Description

Where possible a set of Wyvernsting Spaulders is crafted from leather taken from an actual wyvern; when this is not available, drake hide is substituted. In a few cases leather is covered with a layer of snakeskin, or leather taken from lizards such as alligators, is used instead. The spaulders are usually combined with vambraces of similar material and design, often with a belt or pectoral to match.

Wyvernskin Spaulders are occasionally called Wyrmhide Pauldrons, although the name is a misleading reference to legends of poisonous reptilian creatures rather than to the eternals of Night. The Navarr and those who live in certain areas threatened by massive insects call them Venomskin Chitin and make them from insect shells. In the same fashion, Freeborn and League magicians with access to the shells of great crabs often use them in the creation of the mage armour - while there are few poisonous crabs, those few that do exist have lead to this mage armour being called Mudpebble Carapace or sometimes, when fancifully decorated, Pufferfish Stingmail.

Much like the Mountainfall Bracers and Splintering Gorget this mage armour allows a magician to channel the power of a spell - in this case the venom incantation - much more efficiently, allowing them to poison many more opponents during a day.

Rules

  • Form: Armour. Takes the form of a suit of mage armour. You must be wearing this armour to use its magical properties.
  • Requirement: You must have both the magician and battle mage skills to bond to this item.
  • Effect: Twice per day when you cast the venom spell, you may do so without spending any mana. You must be able to cast the venom spell to use this power.
  • Materials: Crafting Wyvernsting Spaulders requires three measures of beggar's lye, three measures of iridescent gloaming, and three measures of weltsilver. It takes one month to make one of these items.
Gnaeus shook the rain from his face and, with a heroic effort, heaved his shield from the sucking mud of the landslide that had half-buried his band of Sentinels. It was weighed down with clinging earth, but the gryphon facing off against his comrades would not extend him any courtesy for that. He brushed what he could off it and raised it to defend himself. His sword, though, was lost, and on the dark and rain-swept hillside he might not see it next to his own feet. The calculated decision was to spend no longer with his back to the gryphon, and though the Merrow didn't like the idea of facing it with only his wand and his dagger, Katerina needed his shield as quickly as possible.

The creature was small for a gryphon, perhaps six feet from beak to haunches. It must have been an adolescent, an outcast from its pack, which explained its desperate behaviour, attacking humans during a storm. Katerina, shivering violently, was holding it off with her long spear, and Castor, the older Merrow physick with the Healer's Harness, stood uncertainly by her side. Gnaeus trudged through the mud to cover Katerina's side, giving her spear some defence, and looking for any chance to help her.

"Gnaeus, if I can knock it down with the spear, do you think you can get close to it?" Katerina asked.

"I've only got a dagger!"

She only took her eyes off the gryphon for a second, but it was long enough to give him a withering look. "You're wearing-" she began.

The gryphon batted the tip of her spear away, its blows surprisingly strong for its size, and Katerina lurched as her centre of balance shifted. It hurled itself at the group, and Gnaeus felt claws rake his shield.

"Envenom it!" Katerina shouted, trying to back off while keeping it at bay. She was freshly injured, and still too close to defend herself adequately. It looked between the two, choosing which foe to face, and then leapt at Katerina.

"Isn't it too big?" Gnaeus asked. Katerina didn't reply; she was too busy trying to hold it off her. He heard Castor go down behind her, and hoped he had enough mana to keep healing them both.

"Do you have... any... better ideas?" she growled eventually, her voice full of pain. He looked up from his fumblings with his wand to see her wrestling with the beast, holding its forelimbs to keep its talons from her face. Its powerful back legs raked her.

It was a terrible gamble. Combat magic didn't work on creatures bigger than humans. It was just how the spells worked; they hadn't been designed for non-human enemies. Still, there was nothing that said that they mustn't work. It was just a question of... dose. Gnaeus swallowed hard, knowing very well that he was all-but signing his own death warrant, and began the casting. It wasn't his best spell, but the Wyvernskin Spaulders made it so much easier, and would leave him with more to heal the others when they dug them out.

He lurched forward, keeping his shield high, and the gryphon didn't seem to notice him. He got close enough to see the hipbones poking out through its fur. It was starving; that must have made it desperate. Katerina got a blow in with her spear, and Castor kept shouting at it, keeping its attention on the two of them. Gnaeus dodged past its lashing feline tail and jabbed his wand into its flank.

It reared back as the venom entered it, and Gnaeus threw himself back into the mud to get as far away from it as fast as he could. Panting and coughing out rainwater, his veins filling with the same ice-cold venom, he crawled backwards with the desperation of the near-dead. He was certain he must now die, giving Katerina the chance to kill it while it ate him alive.

It didn't. The gryphon spread its wings and lifted off with a great blast of wind. It turned and glided away, heading down the valley, and did not settle within sight.

Castor squelched over to him, shaking violently in terror on the ground, and purified his blood with a word. The older Merrow held out a hand to help him to his feet. "That was a young one, probably the runt of the pride. It fled because you hurt it worse than we did. Any animal will flee if envenomed – it places them far too close to death for their comfort.

“Come now. We must rescue the others quickly. We don't know how badly injured they are, and if a pride takes an interest in us, we'll need everyone to frighten them off."

Gnaeus nodded, swallowed, and followed Castor to where the other three Sentinels lay injured and part-buried. Together, glancing over their shoulders, the three free began to unearth the three trapped.