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Offline ephemeralstability

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The Wizard's Study *
« on: December 26, 2002, 09:19:15 AM »
Often the PCs will find themselves being-given-things-to-do-by-a-wizard. We all know that wizards live in bizarre little studies surrounded by arcane and obscene artefacts. Surely any curious PC is bound to fiddle absent-mindedly with the little bottles and things he finds whilst listening to the wizard? A more detailed examination of exactly what wizards keep in their studies will help GMs to add interest and amusement to these sections of games, and perhaps give more insight into the wizard's personality. For instance: "Where did you get that funny-looking mask from?" "Oh I picked it up when I was helping the people of Askend flee their Orcish oppressors: they gave it to me as a present." "You were at the Exodus of Askend?!", etc.
« Last Edit: December 04, 2005, 12:19:30 AM by MoonHunter »
"Happy is the tomb where no wizard hath lain, and happy the town at night whose wizards are all ashes" - H P Lovecraft, The Festival

Offline ephemeralstability

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The Wizard's Study
« Reply #1 on: December 26, 2002, 09:20:28 AM »
1. A wizard is fascinated by the shape of the world. Is it spherical or flat, or something more interesting? In his study can be found various map-globes of vastly different shapes for his different theories: ellipsoids, planes, and some more esoteric still, like dumbells and tori.

2. "The wizard blushes and slams the book shut: 'These are...tomes of...great erm...magical power. They are not for your eyes.' He hurriedly shelves them." What else could they be to embarrass a wizard? His personal diary, perhaps? His copy of Legvurt's "Erotic Poems"?

3. What at first sight appears to be a display case of intricately patterned precious stones turns out to be the wizard's collection of particularly extraordinary warts and carbuncles which he used to support his thesis "On Abnormal Pustules and their Cures".

4. The moth-eaten "tapestry" on the wall turns out to be a famous, allegedly lost work of art. Or maybe it's the battle-standard or flag of some long-dead empire.

5. Obviously wizards write in ink with quill pens. Where do they get the ink and feathers from? How about the birdcage on the desk containing a plucked miserable-looking bird, completely bald except for one or two long feathers? Or the small, water-filled glass cube with the baby squid which the wizard occasionally removes writhing from its prison and squirts into an inkpot.
"Happy is the tomb where no wizard hath lain, and happy the town at night whose wizards are all ashes" - H P Lovecraft, The Festival

Offline Strolen

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The Wizard's Study
« Reply #2 on: December 27, 2002, 04:41:50 AM »
Had a wizard that loved pie of any kind and was more apt to talk if bribed with a fresh pie.

His study had a wall of cubbyholed scrolls in a seemingly incomprehensibly mess. They were in no order whatsoever to the ignorant but he knew exactly where everything was. Somebody rifling through his stuff was more apt to find a recipe before they find the spells that were buried somewhere in them.

As a matter of fact, I may just write up this PC tomorrow. No, I will as per Agar's instruction.

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Offline Ria Hawk

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The Wizard's Study
« Reply #3 on: December 27, 2002, 08:24:19 PM »
"Don't touch that!  That's my lunch!"

Obviously the study would be filled with knicknacks and gadgets of unknown origin and/or function.  Much like Q Division is in the James Bond movies.  And of course the random sentient object that has no known reason for being there, and possibly the half-eaten and long forgotton meals/sandwiches/whatever that have begun to talk back in a belligerent fashion.
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Offline manfred

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The Wizard's Study
« Reply #4 on: January 04, 2003, 08:02:22 AM »
You have forgotten Kelvart's Basics of Scribbling and Drawing. While absolutely boring and dry text, it contains a few sample drawings of trees and scenes and... some really HOT ones including the famous Bathing Nymphs Having Fun. Romoured to cause a statue to redden with shame.

The nice item that wants to be touched. If so, it teleports you in a special way: outside the wizards tower, heads-down, several feet over the ground... Ouch. For those that never listen.

A fungus of uncertain properties, thrives on magic. Grown on old scrolls the wizard doesn't need. Is separated from other papers. Handling may produce a cloud of spores and later a lot of problems.

Some bizzare tentacled monster sealed in a large jar of conservation fluid. Approaching may awake it, trying to escape and attack (see good ole Aliens).

An anatomical model of a member of some intelligent race, preparated so its muscles can be clearly seen (no skin). Examining may show it is no model, but a conservated corpse.
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Offline Agar

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« Reply #5 on: January 04, 2003, 02:34:50 PM »
Chinese finger trap with a twist - it can only be opened by the light of a lunar eclipse.  :twisted:

Maybe instead of just ink and paper, the wizard knows spells that require other substances to create, like the always cliche blood and mortal flesh thing necromancers use. Some may be less gruesome, like a variant of the hero's feast spell which conjures up a feast, one could conjure a birthday party or something when writen on a confection with special icing. A supercharged stinking cloud spell could be written on a skunk hide in the pus from an oger's wart. A love spell could be written on ... in a ... , maybe not.
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Offline manfred

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The Wizard's Study
« Reply #6 on: January 07, 2003, 06:52:25 AM »
Don't forget the odd dose of superglue lying forgotten around.
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Offline Ria Hawk

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« Reply #7 on: January 07, 2003, 09:10:50 AM »
And something that would really throw the PCs off: some random, mundane object with no magical properties whatsoever.  It can be great fun to watch them spend a while trying to figure out what a mismatched pair of socks is there for.
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Offline Agar

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« Reply #8 on: January 07, 2003, 11:39:16 AM »
This is maginally off topic but a funny inspiration for other ideas.

I ran a Barbarian (yes, I played 3ed enought to know what I don't like) on an adventure with an elven fighter priest and a thief. They came upon a creature with "death throes" or whatever it was called when the snow snake would blow up when it was finished off. After the explosion, the party's horses were dead and the elf and thief were knocked out and bleeding, but the barbarian we only hurting.

He trots over to the elf, and not being able to read any labels on the potions, picks one at random and pours it down the preist's throat. The elf had a terrified look on his face before he looked over his sheet to make sure he didn't have anything like potion of firey breath or something like that. He'd only bought healing potions so he was in good shape.

The barbarian trotted over to the thief and proceeded to do the same thing, but the thief didn't have any potions. He hadn't told that to the barbarian, so when the elf staggered to his feet to help the thief, he saw the the barbarian pouring the last drops of what he thought was a potion of healing down the thief's throat.

The foulest, most distastful potion the barbarian could spot on the thief was a bottle of ink.


The PC's are likely used to seeing everyday things performing outlandish feats, perhaps the wizards has some things that look outlandish to perform everyday feats. Like the icecube maker in Back to the Future 3.

Imagine the Pc's reations when a construction that looks like the Terminator and a sword rack have been stretched across a coat rack thumps into the room with swords twirling, The wizard yells at them to get back and stand clear, it's most urgent. He throws himself into the blurry array of blades, manuvering swiftly and carefully. The blades suddenly stop and snap into a stored positiion. The wizard turns back to the PC's and smiles and says "Where were we?" with his freshly shaved face.
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Offline CaptainPenguin

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The Wizard's Study
« Reply #9 on: February 06, 2003, 04:30:08 PM »
In my campaign world, there used to be a powerful mage known as Lucefer who hadn't been seen since the end of the Divine Wars. His tower was massive and seemingly abandoned. About 800 yards around the tower in a circular shape is a lawn. The lawn is fenced in by a normal-looking wood fence that is actually a wall of force. The gate is a simple farm gate with signs all over it in every known language saying  
                      "PRIVATE PROPERTY
                       of Lucefer the Mage.
                       Lucefer will not be held
                       responsible for casualties
                       that result. No entrance
                       without appointment.
                       Those without appointment
                       will be removed.
At the doors of the outer ring of towers stand two double-iron golems in Alladin-style jackets and fezzes. A bound balor patrols the lawn. The tower's receptionist is a bound succubus. Inside the tower are a seemingly endless aray of bizarre rooms and things. One chamber is an aviary full of starving, naked birds and bird skeletons. The cook is also a bound demon who threatens those who don't mind their manners with torture in the pits of hell. Some doors open onto other planes. Feel free to use this tower if you like.
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Offline ephemeralstability

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On the use of fish...
« Reply #10 on: June 09, 2003, 07:11:17 PM »
Stapler fish

The Agryan stapler fish has an unpleasant mouth. Its main method of attack is to bite its prey and leave its sharp front teeth embedded in it, so as to weaken the opponent. These teeth regrow in a matter of days, even hours if it is fed the right minerals. They are a favourite of wizards: messy piles of paper can be stapled together by getting this fish to bite on them. They are therefore a common inhabitant of a wizard's desk, and swim around in a little jar.

Glowfish

These luminous creatures by all rights should roam the abyssal plains of the ocean, but occasionally they can be found alive in the stomachs of whales close to the surface, or maybe they strayed to high up in the water. Either way they find their way almost invariably onto a wizard's desk. They provide a soft source of light which doesn't damage manuscripts and is unlikely (as a candle might) to set fire to stray beards. They come in different shades and hues and are therefore perfect for the professional wizard's alchemical darkroom.

Bonzai Swordfish

Grown in very small tanks in order to limit the size of full adults, these are used to open letters or defend against thieves.

Worryfish

These pliable invertebrates are actually a form of sea-slug, varying in texture from hard and knobbly to soft and silky. They can survive out of water for periods of up to an hour. Stressed wizards use them to squish and fondle to relieve tension, before replacing them in their pots of water.

Colourweed

Again, technically not a fish, but still vaguely marine. Fronds of colourweed grow little nodules containing coloured ink (it is their way of excreting unwanted minerals extracted from seawater), giving it the appearance of multi-coloured bladderwrack. The wizards can use the ink to make their letters look nice, and it also provides the perfect marine environment for the other fishy-denziens of the desk.
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The Wizard's Study
« Reply #11 on: February 09, 2004, 05:14:59 PM »
Quote from: "Ria Hawk"
And something that would really throw the PCs off: some random, mundane object with no magical properties whatsoever.  It can be great fun to watch them spend a while trying to figure out what a mismatched pair of socks is there for.


Have it protected in a glass case as well. Maybe put a glass of water in a protected case. They canl assume it is some kind of super potion but in reality it is simply in there because there is a lot of dust flying around and the wizard doesn't want dust in the water he uses for refreshment.

---

Could be a collector of any kind of bones. Has a room where he boils the flesh off of any interesting bones he finds. Probably really stinks. As a hobby he uses these misc bones to recreate new creatures.

Perhaps he can animate these bone lego creatures for some supernatural and outstanding effect. Perhaps some might find it fun fighting a creature that was never suppose to exist.

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Offline CaptainPenguin

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Random Objects on a Wizard's Desk
« Reply #12 on: February 09, 2004, 05:57:59 PM »
-A paper outlining a peace treaty between two nations, with the names of both kings and the wizard. It is actually a prototype of the peace treaty that ended a huge war, in which the wizard actually had a large part in ending.
-A toaster, summoned from the future at huge magical expense, which is now being meticulously dismantled and examined.
-A jewel in which a tiny man is sitting, looking dejected, who begins to shout in a tiny voice at the heroes if they come near.
-The preserved head of a famous king, sitting in a jar, that comes to life when touched, saying "Whaddaya' want?! I was sleeping!"
-A single loafer, engraved with magical glyphs.
-A very weighty and dusty tome entitled "Nerosephomagical Vortexine Energy Anomalies of the Sixth Uldynamigian Chronoplastic-Zone".
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Offline Fiona

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« Reply #13 on: July 07, 2004, 06:35:47 AM »
One of my wizard's was crazy about the starry sky. He had an observatory and a model of the planets. (He even had a secret mechanism locked to this model) The model actually moved as the planets would move outside in the sky.

I could also picture him having an aquarium to study sea life. And maybe various animals in cages.

Offline MoonHunter

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IN their study
« Reply #14 on: July 17, 2004, 04:33:51 AM »
A few dozen texts in a language you do not know, yet seem to be well used even though they are quite modern.

A deck of illustrated playing cards. They could be tarot card. Either way, if you stare at a image long enough, it will move.

Sheets of paper with arcane diagrams that look like football plays. When asked, it was for a (insert mage school game of choice) that he used to play.  At that point he will pull out a small medallion which shows that he was on a first place team at school.

A hand mirror. The back of the mirror has a demonic face upon it.  Looking in the mirror, you see someone... not quite you... but could be you... in an alternate timeline or universe.

A round table with four hands of cards face down on the table and some other game paraphenalia on it. The Wizard is playing himself, so he sits down at each station (after putting on a different hat or robe) and becomes that player.  

A chess game with pieces that move upon their own and animate to attack.  He won't let you touch the pieces, as he is in the middle of a game.

A number of small clay statues. Under the statues are drawings of the same image, with color codes and texture notes.  Under those pieces are pieces of magical text the mage is developing to cast those illusions/ phantasms.
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Offline manfred

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The Wizard's Study
« Reply #15 on: August 11, 2004, 05:53:10 AM »
Amongst all the big and little items, shelves threatening to collapse, and heaps of books and scrolls...

...there could be a small section of bare wall, not obstructed by anything. Some characters may immediately start to search for secret passages, or try to see through the obvious illusion. The truth is simpler than that:

The wizard will deny there is anything wrong with wall, but if they push him, he will present the two hundred magical slides from the last magical convention ("And this is again me, this time with buddies from the Chakro-Metamagical College. I know they look very serious, but after a few drinks we were all having a great time! And there was one guy that...").

Alternatively, the wall could have some fluorescent inscription, whether as research, or a simple reminder.
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Offline Kinslayer

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« Reply #16 on: January 07, 2005, 12:03:45 AM »
Kitchen utensils:  measuring devices, stirers, mixing bowls, and the like, are useful tools for a mage or alchemist to have handy in the workshop; connected to this is that some of the containers might be normal snack foods

A box of rocks:  (this could be a whole thread on its own); some could be mana storage/generators, some valuable gems, some have historic or personal significance, and some will just be pretty

A mirror where you can almost make out something looking back at you

Various drawings & paintings:  (taken from a pc in Midian) some will be magical symbols, half-finished ideas for new spells, and some will just have some artistic value, either figure studies, or just to look pretty (this pc was a necromancer who was quite skilled in art, some figure drawings were ideas for experiments with the Undead, some were just for their art value or just for practice)

A stack of old cartriges for a console video game (not included)

Taxidermy:  either rare or interesting stuffed animal carcasses, some may have personal significance (e.g. the squirrel that almost killed the mage)

Incense, holders, & oil burners:  with the stink from some experiments, the mage might want to make the place smell better, or just to aid in meditation & study

Books whose names on the spine can only be properly read (or even at all) via phosphorescence when the lights are low, or under other specific lighting conditions... where does a dark-ages wizard plug in his blacklight lamp?

Mouse skeleton:  sitting on a shelf amidst other nicknaks; no significance, other than the mage is a lousy housekeeper

Circles:  permanently inscribed, or just a dedicated section of the floor (or wall or ceiling) for casting summoning, protection, or travel/gate magic

Comfy chair:  every mage's study needs somewhere comfortable to sit for long periods; this may be the only place to sit, or other chairs may have books stacked on them

Messy desk: with various papers, pens, & sundry other items seemingly randomly scattered about; this one is almost an essential central piece to any wizard's study/lab
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Offline Anteaus

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« Reply #17 on: March 21, 2005, 06:48:22 PM »
I had an Enchanter that was big into "moving pictures" (yes I have had too much Terry Pratchet).  He had tapestries haging on the wall that moved and just showed a short clip over and over again.

He also had a map of the local area, something like a chess set, but it was animated and showed where things were and what they were doing.
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The Wizard's Study
« Reply #18 on: March 21, 2005, 07:01:49 PM »
One of my players had a thing for enchanted paintings as well. He invented a whole range of spells, just for the purpose of enchanting different paintings.

(Room affecting (snow makes the room cold, etc), Teleportation, Soul binding, Time Shifting, and so forth)

Why should only the folks at Hogwarts have fun? :wink:
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Offline MoonHunter

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« Reply #19 on: June 08, 2005, 02:58:01 PM »
"Who thought one of my duties as an Adept would be antiquing in the back country and stopping at every estate sale?"

A large wood jewelry box
Good mages will often pick up lots of charms and nicknacks over their lives. Some will just be symbolic, minor pluses for casting certain spells and some will just be pretty (not quite symbolic enough). Some will be things they picked up when they vanquished an "EVIL" foe. While not much use for a "Good Mage", you don't want it to fall back into the hands of Evil... nor do you want to spend the time and effort to research it and determine how to destroy it. So you just collect a box of these things over your career.
They are useful for their purposes, and give your apprentice something to practice detection spells on (or give them busy work to cataloging this pile of crap).


Odd Junk
Every now and again magic items find themselves without a proper owner. People die, their children/ spouse/ lawyer do not know the magical worth of an item. These items, Good or Evil, find their way into the general population and cause mayham. Responsible mages will keep an eye out on these items.
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Besides, having an excellent desk and matching chair from master craftsmen that has been languishing in the farm house of a previous noble diplomat or a full set of classic tomes for cheap is just a beneficial side effect of such searches.
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Offline Pieh

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Things a PC might find in a Wizard's House/Tower, ect.
« Reply #20 on: June 09, 2005, 12:04:40 PM »
- A closet door, slightly ajar, with a strange low glow coming from it. Upon opening it the PCs discover a doorway shaped portal carved to look like a dragon's mouth, inside the 'mouth' is a misty blue glowing fog. If a player tries to walk into it they get a slight electrical shock and bounce off.

- A ornate rug covered in wierd runes, a character who knows alot about runes would realize that they are really just old stains from things like ink and wine that happened to form interesting patterns, if a PC steps on the rug it will spring up and wrap around them.

- A model of a blue-green boat that flies around with a piece of rolled up parchment attached to it, if caught it will vibrate violently. The parchment has "All Your Base Are Belong To Us" written in the language of the dragons on it.

- A small  :dracoliche:  "Bugga! bugga! Bugga!"

- A warhammer that freaks out and starts to twitch and flip if anyone get within 5ft of it.

- A room that is scorched and with a large orb in the center, the orb shifts colors from blue to green to red to yellow. If touched while blue the player will be teleported to the other side of the orb, if touched while green the player will start to grow branches and leaves for 24 hours, if touches while red the player will be struck blind for one hour, if touched while yellow a small imp will pop out and furiously attack the nearest person. If the wizard is asked about the orb he will tell the players that it is not a orb. He will refer to it as a 'she' and tells them that 'she' does not like to be disturbed, he will then hurry the playewrs out of the room. As soon as they're out  and the door is closed they hear a loud explosion.
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Offline Cheka Man

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« Reply #21 on: June 10, 2005, 12:05:18 PM »
A heart shaped box of chocolates on the desk. Unknown to the PC's this is a gift to the wizard from his witch wife/girlfriend. If they get greedy and pop chocolates into their mouth, the chocolates will have a random effect which could range from very helpful, to fatal. The wizard himself, of course, has the list that says which chocolate is which.This can be a great trap for (literally) greedy players.

Offline Kinslayer

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« Reply #22 on: June 11, 2005, 02:01:43 AM »
Miracle Max: Get back, witch.
Valerie: I'm not a witch, I'm your wife. And after what you just said, I'm not even sure I want to be that any more.
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Offline Anteaus

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« Reply #23 on: June 13, 2005, 12:19:16 PM »
Quote from: "MoonHunter"

On to the goodies.

*Candles: Red, Yellow, Green, Blue, and White... but other elemental association colors are good.

*Silk Ribbons (red usually): Again for symbolic binding, holding, or can be used to create symbolic centers.

*Ink and Brush/ Pen: Used to inscribe any number of mystic symbols.  In some mystic systems, the actual strokes in creating the symbol have meaning... each one adding a layer of meaning and concentration to the symbol.

*Chalk and String (used to create magic circles). The strings are usually marked to certain lengths to create multiple point stars inscribed in circles. Each string will have the measurements for the various mystic patterns to be inscribed.

*Corn Meal: Used like the chalk. Some people use road dust or odd colored dust for the same purposes.

(Personally, I use wax. It never blows away and is hard to smudge. This his handy when things are being summoned, warded against, or evoked, and a broken line can have bad effects. It comes up easily with either a little heat or a simple scraper. If you are going to use cornmeal or dust, invest in a spritzer bottle and spritz the substance in h20. It makes it stick together and on to the floor (until it dries out)).

*Ritual Carpet: It is a good sized plain carpet with an appropriate mystic symbol (or at minimum a circle with a 4 point cross) traced upon it.  The actual symbol is drawn upon the carpet each time (often tracing over the circle). The Carpet can be brought outside to make outdoor rituals easier, safer (usually less flamable than dry meadow grass or pine needles), and less painful (avoid rocks, sharp pinecones, etc). The carpet has grommets in the four corners so it can be staked down, as not to blow away. (Kudoes to a friend who reminded me of this thing).

*Crystal and more crystals. Usable in so many ways, even if you are not "new age" in orrientation.

*Athame: Magically attuned knife, usually blunt... but not always. Once blooded can not be used for "good" magical purposes. Used for fire or the initiation of magic.

*Incense burner: with a variety of inscents.

*Challice: Any cup with stem will do.

*Small Mirror: Usually etched with a multipoint star (though five is the common). Often used for Earth items.

*Wand: carved with air runes. other wands need to be created for

*Flute: Used for air or for summoning.

*Fan: Used to move inscent smoke.

*Staff: Used for spirit of many larger rituals to define boundries.

*Paper Models: Origami or folded paper symbols of items.

*A set of 23 bells, each with a different tone in the scale.

*An actual magic sword, which is more like a short trident than sword with a variety of mystic symbols and names inscribed on it. This tools allows the mundane to effect the astreal.

*A few dozen marbles or cystals: (You never know what you need to store in one).

*Tarot Cards (or any number of symbolic tablets): Spells and rituals can be "stored" in the orders of the card. The cards can be used for their symbolic value for substitution in a spell.

*Cages for any small animals needed to be sacrificed.

*A number of small latchable boxes that are used to contain various earths, herbs, or spell components (including hair samples, virgin blood, etc). These are often carried in a small trunk. A Chinese Apothocary Trunk is good for this. A make up case can be substituted.

*Broom, Bucket, and Water: Well.....  cleaning up a ritual or even a spell is a pain. That is one of the real reasons for apprentices and long apprenticeships.


Found this in a different area, and am stealing it for this one.....
"Power corrupts. Absolute power is kind of neat." --John Lehman (1942 - ), Secretary of the Navy, 1981-1987

Offline MoonHunter

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The Wizard's Study
« Reply #24 on: July 23, 2005, 10:31:57 AM »
A few dozen badly sketched portraits of various people. The portraits are in simple charcol. They are all framed in home made frames. Once asked about them, the mage will say they are famous mages and important people he has met. He is planning on creating magical portraits of them using permanent illusions someday, but he has yet to master that spell.
MoonHunter
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