One of the things I loved to do in our campaigns was give out magical items which were interesting but mostly useless. We’ve been trained by movies that if you find some seemingly unimportant bauble, then the story will later create a situation where it will be the key to solving a problem in an unexpected way.
My favorite was a rope I gave them that untied itself the moment you let go of the knot. It was pointless, but enough of a novelty that they hung onto it. Another was a chalice that would purify any water you put into it. It was sort of a magical water filter which could turn a glass of swamp sludge into mineral water in about five minutes. Another was a magic staff which had only one property: It could be placed tip-down on the floor and it would keep itself balanced.
Once in a while they would haul out one of these magical booby prizes and actually put the thing to some unexpected use. I always loved when they did that.
– Shamus, Monday Oct 16, 2006
Two delights awaited me in Dad’s excerpt for this week. The first being that I spoke about that exact phenomenon pages and pages back, about giving players useless prizes. I’m sure it’s by no means a rare DM tactic, but to find we used the same one so specifically without ever discussing it is just a kind reminder of our commonalities. We didn’t always agree on things, and I often find myself stopping when I’m doing something related to him and wondering what he’d think of it. It’s nice to find approval even through proxy.
The second delight is his use of the word boob.
This Scene Breaks a Character
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Mass Effect Retrospective
A novel-sized analysis of the Mass Effect series that explains where it all went wrong. Spoiler: It was long before the ending.
Revisiting a Dead Engine
I wanted to take the file format of a late 90s shooter and read it in modern-day Unity. This is the result.
Even allegedly smart people can make life-changing blunders that seem very, very obvious in retrospect.
Project Button Masher
I teach myself music composition by imitating the style of various videogame soundtracks. How did it turn out? Listen for yourself.