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Saturday, April 18, 2015

What is the Most Useless Magic Item You Have Come Across in an RPG Campaign?

+Far Away Land RPG (Dirk) posted earlier this week on his blog, inquiring if everything in an RPG needed a purpose. I think the answer to that is no, but it won't stop the players from trying to find one ;)

Still, there are some pretty useless magic items - or at least, items that have a very singular and obscure purpose (these are often found in adventures instead of core rulebooks.)

Going the other direction, there are items, such as the Wand of Wonder, that no one in their right mind would ever use in the midst of combat unless all was already lost, as the potential to screw is greater than that of a positive result (I really should do another crowd sourced Wand of Wonder effects post - it has been a number of years since I did that previously.)

Here's an example I wrote a few years back. Maybe not useless, but not all that useful either:
Beer Bear - This appears to be a child's stuffed bear of smallish size.  If one tilts the bear's head back and makes a poring motion with the bear, cold beer (up to the amount of a pint) flows forth.  The type of beer that the bear dispenses depends on the color of the bear.  Black bears dispense stout and brown bears dispense a pilsner.  The bear will dispense beer up to 8 times in a single day. 
Hard to beat the image of one of the PCs going to sleep in a dungeon, holding his Beer Bear tight to him, out of fear another party member may take off with it ;)
So, what is the most useless magic item you have come across in an RPG campaign?

14 comments:

  1. Boots of Goat Seduction. Non-cursed, we didn't find out what they did until we got out of the dungeons and all the local farm stock got REALLY interested in the fighter.

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    1. Sounds like a seemingly useless item with some potential. Did you check to see if it works on unicorns?

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    2. We never did check, no. The boots got traded to a wizard for some potions.

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  2. A fucking cocoanut that trapped you inside.

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  3. The one I put in Death & Taxes just because...Xyster of Mercy, +1 of course :)

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  4. I find them all pretty useless. Hardly ever see even a magic sword in my games. Do holy symbols vs. vampires count as magic items? I guess those are useful.

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  5. Belt-girdle-hat-whatever of gender bending. Useless and annoying!

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    Replies
    1. I dunno, I can think of a few uses for something like that

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    2. If it was easily removable it sounds damn convenient!

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  6. Darkvision goggles with a game master who never takes darkness into account.

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  7. The Teddy Bear of Infinite Beer is pretty awesome, actually. The little detail about the relation between the bear's color and the beer dispensed sells it. I love oddly specific little asides like that in RPG statblocks.

    I have more fun, both as writer, player and GM, with the lower power, utility or flavor-oriented magic items than I do with the badass combat items.

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  8. My favorites are the Ring of Spell Turning and Ring of Spell Storing. When either is activated, a loud, booming voice is heard that spells out "T-U-R-N-I-N-G" or "S-T-O-R-I-N-G".

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  9. (There's also the Ring of Feather Fall that, when dropped, will float gingerly to the floor, as if it were a feather.)

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  10. We did a paranoia crossover thing in the style of Expedition to the Barrier Peaks.

    We picked up:
    * A flamethrower
    * An energy beam weapon
    * A plasma generator.

    This turned out to be:

    * Matches
    * A flashlight (a torch, our DM called it)
    * And a little canister that dripped body goo

    The third item seemed the most useless, though I always imagined making some kind of deal with a vampire using it.

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