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101 Intriguing Item Histories
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101 Intriguing Item Histories

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No more "Um, it's just a +1 dagger, there's nothing special about it..."; with 101 Intriguing Item Histories to choose from, you'll have a history for every notable item in your game. Fill in the names, deities, etc., for your game world and that +1 dagger could be as famous as Excalibur.

1001 Intriguing Item Histories

The adventurers, once again triumphant over a great evil, or at least a band of marauding orcs, have returned to the castle of Baron Norab, who promised a reward to anyone who brought him the head of the orc chieftain.

Party leader: We've killed your orcs for you. 29 of them, to be exact. Here's the proof. We're here for the reward.

Baron Norab: Ack, get that thing out of my audience hall! It's dripping on the floor and starting to smell.

Kalthros: Not much different than when he was alive, then.

Party leader: *glares at Kalthros*

Baron Norab: I suppose if I questioned the identity of that one, you woud bring me the heads of the other 28. It will suffice. You have the gratitude of the entire barony for ridding us of a grievous menace to trade. In more concrete thanks, here is the monetary reward of 2,000 coins, as promised, and a magical dagger.

Jarmak: A magic dagger?

Baron Norab: Aye. It is called the Dagger of Pain. Its former owner was a distant relative. It has been in our castle armory since he vanished and some ancestor of mine, I think the one whose portrait is fifth from the left, acquired it.

Jarmak: Wow! Guys, can I have it?

Group leader: Well, since your last dagger kept attracting ghost-things until we threw it into the river, unless anyone else wants it, sure.

Some time later, the players are sitting around a comfortable fire in a private room at the local inn, and Jarmak asks Kalthros the wizard what his research has uncovered.

Kalthros: Here's what I've found: The Dagger of Pain was made by the forces of evil for Prince Orphoosk the Terrible, the leader of a secret brotherhood. Orphoosk sold the Dagger to Rarathie the Magebane. Rarathie died in an ambush set by Taderec the Crosseyed. Taderec gave the Dagger to Anrina the Fearless. The Dagger went missing for several centuries, then was found in a wyvern's hoard by Arrosk the Fast, a member of the Silver Slayers, who used it when he explored the fabled Tombs of Rastomar. Following his adventures, Arrosk mysteriously vanished and the Dagger was sold by his daughter at an estate sale. Centuries later, the Dagger of Pain is remembered only in old storytellers' tales. Which is how I found out about it, from that old man who sits outside the inn all day.

Jarmak: Wow, the very same dagger that Arrosk used? Even I've heard of him!

Kalthros: Also, it's a +1 dagger.

Jarmak: So? Who cares, it was Arrosk's dagger! I wouldn't trade it for anything...

Welcome to the "101 Things" collections

This is a bit of an experiment. There are just 101 entries in this collection, but they are more detailed (only a handful fit on a page) than the 1001 Things listings. The table that created them is a monster, with over 200 subtables. It's a lot of work, but the results are like nothing else. If this is popular, there will be more.

Even a simple +1 dagger becomes a truly wondrous item when it has a history. It goes from being just a minor item to be replaced as soon as possible to a living part of the game world and history. Durendal, Gram, and Excalibur were a lot more than "just" swords. Make your items, from weapons to amulets, equally interesting!

Using these descriptions is a bit more work than the less-complex lists, because the entries refer to countries, people, deities, etc., and of course yours are unique to your campaign. When you use one of these, you'll want to give the gods appropriate names from your pantheon, use the countries of your world, replace names with those of famous heroes (or not, and thereby produce new heroes!), change the item names if necessary (1001 Mystical Magic Names can help!) and so on. This serves best for session planning, so that you have time to assign the names and tweak the history appropriately..

No more "Um, it's just a +1 dagger..."; with 101 Intriguing Item Histories to choose from, you'll be ready with a history for every magic item in your game.

 
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3501
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File Last Updated:
March 06, 2018
This title was added to our catalog on March 06, 2018.