ArTifact Tuesday — The Thaumatioun
This won’t happen every Tuesday, but sometimes I showcase modern versions of artifacts that have shown up in campaigns of mine.
Aura strong transmutation; CL 20th
Slot — (see text); Weight —
A jet black octahedron roughly the size of a typical human male’s thumb, the Thaumatioun orbits its owner like an ioun stone, but cannot be caught or removed (even by its owner ) as long as its owner is alive and conscious (even if helpless). No other ioun stone functions for or will orbit the owner of the Thaumatioun. To be considered the Thaumatioun’s owner, a creature must continuously hold the stone in one hand for a lunar month (often requiring it be tied to the potential owner’s hand). The artifact then treats that creature as its owner until a new creature manages to hold it for the required period.
The Thaumatioun is totally nonreflective in mundane light, but any magic effect within 30 feet causes one of the eight sides to glow with a specific color (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violent, or white), with the intensity of the light reflecting the power of the magic present. If the magic effect remains, the glowing side of the Thaumatioun turns to face it (or multiple sides rotate to face the magics activating them, if multiple auras are present). This allows anyone familiar with its function to detect magic, as the spell, on objects within 30 feet. Gaining one round of observation is a free action, but concentration is required to gain the details of two or three rounds of observation.
The Thaumatioun can also cast spells, as if a sorcerer or oracle of a level equal to half its owner’s hit dice. If the owner can cast arcane spells (but not divine), it acts as an oracle. If the owner can cast divine spells (but not arcane) it acts as a sorcerer. In any other case, it is randomly determined when it is first gained by a new owner. Each time it gains new spells known its owner may make a will save (DC 20 + highest level new spell known the Thaumatioun gains) to select the spells. On a failed check, they are determined randomly. On a natural 20, the owner may also reassign one previous spell known at each spell level. The Thaumatioun does not have a bloodline or mystery, and does not gain any other abilities or the sorcerer or oracle classes.
It takes a swift action for the owner to instruct the Thaumatioun to cast a spell, which takes the artifact the normal casting time (though it continues to move with its owner as it casts). The owner must maintain the desire for the spell to be cast, and thus must make special concentration checks (1d20 + HD + Constitution modifier) whenever a spellcaster would be forced to make a concentration check (such as when damaged during the casting time). Any failed check indicated the spell is lost, and spell lost wasted.
After casting a spell, the Thaumatioun cannot cast another spell for 1d3 rounds. It treats all its spells as spell-like abilities, but if it casts a spell that normally has an expensive focus or material component, it cannot cast that spell again for 30 days. Its owner must meditate with it for 1 hour for it to regain spells. This can only be done once every 24 hours, but the owner need not be well-rested.
The origin of the Thaumatioun is a mystery, but numerous fiendish cults and churches of gods overseeing magic consider it a holy/profane relic. Ancient texts sometimes refer to it as the First Mage’s Tear, the Tenth Level Spell, and Mortals’ Last Gift, though it is unknown if any of these names are based on true insight into its origins.
If the Thaumatioun is instructed to cast dispel magic, disintegrate, or disjunction on itself, the owner must make a Fortitude save (DC 20 + highest level spell the Thaumatioun can cast). If the save succeeds, the Thaumatioun is permanently destroyed. If it fails, the owner is permanently destroyed and the Thaumatioun teleports to a random location on a random plane (usually into a well-protected vault). This save is made only with the owner’s base save, ability modifier, feats, and class features. No outside force, including magic items, spells, or even divine intervention can alter, grant bonuses or penalties to, or reroll this save.