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Ioun stones, originally called Congenio's pebbles and later Ioun's stones, were magical stones that floated around a bearer's head and granted a range of enhancements or powers to a creature.[4][2][5][1]

Description

They were small, crystalline stones, coming in a wide range of colors and shapes that determined their powers.[2]

Powers

Ioun stones hovered permanently in the air.[2]

When one acquired a stone and wished to receive its benefits, they had to first hold it for a brief time and then release it. Thereafter, when functioning, the ioun stone floated in a circular pattern around the bearer's head, at a distance of 1–3 ft (30–91 cm). They could only bestow their benefit on an owner when within this range. Two stones of the same type would repel each other.[4][2] Another person could try to catch or net the stone to steal it, or break it. The bearer could freely grab and pocket a stone, such as when going to sleep, to keep it safe, but they could no longer receive its benefits.[2]

The stones granted various benefits based on their color, as listed below. When drained of power, a stone became a dull grey, but it still possessed the characteristic floating power.[4]

As with other items that could store magical energy, the pale lavender ellipsoid, lavender-and-green ellipsoid, and vibrant-purple prism could store spellfire. In turn, they could also be drained by a spellfire wielder.[6]

Creation

Ioun stones could only be created by a veteran spellcaster well versed in the crafting of wondrous magical items.[2]

Only certain types of gemstone could be transformed into an ioun stone through application of the appropriate and generally secret spells. These gems were known collectively as "the nine secrets", though there were at least ten. These were amethyst,[7] chrysoberyl, chrysoprase,[8] greenstone, hematite (though this was rarely known to even powerful wizards), iol (also known as iolite or cordierite, and the most effective of the gems),[9] Laeral's tears (most little known and rarest of the gems),[10] obsidian (the most well known), onyx,[11] and sardonyx.[12]

In the time of Netheril, the gems and stones selected for enchantment were actually imperfect or flawed, with the exception of the perfect euhedral stone.[1]

History

Congenio Ioun, an early arcanist of the Nether Age of Netheril, created the first ioun stones[5][13] in the year 397 NY (−3462 DR). This was a previously unheard-of achievement: he was aged only 33 and this was the first magical item he had created, marking him as one of the greatest arcanists of his age.[5] He initially called them Congenio's pebbles. Congenio worked under the (mistaken) assumption that only small or slender items—pebbles, small stones, pieces of cloth, daggers, and the like—could be enchanted to bear magic, and so he worked exclusively with small, semi-polished stones. He also adopted the self-imposed limitation of enchanting all stones of the same shape with the same spell, making them more consistent for buyers and eliminating confusion.[1]

Congenio's pebbles soon became enormously popular with his fellow arcanists.[5] Over the next 54 years, the anhedral, echinid, hexagonoid, spindle, pebble, star, and round stones were developed and introduced.[1]

In 451 NY (−3408 DR), at the suggestion of a close friend, Congenio renamed his pebbles to the much more catchy Ioun's stones.[5][1] Under this name, the cephaloid, cube, cylinder, decipton, dendroid, dodecahedron, ellipsoid, enneid, euhedral, hectoid, helicid, heptid, monoclinoid, nephroid, ovoid, octahedron, orthorhomboid, peg, pentahedron, prism, pyramid, rectangle, septahedron, sexahedron, tile, and tredyhedron stones were created and became widespread in Netheril.[1]

Congenio himself created over thirty of these, including the prism that allowed one to see in the dark and another that granted its holder a temporarily raised level of experience and might.[5][1][note 1] He was never seen without them orbiting his head. He lived an incredibly long life, almost a thousand years, and some wondered if one of his stones was responsible for his longevity. Congenio finally passed away in 1319 NY (−2540 DR), but for his creations his name lived on for millennia.[5]

After his death, a number of other arcanists continued his work. These researchers made breakthroughs in Congenio's original design, by simply ignoring his consistent design and placing their own spells in whatever gem they had, no matter its shape. The stones became generally known as simply ioun stones around 1365 NY (c. −2494 DR). From this time on, the triclinid, tubule, decahedron, heptahedron, lozenge, rhomboid, rod, sphere, stelloid, and tetrapton were invented.[1]

Notable collections

Larloch - Carl Critchlow

The arch-lich Larloch, with some of his many ioun stones circling his head.

In the time of Netheril, Congenio's pebbles and Ioun's stones were in great demand among arcanists.[5]

Larloch, the Shadow King, the arch-lich of Warlock's Crypt and a long-surviving arcanist of Netheril, possessed over two dozen ioun stones, which orbited his skull at all times, giving him a wide variety of powers, protections, and enhancements. Some were much more powerful than their regular versions, and he had multiples of some.[14][15]

The Wyvern Crown of Cormyr was inlaid with ten ioun stones on the tips of its spikes. None of the stones could be removed from the Crown without destroying them, not without a wish spell on each stone.[16]

A ring of a dozen ioun stones was occasionally sighted hovering above the River Vesper in the Vast from the 1350s DR on. The stones avoided efforts to grab them, and by 1370 DR, no one with a net, the ability to fly, or a magical means of catching one was lucky enough to spot the ring. A tale told in riverside taverns claimed that anyone who could grab one of the ioun stones could keep it, but was also compelled by a geas to perform some dangerous task, with a different task for each stone.[17]

Known ioun stones

The following tables list the known ioun stones in each era, together with their benefits, costs, and other details.

In addition to these, it was rumored that Congenio Ioun himself had created another stone that had given him his great longevity; he lived almost a thousand years. He was also recorded as creating another that granted its holder a temporarily raised level of experience and might.[5]

In the time of Netheril, −3462 DR to −339 DR
Congenio's pebbles, −3462 DR to −3408 DR
Description Benefit Cost (gp)
Anhedral A blessing to defense[1]
Echinid A continuous detect magic spell[1]
Hexagonoid A detect poison spell, humming softly when a poison was detected[1]
Spindle A brief invisibility to animals on command, 1/day[1]
Pebble A brief invisibility to undead on command, 1/day[1]
Star A brief light spell on command, 1/day[1]
Round A continuous read magic spell[1]
Ioun's stones, −3408 DR to −2494 DR
Description Benefit Cost (gp)
Cephaloid Projected obscure alignment within 20 ft (6 m)[1]
Cube Increased dexterity and agility[1]
Cylinder Slight resistance to acid[1]
Decipton Gem emitted continual light on command[1]
Dendroid Increased one selected area of physical or mental prowess, as the cube or enneid[1]
Dodecahedron Increased constitution and fortitude[1]
Elipsoid Slight resistance to poisonous gases[1]
Enneid Increased charisma[1]
Euhedral A perfectly formed, mirror-faced stone, possessing the powers of two other stones[1]
Hectoid Increased strength[1]
Helicid Allowed user and 200 lbs (91 kg) of possessions to turn gaseous for an hour[1]
Heptid Healed the bearer if they lay dying, but the stone crumbled to dust[1]
Monoclinoid Prevented infravision within 20 ft (6 m)[1]
Nephroid Slight resistance to magic[1]
Ovoid Allowed one to walk on water for 1 hour/day[1]
Octahedron Protected owner with continuous mind blank[1]
Orthorhomboid Increased intellect[1]
Peg Granted ten extra arcs, songs, or winds for Netherese arcanists, bards, or priests, respectively[1]
Pentahedron Allowed owner to move freely for 1 hour/day[1]
Prism Allowed one to see in magical darkness[1]
Pyramid Regenerated wounds or damage[1]
Rectangle Slight resistance to poison[1]
Septahedron Provided the benefit of a strength spell for 1 hour/day[1]
Sexahedron Allowed user and 200 lbs (91 kg) of possessions to teleport, but the stone crumbled to dust[1]
Tile Projected a brief antimagic shell, but the stone crumbled to dust[1]
Tredyhedron Increased wisdom[1]
Ioun stones, −2494 DR onward
Description Benefit Cost (gp)
Triclinid Slight resistance to magical and natural fires[1]
Tubule Granted infravision[1]
Decahedron Allowed the user to go without water indefinitely[1]
Heptahedron Slight resistance to electricity[1]
Lozenge Slight resistance to charm spells[1]
Rhomboid Absorbed injury inflicted on owner, but the stone crumbled to dust[1]
Rod Continuous comprehend languages[1]
Sphere Slight resistance to petrification effects[1]
Stelloid Allowed the user to go without food indefinitely [1]
Tetraption Slight resistance to magical and natural cold[1]


Ioun stones after the Time of Troubles (1358 DR)
Name Description Benefit Cost (gp)
Blood red Enhanced dexterity and attack speed[18]
Blood-red ellipsoid Vampiric regeneration[16]
Deep-purple sphere Protection against poison, as a periapt of proof against poison[16]
Trollblood Increased martial prowess against trolls, and slight health regeneration[18]


Ioun stones after the Year of Wild Magic (1372 DR)
Description Benefit Cost (gp)
Clear spindle May go without food or water[2] 4000
Dusty-rose prism Insight to defense[2] 5000
Deep-red sphere Enhanced agility & dexterity[2] 8000
Incandescent-blue sphere Enhanced wisdom[2] 8000
Pale-blue rhomboid Enhanced strength[2] 8000
Pink rhomboid Enhanced constitution[2] 8000
Pink-and-green sphere Enhanced charisma[2] 8000
Scarlet-and-blue sphere Enhanced intellect[2] 8000
Dark-blue rhomboid Greater alertness[2] 10,000
Vibrant-purple prism Stores spells as a ring of spell storing[2] 36,000
Iridescent spindle May go without air[2] 18,000
Pale-lavender ellipsoid Absorbs low-level spells as a rod of absorption when readied[2] 20,000
Pearly-white spindle May regenerate wounds as a ring of regeneration (for living beings)[2] 20,000
Pale-green prism Greater talent in attack, skill, resistance, and physical and mental feats[2] 30,000
Orange prism Increasing level of spellcasting[2] 30,000
Lavender-and-green ellipsoid Absorbs all but the highest-level spells as a rod of absorption when readied[2] 40,000
Bright silver cylinder Ability to turn ethereal as with a cloak of etherealness[15]
Cerulean blue rhomboid Continuous freedom of movement, as the ring[15]
Dark-green ellipsoid Greater fortune in defense[15]
Dark-orange dodecahedron Resistance to spells[15]
Dark-purple triangle Double the number of 3rd-level spells, as a ring of wizardry III[15]
Dark-purple pyramid Double the number of 4th-level spells, as a ring of wizardry IV[15]
Dark-red cube The ability to read minds, as a medallion of thoughts[15]
Dull-orange rhomboid Absorb magic missiles, as a brooch of shielding[15]
Mottled-gray sphere Counters selected spells, as a ring of counterspells[15]
Pale-white sphere Recalls an already-cast spell, as a pearl of power[15]
Pearlized brown ellipsoid A brief haste effect, as boots of speed[15]
Pearly black spindle May regenerate wounds as a ring of regeneration (for undead beings)[15]
Rich green star A slight boost in fortune in survival, skills, and other acts, as a stone of good luck[15]
Shining black spiral May teleport thrice a day, as a helm of teleportation[15]


Ioun stones around 1479 DR, after the Spellplague
Name Description Benefit Cost (gp)
True Sight Dark blue rhomboid Darkvision, great insight and perceptiveness, and power to see invisible creatures once a day[3] 1,125,000

Appendix

Notes

  1. Apart from the prism, it is unknown which pebbles and stones were created by Congenio and which by fellow arcanists, but it is clear that the majority were made by Congenio. It is also clear that Congenio created some stones that are not listed.

References

  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 1.17 1.18 1.19 1.20 1.21 1.22 1.23 1.24 1.25 1.26 1.27 1.28 1.29 1.30 1.31 1.32 1.33 1.34 1.35 1.36 1.37 1.38 1.39 1.40 1.41 1.42 1.43 1.44 1.45 1.46 1.47 1.48 1.49 1.50 1.51 slade, James Butler (November 1996). Netheril: Empire of Magic (Encyclopedia Arcana). (TSR, Inc.), pp. 5–6. ISBN 0-7869-0437-2.
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 2.14 2.15 2.16 2.17 2.18 2.19 2.20 2.21 2.22 Monte Cook, Jonathan Tweet, Skip Williams (July 2003). Dungeon Master's Guide 3.5 edition. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 260–261. ISBN 0-7869-2889-1.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Rob Heinsoo, Andy Collins, James Wyatt (June 2008). Player's Handbook 4th edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 249. ISBN 0-7869-4867-1.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Matthew P. Hargenrader (October 1991). “Bazaar of the Bizarre: Ioun stones: Where do you go if you want some more?”. In Roger E. Moore ed. Dragon #174 (TSR, Inc.), pp. 90–94.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 5.7 5.8 slade, James Butler (November 1996). Netheril: Empire of Magic (The Winds of Netheril). (TSR, Inc.), pp. 6, 107. ISBN 0-7869-0437-2.
  6. Ed Greenwood, Eric L. Boyd (1996). Volo's Guide to All Things Magical. (TSR, Inc), p. 88. ISBN 0-7869-0446-1.
  7. Ed Greenwood, Eric L. Boyd (1996). Volo's Guide to All Things Magical. (TSR, Inc), p. 36. ISBN 0-7869-0446-1.
  8. Ed Greenwood, Eric L. Boyd (1996). Volo's Guide to All Things Magical. (TSR, Inc), p. 38. ISBN 0-7869-0446-1.
  9. Ed Greenwood, Eric L. Boyd (1996). Volo's Guide to All Things Magical. (TSR, Inc), pp. 41–42. ISBN 0-7869-0446-1.
  10. Ed Greenwood, Eric L. Boyd (1996). Volo's Guide to All Things Magical. (TSR, Inc), p. 43. ISBN 0-7869-0446-1.
  11. Ed Greenwood, Eric L. Boyd (1996). Volo's Guide to All Things Magical. (TSR, Inc), p. 46. ISBN 0-7869-0446-1.
  12. Ed Greenwood, Eric L. Boyd (1996). Volo's Guide to All Things Magical. (TSR, Inc), p. 49. ISBN 0-7869-0446-1.
  13. Brian R. James and Ed Greenwood (September, 2007). The Grand History of the Realms. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 28. ISBN 978-0-7869-4731-7.
  14. slade, James Butler (November 1996). Netheril: Empire of Magic (The Winds of Netheril). (TSR, Inc.), p. 4. ISBN 0-7869-0437-2.
  15. 15.00 15.01 15.02 15.03 15.04 15.05 15.06 15.07 15.08 15.09 15.10 15.11 15.12 15.13 15.14 Sean K. Reynolds, Jason Carl (November 2001). Lords of Darkness. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 161–162. ISBN 0-7869-1989-2.
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 Ed Greenwood, Eric L. Boyd (1996). Volo's Guide to All Things Magical. (TSR, Inc), pp. 121–122. ISBN 0-7869-0446-1.
  17. Ed Greenwood (November 1998). The City of Ravens Bluff. (TSR, Inc), p. 154. ISBN 0-7869-1195-6.
  18. 18.0 18.1 Beamdog (March 2016). Designed by Philip Daigle, et al. Baldur's Gate: Siege of Dragonspear. Beamdog.
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