February 27, 2024 armour magic item flatboat

Man-Suits of the Flatboat People

When a child has stopped growing, those who wish to live as men must be initiated. First they must find a Shaman 1 and beg from them the use of a team of flesh-boring beetles. They may be rejected and try again elsewhere. Those consistently rejected, or who do not wish to try, live forever as children or become women, subject to their own inductions.

With the team of beetles stored in a gourd or clay-lined hide, they may gather as many of their mothers, sisters and siblings as are willing to aid them. This band sets out as a hunting party to seek an Old Man of the Forest [3HD, AC as Leather, 1d6+1 Damage] of the right size. Such beings can smell men coming, and always flee before them. The Old Man of the Forest must be captured alive, with as few injuries as possible. Bound and held prostrate, the prospective man must decapitate the Old Man in a single strike. If this fails, any in the hunting party are allowed to try and finish the job, earning the right to be a man if successful. 2

With the head removed, the flesh-boring beetles must be introduced to the neck, chewing their way through the organs and viscera of the skin, hollowing it out. The man in the making must guide them with a stick that they do not chew a hole in the skin and escape, as well as retrieving them once their work is done.

With the skin is hollowed out, the man must don their suit for the first time, abandoning their child-name and dubbing themselves anew. They must then travel home in the raw suit, before being sealed away in their new home to have the matters of Manhood taught to them whilst the skin is bathed in smoke and the skin is stretched and cut to be fit for use. After five days, they will never be seen outside their homes without their Man-Suit. Only their wives, husbands and children will see them naked, as they were when a child.

The Man-Suit protects against spiritual warfare - hexes and curses struggle to take root in such poor soil that they may never bear their poison fruit. It offers some protection against physical threats too, although many wear hides from the crocodiles of the river to protect their borrowed skins.

AC as Leather.
Worn by a member of the Flatboat People, it is as a second skin - allowing additional armour to be worn too.
When a man of the Floatboat People is wearing his Man-Suit, he saves vs Spells as if 4 levels higher.

  1. Shaman is an approximate translation - the term can be broadly understood to refer to any practitioner of magic, with various honorifics or qualifiers used to differentiate sorcerers, witches, divine fools etc. Notably, the lack of qualifier was consistent when referring to the individual from whom the beetles are sought. No man was willing to speak of the cost nor favours owed for the use of the beetles.↩︎

  2. Whilst we did find some men who told that they had gained manhood this way, having lived as women before, none would explain if the child would be allowed to try again or if such was forbidden.↩︎

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