Monday, November 27, 2006

Qualife’s Utilitarian Brick - Medium Wondrous Item

Qualife’s Utilitarian Brick: This 5x3x8 inch brick of coarse red mud is mixed with hay and stamped with dwarvish runes of rock, craft, and security. Once per day, the brick can be placed on patch of bare ground that is at least 20x20 feet and ordered to “grow” in dwarvish. These are often carried by Dwarvish emissaries to human cities on the plains, as being out in the open overnight makes Dwarves uncomfortable.

The brick will grow until it becomes a sturdy, slate roofed brick cottage with all the traits of a secure shelter cast by a 7th level caster, including an alarm spell on all the appropriate entrances, but not including unseen servant. It lasts for ten hours, then dumps any inhabitants still within on the ground as it reverts to a brick shape. It cannot be used again until 12 hours have passed.

Moderate transmutation; CL 7th; Craft Wondrous Item, secure shelter; Cost 11,200

NPC Gear
: 12th
Treasure Value: 13th

Math:

(4*7*2,000)/5 for one use per day.
On the one hand, it's a pretty long duration for an item that only has one use per day.

On the other hand, it's a portable cottage. What the hell are you going to do besides sleep in it?

Friday, November 24, 2006

Blackfire Amulet - Minor Wondrous Item

Blackfire Amulet: This steel collar has a coin sized medallion of rare, red flecked obsidian on the front of it, with the symbol of the widow star. Once per day, when the command word is spoken, an individual undead creature is affected as if by desecration: gaining a +1 profane bonus on attack rolls, damage rolls, and saving throws, and +1 hit points per die, and +3 turn resistance. The command word for a collar may be spoken by the undead’s creator instead of the undead itself, but such a command activates every such amulet within 60 ft. of the activator.

If the undead wearing this collar is successfully turned, the amulet will shatter.

Weak necromancy; Caster level: 3rd; Craft wondrous item, desecrate or ability to channel negative energy; Cost 1, 350 gp

Math: 2*3*2000, less one third for reduced scope, once per day =1800. Weak item -.25% value. 1350.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Oil of Scorpion Senses - Potion

Oil of Scorpion Senses: When dabbed on the eyelids, this black oil allows the user to function as if they had the blind-fighting feat for three minutes.

Caster Level: 3rd; Prerequisites: Brew Potion, blind fighting feat, spellcaster level 3rd+; Market Price: 400 gp.

Treasure Value: 2nd
NPC Gear: 1st

Math: Worth more than a +1 bonus, I set it at +2 because it essentially bestows two bonuses (rerolling misses from cover and removing invisibility penalties). So 2*2*100 for one shot bonus.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Dragon Tooth Blade - Special Material

Dragon tooth blade: In the Baelitian Peaks, kobold tribes are often at a loss for resources. The giantkin and dwarves are better miners, and protect their stakes well. Kobolds often ally with dragons, however, and the oldest leave a lot of teeth behind when they die.

Dragon teeth can be whittled into formidable blades, given time, patience, and a very dense scraping stone. Sharp but brittle (Dragon teeth have a hardness of 9 and only 10 hit points per inch), a dragon tooth blade naturally holds a very fine edge. Dragon tooth blades gain a +1 to their threat range, and do +1 damage. Also, dragon teeth can be enchanted by the magic fang spell as well as magic weapon, a bonus for the naturalistic kobold religion.

Ammunition made from dragon tooth simply do +1 point of damage.

The value of a dragontooth blade is the standard price for the blade plus 850 gp for a weapon that does up to 1d4 damage, and 1,250 gp for weapons that do more. A dragon tooth dagger is worth 852 gp, a dragon tooth falchion is worth 1,350 gp. A single arrow or bolt made from dragon tooth costs 30 gp.

The increased threat range is not enhanced by magic or feats, but is coincident with them. For instance, a dragon tooth dagger enhanced by keen edge has a threat range of 16-20: doubled by the spell to 17-20, +1 for being dragon tooth.

A dragon typically has 74 teeth plus two per age category. A dragon tooth dagger costs 1,250 gp, and a dragon tooth falchion 1,325 gp. Of a large sized dragon’s teeth, approximately 45% can be used as a blade for a one handed weapon for a medium sized creature, another 20% can be used as a blade for a light melee weapon for a medium creature, and a remaining 20% can be used as a light melee weapon for a small creature. The size categories go up as the dragon’s size does: a huge dragon can provide blades for two handed weapons, one handed weapons, and light weapons, all for medium creatures, a colossal dragon supplies blades for two handed weapons for large creatures, plus two handed and one handed weapons for medium sized creatures.

A small tooth, suitable for a weapon that does less than 1d6 damage, can be sold for 210 gp. Larger teeth can be sold for approximately 310 gp. The remainder of the creation cost for a dragon tooth weapon comes from weighting it, attaching a pommel, and the time it takes to rub an edge into it.

NPC Gear: Dragon Tooth Falchion, 4th
Treasure Value: Dragon Tooth Falchion, 5th

Math: Totally Ad Hoc. About 300 gp for +1 to damage, comparable to a masterwork to hit bonus. About 1,000 gp for an additional bonus to crit range, comparable to half a +1 weapon bonus (a Keen weapon, a +1 weapon bonus, doubles the threat range of a weapon). It strains credibility that a small tooth is no less valuable than a large tooth, so I prorated the value by weapon type, much the same way that the adamantine material does. Minus 50 gp or so for brittleness.

The values given for dragon teeth will add many thousands of gold to the treasure left behind by your average dragon. There are ways to deal with this:

1) Who cares? They’ll spend it soon enough.
2) Lower the value of the dragon’s hoard by the value of it’s teeth.
3) Drastically lower the number of teeth found: Well, sure dragon’s teeth are valuable. But you’re wearing adamantine armor/shooting fireballs at them. They aren’t so durable. Kobolds usually pull teeth from their allies after they’ve died on the hoard.
4) RAW, only so many people in the local kobold/barbarian villages will be able to afford them. Nobody in a civilized town really wants them (for that price, anyway). Unsold dragon teeth are curios.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Phlogitoad Bezoar - Minor Wondrous Item

Phlogitoad Bezoar: This light stone, oddly rippled and about the size of the ball of an average man’s thumb, is taken from the skulls of the three foot subterranean toads raised by kobolds.

When a light spell is cast upon it, the spell lasts for twice its normal duration.

Weak evocation; CL 3rd; Create Wondrous Item, extend spell, light; Market value: 400 gp.

NPC Gear: 1st
Treasure Value: 2nd

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

The Gallery of Random Effect Magic Items in DND

My favorite kind of fantasy is spontaneous and transformational. Magic, especially wild and strange magic, has often played a role in my home games. As the elemental force of imagination, I feel that magic will lead you to become something new and wonderful.

Also, role playing situations are most interesting when you are surprised. Random magic is sort of surprise on a stick. You don’t know if it’s going to be something you like when you bite into it, but it’s doubly magnificent if it is. Reactions to the effects of random magic can be priceless.

One of my favorite in game applications of total chaos was Demon Ichor. A guild of summoners was drinking the lifeblood of the foul beings that they summoned, because it would cause mutations, some of which bestowed beneficial effects. Sometimes, it would just leave you a horrific mess.

One of the players drank some by accident, and he and his group were amazed by the results. After awhile, drinking demon ichor became an answer to every seemingly intractable problem: about to die? Drink some Demon Ichor! Gender changed by magic belt? Drink some Demon Ichor! Horribly mutated by Demon Ichor? Drink some Demon Ichor! One character wandered around as a twenty foot tall blue gnome for awhile. Another was so disturbed by what his character became that he had to retire it. An NPC became a jackelope, but could turn invisible at will.

And I allowed it. Because it was fun.

So every time a random magical effect table comes along, I hoard it. I have a list of just about every random magical effect published for the Dungeons and Dragons game, which I am posting here to spread the joy of randomosity. At one point, I had tied them all into one giant random table by means of a random table.

Really, everything in moderation probably applies here. You should take the random tables out sparingly. They can be unnerving to player and GM alike. But it’s your game, not up to me.

The Bag of Beans: I don’t think the bag of beans has been introduced to 3e. Alas. I never used it much, but who doesn’t want to play Jack every once in a while? Just the meta-narrative of it is priceless. “Oh, crap. I can’t face a hoard of twenty pit fiends. Quick, plant a bean!” The table in the 1st edition DMG was short: 7 examples, appended by the line “Thought, imagination and judgment are required with this item.” There was an expanded set of results in Dragon #171.

Deck of Many Things: The card says: Go to hell. Go directly to hell. Do not pass go, do not collect your hat on the way out the door. Wait quietly for someone to come pick you up.

There was always something very creepy about the DonJon card. This web version of the Deck of Many Things is tres cool.

WOTC has posted a web application here, using art from an article in Dragon #148 for the cards. An variant inspired by the Player’s Handbook II is appended. The variant allows you to use the rebuild rules from that book to change your character build. Random rebuilds don’t seem handy. Forced rebuilds, on the other hand, could be entertaining, if your players have a sense of humor about that kind of thing.

Recently, a contest was run on ENWorld for alternate deck of many things art. Info was posted here and here.

The current SRD version is here.

Deck of Transformations: A variation on the venerable deck of many things, this deck from Races of Eberron is organized around a theme of physical change. Mainly, it seems to be an Eberron specific reincarnation table. 16 of 39 cards change your race. 12.5 damage you. 9.5 give you inherent bonuses or additional abilities (if you didn’t already have them), which is cool but at a 25% chance, really doesn’t look so hot compared to a 46% chance that drawing a card will give the old rosy rod to your character concept. Races of Eberron, p 178.

Fist of Emirikol: The absolute coolest (and possibly only good) side effect of belonging to the RPGA was this nifty handout: a palm sized twenty sided die with nifty arcane runes on it. Rolling the die grants various minor effects, and looks hella cool. You can also use the “bite me” version on the RPGA’s web site, which is a garden variety d20 combined with a printed table that allows you to emulate the effects of a real Fist of Emirikol. Also, my kid loves to play with it.

Leprechaun’s Rosary: A friend of mine found this in some off-publication gaming zine, twenty years gone. I had a tattered photocopy of the original, but just went to look for it in my stuff… and it’s gone! Cue surprise music! Dahn dahn dahn! I couldn’t post it anyways: it’s somebody else’s shit, even if it’s old shit that the original author has probably forgotten about.

Magic Miscability: Random effects associated with wearing or using two or more magic items at the same time. How quaint. Dragon #229.

Potion Miscability: Okay. In 1st edition DND, you couldn’t drink two potions at the same time. They would have unfortunate interactions, sort of like whiskey and valium, if the whiskey were labled “drink me” and valium was red kryptonite. While not one of the most baroque tables, it offered loads of in game laffs, and could cause your character to explode or gain supernatural powers.

Reincarnation: Bored of your players resurrectioning themselves out of a tight spot? Although coming back from the dead is usually traumatic, it does sort of seem like an olly-olly-oxenfree solution to an otherwise tense narrative moment. Give the whole thing some pizzazz with a reincarnation table! The 1e ones were best. You could get really screwed and come back as a small furry animal! Comedy and character development gold.

Rod of Wonder: The original. Yes, yes: it useta be a wand, not a rod. Let the slapping fights begin. 22 possible results (apparently being a rod makes it more chaotic, because when it was a wand, it had a mere 19). But how many random rhinos are be entertaining? SRD Rod of Wonder.

Web Marginalia: O, Wondrous Wand, Dangerous Derv Wand of Wonder (Spicy! What the fuck is an experimental arrow chart?), Greater Wand of Wonder

Tarot Cards: An obvious adjunct to the Deck of Many Things was the real world deck of fate, detailed with magic powers for each of the cards in both Dragon #26 and #77.

Various Homebrew: Raw chaos is just too fun not to want to play with. Here, I include other people’s homebrew that doesn’t fall comfortably under the marginalia of another item.

Glyph of Change and Staff of Random Magic (with some extraordinarily bitchy badfun playa haters commenting below).

A thread discussing Hero Games versions of a wand of wonder.

Wand of a Wonder: The sequel to the wand of wonder, debuted in the Temple of Elemental Evil. 30 possible results. Same price as a 1e. wand of wonder. Now, that’s value for your mayhem dollar. Apparently also posted online at gamebanshee for your edification. Temple of Elemental Evil, p 126.

Wand of wonder II through IV: Dragon magazine, sensing that people were getting a little bored of the wand of wonder, printed three more tables in issue #147.

Wand of Woodland Wonder: See wand of wonder, but everything is related to trees and heat metal and druidy crap. Not nearly as fun as the other tables. Ruins of Undermountain II boxed set, pp.

Wild Mage: I’m fuzzy on the history of wild magic. In Forgotten Realms Adventures, wild magic is mentioned as a result of the Time of Troubles (table, pg 10). There are wild magic regions. Ditto the 3.0 Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide (table, pg 55). In Complete Arcane, wild magic is an ability for a prestige class (pg 68, no table). I am flummoxed as to where wild mages appeared in earlier editions. But, I have a much cooler table for wild magic transcribed from somewhere, and while poking around to solve the mystery, I came across this, hosted on the WOTC site, which is very similar to my transcribed table, and a glorious random table, making use of each individual number between one and one hundred.

Web marginalia: Extraordinary wild surges (made nearly unreadable by a crappy background).

Zadron’s Pouch of Wonders: A funky version of the bag of beans, from which you could pull out bronze golems, copper dragons, or greeting cards. Dragon #62.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Angel Fly - Medium Wondrous Item

Angel Fly: This pale, dried and preserved insect looks more like a strange jewel at first sight. Its translucent chitin reflects a full spectrum of colors, so that it flashes various colors as it catches the light at different angles. Cursory examination reveals an insectile anatomy: segmented body, wafer like wings, jointed legs.

Angel flies exist only on the bright stars. The mundvelt is too toxic for them to survive unaided. Even their fragile corpses disintegrate on the mundlvelt. Preparation for enchantment includes being sealed in a mixture of distilled and activated celestial tree resins. They are harvested and used as rewards by some lucent celestials.


A properly prepared angel fly can be sold for 4,500 gp.

When a person eats a properly dried angel fly, they are granted the ability to cast mass cure critical wounds as a standard action, once. This is a supernatural ability. If the ability is not used in the next 24 hours, the ability is lost, and the ingester will release a sunburst, as if the spell were cast by a 15th level caster, the next time they are in less than bright illumination.

Moderate necromancy; Brew potion or create wondrous item, mass cure critical wounds; Price 12,000 gp

NPC Gear: 13th
Treasure Value: 12th

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Torc of Golden Blood - Medium Wondrous Item

Torc of Golden Blood: This golden torc wrought in the shape of a serpent, one end the head and one the rattle. It gleams with a sunny light even in shadow. Any time the wearer is struck in battle or countered in an argument, it seems to flash and glitter as if light is shining directly on it. When the bearer is cut, they bleed gold, like certain outsiders.

It grants it’s wearer a +2 divine bonus to Str and a +2 divine bonus to charisma, and a +1 deflection bonus on armor class.

Moderate abjuration; Caster Level 5th; Craft Wondrous Item, bull’s strength, eagle’s splendor, shield of faith; Market Price: 11,500 gp.

NPC Gear: 13th
Treasure Value: 14th

Math:

2 ability bonuses +2 each (2*2*1000) = 4,000 each, one half again for multiple different, 10,000
+1 deflection bonus to armor class (1*1*1000) = 1,000 half again for multiple different 1,500
Half again for multiple similar abilities

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Minor Talespinner’s Staff - Minor Wondrous Item

Minor Talespinner’s Staff: This tall staff, made from golden hued eriswood, is carved with representations of several folktales: Gamnastrion’s trip to the furthest star, the cat and the phoenix, the pig riot of Spiral. The number of tales, and which ones are represented, changes from staff to staff, but Gamnastrion’s Trip or the Katechism of Rag Bag Joe are almost always one of them. The tip is usually set with a thumbnail sized mooneye.

This is not a true staff. None of its abilities are powered by charges.

Anyone who keeps a Minor Tailspinner’s staff around his person gains:

A +2 circumstance bonus to Bardic Knowledge and Knowledge (History) checks.
A +2 enhancement bonus to perform (oratory) checks
The ability to cast Legend Lore. This works just like the spell, except that casting time is always 1d4*10 minutes. Once Legend Lore is used via a talespiner’s staff, it may not be used again for a period of weeks that depends on how vague the caster’s information was. If the person or thing is at hand, or if you are in the place that is the subject of the spell, legend lore can be cast again one week later. If you have only detailed information on the person, place, or thing, legend lore may be cast two weeks later. If you know only rumors, legend lore may be cast again 7 weeks later.

Moderate divination; CL 10th; Craft wondrous item, Legend Lore; Cost 3,200 gp

NPC Gear: 7th
Treasure Value: 8th

Math

+2 Bardic Knowledge Checks (2*2*100)-.1 = 360 for needed class ability, half again for multiple different abilities 540
+2 Perform (2*2*100) half again for multiple different abilities 600

Legend Lore (as if a bard were casting: ((4*10*1,800)/5)7 for minimum of a week between castings = 2057

Round up for ease