Find a penny, pick it up.
And all the day you’ll have good luck.
An ancient relic of a long-dead hero and a link to the divine
Well it’s got to do something, but I’ll be damned if I know what
"Their trumpets are also of a peculiar and barbaric kind which produce a harsh, reverberating sound suitable to the confusion of battle."
from the memoirs of Diodorus Siculus,
Commander of the Legion XIX (retired)
Magical items are often prohibitively expensive, largely because the Dragon Blood crystals needed to power them are so very rare. For centuries alchemists and magicians alike have searched for a cheaper, and more abundant, alternative. This just might be the long sort after formula, but price could be higher than anyone ever imagined.
Why go to all trouble of applying makeup, when a few simply cantrips can produce much better results in a fraction of the time?
Nothing comes from nothing, or so they say.
So how do you power those "always on" items?
A magical beacon designed to attract minor spirits to the mundane plane
When magic is the stuff from which the world is made no man can afford to ignore it. For those who are unable, or unwilling, to undertake the rigorous study required to master the arcane arts the power of magic may still by available - for a price.
Bag on a Stick
Very simple gag but a great one, since it can be used multiple times over, even in the same adventure. Great for tribal natives gone restless and humanoids, but anyone can have set this up. Just what the header says, a simple bag over a stick stuck in the ground or floor.
As GM you can place the bag on a stick anywhere, in a floor crack the heroes have passed before, outdoors in a clearing or path, or at the edge of the PCs' encampment the following morning, what have you. Place anything on the stick - a coiled yellow viper angered by the bag removal, mini crossbow w/poison, transdermal hallucinatory drug dusted on the bag, yellow mold colony, an NPC ally's head, a weapon, scroll tube or satchel, what have you.
The idea is to build tension and/or stall for time/distract the party. Provided it's used properly, you'll be amazed at how paranoid players will get from this simple gag.