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Old 07-17-2020, 09:13 AM   #1
Anders's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Gothenburg, Sweden
Default GMs, what is the worst magical item you've ever given out?

And what did your players do with them?

I haven't really given them anything really useless, although they had a divination amulet that they never managed to find out. It had a crystal which would be a different color depending on what they plans were for the day.
“When you arise in the morning think of what a privilege it is to be alive, to think, to enjoy, to love ...” Marcus Aurelius
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Old 07-17-2020, 09:32 AM   #2
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Ronkonkoma, NY
Default Re: GMs, what is the worst magical item you've ever given out?

Probably just a suit of plate mail +1 in AD&D. It was a problem because stuff that the party could just barely survive couldn't touch this player at all. He got really mad at me when he encountered a rust monster, which I admit was a very heavy-handed solution...
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Old 07-17-2020, 10:39 AM   #3
Irish Wolf
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Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Earth, mostly
Default Re: GMs, what is the worst magical item you've ever given out?

I'd have to say it was the Two-Handed Sword of Throwing, created by a combination of contemplation of failed magical research and a late-night viewing of Braveheart (wherein the protagonist at one point, in a single smooth motion, draws the claymore from its sheath across his back and throws it at an enemy, impaling them).

The party never learned what it did, because they didn't have any Identify spells or scrolls with them and for some reason nobody ever tried throwing the two-handed sword.
If you don't make mistakes, you're doing it wrong.
If you don't correct your mistakes, you're doing it even more wrong.
If you're unable to admit mistakes, you're not doing it at all.
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Old 07-17-2020, 07:08 PM   #4
Join Date: Feb 2016
Default Re: GMs, what is the worst magical item you've ever given out?

I would have had to have been the Amulet of the Concubine. It was a magical gadget that gave Allure 4, Appearance (Transcendent), Voice, Lecherousness (6-), and Xenophilia (6-), for a net cost of 0 CP to anyone without any of the listed traits. My players though it was an awesome item until they started using it and discovered the true horror of glorious compulsion.
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Old 07-17-2020, 08:10 PM   #5
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Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: KC-1
Default Re: GMs, what is the worst magical item you've ever given out?

In one of my earliest campaigns using AD&D, gave a relatively low level character Gauntlets of Ogre Power. Turned out to be hugely unbalancing, causing angst on how to get rid of it. That was a factor in switching to GURPS, seeking a system that had a rational magic system and item creation.
In failed campaigns, selfishness always demands that someone bears the blame. Had it not been for that someone, we would have been successful in everything.
- Helmuth von Moltke
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Old 07-18-2020, 01:45 AM   #6
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Sweden
Default Re: GMs, what is the worst magical item you've ever given out?

Bag of Holding, no limits on of how much it can hold...

Players defeat a dragon, spends days shoveling the treasure into the bag when the plot was for them to being forced to choose what to take with them.
return to civilization and buys the farm, spends the rest of their days sitting on the porch looking smug at the GM.

Start of big plot arc, players takes magic sword from skeleton in a tomb and toss it into the Bag. The skeleton awakes and is the nastiest Lich around but cannot move forward in plot starting the end of the world event due to missing sword and cannot find it in the world.

Lich was supposed to track the players through the sword but now spends eternity going in circles... world is saved by mistake, GM breaks down and cries.
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Old 07-19-2020, 03:22 PM   #7
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Join Date: May 2010
Location: Alsea, OR
Default Re: GMs, what is the worst magical item you've ever given out?

Worst, as in most abusive: +10 swords with large piles of additional powers. (Went through that munchkin phase in the early 80's.)

Worst as in harmful to the party: -3 sword of foolish bravery (-3 To Hit/Damage, +3 to morale, use intelligent sword rules to trigger fight-starting.)

Worst as in least useful: Magical Cocktail sword +0. Does 1d2-1 damage (cocktail sword) +0 magical (so it hits things only hit by magic weapons). Even the Faerie it was made for was unimpressed.

Worst as in least sensible: Meeping Mushrooms. They sound like Beaker from the Muppets. But don't do anything useful. (massive botch on a longevity potion in Ars Magic.)
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Old 07-20-2020, 08:45 PM   #8
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Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Upper Peninsula of Michigan
Default Re: GMs, what is the worst magical item you've ever given out?

Least fun: As the characters were digging through the already picked-over leavings in a shard of the abandoned Principality of Mariel, Demon Princess of Oblivion, one character picked up a scarf that shorted on him. The half-finished relic of the Song of Forgetting temporarily made him an unimportant stranger to everyone around him.

This was neat for about a hot second until we all realized that it was putting a severe crimp in the group's gaming rhythm. In Nomine is pretty heavy on coercive mental effects on the demonic side, and the players rolled with it and even took advantage of it (it's pretty easy to go raid the NPC's stash when they forget you're there), but it was definitely a jarring imposition.

Hardest to use: a D&D magic item made by a wild-spirited eladrin child, so it was meant to be a bit odd. You could speak the language stored in the ring. You could also switch out the language with one you knew, gaining permanent understanding of the language in the ring and forgetting the one you charged it with, other than by using the ring.

A weird and difficult magic item to make -- few casters are willing to drop a hard-earned skill point into equipment -- but meant to inspire teamwork and strategizing, passing it around and manipulating it as necessary. The simplest use, of course, is just to give it to a party in need of a new language from an external source, and this is what happened.
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Old 07-22-2020, 01:19 PM   #9
David Johnston2
Join Date: Dec 2007
Default Re: GMs, what is the worst magical item you've ever given out?

Of the magical items I've created the one which is most useless to player characters is the True Account of the Reign of King Malverne, a book which, if read forces a Will/Intelligence roll which if failed will give you the Delusion that Malverne (a notoriously tyrannical monarch) was in fact a great man who will return when the kingdom needs to be saved. A critical failure will make you a Fanatic obsessed with bringing Malverne back to rule again.
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Old 07-28-2020, 12:19 AM   #10
Black Leviathan
Join Date: Sep 2018
Default Re: GMs, what is the worst magical item you've ever given out?

GURPS has an enchantment that compulsively turns you into an animal when you put it on. Put one of these in a pit of giant snakes. The players fought and defeated them and collected spilled treasures in the snake den. Someone put on the bracelet and transformed into a massive snake, had no arms and the bracelet fell on the ground, trapping them in that form.

I made a very powerful staff that instantly enchanted people it hit with body of air and also created powerful gusts of wind that were deadly to air creatures. The first player who got their hands on it used it to blow enemies back a bit. The second figured out that they could turn enemies into air and didn't realize the re materialize in about a minute. The third player figured out they could tap their own head and become an air-form then one at a time turn enemies into air and dismantle them with the air jet.

I made a bag of leaking. It was an amazing item that dumped items put into it into a different plane of existence. but the bag had a hole in it and things smaller than a fist would occasionally get lost. When they finally crawled into the bag and widened the hole they found huge piles of coins and jewels and jewelry and keys from centuries of people losing things.
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