A is for Artifact

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Fresh on the heels of Fantasy Flight Games’ announcement of Enter the Unknown with its stated support for archaeologists and, by extension, artifacts; welcome to the 27th installment of Edge of the Empire Alphabet! A if for Artifacts is very special for me. Not only does it fill in a gap that other entries have been referencing since November 1st 2012, but also it fulfills a promise I made early on in Alphabet‘s creation; I will keep going right on past the initial 26 letters.

An artifact is going to rock your world. It will be a focal point of many heists and an object of lustful desire. Artifacts open up ancient, lost powers and abilities the galaxy has not seen in many millenia. It will be an adventure to find it, a challenge to understand it, a massive undertaking to unlock its powers, and a campaign-ending confrontation to stop it, the evil N is for Nemesis abusing its power, and un-open pandora’s box. Artifacts are not for the weak or the timid. They are built to be remembered and feared.

To start your design of an Artifact, consult the chart below and either choose one (1) OBJECT TYPE, the most base and crude way to classify and describe your Artifact, and two (2) OBJECT MODIFIERS; the two most obvious ways to describe how your basic object differs from others of its kind. Alternatively, one can simply roll 3d10 three times and consult the chart below to generate a basic description of the artifact in a random fashion; or as I like to say, in a way that is guided by the Force.

(roll twice)
3 Skull or other body part living, such as a tentacle
4 Key living, such as a tree branch
5 Statue or bas-relief Mandalorian iron
6 Mask silver
7 Machine bronze
8 Boots golden
9 Sword or other bladed weapon blackened steel
10 Rod, Staff, Wand, Scepter glowing
11 Non-sentient, living creature creates darkness
12 Humanoid takes on the features of its bearer
13 Gem or crystal very large
14 Amulet or talisman multiple objects
15 Holocron; see Minor Power trapped souls within
16 Lightsaber of a Jedi Master
17 Robe or cloak of a Sith Lord
18 Helm sentient
19 Puzzle cube combine two different Object Types
20 Crown or circlet very small
21 Ring changes colors based on bearer’s mood
22 Sarcophagus ice-coated and cold to the touch
23 L is for Location rune-scribed
24 Scroll or tome stone or crystalline
25 Urn emerald
26 Gauntlet or bracers ruby
27 Belt sapphire
28 Altar starry void
29 Chalice fiery
30 Musical instrument plasma


HolocronsPotJArtifacts, by their very nature, are highly sought out prizes and coveted by all manner of interests throughout the galaxy. Simply having an Artifact in one’s possession immediately imposes 10 Obligation (Bounty) upon that character. Treasure hunters, Imperial authorities, and lost Jedi all seek out such powerful items, stopping at nothing to remove them from your character’s unworthy hands. Losing, destroying, or otherwise getting rid of the Artifact in question helps, but the spreading rumors are difficult to completely squash. Upon losing the Artifact, the imposed penalty drops from 10 Obligation to 5 Obligation, which can be further negated through typical means.

Once this relic is in the hands of your Crew, they will no doubt want to investigate its history and probe its inner working to discover lost secrets. A character may do so with several hours of uninterrupted study and a Hard (ddd) Knowledge [lore] check. On a success, the Artifact’s Major Power and Minor Power are discovered. Major Powers tend to hold powers that are well above and beyond anything current technology in the known universe can come close to producing, often tapping into subjects that transcend the mortal world. Minor Powers, in comparison, are fun, quirky traits that serve more to add a distinctive style and flair to the Artifact with a bit of games mechanics underpinning. Minor Powers are often related to the Force and Force Powers. Like the mystical Jedi traditions, these vestiges of once great power reach back through the gaping maw of unimaginable time now long past. Sometimes though, Minor Powers are actually a form of curse, plaguing the bearer with unfortunate side effects whose main goal is to provide an additional layer of depth when roleplaying the profound effects of the devices left behind by our forefathers.

Knowing the effects of the Artifact’s powers are not the same as being able to use them. A further successful Q is for Quest must be achieved to unlock this hidden, galaxy-shaking potential. Once discovered either choose one (1) MAJOR POWER and one (1) MINOR POWER from the chart below; or choose three (3) MINOR POWERS from the chart below. Alternatively, let fate be your guide and roll 2d10 for each selection of powers.

2 Form Celestial Body
As an action, suffer 10 Strain to immediately make a Formidable (dddd) Astrogation check. On a success, a new celesial body of your design (star, planet, moon, etc.) forms in 1d10 days within Extreme Range to you.
The threat of losing the artifact overwhelms your rational thoughts, upgrading the difficulty of all Fear checks you make.
3 Command Space Leviathan
As an action, suffer 10 Strain to immediately make a Formidable (dddd) Knowledge [outer rim] check. On a success, the nearest Space Leviathan begins to travel to your destination and will not stop until it finds you (Hyperdrive II).
As an incidental action, make an Easy (d) Knowledge [xenology] check. On a success, you become fluent in both written and spoken forms of a language you are currently hearing or reading.
4 Create New Life
As an action, suffer 10 Strain to immediately make a Formidable (dddd) Knowledge [xenology] check. On a success,create a new species of non-sentient creature, from scratch, with Silhouette 4 or less and at up to Extreme Range to your location.
Strong in the Dark Side
You may choose to gain an extra Dark Side Point when rolling a Force Die.
5 Resurrection
As an action, suffer 10 Strain to immediately make a Formidable (dddd) Knowledge [lore] check. On a success, bring one dead creature back to life with all Critical Injuries healed, but suffering Wounds equal to their Wound Threshold.
Once its Quest is complete, this object is indestructible.
6 Summon Terrible Monster
As an action, create one non-sentient type of creature known to you (Silhouette 4 or lower), appearing within Close Range.
Suffer 1 Strain each round you bear this Artifact.
7 Precognition
Upgrade the Difficulty of all attacks against you three times
Force Immune
You are immune to the effects of Force Powers.
8 Galactic Teleportation
As an action, suffer 10 Strain to immediately make a Formidable (dddd) Astrogation check. On a success, you and each creature at Engaged Range immediately enter hyperpsace and travel to any known star system (Hyperdrive I).
Strong in the Light Side
You may choose to gain an extra Light Side Point when rolling a Force Die.
9 God-like Ability
Increase a Characteristic to 7.
Strong in the Force
Increase your Force Rating by 1.
10 Impenetrable Energy Shield
Gain Defense 10.
As a maneuver, you can make a Hard (ddd) Knowledge [lore] check. On a success, you are able to hear the thoughts of others within Close Range.
11 Master of [Force Power]
Gain a random Force Power and all associated upgrades.
Powerful Destiny
Always generate two Light Side Points when rolling for Destiny Points.
12 Creator of [Force Power]
Create an entirely new Force Power from scratch and gain the ability to use it.
Bad Luck
Double the value of your Obligations while bearing this Artifact.
13 Indomitable
You are immune to Strain.
Object Reading
As an action, make a Hard (ddd) Knowledge [lore] check while touching any one object. On a success, know the details of everything that happened near this object for the last 24 hours.
14 Regeneration
Treat your Brawn as if it were 7 for all Resilience checks, remove 2 Wounds once per round, and remove any one Critical Injury once per day.
Sense the Force
You are immediately aware of all Force users within Extreme Range as well as their Force Rating.
15 Trap Soul
As an action, you may force the soul, essence, and memories of one dying creature into a special container of your choice. This soul can be consumed as a Maneuver to grant 10 Dark Side Points.
Hatred & Distrust
All creatures within Close Range of you, including yourself, receive 3 Setback dice to Persuade-based skill checks.
16 Destruction
As an action, suffer 10 Strain to immediately destroy up to 30 total Silhouettes worth of starships, vehicles, or buildings within Extreme Range (for example; either 10 snub fighters or 7 light freighters, or 5 Escort Frigates, or 4 Star Destroyers).
Good Fortune
Whenever making a skill check to gain wealth (buying, selling, negotiating, etc.), gain 3 Boost dice.
17 Move Celestial Body
As an action, suffer 10 Strain to immediately make a Formidable (dddd) Astrogation check. On a success, any one celesial body (star, planet, moon, etc.) travels to a destination of your choosing (Hyperdrive III).
Reduce a Characteristic by 1.
18 Destroy Life
As an action, suffer 10 Strain to immediately make a Formidable (dddd) Knowledge [xenology] check. On a success, all living creatures of a species of your choice within Extreme Range immediately die.
Force Lightning
When using a Force Power, you may choose to spend Dark Side Points to deal 2 Wounds to a creature within Range of the Force Power.
19 Reconstruct Matter
As an action, make a Formidable (dddd) Knowledge [lore] check. On a success, reform one piece of crude, non-living matter (Silhouette 2) into any other non-living, simple material with no moving parts. You suffer 2 Wounds for each Failure and 2 Strain for each Threat generated.
This artifact records vast amounts of history and provides a Boost die to all Knowledge skills.
20 Destroy Celestial Body
As an action, suffer 10 Strain to immediately make a Formidable (dddd) Astrogation check. On a success, any one celesial body (star, planet, moon, etc.) within Extreme Range cracks apart and begins to self-destruct. The target is destroyed within 1d10 days.
You can fly naturally, hovering a few feet off of the ground. You are immune to many ground-based hazards.

Muur-TalismanUpon a failure of the Hard (ddd) Knowledge [lore] check, the Artifact is irrevocably weakened or its secrets further spirited away. Future attempts to discover the properties of the relic are upgraded. Upon a result of Despair, the Artifact is irrevocably destroyed or otherwise rendered powerless. It is still a valuable antique, however, and has a baseline value of 2,000 credits to those interested in collecting such trinkets and baubles.

About C. Steven Ross

C. Steven Ross is the founder of Triumph & Despair. View all posts by C. Steven Ross

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