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View Full Version : The bargain bin- malfunctioning, poorly designed, and broken magic items



aimlessPolymath
2017-02-05, 12:43 PM
So this one idea hit me Friday night and it just kept snowballing. These items which aren't really cursed, but definitely can't be called full value. A number of them are partially inspired by various "useless magic item" threads, but are significantly more useful.

Prices here refer to market prices- these items cannot be crafted intentionally.

Bracer of Throwing (or Greater Bracer of Throwing): When a set of Bracers of Archery are separated from each other for a long enough time, the magic starts to fail. Sometimes, one of them stabilizes their power, at a lesser level. Without its pair, it is only able to affect weapons held by the arm it is worn on. It provides benefits identical to those of the appropriate form of Bracers of Archery, except that it only applies to one-handed or light weapons held in the hand it is worn on.
Price: As Bracers of Archery.
(This is a theme I have- many paired items are destroyed if their partner is, or if it is separated for long enough. However, they may (25% chance?) metamorphose into a different, weaker or more specialized item. In this case, it works just fine, as long as you don't need your other hand.)

Philter of Power: Only the finest pearls can be used in a Pearl of Power. What happens to the rest? They get ground up and made into a potion, of course! When drunk, the philter of power allows the user to recall any one spell which they had prepared and cast that day. However, upon doing so, the user must make a Fortitude save (DC 15 + the level of the spell) or take 1d6 Constitution damage. While saving throw bonuses against poison apply to this effect, immunity only allows the user to roll twice and take the better result.
Price: 50 gp: 1st, 200 gp: 2nd, 450 gp: 3rd, 800 gp: 4th, 1,250 gp: 5th, 1,800 gp: 6th, 2,450 gp: 7th, 3,200 gp: 8th, 4, 050 gp: 9th

Carpet Square of Flying: The leavings of an apprentice itemcrafter, this 1-foot square of fabric will fly through the air on command as though affected by an overland flight spell of unlimited duration. It can hover without making a Fly check and gives a +5 bonus to Fly checks.
Size: 1 ft by 1 ft. Capacity: 8 lbs. Speed: 40 ft. Weight: 1/4 lb. Price: 900 gp. Tenserís Floating Disk.
(reduced price from continuous spell due to being weaker)

Ring of Self Shield: A Friend Shield ring missing its partner is only able to shield itself, providing a +1 deflection bonus to AC and a +1 resistance bonus to saving throws.
Price: 4000 gp.

Knife of Slaying: An arrow of slaying made with poor-quality wood often snaps when fired. However, the arrowhead can then be made into a dagger. The result, a +1 dagger, is keyed to a particular type or subtype of creature. When it hits a creature, if the creature is of the appropriate type or subtype, it is forced to make a DC 20 Fortitude save or take 50 points of damage. Regardless of whether it succeeds, the dagger loses its magic properties after the first time it hits a creature.
Price: As Slaying Arrow.

Glove of Dexterity: If it survives the separation from its partner, a Glove of Dexterity works about as well- except that its bonus only applies when it is used with tasks only requiring the use of the hand it is worn by.
Cost: 1/2 that of the normal Glove of Dexterity.

Quaalís Feather Token: Twig. An underpowered Tree token results in a small stick around a half-centimeter across, and 5 centimeters long. The feather is often cut and used as a quill; if this is done, the resulting twig has a core filled with ink. Once exposed, by pressing the core against a piece of parchment, the token can leave a mark. Unlike ink, it rarely smudges unless pressed hard.
Cost: 18 gp.
Notes: Yes, it's a pencil.

Bright Gem: A Gem of Brightness without the normal limiters, it continually sheds light as a lantern. When smashed against a surface, it flares in a burst of light 30 ft wide, forcing those within that area to make a DC 14 Fortitude save or be blinded for 1d4 rounds. If this is expected, a DC 14 Reflex save can also negate the blindness.
Cost: 1,000 gp- in combat, effectively has one use of the 5-charge mode.

Horn of Blasting Noise: The command word was forgotten in the crafting of this horn of blasting- or more accurately, the command word is a shout. As a result, while it cannot be activated as normal, it continually amplifies speech through the horn to the level of a shout, allowing someone to be heard with a Perception DC of -20. However, If someone shouts through it, it has the normal effect of the magic item, in addition to reducing the Perception DC to hear the shout to -60. Furthermore, while worn, the user takes a -10 penalty to Stealth checks in which volume is relevant, as even slight footsteps are amplified immensely.
Cost: Same as Horn of Blasting- stealth penalties are balanced by use in coordination.

Ioun Stone: Dull Gray. Despite having no powers, this stone can float just like any other.
Price: 500 gp.

Wrestling Mask of the Skull: This mask of the skull is missing its flight abilities. Instead, the user must headbutt their target. This is an unarmed strike like any other, except that if the attack roll beats the touch AC of the target, the maskís power takes effect. The target must then make a DC 20 Fortitude save or take 130 damage. If the target succeeds on the save, they take 3d6 + 13 damage regardless. The power of the mask functions only once per day, after having worn the mask for an hour.
Price: 20000 gp.
Should be 32760 (level 7 spell * CL 13 * 1800 gp, except that thatís more than the cost of the mask of the skull. I eyeballed it.

Stoning Salve: This Stone Salve functioned a little too well. If an ounce of it is applied to the skin of a petrified creature, it returns the creature to flesh as stone to flesh. If an ounce of it is applied to the flesh of a nonpetrified creature, it petrifies the creature, as flesh to stone (DC 19).
3000 gp- most of the value used to be in stoneskin, now itís a bizarre and specialized capture method.

Ring of Storing a Spell: This defective ring of spell storing imprints on the first spell cast into it. Thereafter, that spell is the only one which can be stored in it.
Price: 30% off.

Elixir of Pyrotechnic Breath: This tainted Elixer of Fire Breath instantly transforms the fire breath into one of the effects of pyrotechnics (50% chance of either mode). It is expended after one use.
Price: 1,100 gp. Maybe less? Could reduce the Caster Level.

Mixed Dust of (Dis)Appearance: The processes for making Dust of Appearance and Dust of Disappearance are very similar- mistakes during the process can cause impurities. When a handful of dust is poured on a single creature or thrown into the air (affecting all creatures within 10 ft), it has a 50% chance to have either effect on each creature.
Price: 1800 gp. Inconsistency is pretty bad here.

Apparatus of the Crab: Someone removed the default labels. No, wait, thatís manufacturer standard.
Price: Normal.

Chime of Interrupting: This chime of interruption is mistuned, leading to it drowning out and disrupting speech with loud, irritating chimes. While it has its normal effect, it also prohibits speech while it is active. A DC 15 Concentration check allows someone to get out words without continually stuttering.
Price: 15500 gp.

Circlet of Destruction, Minor: This circlet of blasting is partially damaged due to the forces involved in its creation. Each time it is activated, it damages itself, taking 2d8 damage, reduced by hardness. It has hardness 8 and 8 hit points.
Price: 1300 gp
(price calculations: It has a ~50% chance of damaging itself. I worked it out- itís an average of ~2 (120/64) points of damage per use, giving 4 uses. This indicates a price factor of 4 casts instead of 1/5 * 100 (1 out of 5 casts per day * 100 for at-will. Yes, repairing abilities help, but in the end, youíre spending a 2nd level spell slot to get a different one, so it seems fair- compare with that one feat that lets you use spell slots to power wands.)

Drums of Panicking: These poorly-designed drums of panic do not include the normal 30-foot safe zone around the drums.
Cost: 30% off.

Goggles of Focused Vision: These Goggles of Minute Vision are highly near-sighted. As a result, you take a -5 penalty to visual Perception checks while wearing them against targets more than 10 ft away.
Cost: 20% off

Medallion of Thinking: This medallion of thought is engrossing in its depth. While concentrating on its effect, you cannot do anything else.
Cost: 10% discount off Medallion of Thought.

I tried to cover a wide variety of items, though most ended up as wondrous items.

What are your discount Magic Items? I'd like to hear submissions.

Beechgnome
2017-02-05, 04:40 PM
I had an NPC named Nivarro who ran a stand that sold similarly flawed magic items.

My favourite was the Unvisibility cloak: it turned the user invisible, but the cloak remained visible, and no magic could make the cloak disappear. Definitely useful, with imagination, but not as advertised.

I said 'unvisibility' fast, but the Players picked up on it. They still bought it.