Analysis of the Wishing Pool

1 March, 2010

Right now, am running the Dark Heart of Mithrendain from DUN157, and in it, there is a scene called the Wishing Pool.

The room is dark, lit poorly by sporadic growths of moss. There are insects buzzing around a murky, slightly-glowing-greenish pool. At the center of the pool, atop a stone base, is a stone statue of an eladrin child. The eladrin has her hair covering her face, but not hiding the wicked almost-too-wide grin. She has her hands outstretched as if to receive something..

Okay, here is the deal.

There’s a pool. It’s brimming with magic. The bottom of the pool has a number of valuable items, one or two magical, some obviously of sentimental value, some gems. There’s a single silver piece down there, for variation.

Easy check: Fey magic is involved. Taking without giving in return is frowned upon.
Moderate check: The statue appears to be asking for something to be given to it.

You give more than you take, you walk away from the pool with a boon. You take more than you give, you are cursed after you walk away from the pool. Easy enough, right?

This pool is an excellent event that offers some new magic items and an amount of treasure to a party.

One of the PCs asked if the statue’s arms functioned anything like scales; they’d put an item from the pool on one hand, and another item in the other, to see if they’d balance out. Add something like this if appropriate, perhaps a hint with a difficult check. My party was reluctant to drop items into the pool, so adding this made it easier for them.

The module recommended exchanging something as low as 20% of the worth of the item you’re taking. I ruled something along, ‘if you’ll miss it, the pool will accept it’. One PC gave his Holy Symbol. Cool.

I set in a rule, for mechanics purposes that I wouldn’t give any mechanical stats to the items they were checking out until they left the room (with the exception of a +3 necklace. I didn’t tell them its properties outside of that, though). This led to item experimentation, which isn’t as prevalent in 4e as it used to be, and is fun in moderation.

Of note, there was an “a-ha!” moment when one of which was a PC figuring out that one of the items was an Immovable Rod (very useful item). Further, two of the PCs declined taking from the pool. They had items to give that were waning in usefulness, but held much too much sentimental value…

Experimentation and discovery with magic items? That’s some of the stuff that makes D&D fun. Character development? Just as planned.

The wishing pool pleases me.

-Lancar

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