For every successfully enchanted sword, there are a score of fizzled failures. A ring of great power must have unimpressive cousins—better suited to a smelter than a hero’s finger. Sometimes your adventurers deserve a reward that is heavily flavored but lightly powered. Today, Prepared! brings you two items from the catalogue of not-quite-right magical treasures found at the back of the shelf.
Goblin Disguise Kit (3 Uses)
You find a small, stained sack with a crudely painted figure of a halfling on the side. Opening the sack releases an odor that invokes tears and gagging to those nearby. The sack itself contains a number of crude items designed to disguise a goblin as a halfling. Laying the kit’s inventory out on the ground, you assess its value as a tool for subterfuge and determine a figure of zero. The wig leaves an odor of wet dog on your hands…
Every season brings a fresh round of disputes the Imperial Court must entertain. Feel free to use them as scenarios for roleplaying-focused sessions or as seeds for adventures across the Grand Duchy.
Here, then, are the petitions large and small brought to our Beloved Imperatrix, Regia Moonthorn Kalthania-Reln van Dorig.
Rings to Rule Them All
Her Majesty was asked to mediate the 326th dispute between the Ringsmith’s Guild and the Guild of Wondrous Creators. The issue is whether either group should have a monopoly on the crafting of toe rings, torcs, armbands, earrings, circlets, and the latest rage in resurgent fashion—tiaras. Item quality and expense are two sticking points.
The petition includes examples of magic items that best represents each group’s work in the various categories of adornment.
The Beloved Imperatrix has commanded the items be displayed so that her subjects can take pride in her artisans’ accomplishments.
Her unspoken intent, however, is so foreign emissaries can be awed by their magnificence and other ne’er do wells might be tricked into revealing themselves by rash attempts at thievery.
Like previous explorations in this column, this author presupposes that the gamers in the subgroup of non-English speakers have little more in common with each other than they do with English-speaking gamers. Their only specific link is that they face certain difficulties when pursuing their hobby in an industry that is dominated by a group that can be inhospitable, though not necessarily deliberately. Problems of translation and a lack of fluency in English limit the breadth and quality of available translated gaming materials. This is the focus of this discussion, which is informed by an interview with French gaming enthusiast and entrepreneur, Leonidas Vesperini. For space reasons, the original interview is not printed here, but some of its most relevant ideas are.
At its most basic, non-English speaking gamers face a relative lack of translations. In some countries, games can survive and flourish only if they are translated into the native language. France is a good example. As Leo told me, sales figures can be as much as 80% better if a game is translated into French. The problem is that some companies don’t have the resources or interest to translate their games. This is especially true in countries with unique languages but small populations.
What could be more innocuous and innocent than a child’s rattle? Well, it depends on the rattle and the child. You can roll randomly for a result below, or use the handy number provided with each entry to figure out your result on a d12. You can also pick the one that works for the area in which your characters currently linger.
You’ve made a great dungeon. It has riveting plot hooks, compelling challenges, custom-made traps, and all the atmosphere of an ’80s goth music video. All it needs are a few flavorful bits to finish it off. Prepared! is here to help with worthy dungeon props ready to drop into your spelunking masterpiece.
The Broken Fountain
Before you sits a simple stone fountain. A cave-in far above caused several large chunks of rock to plummet into the fountain and damage the spout. The falling rock also dislodged several colored stones from their insets in the basin. A quick glance reveals a crudely carved laughing visage in the fountain’s base.