A fine list. Nothing too outstanding, but overall useful and has some good descriptions of mundane things, which are always useable. Although I think I will introduce that coin die as a plot hook since one of my players right now has taken up counterfeiting as a hobby. Go to Comment
As per request, a plot idea. Steampunk, since that's what's on my mind lately.
Arthur Cross taught engineering and aether sciences at the nations oldest university; Oxford. He was well liked and worked closely with his students on their projects, often involving entire classes in his latest mad idea. But in summer of 1862, he died in a lab accident, much to the dismay of his peers and students. Foul play was, and still is suspected, but nothing has been proven. Since Albert was being uncharacteristically secretive at the time, and whatever he was working on was destroyed in the same incident he was, no one knows exactly what he was working on at the time.
Since about a week after his death, the lab and the area around it has been having problems. Students and faculty alike have blacked out in the area, only to wake up hours later somewhere else with no knowledge of what they were doing. Equipment and materials has gone missing from both public laboratories and private lockers. People have reported having problems with their memory, but can't seem to remember what they have forgotten.
The party can be contacted either or both privately by Valery Cross, daughter of Albert and the one personally experiencing the most incidents, or publicly by the Oxford Administration, primarily by Johnathan Ruskin, head of the engineering department. They are told only about the problems by Ruskin, not the circumstances of Albert's death. Valery will tell them everything with minimal questioning, but makes it clear that she doesn't believe that her father is a ghost.
This part is flexible. The what and how of the device that Albert's Lost Idea is constructing are up to you, but needless to say, it should be incredibly dangerous. Contraptions that bend the laws of physics, or outright ignore them, or devices that will have terrible consequences if even turned on add an element of suspense to the adventure.
The Lost Idea has been building the device in a hidden part of the lab, concealed to the point that the players will not find it at all unless they have read Albert's journal (in his desk in his office), or been told about it by someone who already knows it's there (Valery, or one or two of his students).
Valery knows about the Lost Idea, but thinks that it's the trapped soul of her father, and that helping it is the only way to let him rest. Unless the players can prove to her that it's really just one of his ideas trying to bring itself to life, she will lie and conceal information from them.
The only way to stop the Lost Idea peacefully is to finish the device. After that, the idea will disperse naturally. It actually doesn't even care if you turn it on or not, although you may want to wait a week before smashing the machine to pieces, just to be on the safe side. Destroying the progress that has been made on the machine already will only make the Lost Idea angry, and cause it to entirely abandon the kindness it has previously shown. It will begin possessing people directly, working them until they die, and then finding another labor source. If this isn't stopped within a week, it will learn the ability to possess more then one person at a time.
Players that succeed and manage to do so with no loss of life or limb earn the respect of Albert's students, and his daughter as a permanent contact in the university. Players that don't will just get their paycheck, and be told to leave. Depending on how bad things got, they may even make enemies at Oxford. Go to Comment
The problem with this is that space is FREAKING HUGE. To avoid a minefield this small, a ship would have to do little more then adjust their vector by a fraction of a degree. That assumes that they were even on the right course to detect the minefield in the first place. Something this big would fill up a region of space in the same way an eyedropper fills up an Olympic swimming pool Go to Comment
Small identical wooden or metal discs with a strange pattern engraved upon them (do not appear to be coinage). The discs can be found all over the continent; a farmer typically overturns several dozen when ploughing a field. Though they are unnaturally hard to break, they have no known use and are widely used as good-luck charms: almost all households would have them on the doors and on mantle pieces; many people carry one or more on them, bound on to a belt, necklace or sewn on to their clothes.