The Reign of Darkness
Mythic history is replete with tales of singular weapons of legendary champions, magic staves of remarkable heritage, and rings that grant powers undreamt of by most mortals. Such wonders stand as far beyond the ability and understanding of “standard” magic items as a magic item surpasses its mundane counterpart.
Finding these legacy items, forged in the heat of momentous events and wielded by legendary figures, is just the first step. Prospective wielders must also learn how to unlock the hidden powers within in order to use them to their fullest capacity.
A legacy item has the capacity to grow in power as its wielder advances in level. In addition, it confers increasingly powerful special abilities on its wielder. A character might carry and treasure that single item over his entire career, and why not? As his own talents and abilities progress, so too do those of the legacy item, if the wielder takes the time to learn its complete history and awaken its quiescent power with the appropriate rituals.
No matter what legacy item is discovered, using such an item entails steep costs. The specifics differ for each item, but the costs are always substantial. For most, these costs are well worth paying.
A legacy item’s history is an account of specific important events in its past that qualify it for legacy status. Spectacular defeats of horrific enemies, sudden reversals, and tragic loses: all play some part in the original empowerment of a legacy item. Before the latest owner can uncover and perform the rituals necessary to unlock its wondrous abilities, he must learn this history. Every legacy item requires increasingly difficult Knowledge (History) checks to piece together the fragments of legend associated with it.
Every legacy item’s history contains a seed of opportunity that a new wielder can exploit in order to perform the specific rites, procedures, or ceremonies necessary to bond with the item. With each ritual completed, a new range of legacy abilities become available. In addition to any tasks required as part of the ritual, each one has a substantial gold piece cost for rare materials (such as unguents, oils, or other expensive items) expended during its performance.
A legacy item has up to three rituals associated with it, each one tied to a yet-more-obscure piece of its past. As a wielder discovers each piece of an item’s history, he learns each of its legacy rituals.
Wielding Legacy Items
After having completed at least one of the legacy rituals of the item, the wielder is entitled to use the abilities of that item available to a character of his level.
Unless otherwise specified, an item of legacy confers a given ability as long as it is worn or in possession; some abilities, however, require that it be wielded, gestured with, or in some way actively used. Such abilities’ descriptions state this specifically. Losing possession of the item immediately removes all legacy benefits.