The Actor’s Ring

It’s also been called the Ring of False Disguises, the Bad Liar’s Ring, and the Ring of Terrible Acting.

This cursed ring is made of gold or platinum and shaped like two actor’s masks: one happy, the other sad. In the eyes of the happy mask are diamonds and in the eyes of the sad mask are black diamonds. To every magical test except putting it on, it appears to be a Ring of Human Control.

When worn, the ring makes the wearer think that they have been transformed into a different race of creature, usually humanoid. However, no such change has occurred and the character appears as they always did. (The ring will resize automatically to fit any finger or suitable appendage.)

Not only that, but they believe they are an attractive member of their new race and that every quality of their new race is better than the old one. Despite the fact that the character’s size, modifiers to base stats, and racial abilities (like Darkvision, for example) are still the same, the wearer will find any excuse to rationalize it as ‘better’. In short, the wearer enjoys his ‘new’ form and will react strongly should someone try to take the ring from him. In any case, the ring cannot be removed except by casting a Remove Curse spell on it, but they will still need to steal, convince, or trick the wearer into giving it up.

If the ring is worn by a member of the same race the ring ‘transforms’ its wearer’s into, nothing happens except that the wearer has a vague sense of unease and duality. The ring can be removed without difficulty in that case.

The wearer’s effective CHA is now -4 lower when interacting with most members of the race the wearer claims to be and with the wearer’s previous racial group.

Though not a magical compulsion, some of the previous owners of this ring had it for so long before it was taken or lost that they cannot bear being in their old body again and desire to get the ring back.

If you wish to randomly determine which race the ring ‘transforms’ its victim into, roll a d10:

  1. Human (local ethnicity)
  2. Human (other ethnic group)
  3. Elf
  4. Dwarf
  5. Halfling
  6. Gnome
  7. Half-Orc
  8. Centaur
  9. Ogre
  10. DM’s choice; or open to a random monster entry and find the nearest intelligent creature entry.

Background:

The ring’s origins are obscure, since it’s not a terribly powerful or dangerous ring. All that can be known is the old legend of “The Actor and the Vizier”.

The story goes that the famous Actor, an Elf living in a decadent nation, asked the Vizier to make him a ring that would let him appear as and fully empathize with the character in his final play for the King; it was to be the part of a life-time. The ugly Vizier secretly hated the talented and popular Actor and wanted to ruin his final performance, so he created the Actor’s Ring. The Actor was delighted when he tried the ring on, believing himself to have transformed to look just like the Drow anti-hero he wanted to be. He resolved to remain in this form, no matter the cost, in order to submerge himself in his role. When he finally performed for the King, he refused any makeup from his confused staff and made the performance of a life-time. The inbred King, however, was very confused why the Drow character wasn’t played by a Drow or even looked like one. The Actor, insulted by the ignorance of the King, rudely tried to convince the King that he was, in fact, a Drow and couldn’t he tell? The King had the Actor killed on the spot for his insolence and the Vizier was later killed by the Actor’s furious troupe.

I had originally created this ring randomly for an Ogre’s treasure. I rolled a Ring of Delusion, then Human Control. It seemed kinda ridiculous and I was about to reroll, but it seemed too funny that an Ogre should think itself human.

Grash the Ogre was already an outcast from his people because he didn’t like the taste of man-flesh. He met a travelling Half-elf bard on the road (who thought himself to be human). The bard taunted Grash with silly songs until the ogre flew into a rage, caught him, and killed him. When Grash put the Actor’s Ring on, he was amazed to find that he was a tall, muscular and handsome human. Since he knew he couldn’t go back to his tribe now or ever, he headed to the nearest settlement. Of course, the people there feared Ogres and no amount of explanation would convince them he was one of them. The villagers drove him off with torches, rocks, and swords. Grash now wanders the countryside trying to find someplace that will accept him for who he believes himself to be.

Grash might be found randomly on the road; depending on his reaction check, he’ll either approach peacefully and ask to join their party or avoid the encounter (fearing the same violent reaction he always gets), but he’ll quickly become angry if his claim to humanity is challenged. If he’s found without his ring, he’ll lie and tell the party that he was human until an evil wizard turned him into an ogre with a magic ring and asks the party help him find it / get it back. Of course, there are a few small inconsistencies with his story: he talks like an ogre, he can’t explain why not having the ring is what turned him into an ogre, and the party might’ve heard rumors of an ogre wandering the countryside stealing sheep.

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