View Full Version : Useless Magic Items

06-13-2010, 06:39 PM
I have a player who likes to pick up pretty much everything, so I thought I'd try to give a little entertainment by peppering some useless magic items around for the party to find. Mostly it's just silliness, but I'm also curious to see what the players do with the items.

We're playing 4th Edition, but I don't think it really matters much in the grand scheme of things, since I'm not really looking for stat pluses (or minuses).

Anybody run into anything like this or have any suggestions? I can share my favorites of the items I've thought of so far:

- A coin that flips itself over if it lands tails.
- A pair of boots that turn invisible when worn. The wearer's feet remain visible.
- A book that shows text only in a language the reader can't understand.

06-13-2010, 07:59 PM
Sounds like you need to wander around the basement of Warehouse 23: http://warehouse23.sjgames.com/basement/

A few other ideas:

- one of the fabled Orbs of the Squirrel Lords.

- The Manual of Origami Golems, and a sheaf of square paper.

- A mirrored box; anything placed in the box will be reversed left-to-right, but otherwise unharmed.

06-13-2010, 08:08 PM
I wrote a generator but another guy took my script and improved on it - most are simply silly, but some could work.


I ran a Warhammer game and put a magic pillow in a loot find. One of the characters carried it around in his pack and always used it and tried to use it to different effects. I never told him it was a Pillow of Sleeping, giving the sleeper a good night's rest no matter what ailments he had.

06-14-2010, 08:18 AM
There are also practical items that don't have a combat use.

Broom of Sweeping: It will keep the floor of the room it is left in tidy.

Mirror of Corrections: Neatens your hair and makeup (if you are wearing any), cleans your face and clothing when looked into.

Perennial Potpourri: A sachet of pleasant smelling stuff that will keep a closet or room smelling nice forever. It actively destroys unpleasant odor.

And not exactly in the useless category; the Staff of Unknown Power When activated the staff produces three beings. Appearance is up to the GM.
The Secretary -- Keeps perfect notes and appointments. Given a chance will banish disorder from your life.
The Researcher -- A tireless seeker of libraries and practical matters. Treat as a +10 any knowledge skill with access to an excellent library.
The Lawyer -- A slimy layabout that will tirelessly defend you in any court of law; sue your opponents and so forth. However, when active the Lawyer will drain your coffers of gold taking 10% of your wealth a month.

06-14-2010, 09:03 AM
in a similar respect to what I have seen:

Carpet of Dusting - by wiping your feet on this carpet, they are cleaned and free of gunk/dust/etc...

Tome of obsure knowledge - gives +10 to knowledge checks, but the result is something very odd/useless. I.e. a History check confirms the duke's great uncle used to eat chicken with his hands.

Bracers of wrist constraining - gives a bonus to athletics checks for bowling and golfing.

Ring of matrimony - (cursed) a ball and chain are shackled around your ankle until you or your wife die.

The head band of Chuck Norris - You grow a pretty awesome beard

Sleeping gloves - when worn through an extended rest, your hands become soft like a baby's bottom

Girdle of Waist retention - keeps your gut from sticking out very far, but gives a penalty to endurance checks.

Hippy Sandals - you gain an addiction to smoking the weeds of the land and suffer a penalty when attacking plants and beasts.

06-14-2010, 09:45 AM
In one of my campaigns, the party ran across a Halfling village that had been raided by pirates and found a few items that the village shaman owned.

A bowl that heated the contents, if food, to a comfortable temperature.
A chair that made the occupant comfortable when sitting in it.
A spoon that cleaned itself after it had been used.

As mundane as those items were, the party kept them through to the end of the campaign.

06-14-2010, 06:51 PM
Wand of Bearding: when used on someone, they would wake the next morning to find that they now had a full beard that would make any dwarf proud. If they had a beard, they awoke to find that they were clean shaven.

06-15-2010, 12:48 AM
a + 3 to hit ironwood longsword. All damage done by this sword is NON LETHAL and will knock out an opponent should his HP's reach zero. A natural "20" means you have disarmed your foe.

Save vs poison or be " dosed" as if you were on some super strength ecstasy.

A very fashionable bit of plate mail that adds + 1 to your backside.

Cursed Item. Makes your INT and WIS drop to a crappy 3 the first time you wear it. After that, you sing and dance stupidly and call everyone " George". Only way to " dispel" the curse is if someone wants to WILLINGLY wear it for themselves.

mask your "shire tobacco" last 20% longer then normal and 1d4 exta "puffs" ( smoke out bro!)

SORE STONE - This blacken pebble will irritate anyone who touches it ( 1 to 2 HP's of damage) within 1 to 12 hours after touching it ( ouch).

Allows you to surrender to any creature in the hopes they will not kill you( they of course must sv vs magic). If you try to fight or don't comply to your opponents wishes, the spell instantly wears off and he/she/it will start attacking you again.

This barf-green candle that when lit, gives of an oily smoke that attracts all manners of bugs and pests.

This specially made " bag of holding " for dead PC's. Preserves them from decomposing and helps cover up the stink as well( pee u!).

A flesh- sewed mask that makes you look like a extremely ugly person ( i.e like your half orc brother in-law)

A memoir of sorts written by an ex adventure imprisoned for 25 years after he and his fellow adventures were raiding a monster-filled labyrinth in search for loot. Many subjects regarding this poor fellows life range from what it's like being buggerd by orcs on a daily basis to mouth-watering recipes for cooking rats,cockroaches and other nasty edibles. A must read for anyone interesting in the pitfalls of dungeon delving that are seldom talked about.

06-15-2010, 02:59 AM
These. Are. AWESOME! I'm totally stealing them!

Antialchemist: A gold-to-lead converter.
Puzzle Crossbow +4: A puzzlebox that, once solved, turns into a +4 crossbow. If it isn't used for a turn or is fired, it reverts to its puzzlebox form (new puzzle) and must be re-solved in order to use it as a crossbow again.
Gluttonous/Overprotective Purse: Eats any money given to it. Bites anyone who tries to retrieve the contents.

06-17-2010, 09:23 PM
I've always given gnomes, goblins and such useless magic items.

Pouch of Food-something like Prunes or Sardines

Helpful Shoe Horn-will, in 10 minutes, move shoes on to you feet

Flask of endless sea water-pours 1 pint an hour

Walking stick-the stick will walk by itself

Jumping beans

06-28-2010, 02:33 AM
I actually just ran into a pretty decent something awful article, and though it was about Mutants it could probably make some pretty great magical items as well.

1. A pair of glasses that will allow to see the future approximately 95,000 years in.
2. Small stone which can be thrown through objects composed of wood.
3. A pair of magical boots which allow the user to jump incredible heights. However, doing so puts them into a slumber at the climax of the leap.
4. a staff that allows you to exhale a steady stream of moths.
5. A pair of gloves that doubles the size and density of feces upon touch.
6. A magical scroll which always reads the number of owlbears alive in the world. Theoretically.
7. A magical belt which allows the user to levitate over felines.

Reference (so that you all know I am but a messenger for greater minds:) http://www.somethingawful.com/d/news/lesser-known-mutants.php

06-28-2010, 09:46 AM
More of my non combat items.

Robe of Dryness: This normal looking robe is usually made from a thick and adsorbent material. It is of the kind normally worn after the bath, not the common garb of magicians. It has the property of immediately drying anyone that is wrapped in it, clothed or not. All excess moisture is drawn away from the body, and you are dry. It can be used once an hour.

Sensible Shoes: These shoes are made for walking. Sensible shoes appear as plain brogans of brown or black leather. They are without any ornamentation whatsoever. If magic is detected for, the shoes will show a faint dewomer. For the person wearing sensible shoes the longest of marches remains pleasant throughout. Even at the end of forced marches the wearer is refreshed and unfatigued. The wearer will not slip and fall, even the most treacherous trail can be safely walked, likewise they cannot be bogged down in even the deepest of mud. The wearer is healed of all bunions, corns, and any other of assorted foot problems. When they are removed, no odor escapes them. The wearer is often encouraged to stop and watch the scenery however.

Soup Stone: This two pound unremarkable stone would be left by the side of the road if not for the fact it does show magic for anyone that detects for it. The stone is very useful in terms of stretching the available food supply. It requires a large pot, a fire, and the stone, in addition to a pinch of food from each person that will share in the stew.

To work the magic the characters must bewail the fact that they have no food, and declare that they will make "stone soup" to fill their bellies. At this time the soup stone is placed in the pot full of water, and the fire set below it. Then one after the other each person that will eat of the "stone soup" must "remember" a small horde of food, and add it to the pot (their pinch of food.). An hour after this ceremony is complete, the soup. A thick and tasty mix of what ever little bits of food were added, can be eaten. In spite of the fact that each person contributed but a pinch of food, each will get their fill. One day of food can be stretched to cover a week in this fashion. The stone can be used repeatedly, but never more than once a day.

Spice Cabinet of Frugality:This item appears as a small locked chest that stands two feet high, is 6 inches deep and 18 inches long. It has two doors in front that when unlocked and opened reveal 50 small drawers within. When spices are placed in the drawers each will fill the available drawer. As long as some of the spice is left in the drawer, it will be full the next day. To change a spice a drawer must be completely emptied, and filled to the top with the new spice. Once it has been in the drawer a week, the spice cabinet of frugality will key to that new spice, and provide that one from then on.

Tools of the Trades: This useful item appears as a ordinary leather bag such as a tradesman might carry his tools in. It is 3 feet long and about a foot deep and wide. The bag weights 40 pounds at all times.

The power of the bag is in what it contains. The tools of any profession that works with its hands will be found within. Carpenters, blacksmiths, seamstress, mason, and more. To use the bag the holder opens it with the job to be done in mind. The tools within will match the task. Only one task a day can be performed. If the day begins with woodworking, no mason's tools will be found in the bag that day. The next morning however, the bag could contain, once again, the tools of any profession.

All of the contained tools are of the finest quality, although they seem well worn by proper use. If any of the tools removed is not returned, it will remain. However, the missing tool will affect the bag's function. For each tool left out there is a 5% chance that a needed tool cannot be found in the bag on the next and subsequent uses. The only way to fix the item is to find the missing tool, or replace it with a like tool of the best quality, and cast an enchant an item spell on the tool before placing in in the bag.

12-15-2010, 05:35 PM
Gloves of Rhetoric - After they are put on, each time someone says something that need not be said within ear shot, the gloves uncontrollably slap someone for 1 HP. Unremovable.

That's all I got. I love some of these though, very nice!

Arch Lich Thoth-Amon
12-15-2010, 11:03 PM
In one of my campaigns, the party ran across a Halfling village that had been raided by pirates and found a few items that the village shaman owned.

A bowl that heated the contents, if food, to a comfortable temperature.
A chair that made the occupant comfortable when sitting in it.
A spoon that cleaned itself after it had been used.

As mundane as those items were, the party kept them through to the end of the campaign.

These are great halfling (Hobbit) items. I will likely steal them some time in the future for use in my WFRP games... giving full credit to you, of course, Skunkape.

12-16-2010, 07:00 PM
I've used the following:

Slippers that clean your entire body (as if you had bathed) if you wear them for one straight hour.

A tiny, fly-shaped brooch that keeps flying insects off you while you sleep (you know that one danged mosquito that bothers you?).

Fingerless gloves that grant the ability to braid hair in MANY different manners (regular, double, French, etc).

Small mirror that, after you stare at yourself for two full minutes, makes your teeth clean and white and makes your breath minty fresh.

A small, hand-held device from which you can hear occasional voices that speak very different languages that sound confused and curious... (a walkee-talkee with it's partner on the other side of the planet)

(I have to say that I LOVE the Chuck Norris headband!!)

12-16-2010, 07:33 PM
Politician's Amulet: +4 to charisma when worn, but being stupid is painful. Speaking a stupid idea causes 1d4 minutes of excruciating pain. (victim is sickened for that time.)

Ball of roundness: A three inch ball that is perfectly absolutely round. Valuable to the right collector.

12-18-2010, 07:30 PM
wand of woodness - small thin stick of wood.

12-18-2010, 11:26 PM
wand of woodness - small thin stick of wood. When the spell is cast from the wand it lowers the target charisma by -6 and they gain the attribute "dull on TV."

12-19-2010, 04:57 PM
I don't get the TV reference.

12-25-2010, 01:25 PM
we had this tendency to find combat or challenge uses for "useless" items, to the point that some of our dm's embarked and a lifelong quest to find a magical item so useless that it could not be used in some fashion. fruitlessly so far, i might add. i don't know what they were thinking when they thought a bag of ice cubes (as in caltrops, but only a handful at a time...) wasn't useful. that was one of the best ones ever.

12-25-2010, 06:42 PM
That's my buddy Ron. there is not such thing as a useless item. He will find creative uses for the oddest things.

I don't get the TV reference.

Friend of mine uses is as a GRUPS style "disadvantage", The possessors charisma does not come across on TV. It was said of a lot of the early Astronauts, they they are great in person but dull on television. I met Jim Irwin many years ago, and tis true. And talking to Brother Guy, the Vatican Astronomer (Also an SF fan and Michigan native) mentions that much Beloved John Paul II was great on TV, but rather dull in person. Benedict XIV who comes across as dull on TV is great in person. There are different kinds of charisma.

12-25-2010, 08:23 PM
Chuck Norris headband. Awesome. It should allow the wearer to make a sound by clapping with one hand.

Not to put out the fire, but making magic items consumes considerable resources. So making a worthless magical item doesn't seem too likely to happen. However, making a valuable magical item that goes rotten, i.e. cursed, sounds like it has potential.

The Chuck Norris headband counts as highly valuable, and uncursed.

12-25-2010, 09:30 PM
"Worthless" is a relative term. I haven't suggested anything worthless as in having no value. Rather items that have no combat use. Flavor magic, household magic, stuff like that. For secample I would love to give a politician's amulet to every memeber of Congress. It will not do a thing for you in combat, but it makes being stupid painful? Oh yea, I can see that getting made easily.

12-26-2010, 01:22 AM
who gets to judge if the idea is stupid? gigo and all that, after all.

magic items of no combat value. see, that's what we always managed to find a use for in combat. or a use to stop combat, which is not always the same thing.

how about a jock strap that only protects one of the two... packages... shall we say.

i would suggest cowardly weapons, as in weapons that go rubbery and floppy only in combat, but those can still be used to deal non-lethal in a pinch.

12-26-2010, 10:04 AM
Is a cursed item cursed, or made for a different purpose? Said "peaceful" swords might be some not clearly thought out pacifists idea of how to stop fighting. I've never seen the necklace of strangulation as a cursed item. It's an assassin's tool. Made either as a malovent gift or more likley to repalce an existing item in the target's jewel chest. Sneak in, replace item and get "paid" in the process. The smart assassin changed enough to get the necklace, or more likely was supplied the necklace by the client.

Mistakes are always allowed for, the bag of fish for example.

Here are three rooms from Abba Sanctuary. Long abandoned Magician labs. The first guy is simply malovent tand took his fun from others' pain and discomfort. The second was a bungler and the third room was a really bad mistake.

8j) Abba Trfelden the Transformer: and now you're not -- (15x20x8) The room is a typical cluttered magician's study. Everything in the room changes you into something else.
Changing picture: Turns anyone that gazes into it into what is in the picture. Save fort 19 It will only work once per per person. However it's a standard polymorph and can be dispelled. Your form replaces the current picture. Currently the picture is of a buxom young Human woman with blond hair.
Potion of polymorph self (3)
Deck of Reincarnation: Will force reincarnate anyone that pulls a card. It will preserve stats. Gender will remain the same. Roll on the reincarnation table. Ignore any result of "Same species" There is no save and this is permanent. It can however only be used by the living. It is no help to the dead. The deck can be used ten times and vanishes.
Mirror of gender shifting. Yep, switches your gender. will save DC 19.
Bodice of filling: A huge bodice obviously built for a woman of heroic mammary proportions. Any woman that puts it on will fill it to a size H. Any man that puts it on will also fill it and change female. No save.
Codpiece of filling: A huge codpiece made for some poor over endowed guy. Any male that puts it on will fill the codpiece. They will have a penis twice the average size for their species. Anatomy does not change. Any female that puts in on will also fill it and change male. No save.
Species flash cards. Any creature viewing the card that is not holding it, must save Fort DC 17 or change into that species. Random Monster manual roll. The deck is quite thick. It has 20 uses and the deck vanishes.
Scroll of polymorph other.
Potion of water into wine: Each ounce of this flask will turn up to five gallons of water into common wine. Drinking an ounce of this potion will render the drinker instantly falling down deadly drunk. Save fort DC 20 or die of alcohol poisoning.. If the first save is made save again DC 22 or permanently lose a point of CON. The flask contains eight ounces.

8k) Abba Impedia (the bungler): oops -- (dark 15x20x8) The messiest magician lab ever seen. The walls and ceiling are stained with the evidence of multiple blasts and spills. The work tables are likewise heavily marked and abused. Everything in here is a disaster waiting to happen.
Glop: A gallon flask that gurgles and bubbles with a blackish brown ooze. Glop can be eaten or drunk (kinda). Glop will heal your wounds instantly (kinda). Glop fills the cuts and punctures with glop skin, a shinny blackish brown film. For every ten points of glop healed damage you have you lose a point of charisma. Once your charisma is down 10 points it starts working on your Strength until you lose 10 points of that, then Dexterity then Constitution. You end up looking like a Glop zombie, alive but not very. Glop requires a heal and remove curse to be rid of it. If only the remove curse is used all the damage repaired by the glop returns.
Deck of Many Flings: Each card produces a being sexually attractive to the PC holding the card. The person is a sexual animal and a drama queen/king. They will fill the PC's life with hot sex and exasperating drama. They can only be gotten rid of with a remove curse.
Wooden Cow: A heifer that can be summoned once a week. She will do everything a heifer does, eat and poop. At the end of 24 hours it returns to being a wooden cow. The heifer can be slaughtered and eaten but that destroys the item. Then again, that might be the best use for it.
Bag of devouring: Yep one of those.
Stone of mass: This fist sized black stone sits on the floor under a table. It is heavier than you can lift, or even move. It would require a strength of 50 to even slide across the floor.
Purified Moronanium: Pure stupid in a flask. If the flask is opened everyone in the room has to save vs Will DC 17 or lose a point of Wisdom. If anyone should actually ingest this stuff their wisdom and Intelligence drops by 2d8 points each to a minimum of 4.

8l) Water water: everywhere -- (25x15x8) The door to this room has been boarded over caulked and sealed. Breaching the seals will start a stream of high pressure water that will blow the door in 2d10 rounds. One best get out of the way.
Within the room is a decanter of endless water. A faulty one. It will not stop pouring forth water at the rate of five gallons a minute.
Everything else is totally ruined and in a jumble in the hall and at the door.

12-26-2010, 07:21 PM
Wooden Cow: sounds useless. But I think I could have some major fun with it. This deserves its own thread. For starters, it grants a +4 to anyone's Farmer disguise.

Stone of mass: if it had a command word for activation, I'd buy two.

12-27-2010, 10:07 AM
Wooden Cow: sounds useless. But I think I could have some major fun with it. This deserves its own thread. For starters, it grants a +4 to anyone's Farmer disguise.


Stone of mass: if it had a command word for activation, I'd buy two.

Nope, just heavy. Everything in that room is a mistake. They are useless because they are wrong.

01-02-2011, 12:37 AM
i can think of quite a few uses for many of those items in combat. the stone of mass and reverse gravity rather falls into my head.... how big is that cow while wooden? that plus the flask would make for great grenade attacks. chuck the wooden cow, command word as it is about to hit. ^^