20 Things to Find in a Wizard’s Laboratory

The PCs are always defeating evil wizards and looting their libraries and laboratories.

By Maciej Zagorski (The Forge Studios)

By Maciej Zagorski (The Forge Studios)


Such locales are filled with strange, esoteric (and often distasteful) things of unknowable and unguessable purpose linked to the wizard’s unfathomable research. Such things, though, are often glossed over in the mad stampede toward the wizard’s spare potions, scrolls and (of course) their spellbooks.

Use the table below to “populate” a wizard’s laboratory with minor objects of interest. It is up to the GM to determine whether any of these objects has much value.

  1. A disembodied, gray hand ending in sharp claws hangs suspended in a jar of dirty water. It might be a trick of the light, but every now and then the hand seems to flex.
  2. One long wooden box of polished wood holds carefully arranged and straightened lengths of hair. Each set is tied together with bright blue string.
  3. A small box holds an ancient coin minted thousands of years ago by a nation or race famed for its evil and brutality. The coin’s features are nearly worn smooth such is its age. Perceptive PCs may be able to make out a few faint details—the suggestion of a face on one side and what looks like some kind of fantastical creature on the other. The coin rests on a black velvet cushion.
  4. A small earthen vail contains a thick dark red viscous fluid. This is the semi-coagulated blood of a basilisk.
  5. A small stone beaker holds a small amount of carefully harvested green slime. There is not enough slime to fully consume a creature; the wizard studied the slime and occasionally used it as a means of getting rid of otherwise dangerous leavings from his experimentations.
  6. This silver dagger’s tip is broken off and the remaining blade is dull with age. A gem once decorated the pommel, but it fell off long ago.
  7. The surface of the wizard’s workbench is scorched and burnt. Perceptive PCs can just make out the remains of carvings in the wood, but their meaning is impossible to fathom.
  8. One small earthen jar is full of the carcasses of dried insects.
  9. A velvet pouch lies discarded on a shelf. It is empty, but flecks of glimmering dust inside the pouch hint at what it once held.
  10. A skull stands atop a high shelf. Flickering light emerges from its eye sockets (this is a continual flame spell) equivalent to a pair of candles. A small velvet cloth lies nearby. Perceptive PCs notice the top of the skull is detachable. If it is removed, heatless flames burst forth from the interior and provide light equivalent to that of a torch.
  11. A wooden bin contains a small quantity of burnt or otherwise damaged laboratory equipment. All is worthless until repaired.
  12. A rack holds a half-dozen potion vials. Each has been scrupulously cleaned and bares a label: healing, flight or invisibility. Sadly, all are empty.
  13. A workbook lies on the desk. It details—in broad strokes—the beginnings of research into lichdom. The wizard has not got very far; to date he has only listed a lich’s various abilities and characteristics.
  14. A big sack stuffed in a corner holds a large quantity of damaged, scorched or dirty clothes. The stench of chemicals and strange reagents hangs over all.
  15. A small bucket of wet earth sits under the bench. The earth contains nothing of interest; rather it is kept here to extinguish any unwanted (or sudden) fires.
  16. This long, low wooden box has many compartments within; each compartment contains a commonly available spell component—bat guano, coloured sand and so on. There is enough here to replenish five spell component pouches.
  17. A cracked crystal ball stands on a bronze tripod. The tripod is obviously very old and the crystal ball falls apart if removed from the stand. If the ball breaks, it emits a small puff of smoke redolent with the smell of incense.
  18. A high-backed wooden chair stands in a corner. Its intricately carved back is highly polished and depicts the entwined heads of two noble dragons.
  19. A sheaf of parchments spilling from a leather folder depict the various types of summoning circles and lists the kinds of creatures they are designed to contain.
  20. Hidden in a concealed niche carved into the underside of the wizard’s workbench (DC 25 Perception spots) lurks a small transparent gem. Golden sparkles glimmer within and the thing radiates faint magic.

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20Front_#3_220This article appears in  20 Things #3 Wizard’s Tower, which is available now.

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