Wednesday, July 29, 2009
All that this most beneficent gesture will cost you will be four spells of equal level in return, plus four more spells, plus some minor magic items such as a set of four potions, a scroll of four spells, or perhaps a ring of invisibility.
A most magnanimous profferal indeed!
Remlap's Cruel Crepitation.
Area of effect: 1 target creature
Components: V. S. M. ( a chicken, or other thin bone, snapped in casting.)
Casting time: 2 segments
Saving throws: VS Spells
A magic-user invoking the cruel crepitation causes the targeted creature to take 1d10 points of damage at once. In addition, the victim of the cruel crepitation must save vs spell, or instantly suffer a major bone broken. The location of the break is determined randomly by the roll of a d4.
1-a leg bone, 2-an arm bone, 3- a rib, 4-a skull fracture.
A cure serious wounds, or a heal spell, will knit the broken bone. Otherwise, it must be set, and allowed to heal naturally.
Remlap's Invoked Inebriation
Duration: 4-6 hours
Area of effect: 1 creature of humanoid mass per level of the caster
Components: V. S. M. (a small cup of uesgah, gulped by the caster.)
Casting time: 1 segment
Saving throws: VS Spell
When the invoked inebriation is cast, one target creature per level of the caster will be instantly struck with severe drunkenness.
Affected creatures suffer, -5 to hit, -6 to intelligence, -7 to wisdom, -5 to dexterity, -4 to charisma, + 15% to morale, and gain + 3 hit points.
Unless the victim successfully saves vs spell, this state of drunkenness will last 4-6 hours before wearing off as a natural bender would.
A successful save reduces recovery time to a total of 10 rounds.
Humanoids or other monsters, of up to ogre size are affected by the invoked inebriation. Creatures of greater mass will be unaffected.
Remlap's Glaucous Crizzler
Duration: 7 rounds
Area of effect: 1 target creature per level of the caster
Components: M. (a small lens of badly hazed glass.)
Casting time: 3 segments
Saving throws: none
One target creature per level of the caster will have it's vision reduced to a range of 10 feet, and also suffer -4 to hit for a duration of 7 rounds, due to severely blurred vision.
Remlap's Deavening Trumpet
Area of effect: 120 x 30 foot cone
Components: V. S. M. (a finely made brazen horn.)
Casting time: 1 round
Saving throws: none
The Deavening Trumpet is a spell which simulates, for a single sounding, the effects of a Horn of Blasting. The required material component of the spell is a full sized brazen horn which is consumed by the spell when winded in the direction of the foe.
A cone of sound, 12" long, and 3" wide, blares forth from the horn's mouth as it vanishes. Those who are caught in the blast sustain 2d8 points of damage, are stunned for 2 rounds, and are also deafened for 3 rounds. A the same time, the deavening trumpet will cause 15 points of structural damage to any constructions it is directed at.
I love reading dictionaries, encyclopedias, and thesauruses. Archaic words and terms which you no longer hear in contemporary conversation are just fascinating to me. This is one of the things which I like most about Gygax's writing in the Dungeon Master's Guide, and the Player's Handbook. The richness of it and the depth of word usage force you to investigate the meanings implied. Gary could appear overly florid and pompous if you weren't in the groove of his rhetoric, but trying to clarify and define just what the hell he was talking about forced you to consider the meanings of words, and also, how and why they are employed to convey concepts. This stretched my starving mind like nothing standard education had to offer.
I know I learned more about word play and etymology from Gygax, Stan Lee, and Jack Kirby as a kid than from government issue rote education.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Ludovir and Eilisceenia frequent taverns, inns, stews, or any other place where they might find likely marks. The other members of the Fool Hammers are less able to pass themselves off as trust worthy good fellows.
They befriend those who speak of planed expeditions and use drink and flattery to learn more. Depending on their assessment of the competence of the marks, they may offer to join the party, as full members, or as hirelings. They may bide their time until the moment comes to betray their comrades and escape with the treasure, or they may simply gather the other Fool Hammers and trail the party to their destination. There they wait for the fools to face the dangers and garner the loot and then, rob those that survive their adventure.
Ludovir the Gracious.
Race: human, suel
Alignment: Chaotic evil
Hit points: 28/43/65
Armor class: 5
Strength: 16, +1dmgadj, +350 WA, 1-3 open doors, 10% BBLG
Constitution: 15, +1hpadj, 91%SSS, 94% RSS
Charisma: 17, 10 max henchmen, +30% LB, +30% RA
Ludovir the Gracious is tall, handsome, and strong. His is an open face with a ready smile, and no man goes thirsty in his company. Ludovir is hale and hearty, a man’s man, and also much admired by women. He is in all ways, just the sort of man whom an adventurer in a tight spot would want at his side. Right up until the very moment when Ludovir puts a crossbow bolt into his comrades back.
Never is there any hint in Ludovir’s frank and easy manner, but when the time comes that betrayal and murder are to his advantage, Ludovir the Gracious will kill with a smile
Ludovir leads the Fool Hammers due to his overwhelming charm and his ability to simulate those qualities which make for a good leader of men.
Ludovir wears chainmail +2, and carries a dagger and broad sword in addition to his crossbow and quiver of 24 bolts. Also, a potion of Heroism
Ludovir, and all the other Fool Hammers can be assumed to own, or be carrying all standard adventure equipment.
In adjusting his statistics for higher levels, the DM may grant him magical weapons of greater power, potions, or rings, to what ever degree is needed to make him an appropriate threat.
Race: human, oeridian
Alignment: Neutral evil
Hit points: 20/37/49
Armor class: 8
Strength: 12, +100 WA, 1-2 open doors, 4% BBLG
Constitution: 18, +2 hit point adj, 99% SSS, 100% RES
Charisma: 15, 7 max henchmen, +15% LB, +15% RA
During the recent Great War, as in all wars, many more peasants and other non-combatants died of disease and famine, than there were warriors slain for glory. Dahktur, an old oerdian word which once meant, "mender", and referred to the wandering tinkers who repaired damaged metal pots for farm wives, came to be attached to those pox healers who bravely strove to hold back the plagues without benefit of clerical magic.
Gambarodus was one such pox healer, and more successful than most in his use of ancient and arcane sciences in the curing of disease.
So good was he, at recovering those who stood at Death’s door, that he eventually drew the bleak gaze of Incabulous, god of disease and ill sendings. Incabulous determined to turn Gambarodus to his own service, and commenced to whisper in his ear all the long weary hours of his work. He spoke of the natural order of things, the beauty of disease, the sweet release of death. In time, Gambarodus was won over to the ways of Incabulous.
Or, it could be that he simply went mad. Perhaps the god never really spoke to him at all. Incabulous only knows.
Gambarodus now marauds with the Fool Hammers in order to gather the wealth he needs to raise a shrine to his new patron deity. He hopes that if the god is pleased, he may grant clerical powers to his convert.
Dahktur Gambarodus still wears his black, waxed greatcoat, his physicker’s broad hat, and his beaked plague mask at all times. The beak of the mask is stuffed with strong, aromatic herbs and flowers, and sweetly scented airs accompany the dahktur wherever he goes.
The good dahktur also carries a bronze censor which hangs from a chain. The censor is filled with burning incense and Gambarodus is capable of employing it as a ball and chain flail, doing 1-6 dmg on a hit. He also carries a rod of wounding, 1-8 dmg, wounds will not heal with out magical aid.
Alignment: Lawful evil
Hit points: 22/51/65
Strength: 11, 1-2 open doors, 2% BBLG
Constitution: 12, 80% SSS, 85% RES
Charisma: 6, 2 max henchmen, -15% LB, -10% RA
Bloodpig is intelligent and very well spoken, in fact, a veritable fountain of information, and, also a compulsive cannibal. He yearns to impress others with the depth of his learning, but in combat, he must save vs poison at the first blow struck, or fall into a blood frenzy, complete with swinish squealing. Once his foes have fallen, he will be somewhat embarrassed by his behavior, and will engage in a scholarly monolog on various pet subjects whilst he prepares select cuts of the slain with favha beans, and a nice dry wine.
Bloodpig specializes in the mixing and compounding of potions and carries with him potions of Strength, Healing, Speed, and Heroism. He also supplies the other Fool Hammers with concoctions suitable to their temperaments
Bloodpig wears a rough woolen robe over his mail. He carries a medium shield, war axe, and two daggers in addition to a short bow and a quiver of twelve arrows.
Sljumker the Snaggle-toothed.
Race: Grugach elf?
Alignment: Chaotic evil
Hit points: 15/27/40
Strength:9, 1-2 open doors, 1% BBLG
Dexterity: 17, +2 Re adj, -3 def adj
Constitution: 13, 85% SSS, 90% RES
Charisma: 4, 1 max henchmen, -25% LB, -20% RA
Sljumker is most likely a grugach elf, or at least, mostly a grugach. His parentage is uncertain, and none dare ask him. He is foul, coarse, and of a disposition most vile. Indescribably crass, Sljumker may even fling his own feces at foes if given the chance, and he "goes bar-arss" when he may.
He is a thief of consummate ability, however, and skilled in woods lore, as well as a creature without moral boundaries. This makes him most useful to the others of the Fool Hammers.
Sljumker is near feral, and prefers to forage for his food. He gleefully devours birds, rodents, insects, and whatever else he can catch. He is an expert at setting traps and snares.
One of his favorite tricks is to hurl a badger he has cruelly mistreated into the midst of a sleeping party’s encampment.
When naked, Sljumker smears himself with a musky black grease which Bloodpig provides for him. The grease acts as, "oil of slipperiness " and also confers a +2 ac bonus.
Sljumker carries a sling and thirty bullets, a short sword, and three daggers.
Eilisceenia the Hint
Race: High elf
Alignment: Neutral evil
Hit points: 11/26/34
Intelligence: 16, 65% chance to know spell, 11 max spells/lvl
Dexterity: 15, -1 def adj
Constitution: 6, -1 hp adj, 50% SSS, 55% RES
Charisma: 17, 10 max henchmen, +30% LB, +30% RA
Eilisceenia is totally self serving, a paragon of narcissism. This nature, combined with her stunning beauty and ability to divine the motives of others, and willingness to tell them exactly that which they most wish to hear, nearly always results in her coming out ahead in any non-combat exchange.
Eilisceenia is without scruples, but she has a keen sense of self-preservation. Though she will sacrifice others for her own personal gain without compunction, she will not put them in a situation where they might turn on her to save themselves.
She is usually accompanied by one or two charmed, or simply besotted bravos who serve as both her body guards and entourage.
Eilisceenia carries a dagger, and four darts hidden beneath her cloak. She will also have a philter of love, and a ring of protection +2.
The DM may choose spells appropriate for what ever level Eilisceenia is being portrayed at. She will favor magic which allows her to control or influence others, and to protect herself.
Bravos; 2, ac 7, hp 13, 10. Studded leather and longswords. Elite moral.
Credit where credit is due.
The illustration I used for Ludovir is by Jeff Jones, a sketch from Reality magazine.
The Plague doctor is used by gracious permission of Evan Shipard. His art blog is Ev's Place.
Bloodpig Hawpcins is a melding of a wild boar and Anthony Hopkins that I found on Worth1000
Sljumker is represented by the elf album cover, creepy little bastard isn't he?
Eilisceenia, I'm afraid I don't remember where I found, there's all kinds of crap on my drive.
Saturday, July 18, 2009
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Truth to tell, It's not that I don't care, because, of course, I have opinions on the subjects being argued. It's that I don't care to expend any effort to convince others to share my views.
You do, or you don't. You're opposite opinion affects mine in no way, and I think, I'd be wasting my time and energy trying to convince you that you're having wrongbadfun.
It's not that I'm above using your passionate defense of your tightly held beliefs to augment my own store of game knowledge, because I do just that.
Every gamer fight produces a slew of attempts to define terms, view points, the history of the game, just about every facet of Dungeons & Dragons that can be argued about. It's great.
I really just prefer to participate directly in like-minded discussion. Not borg-like hive mentality, mind you. I am looking for new stuff. There is a point, however, where the distance between view points is too great to bridge, the mind set is too far removed from my own for either of us to gain by interacting. So then, I don't. I'm not going to tell you that your version of the game is crap. I may think it, but there's no gain for either of us in hair pulling, so, if I don't have something positive to say, I don't say anything.
I put up monsters, lists, and what have you on this blog for anybody who wants to use them . I use the AD&D format because that's what I like. I didn't just choose Old Guard Gaming Accoutrement's for a title at random. I've been a grouchy old man since I was twelve. The thing is, I don't care if you use them in 3e, 3.5, 4e, or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Knock yourself out. I'm just happy when I hear that my monsters are out there, mangling PCs.
When I'm traversing the black labyrinthine corridors of the internet, seeking plunder, and I come upon a room full of brawling gamers, I prefer to spike the door closed and wait for them to kill each other. Then I can loot the bodies without anyone screetching, " You're doing it wrong!" or, " That rule is totally broken!"
Because, well, I don't care.
I like to wait until the dust has settled, and the blood has dried, ( so I don't slip ), and then go back through the original post and all the comments looking for stuff that hadn't occurred to me before.
I'm looking for theories, rules, history, points of view, etc.... That I haven't run across before. When I find something interesting, I add it to the reference book to research later.
I have to sort a lot of crap to find a pearl nowadays. But they're out there.
I suppose I'm using you guys as my gaming idea stalking horse. Sorry.
Well, not really. Game On!
Saturday, July 11, 2009
The three Han Solo books that Brian Daley wrote are my favorite Star Wars fiction. I think this is because they are the closest to the pulp science fiction adventures and serials of the golden age than most of the stuff written later. Lucas, I have heard, made Star Wars because he couldn't get the rights to Buck Rodgers, or was it Flash Gordon?
Anyway, Brian Daley captures the feel of two-fisted science fiction adventure, and the characterization of Han and Chewie from the original movie much more closely than alot of the later writers. It's not that I've actually read that many Star Wars universe novels, at least, I haven't finished them. They just often don't hold my attention. It seems that though they use familiar characters and props, I just can't buy the way they have them speak and act.
This is a short excerpt from the first few pages of Han Solo at Stars' End. The first of the Daley series. Han and Chewie are in the jungle on a planet called Duroon having just finished a weapons smuggling run to a group of doomed rebels. The rebels are attempting to revolt against the Corporate Sector Authority, a titanic company chartered by the Empire to exploit the natural resources of this particular arm of the galaxy.
Now, Han and Chewie know there is a Corporate Sector Security Police ship in orbit just waiting for them to try and leave the planet so it can nail them.
They could wait no longer. The first lightening of the sky would bring every flitter, skimmer, and armed gig the local Authority officials could lay hands on, in a tight visual search grid. Chewbacca, sensing Han's mood, made a snarling comment in his own language.
Han lowered his macrobinoculars. "Correct. Let's raise ship."
They adjourned below, buckled in, and ran through a preflight-warming up engines, guns, shields. Han declared, "I'm betting that lighter will be holding low, where his sensors will do him the most good. If we come up any distance away from him, we can outrun him and dive for hyperspace."
Chewbacca yelped. Han poked him in the ribs. "What's eating you? We just have to play this hand out." He realized he was talking to hear himself. He shut up. The Millennium Falcon lifted, hovering for just a moment as her landing gear retracted. Then Han tenderly guided her up through the opening in the jungle's leafy ceiling.
"Sorry," he apologized to his ship, knowing what abuse she was about to take. He fired her up, stood her on her tail, and opened main thrusters wide. The starship screeched away into the sky, leaving the river steaming and the jungle smoldering. Duroon fell away quickly, and Han began to think they had the problem licked.
Then the tractor beam hit.
The freighter shook as the powerful, pulling beam fixed on her. High above, the Authority captain had played it smart, knowing he was looking for a faster, more maneuverable foe. Having outwitted the smuggler, he now brought his ship plummeting down the planet's gravity well, picking up enough speed to compensate for any dodge the Falcon might try in her steep climb. The tractor pulled the two ships inexorably into alignment.
"Shields-forward, all. Angle 'em, and get set to fire!" Han and Chewbacca were throwing switches, fighting their controls, struggling desperately to free their ship. In moments it became clear their actions were futile.
"Ready to shift all deflectors astern," Han ordered, bringing his helm over. "It'll have to be a staring match, Chewie."
The Wookiee's defiant roars shook the cockpit as his partner swung the freighter onto a new course, straight at the enemy vessel. All the Falcon's defensive power was channeled to redouble her forward shields. The Authority ship was coming at them at a frightening rate; the distance between ships evaporated in seconds. The Authority lighter, making hits at extreme range, jounced the two around their cockpit but did no major damage.
"Hold fire, hold fire," Han chanted under his breath. "We'll train all batteries aft and kick him going away." The controls vibrated and fought in their hands as the Falcon's engines gave every erg of effort. Deflector shields struggled under a salvo of long-range blaster-cannon fire, lances of yellow-green annihilation. The Falcon ascended on a column of blue energy as if she lusted for a fiery double death in collision with her antagonist. Rather than fight the tractor beam, she threw herself toward its source. The Authority ship came into visual range and, a moment later, filled the Falcon's canopy.
At the last instant, the warship's captain's nerve gave. The tractor faded as the lighter began a desperate evasion maneuver. With reflexes that were more like precognition, Han threw everything he had into an equally frantic bank. The two ship's shields couldn't have left more than a meter or two between them in that blindingly fast near miss.
Chewbaccca was already shifting all shields aft. The Falcon's main batteries, trained astern, hammered at the Authority vessel at close range. Han scored two hits on the lighter, perhaps no more than superficial damage, but a moral victory after a long, bad night. The Authority ship rocked. Chewbacca howled, and Han exulted, "Last licks!"
The lighter plunged downward, unable to halt her steep dive quickly. The freighter bolted out of Duroon's atmospheric envelope, out into the void where she belonged. Far below her, the Authority vessel was just beginning to pull out of her dive, all chance of pursuit lost.
Han fed jump data into the navicomputer as Chewbacca ran damage checks. Nothing irreparable, the Wookiee decided, but everything would have to have a thorough going-over. But Han Solo and Chewbacca the Wookiee had their money, their freedom, and, for a wonder, their lives. And that, Han thought, should be enough for anyone, shouldn't it?
The starship's raving engines carved a line of blue fire across infinity. Han engaged the hyperdrive. Stars seemed to fall away in all directions as the ship out-raced sluggard Light. The Millennium Falcon's main drive boomed, and she disappeared as if she'd never been there.
Now that, is what Star Wars is supposed to feel like! I wish Lucas had had Daley write the last three movies. That passage is also exactly what I would want in a Star Wars game. That last paragraph is one of my favorite bits of word smithing. I can just see this whole sequence playing out in my mind.
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
Frequency : extremely rare
No. appearing : 1-3
Armor class : -1
Move : 12"
Hit dice : 14
% in lair : 50%
Treasure type : H, S
No. of attacks : 3
Damage/attack : 1-10/1-10/3-30+10
Special attacks : area effect weapon, chance to affect magic
Special defenses : nil
Magic resistance : standard
Intelligence : low-highly
Alignment : Neutral
Size : L, 85' long
Psionic ability : nil
Chance of speaking : 20 %, magic use : nil, sleeping : 30%
Dragosaurs are thought to be the ancient progenitors of the many, contemporary races of dragons that inhabit the world today. The truth of this relationship is uncertain. Certainly, it can be said, however, that any party of adventurers confident of their ability to deal with a dragon, will be unprepared for the ferocious, direct, and unrelenting assault of a dragosaur.
A dragosaur is wingless, but moves swiftly over rough terrain. It's great size, half again to twice the size of most dragons, allows it to clear, or brush aside nearly any obstacle.
A dragosaur will immediately rush to attack any lesser creature intruding into it's territory, and in the mind of a dragosaur, all other creatures are lesser, and where ever it may be at the moment, constitutes it's territory.
Dragosaurs will always prefer to fight with tooth and claw. They exult in their power to destroy opponents physically, only if sorely pressed will they resort to their area effect, or "body" weapon.
A dragosaur does not have the dragon's breath weapon, which of course, a dragon can direct where it will. Instead the body weapon of a dragosaur manifests as a ring-shaped pulse of magical energy which the dragosaur emits in all directions. This energy rolls out from the beast's body and transmutes into fire, cold, electricity, or an acid mist, upon coming into contact with any object, living or not. There is a 25% chance for the energy of the body weapon to take each form, and this is rolled randomly,( on a 1d4 ), each time it is used.
No matter which form the weapon takes, it does damage equal to the dragosaur's current hit point total. The ring expands to a total of 100 feet from the creatures body, and may be used twice in a day.
A victim may save vs breath weapon for half damage.
A dragosaur may not use spells, but it remains a creature infused with magical energy. The effect of this is that there is a chance of a spell failure anytime a spell is cast in the vicinity of one.
There is a base 45% chance of a spell failure within 200 feet of a dragosaur. This chance lessens by 10% for every level above 10th of the caster. Should a spell failure be indicated, roll a 12 sided die. 1-4 indicates the spell simply fizzles out, 5-9 indicates the spell feeds back on the caster, with DM determined effects, 10-12 indicates 1d4 other random spells the caster has memorized are lost.
Dragosaurs are usually only encountered in, "Lost Land" type settings. They fearlessly hunt all other creatures in their domain and are usually unchallenged. Even the greatest carnosaurs will avoid a dragosaur when possible.
A dragosaur will hoard treasure as would a dragon, but it is less interested in gold. Territory and food sources are things of greater value to a dragosaur.
Saturday, July 4, 2009
Frequency : Very rare
No. appearing : 1
Armor class : 4
Move : 10
Hit dice : 5
% in lair : 20 %
Treasure type : E
No. of attacks : 3
Damage/attack : 5-8/5-8/2-12
Special attacks : Slaughter house breath, see below
Special defenses : Regenerates as does a troll, cannot reattach lost limbs
Magic resistance : nil
Intelligence : low, but cunning
Alignment : Neutral Evil
Size : L (8' tall, 400 lbs)
Psionic ability : nil
Men concoct stories and tales in order to explain those things which frighten and mystify them. The tale told concerning the Trobold is this.
Long ago, a tribe of kobolds, driven from their lair and starving, encountered a lone troll. In an act of desperate hunger, they attacked it en mass. Though many died by the troll's fearsome claws, the great numbers of the kobolds won out in the end, and the troll was dragged down and devoured.
As Istus would have it, the feast-troll was no common creature, but a valued, if not loved, shaman of Vaprak, the malignant god of trolls and ogres. As punishment for destroying his servant, Vaprak willed that the surviving kobolds would take on the characteristics of their victim, and also, they would be filled with a lust for the flesh of their own kind.
This curse was tempered somewhat by the intervention of Kurtulmak the kobold Deity. Though unable to undo the work of Vaprak, Kurtulmak altered the nature of the ill sending so that all sentient creatures, and not only kobolds would suffer the hunger of the trobolds.
This story may be so, and it may not be so, who can say?
What is so is this, Trobolds are horrible cannibals who must devour the flesh and gore of thinking beings in order to survive. Though they may torture and eat animals for the pleasure of doing so, only the meat of creatures which think and talk will nourish them.
A trobold has no interest in parley, and will attack on sight, continuing to fight unless obviously over matched, or victorious.
A trobold's first move in combat will usually be a gusty belch of it's vile slaughterhouse breath. This affects a 10 x 10 foot space directly in front of the monster. The horrid reek of old blood and meat will cause revulsion and nausea to any who fail a save vs poison. This will cost them 1 round of action, allowing the trobold to close and attack first in the following round.
If grievously wounded, ( more than 3/4 of it's total hit points), and without hope of victory, a trobold will seize the bodies of any slain enemies, and attempt to flee.
On occasion, kobolds may allie with a trobold for a raid, or employ it as a guardian if menaced by more powerful enemies. So long as the trobold is supplied with fresh meat, the kobolds will be safe. Should the stream of victims run out, however, kobolds will begin to disappear.
* The pic I used for the Trobold is by the mighty Richard Corben. I clipped it out of a larger 1971 image he did as an add for Fantagor. I ran across the pic on Golden Age Comic Book Stories, posted by the also mighty, Mr Door Tree.
Friday, July 3, 2009
So, I've made up a list of valuable, but non-standard, treasure items. Some of these things I've given a ball-park gold piece value for, and others, I haven't. Most of these things are worth what the party can get for them. If, they're smart enough to recognize their value, and care enough to make an effort to get these things to the people who will pay for them. The idea of recovering a non-standard treasure item pushes the game more toward the adventure model, and away from the clear-the-level-and-count-your-points feeling.
If you award experience points on the basis of gold piece value recovered, then you've got a great hook to force the players to role play their little hearts out in bargaining with the local fence, or loot broker.
The idea here is for you to roll 2d10 to randomly choose some strange treasure when you're stocking your encounters. Not for every room, maybe just one, or a few.
What you want here is to stop the party dead with a WTF?! moment.
Heh, I used an internetism, my wife will be pleased.
Seriously though, confronting the party with an object that is valuable, but hard to explain, and difficult to transport, is a whole lot of fun.
Also, remember, You Do Not Have To Explain! Life is full of strange crap, odd things turn up all the time. I know I like to have detailed whys and where-fores, when I'm designing, but the thing is, it's not really necessary. The players will create their own theories if faced with a lack of information, and that's often more entertaining than whatever history you've generated to justify the presence of an unexpected object.
This list was done to fit my own Greyhawk, which is low-magic, and at a technological level roughly equal to europe of about 1250 to 1350. Magic is weird, feared, and not a technology stand-in.
100 odd, level-inappropriate, and random treasure items.
1. A 50lb canvas sack of duck down feathers. (15 gps)
2. A soapstone jug containing a large wad of ambergris.
3. A famous battle banner, long lost, smells badly.
4. A reliquary containing the bones of an ancient holy man.
5. A litter of boar hound puppies. (Six, weaned)
6. A cloth roll of ornamental bird feathers, such as used in clothing.
7. A fragile bottle of a rare perfume.
8. Fifty pounds of fine bees wax.
9. 100 5"x6" diamond panes of clear glass.
10. A very large honing stone slab of the highest quality. 1' x3' x 8" thick.
11. A 1 quart jar of rare purple snail dye.
12. A bolt of fine silk.
13. A 40lb block of rock salt.
14. A jagged rod of amber with a sprite entombed within. 3' long.
15. An 8' golden horn.
16. A crate of shoemaker’s tools. ( last, hammers, tacks, hobnails, etc. (400 gps)
17. spice chest containing waxed fabric bags of rare and costly spices.
18. A solid jasper dinner service for 12 persons.
19. A sack of prized flower bulbs. (50 gp)
20. A 40 gallon barrel of Old Slodar’s uesgah. (400lbs, 800gp)
21. A very large scroll tube containing the plans for many of the ancient war engines of Armentarious.
22. 16 unfinished sword blanks of highest quality steel. (220 gp)
23. A complete barding for a war horse made of bullette horn plates.
24. A large, ornate field tent such as a lord would have. Room for 12 persons. (1200 gp)
25. A tome of bawdy wood cut illustrations.
26. A ream of vellum sheets.
27. An ogre skull soup tureen with gold mountings.
28. A small sack containing 32 carved ivory mice.
29. An oboe-like musical instrument made from a troll’s femur.
30. An old boot filled with chunks of silver-bearing quartz ore. (50 gp)
31. A 40 lb cask of fine quality olive oil.
32. A water clock. 3' x 3' x 4', 87 lbs.
33. Four pairs of snow serpent fur felt stockings. (20 gp)
34. An old wooden bucket full of mismatched silver spoons.
35. A stuffed and mounted osquip.
36. A pair of pole mounted fans made of giant raven feathers.
37. A solid gold plumb bob mounted with six cabochon sapphires.
38. A life sized ivory carving of a chicken.
39. A dozen quality daggers in a rolled up rug.
40. A stoppered behir horn containing 300 gp worth of powdered electrum.
41. Four ½ lb bricks of compressed Black Lotus pollen.
42. A bearer-order allowing the possessor to take ownership of a dozen slaves from Zoealage the flesh-monger.
43. A 3' diameter sealed glass sphere containing water and a live ornamental fish.
44. A sheaf of loose leaf music written by the infamous conjurer, Wyrdlbr the Composarch.
45. An unhafted axe head of exceptional craftsmanship. It’s faces are inlaid with a faience scene showing a crowd of human villagers throwing a halfling down a well.
46. Thirty storm giant minted gold coins, each is the size of a dinner plate and weighs 17 lbs. The image stuck on the coins shows a giant hand flicking a human off of a table top.
47. A 40' coil of rare sea shells strung on a silken cord.
48. A 1' x 3' bronze plate bearing the ancient, and secret recipe for Black Mountain Stout.
49. A complete set of bronze and carved stone weight training equipment issued to the 4th army of the Ancient Empire. (900 lbs)
50. A 6' stack of 1" x 8" x 12' planks of rare, scented jewel wood.
51. A life sized copper statue of a fat cat with amber eyes. Purrs if stroked, does not detect as magic.
52. Four silk bags containing powdered illuminators pigments. ( 1 lb each)
53. A large bale of rare furs. (2000 gp)
54. A 35 lb keg of iron nails. (30 gp)
55. A wicker tube containing a neat stack of 38 pointed wizardly hats.
56. A large oak chest of carpenters tools of very good quality. Axes, adzes, planes, saws, knives, scrapers, braces, etc. (requires two persons to move. 250 gp)
57. A 5' diameter wheel of fine, aged cheese. (75 lbs, 54 gp)
58. 300 bottles of Burglum’s Old Quarry red wine.
59. A pair of large balloon leg pantaloons made of blue velvet and sewn with tiny pearls depicting flamingos in flagrante delicto.
60. Six giant temple candles. Each is 6' tall, 1' thick, and 100 lbs. They are made of fine white wax, rolled in gold dust, and set with emeralds. (320 gps each.)
61. The secret second ledger of Murhamble the Money-lender. It reveals exactly how he has cheated the tax collector of the local lord out of thousands of gold pieces over the last decade.
62. A dozen costly incense cones. 12" tall, wrapped in waxed paper.
63. A large arbalest/bolt thrower. It is disassembled and crated for shipping. It requires four strong men to lift. When reassembled, it hurls a 5' bolt for 2d12 dmg. 3000 gps value.
64. A chest of stone masons tools. Hammers, mallets, sets, chisels, wedges, etc. ( 300 gps)
65. An abacus with counting beads made of ivory, silver, gold, and vitrified eye balls. (120 gps)
66. A complete set of balls and pins used for playing bowls. They are painted with insulting caricatures of famous kings and priests.
67. Fifty six 1' x 2' writing slates with a box containing 400 pieces of chalk.
68. A small leather case containing tattooing needles, (12), and colored inks.
69. A very large and heavy, (140 lbs), bronze mortar and pestle for mixing alchemical agents. It is inlaid with enameled alchemical symbols. (800 gps)
70. A carved jade toilet stool with a hammered gold basin. Clean.
71. A filthy bucket containing copper and silver coins, rings and necklaces worth 820 gps, also, 3/4 of a gallon of urine.
72. A large barrel of pickled eels. (32 gps)
73. A fabric bag containing two dozen sealed glass jars of various medicinal herbs.
74. A wheel barrow filled with buttons. Ivory, bone, wood, glass, silver, and gold.
76. A solid gold door knocker cast in the form of a winged phallus. (10 lbs)
77. A butter churn made of bone slats, bound with hoops of silver. A scrimshaw scene depicting a crowd of human villagers beating a halfling with shovels and hoes wraps around it.
78. A six foot long smoking pipe made of ivory, possibly a narwal horn, carved to look like a twisting serpent.
79. A wheeled trunk containing two dozen very detailed marionettes, and puppet show props.
80. A pair of mummer’s stilts. (10 gps)
81. A crown of severed, mummified fingers. Each finger bears three jeweled rings. (2200 gps)
83. A stuffed catoblepas head mounted on an eight foot pole, with colored ribbon streamers.
84. An arm chair carved entirely of a single piece of coal. Inlaid with silver runes.
85. An owlbear costume.
86. A large, boxed chess set. All the pieces are small, dead pixies somehow sealed within glass.
87. A set of dies and hammers for minting the kings coinage.
88. A dirty canvas bag containing twenty pounds of an aphrodisiac root. (1000gps)
89. A table top planar armillary, bronze. It’s dials rotate to show the relation of the inner and outer planes to the prime material, as well as the influence of the Gods and Planets, at any time during the year. (1200 gps)
90. A 3' diameter globe of the Game World. It hangs on a silver chain. The globe shows features of the game world which are not common knowledge.
91. A 6" wide, 3" tall cone of loadstone. The top of the cone attaches to a 20' silken cord. It takes a pull equal to 85 lbs of force to free the loadstone from any metal object.
92. A finely made 10' x 12' wool floor rug. The center of the rug depicts a scene of siege warfare. A halfling is being flung over a city wall by a trebuchet.
93. A gear-driven ships navigational calculator enclosed in a jewelwood box. (5000 gps)
94. One hundred and sixteen 3" white porcelain discs, each has a 1 ounce knob of electrum embedded in it’s center.
95. A two gallon stone ware jug containing hallucinogenic tree sap syrup. (20 gps)
96. The last remaining copy of Sewryd of Swrdlby’s True and Proper guide to the work of the Husbandman, and treatise on the Three Field Crop Rotation. (500 gps)
97. A small bag containing 58 clay sling bullets. Each bullet has a 12 gp opal hidden inside.
98. A long, narrow wooden box containing forty, ½ lb rolls of quality smoking leaf.
99. A 1/10th scale shipbuilders model of a sailing cog. ( 200 lbs, 2500 gps)
100. A surveyor’s transit and measuring stakes, plus a measuring chain with marks for 1, 2, and 3 hides worth of land. (800 gps.)