Deep in the caverns of a lost cave system of underground circular tunnels carved out impossibly smooth, the very rock worn down through some unknown process or method, if you’re lucky enough to survive the encounters by the lizard-like folk who dwell there, you may find a metal bracelet sculpted on the outer side in scales of a snake, shimmering with alternating green, blue, and purple iridescent hues.
If you were to put on the bracelet, you would find that the scales seem to expand to cover the entire wrist, and on the underside of the band, scales would grip the arm, not piercing the skin, but creating a flexible seal over the skin.
If you were to continue to wear the bracelet for an extended period of time, you would notice, eventually, the scales slowly expanding. You might be alarmed by this, but you will likely feel conflicted as the metal scales provide quite the protective armor against harm from anything that slashes and cuts (but not form those things that pierce and bash).
If you were to ignore the early signs of the skin growing, you might find yourself changing in other ways as the scales continue to cover the surface of your body. Your eyes could change – the pupils narrowing to long vertical slits. Your ears and nose could recede (or perhaps be enveloped by your swelling head – flesh taking on the same strange hues of the scales of metal).
If you were not attuned to the magics and creatures of the Bridge of Stone before, you are now, and interacting with items and peoples attuned to the other Bridges can cause great harm and distress.
If you allow the bracelet to take yourself, you might find that you and the lizard-like folk share more in common than not. You may question why they were so fiercely defending and keeping others away from their treasure horde. You may find yourself being drawn back to that same system of tunnels from which you first found the bracelet…
If one were to put on the Snakeskin Chain Skin bracelet, the GM begins tracking how long it will take for it to cover your body. The effect starts at a Ud10 that is rolled at the end of each long rest. As long as the usage die is a d8 or d10, it is possible to take off the bracelet. Once the usage die is at a d6, the arm must be removed to separate the bracelet from the body. At a d4 it is covering so much of the body that it is impossible to remove and just a matter of time before the character is taken over entirely.
Whenever the bracelet is removed, the effect resets at Ud10 when it is put on once more.
The bracelet has the following effects based on the current usage die of the effect:
UD10 – Merely a large bracelet: It confers the capacity to speak with snakes, lizards, and other creatures and folk associated with the Bridge of Stones. Of course these types of animals are still simple and low INT, however they can now converse with intelligent folk from this bridge in their own language.
UD8 – Covers the hand up to the elbow: As above and provides a free use of armor against one source of cutting, slashing, or hacking damage each day.
UD6 – Covers the entire arm up to the shoulder socket: As above and provides one use of Conjure Snake once per day:
CONJURE SNAKE: Arcane Spell – Summons a metallic snake familiar with 2d4 HD.
UD4 – Covers most of the body below the neck: As above and replaces the characters background with the following: I once was one of the folk of lizardkind from the tunnels beneath the earth and will do anything to return to serve my duty and protect the nest.
This is a long one, but I think pretty fun! I like the idea of this kind of progressive item, it’s almost like a parasite that slowly takes over and replaces the wearer over time, but until it does, it confers some pretty fun abilities. Who wouldn’t want a metal lizard familiar to command?
I also love the idea of the GM concealing the progression of the spread of the scales. I once read a house rule for Call of Cthulhu that recommended the GM track every player’s sanity score in secret and describing how their characters react when a sanity-altering encounter is presented. I love it because it gives the GM some crunch to guide the presentation of fluff. That’s what we’re here to do anyway, right?
Once again I’ve found a new utilization for the usage die, that thing is just beyond versatile! I’ll be surprised if I run out of new ways to manipulate it in the future, in fact I feel like it’s kind of an ever-expanding presence in my own ways I want to run and design games. It creeps, must like scales from a bracelet slowly taking over my mind…