Steal My Idea: Side Quest: The Ring of Exponential Value

[Picture courtesy of]
Totally unrelated to anything going on in my life right now (feel free to read that in a sarcastic tone), I thought I’d make this Steal My Idea about fun and interesting side quests you can insert into your game. You can use these quests as missions that tie into your story, related but not critical to the main story quests for your players, or as fillers so your players can have fun because you didn’t have enough time write up a full adventure.

The Ring of Exponential Value

This quest starts simply enough. A person (perhaps a shop owner or traveling merchant) has a ring they need someone to deliver to their sibling in a far off city. The ring is a family heirloom and is magical, but the owners have never been able to figure out what magical powers it has (a detect magic or similar spell only reveals it is magical, no additional details). The power doesn’t matter to the owner, just that it gets delivered. The recipient will pay the party, even if they don’t deliver it soon. The ring simply needs to get there eventually.

During the party’s travels, the ring becomes cold, cold enough for the person carrying it to feel it (even if it is in a pack), but it does not become cold enough to cause damage. When a character touches the ring, the heat from their fingers cause steam to rise from it, the ring warms again, and words are carved into the ring where they touched it.

The ring gains a magical power that directly benefits the person who touched it. For example, if a mage touched it, it could allow them to cast an extra spell at their highest level. If a rogue touched it, it could give them extra sneak damage. You can make the effects do whatever you think best suits the character, but it should be enticing and useful to the specific character.

The script can say whatever you want- be it a poem or cryptic, draconic script- but the players should know what it does, even if that means simply telling them “it gives you a +3 on all attack rolls.”

After a character wears the ring for a while, it grows cold again, and a new line of script appears in addition to the old line. The ring gains an additional power, one that the players are once again aware of, but this time the new power is most useful to a member of the party who is not wearing the ring. However, it retains the old ability.

This process repeats with each new ability being more powerful for a specific character until that character wears the ring. After a new character wears it, the ring gains new powers that are directly useful to a different member of the group, again, each new power being more powerful than the previous one.

The ring will hopefully change hands multiple times, offering an array of abilities and making the character currently wearing it far more powerful than the other players. That is part of the plan. To make it more fun, make the bonuses apply directly to things your players really enjoy doing and makes them better at it.

If you’re having some trouble thinking of bonuses, here are some for D&D or Pathfinder, but could be used for other systems if you tweak the names and bonuses.

Bonus Examples:

  • +2 to all attacks (All classes can benefit from this)
  • +1 spell slot of highest spell level (mage)
  • +10 to a very class-specific skill (jump, sneak, perform, sleight of hand, etc) (various)
  • Double your wisdom bonus to your AC (monk)
  • Add 1d6 to all natural attacks (most useful for monk, druid, or a player that uses unarmed attacks)
  • +10 HP (most useful for martial classes)
  • +10 to bull rush/trip/sunder attempts (if a player specializes or enjoys doing one of those actions)

When you decide that the ring’s power has gotten to be too much, start phase two.


Phase Two

The ring once again grows cold, but this time it does not gain a new power. Small, needlelike tendrils reach out from it and burrow into the wearer’s hand. The ring grafts itself to the character’s finger and hand.

Once the ring becomes one with the player, it draws out all of the power it gave from the current user. Any bonus any player who wore the ring gained becomes a penalty to the current user.

For example: if the ring had the effects of:

  • +6 to attacks
  • +10 to stealth checks
  • +10 HP
  • Choose one spell, you can cast that spell for free one extra time per day.
  • +10 to sunder attempts

It would give the wearer:

  • -6 to attacks
  • -10 to stealth checks
  • -10 HP
  • Choose one spell, you can cast that spell one less time per day.
  • – 10 to sunder attempts

This negative effect is temporary. The ring sucks out the wearer’s life force, and although it weakens them, it will not kill them. After an amount of time determined by the GM, the ring releases the character, loses the script and all of the bonuses it once had, and becomes a magical ring with unknown, minor powers once again. A short while after that, the affected character returns to normal, removing all penalties the ring gave.


Phase three

Phase three doesn’t have to happen right away. You could wait until your next game, a few sessions, a few months, or even longer if you really wanted.

Phase three involves making a monstrous creature that holds all of the key characteristics of the party members that wore the ring. It looks like a size large (for D&D and Pathfinder games) half-shadow-half-flesh version of all of the characters of the party that wore the ring, stitching pieces of their bodies, clothing, armor, and weapons together to make one human-like monstrosity. Use the outsider creature type as your base:

In addition to the monstrosity’s normal abilities, it gains ALL of the abilities the ring gave the players. For example, if the ring gave them:

  • +6 to attacks
  • +10 to stealth checks
  • +10 HP
  • Choose one spell, you can cast that spell for free one extra time per day.
  • +10 to sunder attempts

Then the monstrosity will have all of those bonuses on top of its base stats (which should be about equal to the party’s challenge rating). If you don’t want to base it off of a monster, you can take some extra time to roll it stats and make it a multiclass humanoid with the classes of those who wore the ring.

If you tailored the ring to give bonuses the players’ favorite abilities, the monstrosity will have an entire arsenal made up of your players’ favorite moves. You can give the creature extra limbs and extra attacks based on how powerful you make it and the challenge rating of your group.

The monstrosity wants to kill the party, dismantle itself into pieces, and have the pieces wear their bodies like a costume so it can use their bodies to trick more people into wearing the ring and feed it more power.


The ring itself

The ring feeds off of the greed and want for power of the wearer. The more they want it, the more powerful it can become, and the more power it can take later.

The person who gave them the ring and the person they delivered it to? They were both people who wore the ring in the past, were defeated by the monstrosity they helped create, and now it wears their skin, tricking others into wearing the ring.

The ring is linked to a powerful, otherworldly creature that can create creatures through the powers it takes from the wearers of the ring. It controls each monstrosity and each person they slay and take over. It wants to build an army, but it is a slow-going process since it only has one ring. Fortunately for it, it does not age and has all eternity.

I have more quests you can insert into your game planned, but this one was long enough for one post. Look for the next one in the upcoming week!


6 thoughts on “Steal My Idea: Side Quest: The Ring of Exponential Value

Add yours

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: