Monday, September 17, 2018

Mundane Magic Items

As you probably know if you've been following this blog, I've finally gotten back to playing Dungeons and Dragons. This has naturally gotten me to thinking about magic items. Now, D'n'D has a long (and ever-growing) list of magical items, but it also has a distinct emphasis on adventuring equipment and particularly combat. And honestly, that seems to be the case in a lot of fantasy worlds: it's easy to find a legendary magical sword, or even have one made, but nobody ever seems to be out there getting rich by making the sort of things that people can actually use. You know, in their daily life, when the only Orc they've ever met is the head cook at Mama's Diner, and spends half his time reminding the kobolds to wash the dishes.

So, with that imbalance in mind, I submit to you a list of Mundane Magic Items: minor items, generally useless for combat, but exactly the sort of things that an enterprising Enchanter could get filthy rich selling in bulk to the general public.
-A stone that heats water
-A pot or pan that cooks anything placed within it
-An enchanted broom that sweeps and dusts when a command word is spoken
-A Decanter of Endless Honey (useful for sweetening your water elementals)
-A small sundial brooch that reminds you of appointments
-A small cloth square that will clean *anything* (I would have killed for this after that last battle in the sewer)
-Ring or Amulet of Insect Repulsion
-Umbrella of Feather Fall (also keeps rain off)
-A vial of paint that glows in the dark
-Goblet of Drink Chilling
-Box of Food Preservation
-Wall-Mending Putty which changes its surface to match the texture and paint around it
-A plow that turns any stones it hits into rich, aerated soil
-A small glyph that can be attached to anything, and answers when you call out to it
-Bottomless Chamberpot (dumps your cess into an extra-dimensional void, so it never needs to be emptied or cleaned!)

What other helpful magical gizmos should a magic-rich world have available?


  1. Biological waste is too useful to dump into an extra-dimensional void and leave there. Either there needs to be a way to harvest materials from the void or the bottomless chamberpot needs to teleport its contents to a designated location (or two if you want to separate liquid and solid waste).

    Urine was historically used as a mordant for dyes. Shit can composted for fertilizer and is a potential source of saltpeter. Note that dog shit was used in tanning leather. I have no idea if human shit would also work, but if so, that's another reason to not just throw it away.

    Other mundane magic items: magic lamp that lights up with a command word.
    Dirt repellent clothing.
    The communication mirrors from the Harry Potter novels. If these are common, you might need something along the lines of an old fashioned switchboard to ensure connections.
    I once invented a magical version of a Bunsen burner for use in alchemists' and wizards' labs. It was something to provide controlled heat without being a fire hazard.

    Have you read any of the Lord Darcy stories by Randall Garrett? One of them featured your food preservation box under the name "preservator."

    1. Actually, the plot twist on the chamber pots was going to be that... it isn't a void. And now we're being invaded by another world because our magic items have been raining excrement on them for the last fifty years.

      I like your ideas, too. I'd played with the no-fire Bunsen burner idea myself at one point, but didn't think to include it here.

      And yes! I love the Lord Darcy stories. And my father was delighted to find that they were still available as well.

  2. GURPS has some interesting ones, for example a mixing spoon that imparts a pleasant flavor to any food, or clothing that keeps the wearer at a comfortable temperature no matter the weather. Basically, many of the spells listed in GURPS magic (and the Grimoire in Third Edition) also include items to produce the same effect. Some of those items could be really useful to non-adventurers.

    Then there's the Anymug which, to my surprise, may be an actual D&D item and not just made up for the linked webcomic.

    1. That was about where I thought that would go, but funny.

      And yeah, GURPS has always been a lot better about this sort of thing than D'n'D generally is.


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