A week ago I wrote about the automatic acquisition of a stronghold by player characters who have achieved ninth level. That’s level nine in the thirty-level model, not level nine in the ten- or twenty-level model.

Player Character Strongholds (Oct 1, 2013)

When I revised advancement guidelines to eliminate class advancement, I wound up with three “dead levels” (no features added or upgraded) at ninth, nineteenth, and twenty-ninth level. Everything else was accounted for — bonus encounter powers, utility powers, ability bonuses, bonus feats — but three levels lay bear.

I’ve been thinking about levels nineteen and twenty-nine, trying to come up with something as significant as a “stronghold” or “player character affiliation” that a character might acquire as they advance. I thought about character scope.

This afternoon, a pithy comment in an email chain about rings of power for our nine event organizers got me thinking about rings of power in fiction, and my general dissatisfaction with how rings are handled in Dungeons & Dragons.

Every magical ring ought to be truly unique — and that got me thinking about granting rings of power as representations of advancing player character power, rounding out the Paragon tier. A ring of power can be any kind of ring.

Anklets, arm rings, cameos, earrings, signet rings, thumb rings, toe rings, neck rings, … metal, stone, wood, … whatever the player wants, really. The ring ultimately represents the character’s power and authority.

The benefits of a magic ring might not seem as obvious as those of a stronghold, or an organization dedicated to the hero’s cause, but I think generally speaking, a ring should be an assumption that should the hero fail — that another will take their place, to continue their fight in a following epoch.

It serves as a kind of reminder, an ephemeral estate to which a future hero may become the heir, that a work has begun and must one day be completed.

I don’t know, it sounded like a cool idea to me.