The OSR Weapons Race is back!
The adventurers enter a room. What’s in this room? Roll one d6 and then another.
1) A clay pot
- 450 gold coins; 1-in-6 chance (plus your wisdom modifier if you have a valuation, appraisal or taxing background) to realise they’re fake (iron pyrite, aka the fool’s gold, i.e. worthless).
- White powder. Inhale and re-roll your HD. The result is your new maximum (and current) hit points. Enough powder for the entire party.
- A human eye comes out floating around you, it follows you everywhere, you are now only surprised in 1-in-6. If you’re an elf: sorry, no cookie for you. Also: under bright light (daylight, &c), you are dazzled, suffering a -1 to all of your rolls until you move away from the light (or wear sunglasses).
- Some kind of swamp gas. Save vs. Poison or fungal spores penetrate your brain and control you, enpowering your death drive. You get a -2 penalty in all your Saving Throws and your AC. When you die, small, pretty fungi sprout from your head, releasing more spores, and the cycle repeats: everyone in the area makes a Saving Throw, and so on. After a few weeks, there’s an increasing chance of encountering “fungal zombies”, marking the start of the fungal apocalypse, of which you are the sole responsibles. In less than a a year, most of the world (i.e. Europe) will have been decimated.
- You release a sentient and friendly flatulence. As a reward, he can guide you to a place where he knows there is an amazing treasure, but he doesn’t know what dangers might be inside: It’s the Tower of the Stargazer. If this is your second time, Uravulon Calcidius has been somehow freed and he’s very angry.
- Very old, very strong wine. Drink and you can see goddess Demeter. Is she real, though?
2) Nerd gadgets
- Astrolabe. You can determine the position of the sun or stars. If you are a Magic-User, everyday morning roll 1d6. 1: One extra spell of any level you can cast. 6: You can’t cast your highest level spells.
- Electric battery. You can mount it to any steel weapon, like a sword or halberd. Roll to attack. 20: Your weapon causes damage as the next better weapon (a d6 weapon deals d8 instead). 1: You suffer that damage.
- Shadow set. AC 12. Look like a ninja! It grants you one extra pip in Stealth, a +6 to Saving Throws vs. Poison, and +2 vs. Death. You can’t wear any armor when wearing the shadow set.
- A thing with a button. Push the button. A voice comes out: “To release the soul one must die. To find peace inside you must get eternal”. Save vs. Death. Once dead, you hear the same voice: What you found was eternal death. No one will ever miss you”.
- Strange goggles. These goggles are attached to the head and cannot be removed without permanently blind you. You have X-ray vision, you can see everyone as skeletons, but also detect hidden weapons and the like. You can no longer recognize people’s faces or general appearance.
- A thing with many buttons. Numerals, buttons that say VOL or CH or CC, you really don’t get it. When pointed at someone and a button is pressed, it produces 1d4 effects: 1: An extra combat action every two rounds (first round, one action; second round, two actions). 2: You can make only two actions every three rounds, i.e. round one, action; round two, action, round three, no action. 3: Your character is changed: roll up a new character. That’s you now. 4: You see everything in black and white.
3) The ancient tome
- You learn the language of either frogs and toads, or fungi.
- You learn how to breed spiders.
- You learn useful survival skills (+1 Bushcraft).
- You learn everything about the African walrus and its gestation period.
- You learn that you know less than you think (-1 Wisdom).
- The book is blank. 666 pages of nothing except numbering. If you pass page by page and read each page number (1, 2, 3… 665, 666), Satan comes to you. What does he want?
4) Mysterious scroll
- Strange map. It’s the map of 2019 London.
- Love letter a married woman you know (maybe a noble) wrote for her peasant lover. How dit it get here? More importantly: How can you take advantage?
- Letter dated two weeks ago: “Have any arcane tomes to trade? Bring them to me. Franz von Hatzfeld, Würzburg’s Prince-Bishop” (Better Than Any Man).
- It’s 30 sheets of parchment, written in an unknown language and including strange illustrations of things that should not be and unknown astronomical charts. Language rolls and any other intent to understand the content are automatically failed. If a character or player says something on the lines of: “Let’s accept that this text doesn’t mean anything at all, maybe it’s just a joke made by a troll”, his or her character gains one point of Wisdom, because that’s the truth, it doesn’t have any hidden meaning, it’s just doodles or callygraphy exercises or even a prank.
- Sheet music entitled “Vanilla Fantasy”. Written for theorbo, when performed the space between the musicians and the audience opens up. All listeners must make a successful Saving Throw vs. Magic or, when the music’s over, be willing to be devoured by the sky, meaning they throw themselves to the opening and disappear. Save vs. Death if you prefer.
- In German. Secret Language roll. If the PC already knows German, she still rolls with a +1 bonus, because it’s neither Upper nor Central Geman, but a variation of Low German. It’s a witchcraft recipe to gain 1 point in two abilities or 2 points in one ability. The character has to mix three spoons of ground thistle, mistletoe and aconitum with [successful roll] a spoon of blood of a child or [failed roll] a spoon of blood from the ripped heart of a child. Both versions of the ritual work.
- Three astragali. If a character rolls these, the player must roll 3d6 and replace their current Charisma value with the result of the roll. A second roll replaces Constitution, then Dexterity, then Intelligence, then Strength, then Wisdom. A seventh roll and further rolls deduct one point from all six ability scores.
- A skeleton holding a silver spoon. The spoon is doubly cursed. 1) While you possess it, you need double food/water rations, 2) You cannot get rid of it, it always re-appears among your possessions. It can be stolen, though.
- A portrait of a random PC and a man. It doesn’t seem a painting, it’s too real to be a painting. Behind there’s this note: “I wish you good luck in your adventures. Love, Abraham”. Abraham is your husband, always has been, and you don’t remember finding the picture, you always brought it with you.
- The most beautiful mother-of-pearl comb you have ever seen. Comb someone’s hair and it grows 5 cm per night, non-stop. When it’s long enough to headbang to the rhythm of Emperor’s “Curse you all men”, the hair will try to strangle you (Saving Throw vs. Death). If you survive the attack, you have to get rid of it, maybe removing your scalp. Cutting it doesn’t help, it grows like a hydra’s head.
- Voodoo doll. If you stick a pin while observing someone up to 30 metres away, make an attack roll for 1d6 damage. It works 1d4 times a day, modified by Charisma (minimum one).
- A crystal dagger that grants a +1 bonus against evil orcs for 1d4 damage. Too bad orcs don’t exist in this world.
6) Ancient artifacts*
- Bell of Valor. Gold tintinnabulum shaped like a winged phallus. If the bell is hung over the head of a sleeper, he will be visited by an angel in the form of a lion with eagle’s wings and a huge flaming sword. The dream is vague, but the effect is evident: If you go unarmoured during that day, you can wield two mêlée weapons (minor or small, 1d4 or 1d6 points of damage) during combat. You only have to make one attack roll, and if you succeed, roll two damage dice instead of one. During a round, you can renounce one of the damage dice (i.e. only use one weapon to attack) and add +1 to your AC. This must be declared at the start of the round.
- Bathory Heart. Eat it. Bathing in the blood of your enemies (or friends) restores your hit points. From the second time you do it, make a Saving Throw vs. Magic, if you fail: 1) You don’t get your hit points back, 2) When you level up, you won’t gain any additional hit points (except those given by your Constitution modifier; god forbid it’s a negative number), 3) The effect of the Bathory Heart dissipates.
- White Obsidian Pendant. It belonged to a great hero before he disappeared into the Abyss where he travelled to prevent the Pelagic Darkness from overcoming the world. Might the hero still be there, in an eternal struggle? The possessor of this pendant can travel between the realms of light and darkness: mechanically, she has both alignments: Law and Chaos. Any effect that affects one of these alignments negatively is automatically denied; any effect that affects it positively is accepted.
- The One Ring of Invisibility. A gold ring with a strange inscription. Language roll: You know what it says, you don’t know what language it is written in, though: “Invisibility”. The ring becomes invisible when worn.
- Hands of Hope and Glory. A girl’s dried and pickled left hand with a candle wick made of her hair, over a woman’s right hand that serves as a candleholder. The small hand is a closed fist with the middle finger raised, with the words: “Paint my name with their blood” tattooed. The light from this “candle” illuminates like an ordinary candle but only for the holder. Placing the lit ‘candle’ in front of a door causes the door to open automatically. When used for the fifth time, the light will spark releasing a smell of burnt mandrake and cannot be used again.
- The Coire Ansic. One of four relics of the Thiata Dé Danann. Boil water and stones in this cooking pot and it will produce the best soup you have ever tasted.
*These properties can be partially known with the Identify spell. For instance, you know you have to eat Bathory’s heart but you don’t know the effect until you actually eat it.
Note for referees: Use common sense. Or use weird sense. Whatever is not stated, you decide.