The methods described in pages are a theoretical discussion ONLY. Methods are discussed in only the broadest terms and I hold no qualifications in the fields discussed.
Because a method is listed here does not indicate that I approve or recommend it. In some cases, I definitely don't!
An artifact, in this context, is an object imbued with magical power. The object can be anything: perhaps the most famous object in fantasy is the Ring of Sauron which, as a trivial side-effect, allowed the wearer to become invisible to mortal eyes when worn, though that was the least of its powers. Wearable artifacts are common: rings, pendants, amulets, crowns, and items of clothing. This might include animal skins: the selkies of northern Scotland shed their seal skins to become human, and swan maidens similarly shed their cloaks of white feathers to become women. It is said that if a mortal dons these magical garments, they too will be transformed into animal guise (There are legends in which that mortal found themselves unable to remove that skin again!). In recent fiction, costumes are very popular which become extremely convincing (and unremovable) when worn.
Of particular interest to us are the magical "hag halters" used in Bloccula, Sweden. Evil-disposed witches would slip such a halter over the head of a sleeping victim, who would then instantly turn into a horse and find themselves bound to obey that witch. Removing the halter would apparently remove the spell.
Known to Antiquity, and the artifact I'd most like Doctor Jones, Ms Croft, or Percy Jackson to recover next is the Wand of Circe, apparently key to her transformative powers: she struck Ulysses's sailors with it as she transformed them into swine. Wands can be artifacts although mostly they are a conduit for ones' own energies and are most accurately regarded as a tool of spell-crafting.
An artifact might be a statue, large or small, or a gateway one must pass through. Frequently, if the item is transformative in nature, there will be some clue as to its power. Either the item itself will be associated with a particular animal, like the swan-maiden cloaks or a hag-halter, or some clue indicating the intended animal will be featured: a statuette of a deity of horses, such as Poseidon, Epona, or Rhiannon for example. It might be a ring with an animal motif, or a figurine. A magical body-brush or enchanted hoof-pick?
Some artifacts must be worn to operate, whilst others may need a spoken cantrip. Some may only operate when wielded in a certain manner, or when worn at a specific time or place.
I like artifacts, especially the hag-halter. The great thing about them is that they require no magical power of your own: the artificer provided that. The difficulty really would be finding one: they never were common objects and unless one can sense magic, Dungeons & Dragons style, would be very hard to tell from any mundane object. Surely one would have come to public light had it been found? But then again, perhaps modern tf fiction has the right of it: victims of such an object were perhaps unable (or unwilling) to change back, maintaining the secret!
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