Rare gems and IOUN stones

by mshrm

I’ve got no intuitive sense of the size of gems at all. I’m using Treasure Tables, so randomly-rolled gems are of a realistic size, usually around 1-2 carets. My initial take was, that sounds pretty small, but when you look, even a 1 caret diamond is impressive. Ten and twenty caret gems are plenty big enough to give that “the size of a bird’s egg” feeling.

The size of gemstones is on my mind, because I’m revisiting one of my favorite magic items: the IOUN stone. I first encountered them in the 1st edition DMG, and from that time, I’ve been fascinated with them. They originally came from Jack Vance’s “Dying Earth” books, which I’m currently reading for the first time. (Slowly. Very slowly. I just don’t have the time to read that I used to.)  They’re magical gems that revolve around their owner’s head like the planets revolve around the sun. They provide different magical effects, varying according to the shape and color of stone.

I’ve put together a quick list of IOUN stones that I’ll be using in the DF game. It isn’t exhaustive, by any means. I agonized over the prices for a while, then finally decided the benefits and penalties evened out, so there’s no need to price them any different than, say, a ring offering the same powers.

Regarding the prices: they’re there for bookkeeping purposes. Practically speaking, they aren’t found for sale. (Not to scruffy delver-types, at least.) Furthermore, they’re prized by wizards all out of proportion to their nominal value, so anyone attempting to sell one will get a reaction bonus.

  • Aquamarine pyramid, 5 caret, Breathe Water, 24 pt dedicated reserve ($10,310)
  • Aquamarine rhomboid, 3 caret, Resist Water (always on) ($4,630)
  • Diamond disk, 3 caret, Silver Tongue (always on) ($12,840)
  • Diamond prism, 1 caret, Turn Blade, 6 pt dedicated reserve ($6,440)
  • Emerald disk, 2 caret, Jump 3, 9 pt dedicated reserve ($15,780)
  • Emerald pentacle, 4 caret, Jump 6, 18 pt dedicated reserve ($31,840)
  • Jade spindle, 4 caret, Bravery (always on) ($10,640)
  • Jet ellipsoid, 6 caret, Haste 3, 36 pt dedicated reserve ($17,040)
  • Moonstone spindle, 2 caret, Blur 2, 12 pt dedicated reserve ($4,840)
  • Moonstone teardrop, 4 caret, Hold Breathe, 24 pt dedicated reserve ($19,920)
  • Quartz prism, 4 caret, Grace +1, 24 pt dedicated reserve ($41,440)
  • Quartz rhomboid, 8 caret, Grace +2, 48 pt dedicated reserve ($83,360)
  • Quartz sphere, 4 caret, Climbing +2, 6 pt dedicated reserve ($10,720)
  • Ruby cabochon*, 3 caret, Might 3, 36 pt dedicated reserve ($92,175)
  • Ruby ellipsoid, 1 caret, Might 1, 12 pt dedicated reserve ($30,655)
  • Sapphire pyramid, 2 caret, Resist Acid (always on) ($16,420)
  • Turquoise sphere, 3 caret, Resist Lightning (always on) ($20,420)


* A cabochon has a flat back and a convex face. Think of old fashioned necklaces with a rounded, oval stone.