October is usually the month for horror-related articles, but Scot from «Of Dice and Dragons» has decided to shock us selecting a quite unexpected «Bazaar of the Bizarre» as topic for this month’s RPG Blog Carnival. As he describes it, this is any place where you can find everything you need, even if you don’t know you need it! Well, what if I bring some pumpkin spice to this season in the form of some horror cult TV show as we use it as inspiration for some D&D related stuff?
When I was a kid, I really enjoyed horror thrillers. I remember staying late at night to watch «Alfred Hitchcock presents» and «Friday the 13th: The Series». This last one is more fantasy horror than actual thriller, and I must admit that re-watching it nowadays supercharges me with nostalgia, even if it makes me wonder how the hell I enjoyed it in the fist place. The series follows Micki and Ryan, owners of an antiques store, and their friend, Jack Marshak, as they try to recover cursed antiques to put them away and into safety in the store’s vault. The following is the prologue that opened the first episode of the third season:
Lewis Vendredi made a deal with the devil to sell cursed antiques. But he broke the pact, and it cost him his soul. Now, his niece Micki, and her cousin Ryan have inherited the store… and with it, the curse. Now they must get everything back, and the real terror begins.
So we have an antique dealer named Lewis Vendredi (Vendredi means Friday in French) who had made a deal with the Devil to sell cursed antiques out of his shop in exchange for wealth, magic powers, and immortality. In the show’s first episode, he rebels against the Devil and breaks the deal, which of course causes the Devil to kill Vendredi and claim his soul. Call it a cliché, but I think it’s a perfect start for a campaign dedicated to episodic scavenger hunting. Not for nothing this show has been mentioned as an influence for my all-time favorites «Buffy, the Vampire Slayer» and «The X-Files».
The campaign can follow our heroes as they hunt down the cursed antiques, which are usually in the possession of people who have discovered their magic powers and are unwilling to give them up. As far as they know, the cursed antiques are impervious to damage, and they require specific components in order to destroy them for good. Most of the adventures will deal with people using the cursed objects’ magic for personal gain or for revenge. Some of these are sentient and intelligent, and others do not actually speak but demonstrate intelligence and awareness in other ways or confer intelligence on other inanimate things, or even summon intelligent, malevolent entities. Still others function without intelligence, mechanically dispensing a certain benefit in response to human sacrifice. Let’s get to know some examples of these.
The Curse of Vendredi
All these items are rare wondrous items, and the DCs of any effects they produce are set using the proficiency bonus and Charisma modifier of the user. They all need to be attuned, for which its user needs to mean to do harm with it. After dealing damage to anyone with the purpose of attuning, the user gains a +1 bonus to their proficiency when using it, and if they actually kill someone, this bonus becomes +3. Once the user is attuned to it, the item is considered cursed and a geas effect is imposed on the user by which he needs to keep attuned to the item everyday. If the user was already attuned to the maximum items allowed, they need to unattune another magic item.
A child’s porcelain doll went missing one night, as did a pair of kitchen shears and the town magistrate.
While holding it, you can cast the telekinesis spell from it.
In «The Inheritance», the very first episode of the series, the cursed antique is a doll that kills people on behalf of its owner. A little girl becomes easily corrupted by it as she wishes harm to her stepmother.
Farmhands and priests mutter curses at the ragged thing; it unnerves more than just the crows.
When the scarecrow is placed on a location by an attuned user, any previous hallow spell effects become atuomatically dispelled and a new hallow effect takes place, which prevents celestials, elementals and feys from entering the area or affect creatures within. Additionally, non-evil creatures are frightened while in the area and have vulnerability to necrotic damage.
Fears are to be understood. Doubts are to be pitied. Both are to be absolved.
While attuned and wearing the glove, you can cast the lesser restoration spell and make it gain one charge to which the removed disease or condition will be imbued to. As long as the glove has one charge, you can’t use this power again. As a melee attack, you can expend this charge to have the imbued disease or condition to affect the target of such attack with no saving throw. This disease or condition can’t be ended unless a remove curse spell is successfully cast first on the subject.
«The best kind of treasure is the kind that leads to more treasure!»
While attuned and holding this brass lantern, you can cast the eldritch blast spell and make it gain one charge. As long as the lantern has one charge, you can’t use this power again, but you can expend this charge to cast a special version of the locate object spell to sense the direction of valuable objects of at least 1,000gp within 5 km of you.
All these are just a few of the items your heroes can heard about. Trying to recover them and get them to safety in the vault of the «Curious Goods» store is up to them, but can bring tons of adventures.
Have you ever watched «Friday the 13th the Series»? Do you want to see any of those cursed items turned into D&D magic items?