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February 21, 2012, 12:41 pm

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Bavmor's Folly


"Bavmor could not possibly have known that the flask was incomplete due to the magical method of its creation. Had Bavmor taken an alchemical approach, he would have known that 10 more ingredients have yet to be found."

- Fitchinger the Great


The Peculiar Flask of Ever-Changing Oddities is found.


When the flask is found, it should be locked away with three scrolls. One scroll documents all known effects the flask has on the drinker. Another scroll has the history of the flask and how it ended up here. The third scoll contains the following research done by the self-proclaimed, "world-renowned" alchemist, Fitchinger (fitch-in-ger) the Great. This research into the magical properties of the flask states: "Bavmor could not possibly have known that the flask was incomplete due to the magical method of creating this flask. Had Bavmor taken an alchemical approach, he would have known that 10 more ingredients have yet to be found. Being an invalid, I, Fitchinger the Great, cannot venture forth to gathering the remaining ingredients. These obvious formulae precisely dictate what the remaining ingredients are. Each ingredient will refine the magic of the flask by will removing 2 negative and 2 positive outcomes from the flasks random effects." The scroll then details elaborate formulae that don't make any sense. The missing ingredients are listed thus:

  1. The beak of a vulture who ate from the body of a human, ground to powder using a crystal from the Hyperion Mines.
  2. A tear from virgin princess.
  3. The ashes of a piece of cloth soaked in the sweat of a priest.
  4. A platinum coin smelted in the fires of a dragon's breath.
  5. An ounce of tar from the underwater tar lake in the Blackened Swamp.
  6. A wing from a pixie, frozen and broken into crumbs.
  7. The canine tooth of a vampire smashed to powder by a dwarven smithing hammer.
  8. A child's dream.
  9. An ounce of milk exposed to the wail of a banshee.
  10. A strand of hair from siren.


For each ingredient added to the flask, allow the owner to select any two outcomes to be stricken from the list. As GM, you should select two positive outcomes. By the time all ten ingredients have been added, the flask should be safe to drink and not too overpowered for your campaign.

Each ingredient should require some preparation, but they should not require an entire quest. Give the players a Dream Catcher NPC who claims that he can catch dreams in a bottle for a price. Make a quest that requires the players to venture near the Blackened Swamp, and put them on a ship where the captain warns them of a nearby siren.

With each ingredient, carefully select very positive and powerful outcomes to remove. Let the players know what outcomes were removed. This will give them full knowledge to choose to add more ingredients or to settle with what they have.

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Comments ( 10 )
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February 21, 2012, 12:41
Update: I adjusted the refinement process. Each ingredient now removes 2 positive and 2 negative effects from the list of outcomes. After play testing the 3 and 1, it was apparent that the flask rapidly become too powerful. The 2 and 2 approach smooths and refines the flask into a much more reasonable item.
February 21, 2012, 16:10

Okay I can see how this could be used ;)

Reasonable PC :Hey  META PC #1 do you still have that goat milk we got at the halfling village before the banshee encounter outside the Temple of Vulsadoom

Excitable PC:  And I am Priest! I place a rag in my pants and start jumping up and down.

Meta PC #1: I am sure I don't still have that with me, that was like a 4 years ago in game time.

Meta PC #2:  *snatch* You still have it on your character sheet.  So we are a good.   

Roleplaying PC:  What type of strange and wonderous item could this be....surely we must use it for the good of the people allow me to veiw these ancient tomes.  *a moment later after viewing the hand outs "seriously Ted?"*

GM (TED): And the Hyperion mines are beneath Vulsadoom's temple, looks like I will get to use the map after all.  

February 21, 2012, 16:22
This is exactly what I'm thinking! You hit the nail on the head.

I have a few gamers who would love to drink something as chaotic as the raw flask, but I also have many gamers who wouldn't go near it to save their lives. This side mission gives all my players a little of both in addition to generating some fun encounters.
February 21, 2012, 16:30

Seriously I think this a nice write up and a fun read. Plus players tend to like magical stuff they can manipulate and fetishize.  But my the luke warm response to these types of items is that they bestow things on the character without bestowing or coming with any character growth.  Yes the character may have wings or can see ghost afters a swig from this safe bottle, but that ability is dissjointed from his person.   While questing for these items and having the manual for this item will increase the player's connection to it, it does not itself justify this things exsistance.  

Other items like your crown for example, have existance and a personality the player can manipulate and use but won't change the player unless they want it to.   Perhaps I am wrong about this and it would be a really fun item, but I think it might be overly complex and with too little a story hook to justify the dramatic effects (even positive) that it will have a player's character.  

Also technical:  how will the players know what powers they are removing with out a meta-game pick the item  

February 21, 2012, 18:37
I understand where you are coming from, and I see your concern. However, I don't really share that concern. I have players that think chaos and random effects are interesting. If you feel the effects are too dramatic or imposing on a character's being, then I would recommend that all effects of the potion wear off after a few hours (even if the character dies, they just stay dead for a few hours). This would let your players amuse themselves without changing their characters.

I introduced this item with much more specific stats and rules in my current Pathfinder campaign and it was very well received. All of the effects of the flask are reversible given the magical capability of the party, so they are generally ok with the craziness happening to them.

I think that the only way to resolve this quest is to let the players meta-game the decisions. Either that or require someone to attempt to understand the crazy formulae and let their result dictate the means and method of combinations that will remove specific effects.

Now that I'm thinking about it, I feel that I should revisit the original item and apply a more realistic power level and temporary effects. I'll get this item right in the end :)
February 21, 2012, 19:10

Hey if your group likes it, then it works, I wrote the most awkward magical weapon ever once--it is posted on the citadel----and the players had a great time with it. So if they liked it you have the 5 of the heart.

February 27, 2012, 16:28
whats the most awkward magical weapon? you have piqued my interest.
Voted axlerowes
February 21, 2012, 16:31
Only voted
Voted RHHale
December 5, 2012, 10:45
Only voted
Voted valadaar
April 19, 2013, 14:12
I think I would keep both good and bad potential effects behind the veil - I don't like to expose mechanics much, and I would also keep the random effects secret.

But I do like the idea of this item, though it seems over time it would make the flask lukewarm in the end.

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