Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Deck of Stuff

For my last OD&D con game I got out a stack of index cards and turned them into a deck of miscellaneous equipment cards, like this:

As I shuffled and dealt one card to each player I told them something like "As veteran adventurers you each have at least one item not on the standard equipment list. Most of these items have no game mechanics attached them. It's up to you to figure out how to make this stuff useful." I think this worked pretty well as a way of signaling to the players that the mechanics of the game were not my number one concern. And it gave everyone a toy to play with. Below is the complete list of cards.

The Deck of Stuff

long-stemmed pipe & pouch of pipeweed
small flask of poison
polar bear fur cloak
large jug of potent wine
oracular skull: answers a single yes/no question 1/day
dungeon dog: Ac 7, HD 2, well trained, very loyal
2 ninja smokebombs
first aid kit (6 uses)
2 vials of holy water
sprig of wolvesbane
5 silver arrows
3 men-at-arms with chain, shield, spear, sword
steel crowbar
2 blessed crossbow bolts
small sack containing 30 fake gp (thin gold plated over lead)
bag containing 12 caltrops
2 orcs-at-arms with chain, shield, sword, shortbow
henchman: roll 1st level PC as quickly as possible!
75' spider-silk rope & iron grappling hook
11' wooden pole
silver dagger
6 cigars
30' coil of copper wire
12 small candles
small bag of Monster Chow™
rowan shield
partial dungeon map
piece of chalk
5' steel pole
500' ball of string
1 tin of moustache wax
1 Holy Hand Grenade
wedge of very stinky cheese
tiny vial containing 3 angel tears


  1. Anonymous8:19 AM

    small bag of Monster Chow™
    1 Holy Hand Grenade
    wedge of very stinky cheese

    Must have been a comedy scenario.

  2. See, a GM giving me something like that, with the expectation that I was going to try as hard as hell to get that item into the game in some creative way, makes my head glow. Very cool!

  3. That's funny because I just created a magic item called an Unholy Hand Grenade for my campaign last week. It can be thrown 8" (like a Necklace of Missiles) and causes Animate Dead to all size M or less humanoids in a 10" diameter.

    Nice work.

  4. This is a great idea! So simple, yet so many possibilities for gaming goodness here. The Deck of Stuff will be included in my next game. Thanks!

  5. Neat list. Little touches like that are what make gaming come alive in the hands of a cool GM who knows his stuff.

  6. Great stuff for inspiration there. Consider it stolen. -yoink-.

  7. Must have been a comedy scenario.

    Not particularly so. I don't do 'comedy games' as such very often. Usually I just do games that happen to allow room for plenty of laughs.

  8. I think my favorite is the 11' wooden pole.

    I just keep thinking "This one goes to eleven."

  9. Anonymous7:23 AM

    Very good list. The most "old-school" thing about it is that "balancing" the items isn't even a concern. If someone complains that the other guy got 3 henchmen, but he only got some lame pipe, then he doesn't really get OD&D.

    Fantastic list Jeff.

  10. This is very useful - I like pushing things slightly out of the bland/norm without merely upping the power level. So, instead of a sword +3, a sword that can recite all poems by Gern the Great.

    I can also use this list for small treasures or grabbing items found when going through and NPCs pockets - though a pocket of men at arms would be quite a surprise.

  11. Talk-Rock
    (say up to 3 words to it; it will repeat them in your voice when it strikes something solid)

  12. So the Holy Hand Grenade went to the cleric of Antioc, right?