There are only so many spells in the world. Spells are discrete. There are only nine-hundred spells of the first circle. There are only nine spells of the ninth circle, each one unique. Sorcerer's own spells like knights own their arms and armor. And, when you defeat a sorcerer, you add his spells to your own grimoire by right of conquest.
Sometimes, spells get trapped in the Plane of Flesh. Indeed, wizards trap them in spellbooks in the labyrinthine passages of runes frequently. Sometimes, they even take on physical form, which is truly bizarre and frightening to see. That's what a familiar is—just a little spell demon in the flesh. Sometimes they get trapped in items, though. This is what people refer to blithely as "magic items."
Items of power are greatly coveted. Too many people have heard of the farmer Wooton Lye-eye who overthrew the king Grim Nassis with the aid of his magic sword (the story is true, actually). They are equalizers to the sorcerer's mysterious power.
Unfortunately, you can't force a spell into an item of power. Magic items are not made or forged. You have to trick a spell into a magic item, which is hard. Being in a magic item is torturous for them. They hate it. But spells are bound by their natures, and if you can somehow get it to promise to inhabit an item, they can't break this oath.
Every magic item is discrete and unique. Every one is alive. Well, that is to say, they're alive because spells are "living." Humans (and even elves) have more in common with slugs than they do with spells. But its worth noting that each magic item has a will. It has things it likes and things it doesn't like. It has an agenda. And, ultimately, it wants to be free—each magic item seeks to be unmade.
Alright What Are We Talking About
- Every item of power has a spell trapped inside of it.
- When wielding the item of power, you can cast this spell if the magic item is charged. Casting the spell discharges the item of power.
- Items of power are either charged or uncharged.
- Items of power begin begins day charged.
- Items of power also become charged when their bearer fulfills one of the item's passions.
Every demon has a passion. Every demon wants something. Some want to depose kings. Some want to give money to beggars. These actions are how it eats and breathes. When the bearer of an item of power helps the demon fulfill these actions, the magic of the item is rekindled.
- Death of a particular race/monster/hair color/religious group/social rank
- Destruction of religious artifacts, scripts, and art
- Destruction of ego via self-debasement and disassociative drugs
- Publicly accuse an innocent person of a capital crime
- Discover (or destroy) long-lost secrets and forgotten things
- Giving away large sums of material wealth to the poor/specific institutions/to people who fulfill bizarre criteria
- Eating something never before eaten
- Sex with something pretty weird
All items of power also share one passion in addition to their unique goals: being destroyed. If the bearer ever takes a risk that significantly risks their life (say, at least a 50% chance that they would seriously fucking die), the item of power is charged as if their passion had been fulfilled.
Anyway, here are three items of power currently lying at the bottom of some dragon's hoard, quietly praying for death.
The Shield of the Black Spiral
Sir Theo of Thorns managed to trap demon Bra'el in his spellbook shield instead of banishing the demon back to the Far Realms. It was Bra'el's general supposition that Sir Theo further his goals under his diabolical influence--a supposition that proved mostly true.
The Shield of the Black Spiral is a metal kite shield painted with a jagged black spiral curving in towards its center. The back of the shield contains several spellbook pages pasted to it, for ease of reading mid-combat.
Magic: The shield can cast Hypnotize against one opponent facing its uncovered surface.
Passion: To deny pleas of mercy--the shield becomes charged if its bearer ever denies someones request to be spared on the battlefield.
The Helm of Hern
The greater daemon known as the Green Man forced one of his subservient spells into the Helm of Hern in order to fulfill one of his own bargains with the wood elves of the Candlewood. The helm is made of leather, and features two projecting antlers cresting from it. As a helm, its wearer can elect to have it destroyed (permanently) to turn a hit into a miss.
Magic: The helm can cast Bloodlust* on whoever wears it.
Passion: Aiding animals--the helm is charged if its bearer provides aid, succor, or healing to an animal.
The last surviving sword of the legendary three blades forged by Region the rune-king, Mourn was most famously carried by the Unborn Hero and presumed to be buried with him (though the location of his tomb is unknown).
Mourn is a long, black sword forged of meteoric iron. It is continually cold to the touch; gripping it with bare flesh causes 1d6 frost damage. If emerged in water, the water will freeze over the course of several moments.
Magic: Mourn can blast a death ray from its tip.
Passion: Killing family members--Mourn will become charged if the bearer ever slays a member of his own dynasty.
* Wonder & Wickedness, p. 34