View Full Version : Movie Magic! (Magic Items from Cinema)

2012-08-09, 10:02 AM
Magic items is one of the bread and butter points of almost any fantasy-based RPG... and rightly so. There is nothing quite like getting ahold of your first index card with scribbled description and awesome rule-bending powers. Likewise, you can easily imagine your character's excitement when they get their grubby, dungeon-delving hands on a platinum-inlaid sword from some far away time or place. Alas... as creative of a DM as I feel that I am, I eventually find myself sometimes wishing for more options for magical items that can I sprinkle into my games. And so I find myself constantly on the hunt for that grand cache, the secret treasure horde hidden under the belly of the dragon (read the internet). And then it dawned on me - movies.

Movies have had magic items in them longer than D&D itself has been around. And while stealing borrowing these items verbatim feels icky and wrong (I loathe unoriginality), there are some kernels of great ideas within them. Not to mention, sometimes an item is just too perfect for that one character in your game who needs a little something (plus, you know that no one in your group has seen that movie... :smallwink:).

And so, here I am. I have decided to start this thread as a means of compiling as many of these items as we can, with your help of course. The general idea is just to list an item and what movie it came from. If you feel compelled to also give it an in-game write-up... all the better! However, let's avoid this thread degrading into a debate about whether an item should have this power versus that power - this is meant to be a list, after all!

That's not to say that some discussion isn't a good thing though.

Now... to get us started:

Babylon Candle
Chain of Enslavement
Ruby of Royalty
Flower of Spell Resistance
Mirror/Ring of Communication
Soothsaying Runes
Lightning Case
Obsidian Blades
Voodoo Doll

Lord of the Rings (Trilogy)
The One Ring
The Nine Rings of Men
The Rings of the Elven Lords
The Rings of the Dwarven Kings
Mithril Shirt
Glamdring (Gandalf's sword)
Gandalf's Staff
Saruman's Staff
Seeing Stones
Elven Cloaks
Eärendil's Star (light device Frodo is given)
Shards of Narsil

2012-08-09, 02:36 PM
I also am on the hunt for magical items, albeit from a different source: Mythology.

Most of the high fantasy tropes and idioms we have come to enjoy derive from the oral and written traditions that have been passed down in many cultures. Some stories (flood) are similar in different cultures, whereas others (lich:russian) (Lord of the rings/Ring of the Nibelung:Viking Myths) have more specific origins.

Usually in these types of stories, and even in fairy tales (Brothers Grimm Collection) there are magic items and weapons the hero must use to accomplish his goal.

I think fairy tales and myths in general are a very interesting study of people and how we interact with ages past, what we choose to idolize and what we reject.

I also feel these myths and legends and stories passed down give a certain weight to the weapons we feel drawn to wield and the enemies we desire to triumph over. I also enjoy tying in real-world expectations into fantasy games, giving the players added depth to play off of in the future, as well as having interesting story material. You wouldn't believe how easy it is to storyboard when you can draw on real life.

Well, I guess that was slightly off-topic. :/

But here goes.

In the flood story, you have an individual, or small group of individuals building a large ship that can withstand a very violent storm (or space travel, or extreme tempuratures), something that comes up again and again in sci-fi and fantasy media, mostly as a way to traverse what normal beings could not (passing to the underworld, or celestia even).

The oldest story I could find involving the modern conception of a lich was an old russian tale: Koschei the Deathless. It involved a wizard that put his soul in a golden needle, so as long as that needle was safe, he was immortal. He went to the trouble of hiding this needle in and egg, which was in a duck, which was in a hare, which was in a chest, which is buried under a green oak tree, which is on the island of Buyan in the ocean. It goes on to detail that if the chest is dug up and opened, the hare will run away. If the hare is killed, the duck will fly off.

Finally, if you have the egg in your possession, Koschei is in your power, and can be flung around my moving the egg, and killed if the egg or needle is broken, sometimes it has to be broken against his forehead.

This story in its entirety is the inspiration for the phylactery, along with the maddening lengths the wizard will go through to protect it, usually very redundantly.

Both Tolkien and Wagner used the old viking myths as the basis for their works. Its very interesting to see the choices each made, as different as their mediums were, the varying impacts of each decision on the style, tone and mood of the stories that resulted. The sources these men used were at times unreliable and at others confusing and contradictory. I like to think this adds further to the mystery and the impact the mythology has on our psyche.

In studying these myths you come to realize the mutability of many of these tales, in part due to oral traditions changing over time, and also because as people we tend to get bored with the same story, so we change it up, bit by bit, until eventually we aren't sure what the story was to begin with.

These are just a few of the reasons I find studying these old myths and legends fascinating, and why they are a great choice to go looking for inspiration of the magical variety.

EDIT: I just realized after all that, I didn't list a single movie magic item. :smallfrown:

Well, the only one I can think of is a movie I saw recently on Netflix.

Krull: An 80s fantasy film about the planet Krull being invaded by a sinister being known simply as "The Beast". The hero quests to find an ancient weapon that would be his undoing and defeat him, sending the Black Fortress on its way.

This weapon is called the Glaive. It is a star-shaped throwing weapon, with blades that extend out from the five prongs. The hero Colwyn has the ability to control its trajectory, and uses it similar in function to a boomerang.

I actually couldn't find much information involving myths or other stories about a weapon like this, so the movie is pretty much all I have to go on. Still, I don't think it would be very hard to stat it out. I probably wouldn't use it in my world, because I like to have multiple stories to draw on, but it seems interesting enough to stand on its own.

2012-08-09, 10:17 PM
Lord of the Rings (Trilogy)
The One Ring
The Nine Rings of Men
The Rings of the Elven Lords
The Rings of the Dwarven Kings
Mithril Shirt
Glamdring (Gandalf's sword)
Gandalf's Staff
Saruman's Staff
Seeing Stones
Elven Cloaks
Eärendil's Star (light device Frodo is given)
Shards of Narsil

You forgot lembas bread.:smallwink:

2012-08-10, 06:12 AM
I have to note: both movies the OP mentioned were directly based on novels. So it's really more like "magic items from literature". But that's beside the point.

I can add one: The Night Watch/Day Watch movies (which are also based off a book, Night Watch by Sergei Lukyanenko. Again) also have a veritable slew of magic items, foremost of which is the chalk of destiny, capable of rewriting a person's past or future.

I also have to say that the legend of Koschei the Deathless stays a personal favourite of mine.

In any case, most fantasy-type movies are based off existing media anyway. I can't offhand think of a single magic item movie that wasn't based off a pre-existing book or short story or legend or whatever.

2012-08-10, 07:35 AM
If books converted into movies count, since you added the Lord of the Rings movie, I want to add the Auryn, which is simultaneously probably the most powerful and one of the most self-destructive items I've come across in fiction.

Edit: scratch that. I think they left out the self-destructive part in the movies. It's just ridiculously powerful, then. Though the movie main character never does much with it.

2012-08-18, 08:25 AM
In the movie Pan's Labyrinth, the little girl gets a piece of chalk that she can use to draw the outline of a door to create a real door.

In the second Hellboy movie, the villain assembles a golden crown that allows him to control an invincible army of magical robots. He also has a knife that elongates into a spear on command.

Raiders of the Lost Ark had a magic box which melted the face off of anyone who looked at it, while The Last Crusade had a magic cup which granted you immortality if you drank from it (and numerous decoys which killed you instead). I think there were some magic stones in The Temple of Doom, but I don't remember them actually doing anything.

In the Clash of the Titans remake, Perseus gets a magical sword. In the sequel, they combine Poseidon's trident with Hades' pitchfork and Zeus' lightning bolt to create a spear that can kill Kronos.

In Immortals, the villain uses a magic bow that shoots bolts of light instead of arrows to free the evil Titans. I think there were some other magical weapons as well.

In the Harry Potter movies, they have:
a cloak of invisibility
flying broomsticks
a magical sword
a device which can turn on or off any light source
magical potions
a mirror which shows your greatest desires
a hat that can read your mind
random objects which allow mass teleportation
a car that can fly
vehicles which drive themselves
a clock which tells the condition of loved ones instead of telling time
a ring which summons the spirits of the dead
a watch that takes you back in time
a pair of cupboards that you can teleport between
a pair of mirrors which you can look through
a bowl of water that lets you relive memories
a book containing the spirit of an evil teenager
a wand that is somehow better than every other wand
extendable ears
a bag of holding
and probably of bunch of other stuff that I can't remember right now

2012-08-18, 11:19 AM
Captain America a +5 returning indestructible shield that can be thrown and used as a melee weapon.

Constantine Magic Cross that made any water holy water. Holy Brass Knukles. Holy Gun. Spear of Destiny that possesses wielder and cuts holes in dimensions. Dragons Breath Rod. Beetle that disincorporates Demons for a round

Jumper Rod of Dimensional Anchor with the Shock special ability.

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World Power of Love +3 Holy Flaming Katana . Power of Self respect +5 Flaming indestructible Katana. Digitana, +4 Katana that grants the improved sunder Feat :P

How about TV?

Supernatural The Colt, +5 Gun with bullets that ignore damage reduction and prevent fast healing and bypass any 'special conditions' for death. Rubys Knife +2 Demons Bane Dagger that also ignores any damage reduction for any evil outsider under 15 HD. Goofer Dust blocks entry by any evil outsider if spread across an entry way. Rabbits foot +10 luck bonus to all rolls if held, -10 once lost till permanent. Horsemens rings, each grant template of Horseman to wielder, if joined can cast imprisonment. Section of Moses' Staff, Insect plague, Cause disease, Transmute water to blood. Lot's Salt Crystal, casts disintegrate 1/day but turns to salt instead of dust. Phoenix ash, Save vs Death for any outsider. Angel sword +2 silver holy short sword ignores damage reduction for any good outsider under 20HD. Archangel sword +4 silver holy short sword ignores damage reduction for ANY good outsider except gods.

2012-08-18, 11:34 AM
Lord of the Rings (Trilogy)
The One Ring
The Nine Rings of Men
The Rings of the Elven Lords
The Rings of the Dwarven Kings
Mithril Shirt
Glamdring (Gandalf's sword)
Gandalf's Staff
Saruman's Staff
Seeing Stones
Elven Cloaks
Eärendil's Star (light device Frodo is given)
Shards of NarsilYou forgot lembas bread.:smallwink:
And the Door into Moria, and the other swords taken from the Barrow along with Sting, and the watchers in Mordor, and the boats from Lothlorien, and the broaches for the cloaks, and the elven rope, and Sam's box, and the Mirror of Galadriel (in fact almost everything elven).

2012-08-19, 08:49 AM
C'mon guys there's gotta be so much more

Conan the Barbarian: The snake arrow Thulsa Doom uses
Willow, the stones of petrfication, the wand of polymorph the pixie dust of love

2012-08-19, 08:16 PM
The spear in DragonSlayer.
The sword in Hawk the Slayer.
(hmm, any magic in the Slayer? :smallwink: )
The three bladed rocket propelled sword in The Sword and the Sorceror (admittedly a stretch for that one).
The Heart Bow in a tv movie/series thats name escapes me ( the arrows went "Boom", after the gem on the Bow glowed, seemingly charging them up ).

2012-08-19, 11:33 PM
As for Hawk the Slayer, the only other confirmed magic item we saw is the stone the evil witch used on Palance's character to try to heal him or remove the pain. When the good witch sent hawk around gathering his friends it isn't said if the rings are an effect of the spell or an item.

Not helpful for items for a game but you cannot make this list without the biggest of them all, Excalibur.

You can mod some sci-fi setting too into good magic, Take the old Thundercats cartoon. You have a nice sword, shield, and their weapons that could all be used.

You might also want to check netflix for Warehouse 13 episodes. Some of the artifacts there would be very nice to mod into a game.

The Dresden files and maybe Legend of the Seeker might be something to watch for ideas. I do not know them well enough for specific suggestions.

Compass from Pirates of the Carribean.
Cursed chest of gold.
Pieces of Eight, good for a mystic scavenger hunt.

Army of Darkness has the Necronomicon. And you just KNOW you want to have fun with the Hand of Ash, and his holy boomstick.

Kung-fu Panda has the walk through for their temple with the invisible sword etc, some of those may be good.