Weapon: Collapsing Morningstar
Here it is! The first ever item to come tumbling out of the Cloud Curio! If you’ve listened to our interview over at Table Top Babble, you’ll know that Kenny is a sucker for all things cosmic, and the Purveyor of the Cloud Curio are themselves a cosmic entity of sorts. So it made sense for the first entry to be pulled from the heavens.
Title: Collapsing Morningstar
Short description: A morningstar topped with a miniature dying sun, the size of a fist.
Flavor text: What I wonder about are the planets that orbit the star before its collapse. What must it be like for the tiny people who live there?
Tags: weapon, rare, two-handed
The weapon gives out an unsteady prismatic light as bright as a torch.
When you critically hit, the star sheds an outer layer, producing valuable raw materials such as gold, platinum, and residuum.
When you critically fail, the star collapses, detonating like an archmage’s fireball. The crater left behind is filled with a small fortune of riches (worth 1d4 × 1,000 gp) and an unmovable neutron orb.
Cost: 2,800 gp
Damage: 1d8 piercing + 2 radiant
Weight: 4 lb.
Designer Notes: Kenny Webb
For inspiration, I love working from constraints. I love starting from a map, especially a map drawn by someone else, and filling it up with my own creations. I love starting from a name and developing a character or a dungeon. For the Collapsing Morningstar, I started with a pun. What if a morningstar but it was an actual STAR!? What would that look like?
The other thing I love doing is taking inspiration from real world science, in this case astrophysics. I don't feel like I have to be beholden to "realism" at the cost of making a cool thing (lookin' at you, Neil deGrasse Tyson). But having a foothold in the real wonder of our universe can make a game element feel “real” while infusing it with a healthy dose of the fantastic.
In this case, I started with a morningstar whose business end is an early generation star. When massive stars die and go supernova, they collapse and explode, creating all kinds of interesting new elements. The explosion scatters these valuable materials across space where they might end up in dust clouds, new stars, or even planets like our own. Thus, we get a morningstar that sheds wealth when you wield it and carries with it the risk of exploding.
Using the Collapsing Morningstar in Your Game
The PCs might obtain a Collapsing Morningstar in the following situations:
A religious sect devoted to the goddesses of creation worships the long forgotten First Stars. If the PCs accept a quest to find definitive evidence of the First Stars’ existence, the acolytes of the sect bestow the Collapsing Morningstar as a boon.
Vakaris, the City Held Aloft, was built from fragments of the heavens. Sometimes pieces of the great outer shell still crack and fall, and the star-smiths of Vakaris have learned to bind this cosmic shrapnel to iron. Adventurers from the lands below often come seeking their wares.
No one really knows the original purpose of the ancient particle accelerators discovered on the moons of DEEP-755. Whoever built the superstructures certainly didn’t leave a manual. One of the rings is still functional and currently under the control of a consortium of pirate engineers calling themselves the Core-Riggers. After years of work, they’ve restored the collider to .3% working capacity, allowing for the creation and binding of miniature stars that they use to arm the crewmates of their armada.
Stardusters. Moon Goblins. Shimmers. They go by various names, but reports from all over describe mischievous scamps of velvety-lavender skin, sparkling with starstuff and grinning like devils, cavorting during new and full moons. They bear tools and weapons capable of wondrous creation and destruction.
When the user of the Collapsing Morningstar critically fails on an attack with it, it detonates like an archmage’s fireball. The crater left behind is filled with a small fortune of riches (worth 1d4 × 1,000 gp) and an unmovable neutron orb. Some of the options for the unmovable neutron orb left behind include:
A faintly glowing orb the size of a marble. It is incredibly heavy, and functions as an immovable rod.
The orb is truly unmovable. Over time, it pulls more material to itself, threatening to collapse into a singularity. Such a singularity might be an existential danger that the PCs will have to eventually reckon with, or it might serve as a focus for a sinister ritual.
The tiny neutron star is a marvelous source of energy. As word of the tiny mote of cosmic warmth spreads, factions from all over flock to the site of the crater to build cities, furnaces, world-engines, golem factories, or the bougiest tavern one can imagine (we highly recommend the Cosmic-politan).
A quick note on how we approach 5e: Occasionally you might see statistics and other choices we make in our publications that make you say, “Huh. I wonder why they did it that way?” For example, you might wonder why the radiant damage from the Collapsing Morningstar is static rather than based on a die roll. You can check out this page dedicated to explaining how we approach 5e.