I second Moon's comment - one of my personal beefs is magic seems to be something for nothing, especially since these are dirt cheap.
Charcoal makers would go out of business real quick if these items were this cheap. Continual light I can see, but useful heat, etc, is too easily abused. Combined with the Boil function, enterprising characters can make everlasting steam engines.
Having them only last for about the same time 5cp fuel would last would go a long way to balancing these items.
Why would salesperson care a fig about selling these to adventurers or common people? Go to Comment
I think Tosa would be an excellent submission (really, a world) as it would help clarify the situation. We generally look at items here for their inclusion in our or other worlds, so issues of game balance and impact on our worlds always gets our attention.
Understanding their background helps - we can always adjust some of the parameters to prevent them from being world-changing. Go to Comment
Seems like a handy item, though for them to be that common it would have to be a high-magic world indeed. It seems like the ones to detect or neutralize poison would be a massive hit among adventurers though, especially at five copper a pop. I'm starting to think that this Crafter Hall of yours is in need of it's own sub. A codex of these things, perhaps? Go to Comment
Thanks for the comments! They are bringing back fond memories.
To start off I will comment on Tosa. It was a very high magic world where the common man might own a few magical items. Specifically +1 and +2 Arrows and daggers. This was due to the incursion of some very well-equipped armies that were destroyed by armies led by PCs.
One such army, of goblins in fact, wielded wicked little hatchets that looked very much like a butchers meat cleaver. Honed and magical to +3, millions of the cleaver wielding beasts came running out of a very deep hole and took 30 years to eradicate. Their cleavers became prized and recognizable butchers tools in a dozen worlds.
Detect Poison or Neutralize poison stones were considerably more difficult to create and were far more expensive. There was a whole scale of Continual Spells. By no means were the harder to create stones sold cheep. What the market can bear.
As for using these as torture devices, well, good items can always be abused. The useful dentists drill is a common tool for helping keep teeth healthy. But in the wrong hands they can be exceptional torture devices. (Anyone see Marathon Man lately? Not me) This is not a matter of the item being bad but the wielder of it having his own issues. However, Con Stones were often used inappropriately. Adventurers being the pranksters they are, it was not uncommon to find people juggling heat stones, or tossing them on their sleeping friends.
As for the list of varieties I only listed a couple. There were clean stones and they effectively did the same as a polish stone might have. There was a mend stone higher up the scale as well as both a lubricate, called Slick Stones, and a Binder called, of course, a Glue Stick. There was also a Fire Stone, used to start fires. Camp fires, pipes and candles, burning unsuspecting sentries
The thing was, as a training spell, these items were rarely created by mages in the fullness of their power. Usually it was some mage at the lowest levels creating them, and creating a lot of them, in the course of his studies.
Good point on the activation sequences. I forgot to include that.
The items were generally activated or deactivated by being tapped five times. I had also forgotten that there were a vast variety of utensils that were used in conjunction with them but most were generally like tea dips. A scissoring item that one would grab a small amount of tea with, then leave it in the tea cup to steep. These Grippers were ubiquitous on Tosa. One merely picked the stone up in the maw of the device and then dip it into whatever substance was being affected. No bar or kitchen was ever without them. Another manner of use was to mount the stone on thin, usually silver, rods and dip them into the item. Both Dip Sticks and Grippers came in many forms as a matter of style and fashion influencing function.
Now as for charcoal makers, well, there is always a brisk trade in charcoal pencils...
As for these items being cheep and getting something for nothing, I point out that these were mainly byproducts of magical training. Consider a world with a dozen schools like Hogwarts and every first year is busily making heat stones and chill stones They would start to pile up. Many mages would dispel piles of them casually, just to make their students start over. Some would be brought to the merchants in box full, ready for use. I dont remember the retail prices offhand, but I do remember the whole sale being 2 coppers a piece for the simple ones with silver and gold paid for the higher level ones.
Alexandria and the great merchant city of New Wall were clearing houses for the magic from dozens of worlds. We were young and out of the 40 or so people that played in them only a few of us ever took economics classes and we just rolled our eyes and laughed. Besides, all things exist in the Shadows of Amber, including unbalanced financial systems. Come see the violence inherent in the system!! Help! HELP! Im being repressed!!
As for controls on the items and who buys them, there were a few.
It was generally accepted that with the more use the item got, the faster they went dead. Like batteries. Some batteries run forever, some go dead in an evening. This was modified by the power level of the items creator. In the end it was not something we as players or GMs kept close watch on. Players had these domestic toys and they replaced them as needed. If one got attached to a particular stone and utensil, then one did what one needed to maintain it when it flutters out.
Usually one went to their buddy the mage and in the classic voice intoned the ritual phrase, Broke, fix it (Star Trek reference)
The items were fragile in a very high-powered magical world. World wide dispel magics occurred a couple times every century, totally wiping out a variety of low level ongoing effects, including Con Stones. Battles between mages almost always included a Dispel function of some kind, and there went the nearby stones. Mages practicing Dispel magic frequently eliminated all their masters supply of Con stones. This usually meant the master decided the student needed to practice his Continual Spells.
These stones had natural opposites. Cold /Heat, Fire/Ice, Boil/Freeze. If an activated stone of the opposite type contacted an active stone of its opposite, both went dead.
As for Salespersons and their figs, common people bought these items. Adventurers went to their mage buddy and said, Dude, whip me up a Chill Stone, this beer is warm as bathwater. Or, more often then not, made them themselves.
Thanks for the comments, Folks! Sorry for rambling on. Go to Comment
What a simple item... and what a simple limit on their creation. You really don't want to spend too much of your blood on the coating. Personally I would also limit the duration of these items, but that is my preference. Good idea. Go to Comment
Nice solid basic generic item. This should exist in just about any world with adequite magic.
There should also be sheath/ quiver versions as well. Brings the item back to the belt/ back after it is gone for a time. Thus retrieving arrows from the field, weapons stuck in opponents, or those lost in the clutter of battle. Go to Comment
After the formatting, I can actually see that this is a decent item. I've seen in the past that magical containers are inestimably useful, and this one is no exception. I particularly like how one of the other items you mention is siege artillery. There's something wonderful about carrying a large, dangerous and concealed item in your backpack.
A solid first post, welcome to the Citadel! Go to Comment
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.