Thursday, June 11, 2015

Throwback Thursday: Curious Goods

Friday the 13th was a horror TV show which lasted three seasons, from October 3, 1987 to May 26, 1990. I watched it quite regularly with my father and enjoyed the D&D type vibe many of the episodes had. Interestingly the name of the show was just a ploy to attract viewers and had nothing to do with the famous Jason Voorhees. That said, the backdrop for the show was a shop called Curious Goods which at one time sold cursed antiques. It would have been a nice nod to have Jason’s hockey mask somewhere on one of the shelves.

The series followed the adventures of Michelle "Micki" Foster (played by Louise Robey), Ryan Dallion (played by John D. LeMay) and Jack Marshak (played by Chris Wiggins). Their goal was to try and collect all the cursed items that were sold at the store and place them in a protective vault.

The prologue of the show was as follows:

"Lewis Vendredi made a deal with the devil to sell cursed antiques. But he broke the pact, and it cost him his soul. Now, his niece Micki, and her cousin Ryan have inherited the store... and with it, the curse. Now they must get everything back and the real terror begins."

Growing up the thing I enjoyed the most about Friday the 13th was actually the store. Time and time again it was an inspiration for odd magic shops in my games and the outlandish wares they would sell. Many RPG players love to go shopping and interact with NPCs. D&D is largely about exploration but it does not always need to be a dungeon environment. Rather a character could explore oddities for sale in a place like Curious Goods.

Below I have created a table of items a character may encounter in a dusty old antique store specializing in lost things and the occult. Each item can easily be fleshed out more in terms of history and lead to many more adventures or questions.

Curious Goods (d20)

1.    A small metal box with broken hinges. When pried open a preserved eyeball will be found inside. If touched the eyeball will share mentally with the user grainy imagery of several hidden treasure hoards.

2.    A set of dice carved from white dragon bone. Will chill small quantities of liquid if placed inside a vessel of any kind. If rolled the dice will cover a small surface in a thin layer of ice.

3.    A backpack filled with old scraps of cloth. If examined they may be placed together to form a map showing the location of an ancient hobgoblin tomb.

4.    A wooden staff which has a hard to find hollow compartment. Inside is found a scroll which entitles the owner to an inheritance to be collected in a well-known city.

5.    A dented and misused dagger which is curiously sharp. When used to cut mundane material it always does this task in half the normal time required.

6.    One leather boot (size 9) which appears to be stained by a phosphorescent purple material. If worn the boot casts purple light in a 20’ radius in the presence of evil.

7.    An eyepatch which is crafted from cyclops hide. If worn it provides the ability to see twice as far with the uncovered eye. An appropriate bonus should be granted for ranged weapon use.

8.    A courtesan’s revealing lingerie of deep red color. Crafted by the assassin’s guild this garment provides the same protection as chain armor to its wearer.

9.    A polished apple of curious black color. If eaten the fruit makes those who consume it wispy and shadowy for one entire day. An appropriate bonus to armor class should be given to reflect this.

10.    A small golden button with a few green threads still attached. A prancing unicorn is embossed on the design of the button. If sewn on a garment and then worn the button will teleport away the users clothing to a fey circle.

11.    A wooden box which contains twelve more boxes each progressively smaller. The final box is approximately 2” in diameter and contains a miniature stoppered vial. If opened the vial lets out an acrid smelling smoke and booming laughter is heard.

12.    An old book bound in yellowed leather. The vellum pages are stained with an oily green substance which smells of arsenic. If a page is removed it hardens into a sharp weapon with its edge covered in a jellied poison of the DM’s choice.

13.    A brightly colored and checkered smoking vest which reeks of burnt tobacco. If worn the user is able to cover a 10’ radius in deep obscuring smoke when indulging in a pipe. The user is able to see through the smoke as if it did not exist.

14.    A wooden case which intricately unfolds to form two small tables. Anything placed on top of one of the tables instantly appears on the other table. The range of this swapping power is 5 miles.

15.    A tattered cloak crafted from black wool with a blue silk liner. To others except the wearer they will appear the opposite of their current sex. Peering in a mirror will reveal the illusion to the wearer.

16.    A strange pair of gloves which seem to be crafted from a black umbral material. If worn the user feels the constant desire to pilfer inexpensive items. They may not be removed unless a remove curse spell is utilized or the user steals 100 items, whichever comes first.

17.    A golden locket in the shape of a heart which opens to reveal the small portrait of a child. If worn the child will appear at night as a ghostly apparition in the distance and just stare at the wearer. If approached the apparition will giggle and runaway vanishing into the darkness.

18.    A dented helm crafted from black iron which grants a +1 bonus to armor class. If worn however the owner intermittingly will see violent events which occurred in the past in various locations visited. These flashbacks are through the eyes of the victims and always traumatic. 

19.    A well-crafted hide backpack which appears to have the same extradimensional capability as a Bag of Holding. When worn however the bag routinely replaces the owner’s possessions with someone else’s. Apparently the backpack is linked to another somewhere in the world. 

20.    A magnificent elven longsword filigreed with mithril. The runes on the blade suggest it once belonged to a noble of great importance. When wielded it feels light and balanced and confers a +2 bonus. The sword is actually the phylactery of a powerful lich. The new owner of the sword will be constantly harassed by the minions of the lich as they try to unlock the secrets of the ancient blade.

Keep digging through old tomes and shops. You never know what you may find!