14 April 2024

Maw of the Beholder - A New Magical Ring for the World of Greyhawk

Maw of the Beholder is my new magic item inspired by John Popson's wonderful commemorative GaryCon XVI ring.  John runs Effincool Miniatures, and makes some excellent figures, including cool dungeon decor and the Court of the Sultana line, amongst many other great pieces! 

Here are a pair of images of the ring, from John's Facebook photos:

GaryCon XVI Commemorative Ring - head-on view, crafted by John Popson of Effincool Miniatures
GaryCon XVI Commemorative Ring - head-on view,
crafted by John Popson of Effincool Miniatures

GaryCon XVI Commemorative Ring - rotated design view, crafted by John Popson of Effincool Miniatures
GaryCon XVI Commemorative Ring - rotated design view,
crafted by John Popson of Effincool Miniatures

Physical Description

A metal ring fashioned from green gold and carved in the shape of a beholder, with the open mouth of the beholder acting as the finger's hole.  The hole is ringed with 20 teeth, each a yellow-green chrysoberyl shard.  The beholder's central eye is a spectacular double-stone---a jacinth with an inset violet garnet---while each of the ten smaller eyes is a different precious stone worth 500 to 1000gp.  The top of the ring features a magical rune in raised relief.  

As an item of fine jewelry, the ring would command at least 12,500 golden orbs. 

Magical Description and Lore

At least five variants of the Maw of the Beholder have been successfully identified, and all are believed to be the creations of the artificer-mage Oshonj-Opp'n.  Each features his personal rune atop the beholder's head.  Oshonj resided in the small riverine community of Port Nilonct, situated at the juncture of the Velverdyva and Att Rivers during the heyday of the Archclericy of Voll (now modern Veluna; the town was destroyed during the great floods of 57 CY).  It is not known when or where Oshonj first encountered the fearsome eye tyrants, but his surviving laboratory journals demonstrate both the deep familiarity and a certain fixation that can have only grown from direct, personal experience.  While a master craftsman and enchanter, Oshonj never received regular patronage, attracted few apprentices, and faded from the court's eye over time.    

Oshonj's rings were first recorded by the Baklhunish bard Zilepfe Saerrical, who observed the successful usage of a Tyrant's Crown while exploring the Rift Canyon in the company of Keoghtom and Quaal in 189 CY.  He recounted their exploits at the court of Viceroy Belkan I in Dyvers, which were duly  recorded by Endrrhen Y'laexa, sage for the visiting Prince Moranvich, and later also an associate of the court wizard Alphon.   

Oshonj eventually attained lichdom, and remained secluded in his forgotten tower in the westernmost timberlands of the Gnarley, until he was destroyed by The Company of the Thirsting Peryton in 224 CY.  They sold various mundane and magical treasures from the lair, including several of Oshonj's laboratory journals, and one of each of the five known ring types.  Widely believed to have retained additional rings and other unsold valuables, the adventurers found themselves hunted by wizards and beset by assassins, and they fled into the wilds of the Cairn Hills, never to be heard from again....     

Three additional pictures of the ring, from Brian Stillman, of Eye of the Beholder fame:

GaryCon XVI ring, photo by Brian Stillman
GaryCon XVI ring,
photo by Brian Stillman

GaryCon XVI ring, photo by Brian Stillman
GaryCon XVI ring,
photo by Brian Stillman

GaryCon XVI ring, photo by Brian Stillman
GaryCon XVI ring,
photo by Brian Stillman

Magical Properties and Gameplay Notes

The five known Maw of the Beholder ring variants and the magics imbued within each are detailed as follow.  The rings cannot be recharged---their secrets of creation and enchantment lost with the Oshonj's demise.  Prices and XP value are for a full-charged ring.  

  1. Cursed Maw of Wounding (one known to exist):  This variant appears to provide magical capabilities similar to one of the other four rings, but when commanded into action during battle or in any other stressful situation, the ring's true nature is revealed as the beholder's mouth closes and its chrysoberyl teeth dig into the finger of the wielder's hand!  The ring cannot be removed, and the victim takes 1-3 points of wounding damage per round for ten rounds, and at the end (if still alive), they must succeed in a natural save vs. dragon breath (no bonuses permitted) or the finger is severed.  (If slain, the finger is severed as well).  Severed fingers cannot be reattached or healed save by regeneration or wish, and permanently reduce the character's Dexterity by 2 points.  Some sages speculate that all of Oshonj's rings become cursed when they run out of charges....  

    XP Value
    :  --  
    GP Value:  3000 (made of inferior materials compared to the others, which is only obvious after the ring's true nature is known)

  2. Ring of Peering (four known to exist):  When activated by command, in four segments the eyestalks on the ring of peering elongate up to 16 feet in length, and actively gyre to look in all directions, peer around corners, and into nearby dimensions---seeing hidden, camouflaged, invisible, out-of-phase, ethereal, or astral creatures in a 6" radius.  Each charge expended lasts for 6 rounds, and while activated, the wearer cannot be surprised, backstabbed, or assassinated except by teleport, timestop, or similar tactics.  At least one ring of peering is also known to provide true sight (as the illusionist spell), and another x-ray vision.  Each ring has from 6 to 47 charges (6d12-25; minimum 6).

    XP Value
    :  2000
    GP Value:  15,000 (20,000 for true sight or x-ray vision versions)

  3. Anti-Magic Eye (two known to exist):  Perhaps the most-puissant ring created by Ossonj, this variant has only one function:  when activated, in 2 segments it fires an anti-magic ray up to 8" at either a creature or an object.  Non-magical objects receive no saving throw and are automatically hit.  Magical objects save at base 15, with with an additional +1 for each plus above +1, and an additional +5 if they increase agility, or reflect or resist magical effects (including providing MR).  Creatures targeted must save vs. spells to determine if the ray hit (save fails) or missed (save succeeds).  If the ray misses the primary target it continues to maximum range and may hit a secondary target (who is also entitled to a saving throw, etc.; if the ray reaches maximum range without successfully striking a target, the ray vanishes and the charge is lost).  A target struck by the anti-magic ray is encapsulated in anti-magic for 8 rounds:  they cannot use magic weapons, spells, or effects as if they were in the radius of an anti-magic shell spell, and similarly cannot be targeted by magic weapons, spells, or effect (magical weapons will still function as normal weapons and can still damage an enveloped target).  Each ring has from 3 to 60 charges (5d12-2d10 where 10s count as 0s).        

    XP Value
    :  2500
    GP Value:  17,500

  4. Ring of Replication (three known to exist):  Each ring of replication features 1d12-2 functional eyestalks; any result of 3 or less means that the central eye does not function.  Each functioning eye or eyestalk can fire a single beholder eyeray beam 2d3-1 times before its charges are fully expended.  Expanded eyebeam powers below are from my variant beholder rules:  

    1. death ray (5" range)
    2. disintegration (3" range, up to a 7'x10'x5' deep volume may be affected each round if targeted upon matter)
    3. charm monster (5" range, save at -2)
    4. anti-magic cone (6" range)
    5. fear (8" range) 
    6. cause serious wounds (6" range, 3d8+3 damage, save vs. poison for half damage)
    7. telekinesis (8" range, 2700 gp weight plus 10gp weight per hit point above 55)
    8. flesh to stone (5" range, 25% of beholders can also use stone to flesh with this eye ray as well)
    9. slow (6" range, 1 target for a number of rounds equal to hit dice, no save)
    10. hold monster (5" range, save at -3, duration 1 round per hit die, plus 2-7 rounds)
    11. sleep (8" range, affects up to 6 HD creatures per Wotinar's Advanced Sleep)
    12. ray of enfeeblement (7" range, 35% loss plus 3% per hit die)
    13. illusion (4" range, as per spectral force; remains for 1 round per 2 hit dice after concentration ceases; 10% of beholders may create permanent illusions with this eye ray)
    14. light burst (4" range, as per Eye of the Deep; very useful against drow, illithids, duergar, intellect devourers, etc.)
    15. pyrotechnics ray (5" range, ignites combustibles only) 
    16. blindness (6" range, permanent until cured; this will also negate the random power of a rival beholder's eye ray if the target beholder fails its saving throw)
    17. repulsion (4" range, lasts one round per HD, save at -1)
    18. fumble (7" range, lasts two rounds plus one round per two hit dice)
    19. vampiric ray (3" range, 3d8+6 damage, save vs. breath weapon for no damage [ray misses, and it may hit a secondary target]; if hit, victim rolls a second save vs. death magic or also loses one level; damage caused is transferred to the beholder as healing, and ten additional points of healing are transferred if the victim is energy drained; see my’s 4th level necromancer spell of the same name)
    20. ice ray (5" range, 5d4+8 damage, save vs. petrifaction for half damage)
    21. ray of rot (4" range, as per violet fungi touch, save vs. poison avoids the effects)
    22. reverse gravity (5" range, lasts on victim for 4 rounds + 1 round per HD of beholder)
    23. heat metal or chill metal (4" range, lasts for 8 rounds; 45% chance for either, 10% chance for both in the same eye)
    24. other DM nastiness (including ideas from the artifacts tables like transmute bones to jelly, transmute bones to green slime, animate dead, change alignment to that of beholder, imprisonment, temporal stasis, plane shift to a random plane, geas, eyebite, a two-eye combination for power word stun, random mutation powers from Gamma World, etc., etc.)
    25. Roll twice: the eye has two different powers that can be used one at a time. If you roll this result again, add a third power or allow the two eye beam powers from the first roll to be used simultaneously! 

    For duplicate results, either re-roll, or increase the number of charges (add another 2d3-1 charges), double the range, and/or penalize the saving throw by -2 (and reduce the total number of functional eyes by one with each such result).

    I also place all beholder eyes randomly, so players can’t count on disabling a beholder's anti-magic by hitting his central eye, for example.

    XP Value
    :  2500
    GP Value:  20,000

  5. Tyrant's Crown (two known to exist):  This variant allows the wearer to speak with and to understand any beholder, including an eye of the deep, spectator, and similar beholder-kin (bleeder, etc.).  Beholders and kin will treat the wearer as if they have an 18 Charisma.  By expending a charge, the wearer can exercise rulership (as the rod), affecting up to 16 HD beholders with no saving throw (save negates for 17+ HD beholders), and up to a total of 60 HD of beholders and kin.  Rulership activates in 5 segments and lasts for 1 turn per charge.  The wearer may also attempt charm monster at 1 target within 4" (save at -4) or suggestion at up to 6 target beholders within 6" (6 targets save at +2, 4-5 save at normal, 2-3 at -1, and 1 target saves at -3).  Charm or suggest drain 1 charge each, and require 3 segments to activate.  Each Tyrant's Crown has from 4 to 48 charges (4d12-2d10 where 10s count as 0s).  

    XP Value
    :  2750
    GP Value:  25,000

Closing Notes

I used GVDammerung's Canonfire! article "Furyondy Reforged - A Brief History & Chronology" for timeline history of the Viceroys of Ferrond.  

I hope that the Maw of the Beholder may find its way into your treasure hoards! :D



  1. Wow!! Holy crap, grodog, those are pretty cool! *GREAT* history and lore! Those are some *powerful* rings! Which, I s'pose, is appropriate for GaryCon! Artifacts of Gyzaengaxx!

  2. Great stuff Alan, thanks for sharing!


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