Thursday, June 18, 2009

Combining Categories to Generate

Okay, these little puppies thought up by Bulette, along with my own false fortune creature have got me thinking of items that aren't just one thing, but combine categories. What I mean is, the Gauntlets of Grasping are useful, so they're like a magic item, but they are potentially deadly, like a trap, and they are sentient, like a monster. The false fortune is a creature, but acts more like a cursed item. What if we push this and see what we can invent?

A) Hmm, magic items are treasure so how does this work? Maybe this would be something like a pouch that generates coinage. So emphasizing the value of treasure, it is a magic item which has magic that generates value.

B) The treasure trap, this is valuable but has a gotcha-- necklace of strangulation fits here I think.

C) The valuable creature, I think the goose that lays golden eggs fits here. Spiders that produce silk if you can capture them safely etc. Wait, no, these are more like magic items if they keep producing, hmm . . . It would need to be a creature valuable in and of itself.

D) The Gauntlets of Grasping are close. Wand of Wonder? I'm assuming it isn't as simple as a trap that uses magic (or this whole process would be pointless), no, a useful magic item that is also trap-like. Rings of invisibility, that keep you from becoming visible again. So mild curses, but the item must still be a boon. But, wait, shouldn't trap/hazard mean it can kill you? Hmm . . .

E) Wow. Again the gauntlets are close. This could be something like a bag of devouring, if you consider it a creature feeding, and the characters know what it is and use it to dispose of things. I suppose the false fortune could fall here too, if you consider a portable garbage disposal useful.

F) I think green slime fits nicely here. Envelopers and trappers too.

But my little matrix doesn't account for combinations of more than two, which is what got me thinking about this.

So how about:

G) treasure, useful magic item, trap/hazard
ex: a bag of coin production that will bury the user in suffocating coins if a key phrase isn't uttered.

H) treasure, trap/hazard, creature
ex: a foothold trap (think bear trap) made from the pale-rose ivory tusks of a creature that wants to digest you. Harvest the tusks and you're rich.

I) treasure, useful magic item, creature
ex: a snake that sheds silk each month. Or, a bird whose song polishes gems up to the next level in value.

J) useful magic item, trap/hazard, creature
ex: iron snake necklace which is alive but dormant until put around something. Then it awakes and will constrict, crushing anything it's put around (cutting through bars, smashing open small chests), but is bad news if you put it around your neck.

And now that my juices are flowing, lets try to invent for the first six:

A) treasure, useful magic item
ex: St. Hubert's Travelling Font: a three-legged, mithril bowl that produces holy water as fast as you can fill containers.

B) treasure, trap/hazard
ex: A sapphire that blazes up in a fiery flash the first time it's handled.

C) treasure, creature
ex: a rare dancing lizard, it "dances" to music, and displays its scintillating colors.

D) useful magic item, trap
ex: a portable pit-trap, opens under someone treading on it, but, knowing this, characters might use it as an awkward bag of holding.

Whew, that was fun! I don't think I explored the hazard part of the trap/hazard duo. Maybe I should have made it separate. My mind tingles with ideas of chutes and pools. Well, I leave that to another time. Do you have special ways to generate?

I think anything that comes at the topic "from a slant" would help. The slant can be arbitrary, like items dealing with liquids, or creatures that climb. Maybe more on these later.

If you try combining categories to generate, let me know how it goes!


  1. I'm glad you found the Gauntlets of Grasping somewhat inspiring! Honestly, I didn't consciously set out to devise an item that had characteristics of more than one category of item as you've described here. I think it was very clever to deconstruct it (and your False Fortune) as you've done and thus potentially devise a formula that will aid in the creation of similar types of things.

  2. You've created a monster, haha. This is why I started my blog, the cool ideas floating around that I wanted to interact with, bounce off of, steal.

    So thanks for the inspiration. The gauntlets are really a nice Swords & Sorcery type item; I can see Cudgel the clever figuring out some way to make use of them.