Blackstone & Junk Items


After a year of recording, and about twenty wines later, I've finally found one wine that I can recommend for a drink.  Blackstone, in its first swallow, kicks like a soccer player aiming to score.  It's not the flavor of the wine that makes it pass, but the after taste.  This wine has a very strong taste to it and at first you think that it's just another terrible drink, but that's when the after taste kicks in.  A sweet, pleasant kiss on the lips for you to remember it for next time you dive in for another sip.  Of course, that sip is murderous, but at least you'll have another sweet exit afterwards to trick you into taking that next drink.  So.. you win?

In the end, I can absolutely recommend this wine because of its aftertaste.  Not many inexpensive wines can really give even that where most are not sealed properly, are not distributed properly, or simply were never produced in a way that provides the results that the superior wines are able to offer.  Many drinks of this nature can not give a full-bodied taste, or delicious flavor needed for recommendation.  Blackstone manages to bypass that with a very lovely aftertaste that sticks with you even after the original sting of flavor has lifted.  If you can punch through that first swallow your rewarded until your next swallow.

Junk Items

You've seen it in Fallout 3, the Elder Scrolls series, and so many other games.  You find the option to pick up an item that makes you instantly question why you would ever need it until you get to a vender and realize that all these tiny items that should just be thrown away sell.  They're not worth much, but they're sold and so for the sake of getting money you, the player, go out of your way to pocket every single bit of junk that you happen across.  What would you say if I told you that you might not need to sell those items?  What would you say if I told you that by collecting junk you can develop a weapon that's actually probably better than anything found in the shops?

Aside from reference I'm not referring to these games.  I'm actually talking about where junk items started at.  Back before video games a person would need to use their wits, common sense, and skill with a few well rolled dice to carry out their feats.  I can clearly say that Dungeons and Dragons were the first set of games where a person can go through a dungeon, storm a castle, raid a bandit camp, and walk out with absolute trash in his backpack.  At least it seems like trash at first.  Let's start by taking the time to show what a junk item is.  I'd hate for confusion to exist on this.  A junk item is when your GM has decided to allow you to find an item that isn't a weapon, or armor, and leaves you wondering why he even had you pick it up at all.  Usually when a GM has you pick up a junk item it's because he's planning for you to simply cash it out.  It's a very good way for a Game Master to get gold into a party's pocket without having to only reward you with gold.  It makes the game just a bit more realistic.

When you pick up a junk item the GM is going to tell you what it is and then immediately follow with how much it's worth.  Why does he do that?  The Game Master isn't expecting you to write the item, but specifically how much it's worth because by the time you've gotten back to town you're hitting the pawn shop to sell it off.  What about if you don't sell it off?  Every item in a game's written into that game, it has a reason to exist, a purpose.  It functions as a part of a whole to allow the game to make sense.  Allow me to give you an example.

Lusaran had just killed an evil old woman, her purpose in the story had been the summoner of an ancient and evil headless god that my party destroyed.  She had everything needed to make that summoning spell.  She had an Unholy Symbol, Angel's Tears, a Black Sapphire, Diamond Dust, and a Frost Rapier +2.  I'd gotten into the habit of writing down every single thing that the GM had said and given to me, for memory sake, and because most of it was crap half of the time, but I decided that I'd use these items.  ALL OF THEM.

When Lusaran arrived again at the town he had plans for this gear.  The first step was to find a priest from the dark temple and hire him to bless the forge's flames.  Lusaran then had the blacksmith re-temper the blade with the diamond dust, cool it in the angel's tears, and then with a quick visit to the enchanter's guild, and 6,000 gold later, had the black sapphire turned into a soul drinking augment to set at the pommel of the rapier.  He also had the unholy symbol twisted and used as the hand guard.  What all this came together to create is a terrifying weapon that could deal a great amount of damage through the many bonuses that it received.  That damage is its stock 1d6+strength for being a modifier, but then it gets an extra 5d6 vs all good creatures, 1d6 frost damage, 3d6 burst damage, and then an other 2d6 on top of all that, not to forget that any non-evil person wielding it suffers a full level loss and if they don't get blessed then the level loss is permanent.

Now it's obvious that with this weapon's construction every twirly moustached person in the world is going to want to acquire it.  Of course, as an adventurer, Lusaran simply doesn't have time to fight off people constantly trying to steal his sword.  So he had to figure out a way to make this evil weapon seem so unappealing that others wouldn't want to take it away from him.  There was nothing he could about the weapon itself, it was evil in every since of the word, but he could still make it unappealing if he gave it a silly name.  Lusaran chose to name this weapon "Warm Hugs", so that way anybody wanting to report to their dark overlords would have to present it with.

In closing, junk items may seem pointless at times, items to be cashed out at the earliest convenience, but with a bit of imagination anything can find a use.  That stone can be turned into an augment, that dust can be enchanted, those rocks could be used for something.  You just need to be creative and figure out what you want them to be used for so that when the time comes you can build your own epic items.  Happy Hunting Adventurers.

Build Your Own Epic Items!