My Kingdom for a Random Item!

Last week Johnn Four asked around for anyone with a few ideas or resources on how to create some interesting random items. And funny enough, I thought at some point I actually had such an idea buried. (My notebooks are full of ideas I haven’t fully explored yet.) So I sent him a brief PDF that had some ideas in it.

Here I want to detail a bit of the process I suggested. It’s similar to what I did with Brick by Brick: Doors, but a bit more streamlined. (Want to win a $5 gift certificate to DTRPG? See the last paragraph for how!)

It boils down (this version anyway) to a collection of 10 D6s…

Item -> Age -> Purpose -> Maker -> Size -> Material -> Owner -> Condition -> Mender

  • Abstract Dice Image

    Abstract Dice Image – from

    Item (d6) – 1 = Weapon, 2 = Ornament/jewelry, 3 = Book, 4 = Tool, 5 = Armor, 6 = Magic

  • Age (d6) – 1 = New, 2 = Few years old, 3 = Decades old, 4 = Centuries old, 5 = Eons old, 6 = Ageless
  • Purpose (d6) – 1 = Gift, 2 = Self, 3 = Practical, 4 = Art, 5 = Durability, 6 = Ornamental
  • Maker (d6) – 1 = Artist, 2 = Craftsman, 3 = Unskilled, 4 = Slave, 5 = Soldier, 6 = Magic
  • Size (d6) – 1 = Tiny, 2 = Small, 3 = Medium, 4 = Large, 5 = Huge, 6 = Gigantic
  • Material (d6) – 1 = Wood, 2 = Metal, 3 = Stone, 4 = Glass, 5 = Gems, 6 = Hide
  • Owner (d6/d6) – 1-2 = One owner, 3-4 = Two owners, 5-6 = Three owners; Description –
    1 = Child, 2 = Grandchild, 3 = Adult, 4 = Parent, 5 = Thief, 6 = For sale
  • Condition (d6) – 1 = Broken, 2 = Perfect, 3 = Rusted, 4 = Burned, 5 = Stained, 6 = Melted
  • Mender (d6) – same as Maker

So if we walk through an example, I might get:

  • Item = Weapon
  • Age = Ageless
  • Purpose = Gift
  • Maker = Craftsman
  • Size = Large
  • Materials = Hide
  • Owner (#/Description) = 2 owners/Thief & Parent (roll a d6, get the # of owners; roll once on the table for each)
  • Condition = Burned
  • Mender = Unskilled

And that might lead to this new item for sale at Hand’s Goods

WhipThe Thunder Whip of Mosam has found its way onto the shelves of Hand’s Goods and Mr. Hand is happy to tell you the story… Nearly a century ago, Dron Mosam was known across the lands for his amazing leather work. Dron could take the most average hides, treat them with whatever magic he used to keep it supple and strong, and make them into fantastic armor, saps, and whips that seem to last forever. There were rumors that he was using ancient techniques that predated even that era by a thousand years or more, but nobody could prove it and his secrets are still lost to time.

Mosam was known to own a special whip, 18 feet long, that could create thunder on a cloudless day. He never claimed to be its maker, but it hardly ever left his side. But near the end of his life, he gave the weapon to his daughter – Ess. But an enterprising thief, Dynan Faile, somehow slipped into her home and relieved her of a few of her father’s prized possessions soon after his death. The thief was never caught. That was more than half a century ago and the weapon was thought lost to time.

But what should show up in Hand’s establishment, but this weapon of legend! Unfortunately, it has not weathered the years since leaving Mosam’s side. At some point it must have been in a fire, which left several coils damaged. What’s worse is that it was “fixed” by someone with very little skill and found the cheapest leather they could find. It may still generate the thunder of old, but without some skilled repairs it won’t be much good to any purchaser for long.

Hand will happily sell you the weapon at a discount and direct you to one of three well-known leather workers of good repute…

Think this is an interesting idea to explore? Leave me a comment and we’ll see about elaborating a bit and turning into a product!

If you feel up to the challenge, why not use this approach to create an item and submit it as a comment below! I’ll send a $5 gift certificate to DTRPG to whoever creates my favorite! I’ll leave this open for two weeks – through July 14 – and I’ll pick a winner on July 15!

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6 thoughts on “My Kingdom for a Random Item!”

  1. A burnisher from the famed atelier of Mee-Kyong Stonepalm has made its way to the market. Originally purchased by Stonepalm’s mother, this metal hide has a rough surface she found ideal for final polishing buff on her stone sculptures.

    It even had a rough protuberance that fit the artist’s hand perfectly. The oval tool smooths and shines any stone surface it is run over. A second pass buffs the stone to a mirror shine.

    When her luggage was stolen during her trip to Duke Bon-Hwa’s estate, this burnisher was among the items taken. In the short time since it disappeared from her possession, it has been exposed to great heat and partially melted. It now has a make-shift wood handle, poorly crafted and not very well attached, using the cheapest wood and meanest materials.

    Perhaps, if it were repaired properly, Artist Stonepalm would reward the one who returns it.

  2. This ornately carved chest is being sold by Drekaln. His grandfather, a slave, made the original carved panels. The panels are actually made to be read, like the pages of a book. However, although repaired with great skill by Drekaln’s mother, the famed carver, it would take time to decipher which order to read the panels.

    The obstacle is the carvings are said to change; they reflect whatever secret passages and rooms are in the area around the chest. The chest is large enough to hold a small person with some room, or a cramped larger person.

    1. Quite an interesting item!

      Do you have the combination of details you used to generate this one and the other? I’m just curious what terms formed the inspiration.

      1. The burnisher was
        Item: Tool
        Age: a Few Years
        Purpose: Art
        Maker: Magic
        Size: Small
        Material: Hide
        Owner: 3 owners, parent, for sale, thief
        Condition: Melted
        Mender: Slave

        The chest was
        Item: Book
        Age: Decades old
        Purpose: Self
        Maker: Slave
        Size: Large
        Material: Wood
        Owner: 3 owners, Parent, for sale, Parent
        Condition: Broken
        Mender: Artist

        Putting together “broken” “Wood” “Book” was an interesting challenge. As was “Melted” and “Hide”.

        1. I find that some of the more interesting ideas come from those seemingly unrelated terms. The brain seems to take them and fire all sorts of strange paths to make them connect. And it’s that kind of random firing neuron activity that can be all sorts of fun. 🙂 Great work!

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