May Project: Wings of Fire Part 3

There is one list thing to take from this first tale in Swords and Sorceress VIII. Actually, it’s a pair of items.

“As you see,” said a new voice, female, with an undertone of petulance, “I plan my prisons well.”

“For the mages,” their captor said, gesturing grandly, “A cage which nullifies magic, with a lock that can only be opened with an ordinary key.” She held up the key hanging at her belt.”

“For the warrior, a prison that only magic can unlock.

Quote from Wings of Fire, copyright Mercedes Lackey

Cages of Joneky
Joneky, the first governor of Frjanci when the Chjinnee founded the city, trafficed in barbarian warriors and strange creatures with unique powers captured to serve as entertainment at the Emperor’s Court. Not one to be daunted by difficulties (or shy away from great amounts of coins) he extended his alchemical researches into locks of great ingenuity. His crowning achievement were the Cages of Joneky. The mystical crafts that fuel them require them to be made as a matched pair and they are most effective when joined together.

The Warrior’s Cage is locked magically. Once the door is shut to re-open it requires the casting of a magical spell. If the caster is keyed to it (see below) any spell, even a read magic, is sufficient to open it. If the caster is not keyed to it he must making a roll of 20+ on a d20 with the level of spell cast as a positive modifier and the level of diverted magic from it’s mate (see below) as a negative one. Spells that are specifically intended to open locks, such as knock give a modifier of twice their level. A caster can accumulate levels by casting spell after spell, but for every round a spell isn’t cast the accumulated modifier is halved. Multiple casters cannot combine the utility of their spells.

The Mage’s Cage is locked with a simple, but incredibly complex, mechanical lock. Attempts at picking the lock are at a penalty of +1 (d6 skills) or +16% (percentile skills) which doubles with successive retries after each failure. The cage’s true power, however, is the fact that it nullifies magic. Items within will not function. Spell casters lose all memorized spells. If the cage is within line of sight of its mate then the power of those spells are diverted to the Warrior Cage with the sum of their levels becoming the negative modifier. This stored power will drain away at the rate of one penalty point per day.

Attunement is accomplished by a spell caster intentionally placing himself inside the Mage’s Cage within one turn of locking the Warrior’s Cage. The caster must then, within 24 hours, cast spells to unlock the The Warrior’s Cage. If 24 hours pass before he successfully opens The Warrior’s Cage he must restart the process. If he opens it within 24 hours he will be attuned to The Warrior’s Cage and may easily open it. Only the mated Mage’s Cage can attune a caster to a given Warrior’s Cage.

Bleed Off is required for a Mage’s Cage to remain stable. Every time it tries to deactivate magic without it’s mate in line of sight it may explode. Role percentile dice and if the result is less than the total of levels being absorbed the cages explodes doing d6 damage per spell level absorbed to those outside the cage and within 20′ feet. Individuals within the cage are not harmed but still lose their memorized spells. Magic items do not add to and cannot by themselves cause this explosion nor can inherent spell like powers (although all of those are dampened by the cage.

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