Rings of Power Part 1: The Seven and The Nine [Cypher System]

“Those who used the Nine Rings became mighty in their day, kings, sorcerers, and warriors of old. They obtained glory and great wealth, yet it turned to their undoing…. And one by one, sooner or later, according to their native strength and to the good or evil of their wills in the beginning, they fell under the thraldom of the ring that they bore and under the domination of the One, which was Sauron’s.”
-The Silmarillion, Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age
Estate Diamond Jewelry, CC BY 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0&gt;, via Wikimedia Commons

While I in no way claim to be an expert on this topics of the Lord of the Rings in general, or the rings of power specifically, from what I could find while researching there seems to be no real difference in the innate powers of the Seven and the Nine. The distinction between these two sets of rings seems not to lie in their abilities, but rather in the ways in which their bearers were effected and empowered. That is to say how they interacted with the differing natures of Dwarves and Men. Further, since any distinctions between the individual rings are only hinted at, aside from each having a distinct appearance, what follows is a generic ring in the general mold of the Seven and the Nine with some internal ability for customization. Oh, and I’m testing a tweak on the normal artifact template, adding the new section “Drawback“. Basically calling out the downsides found in some artifacts, especially horror artifacts, as a separate part of the entry from the effect.


Ring of the Sixteen (Artifact)

VIP jewelry Ltd., Calgary by Dmitri Vtornikov, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0&gt;, via Wikimedia Commons

Level: 7

Form: One of sixteen rings, each with a differing center stone and general appearance. 

Effect: The first time they put on the ring the wearer must make a difficulty 6 Intellect defense roll. If the wearer succeeds, while wearing the ring they are trained in all tasks related to commanding other intelligent creatures, gain an asset on a single skill of their choice that they are trained or specialized in, and they gain the following abilities: Ageless(see notes) and See the Unseen (O161/R180).

If wearer fails the Intellect defense roll, in addition to the benefits for succeeding, they gain the Invisibility (O34/R155) ability and an additional focus from the following chart. This focus can be chosen or rolled randomly. After the first time the ring is worn, a character always gains the same asset and focus from it. 

Drawback: All rolls made by the wearer against the Master of the One Ring and his agents, while he wears the One Ring, are hindered by one step (two steps if the wearer failed their initial Intellect defense roll).

To willingly remove or surrender the ring the wearer must succeed on a difficulty 6 Intellect defense roll.

Once each day and when activating an ability granted by the ring(such as Invisibility or a focus ability) the wearer experiences a level 2 shock (level 4 if the wearer failed their initial Intellect defense roll). This shock(O261/R282) causes the wearer to take Intellect damage and start descending into madness(see Madness O262/R284) as weariness, dark influences, and the lust for wealth poison their mind. A character that becomes unplayable due to madness transforms into a Nazgûl under control of the Lord of the Rings(i.e. the GM). 

Depletion: 1 in 1d20 (check each day; destruction of the One Ring also depletes this ring)

1 Commands Mental Powers
2 Crafts Illusions
3 Descends From Nobility
4 Fights With Panache
5 Leads
6 Masters Defense (never gains the Tower of Will ability)
7 Masters Spells
8 Masters Weaponry
9 Throws With Deadly Accuracy
10 Works Miracles

GM Intrusions: Characters that failed their initial Intellect defense roll, become invisible at random and inopportune times. Visions woven by the Dark Lord deceive or plague the character triggering a shock.

 

Seven for the Dwarf-lords in their halls of stone,
Nine for Mortal Men doomed to die…

Part 2


Notes

  • Page numbers are in the following format (O###/R###). “O” for Original Rulebook and “R” for Revised Rulebook.
  • Ageless(new ability): You do not age and cannot die from old age.
  • Depending on the nature of the game it might be necessary to increase or decrease the rate that the rings corrupt their bearers. Here are suggestions that can be used depending on what is needed.
    • Have characters make an Intellect damage from their growing madness more or less frequently(once a week, at each recovery roll, when rolling a natural 1, ect depending on your needs).
    • Increase or decrease the shock levels of the ring’s drawback.
    • Instead of the automatic Intellect damage normal to the Madness rule, allow an Intellect defense to resist it.
  • The above depletion entry is suitable for a free floating artifact that could be dropped into any fantasy campaign, and a mad quest to restore a depleted ring is a potential “dark” character arc. However, if rings of power are going to be a major element of a campaign it might be reasonable to use the following depletion entry instead.
    • Depletion: — (Destruction of the One Ring depletes this ring)
  • Option 10 on the focus chart might at first seem a bit out of place. I considered changing it for something more sinister like Consorts With the Dead. However, I then I considered how being granted power to do “good” and the accolades gained because of such a power could taint an otherwise noble soul.
  • Cypher System, specifically The Strange, does have an existing artifacts based on the One Ring. Ring of Invisibility and Ring of Ruling from Encyclopedia of Impossible Things (affiliate link) (pg 62).

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