The vault underneath the Wizard's Assocation had one door in it that was barred six different ways, and Alistair could immediately detect that it was magically sealed as well - only an exceptionally powerful wizard could shatter the magical seal around the sub-vault without knowing the passphrase. "So you've shown us a few artifacts down here that are a bad idea, and I generally see that. What's behind that door?" Alistair gestured. "Whatever's in there looks like it's way more locked down than the stuff in these lockboxes." Mellitus gave him a look as he pushed a lockbox back into place, with a *click*. "The things in there can get every single magic-user and wizard killed, if we're not careful about it." He turned to face the door. "I'm not going to open it, I don't actually know the full passphrase myself, but I do know what's inside. There's an orb there that allows wizards to control minds." Rigana's jaw dropped open. "That's supposed to be impossible! The mind is too subtle for magic to affect in any non-destructive way!" "That is what is taught at the Academy, yes." Mellitus sighed. "The artifacts that we find seem to break this rule. It's called the Dampener. As wizards with the status of Archmagus, you have the privilege of even being aware of it's existence, but I must warn you that it is the most proscribed artifact in the Principality. The Princeps has ordered that word about this artifact cannot spread. Wizards controlling people and doing their bidding? It's taken straight out of the lowliest and most sensational journals. We'd all be murdered in our sleep if the general population knew about it. And it's why it's locked inside that vault, away from anyone who could use or abuse it." Alistair had his arms folded. "I won't ask about specifics. Why wasn't it destroyed?" "We tried." The head of the Wizard's Association had a grim look. "I know everyone is afraid of Travers, but I had him attempt to destroy the artifact - he and I both agreed on its danger. He sent bolts of magic that would collapse buildings and sink ships at it. Nothing. We even tried to flinging swords and spears at it at hypervelocity speeds. It is impervious to physical harm and sinks magical energy. And before you ask, throwing it into the ocean only risks someone unsavory discovering it. The Principality cannot afford the risk." The wizards were quiet, contemplating the vault door. Rigana finally spoke, her voice quiet. "....are we sure it's still in there?"
Mechanics & Inner Workings
The crafting of magical artifacts is a craft as yet unknown to the Principality of Etoile. All that is known about the inner workings of magic artifacts is that they require the flow of magical leylines to assert an effect, and each artifact 'lenses' magic in a predefined way, largely outside of the control of the magic-user.
During the damming of The Patino Falls at the establishment of Patino, the Machine City, the former plunge pool underneath the falls was dredged in preparation for backfilling. The Dampener was found in the dredged soil, presumably washed down the Inix and sent over the falls at some point in the past. Placed in the archives at Patino Central Hall and forgotten for years, it was found to have magical resonance in 718, not long after the dawn of magic. After its properties were investigated by wizards, the Dampener was quickly marked with the highest level of state secrecy and impounded in the Wizard's Association of Etoile underground vault, with few knowing what it is or its relative power.
The Dampener is an artifact that exhibits a monstrous magical power. Though harmless by itself, a wizard that channels magic through the Dampener suppresses active thought of all non-magical persons in an area around them proportional to the amount of magic energy channeled. Victims that have been 'dampened' in this way exhibit no higher order mental functions - they blink, can eat, and can perform basic animal tasks, but are utterly noncommunicative. Worse, however, is that people victimized in this way become *suggestible*. That is, they can be told (by the wizard who is unaffected by the Dampener) to do things, and they will understand and perform the task if sufficiently simple. The suggestions implanted in the mind while dampened persist even if the active effect of the Dampener is then lifted - the victim can then execute complex tasks, all the while not knowing or understanding why they are doing things due to the Dampener suppressing their memory generation. While breathless journal articles have warned endlessly about the risks of magic and magical manipulation, the Dampener is one of the first magical artifacts to have seriously highlighted this risk, of a society being cleaved into a magical superior and non-magical inferior. The Principality Secure Communications has proscribed this artifact, similarly to the Lens of Observation, as an object that represents an extreme danger to Etoilean society and the state. Like the Lens, less than ten people in all of the Principality are aware of the existence of the Dampener, and only a couple of those understand fully its capabilities and danger. Notably, attempts to magically destroy the Dampener have failed, as it seems to merely sink all magical energies thrown at it. Although it appears to be a simple quartz sphere, physical impacts that would have shattered and destroyed ordinary quartz have failed to damage it.
The Dampener is a unique magical artifact.
a three or four inch wide sphere
Raw materials & Components
The Dampener seems to simply be a sphere of pink quartz, though unbreakable by any known means.
Remove these ads. Join the Worldbuilders Guild