20 Fragile Treasure Difficult to Remove from the Dungeon

Adventurers often find gold, silver and gems during their deep delves into the dark, unwholesome places of the world. Sometimes they find bulky treasures, difficult to transport back to civilisations. Other times, they find items fragile enough that accidental damage or rough handling could render them worthless…


Use the table below, to determine what fragile treasures the party discovers:

  1. This small silver framed piece of artwork hasn’t been done with brush and paint; rather, small shards of multi-coloured glass have been expertly arranged to depict a shimmering sea and a stark, cliff-fringed island. The whole piece is roughly two-foot square and worth 200 gp (intact).
  2. This tall and impossibly thin glass decanter has an elegant handle near its spout. It has been blown to depict an elegant swan’s head and has a sold silver stopper. Intact it is worth 50 gp.
  3. These four slender wine glasses have gold leaf around their rims. Clearly old, in places the gold leaf is worn by the touch of many lips. As a set, the glasses are worth 100 gp.
  4. This diaphanous red silk dress has a 15-foot long train. Practically transparent, this robe weighs virtually nothing and is extremely prone to snags and tears. Even wrapping up the dress for transport without due care and attention could damage it. In perfect condition, the dress is worth 250 gp.
  5. This fired earthen pot at first looks like nothing particularly special. A close examination reveals faded runes etched into its surface at the base venerating an ancient nature goddess. The pot is old beyond imagining and is extremely brittle. It is worth 100 gp to members of the goddess’ faith, but virtually worthless to anyone else.
  6. The cover of this much-thumbed book is coming away from its spine, and several of the pages are ripped and torn. The  book is a travelogue of far-off lands and worth 20 gp even in this advanced state of deterioration.
  7. This tiny ivory statuette of a rearing unicorn has a slender, sharp horn. The horn is easily snapped off if the statuette is not carefully wrapped. Intact, it is worth 50 gp.
  8. A glass chandelier almost three-foot across hangs from the ceiling and supports dozens of small candles. The chandelier is bulky, but light and each of the glass pieces has been individually blown. Unfortunately, it was not built to be taken apart easily. Intact, the entire thing is worth 400 gp but removing and packing it up could take at least an hour.
  9. One panel of this door has been replaced with a beautiful mosaic-like decoration depicting—in black onyx—the four elemental sigils. The beadwork holding the piece in place is old and thin. If the panel is removed hastily, the entire thing falls apart. Intact, it is worth 50 gp; if broken, the onyx flecks are still worth 20 gp.
  10. This old, scorched parchment is carefully affixed to a frame in a manner similar to a painting. The parchment is so thin it is almost transparent. The faded ink yet depicts a map of some unknown place which, accordingly to its scrawled legend, shows the famed lost cyclops city of Anuk-Ra.
  11. This worn set of wooden pipes is perfectly tuned to create haunting melodies when played by a master. The pipes are old and chipped and the mouthpiece has a hairline crack almost invisible to the naked eye. The pipes are worth 200 gp to a skilled musician, but if not handled carefully, the mouthpieces snaps off rendering the instrument worthless.
  12. These ancient, worn platinum coins were minted long ago, far underground by the ancient drow. On one side, they depict a gigantic spider while on the other in flowing elven writing they say “Glory to the Mother.” The coins are so thin, they can be easily bent, and even snapped. Their worth as antiques is triple that of a normal platinum coin.
  13. This slender silver necklace comprises a chain of impossibly thin links. Rough handling sunders the chain and could scatter its links over a wide area. The necklace is worth 55 gp.
  14. These shaved diamond flecks are as thin as paper and about the size of a fingernail. Used as coins by an ancient, now destroyed culture, they are much worn by usage and the passage of time. A dozen are present; each is worth 25 gp.
  15. This ceremonial walking cane is carved from a single gigantic piece of ivory. Decorated with a spiral pattern, it has a fatal crack about one foot up from its tip. Anyone actually putting any weight on the cane snaps it in half. Intact, it is worth 75 gp.
  16. This small iron bound coffer holds a beautifully crafted glass rose resting on a white cloth. The rose’s glass petals are a deep, luscious red colour. The rose is worth 200 gp and the coffer another 10 gp. However, unless the rose is carefully wrapped it likely breaks during transport.
  17. Gold leaf covers this ceremonial mace. The mace’s head is oversized—deliberately forged to look impressive—and is too heavy for its shaft. If used in actual combat, the head snaps off after the first successful hit. Intact, the mace is worth 180 gp.
  18. This bronze statuette depicts some kind of squatting hideous be-tentacled monster. Its tentacles are depicting flailing about the beast’s head and are thus prone to snapping off. About a foot high the statuette is bottom-heavy and may topple over if not stored securely (which would snap off one or more of the tentacles). The statuette is worth 50 gp.
  19. Crafted from a roc’s feather this laughable oversized quill has a solid silver tip. Used to ceremonially sign contracts, land grants and so on the feather is almost two-foot long. Dusty and brittle, it is particularly challenging to safely pack. The silver tip is worth 25 gp and intact the thing is worth 100 gp.
  20. This small glass potion vial once held holy water and the silver in the water impregnated the vial so that it gleamers and gleams in the light. The vial is worth 25 gp, but unfortunately its stopper does not fit well. Losing the stopper halves the vial’s value.

Related Post

20 Things II_SNE_220This article will appear in GM’s Miscellany: 20 Things II, available in March 2017.

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3 thoughts on “20 Fragile Treasure Difficult to Remove from the Dungeon

  1. I love the fragile treasures! Maybe I should add a chance of fragility to the Art Objects table. I’m just imagining the typical band of adventurers, who have all the finesse of a golem in a china shop (as Mythbusters showed, bulls are actually remarkably careful), trying to keep some of this stuff safe during combat. (why yes, I would be evil enough to put them against enemies with concussion-type attacks, both physical and magical) Many years ago, I had a player who, when he found out how much intact winter wolf pelts were worth, screamed “save the hides! save the hides!” as his companions were fighting for their lives. I haven’t talked to him in 20 years, but I do wonder what he’d do with a set of valuable but insanely fragile wineglasses!

  2. 2 questions first, how would a mending spell effect breaks or tears in these items? Second comma what effect would placement in a bag of holding do to protect these items from damaged?

    • I think those would be matters for your GM! I would say, though, that placing something in a bag of holding is–I assume–like placing something in any other bag. If you stick something on top of it and it’s fragile–it might break.