Orb of Mordan

By Shamus Posted Wednesday Dec 21, 2005

Filed under: D&D Campaign 10 comments

This is an artifact found in our current campaign. This object is of major significance to the plot. Skeeve is the current owner, and has researched all of the properties (see below). This object is a sort of puzzle: How can they defeat the Lich without unleashing the various spells upon the populace of the island?

The properties listed at the bottom of the page (they look a bit like magic cards) were actual printouts I gave to Dan as his character (Skeeve) uncovered the various secrets of the orb.


An orb of polished stone with many strange runes engraved into it.
It is a little bigger than a closed human fist.




Lawful Good and Lawful Evil characters may not use or study this item.


-3 HP, +3MP is “granted” to the owner of this object.

This object is the phylactery for Mordan the Lich King. Normally this is the container of the Lich’s life force. As long as a lich’s phylactery reamins intact, they will rise again after being defeated. However, this orb seems to have a number of (sometimes conflicting) enchantments which suggest it is more than a “normal” phylactery.

The surface of the orb is covered in many arcane runes and symbols. They are in draconic, infernal, and celestial. Words and phrases intersect in complex ways to form layers of spells and secrets.

The orb seems to drain a bit of life from the owner, resulting in -3HP, while at the same time placing them more in tune to the world of magic. This results in +3MP while they remain the owner of the object. This only applies to users of arcane magic (Wizards, Sorcerers) and not clerics.

The runes and spells contain a great deal of knowldege. It must be studied to learn more. When examining the orb, it is clear there are four categories of study that are possible:


At the outset, it will take only 1 hour of study to attempt to gain a level (and thus earn some knowledge) in a particular area. If you succeed, it will take 2 hours of time to attempt again in the same area of study. So, the length of time required for each attempt is the current level x 1 hour.

To study the orb:

  1. First, announce which area you plan to study from the four above.
  2. Roll d20
  3. Add your INT modifier
  4. Add +1 for all of the following languages you know: draconic, infernal, and celestial.
  5. If your roll is high enough, you will learn more about your chosen area.

Each level of study will become more difficult as you progress.


From The Archives:

10 thoughts on “Orb of Mordan

  1. Adam says:

    I just want to know, what do MP’s do? Did you homebrew a magic system based off of Psionics?

  2. Max says:

    Yes, Adam is right. There is no Mp system in D&D… I would like to know how you used them in your campaign?

  3. MintSkittle says:

    Shamus wrote before that he did make an energy based magic system in the Tabletop Gaming section.


  4. Kufeas says:

    It is really quite simple, when you think about it. Just drop a Mordenkainen’s Disjunction on the thing and you’re done.

    I am also thinking of making an MP system for DnD, however, these would only apply to Sorcerer’s, whose spellcasting relies more on how efficiently they can channel their power, and how much power they have.

  5. 1wolffan says:

    Somehow throw it into the Sun. That would destroy it. Mordan would be weakened from the Sun. And the 100mile kill radius wouldn’t affect anything in the sun. Plus the ‘owner’ doesn’t have to even be there when the traps are sprung.

  6. 1wolffan says:

    After more reading. My previous idea stinks as the Mass death is centered on the owner (not the orb). At this point it would seem that the best way to destroy it, is to do so while the Lich is in ownership. The kill effect wouldn’t in fact kill any undead, so possibly unleashing it in a sort of city of undead would be a safe way to activate it.

  7. mazer says:

    give it to someone, steal it back, and convince them to take a long, lonely cruise.

    If you want to be realy sneaky use glibness* to sell it to Nareeno, then convince him to take a boat crewed by only his most loyal soldiers somewhere over 100 miles from established shipping lanes.

    only problem is if he survives and is possesed by Noreeno, so make sure he has only enough food and water to get out there, but not back. Normaly starvation wouldent be a huge worry for a super-powerfull former lich, but hes mortal untill he gets the required ingrediants for another phalyctery, and…

    Shamus house-rulled that there was no create food and drink spells.

    *Glibness is a lvl 3 wiz/sorc spell that adds 30 to all bluff checks. even a level 20 character can only have 23 ranks in sense motive.
    “you dont need to waste a spell on zone of truth, i’d be more than happy to cast it for you”

  8. pate of the spear says:

    Duh give the the thing to mountain god and have him vape the the thing off the face of the planet but contain the mass death spell

  9. The_Dude says:

    Easy. Destroy the orb in an antimagic field.
    Or failing that, destroy the orb, with someone scrying the destroyer. Have the scryer teleport in, disintegrate, no body no Lich.

  10. brad soup says:

    Kill the Lich, then somehow ensure that the orb will be destroyed after your death WITHOUT anyone picking it up (hurling it at the sun through magical means sounds good) then kill yourself. The Lich is the owner now, and he has no corporeal form, so the death spell either fizzles or the epicenter is the orb (which houses his soul), which is in the sun. Get rezzed. Celebrate with cake.

Thanks for joining the discussion. Be nice, don't post angry, and enjoy yourself. This is supposed to be fun. Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*

You can enclose spoilers in <strike> tags like so:
<strike>Darth Vader is Luke's father!</strike>

You can make things italics like this:
Can you imagine having Darth Vader as your <i>father</i>?

You can make things bold like this:
I'm <b>very</b> glad Darth Vader isn't my father.

You can make links like this:
I'm reading about <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darth_Vader">Darth Vader</a> on Wikipedia!

You can quote someone like this:
Darth Vader said <blockquote>Luke, I am your father.</blockquote>

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.