This is a solid idea. I have seen radioactive gold used on an episode of "The Highwayman" and there was an episode of Farscape with a similar premise. In game a GM dropped this on us, we discovered a barge full of money. At any rate, he had a NPC warn us about it, which sort of takes the bite out of the situation, but he was afraid he would have to kill us if we didn't became aware quickly that the money was dangerous. Long story short we didn't let the money go, we instead dedicated a great deal of efforts trying to "cure" the money. His explainaition of the problem was not as clean as the one above. I think dropping the money into a game without additional unpacking or context is not a sufficient plot. But isn't that true for any cool item.
Some plot ideas:
I like Cheka Man's idea as this being money for the dead, and the PCs may have to try and handle some of this money quickly and carefully for a burial rite. The hot potato plot.
As Moon suggested this could take Gold out of the economy, but what if the PCs encounter a way to cure gold. The powers invested in the silver economy may not like it, or the economy may not value it anymore. The plot could be that PCs have to either protect or destroy the "gold cure" or if you want your PCs to yuk it up they can become gold salesmen to a populace that is either ignorant or fearful of gold. Go to Comment
I think at some point, people would find some creature that is exceptionally sensitive to the curse, and use it to screen coinage. I expect gold brought into a city would need to go through 'processing' to check it before it was allowed. 'Clean' gold would be more valuable and closely-held.
An interesting way to change how gold is perceived. Go to Comment
An Illustrated Gallery is a recent book by an unknown author &/or artist. It focuses on the art scene in and around the city of Citadel, both before and after its status as a necropolis. There are numerous full-colour plates depicting dozens of pieces, in remarkably exacting detail. In addition to its uses as a cultural or scholarly work--or the incredibly precise replications of paintings--the book is useful in that it is the most complete collection of Volgor's paintings ever in one place. As the paintings themselves were scattered across three continents shortly after each was painted, they have never before been gathered together like this, even if only in book form. Volgor's paintings are notable for his tendency to incorporate mystical symbols within, especially those related to summoning. The replicates in the book are fully safe to peruse, unlike the genuine articles. Several have come forward claiming to be either the author or illustrator, but no one can yet match the artistry of the reprints, especially as each copy must be repainted by hand... Go to Comment
Enlightenment was a book used as both the final prize in an international tournament held by a monestary in the Killian Empire, and the symbol of that monestary's master. Beyond the title, there are no written words, and no illustrations; all pages are blank, save for the next-to-last page, which is a mirror. The book was lost during the escape of the current master from the monestary, and its (and her) current whereabouts are unknown. Go to Comment
Told as a first-person perspective, My Journey Through the Night chronicles its main character through various minor adventures. The book reads like a section of an autobiography. The setting is sometime centuries past in what is now the Byzant Empire. Those who do more than scan through the book quickly hope that this is not autobiographical, or non-fiction of any sort, as there are small suggestions throughout the narrative that hint darkly about the main character (known only as 'John'--a name which is common among Ghouls and Formourians). The book hints that 'John' is a Vampire, and other-than-Human besides, despite that the book describes several scenes that take place in the sun. Go to Comment
An untitled series of books, primarily by the Dwarven pilot of the Boat of the Undead (no one calls the boat by its proper name) contains various drawings suited for a lonely Dwarf on a long voyage--a Dwarf that is crippled & does not enjoy shore leave. These started as a collection of loose-leaf pencil & charcoal sketches by various artists, and have been compiled and amended by Ahn (the aforementioned Dwarf), who has become something of an accomplished artist himself for anatomical accuracy... and tentacles. Go to Comment
A book that was commisioned, but never completed as the purchaser died prior to its mass publication, My First Wittle Spellbook was to cover the basics of summoning (notably protection circles), and to act as a primer on psionics. The books were designed with blank space & blank pages, for discussion & essay questions, and as space for notes & to work out problems. Go to Comment
Written in many languages, and several varieties of codes, Agon's Journals covered such diverse topics as: the history of the western edge of the Heldannic Confederations (with useful insights to the Hobgoblins & Changing Folk), nethermancy, demonology, architecture, technomancy, and military strategy. They also contained the most complete and accurate description of the Hephaestus Device, and all of its various pieces & components. Go to Comment
The Mnima was believed by loremasters to have been a fictional story, handed down orally, until first written much later in the now-dead language Nocturne. However, this book has become the holy tome of the secret-society-come-cult the Church if the Rising Night, Atrum Ortus. The player that created the Autrum Ortus also wrote quite a few stanzas of The Mnima. It';s good stuff. Go to Comment
Another popular journal, now recopied and mass-published, Last Journey was the surviving parts of the diary of an Elven sailor, and the few remaining scraps of the logbook. The surviving text was recovered from the final resting place on a coral island of those lost sailors during a global mapping expedition. Any reference that might tie the book into an historic perspective was lost. As these voyages took place over several millennia, and several ships did not return from each, there is no way to know the true identity of the author--positions on the crew rather than names are used in the journal. The last of these trips took place nearly 3000 years prior, so it is remarkable that anything survived in the salty air. Go to Comment
What looks very much like an illustrated childrens' book, Happy Bunny & Friends is actually a rather chilling read. The book was designed as both entertainment and education in the harsh ways of the world. For example, during the section that teaches wilderness survival to young unwitting minds: "Oh look," said Sunny Puppy, "these berries look red and tasty." "Oh no," said Happy Bunny, "Sunny Puppy is gone," as the illustration shows Sunny Puppy lying comatose under the bush with a foam-flecked and berry-smeared snout, feet straight up in the air. The next illustration shows the surviving '& Friends' walking away, with Sunny Puppy's corpse in the background--Sunny Puppy is never mentioned in the story again. Go to Comment
Court of the Wise seems to be a dramatic thriller with subtle political overtones. However, it is believed by some loremasters, nethermancers, and conspiracy buffs, that the book's true author was a Demon, and that the book is acutally a political satire of Hell. Go to Comment
Going quickly from dry autobiography, to pedantic description of building a house, to horror/sci-fi, House is the story of the author's descent into madness. As the titular house continues to expand beyond the original architectural designs, it seems (at least to the author) to expand into other realities as well. That the author's mind became unhinged during the building process is evidenced by personal daily details becoming fewer (wife, mother, and children aren't mentioned past page 405), with more minute details of the construction process taking the fore. By the end of the book the author has lost all sense of time and reality, and is fully convinced that the house has become a living evil thing. Go to Comment
You've probebly heard of the real Thomas Hopkins, Witchfinder-General, who hunted down and hanged suspected "witches". What if there was a world/realm where magic was normal, and it was the non-witches and non-wizards who were hunted down and hanged as inferior beings?