A simple metal bucket, capable of holding a bucket of water, or as it happens, a lifetime of effort.
The bucket was the creation of the great sorcerer Akhuun, a dabbler in the arts of time-magic. It is perhaps his most well-known creation, though not his most powerful one. It was presented by Akuun to the Grey Prince on his ascention to the throne of Tirgoth. However, it has not been seen since the sack of that country during the third Rephatian incursion.
This bucket has be ensorcelled to contain time that can be used to accomplish task with what appears to be great rapidity.
The bucket can be charged one of two ways. An individual - usually one with either many good skills, or a few exceptional ones, carries out completely useless tasks within three paces of the bucket. If they are interrupted for any reason while 'charging' the bucket, the time collected thus far is lost. Time is collected in 1-hour segments, which provide 5 minutes of 'work' later.
The second way is for the individual to channel their life force into the bucket by concentration. This can either reduce the subjects lifespan by 1 day per hour of time collected, or may use other game-system specific means (eg. experience points).
Only one individual may charge a bucket at one time, through other means.
The bucket may hold a substantial amount of time, perhaps even a lifetime. Determining whose time is contained is difficult and would require either research, magic or both.
When used, the collected time will be as if the person contributing the time attempted to carry out the desired task instantly, though the user could choose for the task to be carried out at the normal time - allowing for performances of great skill.
It is highly recommended that this be limited to craftsman type-tasks and not for spells, special abilities, or movement-based skills. If skill checks are required, then these must be rolled after the time is spent.
During terrible weather a farmer spends hours juggling wood (without spectators, otherwise it could be considered useful..) in the presence of the bucket. When the weather finally breaks, he can use the collected time to plant faster.
Mages can use the time to read manuscripts faster, scribe non-magical runes, etc. Thieves can pick locks, disarm traps, carryout forgery, etc. This type of individual may have the greatest benefit from such an item, but one should not forget this is a large bucket. Concealment and keeping quiet with a bucket may be a little challenging.
Throughout his life, Michelangelo flittered much time away nearby such a bucket. Now, he has passed on and the bucket has been found. What would someone pay for a few months of a great artist's time?
A not-quite dead Language
A bucket is found and it contains time contributed by a long-dead people. The time within could be used to translate a huge body of hitherto untranslated texts of great value. The charged bucket would become an item of great value - to be protected, retrieved or stolen.
The Prisoner's bucket
The fell wizard Okhan has taken to simply placing the bucket in cells along with prisoners. While they waste away, accomplishing nearly nothing, the bucket charges. He has been attempting to find victims with skills useful to himself. Sometimes he must make do with peasants, but adventurers would be highly prized.
If one wishes to further control the power of this bucket, it could be limited to the lesser skill of the contributer or the user. As a result, one could not use the stored time to carry out skills one does not already have.