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Friday, February 15, 2008

The Fantasy Anniversary Materials Gift List (Part 2)

The list of Fantasy Anniversary Materials concludes today, on Valentine's Day. You can see part one here.

Year 13 - Fairies

Pressed Fairy books make good gifts, although they really upset the fairies. Tinkerbell's sister is quoted as saying, "Every time you kill a fairy, ten more die from sadness, you stinking jerk." And then she promptly died from anger (they're very fragile), only to be pressed into a book herself. A veteran fairy hunter once told me, "If you just clap a lot afterwards, and shout, 'I believe in fairies!' it makes it all better. At least I feel better." Lady Cottington provides a variety of pressed fairy products, if you don't have the time to make your own. You can give your wife fairy dust if you or your wife have a problem with murdering fairies and pasting them into scrapbooks.

Year 14 - Moonstones

Moonstones have quite a number of uses throughout the fantasy realms. Possible gifts include magical moonstones that allow limited teleportation, moonstones you can feed to pokemon to make them evolve, and moonstones that can be used alternatively as fuel and weaponry on certain brands of air ship.

My favorite type is the Britannian moonstone. Found only in the lands of Britannia and Old Sosaria, these create portals called moon gates. Each stone is attuned to a certain phase of the moon, and opens its gate for a limited time when the moon is that phase. To work, they must be buried in the spot where you want the moon gate to appear. Unfortunately, where they teleport you to is somewhat unpredictable (at least for me), and Mister Troll and I got lost in Britannia many years ago for about four months. Trolls are heavily persecuted there, so Mister Troll had a bad time. Even though their king is always touting his "eight virtues," most people are pretty insensitive towards anyone who is not human. However, I got to meet a nice talking horse, and I collected about eight moonstones in total for my collection. I hear they're pretty rare there now.

Year 15 - Silver

Anniversary 15 is the worst anniversary for werewolves. Beware to the naive husband who puchases a set of expensive silverware for his afflicted wife. She's bound to fly into a rage at his insensitivity to her condition, and change into beast form right there. He'll be lucky to avoid getting his head bitten off, literally. At least he'll have something with which to defend himself if the date goes bad. Highly polished stainless steel is an appropriate replacement in this situation.

For the rest of us, silver is kind of boring. Silverware is good, silver tea sets are good, silver jewelry is good, and silver-coated weapons are good. Sorry werewolf lovers, but not everyone likes drooling disease-ridden mongrel people who want to eat or infect everyone else with their nasty disease.

Year 16 - Element: Earth

First, I have a warning about all of the elemental anniversaries. Crass gifts are the domain of cretins. This includes the infamous "broken wind" gift and other bodily functions that can be roughly associated with the elements, or lighting on fire any of these things for the Fire Anniversary. If you subscribe to this behavior, you deserve a divorce as your present. I know you've been married a long time, and you're comfortable with each other, etc., but have some class.

Okay, back to the Earth Anniversary. Rock golems are very helpful for general work around the house, smiting annoying monsters or passers-by, or lifting the diminutive woman to high cupboards and shelves. Sculptures are good, especially if you are artistically inclined and build one yourself. A magical garden can be a nice surprise, but you had better staff it with a golem. Most people don't want a gift that requires them to work.

Year 17 - Element: Water

Vials of enchanted holy water in crystal decanters are pretty, and get a good reception. Fountains are nice, but expensive, and need cleaning (no problem if you got her that golem last year). Surprisingly, I have also seen a bidet go over well, but do you really want to give your wife one of those?

In my opinion, however, these all pale in comparison to the ultimate Water Anniversary gift: A Magical Vacation (tm). They're easy to charter, and fun for the whole family. Take her someplace tropical, such as Port-au-Prince-Charming. Just beware of rich handsome guys bearing glass slippers. Also, I hear tales of a guy named Lancelot who hangs out there, hoping to attract attached women. He'll probably leave your wife alone unless she's a queen, however.

Year 18 - Element: Wind

If you were smart, and saved some fairy dust from Year 13, you're all set. Magical Vacations(tm) by airship are a good choice. Wind chimes work if you're on a budget. Musical wind instruments can work, too, but avoid the horns of blasting. Although such an item can be handy, it is a tempting tool for the wife who cannot get her husband's attention (and we've all been there). These poor husbands have learned that it's much better to be screamed at then blown through the living room wall.

Little-known fact: Baba Yaga's flying hut was a gift to her on Year 18. She kicked her husband out when she discovered that the hut had chicken legs, and this was because he bought it at Yoko's Bizarre Flea Market and Circus Freak Seconds. To this day, he watches the sky and searches for large chicken tracks in the dirt, hoping to find her and apologize. Let this be a lesson to you: don't be a cheapo.

Year 19 - Element: Fire

Braziers of Incense are nice for keeping your house smelling like potpourri, which your wife may enjoy. Don't mistakenly pick up an Incensing Brazier, however. They are very different things. Ever-flaming candles are good if you promise many romantic nights to go with them. If your wife is the evil type, a flaming pit trap might be more her style.

Little-known fact: Hansel and Gretel were almost cooked in an anniversary gift. That's right, the witch received her oven from her husband on Year 19, and later cooked herself in it. It was a fitting end for her, because she used it to make her husband into cookie siding for her house years before her own demise.

Year 20 - Gold

It's the currency of many lands, so one of the easiest to lay hands on. However, if you give your wife a bag of coins on anniversary night, she's going to get the wrong impression. Weapons are no good, unless they're just ornamental. The "in" gift right now is Egyptian-style artifacts. Just don't get a cursed one, unless you're eager to fight mummies or have your little dog dance around in a circle until it falls over. You can find lots of uncursed and cleansed items at Portal 1 Imports.

Year 25 - Adamantium

Be aware that most people selling Adamantium are lying. These people try to pass off titanium alloys as the rare magical metal. If you come across a seller, you should give him a good drubbing, and then offer 1/10 the price. Then you can pass it off to your wife as the real thing, and save yourself some hassle. If you're lucky, you actually got the real thing at a deep discount. Testing for authentic Adamantium is a difficult process involving a sleeping dwarf, a vise, and a large hammer. Unless you want to risk the Dwarven Tentacle Oath (I don't know what this is, and don't want to know), or can pay off Snow White and her friends to let you borrow Grumpy for a while, then it's best just to settle for a knockoff. Whether you confess that it is a knockoff or not is up to you.

Year 30 - Orichalcum

This reddish-gold magical metal has the same problem as Adamantium, except the hucksters are selling copper-gold alloys and brass. Orichalcum is difficult to get, but there is one sure way to put your hands on it: Steal it.

The Prophets of the Unconquered Sun run a temple down in Exalted City. It's a big ziggurat covered in Orichalcum plates. Stealing a few plates is easy, and you can even do it in broad daylight if you're good. Once you have the plates, you can get a local smith to fashion them into whatever you want. The secret is that the Prophets want you to steal it.

Exalted City is a tourist trap for old people (like you on Anniversary 30), and the Prophets are at the center of it all. And they run a big business buying back Orichalcum objects at estate sales and pawn shops. They actually make more money off you while you're in town than they lose from your theft. Sucker!

Year 35 - Mithril

Mithril can be found in Middle Earth, and that's it. Everything else you find outside of Middle Earth, even if it's got the official stamp, is fake. It looks similar, and the metal is mined from the same caves.... However, the guy in charge has the process all wrong, doesn't refine the metal or shape it right. He didn't really learn the craft correctly from his dear departed dad, a true craftsman. In effect, Chris (the guy) is just profiting off the official brand.

Year 40 - Star Metal

Star metal is any strange metal that fell from the sky. If you throw any old hunk of metal high enough and let fall back to the ground, you can call it star metal. The official height necessary is 1000 hill giants tall. You might need some help throwing it. And finding it afterwards.

If it has a pleasing shape, it will make a good gift. There's just something special about raw star metal. Just wait for it to stop smoking before you give it to her.

Year 45 - Ioun Stones

Ioun Stones are shining, multicolored, floating stones harvested from the cores of stars. After you touch one, it will revolve around your head. They are said to give you magical powers as well. I'm sure any wife would be happy to have a couple.

They're actually not as hard to find as you might think. Ever since their original discovery, they have become rather common in the D&D worlds. Most people don't even know where they came from originally.

I know a guy named Rhialto. He calls himself "the Marvellous!" because he has "more Ioun stones than any other wizard! Even more than Ildefonse, ha ha!" Anyway, I don't see what powers they give him other than to make him so dizzy he falls over every time I call his name on the street. That's why I don't recommend more than a couple.

Year 50 - Ancient Technology

If you make it as a couple for this long , the Tech Anniversary will probably be your most exciting anniversary. Ancient technology, inscrutable, covered in a fine layer of metallic dust, always makes a unique gift. It also makes a fine show piece that you'll be able to talk about incessantly for your last few years alive.

My advice for gift purchases is to go with your gut, and get whatever strikes your fancy. It doesn't matter what it does, because part of the joy of this anniversary is the discovery process. Once she receives it, and gets over her initial rush of excitement, you can both fiddle with it until you discover its obscure purpose, whether that is burning someone to a crisp, transporting your wife to another dimension, summoning the Council of Time Lords, or giving your left foot its own personality.

This can be dangerous, but so what? You're freakin' old. If this was a medieval universe instead of a fantasy one, you'd be dead three times over. Live a little! Have fun with your new toy!

Maybe you'll get lucky and find in an old book shop the legendary technical manual, How to Become a Cyber-Lich in Twelve Easy Steps complete with mechanical assistant. If this happens, don't call me from your floating metal coffin. I don't care if it's installed with a telepathic intertron or what-have-you, I don't know what comes after year 50. Maybe I'll research it in a few years, and I'll put out a new article called "The Fantasy Anniversary Materials - The Immortal Years." Until then, you're out of luck.

One last thing. If you think you bought a bomb, take it back. Have a little respect for the lives of those around you who haven't reached year 50 yet.