Category Archives: Magic Item

Magic Item – Artist’s Pencil, Pen, or Brush

A continuation of articles in the vein of marionettes and mimes.

The artist’s tool, whether a pencil, pen, or brush allows the artist to draw anything they can imagine.

The ability to draw functional/believable/recognizable items is granted by this item. If desired roll d% to gauge the artistic skill of the user for the remainder of the time they use this item. Low being child-like, and high being skilled or masterful.

Doors or openings drawn on dungeon walls do not guarantee an empty room on the other side. If a wall only has an expanse of solid stone indicated on the map, a room of sufficient size to hold the user and any companions is created. However, such random rooms have a chance to be populated from one of the creatures on the wandering monster charts for the level, either as per the dungeon key, the monster manual or other source. Roll for a random encounter as per the rules or as indicated on the dungeon key.

Such a room may be exited by the prior door, or a new door drawn on the wall. If it is again on a wall with only solid rock beyond repeat the procedure. A room exists as long as it is populated. Once the last creature leaves that room, it fades in 1d6 turns. NOTE: There is a 10% chance that such a room contains a door to a random location in the dungeon, or anywhere in the multiverse. Be creative! HINT: One of the locations for one of the One Page Dungeon Contests is good!

Items are of temporary duration, i.e. a single use or number of rounds or turns as specified by the DM. For example, a key drawn for a lock will only be good for that lock. Some DM’s may choose to rule that a new key must be drawn each time a lock is used.

A weapon or armor, such as a sword and shield may be used for one combat, one day, or one adventure, at the DM’s discretion.

Items can be drawn on any surface, even mid-air, such as a wall.

Magical pigments enhance the duration and effectiveness of magical brushes. Likewise magical inks do the same for magical pens.

The DM can rule there is a set number of uses or a way to maintain its effectiveness.

Cursed Artist’s Tool – These items cause the bearer to become obsessed with some hidden knowledge and they cannot stop their writing of long passages of prose, poetry, and equations. If they stop to eat they will draw the meal they need. If they stop to sleep, they will draw the magical chamber with a guardian to protect them.

Woe be to those who disturb the writings and so forth of the artist! this will cause him or her to not trust the one(s) to do this, and treat them with disdain or send drawings to deal with them.

If any try to take the tool from them, they grow enraged and resist with the strength of an ogre and the dexterity of a master thief. Anything they draw or paint to assist them in continuing their efforts will last until they are destroyed or the curse is removed.

Items drawn such as weapons will animate and defend the user while he or she continues their search for the truth. Each item drawn takes one round, and takes action on the following round.  If the artist is attacked successfully mid-drawing, the object has a 50% chance of being malformed but still helping the artist, or a wild and malevolent creation that first defends the artist, and if all are slain, then going after the artist to retrieve the tool and take it to some random location in the multiverse. NOTE: One of the locations for one of the One Page Dungeon Contests is good!

The artist will insist that they are on to something. The DM can plan the seed or allow the player to suggest something. There is a chance that there is some kernel of truth to this quest for truth. If the player convinces others that there is meaning and they go in search of glory or treasure, let them.

The type of crazy the artist has is player’s choice, calm, quiet, and brooding; Jack Nicholson in The Shining; crazed and wild eyed and excited, or raving etc.

Variation on Cursed Artist’s Tool – Instead of the mind altering version, this version causes any item drawn to benefit opponents of the bearer, a la Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner.

Magic Item – Beret of the Mime

After yesterday’s spell and magic items, I have the idea of mimes.

The item is a beret that when worn requires the wearer to not speak to gain its benefits. Upon wearing the hat, they will know its requirements. NOTE: Some berets are accompanied by white gloves, and the most impressive items are a complete outfit of beret, white gloves, black and white striped shirt, black pants, and black shoes. If a complete outfit, the wearer must wear the entire outfit for the item to be effective. If only a hat or gloves, the wearer may wear armor. If a magic ring is worn, and they have a hat and gloves or full suit, they may wear only one glove….

The player will have to speak only to describe the actions of the player, or better yet, act them out!

Instead of using a bow, make a great demonstration of drawing and shooting a bow, and the imagined missile(s) become real and do real damage. These are magical items with a plus based on how well the player describes or mimes their actions. The damage will be a die based on how well they describe their actions. Minimal effort d4, good effort d6, really getting into it and drawing a powerful bow with fine arrows d8.

The mime beret allows the bearer to mime any action.

If they are being charged by a huge foe, like a giant or an army, the bearer can mime raising their arms as if there is a huge barrier now erected before their foes. This barrier will likewise limit/protect friends on the correct side.

When food and water run out, they can mime eating and drinking motions and satisfy their needs.

If they are injured, they can mime sewing up their wounds, binding them, or merely wiping them away.

They can mime loading and firing a ballista or siege weapon, or drawing a sword.

If the player can “sell it” the DM can allow it. Damage, healing and other effects in game are at the DM’s discretion.

For example, mimicking prayer for divine intervention will give an added chance to their normal roll based on how well they sell it. If a diety has not been specified prior to the attempt, a random diety will be attracted by the petitioner.

If the wearer speaks without first removing the beret, its operation is interrupted for 1d12 rounds after speaking stops.

Cursed Beret of the Mime – The wearer is trapped in a box every morning until they mime pulling a key out of their pocket and opening the door. The first time they put on the hat, this box immediately appears. Speech is prohibited, the wearer can make no sound. NPC’s will automatically understand the mime and go along with him or her, but fellow players will have to figure it out for themselves. The hat cannot be removed without remove curse.

Over time the face of the wearer of the cursed item will become more and more pale, until it is white, while the lips will redden.

Magic Item – Marionette

All I needed was this image that showed up in my G+ feed on this article. I haven’t read the article, I’m just going with what the image spurred in my imagination. I then had ideas for two more posts for the following days.

My idea is for both a spell and related magic items.

[I had this and subsequent ideas and couldn’t help myself other than to hurry up and write them down.  This is not polished, but gives the general idea.]

Spell: Marionette

AoE: one marionette and “twin” (or one higher value marionette)

Range: Touch/Control Range:

Components: V,S,M (the marionette or set, they are not consumed)

Duration: 2 turns plus 1 turn/level.

Level: 3

An independent “doll” free of strings is controlled by its “twin” connected to the strings of the control bars. The twin does not have to be identical in size. For example, it could dance on the caster’s palm and be easy to conceal/carry. In all other ways it must be substantially identical. Both items must be made by the same craftsman. One cannot mix and match the full-sized marionette with a different twin with a control bar. So if one item is ruined, the same craftsman is required to fix or replace it. Minimal sets of 100gp value are needed. Finely crafted sets of at least 1,000 gp may be crafted into magic items.

After the spell is cast, the caster may let go of the control bars, which will hang suspended in the air, to add protection spells, such as fire, cold, normal missiles. If the caster is interrupted while the control bar is thus suspended, the marionette will run away and behave in a mischievous manner that will be troublesome to friend and foe alike for the remainder of the spell’s duration.

Variation: A single marionette with control bar may be constructed of 3 times normal value. The marionette will walk free of the strings when the spell is cast. If the strings are damaged/separated from the marionette before the casting of the spell, it will not function, and the spell cast using such a component will fail.

Weight limit –20 gp/2 pounds.

Assisting Spells: Invisibility to make it stealthy, in addition to soft feet or shoes. Other types of protection spells may be cast on the marionette by the caster to make it more resilient/capable in its “mission”

Good for scouting, retrieving small items, etc.

Size: Small
HD: d4
Atks: none
AC: 6

Higher level casters can control tougher/larger dolls.

Wood –

Bronze –

Iron –

Other metals, such as adamantite or mithril require the ability to cast the spell for an iron marionette.

Design can be very plain or  very detailed but must be high quality materials and high quality workmanship the base wooden model minimum value 100 gold pieces.

Variation of spell – The marionette is able to leave the strings while the spellcaster manipulates the control bar.

If the spellcaster is damaged while controlling marionette there is a chance to lose control of the marionette. If the marionette is out of control there is a chance for the spell caster to regain control if control is not regained the marionette will act independently based on the last commands given, but will have the chance of a variation of that or random behavior.

If the control device is damaged the marionette is free and acting in a random manner there is a 1% chance per level for the spell caster to regain control long enough to end this behavior.

If the marionette is damaged while during the course of the spell the magic user must make a  saving throw or be stunned for 1d6 rounds.
If the marionette does not return to the control device before the ending of the spell, the magic user has 1d 6 hours to retrieve a marionette. There is a 50% chance that the spell will not work on this marionette for 1d6 days
The magic user may have multiple marionettes but only one marionette spell may be active on one marionette or set at a time.

Opposing spell casters of a higher level have a 1% chance per level to counter the spell and take over the marionette if they have a control device specified for this purpose there is a 30% chance + 1% chance per level of achieving this action.

Detection spells for information gathering maybe cast on the marionette prior to leaving the caster’s presence or a high level spell caster May enchant a marionette with these abilities 10% of all marionettes found will be marionettes with one or more detection spell capabilities.

Greater Marionette – Enables control of larger versions of medium or even large sized. This is a 5th level spell.

Magic Items:

Control Bar and strings for a marionette. Designed to control an independent marionette without the need to have its “twin”. Give the bearer a 30% chance + 1% per level to take control of an opposing caster’s marionette. It does not allow taking control of the marionette of a user with their own control bar. Some street performers have amazed their audiences with such items. Some of these are thieves who use their marionettes after the show for their foul purposes. The rich and powerful often pay handsomely for such an item for themselves or a spoiled child.

Necromancer’s control bar – Allows one to control a bone marionette, basically a skeleton. It animates an otherwise non-animated skeleton for 1d6 turns. The skeleton is in all respects as a skeleton, but able to do complex actions while under the control of the user. At the end of the duration of control, the skeleton falls to dust. Bodies of dead creatures still having flesh will have their flesh fall away. If used on an animated skeleton, it adds one to the HD for 1d6 turns. At the end of the time, if the skeleton makes its saving throw vs. magic it returns to being a normal skeleton, with any damage taken coming from the extra HD first.

Golem Control Bar – This control bar allows a magic user to control a golem. Roll to determine if the device controls flesh, clay, stone, iron, or all. Those that control clay elementals may be used by clerics. If the user of the item is not the same alignment or deity of the cleric that created the clay golem there will be additional difficulties involved.

____ Control Bar – A few texts reveal hints that some control bars have been designed for controlling different creatures. The user of the item is able to see and hear what the controlled creature hears. The user must understand any languages the creature hears or writing is sees. The creature gets a saving throw verses magic.

Cursed control bar – Anyone who picks up this item and makes a motion of controlling a marionette is now “stuck” in place and under the control of the next person to use the control bar. A remove curse will free the individual and great care must be taken to hide or destroy the control bar before someone else is affected.

Clerics have been known to craft marionettes covered with the symbols of their religion as an image of a deity or hero of their faith. Temples or holy places where clay golems are or have been constructed in any numbers are likely to have one of these in case of a rampaging golem. The chance to regain control of a rampaging clay golem is 10% plus 1% per level, unless the cleric who created the golem, then the base chance is 20%. Any clay golem that has rampaged and been brought back under control that rampages again, cannot be brought under control. If the control bar is destroyed within 1d6 turns of regaining control, the rampage will resume. After this time, the golem returns to its normal state and the control bar is no longer needed to control its actions.

Druids have been known to craft marionettes of only wood with wood and string controls.

Illusionists have a variation of the spell that lets them control one of their humanoid illusions beyond their sight.

More Variation on Magic Items

The last two days I wrote posts on magic dishes here and here.

This got me to thinking about ways to mix up magic items so that they are not the same rods, staves, wands, rings, scrolls, or expected miscellaneous items as listed in the DMG or other resource.

You roll up a ring of invisibility, but what else might it be besides a ring? How to decide?

You can make up a table and roll (Go ahead, I’ll wait while you make a table….)

Oh, good, you’re back.

Another way to do it is when sitting at your desk or table or other location prepping for the next session, or at some other time between sessions and prep time, look for an ordinary every day item. What might it be? If you keep your work area spartan, you may have few choices. If like me, you best efforts to minimize falter when things get busy, you might have a wealth of things to choose from. Letter opener, paper clip, business cards, pen, pencil, eraser, coffee cup, index card, scissors, ruler, flashlight, battery, eraser, etc.

Go to your junk drawer in the kitchen and see what unexpected thing is in there.

Generating ideas doesn’t have to come from rolling dice or struggling to come up with yet another idea to round out your table to roll up something.

What is the weirdest thing your locker mate in high school ever had in the locker?

What object(s) did your grandparents or in-laws have that stood out until you got used to them? They might be the item you think of if you imagine being inside their house.

Go to a flea market or swap meet and make a list of all the things that catch your imagination.

A meat grinder that plays Danse Macabe and animates d12 skeletons once per day.

A feather duster that causes a gust of wind once per day.

A frying pan that is +2 vs. all who rob or invade the home.

A cutting board that functions as a lid to a portable hole. You can fit a lot of scraps in there….

A piece of furniture that functions as a portal to another world….

CAT 5 cord of strangulation or tripping.

I need to remember to keep a list of things I see that are ordinary but would make an interesting magic item. I made a list in Evernote, since I use it for all kinds of other lists.

More Magic Dishes

Yesterday, I wrote about magic dishes that neutralize poison.

Today, I present a list of different abilities sets of magic dishes might have.

  • Neutralize Poison -Cursed will poison those who use them
  • Neutralize Disease* – Cursed will Cause Disease
  • Healing – from cure light wounds to total healing and regeneration.
  • Self Cleaning Dishes – Either wipe/scrape clean, or they grow legs and take themselves to the wash bin. (Think sorcerer’s apprentice….)
  • Information Dishes – Dishes with various information gathering qualities. Clairaudience, clarivoyance, ESP, telepathy, etc. that allows the owner of the dishes to learn something from the guests using the dishes.
  • Transmutation Dishes – The next person to eat an identical meal off the same dishes takes on the appearance of the prior person. This will last until they eat another identical meal from the same dishes. Imagine the problem of a broken or missing dish!
  • Polymoph Dishes – These dishes will polymorph those who eat off them into the creature or object in the artwork on the dishes.
  • Raise Dead – Not useful for the dead, but a way to deal with the undead. Only helpful if the undead eats from the dishes. Only undead that eat can be affected.
  • Destruction – Death, slay living, finger of death, power word kill, disintegrate, etc. Whoever eats or drinks from these dishes….
  • Teleportation – Matching sets of dishes that teleport you to the location of the twinned set. Some sets have a third (or extra set) that one carries and allows to go to any of the others in the set.
    Special variation allows teleporting within a chain of dishes. Some chains require a one way flow, that is, one can only go forward or back one set in the chain. Other chains allow going to the location of any dish in the set, however, if the name, location, or other keyed descriptor is not named when the pre-teleport feeling comes on, the location is random.
    Obviously, the dishes must be taken to the desired location, via normal travel, or other means.
    Pre-Teleport Feeling: Euphoria, Nausea, Itching, Sneezing, Flatulence, Blindness, Hot, Cold, flashes of light, super abundance of floaters in the eyes, etc.
    NOTE: Sets lost on the bottom of the sea, or in a dragon’s lair could prove interesting.
  • Abilities – Those who eat from them gain one point of the specified ability. This could be the primary ability of the class, a specified ability, or a random ability. The same set only works once on an individual.
  • Wishes – Very rare, just another way to store wishes. Requires eating off the set and making a wish. The number of wishes will be finite.
  • Permanency – Makes the next spell a spell caster does permanent, if it makes sense.  This will allow a finite number of such castings.
  • Nystul’s Magic Aura – Introduce a set and this can be the next set your players find.
  • Ability/Class Stealing/Swapping – Eating the same meal from the same plate as the prior person will allow stealing from them or trading your abilities with theirs.  A powerful wizard who knows someone else is more intelligent might steal or swap intelligence wit them. An assassin who really needs to do well in a jog, swaps classes with someone. What to do with the other? You can’t kill them if you want their class back?
  • Body Switching/Mind Swapping – A la Freaky Friday, Star Trek, etc. A mad wizard might have all the guests switch minds with others, perhaps switching with the last group who ate off the plates, who are originals passed from one unsuspecting group of travelers to the next. Are the bodies of the originals still alive? What of all the other minds and bodies? Just what will happen and how will the complex mix up ever be straightened out? This smells like a DCC module…..
  • Animated Dishes – Dishes run amok with a food fight. Without the correct magic word, or some other defined circumstance, the diners cannot eat in peace. The dish ran away with the spoon…. For example, if you do not say something outlandish, as cued by the host saying something like, “I have pink fluffy underwear with unicorns on it.” The guests must say something equally outlandish or their dishes will fight them for their meal. If multiple guests fail to say something outlandish, their table service will “war” with each other, or band together to gang up on their respective diners. The mischief starts slowly and builds up.

*Special note on dishes that cure disease, there is a variation that requires the next person to use the dishes to take on the disease. The intent is that a monk or other immune to disease eat to “re-set” the dishes to be used again. A rare variety would require someone to eat off them within a set time or a plague of that disease breaks out.

Any effect that one can imagine can be in magic dishes from benign to horrific. Any magic item from the DMG or other source could have its properties mirrored in a set of dishes, or any other less than usual device. It doesn’t have to be a full set of dishes. It could be only he plates, goblets, or spoons.

Different religions might have their own special chalices, patens, or other special dishes for some of the more powerful/ritual magic.

Healing someone of lycanthropy requires eating the ashes of a hard to obtain plant or tree bark, etc. but must be eaten off a special plate that cannot leave the walls of the temple where it is housed.

Where to go from here? Take any innocuous, every day item and transform it into a magic item. A chamber pot that heals all who rub its sides would be a well disguised item for that purpose. Make an item as far removed from its magical purpose to hide it even more.

Speaking of chamber pots – one that teleports or disintegrates waste, or purifies water from liquid waste would be interesting…. Where does teleported waste go?


Magic Item(s) – Table Service

This set of dishes and flatware, which could be china dishes, crystal glasses, and silverware, or each of the same out of other fine materials, defeats poison.

Such sets were developed in an era when intrigue and murder combined.

Glasses and bowls neutralize poison and purify water. Some change all liquids to water, while other sets only neutralize poison(s) in the wine.

Food placed on the plates would lose any poisonous effect. Rancid meat would have any foul disease causing bacteria neutralized, but the meat would not become a wholesome affair.

These place setting vary in number from a single setting, to a matched set for any number of places.

More elaborate sets even have cooking vessels to neutralize poison, but that is just an extra precaution.

Less fancy cooking vessels were issues to troops in barracks or on the march. These mostly prevented disease, but also prevented poisoning or drugging by the enemy. Usually, only the officer’s mess had a table service of such magic.

The crunchy bits:

I won’t lay out great detail on the mechanics aspect, but suggest a couple different routes for handling it.

A full set of table service, dishes, cups, utensils, etc. would neutralize poison. The dweomer requires the presence of all pieces for full efficacy. Add +1 for each piece present for the meal for less than a full set. For poisons with no save, it allows a save.

Lesser/Major:  A lesser set will only be maximally effective with all pieces for a setting present. A Major set would neutralize all poison and disease to be served on or in any piece.