Tonight’s RPG brainstorming looks at magical items with a dark twist. These are not cursed items or outright evil items, but devices with useful, desirable abilities which have an unpleasant aspect to them. They are items which force characters to make moral choices over right or wrong, or which place a cost on their user in someway.
Here’s the transcript:
Jaye: Stone of Swapping
Small little emeralds that are covered in magical runes. When one of these is squeezed in the hand and the power word spoken, the caster swaps location with the person who has the paired stone. The other person gets no say in the matter.
Jaye: Neutral Biscuits
Any biscuit can be baked into a neutral biscuit, the key is the spell rather than the recipe. When you eat a single neutral biscuit, your dietary needs are met for an entire day. To do this, the spell takes the nutrients from someone else, randomly selected across the entire world.
Chris – Endless Healing
Malven’s Bottle produces an endless supply of healing potion and is a great boon to anyone who possesses it. However, it does have one major drawback. Whenever it is used, someone takes twice as much damage as the potions cures. In crowded places in randomly strikes someone nearby but in remote areas it finds the nearest person. The damage is automatic and cannot be prevented. The bottle is a life saver and powerful artifact but using it means hurting someone.
Chris – Tattoo Lottery
The priests of Hansor are arcade tattoo artists. The tattoos they place on people have magical power which increase any ability desired. The priests work for free, giving their tattoos to anyone who desires them. The only drawback is the magic will compel the owner to kill someone. It appears the victim is chosen randomly and can be a complete stranger or a loved one. However most wearers of tattoos never encounter their victim and never have to kill but some are not so lucky.
Mark: The Dread Crayons of Qal Abdur
This pack of coloured crayons looks like any other a child might have played with. However, as according the the Platonic theory of forms, these are actually the true crayons, of which all other crayons are mere shadows. Therefore, as one might logically expect, everything they draw is the true form; other crayons draw what look like houses, these crayons draw houses. They may, however, only be wielded by a child and the aspect of truth possessed by the crayons will draw out the truth in the child and what it around them and in their mind. The first philosophers to find the crayons (Qal Abdur himself) also found that Truth is not Beauty, so that answered that question at least.
Mark: The Console
In a Matrix-like computer world, the programmer is king. Each programmer has a console in their position from which they can execute the Console Commands and change the world as if it were some magical item. They grant great power, but the dark twist is that their use alerts all other programmers who will seek out the user as part of the endless fight over the Right of Admin and the greatest goal: the title of Root.
Matrix+Highlander = originality
Josh – The orb of Malarkis
This much sought after arcane focus is a particular favourite of pyromancers. By holding the orb in their hand they can channel destructive fire magics to an unprecedented level. However, nobody cares to mention the inconvenient side effect put upon it.
The user will start to feel noticeably colder, over a period of time it takes a bigger and hotter fire to make them feel warm. this makes them a danger to themselves and the surrounding vicinity. Mage hunters are often sent out to deal with the troublemaker, grumbling all the while about “Bloody firebugs”