Friday, August 14, 2009

Creative Consumables

This has been percolating a while in my brain, is the OSR about sharing creative material that will always need to be renewed? Are we just replacing a corporate producer with each other?

What I mean is, I think this list of 100 ways to disarm megadungeon traps is fabulous, and this list of interesting treasure items I've used in play myself I like it so much. But what happens after I've run through all those items, or at least the ones I find workable?

Obviously I value this stuff. I just wonder if there are things I can learn from these lists, some tool I can make from each so that they aren't just non-renewable resources.

The only things that spring to mind at the moment, as far as principles of gaming, is that flavor is important-- treasure items are more interesting than another pile of generic "gold pieces" and you need a way to disarm a trap to allow for players to figure it out, to make it more than a "roll to disarm" situation. But that still leaves me needing to generate the hundreds of unique, interesting items on each list. So I suppose, is something like a Roll all the Dice chart called for to try to help produce these?

Or is there something more subtle, harder to pinpoint that I can learn by looking at the specific items on these lists? I think the answer to the last is, yes. I think if I can muster the time and mental cycles, I would like to analyze the items on those lists and try to learn what qualifies as an interesting treasure item, and what makes for a good trap trigger. So, even if in the end I have to compile a list of 100 of my own treasures I'll better be able to.


  1. I've thought about this too, Telecanter. I have a vague notion of a very large random item generator, but I haven't done any work on it. Something with a dozen d100 columns designating material, color, design, history, theme, etc... What I've been doing is to just let items come to mind during the day as I go about my business, and then giving them two or three twists to make them unusual. That wheelbarrow full of buttons on my treasure item list came from the fact that that day, I dumped out the wheelbarrow by my shop, it was full rainwater. I was also missing a button on my shirt. wheelbarrow full of buttons. It had to have treasure value, so I made the buttons gold, ivory, silver,etc...

    The bucket of piss and coins is another story.

  2. Sorry for the late response, been house sitting for friends.

    I too have been thinking of an item generator. My first stab at it, specifically for magic items, was too abstract. I think an item generator needs some crunch, some detail. And, while I've been trying to stick with the simplicity and uniformity of the Roll All the Dice method, it's hard to use it to get that charty crunch.

    Also, I can glean a generating strategy from your examples: associative combining. A DM struggling to invent fresh interesting treasure could walk around picking pairs of random things and seeing what treasure could be made from them.