Normally, the needs of the story can dictate what treasure and magical items a creature possesses, but if a quick random roll is necessary, do the following.
Each creature has a ‘Loot Factor’, which is a rating of how much treasure the creature is likely to be carrying. For creatures that form groups, increase the Loot Factor by at least one, for groups of up to 20 creatures; by two for larger groups of up to a hundred creatures; and by 3 for groups of over a hundred. In this last case, the Loot will likely be held in a defended and guarded treasure room.
|Loot factor||Treasure found|
|0.||Not a hoarder. No treasure whatsoever.|
|1.||Chance hoarder. A couple of coppers, loose change (1D6 CP). Very remote (5%) chance of a minor magical item, which is either used by accident (my lucky talisman) or which the creature is completely oblivious to.|
|2.||Hoards enough for a rainy day. About 5D20 SP, 1D10 GD. If the creature uses magic, there is a POW % chance of 1D4 minor magic items appropriate to the type.|
|3.||Hoards for a better future. Collects treasure for its worth and appreciates its value. 5D100 SP, 3D20 GD. If the creature uses magic, there is a POW X 2% chance of 1D4 appropriate minor magic items.|
|4.||Significant hoard. Hoards for hoarding’s sake. 10D100 SP, 1D100 GD. POW X 3% of 1D6 minor magic items and POW % chance of 1D4 major magic items, regardless of whether the creature uses magic.|
|5.||Treasure trove. The wealth of a minor lord. Examples: Grave goods of a dead noble worth about 1D6 thousand SP, with 1D6 minor magic items and POW X 3% chance of 1D6 major magic items.|
|6.||The wealth of kings or a dragon’s hoard, with a size almost beyond comprehension. 1D4 Million SP, 2D10 minor magical items, 1D8 major magic items and one Relic or Artifact.|
Magic items will usually involve magic of the type used by the creature. In cases where the creature does not use magic but has the item in its hoard due to its value and beauty, roll on the following table.
|Roll 1D6||Type of magic in item|
Minor magic items: 1 spell of 1D4+1 magnitude.
Major magic items: 1D3+1 Spells of 1D6+2 magnitude.
Artefacts/Relics: Artefacts and Relics are the stuff of legend, mighty magic items created by the gods (Relic) or the greatest magicians of the Age (Artifact). They are always one-of-a-kind and have powers beyond normal magic spells.
Where do Magic Items Come From?
Most magic items in OpenQuest come from the player characters themselves. As they increase in competence through play, they can learn the various spells that allow them to create magic items (see the list below) and, in quiet moments between adventures, create new items. Non-player characters behave similarly, and so often provide further sources of items for the marauding player characters.
Other items that are placed by the Referee in the setting are quite rare in comparison. These are often quite powerful and have a background and history that is unique and important to the setting. These items are the Excalibur, Spear of Destiny and Holy Grail of your setting.
Creating Magic Items
The characters or non-player character magicians will have created most magic items found in play in a game of OpenQuest.
Although the spells that the characters use to create magic items are detailed in their respective spell lists, it is worth going through them again briefly to remind yourself what spell does.
Call Spirit. Using this spell, it is possible to bind a spirit into an item. This is the spell that you use to bind your dead Uncle Argebor into his skull, so he can continue dishing out wise advice to his descendants long after his death.
Create Charms. The basic spell for creating Personal Magic items, use this spell to create rune-inscribed swords, paper talismans that protect against spirits, and dragon skin armour that is resistant to fire (via a Resist Fire spell).
Create Magic Point Store. If you want to create a magic item that has magic points ready stored, so the user doesn’t have to use up their own, this is the spell to use.
Note: Remember, characters must spend growth points to use any of the above spells to create permanent and reusable magic items.
Create Potions. This is a quick way of making non-reusable spell stores where you’ve already spent the magic points, for you or your allies to gulp down for instant effect during combat. Think Healing + Create Potions, and you have the classic healing potion.
Sorcerers quite frequently use their Sorcerer’s Stone in addition to the spells outlined here, to create the reservoir of magic points needed to fuel manipulated Sorcery spells.
Make Potion. Either as a one spell container, or a blend of compatible spells.
Make Scroll. This spell is a quick way for sorcerers to transmit knowledge to each other and to create quick one-shot spells for their followers that, once cast, fire off at the full power that the sorcerer put in beforehand.
Make Spell Matrix. This is the basic method of inserting a Sorcery spell in an item.
Divine Magic users are usually less interested in creating magic items and more interested in spreading the word of their deity. However, there are exceptions.
Create Blessed Item. This spell is the only way Divine Magic users can create magic items. It is used to create a magical item for the use of a particularly important champion of the faith, or a king, who can carry the item as a living example of the power of the deity.
Other types of Divine Magic items, such as Relics and the arms and armour of the Holy Warrior, come directly from the deity themselves. Arms and Armour of a Holy Warrior can survive the death of their original owner, especially if they were powerful, but tend to be passed on within the religion or buried with the owner. Their effects do not work for someone who is not a member of the religion.
These are the bones, hair, preserved clothes, or some other very personal item, that belonged to a Holy Person associated with a religion (minimum rank Initiate).
- Each ‘part’ (an item of clothing, body part, etc.) stores one of the spells that the Holy Person knew in life at the magnitude they knew it.
- Relics come into being at the time of death of the Holy Person.
- The wielder of the relic can cast the spell which is reusable after being reconsecrated (see above).
- The wielder must be a member of the same religion that the Holy Person was a member of and must be in good standing with the deity.
- A Relic is unbreakable by normal non-magical means since the religion’s divine power protects them.
Finding out what a Magic Item Does
There is no catch-all “Detect Magical Properties” spell or “Know Magic Item” skill in OpenQuest. This is quite deliberate, keeping with the general policy that such items are not the equivalent of magical shotguns. Some options are:
Consult a Sage or other magical expert. This option will cost the characters lots of money. Take a baseline of one hundred silvers per point of spell magnitude OR some perilous quest that the character must do in return. Such experts are rare, because most high ranking magicians have little time for magical research for others, and would be more interested in their schemes. This really should be the last option, since it is the least mega gaming fun. In my campaign, I do not allow this.
Detect Magic spells. This merely tells you the item is magical. A critical casting may tell the caster how powerful the item is.
Trial and error. The character tries to find out the item’s use by experiment. Allow creative and imaginative plans to reveal partially what the item does.
Researching the myths and legends around the item. This is the most certain way of finding out what a magic item does. Of course, such myths may be obscure themselves, requiring a dangerous Quest to a long-hidden repository of knowledge to find.
Ad Hoc Magical Powers
Not all magic items have to have powers that directly mimic spells from the spell lists. Having magic items do this is an in-game contrivance and reflects the fact that most magic items are created by magicians who effectively store their magic spells in the items.
Loot Items Format
Loot item write-ups have the following format. This is to give a concise description of the item and some background information which prevents the item from being bland and colourless.
Background: Details of who and why it was created and significant owners and events in its history.
Description: This is a physical description of the item.
Creation: How the item was created. Usually, this section details the spells that were used and any special rituals that the creators used.
Magic Powers: This section lists the relevant spells stored in the item. It is also noted here if any spirits are bound into the item, or if the item acts as a magic point store.
Finally, any special magic powers unique to the item are recorded here.
Affiliations: This section lists the organisations which are friendly to the item, which will try especially hard to obtain the item. This ranges from paying extra silver to get hold of it to (if so inclined), resorting to violence or underhand methods. Enemies who, for old reasons, hate the item and will either go out of their way to avoid the user or to try to destroy the item.
Price: If listed, this is the price that a collector would pay for the item. As a rough guide, the price of an item is 100 SP per magnitude of spell stored in it. However, very rarely will a magic item be available on the open market and in most fantasy worlds there is no such thing as ‘Ye Olde Magic Shop’.