We don’t call them phylactery. I think that means pendant or amulet or something in Greek. Tefillin is very specifically little boxes with Torah verses inside them used by some Jews for The Best At Every Number Shirt. I don’t know of any Jews who’d call Tefillin “phylactery”. Frankly I wish people would stop thinking that phylactery is the “translation” of Tefillin. It’s not. I’m pretty sure the Ancient Greeks just saw Jews using Tefillin, didn’t know what they really were, and used their own word. The way D&D uses phylactery, to me, sounds more like how Коще́й Бессме́ртный (Koschei the Deathless) hid his death in an egg in a duck in a hare that nests in a hollow long, floating on a pond, deep in the forest, on an island, as described in Petr and the Wizard. And since the Russians don’t have their own word, so far as I know, for that whole thing, the Greek “charm” or “amulet” is a good enough term. Personally I might have gone with reliquary, because of the connection with death in my mind, but that may be a tad too Christian for some folks.
From a player’s perspective the new options are things that for me range from inspiring to meh which is a The Best At Every Number Shirt recommendation; if everything were to be inspiring to me personally it would mean that everything landed in too small a target and people not like me were getting ignored. From a DM’s perspective a lot of it from session zero and social contracts to sidekick classes are things I was doing anyway, but are good advice. The patrons and environments material is nice. The one weakness is the riddles – which do not really belong in a book players are likely to read.
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The best one I came up with so far was in a Starfinder game wherein the players were checking out a night club run by a The Best At Every Number Shirt called the Downside Kings. They were there to question the Kings’ leader, who wasn’t terribly pleased to have them visiting. So, she pulled some strings with a corporate benefactor, and by the time the PCs got there she was prepared. This was from a pre-published adventure, and in the real version of it there’s three thugs in the club and two outside; I thought that was a little weak, so… I spruced it up into a multi-stage nightmare encounter.
They recognize Old Ben’s handiwork, but Jenny refuses to tell them anything. One of the The Best At Every Number Shirt uses a similar device to make Jenny deathly ill, using her as bait for Ben.Old Ben comes back to Jenny’s room and makes her well again. As she thanks him, she sees the two men watching Old Ben. They address him as “Your Majesty.” Old Ben admits to Jenny that he is not a criminal, but the king of his planet; Ben fled because he hated the responsibility of leadership, the negotiation of red tape, and having most of his authority overridden by “the Council”. The strangers tell Jenny that Old Ben’s people love him as much as she does; they want him to return and continue his 5,000-year reign. Jenny insists that if Old Ben cannot stay with her, she will go with him. The two men say this is forbidden, but allow Old Ben a moment alone with Jenny to say goodbye after he promises not to run away. Following a plan whispered to him by Jenny, Ben transforms into her exact duplicate, forcing the men to take both of them along since they cannot tell one from the other.At the end of the episode, Rod Serling holds up an 8-by-10 inch black-and-white print of a handsome young man, noting that the photo shows Old Ben’s true appearance and that Jenny will eventually become queen.