Dungeon Expo is biggest and best show for adventurers and this year, like every year, I find myself with a huge list of all the gear I can’t wait to wield. Would that my budget and bag of holding could stretch to buying it all. With this year’s expo having 35% more to explore , I needed all three days to see everything. I’m Aurora Valentine and these are the best and hottest new magic items from this year’s Highmoor Dungeon Expo.
Let’s start with something that’s close to our hearts; our stomachs. It’s not glorious or valuable, but adventures don’t happen without food. My three top food pick from the Year of the Angry Lynx’s Highmoor Dungeon Expo are:
Breakfast Vinegar – Say your baggage has been stolen and you’re lost in the mountains. It’s been days since you last ate and you don’t care what it taste like as long as you can eat it. With a few drops of this enchanted vinegar anything can become a nutritious meal. If you can stand the powerful vinegary taste. Clarica Whethertop says it’s an unfortunate side effect of the ingredients and magics interacting. A mild acid is needed to keep all the components bound correctly. Clarica also cautions that the vinegar only makes things edible and doesn’t make them safe to eat. Strange rocks and rotten meats will still make you unwell.
Flat Bread – When I first came across the crowd of people looking apathetic in the food court, I thought that perhaps one of the premier panels had been cancelled. Instead they were all “enjoying” Sistel’s Flat Bread. It’s a simple bread recipe flavoured with crushed Tixede and Leaf of Toadwort. Sistel’s premier baker Lulsun took the time to tell me about the arduous experiments the company had done to get a mix so that each slice provokes the right amount apathy. “We’re looking to position the loaf as an edible alternative to running in fear from tomb lords,” Lulsun said as we emotionlessly chewed on the sample product.
The Lunch Box of Forever – Inside this one foot wooden box is food, exactly as it was when served in the box. Judging by a lack of food poisoning in the days after the expo, The Thornhold Family’s claims hold for at least month old fish. The box is made of a laminate of wooden strips, each only as thick as your thumbnail and stained with spells of preservation. With the sides at two inches thick the box is sturdy but quite heavy. When I asked about the weight Becca Thornhold, the company’s spokesperson, told me that the spells affect the mass of the wood. The longer the food is kept in the lunch box, the heavier it becomes. Becca said their predictions indicate the mass of the box doubles every thirty seven days. Which would explain the small crane needed to open the early prototypes on display.
In need of insight and information but nothing you do reveals anything new? These three items from the Year of the Angry Lynx’s Highmoor Dungeon Expo are sure to help you along with your discovery.
Soul Window – Ever wonder quite what is going on in another person’s head? I’ve often wondered that during tiresome escort quests when my charge seems determined to get themselves killed. If you’re willing to completely violate their privacy, then a soul window from Baqlathana’s Mental Workshop will let you see their emotions. I tried it out on Baqlathana’s shop assistant. All I had to do was point a small lens of enchanted glass at their head and I could read what they were feeling. Not nearly as good as being able to read their thoughts, but I can see it being very useful when trying to negotiate a better fee for clearing out a goblin nest.
True Colours – This is one that is going to be popular with all you investigative adventurers. We all know the idiom about walls having ears but what about what the walls saw? By blending chronomancy with pigments Rhivys Gwilliam has produced a paint that forms murals depicting past events that happened in front of the surface. The paint starts off as a dull beige but quickly becomes colourful as it dries. The thicker the coating of paint, the further into the past the murals reveal. Gwilliam says he developed it to commemorate important events but I know of at least a dozen city watches that will be buying in bulk
Value Algae – You’re there at the market, having just crawled your way out of the some filthy dungeon. Your pack is full of loot but no matter your bargaining, you keep getting crappy prices from the merchants. No one wants to give you fair value forth the corroded and grimey jewellery you’re offloading. That’s what you need value algae for. Paste this gunk over the object your want cleaned and overnight the algae will have eaten all the dirt and debris. Washing it off will reveal the object almost as good a new, is smelling faintly of brine and sulfur. The gnome who was gnoming the booth assured me that the smell goes away after a few days. I refrained from asking what had happened to the left half of his beard.
All adventurers need weapons. These three items from the Year of the Angry Lynx’s Highmoor Dungeon Expo help cut your foes down to size.
Pitched Fork – All too often the Bard in the party will be trying to sing with a zombie right in their face. If the terror of undeath doesn’t put them off their melody, the smell will. The Pitched Fork by the Sonorous Sisters is a simple two metres of oak timbre with a specially shaped Wootz steel fork. It’s not just a pair of spikes to keep the undead at bay as every strike with the fork brings forth a set of ringing tones. Even the most witless bard should be able to keep their performance going and actually contribute to the fight for a change.
Elite Precision CTM Arcane Bowstring – After last year’s PR disaster when their 100% griffen-gut strings were found to be camel intestines as exclusively revealed by Adventurer’s Monthly, Zimpost’s Archery Solutions put on a big display this year. Each afternoon they had a massive show and tell of their products, hosted by Chief Ranger Zarpost. The sight of the Night Bear shooting their Grand Bow always drew massive crowds. Evidently their new PR team are trying hard to rebuild the company’s image. They were particularly welcoming to the press, giving after hours access to their Elite Precision CTM brand. I of course went up close with the bow strings and can confirm that the new alignment damage modifier strings are actually made of the relevant totem animal hair.
Ego Knife – No matter how much they might offend us, we can’t go around stabbing arseholes. At least in town there’ll be blood and watch questions to deal with. The Ego Knife (™) by Cimiusree, Yairdi and Yungath is a much better solution. It you’re not holding it then it’s just an ornate hilt. In your hand a pale blue outline of an eight inch blade glows into being. One quick stab with this and your victim’s ego will be cut into pieces. No blood, no pain, only a pleasant reduction in arrogance. Blade discipline is particularly important as the weapon has a phantom balance. Judging by the number of sullen and morose wannabes around the booth, many got caught out by the demo models.
Keep your valuables safe in dangerous dungeons with these three items of protection from the Year of the Angry Lynx’s Highmoor Dungeon Expo.
Faith Safe – There’s a contradiction in these. On the one hand a true believer would want somewhere they could put their beliefs to keep them from magical or spiritual damage. But in doing so, they open themselves up to the concept that their faith is not absolute and unshakeable. The safes are small metal cubes, about large enough to put your head inside. The Temple of Sentra, the deity of pragmatism offer a customisation service with the options including the outer finish and the engraving of holy symbols. When asked about the potential philosophical problems they gave a shrug and recited Sentra’s mantra, “better safe than sorry.”
Worry Shell – It’s important to make space and time for yourself, even if lost in a cave network or halfway up a mountain. But how do you perform self-care if you have to keep watch for giant rats or snow-wisps? For 15 minutes a worry shell will keep you protected and undisturbed. Simply place the stone on the ground of where you’re sat and a semi opaque bubble will form around you once you close your eyes and recite one of the dozen provided incantations. You need to keep the incantation going and you eyes shut else the spell will fail. I gave it a try on a balcony over Hall A and was amazed at how well the bubble blocked out all the noise from below.
Briefcase of Holding – There are fine details that when you see them, you just have to stop and admire them. I would have just walked past the Wranberos display if my eye hadn’t caught the shine of the metal finishing on the display briefcase. Made of frost teak and finished with aurock leather, it’s both sturdy and subtle. The leather has been marked with a delicate fern pattern that shimmers a little in the light, never quite revealing all of itself at once. The metal fixtures are adamantium embossed with runes of peace and prosperity. This is a high end item for the professional adventurer who knows that there is a time and place for looking messy and that is not in the city. The interior is a graded network of holding spells, allowing the briefcase to carry up to 100 kg of material before the bearer will notice any change in its weight.
Gain as free a movement as you need with these three items from the Year of the Angry Lynx’s Highmoor Dungeon Expo.
No-Tunnel Helm – I’m not sure how the Ardent Cape Geological Society were able to afford the sizeable stand they occupied in Hall B but I’m very glad they were there. Tucked away at the rear, behind a seemingly endless display of slightly magical rocks they had a stall of surveying equipment. Amongst the precisely shaped trowels and measuring tape I came across an unsightly looking helm. Don’t be put off by the looks as you won’t be needing to wear it on the promenade. Instead, you’ll be wearing it so that you can move through solid rock. The geomage there was prattling on about the incredible geodes she’d found but all I could think about was sneaking into dungeons and taking shortcuts in caves.
Floating Ladder by Shattergranite – There’s not much I can really say about this to make it seem fascinating. It’s a ladder that’s been balanced so that it always stays upright, even when placed on a fluid. Something like the would have been really useful when Aspagex and I got lost in Weatherfort’s sewers last year. Gagnigaer Shattergranite is the stoic dwarf who makes and sells the ladders. She seems something of a carpentry auteur and the only thing I could get her talking about was woodworking. Apparently the secret of the ladders is the careful selection of the wood. Only very specific pines can be carved into a floating ladder and Shattergranite spends months of the year in the southern forests looking for trees that match her criteria. Available by mail order only.
Hired Heels – Don’t have the carrying capacity to carry your knock outed friend out of the dread castle to safety? Put a pair of these on their feet and they’ll do the walking for you. The cheapest model sold by OrangeTech only have a very basic follow setting, which guides the wearer along a few feet behind you. Premium features are activated for a limited time by inserting coins into the provided slots. Currently this selection includes voice control, hazard avoidance and memorized paths. OrangeTech offer a subscription payment plan for frequent users. The heels won’t function with an aware subject as this causes a painful neural feedback on the legs. This isn’t something that OrangeTech openly acknowledged, instead burying it amongst a long list of indemnities in the end user license agreement.
Camp safely and pleasantly with my camping selection from the Year of the Angry Lynx’s Highmoor Dungeon Expo.
Wilderness TR-7000 Ever Folding Tent – Be it rain, cold, wind or giant insects, you’ll want a tent so you can sleep in peace. But they’re such a pack burden the rest of the time, taking up space and weight that could be used for loot and potions. Portguard Camping Supplies has developed a tent that folds and folds and folds until it can fit into a ring. I don’t begin to understand how PCS have managed it. They tried explaining it to me but once the mathimagics introduced plane theory my brain glazed over. Unfolding the tent is trivial; all you do is flip the cap of the ring and the tent pops out. The sales rep assured me that with practice it may take 10 mins to pack away. Indeed the demonstration took 12 minutes whilst talking.
Clockwork Concierge – As you wind up the enchanted clockwork by turning the small handle on the back of the metal figurine, the little suited man becomes increasingly active. When fully wound up, it totters around your campsite making a note of everything that needs to be done before you can safely sleep. As well as checking the obvious, such as keeping the campfire small, it also checks nearby rocks aren’t trolls and gnarly trees are just gnarly trees. Seasoned adventurers may turn their noses up at being told how to camp by an automaton but I’ve never met an adventure who hasn’t made at least one embarrassing mistake.
Scroll of Radial Detection – Unless you’ve had the misfortune to be badly magically mutated, you can’t see in every direction at once. In a dungeon you can find a spot or dead end to put you back against but in a forest or an open field you can get snuck up on. When placed flat on the ground, this scroll scans the area and chimes if there’s anything nearby. Adventurer’s Monthly got sent a demo of this scroll six months ago and that version had disastrous sensitivity issues. I’m pleased to say that Portguard Camping Supplies have resolved this and added more to the user interface so that you can now tell which direction the chime is coming from.
Silence may be golden but have you tried spending it? Sometimes adventurers need to make some noise. Here are my three favourite items from Year of the Angry Lynx’s Highmoor Dungeon Expo.
Insult Crabs – Do you find yourself in need of an insult to provoke an enemy but at a loss for words? This miniature crustacean is what you need. Bred and enchanted from a land crab of the Darker Darkmist jungle, the tanks of the Pipa Brother’s booth were full of pincers and abuse. The Pipa Brother’s have colour coded the shells depending on the amount of affront wanted. The green crabs are family friendly and probably only useful for entertaining small children and idiots. The scales goes up through yellow, red, blue and finally black shelled crabs. The black crabs were kept in a soundproof sub-booth because, I can assure you, the invective they deployed could cause riots. I bought a red one for the Adventurer’s Monthly office for the next time we have to review any of Tymmer Mace’s products.
Chatty Skull – It’s a magically animated skull that can provide pleasant and stimulating conversation on almost any topic you can imagine. I actually went and bought the premium version of this which adds appointment management because I was so charmed by the demonstration models in Reformed Necromancer’s booth. No longer will I be forced to discuss which war axe makes the best noise with the barbarian during those week long journeys across the mountains. At 1,000 ducats this isn’t an item I would take out of the baggage train and actually bring into a dungeon unless I had a very desperate need for a delightful discussion whilst in danger.
Necklace of Screams – The halls were alive with the sound of screaming around warlock Tozhul Deathwhisper’s booth. You weren’t alone if you missed it as he wasn’t allowed back for days 2 and 3, such were the number of complaints. Of the many offensive items he had on display the most upsetting were the necklaces of screams. Five cracked pearls hang on a frame of black spider lace. When activated a pearl will record the next dying scream it hears. There’s something particularly unnerving about this jewelry. Why would you want to rehear, endlessly, a specific exclamation of terminal pain? Surely a simple sonic conjuration would be all you needed for a distraction. I had a cleric friend of mine take a look on the evening of day 1 and the evil aura left her visibly sickened.
Be better organized and carry more with the Year of the Angry Lynx’s Highmoor Dungeon Expo bests utility equipment.
Sticky Note Scrolls – 7Q say that the future of spell casting is yellow. And adhesive. 7Q’s team of research wizards have made some remarkable breakthroughs in rune ministration. By printing these on pale yellow paper, spells that would require foot long scroll can now fit in the palm of your hand. A side effect of the printing is that the reverse of the micro-scroll becomes adhesive, letting you stick the yellow squares to almost anything. 7Q’s demonstration had a mage with several of these stuck to their arm send a volley of spells out in only a few seconds. All you need to do hold the scroll in your hand and speak the keywords.
Backpack of Many Pouches – From the tailor that brought you the trousers of a thousand pockets comes this backpack of many pouches. In addition to the roomy main pack, I counted 17 external pouches each about the size of an orc fist and four long thin pouches for wands or arrows. Venter and Co. have learnt from their trouser feedback, that with so many pockets finding a particular item is improbable. So they’ve enchanted the pockets with mobility. All the wearer needs to do is speak or whisper the name of the item they want and the pouch will rearrange themselves to put the pocket in easy reach. It’s very efficient but the noise and sensation of the pouches moving when you’re wearing the pack will take getting used to. It made me feel like a hoard of fabric spiders was crawling on me.
Staff of Squares – Cubes were the shapes of future at Wands, Wands, Wands’ expansive square stand in Hall B. In looking to expand their business beyond specialist magic users Wands, Wands, Wands have developed a range of staves for adventurers. Amongst the expected healing hooks and transportation sticks I found this elongated gem. Simply tap the object in question and the stave converts it into a perfect cube. Not useful if you care about the artistic merit of an item, but if all you care about is the material value then it’s cube form is now much easier to carry and store.
The beginner adventurer is going to find these three magic items from the Year of the Angry Lynx’s Highmoor Dungeon Expo an early career bonus.
Fake Foot Roller – Say you’ve found yourself a lovely large tree to hide in. There’s no way the guards are going to spot you up here, but you’ve left a trail of footprints right to base of the tree. So what you do is set this gadget to your foot shape, size and gate and set it going where your original trail ends. The roller will wander off in the direction you point avoiding obstacles for 100 m when the clockwork springs will unwind. I asked how big a foot the roller can mimic and was told it can go up to frost giant but can’t do the necessary width between feet by itself. So you’ll need two unless you want people to be following a hopping giant.
Chameleon Wool – A lot of visitors missed Starwood Ranch’s exhibit this year, despite the expo map showing they had a large corner display. The usual practice of putting your newest product to the fore was a major problem for them as it completely hid their stand. For day 2 they worked overnight to pull back the chameleon wool coverings. We’re all familiar with magical animals that blend into their surroundings. At great expense Starwood Ranch tracked down the ghost sheep found in the badlands of Thunder Valley. Their wool retains its ability to adopt background colours for years after shearing. Starwood Ranch have just the raw sourced wool for sale, but I could see it making an excellent winter greatcoat.
Swyngyde – Yep, that’s an absurd name for what is an actually a harness of bobs, plumbs and lines. The idea is that as you try to swing a sword the harness will compensate and indicate what you’re doing wrong. There isn’t a fighter amongst us who doesn’t remember the first time they swung a sword. Unless you’re a scion of destiny or fate, it would have been a clumsy attempt that was lucky if it didn’t cause injury. I think that’s character building. You need to know what’s going wrong and how bad it feels so you have a baseline for starting to improve. Swyngyde takes all that out of it. I can hear the drill sergeant complaints already.
Stuck for gift ideas? Try these picks from the Year of the Angry Lynx’s Highmoor Dungeon Expo.
Windful Windmills – I found these being sold from a concession stand tucked into one of the through corridors. A little old lady called Nanna Vulpa in a bright green cardigan was selling them to children for only a ducket each. I’ve no idea what magical laws apply but the more you blow on these colourful little paper windmills the stronger and stronger the breeze on the other size becomes. I saw one enterprising gnome child send themselves flying a dozen metres when she held her windmill up to a door gap between halls A and B. Strangely, I couldn’t find any sign of Nanna in the expo directory.
Blame Egg – If you want to avoid getting egg on your face, then you’ll best avoid this cheap little toy from Bobbo’s Dungeon Fun. On the surface it’s a normal hen’s egg until you set it spinning. When the sequence of runes on it stops glowing the eggs stands on its point until asked question of responsibility. Then it flings itself at the person of the greatest blame. It was mostly kids buying these up, no doubt to liven up teenage parties. Gossip in the press room was that a couple of expo organizers had bought a crate and were using them to settle disputes. This might explain all the bouts of angry shouting around the company’s booth on day 3.
Cup of Mean Healing – Making a perfectly optimal use of your potions only appeals to a certain type of adventurer. The ones that have to always search every corpse, change their accessories mid-fight or time their naps to the minute. Giving them this cup should make them more bearable to journey with. Pouring a potion into the cup averages out it’s healing potential so that you know exactly how much better you’re going to feel after you drink it. Even better, the healing is directly proportional to how much you drink, letting you share out the potion with others. Not a drop need be wasted as the grade markings on the cup change to match the potion it contains.
Aurora Valentine is a staff and features writer for Adventurer’s Monthly. She wields the great sword Requiem, detests oozes, and plays the lute badly.
- Expo by micro.81 – CC-BY-SA-2.0
- Olive Oil by Smab Sputzer – CC-BY-2.0
- Homemade Flat Bread by Merri – CC-BY-SA-2.0
- Deli Roll-ups by Melissa – CC-BY-2.0
- #clouds by Omer Rana CC-NC-ND-2.0
- Painting by Przemek P CC-BY-NC-2.0
- Algae by Captain Skyhawk CC-BY-NC-ND-2.0
- Tuning Fork by Chris Hsia – CC-BY-SA-2.0
- IMG_2057 by Jean-Baptiste Perrin – CC-BY-SA-2.0
- Blue BBQ Bread Knife by Pru Mitchell – CC-BY-2.0
- Safe by Rob Pongsajapan – CC-BY-2.0
- Sea Shell by Anthony Vicente – CC-BY-NC-ND-2.0
- Briefcase with initials for Elgiva Mary Giles by R. de Salis – CC-BY-SA-4.0
- Helmet by János Szüdi – CC-BY-2.0
- Ladder by Dan Brekke – CC-BY-NC-2.0
- 1 Boots by agcox – CC-BY-NC-2.0
- View from my Tent by Kevin Armstrong – CC-BY-NC-ND-2.0
- clockworkAge 1 by Geofffox21 – CC-BY-NC-ND-2.0
- Arrangement by rawpixel – Pexel License
- Crab by Keith Roper – CC-BY-2.0
- Rodent skull by Michael Schoenewies – CC-BY-2.0
- Ivory Pearls by Tracy – CC-BY-2.0
- A small pad of Post-it notes by DangApricot – CC-BY-SA-3.0
- Crumpler backpack by Matus Kalisky – CC-NC-ND-2.0
- Soma cubes by fdecomite – CC-BY-2.0
- Foot Prints by siddhu2020 – CC-BY-2.0
- Freshford: Sheep by Michael Day – CC-NC-2.0
- A plumb-bob by Jim Thomas – CC-BY-SA-3.0
- Windmill by Miquel C – CC-BY-2.0
- Eggs by Lincoln Wong – CC-BY-NC-ND-2.0
- Measuring Cup by HomeSpot HQ – CC-BY-2.0