Let me make this clear: I'm not here to litigate the events that transpired in a smuggler's cave or whose fault it is (or isn't) that all of the smugglers wound up stabbed, incinerated, or shoved-off-ledges to death. I'm just here to talk about what someone, and I won't say who, may have found while innocently rummaging through the horribly murdered smugglers' treasure chests in Baldur's Gate 3.
The treasure in question is a pair of very rare magical gloves called Abyss Beckoners. Their value in gold was enough to convince me not to feed them to Gale and their description was interesting enough for me to try them on.
The Abyss Beckoners start off sounding great:
- Demonspirit Aura: The wearer's summoned creature has resistance to all damage except Psychic Damage.
So… when I summon my bear or wolf it will be resistant to melee and ranged weapons, fire, ice, and whatever else besides psychic damage? That sounds great! I love sending my bear into battle (especially when I have four bears at once) and I don't love when it gets hurt.
But there's more, and here's where the confusing part comes in:
- At the start of the summoned creature's turn, it must succeed a Wisdom Saving Throw or be driven Mad.
That's less great. So I can summon a demon bear (or demon cat, or demon frog) but it might, at the start of each round, just go utterly bonkers? How does that even work?
I put the gloves on, and sure enough, the description is accurate. I summon a bear and it appears in a puff of embers, its eyes fiery and glowing, looking like a demonic bear. It stands there as I stare at it, then a moment later there's a saving throw, which it passes. Nothing happens. I continue staring. A moment later, another saving throw. This time, it fails. And then it attacks my party.
After I've killed my beautiful demon bear son (sniffle) I start trying to figure out the point, exactly, of these Abyss Beckoners. And they're even weirder than I initially thought because they don't technically summon a demon bear (or raven, or crab) on the brink of insanity. What the gloves actually do is form a circle around the summoner that's about six meters in diameter. Any summons inside that circle are of the demonspirit variety with the glowing fire eyes and the high odds of abruptly going berserk all over you.
But if you move your summoned creature outside that circle it will revert to a normal summon. Step back in, it gets fire-eyes and starts making saving throws again. Below is a gif of me testing it on Wyll the warlock's summoned cat. Look closely and you can see the cat's eyes go from hellspawn to normal to hellspawn as it moves in and out of the circle. It also passes a saving throw at one point:
But I'm having trouble understanding how these gloves would be helpful in a fight. In the case of my ranger I can't summon creatures once I'm in combat, so I'd need to take time during the fight to put the gloves on to turn my already-summoned creature into a demon spawn. For a wizard or someone who can summon creatures while in combat, you have to be within a few meters of the creature at all times which puts you just as much at risk of being attacked as your enemy. It seems way too dicey to try even if things are going really poorly in a fight.
Or is that the point? It's just a tradeoff of more powerful creature versus a good chance it'll bite you instead of your enemy?
The other issue is, the resistance spoken of in the description doesn't even seem all that great. Killing a summoned bear and wolf that turned on me wasn't even remotely difficult, even with non-magical weapons. The cons of these gloves seem to seriously outweigh the pros, unless I'm missing some high level strategy—which is certainly possible.
I tried the gloves in a couple fights against goblins and a bugbear. My two summons were a crab and a bear, and the crab immediately lost its mind and attacked the bear, pinching its butt. Later the bear lost its mind and attacked Shadowheart, and while chasing a goblin I moved the gloves far enough away from the crab and bear for them to both revert to normal. At no point was any of this useful to anything or anyone. Though I do like how bears and crabs look with glowing eyes.
So, help me out? What are these gloves actually for? In what situation would they be a good thing? Is it normal for a game to have weird, confusing magic items no one really wants?
The only thing I've personally found worth doing with these gloves is to summon a dire raven and run around exploring the world with my party. Every now and then my raven will fail its saving throw, lose its mind, and begin clawing someone's eyes out. Then, since it's a giant flappy bird, it will use the rest of its turn to retreat to a safe distance, thus exiting the Abyss Beckoners' circle of influence and returning to normal and ending the combat before anyone has a chance to attack it. Then I start running around again, at which point it's only a matter of time until my raven starts clawing at someone's face.
I know that doesn't sound useful, and it's not! But it's sorta like playing angry giant raven Russian roulette, and that's kinda funny. At least it spices things up a bit while exploring. If for some odd reason you want these gloves for yourself,
I found them someone found them in the dead totally alive smugglers' chest in Zhentarim Hideout.