Sometimes the PCs go looking for adventure. Sometimes adventure finds them! Perhaps a thief drops something into a PC’s pocket as the watch closes in or a messenger mistakes a PC for someone else.
Finding something mysterious in a PC’s pocket can be nothing more than a minor discovery of interest, an irritation, the start of an exciting encounter or the hook for an entire adventure!
Use the table below, to determine exactly what surprise objects awaits discovery in a PC’s pocket or pouch:
- A scrap of parchment with the words, “Tonight at the Reaping Man, after the change of the watch” scrawled in black ink. (The Reaping Man is a seedy tavern on the edge of the slum district renowned for brawls).
- The PC is jostled and feels something tucked into his belt. The object is a dagger, its point covered in blood. Moments later, a watch patrol arrives and spies the PC holding a bloody dagger…
- When the PC next buys something he discovers a worn golden coin of unfamiliar design in his pouch. The coin is wider and fatter than normal. One side is worn almost smooth, while the other has a faint engraving of a bearded, scowling man. Words—in the language of Hell—run around the coin’s edge and read, “Eternal and Undying Glory.” Almost more strangely, the coin seems to drink in the surrounding light; shadows cling to its surface and it is noticeably colder than other coins.
- A tightly folded sheaf of parchment has a detailed drawing of a section of sewers. A secret entrance is clearly depicted as being hidden in an inn’s wine cellar. Unfortunately, the inn is not named on the map. However, it’s common room has a distinctive design: the bar occupies a central location and divides the room in two. The stairs to the cellar are shown to be under a trapdoor behind the bar.
- The PC is jostled and feels something being thrust into his pouch. Investigations reveals a diaphanous black silk hood with no mouth or eye holes. Wrapped in the hood, a note written in purple ink simply says, “Tonight.” in beautiful, flowing script. Investigations reveal an additional message written with invisible ink. It reads, “The Black Lion, at dusk. Come alone.”
- The next time, the PC gets something out of her pouch, she discovers a strange potion vial. Crafted from a hollowed out finger bone, a perfectly-sized bone plug tops the vial. Carvings on the vial depict a shambling horde of the undead—skeletons, zombies and so on. Investigation reveals the bone to be incredibly hard—much harder than a normal bone; no doubt it was harvested from some strange and exotic creature. What the vial holds is up the GM. In any event, the vial itself is distinctive enough to serve as the focus of a locate object or similar scrying spell.
- A small patch of black cloth embroiled with the symbol of a reaching hand outstretched as if to grasp something fills the spot in the PC’s pouch where he once kept one of his least expensive consumable magic items.
- A perfectly smooth stone about the size of a halfling’s fist now lies in the PC’s pouch. The symbol of a lidless, staring eye is painted onto the stone with scarlet paint.
- The PC discovers a small red candle in his pouch that was not there the last time he used the pouch. The candle is slow-burning and pungent. Additionally, it’s flame has a fell red hue; is it some kind of signal device or something else entirely?
- The PC is the victim of a failed pick pocketing attempt. When she next goes to her pouch—perhaps to pay for something—she discovers a tiny double edged knife wedged into its side. It appears someone has tried to slice open the pouch to steal its contents, but they failed. The knife is unadorned except for a maker’s mark—a stylised rearing swan—on the pommel. Investigations could lead the PCs to the weaponsmith who crafted the weapon and from there—perhaps—to the dagger’s owner.
Thank you to the reader who suggested this most excellent topic. (My apologises, as I wrote down the idea, but not the name of the suggester). I shall—no doubt—inflict this article on my players one day! I hope you do as well!
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