Magic Items of the Rowan
The Staves of Cree Stonesounder
Author: Matthew J. Finch
The name of Cree Stonesounder is little known in the cities and the walled towns of the Mistral Verge, but in the smaller villages and in the speaking places of the wilds, the memory of this subtle and commanding druidess is scarcely less than a legend. Indeed, not until the remarkable career of Rowena, Baroness of Rowandale, was there a druidess so well known in folklore and fable among the common people of the Mistral Verge. Cree Stonesounder was born in the 56th year of the Sparrow in a hamlet near Rhyndower. In the "Ballad of Cree Stonesounder," the bard Brackon Thronemantle claims that Cree left her hamlet at the age of fourteen, answering the call of the stones of the nearby Circle at Fifwisting Meadow. Nothing was heard from her until ten years later, when she appeared at Caer Dunlean (a small and unremarkable castle near the banks of the Auldenmeade to warn the Baroness of a hag’s presence in the area (the hag, incidentally, was the fabled Bracktisca). From that time, Cree became the defender of small settlements in the wilderness, and the object of reverence among peasants across the Mistral Verge. Eventually, she began to rise in the hierarchy of the Druidesses of the Green Mother, and eventually rejected the leadership of the entire order, opting to remain in the deep wildlands and to teach students. She is suspected of having slain several druids of the Shalm who were traveling in the Mistral Verge, though it is possible that the deaths were caused by another person impersonating the famous druidess. In the 62nd year of the Manticore, at the age of fifty-three, Cree left her initiates and departed down into the deep forests of the Heidenlaander Empire, pursuing some goal she chose not to discuss with her students. Nothing further has been heard from her, and she is generally believed to be dead; she would be over eighty years old if still alive. During her life, Cree fashioned a number of magical staffs for her own use and for her students and allies. She was in the habit of hiding caches of magic items in the deep forests, for use if she ever needed an ace in the hole. Apparently, she either disliked items with limited charges or never quite mastered the process of charging a staff, for almost all the properties of her magic items are permanent. Three of the staffs she created are described below.
The Staff of Quiet Groves
Description: The Staff of Quiet Groves is an ashwood quarterstaff, its polished surface shaped into intricate whorls, curlicues, and flowers. When used as a weapon, the staff has a weapon bonus of +2. Furthermore, the bearer of the staff makes all Wilderness Lore checks at +2, and Knowledge (Nature) checks at +2 (the bearer need not possess these skills to receive the bonus on a skill check). However, the most unusual feature of the staff is the way it behaves once planted in the ground. When planted, the staff delivers a penalty of –25 to any Hide or Move Silently checks, beginning at a radius of 50 feet from the staff and extending to a radius of 250 feet from the staff.
Caster Level: 12th; Prerequisites: Craft Staff, Craft Magic Arms and Armor. Market Price: 44,760 gps.
History: Other than Cree’s Walking Staff, this was the most powerful of Cree’s staves. She used the Staff of Quiet Groves as an alarm when traveling with weaker druids who might fail to guard the camp adequately. After Cree’s departure from the Mistral Verge, the Staff of Quiet Groves resided for some time in the keeping of a satyr by the name of Nidfaindu in the Trer Ceiri Forest. When the Dragon Ghanesh attacked the Trer Ceiri Shay in the 64th year of the Moon, the staff was lost (or so Nidfaindu claimed). It may have been snatched up by the dragon, or (more likely) was filched by one of the fey beings of the Shay, taking advantage of the chaos to obtain a rare and powerful item.
Staff of Treefists
Description: The Staff of Treefists is a staff fashioned of holly twigs, fused and joined into a staff by magical shaping. The staff has a gray, knobbly texture to it as a result of the wood and the process by which it was shaped. The staff grants to its bearer a +2 on any Wilderness Lore skill checks, but it is predominantly a combat weapon. Used as a quarterstaff, the Staff of Treefists is +1 to hit and on damage, and may be used as a double weapon as if the user had both the ambidexterity and two-weapon fighting feats (this ability does not stack with the ambidexterity or two-weapon fighting feat).
Caster Level: 12th; Craft Staff, Craft Magic Arms and Armor. Market Price: 9,180 gps.
Description: At the time of Cree’s departure for the Heidenlaander Empire, this staff had already been secreted somewhere in the Mistral Verge. An adventurer named Dirmid Thrum discovered it in a hidden cave in the foothills of the Moonfallows, and brought it to the Town of Ferffallow to sell it. The staff was purchased by an elven traveler, a stranger in the town, and has since disappeared from the eye of history.
Staff of Cree’s Coven
Description: These staffs are all blond wood with odd green markings shot through the grain of the wood. They are unadorned save for a knob at the top of the staff, which is fashioned into the shape of a pomegranate. Each staff is a +1 weapon, and constantly conveys pass without trace upon the bearer. This ability cannot be deactivated except by letting go of the staff.
Caster Level: 12th; Craft Staff, Craft Magic Arms and Armor. Market Price: 4,600
History: Five of these relatively minor magic items were made for Cree’s druidic students; Daina of Greendeal, Maureen Drumsraven, Dickon Smokebird, Gweniver the Wolf and Mirrick the Fox. Because the staffs themselves are not of great power, there is little mention of them from the time they were given to the Coven. However, it is likely that the original recipients retain the staffs for sentimental reasons if no other. With the exception of Dickon Smokebird, who was dragged underground and (presumably) devoured by a bulette, the original owners are probably still living.