirtan: Do not wear! It contains a full outfit of clothes, including a fur cloak, in an ancient style. The clothes belonged to Emperor Sirtan, executed hundreds of years ago for crimes against the realm. Wearing the clothes will give the wearer some rather amazing powers (the hat gives the ability to hear courtiers at court, even when not in the Capital; the gloves give immunity to poisons; the ring gives the ability to count money quickly and accurately; etc.). Wearing them for an extended period of time will, however, slowly drive the wearer mad with megalomania. The Emperor was buried in clothes resembling these, but without the magical powers.
  7. For the future: 17th Year of the Green Turtle. It is a time capsule from an ancient era: vessels of food, eating utensils, everyday clothing, a disassembled loom, three candlesticks, a dozen candles, a knife, a sheaf of parchment, etc. All are very well preserved. The parchment include an inventory of the contents, a letter of greeting to the openers, and an uncannily accurate prediction of events from the time of the 17th year to now, and even into the future.
  8. Shards of Enteril: Do Not Reassemble! It contains about a thousand incredibly sharp slices of obsidian, very carefully packed. Unlike other obsidian, they are not prone to chipping, so they can make excellent weapons. The individual chips have an almost magnetic property that causes them to move together over time; and someone who keeps one of the shards will often find reasons to go nearer to the other shards. If reassembled, the pieces form a sphere that will begin to suck everything in the universe into it.
  9. Sleeping Earth Elemental: Do Not Disturb! The mud end is in fact part of the creature. Waking it will cause the elemental to immediately demand payment (in nodes) for not destroying whoever has awoken it.
  10. Ogre’s Draught: Potent! The amphora doesn’t slosh or shift when moved. The inside surface of the amphora is caked with yellowish crystals. If submerged in water for a few days, they will become False Ogre’s Draught, a liquor that (in spite of the name ‘False’) is still incredibly potent; drinking more than a few sips will send most humans into a horrific vision-filled state, and drinking a full tankard of it will bring on a fierce unreasoning rage. False Ogre’s Draught also smells incredibly strong, and will attract any ogres within a dozen miles.
  11. Property of Yuterron: Do Not Open! Yuterron, as any mage knows, was one of the first masters of magic, who became adept in using nodes of every element. This is the famed Amphora of Yuterron, which contains notes and formulae for the most difficult, most high-magnitude spells — but only for one element. And while fire mages say the notes are for fire magic, life mages say the notes are for life magic, and so on. Many even believe that the person opening the amphora will determine just which element it is for, so mages will pay a princely sum for the unopened amphora, while an already-opened amphora is worthless. Opened by anyone but a mage of the highest caliber, it contains nothing but dust.
  12. From Iritea to Solomo: Dowry. The amphora contains a dozen or so sheets of fine silk, serving as packing material for various necklaces, signet rings, small statues (models of various houses and horses), etc. According to certain ancient (but unenforced or forgotten) laws, several of these items entitle the bearer to possession of estates in the realms that once belonged to the Iritea family. One or two items will give religious protections to the descendants of Solomo, if any can be found.

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