Whether you’re playing an OSR game or something decidedly more high magic like Fifth Edition, it’s tough not to want to throw amazing magical items at your players and see how they use them to solve problems creatively or perhaps just upend the basic assumptions of your setting.
Filling players’ inventories with super powers attached to objects can quickly become overwhelming to track, however. Plus, you run the risk that players will start simply being able to ignore certain kinds of problems once they find a particularly ingenious and versatile use for a magic item. This might make play feel samey after a while. There are solutions for this, but I want to focus on one way to avoid this problem while still generously giving your players fun stuff to find. Below you’ll find ten consumable (or near-enough to “consumable”) magic items to consider throwing into your players’ next treasure pile:
- Recording Stone — Rub this palm-sized stone vigorously and it will record sound for five minutes. This recording cannot be stopped short. Rub it once more and it will replay the full sound recording exactly once. Then it will turn to dust.
- Blade of False Betrayal — This takes on the shape of a longsword, rapier or spear. Stab someone with this, and they will appear to die. This includes pouring real blood from the wound, showing signs of injury that would fool an experienced doctor, and failing to display any vital signs for up to 8 hours thereafter. After those 8 hours, the wounds on the target close and heal themselves, and the target regains consciousness having suffered no ill effects. The blade itself disenchants immediately after being used to “kill” its target and contains no traces of magical energy.
- Blade of Real Betrayal — This takes on the shape of a balloon, piece of wood, or similar toy that can be styled to look vaguely like a weapon. When it makes contact with a creature, it instantly becomes an actual sword, spear, etc. It disenchants and remains an actual weapon thereafter.
- Pop Rocks — When one of these pebbles collides with a surface, they very convincingly simulate the sound that the thrower expects to hear at the point of impact (e.g. a volley of gunshots, arrows or crossbow bolts, or perhaps an animal’s cry). Pop Rocks are usually found in small bags containing about a handful of them. Credit to _theDeck for some punch-up on this one.
- Pocket Trampoline — When tossed on the ground, this item permanently installs a small metal frame with an extremely elastic and mysterious animal hide stretched across it. The contraption can bounce a character up to 100 ft. in the air. A character can make an ability check to try and control the exact height they bounce. The contraption is very difficult to remove from its installed position, but doing so is possible via magical means or superhuman strength.
- Imprint Paper — This magical paper creates a near-exact copy of an existing single page document, including its texture. The user must have at least the intended surface area worth of imprint paper to encompass the amount of area they want to copy. The copy will cut itself out of the sheet of imprint paper if smaller than the available area. The imprint paper can copy different documents on both sides but the contents of a side cannot be hidden once copied. Once the copy is made, that bit of paper is no longer Imprint Paper and thus not magical. Only a very heightened sense of smell can detect the minute differences between imprint paper and regular paper, but even then the smeller wouldn’t know it’s a copy unless they have reason to suspect so.
- Decoy Paper — This paper uses two power words: one true and one false. The false power word can easily be ascertained by an entry-level mage making an average difficulty ability check, though the true word would require an expert magic user (or a world class detective) to spend a hefty amount of time and experimentation to discover. Words written on this paper while reciting the false power word appear to someone who speaks it. Likewise, words written while speaking the true power word appear to someone who speaks that. Words written without speaking either appear as normal and would be what is displayed on the page to anyone who doesn’t discover one of the words. Once words are written using a particular power word or with no word at all, the paper cannot be “erased.”
- Jackspania’s Curry Roux — This magically-infused curry roux makes delicious curry for up to five people. It causes anyone who partakes of it to sweat profusely. They gain resistance to fire and heat-based effects. However, they must stay hydrated, consuming three times as much water as they otherwise would have. Don’t eat this while wearing good clothes.
- Magic Mushroom — This mushroom enlarges its consumer by two size categories for an hour. When its user eats it, roll a d6. On a 1 or a 2, the user begins experiencing intense hallucinogenic effects. They may see doors where none exist, creatures in the distance firing arrows at them, or similar complications that may materially affect their decision-making. A new hallucination occurs (replacing the old one) every 10 minutes.
- Dowsing Rod — Tapping this stick three times will cause it to turn “on.” It will force the user’s hand in a direction that contains the largest source of magical energy within a 100-mile radius, or roughly half the campaign map (whichever is smaller). Once it identifies its mark, it will always point to that same mark, no matter where the characters travel. If the mark ceases to exist or its magical energy dissipates, this rod loses all magical power.
If you’re wondering where that top image came from, it’s from Ryoko Kui’s Dungeon Meshi, a fantasy slice-of-life manga about D&D/Wizardry-style adventurers foraging for proper nutrition while exploring a dungeon. Well worth a read.