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RANDOM ENCOUNTER: Covetous Shen (WAS: Arley the Weaver)

Some of my players complained that they didn’t like all the technological loot they were getting so I ended up adjusting all the loot in Lords of Rust so it was all 5e compliant and the tech loot was bonus loot.  I also made sure that any tech found had a reason to be there and wasn’t just inventory filler.

However since I didn’t allow them to trade tech items in any place outside of Starfall they wanted to unload them.  Even though the tech items they got would be useful later in the campaign arc.  Its like they completely ignore or the tech treasure and never use it.  So I brought in my old friend Arley the Weaver.

I met Arley a decade ago in Maure’s Castle where he traded some cursed items to my party and hilarity ensued.  Ever since then I have made him a fixture of my home-brew campaign world – Mythic Earth.  He wanders around trading cursed magic items for whatever for inscrutable reasons.

He normally appears as a small asian human – I imagine and play him as Covetous Shen from Diablo generally.   In his natural form I picture him looking like Yojimoo from Final Fantasy X.  Mechanically he is an ogre-mage. In this particular instance the party traded away ALL their tech items – including a valuable hypogun – for “cheap” magic items.  Which of course are cursed.  Hilarity ensued.  At least for the DM.


A strange looking boat approaches you from upriver and the single person on board is waiving at you enthusiastically.  It seems to be a keel boat – a one man type vessel – however it is propelling itself assumedly by magic.  It silently and effortlessly comes along side the Hateful Manta and you get a closer look at the single passenger.  He is dressed most outlandishly and is clearly of oreintal origin testified to by both his cloths and his features. “Greeting friends!  I am a humble merchant from far away Zipang and I have brought many fine goods from my home to trade.  Would anyone aboard be interested in making a deal?”


  • Do? “Ah, a very interesting topic, heh-heh! I barter for goods to bring back to Zipang.”
  • From? “Xiansai! Great Families warred in the streets! Political intrigue and bottomless wells of treachery around every corner!”
  • Avoiding? “Oh dear. Perhaps you are not asking the right questions.”
  • Evasive? “Hmm. Yes, well, a good question answers itself.”


Arley is happy to barter most anything for his cursed magic items.  A list of items, their barter value and curse are listed below.  Curses do not become apparent until attunement occurs.  He is willing to trade magical items for half value and may incentivise the party by offering 25 to 50% more barter value for technological items as this is what he is after :
Screen Shot 2015-02-28 at 15.34.51

Notes on Items

All of Arley’s items are finely crafted and excellent examples of their type.  Unfortunately they are also cursed.  They all appear asian in style and decoration.

Armour (plate), rare (requires attunement)
This is a set of o-Yori armour made up of multiple pieces of finally crafted iron and leather plates.  The armour is highly decorative with a great helm made to look like a fearsome giant.  The armour has been coloured green and black.  It acts as a +1 full-plate of Resistance vs Bludgeoning.

Curse. Vulnerability to piercing and slashing

Weapon (warhammer), rare (requires attunement)
Arley calls this a tetsubo but it acts in every way like a +1 warhammer.  This war hammer has a flat round head of blue steel, with the balancing spike on the reverse shaped like a stylised dragon’s tail. The weapon crackles with lightning when held.

Curse. This warhammer is cursed, and becoming attuned to it extends the curse to you. As long as you remain cursed, you are unwilling to part with the axe, keeping it within reach at all times. You also have disadvantage on attack rolls with weapons other than this one, unless no foe is within 60 feet of you that you can see or hear.

Whenever a hostile creature damages you while the axe is in your possession, you must succeed on a DC 15 Wisdom saving throw or go berserk. While berserk, you must use your action each round to attack the creature nearest to you with the warhammer. If you can make extra attacks as part of the Attack action, you use those extra attacks, moving to attack the next nearest creature after you fell your current target. If you have multiple possible targets, you attack one at random. You are berserk until you start your turn with no creatures within 60 feet of you that you can see or hear.

Armour (shield), rare (requires attunement)
This rectangular shield is decorated in red, gold and black calligraphy.  It acts as a +1 shield.

Curse. This shield is cursed. Attuning to it curses you until you are targeted by the remove curse spell or similar magic. Removing the shield fails to end the curse on you. Whenever a ranged weapon attack is made against a target within 10 feet of you, the curse causes you to become the target instead.

Weapon (any sword), uncommon (requires attunement)
This tanto is forged from a fine steel that never tarnishes. The sheath is made of sharkskin with chape and locket of the same steel as the blade.  It otherwise acts as a +1 dagger.

Curse. This dagger is cursed and possessed by a vengeful spirit. Becoming attuned to it extends the curse to you. As long as you remain cursed, you are unwilling to part with the sword, keeping it on your person at all times. While attuned to this weapon, you have disadvantage on attack rolls made with weapons othe than this one.

In addition, while the dagger is on your person, you must succeed on a DC 15 Wisdom saving throw

whenever you take damage in combat. On a failed save you must attack the creature that damaged you until you drop to 0 hit points or it does, or until you can’t reach the creature to make a melee attack against it. You can break the curse in the usual ways. Alternatively, casting banishment on the sword forces the vengeful spirit to leave it. The sword then becomes a +1 weapon with no other properties.

Wondrous item, uncommon
This straw hat has a conical shape and sits low over the eyes providing excellent shade.  It has a fine red silk strip that acts as a chin strap.  While wearing this cap, you can use an action to cast the comprehend languages spell from it at will.

Curse. Though the bearer looks cool he becomes clumsy.  The character has disadvantage on Dexterity saving throws.  They will also tend to trip over their feet, drop items and become unable to catch items thrown to them.

Wondrous item, rare (requires attunement)
These boots initially appear and function as boots of speed – While you wear these boots, you can use a bonus action and click the boots’ heels together. If you do, the boots double your walking speed, and any creature that makes an opportunity attack against you has disadvantage on the attack roll. If you click your heels together again, you end the effect.  When the boots’ property has been used for a total of 10 minutes, the magic ceases to function until you finish a long rest.

Curse. But when the wearer is in (or fleeing from) melee combat, after attunement, boots of dancing impede movement, making him behave as if Otto’s irresistible dance had been cast upon him with some minor modifications.  The target begins an impressive dance in place – the dance style changes each time the affect is activated but it is always captivating.

A dancing creature must use all its movement to dance without leaving its space and has disadvantage on Dexterity saving throws and attack rolls. While the target is affected by this spell, other creatures have advantage on attack rolls against it. As an action, a dancing creature makes a Wisdom saving throw to regain control of itself.  On a successful save,

the effect ends for this combat.  Once combat is finished the affect will end as if the character had made her Wisdom save.

Only a remove curse spell enables the wearer to be rid of the boots once their true nature is revealed.  The character does dance very well however and gets advantage on any performance checks related to dance.

Wondrous item, rare (requires attunement)
This thick belt is made from leather and metal.  The buckle is shaped into the leering face of some creature you have never seen before.  While wearing this belt, your Strength score changes to 21. If your Strength is already equal to or greater than the belt’s score, the item has no effect on you.

Curse. As long as you wear the belt your gender is changed to the opposite of your normal gender and your ethnicity is changed to Cathay/Zipang (you have asiatic features).

Flavour Encounter: Torch Council Reward
When the characters return to Torch to get their reward the town is willing to pay them in gems instead of coin – apparently a wealthy traveling eastern merchant was in town recently and paid for everything in gems before flying off on a magic carpet with many of Torch’s skymetal weapons and other valualbe items.

Art Credit: Yojimbo Seal 

Posted in Dungeons & Dragons, Lords of Rust, Random Encounters


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