Notes on The Mithril Chain

The Mithril Chain fascinated me.  There were several human fighters in my first adventuring group, and they went solidly for lawful good.  I imagined that one day one or more of them might become members of this elite organization.  Unfortunately, as is often the case, problems in the real world put an end to the continuation of the fantasy (don't you hate that?), and although some became the most powerful characters ever to grace my table, none of them went on to this sect.  Still, I was ready for them.

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The chains are almost identical.  They have the same links, each custom crafted to symbolize the name of one of the members, and the links are in the same sequence.  However, each chain has one link which is magical itself, and which confers the abilities on the member.

No effort was made to make the links equal in power.  Rather, it was assumed that the chains would be given to candidates who in addition to being fully worthy also had demonstrated strengths related to the powers of the link, so that they would be able to take full advantage of that power.  Thus, the chain which would increase the charisma of the character would be given to a fighter or cavalier (or subclass) who already had a charisma of 18 or higher, creating a truly dynamic leader.

The metals were connected to ability scores.  Gold was charisma, platinum was dexterity, and iron was strenth; I suppose brass must have been comeliness (added after the arcana materials came out), bronze for constitution, silver for intelligence, and copper for wisdom.  The bonus is +2 to the attribute score, although if the referee is running a game in which attribute scores are difficult to improve, he may wish to make this +3.

The six weapon links--Sword, Bow, Crossbow, Ax, Lance, and Hammer--should confer exceptional skill in the use of the weapon.  This skill bonus would be in addition to any for specialization (or, if the referee allows orientals into the group, kensai bonuses), but would apply to the general category of similar weapons.  Thus the character who is Sword would be treated as proficient in any sword with which he is not familiar, specialized in swords in which he is proficient, and bonused again (+1 to hit and to damage) in any version of the weapon in which he is already specialized or bonused.

The other links have more magical properties.  They enable the character to move freely through the elements, to throw off the effects of a category of magic items, to be bonused against types of attack forms, and to use limited magical attacks (fire, lightning), each connected to a link.  The DM should have little difficulty assigning powers to the links, and may find that he wishes to add others or replace some of those here to suit his own interests.

The chains have several other important properties.  For one thing, they provide a limited means of communication.  Any Link member can find the chains whose links are adjacent to his own on the chain, and will immediately know if those individuals are threatened with immediate death or are in fact dead.  Because of this, the sequence of the links must be arranged such that they are shuffled--that is, no two weapons are adjacent, no two metals are adjacent, no two elements are adjacent, so that if two adjacent links get together their powers are complimentary.  If a member of the chain dies, those adjacent to him are charged with recovering the chain and agreeing on someone worthy to replace that link in the chain.  The chain will also lead its links to come together every ninth year.  (MyWorld had a calendar which related the sun and the moon in a three-year "cycle", so the beginning of a new cycle was more significant than the beginning of a new year--much like our attitude toward decades.  Rather than numbering the years, the cycles were named retrospectively for major events which occurred within them.)  Such meetings were essentially an opportunity for the members to discuss their accomplishments and their objectives, to try to maintain some unity of vision and purpose; they lasted a long time, usually a few weeks (note that since the links scatter around the world, it may take a long time for them to gather together initially).  The Gold link--the one bonused in Charisma--was always the head of the meeting.

That should be enough to get you started.  Have fun with it.

Do you have the spirit of adventure?

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