Ilidon’s Earring

A jewel of rejuvenate power

In our fifth instalment, we feature Ilidon’s Earring, a jewel of rejuvenate power.

History

Ilidon, the fourth of nine sons of an Iddulf thegn, is an unlikely hero of the Nord sagas. His older brother would inherit his father’s lands, his youngest brother, his father’s herds. Ilidon—stuck in the middle—could expect little more than to work hard, train at arms, and perhaps enjoy the small influence of his family name. In the spring of Ilidon’s 15th year, reavers came from the shore-wards of Duram Hold. Such was common in the Holds, but rarely a serious danger, for it is small wisdom to slay neighbours who will, in the following autumn, gather together to hunt goblins, and share fire, meat, and steel. It is instead enough to make a show of force and thereby gain a few extra acres of pasture, or a good brook, for a season.

This year, though, Ilidon’s father was slain during the raid. The untimely demise of the well-liked thegn demanded a weregild, and Duram paid Ilidon’s family well to avoid a blood feud, for he could ill afford a vendetta come harvest-time, when the goblins of the Jensck Hills would be thick upon his borders. Of the weregild, Elidon was given a small prize: a slight gold earring set with a shabby ruby chip. He wore it, as a remembrance of his father, and a year passed.

The next spring, Duram launched another unruly incursion, and a fast press of reavers sacked Elidon and his brothers. The clamour was brutal, and it seemed as if history would repeat when Elidon was struck down. The field fell silent as Elidon’s attackers backed away from his crumpled body, laying in the grass and bleeding savagely. But all were amazed to see Elidon’s eyes open, blink, focus, and look about with clarity. His blood was staunched, and, shaking off the tremor of his blow, Elidon rose to his feet, regained his blade, and made to charge against his attackers. Seeing the clear work of Immortals, Duram’s lot fled back across their borders.

Elidon became the subject of awe, for it was believed that he had been blessed by the Nord Gods that day—whether by Skrava the Skein Weaver or Urden the Red-Snow Reveller is debated. In the years following, he became a champion of the Goblin Ridding, and even now, his name is spoken with vast respect as the greatest goblin slayer south of the Reaver Downs.

Appearance and Powers

Ilidon’s Earring appears as a simple gold earring with an unremarkable ruby chip. It has the power of life regeneration: if the wearer is reduced to zero hit points, he falls unconscious but revives automatically one round later with 2d6 hit points, plus his CON bonus, up to his maximum. This drains one charge from the Earring, which can hold a maximum of 18 charges.

Adventure Hooks

Ilidon’s Earring may inspire any of the following adventures:

  • The Thegn-Prince Ilidon lives still, and he brings battle to the Jensck Hills goblins each autumn. The Goblin Ridding occurs after the harvest is stored to winnow the goblins from their warrens as insurance against winter raids, and it attracts a constant influx of recruits: mercenaries, men-at-arms, treasure-seekers, scouts, and healers. While in the Iddulf Holds, the party is recruited by (or assigned to) Ilidon during the Goblin Ridding. Ilidon is a normal fighter, scarcely greater than name-level, though he still wears his Earring, wields a great axe +2 (detects goblins to 90′), wears chain mail +1, and owns a rope of climbing.
  • No one (including Ilidon) has made the connection between the Earring and Ilidon’s ability to cheat death (which he has done-to the amazement of witnesses-on no less than four occasions). Instead, Ilidon is believed to be a favourite of the Nord (even Iddulf Hold clerics treat him with respect; he is accompanied each year on the Goblin Ridding by one cleric each of Skrava and Urden). If Ilidon’s longevity were traced to the Earring, he would be discredited as a practitioner of magic—a contemptible discipline within the Holds; the churches of the Nord would brand him a heretic; and ohters would simply seek the Earring for themselves. A party of empathetic adventures could be Ilidon’s best friends…
  • The days of Ilidon Thegn-Prince are long gone, and the Goblin Slayer is entombed deep in the Jensk Hills, on a spot where he alone felled 116 of the gibbering humanoids ere the sun set. Of course, his Earring and other equipment are interred with him. This could be an excellent find for the party as they are about to enter the goblin warrens, either as part of the annual Ridding, or on a different quest of the DM’s devising.
  • Ilidon rests in his grave, along with his magical gear and the Earring, which to this day has never been associated with Ilidon’s seemingly divine capability. This year, the Thegn-Prince and his tomb are much talked about, for the goblin hordes are fast outpacing their range and threaten the lowlands with a ferocity not seen in decades. The conventional wisdom is that only the spirit of Ilidon, believed to be bound within his great axe +2, can stem the humanoid tide. (And, oh yes, the adventurers find a scruffy little gold earring with a ruby chip inside the tomb.)
  • Duram, or one of his heirs, has discovered the true power of the Earring, and naturally wants it back. If Ilidon is alive, the party might find themselves defending him from assassins, traps, and ambushes. If the goblin slayer has passed on, the party might be hired to find Ilidon’s tomb, which is somewhere in the Jensk Hills. Of course, if a PC now wears the Earring, he will find himself to be the object of Duram’s attentions.
  • As before, but Duram takes the subtle route and publicly suggests that it’s the Earring, and not the gods, that’s responsible for Ilidon’s ability to stand back up after getting thrashed like burlap breeches on washing day. Most local clerics recognise Duram’s penchant for intrigue, but few resist the handsome bribes he’s willing to give out if they’ll help reveal Ilidon heresy (for the sake of pious integrity, of course). This may be a good foundation for gaming groups that like political plots, as Duram, unscrupulous clerics, suspicious thegns, and an innocent (but popular) Ilidon all shift their focus to the Earring.
  • Ilidon’s days have passed, and though no one knows its power, his Earring has become an icon of his legendary exploits as divine Goblin Slayer. The Earring in Ilidon’s tomb (or a forgotten goblin cave or with Ilidon’s widow/son/beloved retainer, or to wherever the DM believes it’s drifted by now), is found by a PC fighter. When people see him wearing it, they treat him as Ilidon himself, with all sorts of favours and accolades and deference to his evident martial ability. The downside of all this is that it’s autumn, and the goblins are particularly nasty this year, and now that Ilidon’s Heir has come, it’s pretty clear who’s expected to lead the season’s first forays into the Jensk Hills…
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Erin Smale

Erin Smale is the author of the Chimera RPG and WelshPiper.com, a sporadic, rambling blog that provides tips and tools for the time-challenged game master. He lives in secret along the New Jersey coast with his ass-kicking wife Kim and astoundingly cute dog Bella.

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