Monday, July 22, 2013

History of Relics

I like items. I think the fact that I have a blog dedicated to designing weapons for TF2 is testament to that, but it goes deeper. I like the items in the Legends of Zelda games. Items in comic books, items in roleplaying games, even items from mythology. I like seeing how technology affected history, especially with regard to (you guessed it) items. I like seeing what developments improve each piece of technology, and the history of magical items, the source of their power. I'm still thinking about these, so if you have some fun ones, especially from an unusual cultural source, speak up! I'm very curious to hear about them.

 The Wooden Spoon
The Troll Witch, Hellboy book 6. Mike Mignola.
The Wooden Spoon was an ordinary spoon used by an enraged young woman to rescue her sister's head from a pack of trolls. Afterwards, the spoon was permanently wet with troll blood and the sound of cracking troll bones was captured in the wood. Trolls feared it and would not pass near it, even to take refuge from the sun.

Quality: Reputational. The spoon itself has no impressive force or origin before or after its use. Unlike many magical items, its power comes from fear of it, not any supernatural strength it bestows on the user. However, it is unique.

The Hand of Glory
A Box Full of Evil, Hellboy book 4. Mike Mignola.
The Hand of Glory is the hand of a hanged murderer, dipped in wax or fat and turned into a candle. When used, it grants light only to the user, unlocks any door in the house where it is lit, and immobilizes anyone inside; it's basically the ultimate magical burglar's tool.

Quality: Manufactured. A hand of glory can be made by anybody with the necessary skills and ingredients.

The Painted Skin (画皮)
The Painted Skin. Tales from a Chinese Studio. Pu Songling.
The origin of the painted skin is unknown, but when it appears in the story it is owned by a demon that eats men's hearts. The skin allows the user to disguise itself as a human being, which the monster uses to seduce one victim by appearing as a young woman. Later it uses the skin to protect itself by appearing as an old woman. Although the source of the item and its powers are unknown, the demon did paint the skin, hence the name.

Quality: Spoils. An item--a tool--won from a defeated monster.

The Head of Medusa
Medusa. Wikipedia.
Medusa was cursed by the goddess Athena for defaming her temple, reducing a beautiful woman to a monster with wings, bronze claws, and snakes for hair. Seeing her face petrifies her victims. The Greek hero Perseus slayed her, then used her head as a weapon to petrify his enemies. Ultimately, Medusa's head was placed on Athena's shield.

Quality: Trophy. Rather than being a tool stolen from an aggressor, the Head of Medusa is a weapon made from a slain monster. It retains the qualities of the monster.

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