View Full Version : Items of Power

2015-03-22, 10:39 PM
I've been thinking on classical items of power, be it King Arthur's sword or the Lance of Longinus, and it gave me an idea for a story/world building. What if things like those were actually more common than we thought? What would constitute an item of power? That got me thinking on what if people were actively going out and trying to make items of power? What would they be? So far the only hard and fast rules I can think of for what would constitute an Item of Power would be something either 1.) Wholly unique 2.) Culturally connected to a large group of people or 3.) Be of some important somehow. This can be in a fantastical setting or in a modern setting and I'd like to see if the Playground had any ideas for me.

I've come up with a few:

*Gun that shot Lincoln
*Jack the Rippers knife
*Doctor records the last words of a 1000 dying patients.

2015-03-22, 11:06 PM
Resources on this topic: Smithsonian Museum of American History, GURPS Warehouse 23, the Nick Cage movie National Treasure, Friday the 13th tv series.

A few ideas I can think of:

Charles Darwin's journal from his voyage on the Beagle
one of Marie Curie's test tubes of radium
Bill Gates' first computer he built in his garage
the Howdy Doody marionette
a leg bone of the horse Secretariat
the American flag planted on the Moon by the crew of Apollo 11
the skull of the last aurochs that died in 1627 (now extinct)
the ballot cast by the first African-American after the 15th Amendment was ratified
Walt Disney's ink pen he first drew Mickey Mouse with

2015-03-22, 11:26 PM
In this world I figured that all museums would either be like fort knox, destroyed, controlled, or already looted

2015-03-23, 08:40 AM
That's how magic items work in the Deadlands setting. Cultural importance and stories is what gives items their power. So you have things like

Wild Bill Hickock's Pistols
Cortez's Sword
Jim Bowie's Knife
Crazy Hourse's Coup Stick
Wyatt Earp's Badge

Or item's from unusual situations that are minor but have small power, because most people would agree it FEELS right.

Dead Men's Boots = Boots worn when a man is hanged
Dead Men's Bullets = When a man dies in a duel at high noon, these are the bullets in his gun.

2015-03-23, 09:06 AM
Deadlands sounds cool. Will have to look into it.

2015-03-23, 09:44 AM
This has precedence in fiction too. One example that I recently read about is a story where a minor Marvel villain managed to get his hands on Hitler's sidearm, and it proceeded to punch right through Doctor Strange's magical defenses due to the sheer amount of bad mojo surrounding it.

2015-03-23, 10:18 AM
This has precedence in fiction too. One example that I recently read about is a story where a minor Marvel villain managed to get his hands on Hitler's sidearm, and it proceeded to punch right through Doctor Strange's magical defenses due to the sheer amount of bad mojo surrounding it.
Did Hitler ever fire his own gun? Seems like even Rommel's pistol would be a better suited artifact, to say nothing of something like the White Death's Mosin. There's an old Soviet joke about the matter, but that aside...

I'd say that artifacts passed down through the generations would be more powerful than one-and-done deals. Sure, Excalibur is great and all, and Booth's gun was significant, but consider that a world leader's desk or other permanent office fixture would have presided over many more crucial decisions. Although you may want to restrict this to items that were passed down with the knowledge of their power, for obvious reasons of escalation.

If age matters most, the first flint stone would be one of the most powerful artifacts in the world (despite looking like a regular rock).

2015-03-23, 10:29 AM
Legend of the 5 Rings has something similar with their magic items, Nemuranai. Nemuranai were man made items of exceptional quality that had had their kami awakened, either through the skill used in creating them or through their association with great deeds.

So if this sword has been passed down through Generations, it's soul would awaken and gift it's wielder special gifts.


A sword or item could be inherently awakened just because the craftsman is SO talented.

2015-03-23, 11:49 AM
I once played a vampire Gavrilo Princip.

I boasted that my little FN Model 1910 was the gun with the highest killcount in history.

2015-03-23, 11:55 AM
The idea is very interesting, but in an RPG players would ask the obvious question: What do they do?

Do they have any power other than a reputation?

2015-03-23, 12:15 PM
In Deadlands, many items not only give you a boon, but also carry a curse. Items aren't always legendary for NICE things after all. For my previous examples..

Wild Bill's Six Shooters: Do extra Damage but take extra damage when shot from behind
Cortez's Sword: hurt creatures normally immune to normal weapons and you deal extra damage, but every time you deal damage your hands bleed (no damage) and soon your hands are stained in blood.
Jim Bowie's Knife: You deal extra Damage, especially to people of Mexican descent, but you go insane around Mexicans yourself.
Crazy Hourse's Coup Stick: anyone with Indian blood or accepted as such can use this without problem. Counting Coup on an enemy gets you a fate chip (hero point)
Wyatt Earp's Badge: Anyone attacking you has a -4 to hit. You also gain a +2 to intimidate. However, everyone comes to you for help. Every time you turn them down, you lose a fate chip.

Deadman's boots: Higher chance of coming back from the dead (campaign specific obviously)
Deadman's Bullets: These bullets will hurt creatures normaly immune to normal weapons.

Admiral Squish
2015-03-23, 12:26 PM
This does sound like a really interesting idea. I'd suggest marathoning episodes of Warehouse 13 to come up with ideas.

Of course, if items of power are specific and limited in nature, you're definitely gonna end up dealing with the christmas tree effect.

I do like the idea of items with their kami awakened. That would be a more fantasy-oriented way to handle it than some of the other options. Like, all items have a kami/spirit/whatever word you want to use, and if they are used by powerful individuals or in ways that have a large impact on the world, the spirit awakens and the item gains supernatural potency.
Hey, you could use intelligent item rules as part of this!