13 Canes for 13th Age

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13 Canes for 13th Age

By ASH LAW

Wizard’s canes are known for being eccentric creations – canes that conceal long-stemmed pipes or are topped with miniature orreries or have perches for familiars. The non-magical canes of bravoes are more utilitarian than those of magic users, reinforced and weighted with lead pellets in hollow interiors to allow for quick jabs and heavy swings. Rogues sometimes use swords disguised as canes, with the hollow shaft of the cane ‘scabbard’ doubling up as a blowpipe. Certain high ranking clerics carry canes as a mark of their office. Even bards sometimes carry canes that function as flutes or fold into pan-pipes.

Canes are more impressive than a wand, yet not as unwieldy as a staff. Magic canes are the implement of choice for many fashionable wizards, as well as being useful to warriors who want something more stylish and socially acceptable than a shield. Mundane canes are often just fancy looking sticks used to cosh ne’er do wells. Magical canes do not like being used as clubs at all, they think themselves to be above their non-magical brethren. If repeatedly mistreated in this way may take control of their owner’s legs and walk them into a ditch or gorse bush.

Attunement

You can only attune to one cane at a time, but may use them alongside other implements and weapons. Unlike wands or staffs canes can be used at adventurer-tier, champion-tier, and epic-tier. Canes and staffs do not get along at all, and will fight if an adventurer tries to attune to both.

Bonuses

If wielded as an implement canes grant +1 to hit and damage per tier (+1 at adventurer-tier, +2 at champion-tier, and +3 at epic-tier). If used in the offhand canes grant +1 AC per tier as though they were an enchanted shield, but this prevents the wielder from using a shield or a second weapon in their off-hand.

Default Property

Canes are all about helping their owner be properly balanced when walking, and this is reflected in their special property. In battle when you roll damage if the damage is less than the average you take the average. If you roll more than the average damage you take the higher amount, and then for the rest of the battle use your average damage for each attack. Critical hits work as normal – roll the damage and double it.

For example – If your damage with an attack was 2d6+2 you would take the result of the roll or 9 (the average). If you rolled above 9 for the damage on that attack then for the rest of the battle you would take the average of the damage roll for any attack that you make.

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Cane of The Eye

The cane is topped with a swivelling glass eyeball. It peers around, seeming to understand what is going on.

Always: +1 AC per tier if in off-hand or +1 to hit and damage per tier if wielded as an implement.

Per-Battle: Roll damage as normal and if it is less than the average take the average. If you roll more than average take the higher amount and then for the rest of the battle use your average damage for each attack without rolling the damage.

Recharge 6+: For five minutes you may see through the eyeball, using the cane to peer down holes or around corners. At epic level you may see through the cane without holding it provided it is less than 1 mile away.

Quirk: Paranoid about blind spots.

GMs: Did the glass eyeball used to belong to a person, and if so to whom? Is there a matching cane with the other eye? Did these canes used to fashionable, and if so where and when? Do others consider the cane creepy when the eye moves or is it the mark of a lady to carry such a cane?

Captain’s Cudgel

This stout cane is carved with a nautical map. The core of the cane is made from a strand of the Snow Queen’s hair.

Always: +1 AC per tier if in off-hand or +1 to hit and damage per tier if wielded as an implement.

Per-Battle: Roll damage as normal and if it is less than the average take the average. If you roll more than average take the higher amount and then for the rest of the battle use your average damage for each attack without rolling the damage.

Recharge 16+: As a quick action you may summon a wind – pop a nearby small or medium creature free of engagement if it is engaged, and blow it to anywhere nearby or far away. If the wind would blow a creature into danger (over a pit, into lava, onto a wall of spikes, etc) they may make an easy save (6+) to stop short of the danger.

Quirk: Always want to travel by boat if possible.

GMs: Where does the map on the cane lead? Who created the map? Who is searching for the map? Who doesn’t want people going where the map leads?

 

Compass Rose Cane

The cane’s surface is studded with compasses, circular slide-rules, and spirit levels. The cane is topped with a theodolite and the collar studded with sólarsteinn crystals.

Always: +1 AC per tier if in off-hand or +1 to hit and damage per tier if wielded as an implement.

Per-Battle: Roll damage as normal and if it is less than the average take the average. If you roll more than average take the higher amount and then for the rest of the battle use your average damage for each attack without rolling the damage.

Recharge 16+: A hidden compartment within the cane allows blank paper to be inserted. When the paper is removed it will have an accurate map of the area traversed over the past hour.

Quirk: Concerned with being late.

GMs: Do the compasses all point north, and if not where do they each point? What is the purpose of the slide rules, what are they set up to calculate? How is the ink for the maps produced, and does it have any special properties if the map is burnt?

 

Ferule of Hammers

The cane is topped with a heavy brass hammer. When the cane is struck against the ground dwarven song can be heard as though carried on the wind.

Always: +1 AC per tier if in off-hand or +1 to hit and damage per tier if wielded as an implement.

Per-Battle: Roll damage as normal and if it is less than the average take the average. If you roll more than average take the higher amount and then for the rest of the battle use your average damage for each attack without rolling the damage.

Recharge 16+: When swung the cane summons hundreds of ghostly hammers that can break any one unattended stationary non-magical object (shatter a door into splinters, crack a bolder in two, knock a hole in a wall) but very large objects (city walls, ships, bridges) are just damaged and magical objects are not even dented.

Quirk: Extol the merits of solid dwarven construction.

GMs: Where do the ghostly hammers come from and go to? Do ghosts of dead dwarves swing the hammers eternally in a special hell, or are the hammers constructs of pure magic?

 

Gem-topped Cane

This posh-looking cane is topped with a large diamond. When light passes through the diamond it creates an enchanting rainbow halo.

Always: +1 AC per tier if in off-hand or +1 to hit and damage per tier if wielded as an implement.

Per-Battle: Roll damage as normal and if it is less than the average take the average. If you roll more than average take the higher amount and then for the rest of the battle use your average damage for each attack without rolling the damage.

Recharge 11+: Provided you spend a move action each round to twirl the cane one enemy that an ally has hit this battle is confused (save ends).

Quirk: Dances at inappropriate times.

GMs: The gem is enticing to thieves, has this cane been stolen before? Who did this cane used to belong to? Why does the cane have an affinity for dance?

 

Ghost-walking Shillelagh

This twisted heavy walking stick is carved with ghostly faces. Those who own the cane come to realize that the faces change position and expression when nobody is watching.

Always: +1 AC per tier if in off-hand or +1 to hit and damage per tier if wielded as an implement.

Per-Battle: Roll damage as normal and if it is less than the average take the average. If you roll more than average take the higher amount and then for the rest of the battle use your average damage for each attack without rolling the damage.

At-Will: As a move action you may teleport via a realm of the dead to any nearby or far away place that you can see. Teleporting via the realm of the dead costs a recovery – the realm sucks life energy away.

Quirk: Prefers mournful songs.

GMs: What is the land of the dead like? Is there only one realm of the dead? Does the character sprint through a literal land of the dead to a portal on the far side, or is the travel through a bodiless astral realm?

 

Ludomancer’s Walking Stick

The cane is topped by a glass dome that contains tiny dice. Twisting the head of the cane causes the dice to jump and roll, briefly glowing.

Always: +1 AC per tier if in off-hand or +1 to hit and damage per tier if wielded as an implement.

Per-Battle: Roll damage as normal and if it is less than the average take the average. If you roll more than average take the higher amount and then for the rest of the battle use your average damage for each attack without rolling the damage.

Recharge 16+: Add 1d6-2 to an ally’s damage roll. Recharge is 11+ at champion tier and 6+ at epic tier.

Quirk: Keen to gamble.

GMs: Who created this cane? Did they give it away, sell it, or lose it gambling? What is the cane itself made of: gallows-timber, bone from a gambler who lost big, lucky yew wood, or carved from a huge chunk of amber? Why is the material of this cane important, and what might it tell adventurers about the nature of luck?

 

Mirrored Vade Mecum

It might be carried by a paladin, a pauper, or a princess; the cane looks remarkably unremarkable in every way. Only the highly polished knob on the head is noteworthy, and onlookers seem to not even notice that. It is as if the cane is trying to blend in.

Always: +1 AC per tier if in off-hand or +1 to hit and damage per tier if wielded as an implement.

Per-Battle: Roll damage as normal and if it is less than the average take the average. If you roll more than average take the higher amount and then for the rest of the battle use your average damage for each attack without rolling the damage.

Recharge 16+: You may gaze into the polished knob that tops the cane and transform your outward appearance. Doing so takes but a moment for a minor change (hair color) but many minutes for a more complete disguise. You can not change what race or class you appear to be but may change things like height and build, facial features, apparent gender and age, and skin, eye, and hair color. You may also make minor changes to your clothing and equipment (you may change the heraldry that appears on your shield and you may change the style and shape of the shield but you can not disguise the fact that it is a shield nor change the type of shield that it is, you could transform a resplendent doublet into a ragged and dirty jerkin or turn a wizard’s cloth robe into a silk gown but could not turn either into a guard’s leather armor). The cane itself changes in minor ways, shifting color slightly and looking grander or shabbier as the situation demands. Any changes to your appearance and your equipment and clothing lasts until you next use the cane to change again or to change back to your original appearance.

Quirk: Suspicious of other’s true motives.

GMs: If you lose this cane you are stuck in the form you last shaped yourself to. Who has used this cane previously and got stuck? What happened to that person? Is it possible to use this cane on somebody else and if so what must be done to make that happen?

 

Rod of the Raging Raptor

The head of the cane is a bird of prey with wings outstretched. When the owner of the cane walks with it in the open air birds will often circle overhead, forming a gyre.

Always: +1 AC per tier if in off-hand or +1 to hit and damage per tier if wielded as an implement.

Per-Battle: Roll damage as normal and if it is less than the average take the average. If you roll more than average take the higher amount and then for the rest of the battle use your average damage for each attack without rolling the damage.

Recharge 16+: As a quick action summon a mighty hawk to join in the battle on your side. The hawk flies, has your level x5 in HP, has your defences -1, has your initiative -1, and makes basic attacks as per your basic melee attack but at one dice type less (e.g. if you do 2d8+2 damage with your basic melee attack it does 2d6+2 damage). The GM controls the hawk.

Quirk: Dislikes confined spaces.

GMs: Where does the hawk come from and go to? Is it the same hawk every time? Can the hawk speak, and if so what might it say?

 

Serpent-headed Stick

The detailed carving on this cane is extraordinary. The glass eyes of the serpent seems to blink, though surely that is a trick of the light.

Always: +1 AC per tier if in off-hand or +1 to hit and damage per tier if wielded as an implement.

Per-Battle: Roll damage as normal and if it is less than the average take the average. If you roll more than average take the higher amount and then for the rest of the battle use your average damage for each attack without rolling the damage.

Recharge 16+: You (but not your equipment) may transform into the animal for one hour. During the hour the cane’s head resembles your normal head. At the end of the hour (or before then if you wish so) the transformation ends and you are teleported back to the cane.

Quirk: Sniff everything.

GMs: Wolf-headed and cat-headed versions of this cane exist, and it is said that there is an elk-headed cane somewhere in the capital city. What other animal-headed canes exist? Who made these canes, and for what purpose? What would happen if all the animal canes were bought together?

 

Skull Cane

The cane is topped with a polished metal skull. Tiny runes run the length of the cane’s shaft, and at midnight exactly the runes glow with a baleful light for a short time.

Always: +1 AC per tier if in off-hand or +1 to hit and damage per tier if wielded as an implement.

Per-Battle: Roll damage as normal and if it is less than the average take the average. If you roll more than average take the higher amount and then for the rest of the battle use your average damage for each attack without rolling the damage.

Recharge 6+: For five minutes (outside combat only) the undead will perceive you as one of them and will not attack.

Quirk: Offended by the smell of unwashed bodies.

GMs: What happens when the undead see the wielder of the cane as one of them? Is there a physical transformation, or an illusion effect, or does it mentally dominate the undead, or does it shroud the soul of the one carrying the cane? What is the long-term effect of using the cane? What do the runes on the shaft of the cane say?

 

Sword Cane

The black lacquered cane is elegant in its simplicity. When the owner of the cane wills it so it flows and transforms into a sword blacker than a raven’s wing.

Always: +1 AC per tier if in off-hand or +1 to hit and damage per tier if wielded as an implement.

Per-Battle: Roll damage as normal and if it is less than the average take the average. If you roll more than average take the higher amount and then for the rest of the battle use your average damage for each attack without rolling the damage.

At-Will: You may use the sword as a light one-handed weapon and gain +1 to hit and damage per tier.

Quirk: Admires sharp objects.

GMs: The person who created this cane obviously had a need to hide a weapon, who created the cane and why could they not openly carry a sword? What strange substance is the cane made out of – liquid dream, solidified night, or a perfectly black metal from the realm of the dead? Where did the substance of the cane originate, and who would like to reclaim it?

 

Utility Cane

Sometimes known as ‘the sticks with the tricks’, these metal canes are full of unfolding tools and useful items. Corkscrews, drills, blades, saws, magnifying glasses, mirrors, tweezers, dowsing rods, shingle froes, timber scribes, a folding adze, etc… if you can name a tool there is probably a hidden compartment in the cane somewhere that contains it. The cane can even deploy into a paddle, a seat, or an umbrella.

Always: +1 AC per tier if in off-hand or +1 to hit and damage per tier if wielded as an implement.

Per-Battle: Roll damage as normal and if it is less than the average take the average. If you roll more than average take the higher amount and then for the rest of the battle use your average damage for each attack without rolling the damage.

At-Will: In any situation where having access to tools would help (picking a lock, disarming a trap, building shelter, fishing, etc) and you have the cane to hand and use it, add +2 to the roll.

Quirk: Keen to poke things best left alone.

GMs: Which race made these canes? The dwarves, the gnomes, the elves? Who would consider it important to keep that many tools to hand? What tools does the cane not contain, and why? What tool on the cane is broken, and how did it break? What tools on the cane are hidden or hard to access?

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ASH lives with his wife and child in Washington State (but still misses the Shire).

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