Features Archive | 12/9/2010
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Treasure Options
Estate of Deveron, Part 4
Miranda Horner

Why settle for giving out ordinary gold to your players when you can instead offer treasure items with rich backstories? Especially when these items also provide hooks to your next adventures!

Estate of Deveron: Inventory

Appraiser: Journeyman Aletia Cromley

Under Direction of Master Appraiser Ignatius Booth

Aletia: We figured it out. I think.

Ignatius: Figured what out? You think.

Aletia: The problem of the moving items. It was some sort of spirit creature. The cleric put it to rest. I think.

Ignatius: Some sort of spirit creature…. Did you not pay attention when I was telling you about ghosts and their ilk, Aletia?

Aletia: Of course I was! But this wasn’t one even the cleric knew. It… well, this is awkward.

Ignatius: Either tell me or start your entry on the next item.

Golden Quill of Corellon

This quill comes from a young griffon. It was processed in the unique fashion that certain eladrin families have, which allowed it to be dipped in gold. An artisan etched a symbol of Corellon upon its shaft and added fine woven gold wire strung with sixteen small amber-hued crystal beads toward the upper part of the quill. Four small gold bells attached to the end of the quill resonate in a certain chord; this chord has been used by the Tisanartha family to seal and open music-based enchanted locks. The quill was used; dried ink remains within the shaft with qualities of dried ambergold ink, but further testing must be done to determine this.

Appraised Value: 350 gp

Using the Quill and Ink in Your Game

Adding details, such as eladrin families and special types of inks, can help expand your world and draw your players into it more fully. To further help, here are some hooks you can use.

An Eladrin Hero: If your group contains an eladrin, consider having that hero tied to the Tisanartha family in some manner. Perhaps he or she is of the family or a distant relation. Maybe the hero served the family at one point, but no longer does so because the last Tisanartha died during an earlier adventure. If the family is ancient history, perhaps the hero knows some lore of a cache of family goods that were lost when being moved from one location to another.

Creating More Ambergold: The few dwarves left in the Hammerheath clan have buyers for ambergold ink, but acquiring the ingredients for it is quite a task! Perhaps, during an adventure, the heroes find a mundane treasure item. As DM, you can easily change it into an item that has an element of amber (complete with trapped creature) to it. Or, if you want to add a side quest to any adventure that exposes the heroes to elementals, figuring out a way to gain that bit of fire and water might be fun. Additionally, some players enjoy having their heroes acquire trophies to remind them of their victories; would these heroes give up an unusual trophy for monetary gain? Or maybe the dwarves have some other method of payment they’d like to provide, such as training. Since the remaining Hammerheath dwarves have mingled among other clans, gaining such ink is also a bit of a challenge. It could be that the heroes are asked to find someone who can make the ink, too!

The above suggestions are possibilities, but feel free to come up with your own ways to hook this information into your game—or adjust the details to fit something you’ve already set up.

Ignatius: Where did you learn of the Tisanartha family, Aletia?

Aletia: One of the people in this group told me a story about how he had to get an earlier group he was with hum the chord to open a chest. Then, later, they found a vault door that required the same chord. Both were Tisanartha holdings. The Tisanartha family also knows how to create these gold-dipped quills.

Ignatius: And here you were not too long ago complaining about this group. You’re keeping your ears open—not all knowledge comes from training, as you’re discovering. Good work!

Aletia: Thank you, master.

Ignatius: I hope you found an inkwell with ambergold ink in it?

Aletia: I did, in fact.

Black Onyx Inkwell with Ambergold Ink

This square, black onyx inkwell is 2 inches at the base and 2 inches tall. It has a gold hinged top. Less than an ounce of ambergold ink remains in the inkwell. Ambergold ink is created by dwarves through a process that involves elemental fire, elemental water, gold, and chunks of amber. The amber chosen for this process always contains a creature, such as an insect. When used, ambergold ink starts out as a dark brown ink on any surface, but as it dries, a golden border forms around the ink. Ambergold ink is used primarily for ornate, illustrated texts.

Appraised Value: 500 gp (150 gp for the inkwell; 350 gp for the ink)

Ignatius: Better. Now, if you knew the clan of dwarves that made that ink, you’d improve on that entry.

Aletia: The Hammerheath dwarves. They really aren’t a clan anymore, though.

Ignatius: But, some of their blood still exists, weakly, among dwarves of other clans.

Aletia: Sure. It’s just that they aren’t really a formal clan these days.

Ignatius: True. In the end, this is a judgment call you can make. I would add it. Now, what’s next?

Aletia: Well, I wasn’t going to include this, but I think I ought to do so.

Ignatius: I see. Well, go ahead.

The Leash of Nine Cats (Featuring the Option to Expand to Forty Cats... but only if you can find someone to make more cat harnesses)

Yes, this is a silly item. Yes, some of you might be dismissing it completely. Some of you might want the time you just spent reading the above back. But, consider this: How often do you put something outrageously silly in your game? Do you have players in your group that would giggle until their abs hurt if they found this item? Or have you played with your group for awhile and know with complete certainty that your group is totally straight-faced serious all the time and would find such an item as a total immersion breaker? If you have the latter, then moving along to a spot below would probably be a great idea right about now.

If you aren’t sure, but want to try something silly, and if you have a game planned around April 1st, this might be a good treasure item to throw in. (You’ll have plenty of time to figure out where to put this, then completely rethink whether adding it is a good idea.) If you know you have people in your group that like the occasional “what the heck?” moment and run with it, then you could have some fun with this item.

Of course, those of you playing Gamma World might want to throw this item in somewhere as a matter of course. With some tweaking (the gemstones might be zirconium, with the entire leash being ancient junk once belonging to a celebrity cat walker or the like), it could work nicely.

You never know when you’re going to need to leash a swarm of felines.

Okay, for those of you who don’t like having your immersion broken with silliness, here’s the alternative version of the item above. It’s still a curiosity, but not necessarily a ridiculous one. And while we have your attention (including you folk who like a bit of planned silliness), it’s a good time to make this point: You know your group. You know your players. Or, if you don’t, you will. Each group is different from the next, but that doesn’t make it better or worse than the next group, so tailor your game to suit what makes playing the game fun. If adding silliness adds fun for you, then great! If avoiding it helps keep the game fun, then avoid it!

The Leash of Nine Cats

Crafted from black supple leather, one long leash leads to a large steel O-ring, and from that leads nine smaller leashes and harnesses that appear to fit creatures the size of a cat. Each harness has an adjustable collar, an adjustable strap that encircles the cat’s abdomen, and a strap that runs between the collar and abdominal harness. Each harness is decorated with square-cut, low quality gems, and each harness features a different gemstone: amethyst, blue topaz, yellow topaz, turquoise, sapphire, emerald, ruby, diamond, and jade. All of the gear in this set is in excellent condition, as if it has never been used.

Appraised Value: 5,000 gp

Ignatius: That is… one of the stranger items I’ve run across. Who would harness nine cats?

Aletia: That’s what I want to know!

Ignatius: It is a curiosity, to be sure, but the value of the gemstones makes it worth noting.

Aletia: Yes. I suppose I don’t know for sure that it’s for cats, but they’re about the right size. What else would you harness in this manner?

Ignatius: Let me think about that one.

Leash and Harness Set

Crafted from black supple leather, one long leash leads to a harness that appears to fit a creature the size of a cat. It has an adjustable collar for the neck, an adjustable strap that encircles the cat’s abdomen, and a strap that runs between the collar and abdominal harness. The harness is decorated with nine square-cut gems of varying quality: amethyst, blue topaz, yellow topaz, turquoise, sapphire, emerald, ruby, diamond, and jade. This set is in excellent condition, as if it was never used.

Appraised Value: 5,000 gp

Ignatius: You show an unusual side, Aletia. I’ve never heard of anyone leashing a cat. Are you sure this is a cat leash?

Aletia: Well, we had this man in our village who had two cats that he walked each day. Very set in his ways; he had a routine he followed each day.

Ignatius: I see. Well, including it is a good idea. The gemstones make it a worthwhile addition.

Aletia: Good.

Ignatius: Now, about that spirit.

Aletia: I think I’d really rather not discuss it, master, if it’s all the same to you.

Ignatius: But it’s dealt with?

Aletia: Yes. I think. If anything changes, I’ll let you know.

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