Sunday 28 February 2016

Magic Item - a shabby deck of cards

This follows from an old post about throwing cards. I returned to writing up the two decks that I intended to follow, but got distracted by this.

This deck of cards has the shabby edges and warm softness that is its way of returning the love it's been shown over the decades.

It was created by a travelling mage to thank a family who'd taken him her in, sheltered her during a period of stormy weather she hadn't prepared for. She entertained them with minor illusions and sleight of hand trickery, and when she moved on she left behind many of their items with minor enchantments: a candle that could be lit to give light without melting the wax or burning the wick, without risking fire to anything for the youngest child, afraid of the dark; a scarf that, when worn, helped ease the coughing and uncomfortable breathing suffered by the oldest family member; a book of bedtimes stories that contained far more stories than would fit on its pages.

The family had several decks of cards for games when the weather got as bad as that evening, and the mage filled this on with the kindness she had been shown.

It was passed down the generations until whatever twist of fate has led it here, to this story.

Each card has its own ability, intended to be minor cantrip level - a flavourful item, rather than something epic and game-changing. I'm interested in magic items that aren't directly adventuring-hero based, things that you can imagine an ordinary person using in their everyday life, and that's what I've tried to go for here. I've used a traditional western deck (13 cards in each of spades, diamonds, clubs and hearts) as a basis because most people I know have such to hand, but if you want to use other cards you can always use this as a starting point.  

Whilst each card has an ability, if the deck is split up or a card lost, the enchantment will end until the deck is reunited.

The Spades
Shake the card, and a seed will fall from each pip:
Ace - a cherry stone
Two - sweetpea seeds
Three - blackberry pips
Four - rose hips
Five - potato seeds
Six - sunflower seeds
Seven - snapdragon seeds
Eight - carrot seeds
Nine -  strawberry pips
Ten - poppy seeds
Jack - a pear seed
Queen - two apple seeds 
King - an acorn 

The Diamonds
To add a little luck and illusion for entertainment
Ace - carry the card with you to improve your chances of bumping into the person you need to speak to
Two - tap the card and the image of a pair of circling dragonflies will be emitted
Three - tap the card for an image of three frogs to hop forth
Four - tap the card for shooting stars
Five - tap the card to hear bird song
Six - tap the card for sea sounds
Seven - tap the card and a rainbow will spray forth
Eight - tap the card for images of fish to swim round you and your friends
Nine - tap the card to turn your voice squeaky for a short period
Ten - tap the card to make your voice very deep for a short period
Jack - carry the card with you when hiding to improve your chances of not being found
Queen - carry the card to have a clear voice when public speaking
King -  carry the card to improve your chances of good luck in a dice or card based game

The Clubs
Provide seasoning and otherwise enhance your cooking. Tap the card gently on the rim of the pot/cup/bowl/as appropriate for the effects to take place:
Ace - caffeinates a drink
Two - light seasoning with salt
Three - reduces saltiness
Four - light seasoning with pepper
Five - sweetens the flavour
Six - reduces sweetness
Seven - onions flavouring
Eight - meat flavouring
Nine - paprika seasoning
Ten -  chilli seasoning
Jack - cools hot food
Queen - heats cooled food
King - makes a small meal more filling

The Hearts 
Mostly minor first aid - if the injury would require actual medical attention or healing magic, these won't help but are more to deal with the inconvenient injuries and illnesses of day to day life.
Ace - hold over a wasp sting or mosquito bite or similar to cure it
Two - rub over nettle or other allergy rash to relieve the itching
Three - kiss the card to relieve toothache
Four - place the card on a graze to heal it (the worse the graze, the longer you'll need to leave the card there)
Five - place the card on a bruise to heal it (worse bruise: longer time)
Six - place the card over a minor scald or burn to heal it
Sevenplace the card over a sore or strained muscle to relieve it (worse strain: longer time); relatedly, hold against abdomen to relieve period pains
Eight - hold against your forehead to relieve a headache
Nine - sleep with it under your pillow to help relieve cold/flu symptoms
Ten - sleep with it under your pillow for a good night's rest
Jack - tap the card to spots to reduce acne
Queen - kiss the card to improve your fertility
King - hold the card and think of a loved one and they will feel loved and peaceful

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