Welcome to the Relics of Power finals! Our second of ten finalists is the Crystalline Chrysalis. Remember, these entries are unedited so that you can have a similar experience to the one that the judges had while reading them. As a special treat, we are posting each one with an illustration that Chris McFann made for the item. So, what do we have here?
Aura: strong abjuration and transmutation; CL 18th
Slot: None; Weight: —
At first glance, this powerful minor artifact could be mistaken for a naturally formed, smoky, rose quartz prism, but it lacks the angular edges normally found on such stones. The base is rounded and widens for 2/3 of its approximately 2” length before tapering to a shallow, conic point at the top. Several tiny bumps encircle the crystal at its widest girth and tiny micro fractures as fine as thistledown grant a sparkling, downy appearance to its depths. The stone most closely resembles the chrysalis (or cocoon) of a monarch butterfly. A vague, indistinct, shadowy form seems to twitch and wriggle in its interior.
The chrysalis has several potent powers, all functioning at the 18th level of spellcasting:
- The bearer is granted immunity to all insect venoms and insect-borne diseases (i.e. malaria, yellow fever, dengue fever, etc), although he is still vulnerable to physical damage from bites, stings, or acid attacks.
- The bearer of the chrysalis may repel vermin at will (as the 4th level druid spell). Alternately, the chrysalis’ owner can attract vermin, creating a defensive swarm if suitable numbers of insects are in the vicinity.
- The crystal can cast baleful polymorph three times per day. When invoked, a silvery-green thread shoots forth from the chrysalis, enveloping its target in a silken cocoon that, over the following round, compresses and shrinks to the size of the crystal itself (about 2” long) before splitting open and releasing its captive in a new insectoid form (caster’s choice as to which type of insect the victim becomes). During this time, the shadowy form within the crystal disappears and is replaced by a shadowy silhouette of the victim, which becomes indistinct and nebulous over the next few rounds.
- The chrysalis’ final power only affects its wielder. If the character bearing the crystal is slain, the chrysalis cracks open, releasing a fine silvery webbing that spreads over the character’s body forming a thick, fibrous cocoon. For the next ten minutes, the cocoon and its contents writhe in a softly glowing green light before the inhabitant claws its way out of the gossamer prison, emerging as a fully grown medium sized insectoid (DM’s choice as to which kind, but hybrid combinations of humanoids and mantises, spiders, scorpions, dragonflies, or centipedes have been recorded.) In all other ways, this power functions as a druidic reincarnate spell. The chrysalis vanishes once its reincarnate ability is activated, appearing elsewhere on the same plane, usually within a colony of giant insects (beehive, ant colony, termite mound, etc.) The insects are instinctively aware that this is an item of power and will protect it at all costs.
The crystalline chrysalis is destroyed one week after being ingested by a gargantuan or larger vermin (i.e. purple worm, titan centipede, etc.)