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Achelos' Chess Set:

by Patrick Sullivan

This beautiful artifact was created by the immortal Chardastes (aka, Achelos).

The board is a huge, well-polished, beautiful black and white onyx chessboard. Each square is about 10 cm (4 inches) square, and there is gold between the squares. The 16 squares at the front and back (the first two rows of each side) have a likeness of the piece which belongs there within the onyx. On both sides (not the front & back) there is a storage rack for the pieces. Each piece has its own place on the rack.

Thyatian side:

All are ornately carved and decorated Arabian-looking white onyx figurines, between 25 cm (vizier) and 12 cm (pawn)

King=Muktar; Vizier = Muktar's chief assistant; White bishop: priest of Tarastia; black bishop: Priest of Vanya; Knights: Captains in the Thyatian Foreign Legion; Rooks: the Thyatian army magists; pawns: standard Thyatian foot soldiers.

Traldaran side:

All are ornately carved, vividly painted black onyx figurines, between 24 cm (king) and 12 cm (pawn)

King: Achelos; Queen: Queen Darilla (Achelos' wife); White Bishop: priest of Achelos (Chardastes); Black Bishop: priest of Halav; Knights: Traldaran Paladins; Rooks: Traldaran druids; pawns: Traldaran peasants.

In addition to the mental game power described above, the chess set has a few more powers: If the players make any sort of a wager on the outcome of the game, they must stick to their promise or suffer a double-strength geas (this effect may or may not be detected by normal methods, DM's choice). If any of the pieces ever become separated from the board (a beautiful white marble and black onyx board with slots on the side for captured pieces or for when not in use), Anyone touching a square or a slot will automatically know the direction of the piece that belongs there. It is impossible to cheat at this game of chess (again, this may not be revealed).

I made this a minor artifact using OD&D rules, but I don't know how well it would translate into AD&D:


1. The chess game can be played psychically. After a game is started (which can only be done when all pieces are present and in their place), the two players who begin the game can continue playing psychically. By focusing on the game for one round, the knowledge of where each piece should be on the board enters the players mind, and the player can mentally make his or her move. This continues to work even if the pieces are physically removed from the board, but no player may ever move out of turn. Each move costs 20 power points.

2. When someone touches the square on the board where a piece should be or its place in the holder, the knowledge of the direction (north, east, up, etc.) of the piece's actual location. This ability, a modified locate object, simply helps the user to find the pieces so a new game may start. The direction of the piece at the moment that the power is activated is learned, but this knowledge is instantaneous, and it could easily move. Plus, no distance is known, only direction, so it will usually take several activations to locate each piece. Each search for each individual piece costs 20 power points.

3. A character in physical contact with any part of the artifact may, by concentrating for one round, be healed of 7 hit points from a cure light wounds spell, but each use costs 15 power points.

4. A character who prays to Achelos or Chardastes (even just gasping the name) who is in physical contact with any part of the artifact is cured of 14 hp from a cure serious wounds, but this drains 25 power points from the artifact.

The artifact can have up to 80 power points within, and it regains power at the rate of 5 points per turn, 30 points per hour. If the artifact does not have enough points when a power is activated, it simply has no effect.


Each time a power is activated, there is a chance that it will result in a penalty. When a penalty occurs, the character becomes immune to ALL healing magic (except immortal magic) for a number of days equal to the 1/5 the number of power points currently used up (for example, if a character uses the cure light wounds power twice in rapid succession, but the artifact has not yet been used that day, it has 30 pp used. If a penalty is indicated, the character is unaffected by healing magic for 1/5 of 30, or six days). The character cannot be healed by any form of mortal magic or magical item, even a wish, but natural healing is not hindered and the artifact will still work to heal the character. However, the duration of the resistance is cumulative, so characters should not rely solely on the artifact's healing powers. Check for a penalty each time a power is used.
Power #1- 10%
Power #2- 10%
Power #3- 5%
Power #4- 15%


Any character who uses a power of this artifact, or anyone in the middle of a chess game with this set, is automatically effected by a Truthtelling spell (as if cast by a level 40 cleric) every time the individual says anything regarding the artifact, even if the character is not willing to accept the spell, and there is no saving throw. This handicap lasts as long as the character is playing the game or has part of the artifact in his or her possession after using a power. Even after the game ends or the artifact leaves the character's possession, the handicap remains for 30 days.

The truthtelling spell, described in GAZ2, The Emirates of Ylaruam, is a 3rd level clerical spell. Normally it can only be cast upon a willing target, but the artifact bypasses this requirement. GAZ2: "Any creature swearing an oath to perform an action or vouching for the truth of a statement will be cursed as the 3rd level clerical spell if they do not perform the action as promised or if the statement they have vouched for is false. The DM is the sole arbiter of whether an action has been performed acceptably or whether a statement is true. The DM determines the nature and timing of the curse. If appropriate, use the wording of the oath as a guide... make the curse fit the seriousness of the crime, and time the effect of the curse so that observers may recognise it as a judgement of the character's faithfulness to his oath." While this may not seem very serious, a very common mannerism among both the Thyatians and Traladarans of this region is to reply "Really?" or "Yeah?" or "Truly?" to even the most trivial statements, and saying yes after one of these questions qualifies as vouching for the truth of a statement.

I haven't decided how the artifact could be destroyed, but it should be very difficult.