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Mark
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Ontario
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It's like armour. But awesomer.
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So, apologies to those of you who didn't play Advanced Dungeons & Dragons (1st Edition), but I have been interested in this idea for a while.

One of my favourite things to do as a kid was to fill in the blanks of the Artifacts & Relics pages of the Dungeon Masters Guide (AD&D 1e), in some cases, over and over again - changing the powers of the items to my hearts content, writing in pencil, erasing the pencil, rinse, repeat. To the point where some of the parts of the pages are dangerously thin.

I thought it would be fun to ask these questions:

1. Did you write in these pages of your DMG?

2. What was your favourite artifact / relic, and what powers did you give it?

3. If you did this many years ago, what powers would you give that same item today, with the benefit of your vast years of experience?

Post yours below!
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1. RPG Item: The Dancing Hut of Baba Yaga [Average Rating:5.91 Overall Rank:6548]
Mark
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10-year-old Mark:

Minor Benign:

G: Color spray - 3 times/day
PP: Ventriloquism upon command - 3 times/day
A: Adds 1 point to the possessor's major attribute
N: Detect invisibility when held and ordered

Major Benign

BB: Minor globe of invulnerability - 1 time/day
W: Heal - 1 time/day

Minor Malevolent

B - Blindness for 1-4 rounds when first used against an enemy

Major Malevolent

K: Lose one point of Constitution, permanently

Prime Power

X: Summon one of each type of elemental, 16 hit dice each, no need for control - 1 time/week

Side Effects

B: Charisma of possessor reduced to 3 as long as the item is owned

2013 Mark:

Minor Benign

I: Create food and water - 1 time/day
RR: Water walking ability
BB: Pass without trace - 1 time/day
II: Sanctuary when held or worn - 1 time/day

Major Benign

VV: Wind walk - 1 time/day
XX: Word of recall - 1 time/day

Minor Malevolent

W: Yearning for the item forces possessor to never be away from it for more than 1 day, if at all possible

Major Malevolent

G: Item is itself a living, sentient being forced to serve; but each usage of a primary power gives a 1%-3% cumulative possibility that the spell will be broken and the being will: (1) change the possessor into a like artifact/relic, (2) geas/quest the possessor to perform a mission of its choosing, (3) kill the possessor, or (4) mentally enslave the possessor for a period of 2-8 weeks

Prime Power

N: Plane shift - 1 time/day

Side Effects

E: Greed and covetousness reaction in all intelligent creatures viewing the item; save vs. magic or attack possessor and steal the item - associates are only 25% likely to have to check; henchmen check loyalty first, failure requires a saving throw as above
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2. RPG Item: Manual of the Planes [Average Rating:6.87 Overall Rank:764]
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So of course, I too would have gone straight for Baba Yaga's Hut. What's not to like about a bachelor pad, chick magnet mode of transport, and a WMD rolled into one? But BYH has been taken, so the next one that came to mind was the Codex of the Infinite Planes (probably now available in pdf form from rpgnow*). 99 pages of hell and damnation, with a 1% cumulative chance per page read that you will meet a terrible fate (actually pretty good odds in 1st edition campaigns, where the starting chance was in the region of 80% anyway), mixed in with instructions for jumping from plane to plane, getting involved in the politics of hell, and avoiding being spotted by the always lean and athirst Hounds of Tindalos. Basically a 22nd level Magic-User's Lonely Multiverse.

The 1982 Si liked artifacts and relics to be big and explosive, and wasn't willing to pay the price of using them. So powers will be on the cool/awesome side with little attempt to make them appropriate to the item in question. Malevolent effects will be ones that don't stop the possessor from using the item because that would be boring. The 2013 Si would like to see powers appropriate to the item thank you very much.

So, the Codex According to the 12 year old Essex boy:

Minor Benign
A: Adds 1 point to possessor's major attribute
J: Cure light wounds - 7 times/week
W: Know alignment when held and ordered - 1 time/day
UU: Web - 1 time/day

Major Benign
K: Dimension Door - 2 times/day
S: Fireball (9-12 dice) - 2 times/day
U: Giant Strength for 2 turns - 2 times/day
KK: Stone to flesh - 1 time/day

Minor Malevolent
A: Acne of possessor's face
H: Possessor loses interest in sex
(would have been I if we had known what "satyriasis" meant)

Major Malevolent
R: Reverse alignment permanently
CC: User required to slay a certain type of creature to activate item, and slaying another set type will de-activate item

Prime Powers
G: Death spell power of 110%-200% effectiveness with respect to number of levels affected - 1 time/day
T: Resurrection - 7 times/week

Side Effects
E: Greed and covetousness reaction in all intelligent creatures
K: User has a poison touch

And the updated and expanded edition for 2013 (with new illustrations by the damned Arch-Mage Tzunk):

Minor Benign
H: Comprehend Languages when held
FF: Possessor need neither eat nor drink for up to 1 week
LL: Speal with dead - 1 time/day
WW: Write - 1 time/day

Major Benign
Y: Hold monster - 1 time/day
JJ: Speak with monster - 2 times/day
PP: True seeing - 1 time/day
XX: Word of recall - 1 time/day

Minor Malevolent
C: Body odour noticeable at 10' distance
W: Yearning for item forces possessor to never be away from it for more than 1 day if possible

Major Malevolent
C: Geas/quest placed upon possessor
FF: User withers and ages 3-30 years each time the primary power is used, eventually turning the possessor into a deathless withered zombie guardian of the item

Prime Powers
D: Cacodeman-like power summons a demon lord, arch-devil, or nycadaemon - 1 time/month
Y: Summon djinn or efreet lord for one day of service - 1 time/week

Side Effects
E: Greed and covetousness - that's one my former self and I agree on
H: User becomes ethereal whenever major or primary power is activated, with chance of similar when under stress

Weirdly, I specifically remember writing these in my DMG, but looking at the book now I can't see any evidence that I ever did. Maybe I wrote in someone else's book? Or maybe the book I have now is not the one I thought it was? It still has my 1982 address written in best handwriting on the inside cover.

* other distributors of electronic format artifacts and relics are available.
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