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Old 03-17-2021, 10:11 PM   #1
hcobb
 
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Default Valuable magic items that are useless in combat

A "music box" with Maintain Image and the only known recording of a famous dancer's performance.
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Old 03-18-2021, 07:35 AM   #2
phiwum
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Default Re: Valuable magic items that are useless in combat

That's good.

I have two minor magic items that are instrumentally useful, but don't explicitly fit within the magic rules.

The first is a magic stylus that produces flowing script in a different hand than the user. The script adds value to any document produced, the author cannot be confirmed and most important, it gives a +1 reaction roll when read.

The second (which goes hand-in-hand) is a forgetful papyrus. At midnight, whatever text is on the papyrus goes invisible. A Remove Thrown Spell will reveal everything ever written on the papyrus, but after several uses, this will be a jumble of text, all illegible.

Like many of the items found in the book (holdfast spike, say), you can't just pick spells to add to the item and get this effect.

Speaking of the holdfast spike, suppose I push it in the ground and you come along and want to remove it. Seems to me you could dig around it and take the sod it's holding out of the ground. But then you have a useless spike surrounded by dirt. The dirt is magically adhering to it, but at what radius? Is it roughly 2000 lbs worth of dirt, to roughly match the strength of the spike? And then how can you make the spike useful again?
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Old 03-18-2021, 09:49 AM   #3
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Default Re: Valuable magic items that are useless in combat

A ring of infertility.
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Old 03-18-2021, 11:31 AM   #4
Skarg
 
Join Date: May 2015
Default Re: Valuable magic items that are useless in combat

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Originally Posted by phiwum View Post
Speaking of the holdfast spike, suppose I push it in the ground and you come along and want to remove it. Seems to me you could dig around it and take the sod it's holding out of the ground. But then you have a useless spike surrounded by dirt. The dirt is magically adhering to it, but at what radius? Is it roughly 2000 lbs worth of dirt, to roughly match the strength of the spike? And then how can you make the spike useful again?
Good questions.

The description gives them one ton of resistance to being pulled out of any dirt strong enough to hold the spike's weight. But they can be broken & destroyed by a door being pushed open through them, only adding 1 die or 10 ST to the resistance. I would say that they are specialized at doing these things, so while it would take a ton of force to pull them out by the end, I don't see anything saying you can't dig them out by cutting/digging through the dirt around them, so I think that wouldn't be any more difficult than it normally would be for the material around them. So for dirt, even a dagger would let you dig out a spike and you could scrape the dirt off...

A spike stuck in a chunk of stone could still be useful as a kind of heavy grapnel which can hold a ton.

I'm NOT sure if you could scrape off ALL of the material and then re-use the item without the original user saying "Free", or if there'd always be a film of dirt and it'd not function as a Holdfast Spike that way. I tend to think it'd be unable to function.

However the Remove Cursed Object spell might reset the item.
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Old 03-18-2021, 01:08 PM   #5
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Join Date: Nov 2018
Location: Florida Peninsula, Earth, Sol Sytem
Default Re: Valuable magic items that are useless in combat

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I'm NOT sure if you could scrape off ALL of the material and then re-use the item without the original user saying "Free", or if there'd always be a film of dirt
As for scraping the 'stuff' off, I'd treat it like trying to get every bit of metal shavings off of a magnet. Never going to happen. You could rule that the spike is doing something to intensify the local magnetic field or even gravity, but this is a simple, fun game not a high-tech science exercise.

Reuse of the item, without the original user saying "free", I'd rule no.
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Old 03-18-2021, 01:11 PM   #6
phiwum
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Default Re: Valuable magic items that are useless in combat

Good answers, Skarg. Remove Cursed Object is kind of a stretch, but I kind of see it if I squint just right. It's a rare enough spell that it would still take effort.
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Old 03-19-2021, 12:54 AM   #7
Anomylous
 
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I agree that "Remove Cursed Item" should be able to free and "reset" a Holdfast Spike. I'd rule that you can't easily dig it out and scrape it off; once you get your shovel (or pick) underneath it, it will take a ton of force to pry that chunk of earth loose from the ground/rock face/whatever. (Better idea: harness a few yoke of oxen to it, or an elephant...ITL mentions that even a horse can sometimes overpower a single Holdfast Spike, and then the spike is reusable.)

As for valuable magic items useless in combat, I ran across the idea of "wind knots" someplace. It's a string with knots tied in it. Untie a knot and it summons a moderate wind, blowing from a random direction (or wherever the prevailing wind would normally come from). I suppose the effect would last for a few hours. Very useful for a becalmed ship's captain, or a windmill operator. I suppose a clever tactician might be able to utilize it to blow toxic fumes towards the enemy, or create problems for archers trying to make long range shots, but overall it's definitely geared towards commerce not combat. I don't know why it should be knots in a piece of string, but I guess if nothing else, that's a nice concrete way of representing "charges."
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Old 03-19-2021, 01:17 AM   #8
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Default Re: Valuable magic items that are useless in combat

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Originally Posted by Anomylous View Post
As for valuable magic items useless in combat, I ran across the idea of "wind knots" someplace. It's a string with knots tied in it. Untie a knot and it summons a moderate wind, blowing from a random direction (or wherever the prevailing wind would normally come from). I suppose the effect would last for a few hours. Very useful for a becalmed ship's captain, or a windmill operator. I suppose a clever tactician might be able to utilize it to blow toxic fumes towards the enemy, or create problems for archers trying to make long range shots, but overall it's definitely geared towards commerce not combat. I don't know why it should be knots in a piece of string, but I guess if nothing else, that's a nice concrete way of representing "charges."
I like this idea. Limited uses which are known by the holder, easily destroyed by fire/lightning/acid/etc. Great type of magic item.
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Old 03-19-2021, 08:30 AM   #9
David Bofinger
 
Join Date: Jan 2018
Location: Sydney, Australia
Default Re: Valuable magic items that are useless in combat

A dollhouse with furniture inside. As each piece of furniture is removed from the house it grows to full-size, and as it's put back in it shrinks. A fully-stocked house might have several beds, chairs, tables, chests of drawers, etc. Anything else put in the dollhouse also shrinks but can't be removed.

Sometimes shadowy people can be seen inside the house. They enter or leave from the other side of the dollhouse (which is a blank wall from outside it) and will add furniture, remove furniture, walk off with any additional items that have been inserted, have breakfast together, etc. On rare occasions one has been known to emerge from our side of the dollhouse, confused and amnesiac.
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Old 03-19-2021, 09:20 AM   #10
phiwum
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Default Re: Valuable magic items that are useless in combat

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Originally Posted by Anomylous View Post
I agree that "Remove Cursed Item" should be able to free and "reset" a Holdfast Spike. I'd rule that you can't easily dig it out and scrape it off; once you get your shovel (or pick) underneath it, it will take a ton of force to pry that chunk of earth loose from the ground/rock face/whatever. (Better idea: harness a few yoke of oxen to it, or an elephant...ITL mentions that even a horse can sometimes overpower a single Holdfast Spike, and then the spike is reusable.)

As for valuable magic items useless in combat, I ran across the idea of "wind knots" someplace. It's a string with knots tied in it. Untie a knot and it summons a moderate wind, blowing from a random direction (or wherever the prevailing wind would normally come from). I suppose the effect would last for a few hours. Very useful for a becalmed ship's captain, or a windmill operator. I suppose a clever tactician might be able to utilize it to blow toxic fumes towards the enemy, or create problems for archers trying to make long range shots, but overall it's definitely geared towards commerce not combat. I don't know why it should be knots in a piece of string, but I guess if nothing else, that's a nice concrete way of representing "charges."
I thought you were making a bad pun using the fact that wind is traditionally measured in knots, at least for sailors.
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