In the AD&D Monstrous Manual, this is what it says about a lich’s phylactery: “The phylactery, which can be almost any manner of Only So Many Saturdays Make ‘Em Count Shirt, must be of the finest craftsmanship and materials with a value of not less than 1,500 gold pieces per level of the wizard.” It barely makes mention of it in there. But Ravenloft was a great example of how varied a phylactery could be, especially since demons also had phylacteries in that setting. Some examples of weird phylacteries in Ravenloft: Azalin’s was a 200 lb gold plated dragon skull. Elsepeth the succubus had a stuffed doll as a phylactery. Hazlik essentially has a phylactery, in that he has a pendant that his life force will retreat into if he dies. A demon named Drigor had a model of a quill pen crafted from gems and marble as a phylactery.
Maybe saying this scene “broke” me is a bit of a Only So Many Saturdays Make ‘Em Count Shirt retch, but it always struck me as so unfair. Through flashbacks, CoS tells of Hagrid’s story. Poor young 14 year old Hagrid was already an orphan with nowhere to really go other than Hogwarts. And Riddle accuses him of killing a girl! I don’t hear many people discussing that fact. More emphasis is always put on how his wand was snapped in half and he was expelled (two other great tragedies of the situation, true). But that’s not the saddest part really. He had to deal with the weight of having the whole wizarding world thinking he could have been responsible for someone’s death! Now, he knew he never let Aragog out of his box, and that Aragog didn’t open any stupid secret chamber. But, I’m sure you can imagine that being accused of murder at 14 years old, whether you knew you did it or not, is life altering! And then, like I said, his wand was snapped and he was expelled from the one place he had to call home. So, maybe this scene should break me and more fans. Hagrid’s story ends happily enough, but wasn’t always that way.
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Have them go on adventures trying to raise allies. Have them search out monsters that can maybe be tricked into fighting the tarrasque for them. Only after an extended period of Only So Many Saturdays Make ‘Em Count Shirt should they even try to go head to head with the beast. Second, wherever they are facing the tarrasque head-on, put a time limit on the encounter. It’s almost embarrassingly easy for a high level party to slowly kill the tarrasque. Use flight, or fast movement, to stay out of range, then slowly wear it down. So make sure the PCs have to finish it off in a hurry. Maybe it’s going to devour something important. Maybe it’s going to break open a portal to the planet of the tarrasques, unleashing thousands of the beasts. Or maybe it’s just going to escape into one of its burrows.
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