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Chapter 2: Tools / Relics

Discovering a Relic

Source Gamemastery Guide pg. 94
Some relics might begin as ordinary items with a rich history. They might be part of a character’s starting gear, only to have their true powers uncovered later during play. Other relics can be acquired during play as part of the ongoing story. Regardless of their origin, these powerful items might not appear to be much at first, but they contain the potential to become something truly great.

For example, an old, tarnished amulet found around the neck of a buried king might turn out to be an item of deep historical significance that awakens to great power. The seemingly ordinary family sword, passed down to each new generation, might unlock hidden potential through the deeds of its owner.

The PCs might immediately recognize a relic for its ability, or they might carry it for a time before its true nature becomes apparent. The story of a relic should be a tale of discovery. At first, a relic’s wielder likely does not fully understand the item’s power, or might be unable to use it, learning of its abilities only after a momentous event or fortuitous breakthrough. Ultimately, relics are powerful tools in service of the story, working as a valuable tie to the narrative, but their growth and development are in your hands. Because of the place relics hold in the story, they aren’t available for purchase, nor can they be crafted.

Pay attention to the characters’ backstories for potential relics, and look for spots in your narrative that might be suitable for campaign relics. If you’re planning to use relics in your game, let the players know in advance, since their ideas and plans can guide you and give them greater investment in the relics.

Background Relic

Source Gamemastery Guide pg. 94
A background relic is tied to the history of a character, and its form and abilities should draw inspiration from the story of their character’s life or the past of the item. The relic could be a gift from a friend or mentor, an heirloom from the character’s family, a found object from their upbringing, or even the first item they ever crafted. The player should select the form of the relic (a battered longsword, a copper ring, or a threadbare red cloak, for example).

Campaign Relics

Source Gamemastery Guide pg. 94
A campaign relic is drawn from the ongoing story of the campaign. You decide the entirety of the item, from its form to its aspects (described below) as part of the story of the campaign. Use campaign relics to reinforce and foreshadow the themes of your game. Relics come to those who need them to do great deeds, after all, so finding a relic with the perfect aspects for your future challenges is entirely likely. Unlike background relics, campaign relics typically have magical abilities when first found.