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.
WAY back in 2005, I wrote about a D&D campaign I was running. The campaign is still there, in the bottom-most strata of the archives.
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