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    Celestial Quipu
    Posted on Mon, November 14, 2005 by Dongul
    wolfsire writes "
    In some ways a celestial quipu is much like any ordinary quipu used in Xamaclan to this day. They are both strings of knotted cords that record, and facilitate communication of, information. But in many ways, a celestial quipu is very much unlike any ordinary quipu.



    Celestial Quipu
    By: wolfsire
    Used with permission. Do not repost without obtaining prior permsiion from the author.

    In some ways a celestial quipu is much like any ordinary quipu used in Xamaclan to this day. They are both strings of knotted cords that record, and facilitate communication of, information. But in many ways, a celestial quipu is very much unlike any ordinary quipu.

    Instead of having a base cord with dozens of secondary and tertiary cords with knots of different colors and placements, it is a large necklace (13” dia.) with only three secondary cords (7” length). At the top of each secondary cord is a large disk (2” dia), while a smaller disk (1”) is located at the bottom of each such cord. The whole device, cords and disks, is constructed of thousands of very fine, woven and knotted strings of glassteel, giving the celestial quipu the gloss of mother of pearl. Within each of the upper disks, knots form a pictographic symbol, similar to, but not recognizably Olman, with no immediately obvious representation. Even if their meaning is not understood, these symbols have a calming effect upon any observer. Within each of the lower disks, knots form very simple symbols. From left to right, facing them, they are a triangle, a circle and a lemniscate, the infinity symbol. Within the circle are the massed ends of every glassteel string presenting a mirrored surface

    The manner in which the celestial quipu is used may be discovered by experimentation, however an identify spell will achieve better results. The purpose of the symbols within the three upper disks is to be large and friendly. They will be revealed to be a very arcane from of Olman script representing the syllables “cin,” “apt” and “nod.” These symbols will confer upon the wearer a +1 saving throw bonus against spells with a fear-like effect. When the celestial quipu is performing a function, the circle symbol will turn red. The celestial quipu will not function if that symbol is covered. The lemniscate, if pressed or squeezed, will turn on or off a function that is similar in effect to both the spells tongues and comprehend languages. When in use, the lemniscate will turn yellow and the outer rounded edges will alternately lose their coloration, giving the impression of a fish flopping back and forth. Any cleric, other than one serving an Olman god, who uses this function must make a saving throw versus death magic or lose all spell casting ability for that day as a result of questioning his or her faith. The triangle, if pressed or squeezed, will turn on or off a function that will cause a spectral force to be project and hover before the wearer. This tactile illusion is a triangular array (24” height) of Olman pictographs. The identify spell will reveal three sequences of pictographs to be touched that cause effects similar to the spells know history, whispering wind and dream vision. The latter of which will require removal of the celestial quipu if the owner is to be within the vision transferred.

    A celestial quipu is charged by sunlight. One hour of full and direct sunlight will provide one charge, although charging at a slower rate is possible in less favorable conditions. It can hold up to nine charges. Know history expends one charge; whispering wind, 2; dream vision, 3; and tongues/comprehend languages, 4.

    The origin of these devices is lost in the ancient past and they are very rare. It is suspected that they perform other functions and operate differently when information is exchanged between two of them. Experimentation with the pictographic array may produce other useful results. However, it is more likely to cause all charges to be expended, or cause some other useless result such as projecting a phantasmal force of a long dead Olman princess pleading for help.

    Note
    This item was designed for first edition play. The spell-like functions will have to be carefully adjudicated by the dungeon master, adjusting effects, duration, areas of effect, etc. as appropriate. Comprehend languages and tongues are in the Players Handbook, whispering wind in Unearthed Arcana, and know history and dream vision in Oriental Adventures.
    "
     
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