Unlocking the Vault dives into magic items from the Vault of Magic. In this closing installment, we’ve got a doozy.
The Eye of the Golden God is a legendary magic item with a backstory that begs for a campaign arc built around it. Let’s see what we can do with this beauty.
For the Players
The Eye of the Golden God is a beautiful piece of jewelry. Simply wearing it marks you as a person of prestige, wealth, and taste. You can wear it proudly (except for the curse, which we’ll come to later).
When wearing the Eye, you’re immune to the frightened and exhaustion conditions. That alone justifies attunement.
You also know which item within 20 feet of you is most valuable. You don’t know its exact value, but when you have limited time to loot, you know what to grab first. Since more powerful magic items are more valuable, you also have a good chance to find those first.
Finally, the Eye gives you treasure. Every time you take a long rest, you have a 30% chance of waking up with valuables in your hand. At first, it’s just a handful of copper coins, but the longer you own the Eye, the more valuable the objects that you wake up holding, to a maximum value of 1,000 gp.
Bear in mind that the item doesn’t clearly state just how quickly the value progresses, so your GM has leeway to say how long it takes to top out. Still, your treasure gives you more treasure! It’s hard to argue against that! (Except for the curse.)
Did We Mention the Curse?
Every time you finish a long rest, there’s a 15% chance that followers of the golden god (Mammon) come to kill you and take the amulet before your next long rest.
Again, there’s a scale. It starts as minor cultists and works its way up to more powerful foes, including devils. There’s no limit as to what will attack you, so you’re at the mercy of the GM to determine the challenges you facing here. However, considering this is a legendary item and your character is likely high level, you’ll face serious opposition before too long.
Sure, you can cast remove curse and be rid of the thing. But then you’ve lost a valuable, powerful item, likely laying the curse on the next poor fool who puts it on. That person may not be the capable adventurer you are, and could well die at the hands of the golden god’s minions. You want to leave that lying around?
But what if there’s a way to delve into the background of the item and remove the curse from it for good? This is where your GM comes in. The next part is for them.
For the GM
This isn’t just a magic item; it’s an adventure seed for a high-level campaign arc.
The boxed text that accompanies the description tells the story of the item’s origins in the Midgard campaign setting, so if your campaign is based there, you’re off to a good start. If your campaign takes place elsewhere, just change the names, places, and major players to suit your campaign.
The jewel set in the amulet is one of a pair. It was once the eye of an ornate, magical statue in a lair of Mammon cultists. Followers of Mammon are drawn to the Eye. The cult wants it back, to restore their idol.
Put this item into the hands of your PCs and you’ve got a perfect start to embroil the party in conflict with the cultists of Mammon (or whatever god/devil/demon lord of avarice you put in his place). You can see how this starts and progresses. The question is: how do the PCs end it?
End the Curse
This is the obvious endgame. Casting remove curse allows the PC to remove the Eye. Yet it’s still cursed, bringing followers of Mammon down on anyone who attunes to it. A good play here is to find a way in which the curse can be ended, and have the PCs do what needs to be done, while holding off whatever followers of Mammon come to kill the wearer of the Eye. You need to decide on how this is accomplished. I recommend one of the two following approaches.
Get Rid of the Eye. Perhaps the only means to put the curse to rest is to restore the gemstone to the idol from which it was taken. This route also destroys the magic item in the process. This could be disappointing to the PCs, but they might be the heroic and ethical type who decide that ending this malicious evil is more important than a powerful magic item.
This takes the adventurers right into the lion’s den, the heart of the very cult that seeks the item. Since the cultists (and their lizardfolk lackeys) are aware of the gem’s proximity, taking them by surprise is unlikely. Plus, the newly restored idol can be the final encounter. Perhaps the pit fiend whose likeness the idol bears appears! But does it wish to destroy them or reward them for their service?
Reunite the Eye with its Twin. Again, the PCs enter the cultists’ lair. But now they delve to finish what the original thief failed to do: retrieve the other gemstone.
They remove whatever power remains in the idol through this endeavor and break the connection between Mammon and the gemstones. Perhaps, as a reward for their efforts, the PCs can incorporate the other gem into the amulet, providing it with greater power. Perhaps, with its tie to Mammon broken, it loses the ability to bring wealth, but gains another ability regarding arch-devils that invites deeper trouble.
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