My reading list as of late has taken on a dark & dismal tone. This has a great deal to do with the creepy campaign we’re preparing to run using the Dresden Files RPG (DFRPG) system. Rather than read Jim Butcher’s books about the beleaguered wizard/private eye however, I’ve been tending more macabre classics: Poe. Frankenstein. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde. More Poe. And all manner of terrifying “strange-but-true” entries via the internet.
One of the mechanics that DFRPG uses to protect its characters from supernatural threats is called a ‘threshold’. This spiritual barrier against the otherwordly centers squarely on dwellings that serve as homes for individuals & families. The bigger the family, and the longer the family resides at that home, the stronger the threshold.
Our characters in the DFRPG world will need all the protection they can get, given the threats we’ve already glimpsed while planning the campaign. Since none of our PCs are related, or are married, settled down, or otherwise active parts of a family unit, we’re going to be downright screwed in the threshold department. So I started devising some other talismans we might craft to to keep evil in its place… if only for a little while.
These Chilling Charms are described in fairly broad origins and effects, so as to allow their use across a multitude of campaigns and story lines. Likewise, I’m sure that enterprising game masters will want to add appropriate costs- either financial, or magical, or both- to the creation of these items.
1. The Ghastly Glass
This charm is said to take the form of a hanging mirror, and was designed by a powerful hunter to reflect the true face of vampires. Variations of the Ghastly Glass will ultimately show the true face of anyone/anything attempting to mask their natural appearance, whether through glamours, spells, or physical manipulations.
Beware! For if anything should break, crack or destroy a Ghastly Glass, the owner’s physical appearance will forever be damaged with equal force.
2. The Daemon’s Dial
Made to look like a garden-variety sundial, this charm does more than show the time. When one kisses the center and whispers the true name of a daemonic entity, the Daemon’s Dial will point in the direction of the fiend that is called out. The direction is indicated by a shadow during the day, and a burning line at night.
Beware! Once its moniker has been spoken, the daemonic entity is aware that is has been named and may be drawn to the place where the Daemon’s Dial resides.
3. Bells of the Beast
This charm is a real bell or hanging chimes that will sound when any shape-changer or were-creature passes below them. It is said that especially attuned hunters can even hear different rings for cursed or inherited shifters, as opposed to sorcerous shifters who’ve chosen this fate.
Beware! If the breath of one of these morphing creatures touches the Bells of the Beast, the owner of the charm will likely suffer a fate similar to that of the shape-changer.
4. Window of the Wicked
Resembling a stained glass panel that hangs from another window in the dwelling, a Window of the Wicked will allow anyone who looks through it to see the soul of any visitor who approaches. The charm rarely reveals specific crimes, but instead seems to indicate how tainted the soul in question truly is.
Beware! Should even one drop of blood touch a Window of the Wicked, it will trap the soul of whichever being caused that blood to be shed.
5. The Nocturnal Knocker
This charm looks like a brass door knocker, but it makes no sound when used by a living person. However, it will rap loudly when touched by a dead/undead/reanimated creature, or if the building it is attached to is entered by a ghost, wraith, or other spirit of the dead.
Beware! If any occupant of a dwelling that has a Nocturnal Knocker attempts to summon, communicate with, or invite in a spectral or dead creature described above, the Nocturnal Knocker will rap so loudly and incessantly as to make the living occupants deaf.
6. The Revenant Rug
When placed in any room of the house, this section of carpet woven with intricate arcane and/or divine symbols is able to trap one specter, spirit, or spook that passes within its walls. The apparition is held there for a number of hours equal to the number of runes woven into the Revenant Rug.
Beware! Should the Revenant Rug ever be touched by even the slightest speck of graveyard earth, it will manifest within that room one specter for every rune woven into it.
7. Sconces of Sanctuary
When lit, these ornate wall candle holders give off a sweet smell like incense. So long as the flames continue to burn, the people and/or contents of this room cannot be revealed by divination, scrying, channeling, or other sorcerous sight. They can, however, be seen quite clearly by mortal means.
Beware! If the flames in the Sconces of Sanctuary burn out rather than being purposely extinguished, any contents of that room will be rendered invisible to the naked eye. Instead, these objects and/or people can only be detected by magical means.
8. Blessed Building
This dwelling has gained special favor from potent unseen forces of good, or at least forces that oppose evil. Roll for an additional charm on the list above; any duplicate charms may be traded in for another roll if desired.