Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The Idea Mill: Vend-o-Matic!

You shall not plush!
Sometimes in the course of running a game, we want something else to add to it just for fun. Not for mechanical benefit but something just to make players interact with things instead of killing them. In most books and equipment guide there are tables and tables of things with little or no mechanical components that theoretically can be used for some purpose or another. Some things are just there to add flavor or color. This week I want to propose something like that. Something made entirely for the purpose of giving players something to roleplay with.

Let's say, for sake of hypotheticals, that instead of killing things to take their stuff, there were a way to pay something to take it's stuff. In normal circumstances that'd just be a shop. What if for instance you wanted something a touch more...  random? Normally you wouldn't find a shop in dungeons or wastelands and what you see is what you get. Instead, why not throw in something a touch more modern just for the sake of fun (or WTF factor)? Like a vending machine? Let's see if I can conjure up something, shall we? Gentlemen! I give to you... The Vend-o-Matic!

Capitalism ho!

Throughout the multiverse, merchants of all shapes and sizes have researched any multitude of ways of purveying their wares for fun and profit. (Mostly profit.) Through numerous extradimentional magics they have created a means by which they can offload items to unsuspecting peoples of seemingly random corners of space/time: The Vend-o-Matic. Most of this wondrous device remains in the space between planes with only a simple coin slot and item dispenser appearing anywhere in alternate realities, usually sticking out of an otherwise normal rock wall. The Vend-o-Matic appears with 2d6 charges on it and disappears once those charges have been expended. Each charge dispenses a random item from the following list for the cost of a single silver coin of any denomination.

Presentation: Protruding from the stone before you, you see a small slot about the width of a coin. Next to this slot there is a sign stating "Insert coin and get a prize! 1 silver". Below this is another panel from which it can be assumed your prize will appear.


1- Extra-dimensional Puzzle-box - A 6-inch wooden cube decorated with gold filigree.It appears to be some  sort of puzzle with movable components. Once solved, the box contains either a small wooden figurine of a Chiton or 120ft. of copper chain.

2- Legendary Hero Trading Cards - 2 x 3 inch piece of cardstock illuminated with an image of a personage of note in the local realm.
3- Model Airship in a Bottle - A small glass bottle containing what looks to be a model of a sailing ship with an air bladder where the sail should be. Occasionally, a tiny crew can be seen tending the rigging.
4- Deck of Few Things - A deck of playing cards featuring ever-changing images of innumerable things. Once a card is drawn it possesses the last image seen from the deck. This happens no matter how many cards are drawn.
5- +1 Magic Ring of Decoding - A ring composed of multiple bands inscribed with letter and numbers.
6- Stuffed Monster Plushie - A stuffed doll resembling a random wandering monster. Roll a d6: 1) Tarrasque, 2) Teddy OwlBear, 3) Velveteen Dragon, 4) Gelatinous Cube (with Kung Fu Grip!), 5) Squeezably Soft Lich, 6) Bathtime Fun Kraken
7- 'Naval Rations' - A box depicting a young sailor and containing peanuts and caramel covered popped corn. Also contains a piece of an Extra Dimentional Puzzle Box. Collect the whole set!
8- 7 Leak Boots - A rustic pair of leather boots that enable the wearer walk into great puddles of water. The boots then collect the water like a sieve, ensuring that the wearer's feet avoid staying dry.
9- Animal Pelt Cubes - A pair of cubes made from animal pelts and connected via a string. Each side has a number of dots numbering from 1 to 6.
10- Miniature Dancing Golem - A tiny golem that comes to life and dances for you when it hears the command words "Get Down!". Roll a d6: 1) Steel Kabuki Dancer, 2) Bamboo Tiki-man, 3) Wooden Hula Dancer, 4) Smooth Stone golem (does Irish Jig), 5) Clockwork golem (does the Waltz), 6) Flesh golem (gets funky)
11- 10 inch Pole - Genuine 1/12th scale replica of the 10 foot pole used to breach the Tomb of Horrors.
12- Orb of Infinite Scrying - A black sphere with an infinity symbol circumscribed in a white spot. upon being asked a question this orb will provide answers via a scrying glass on the underside.
13- Fizzing Potion of Refreshment - Upon consuming the contents of this potion bottle, the user will instantly feel refreshed, or at least no longer thirsty.
14- Belt of Normal Strength - This enchanted belt multiplies the wearer's strength by a factor of 1!
15- Chia Tendriculos - A small ceramic model of a plant-like creature. Once watered, grows decorative non-flowering plantlife with care and proper counciling.
16- A Witch's Flying Dustpan - The perfect compliment to a Witch's Flying Broom.
17- Stuffed Adventurer Plushie - A stuffed doll resembling a random wandering adventurer. Roll a d6: 1) Paladin with removable 'stick up his arse', 2) Drow Ranger, now with Action Angst, 3) Flannel Wizard 4) Bard with Illegitimate Offspring, 5) Stuffed Fighter, 6) Thief, comes complete with everyone else's stuff!
18- Runcible Spoon - Goes snicker-snack, even in milk.
19- Crossbow of the Crimson Rider - A child sized replica of a real crossbow. On the underside is a warning: Caution! Aim away from face. May cause blindness.
20- N'rrbl - (see below)

My Pet Monster

The N'rrbl was a failed experiment in creating silicon based life. A stroke of marketing genius found a use for it as a pet of sorts. It appears as a gray rubbery orb and bonds with a host by absorbing it's body heat for 1 hour. Once bonded, it comes alive and craves the attention and warmth of the one it bonded with. It sprouts limbs that are little more than flabby protrusions from it's rubbery hide. It can occasionally be heard to coo, though no known orifice has been located on one. It requires neither food nor water, and only a few of them have ever reproduced, splitting asexually. This is presumed to be caused by an over abundance of affection, the creature's main source of sustenance

That Was Fun!

I hope you enjoyed this little writing exercise. Any RPG can benefit from random stuff from a table. The things here have little to no actual mechanical benefit, but are meant as something for roleplayers to bounce off of. If anyone out there actually uses this idea in their game, please do report in. I'd love to see what people do with it.

Stay Classy!

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