New 4e magic item: the Helm of Ostrich Vision

There is such a thing as arcane heroes with a sense of humor. Anyone who disagrees has never seen a Helm of Ostrich Vision.

The first helm of this type was commissioned by the merchant Alonzo Vrolos, who was notorious for producing lengthy, obtusely-worded contracts; clerics may remember that Arnon Thunderheart, High Priest of Koravius, consulted with Vrolos about the wording of the contract which eventually bound the spirit of the Devil Amantineth, so devious was the merchant’s mind.

Vrolos had a spoiled, prideful son, who took up the profession of arms in the hope of attaining knighthood and elevating his family’s status into the aristocracy. Of course, the youth had no intention of doing so by means of hard work and fair play; instead, he wanted magical items that would give him an advantage against his opponents on the jousting field.

To this end, Vrolos called upon the wizard Daelmar the Red, whom Vrolos had bound into creating magical items through another of his devious contracts, demanding that Daelmar produce a magic helm that would make it much more difficult for foes to strike his son, but that wouldn’t detect as magical by those trained in arcana. Annoyed at the merchant continually treating him like a uneducated stableboy, Daelmar decided that he would beat the merchant at his own game; Daelmar used a special ritual to contact Amantineth, who was more than happy to review the contract if it would cause unhappiness to Vrolos.

Amantineth reviewed the contract for the item – which was reportedly drafted on a single sheet of parchment exceeding two halberds in length – and discovered that no provision in the agreement specified that it was necessary for the wearer of the helm to see out of it. Daelmar thanked the devil for his time, and immediately set to work.

Daelmar had a helm crafted by a master armorer which was virtually perfect in every way, except that it had no openings for the wearer’s eyes, and the visor could not be raised. Laughing to himself, the wizard enchanted the item and presented it to the enraged merchant. Vrolos discovered that the helm conformed in every way to the terms of his contract, and, in disgust, released Daelmar from all other contractual obligations to the merchant.

What about the helm’s enchantment, you ask, so enraged the crafty merchant?

The Helm of Ostrich Vision (a level 4 magic item, but undetectable as such without a special identification ritual) is based on a defense mechanism often attributed to the ostrich: burying its head in the ground, assuming that if the ostrich can’t see a predator, the predator can’t see the ostrich. Daelmar created an entire item enchantment around this concept.

The wearer of the Helm of Ostrich Vision cannot see opponents by virtue of its design, but the enchantment makes it quite possible that opponents truly cannot see the wearer. The “selective invisibility” created by the helm is offset by the fact that the wearer must treat all foes as invisible, since he can’t see out of his helm.

In fourth edition (4e) Dungeons & Dragons game terms, the helm allows an immediate interrupt attack against any foe that tries to attack its wearer. This interrupt is an intelligence versus wisdom attack, with a modifier computed by adding one-half the wearer’s level to the additive inverse of the wearer’s intelligence modifier; thus, a low-intelligence character with a INT modifier of -3 (a person more likely to actually believe that his foes can’t see him if he can’t see them) would end up receiving a +3 bonus to his intelligence attack, to reflect his relative stupidity. In a similar vein, the helm is less likely to work for smarter characters, who see how ridiculous the helm’s concept is.

At least the helm provides immunity to gaze-based attacks…


6 comments on “New 4e magic item: the Helm of Ostrich Vision

  1. Mike the Grate says:

    Excellent piece. I’m glad there is a need for legal work in the D&D universe and I’d much rather be reviewing that contract than the ones I have in front of me.

    • Alric says:

      Hi Mike, and welcome.

      Are the contracts you’re looking at more than two halberds long?

      • Mike the Grate says:

        If fully printed and laid end-to-end, I’m sure I exceed two halberds. Assuming a six-foot halberd and 11 inches per page, I’m looking at about an 18 halberd contract right now.

      • Alric says:

        Good heavens. The next time I see a D&D contract, I’ll retain you for review…

  2. jeremysouthard says:

    That is awesome (and not the narly dude way, but I am in awe way). I was just poking around for a fun loving level 4 magic item and this one seems very fun loving! I am curious though…is Arnon Thunderheart an relation to the dwarf wizard Kron Thunderheart of Thunderheart Incorporated? Do you have any material on Arnon’s background?

  3. Alric says:

    Hi Jeremy,

    Arnon was an NPC in an old campaign of mine. As far as I know, they’re not related, unless Kron is one of the Ferondale Thunderhearts of Quarix….

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