cartouche

Cartouches of Amonkhet in D&D

It’s International Tabletop Day and Amonkhet release weekend, so before I spend my evening playing board games, here’s some more Amonkhet homebrew, this time being the Cartouches. Naturally, they’re posted in the order of the Trials, instead of WUBRG.

Cartouche of Solidarity
Wondrous Item - Uncommon
You gain a +1 bonus to your Charisma.
Once per short rest, as a bonus action you may touch this cartouche, then touch another character to give them advantage on their next attack roll, ability check, or saving throw.

Summoning a warrior doesn’t make so much sense for an item like this in D&D, so I opted to keep the rules for this item in-flavour, and presented it as an item that can buff the wearer’s allies, focusing on “solidarity.”


Cartouche of Knowledge
Wondrous Item - Uncommon
You gain a +1 bonus to your Intelligence.
Once per short rest, as a bonus action you may touch the cartouche, to grant yourself flying speed equal to your walking speed for one minute.

While I’m still working out an appropriate mechanical translation for “Draw a card” in D&D, I thought that the flying aspect of this cartouche would be more interesting, given the cartouche design “formula,” if you will, that I put together. 


Cartouche of Strength
Wondrous Item - Uncommon
You gain a +1 bonus to your Strength.
Once per short rest, as a bonus action you may
touch this cartouche and focus on an enemy currently engaged in combat with you. You and that creature each make a simultaneous attack action against each other (if a creature’s attack action allows multiple attacks, such as with multiattack, the creature makes all the attacks it is normally able to).

The Fight mechanic was somewhat tricky to translate to D&D, but I settled on simultaneous attacks as that way it works in the same manner as the MTG mechanic, and doesn’t allow one character to kill another before they get to hit back. In addition, the bonus this item provides to Strength works very similarly to how it does on the card, in that it enhances the wearer’s ability for the fight with another creature, but remains as a lingering combat boon.


Cartouche of Ambition
Wondrous Item - Uncommon
You gain a +1 bonus to your Wisdom.
Once per short rest, as a bonus action you may touch this cartouche and focus on an enemy you can see within 30 feet. That creature must succeed on a DC 15 Constitution saving throw or have disadvantage on their attack rolls, ability checks, and saving throws for one round.

Applying the disadvantage both to combat output and survivability works nicely to represent the same effect as the -1/-1 counter. I chose Wisdom as the ability score enhanced by this item because to me wisdom includes cunning, and at times, knowing when ruthlessness is appropriate.


Cartouche of Zeal
Wondrous Item - Uncommon
You gain a +1 bonus to your attack rolls.
Once per short rest, as a bonus action you may
touch this cartouche and focus on an enemy you can see within 30 feet. That creature must succeed on a DC 15 Wisdom saving throw or be frightened of you for one round.

Unlike the other cartouches, this does not provide an ability score bonus, but rather a direct bonus to attacks, which seemed more appropriate as the item is, above all else, something worn only by a highly accomplished warrior, thus providing a combat boon regardless of whether they use Strength or Dexterity weapons, or spell attacks, made the most sense to me.


That’s the last Amonkhet homebrew I’ll be doing for a little while, as I’ve got some other stuff in the pipeline ready to post that I’ve been really looking forward to sharing. Have a good release weekend and International Tabletop Day folks!

I’m sure I’m not the first person to notice this, but from the art on the Cartouche cycle, we now know the order of the trials, as they form a continuous chain 

First comes Oketra’s Trial of Solidarity
Second comes Kefnet’s Trial of Knowledge
Third comes Rhonas’s Trial of Strength
Fourth comes Bontu’s Trial of Ambition
And finally comes Hazoret’s Trial of Zeal

Unfinished calcite jar bearing the cartouche of the 18th Dynasty female pharaoh Hatshepsut (r. 1478-1458 BCE).  Found at Deir el-Bahari; now in the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology, London.  Photo credit: Osama Shukir Muhammad Amin/Wikimedia Commons.

Tomb of Nefertari, QV66, Valley of the Queens

Tomb of Nefertari: The descent, lower east wall

There is the image of the winged uraeus, protecting the queen’s cartouche with its wings The black jackal Anubis reclines on a shrine, a sash tied around his neck and a golden flail supported by his hind leg. Below the goddess Nephthys can be seen.

Abydos King list found on a wall of the Temple of Seti I r. 1290–1279 BC (19th Dynasty). The start of the king list, showing Seti and his son - Ramesses II - on the way to making an offering to Ptah-Seker-Osiris, on behalf of their 72 ancestors - the contents of the king list. Ramesses is depicted holding censers.

This list omits the names of many earlier pharaohs who were apparently considered illegitimate — such as Hatshepsut, Akhenaten, Smenkhkare, Tutankhamun, and Ay.

King Khepri providing for his hive.