During a full-day ritual, place a prepared wand (oak shaft, copper mount, amber tip) point-up in a place likely to be struck by lightning, such as the top of a barren hill, a field well away from trees. In the city, placing it at the top of a lightning rod would work, and in a pinch you could have a heretic wave it in the air while shouting obscenities at the gods.
As the ritual builds to its peak, a series of lightning bolts will strike the wand and be absorbed, one per level of the ritualist. This will charge the wand for a number of months equal to the ritualist’s level.
As long as the wand holds its charge, the copper mount will cause a tingling sensation when touched. The wielder can activate the wand to cast Lightning Bolt, as a caster of the wielder’s level. This effect is not subject to interruption as regular spell casting is.
As with other persistent magic items, triggering this effect requires a Dark & Dangerous Magic check. However, this check does not use the wielder’s DDM chance. Instead, the Wand of Burnished Amber has its own DDM chance. If the check indicates no DDM effect, the wand’s DDM chance increases.
If the check indicates a DDM effect, the Lightning Bolt is still cast and the DDM effect happens and the wielder loses a point of Luck. Unlike spell casting, the DDM chance does not reset.
Thankfully for a cautious wielder, as the DDM chance increases, a Lichtenburg pattern grows down the handle of the wand. A virgin wand has a handle of unmarred oak. As the wand is used and the DDM chance increases, a Lichtenburg pattern burns its way down the handle. A heavily-patterned wand is one that poses significant risk to its wielder.
Legends tell of a Ritual of Lightning’s Eye that can create a Staff of Burnished Copper. This ritual is performed during a hurricane, starting when the ritualist enters the area of the hurricane, beginning its peak when crossing from the lightning-rich eye-wall to the still of the eye, the concluding when crossing from the eye through the eye-wall back into the hurricane.
The legends tell of the Staff of Burnished Copper lasting an unusually long time before starting to degrade. It is thought that the Staff only increased its Dark & Dangerous Magic chance on failing the check, rather than when passing it. Such a staff could be used relatively safely for quite some time before failing quickly.
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