10 Things to Find in a Curio Shop

When the PCs return to the city after their latest adventure they often have only one things on their mind—shopping!

Some artwork copyright Paul Daly, used with permission.

Some artwork copyright Paul Daly, used with permission.


With their loot sold and their purchases plotted the party set out into the city. Sometimes, they find exactly what they seek, but other times they find more than they bargain. For lost amid the clutter of the dusty shelves of the curio shop lie forgotten treasures and baubles of interesting aspect.

Use the table below, to generate the details of minor objects of interest the party come across on their shopping trip. For many of these items, the shopkeeper will take whatever he can get; others have prices. The GM can use these items as nothing more than objects of interest, but they can also serve as adventure—or side quest—hooks.

  1. This small dusty bottle is half full with fine grey dust. Buried in the dust are three finger bones—probably from an individual roughly the size of an adult human male.
  2. A worn leather backpack lies at the back of a shelf. The pack seems heavier than it should do. A careful investigation reveals a hidden compartment containing a small notebook. Much of the notebook contains doodles, random sketches and so on. At the back of the book a loose piece of ripped, aged parchment has a lavishly illustrated map that seems to depict th location of a buried treasure. Sadly, the map is incomplete.
  3. A wide range of wine bottles completely fills a shelf. Many have no label. One seems different to the others—its design hints of elven provenance and the wine it contains is truly exquisite. The wine is priced liked the other bottles—1 gp (but is worth 30 gp).
  4. A small stuffed lizard lies on its back amid other odds and ends. The lizard is missing one eye, but its scales are of a faded blue hue; hinting at (perhaps) some strange ancestry.
  5. A black oversized leather quiver—of sorts—hangs from a hook on the wall. The “quiver” holds 100 ft. of black, knotted silk rope. The whole is priced at 25 gp, but the quiver’s design allows the rope to be deployed quicker than normal.
  6. Four battered pewter cups along with a decanter are arrayed on a silver tray. Each is stamped with the heraldic device of a fallen noble house. The whole can be purchased for 100 gp.
  7. A silver hairpin (worth 150 gp) designed in the shape of a lunging dragon. Tiny emeralds form the dragon’s eyes. The hairpin is in need of a good polish. Unbeknownst to the shopkeeper, the hairpin is the sigil of a minor dragon-worshipping cult. If a PC wearing the hairpin encounters cultists they initially believe her to be one of their own.
  8. An old tapestry map of the area surrounding the town hangs from one wall. The map is dusty and worn and somewhat out of date. However, eagle-eyed browsers spot a tower standing deep in the hills or other inaccessible location. The tower does not appear on more recent maps.
  9. A worn diary relates the “adventures” of Ignar the Wizard. He spends much of the diary complaining about his master’s conduct and obsession with certain experiments the details of which Ignar dared not commit to paper. The diary stops abruptly.
  10. A large hooded lantern sits on a table in one corner. It is wildly oversized—the owner claims it was taken from a giant years ago. Whatever the truth of the matter, the lantern’s oil reservoir is double normal size and it illuminates an area twice as large as a standard lantern. The lantern is on sale for 20 gp and weighs 6 lbs. empty.

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This article will appear in GM’s Miscellany: 20 Things II, available in March 2017. For more, check out our Free Resources page.

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5 thoughts on “10 Things to Find in a Curio Shop

      • I’d say 8. I already have thoughts of asking for knowledge local checks of anyone looking at the map. of course, I’ve always had a soft spot for adventuring for the sake of adventuring. There doesn’t always need to be a damsel in distress.