Campaign of the Month: March 2013
Forgotten Sagas of the 13th Age
Scales of Manzanox
The Silver Warden
Item Type: Armor (Heavy)
Property: +1 to AC per tier
Quirk: Stretches and meditates whenever inactive.
The Silver Warden: You gain Resistance 12+ to attacks that target your Mental Defense or Physical Defense.
Unlike many true magical items whose creation or origin stories have been lost to the fog of time, the Scales of Manzanox are a relatively recent creation (from the 11th Age) and the story behind it is relatively well known. It’s not known for sure if it’s completely true, but most of the stories at least agree on the basic details. Manzanox was a young adult silver dragon who made his lair in the high mountains near a valley inhabited by several villages of other races. Manzanox had little interest in the villages, even to raid their livestock for food. Manzanox was only interest in his arcane research.
Manzanox was surprised one day to find several villagers at his lair requesting an audience. Annoyed at the interruption, but curious nonetheless, he allowed them to enter. The villagers explained that a horde of orcs and goblins were assaulting the villages of the valley and that they needed the dragon’s help. Only with Manzanox’s assistance could they drive off the invaders. However, Manzanox had no interest in getting involved with their affairs and shuffled the villagers away.
But despite himself, Manzanox was curious. Learning for the sake of learning had a great appeal for him and this conflict had great potential to expand on his general knowledge of the world. This knowledge might lead to some sort of insight with his research, he told himself. Using his innate shapeshifting powers, he took the form of an elf and went down into the villages. He spent several days among them, asking many questions, getting to know the people as individuals, and even participating in a battle in his elf form.
His curiosity seemingly satisfied, he returned to his lair to resume his research. In spite of himself, however, he kept an eye on the progress of the small war. And when the village that he’d spent several days in was overrun completely by the horde and the inhabitants enslaved or slaughtered, something in his attitude changed. Manzanox summoned the leaders of the remaining villages to his lair and promised his aid in their fight. He didn’t explain his reasoning for changing his mind, because he didn’t entirely understand it himself.
With the dragon’s aid, the tide of battle changed. Manzanox swept the skies of bat riders and wyvern riders with flame, claw, and spell. The horde concentrated their forces to force a final confrontation and wipe the defenders out once and for all, but it was to no avail. Manzanox and the villagers proved victorious and sent the scattered survivors of the invading army into the hills. But Manzanox was gravely wounded in the battle and would never fly again.
The villagers, grateful for his help in protecting them, worked to help the dragon and would provide him with meals and even venture into the wider world to collect things the dragon needed for his research. For hundreds of years after, the villagers and dragon lived in harmony. When Manzanox finally reached his end, he asked that the villagers take his body and craft from it the things they needed so as to protect themselves in the future. The Scales of Manzanox was just one of several suits of armor crafted from his hide.
The original items crafted from Manzanox are now rare, but the technique for their creation has not disappeared and may be used when any dragon (living or dead) donates their scales for item crafting. These donated scales are much easier to enchant and may sometimes hold greater power than those gathered after battle. To honor Manzanox, these items are still named after him even when the donated materials come from another dragon.