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Magic Item Inspiration: Technology

“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic”

-Andrew C. Clarke

I had some magic item inspiration: take a piece of tech and then try to deconstruct it with how a magic society would try to explain how it works. How would a know-it-all magistrate would try to explain away the technology? The ammo depletion die got me thinking about cool mechanics for these items and I thought that future tech would be powerful, depleting, and dangerous if pushed. They also sound like just the thing that an adventurer/murder-hobo would keep around. Try and guess what my modern technology I was referencing, or suggest others below.

Pocket Divining Augur 9000

Only its master knows the specific set of runes to awaken the oracle spirit within this small hand mirror. The oracle can perform a number of actions: answer a question an average scholar could know, answer an obscure question 50%, give directions to a location, give directions to an obscure location 50%, create a miniature painting of it sees, copy and replay a minute of sound, convey a short message to another Pocket Augur owner that you know, identify a magic item, identify a cursed item or an artifact 50%, or store a spell of level 4 or lower as a scroll. You attune to this device with an offering of a small piece of two different metals. Start with a d6 die after getting an offering, on each ‘1’ rolled, decrease the die size. When the die size hits ‘0’ the metal offerings corrode away and the oracle is depleted until the next offering. Rolling the same number twice in a row will result in the oracle misunderstanding your request and instead casting a stored spell, sending a message detailing your valuables to a thief, detailing embarrassing secrets to a foe, or angering a mysterious new enemy.

Wheeled Rattlefire 40000

This loud, clattering metal wagon completely encases its riders in metal and glass. A ships wheel sits at the wagons helm, along with foot pedals from an organ. Gnomes built these because who wants safe and reliable transport? The wagon will move forward at whatever its speed is each round. As an action, driving the wagon lets you speed up/slow down and turn. This rumbling metal beast feeds off of oil, and consumes a gallon of oil each minute, slowing down two speed steps each round when empty and it can carry a maximum of 4,000 pounds. Starting with a drive die of 1d30, each ‘speed up’ decreases it die by one size. When turning more than 45 degrees, doing a stunt, driving into hazards, or colliding, roll the drive die. Rolling a ‘1’ results in a crash, dealing damage to the wagon and its riders as if they had fallen a distance equal to ¼ the its speed. The wagon has 50 hp. Protection spells ensnare the riders of the wagon during a crash; until the wagon is reduced to 0 hp, the riders take no crash damage.  A crash slows the vehicles speed by 2 steps. Good luck fixing it, as most of the gnomes knowledgeable in these devices are smashed, mangled, and dead. Collisions deal crash damage to the wagon and the obstacle. D30 50 d20 100 d10 150 d12 200 d8 250 d6 300 d4 350 d3 400 d2 450

Goat-horn of the Giants’ Voice 750 

A small trumpet sitting on a handle,turns your voice into the booming voice of a giant. Originally created by an enslaved wizard forced to perform for giants, the wizard stole the voice of his masters and used their own voices to trumpet his freedom and taunt his captors. Jesters and tricksters have ‘improved’ some designs, adding loud clanging or chirping sounds when squeezed. You can be heard at 10x the distance and gain advantage on intimidation. This device starts with its maximum die of 1d10. Upon each use, roll the die and decrease the die size. The die size increases once each day at sunrise. If you roll the same number twice in a row, the device resonates with feedback from your newly amplified voice, blowing out the eardrums of everyone within 20 ft for 1d6 minutes. Everyone but you gets a DC 15 CON save to reduce it to 1d6 rds.

Iron Thrashbird 200000 

Designed by gnomes that were considered too eccentric and crazy to work on the Wheeled Rattlefire, this whirring death trap of spinning blades and flapping metal bits flys through the air, sounding like a steel forge chuckling. It handles like the Wheeled Rattlefire but with a maximum speed of 600 ft/rd. and speed steps of 100 ft/rd./rd. There are no protection spells so riders take full crash damage. The Iron Thrashbird is as maneuverable (and as heavy) as an adult dragon, consumes two gallons of oil per minute, and can carry 2,000 pounds. The starting drive die is a d10, decrease the drive die by one size for each 100 ft/rd. speed up. Hovering counts as 100 ft speed. Roll the drive die for each stunt, turn greater than 45 degrees, swipe, hazard, or collision. As part of the drive action, you can swipe at enemies within 10 ft. with the thrashing wings and blades, for 6d6 damage to the foe. Rolling a ‘1’ deals crash damage equal to fall damage for one quarter the current speed to the Thrashbird and riders. The Thrashbird has 80 hp, and when its hp drops to 0, it falls from the sky at its current speed, dealing falling damage or crash damage to the riders and impact area, whichever is greater. D10 100 d8 200 d6 300 d4 400 d3 500 d2 600
Demonfire Steel-spitter 12000 

A charred and pitted metal pipe is bolted and chained to a blackened stump of wood. A demon pact brought these devices to life in the hands of an ambitious mage. She used these steel spitting weapons to carve out an empire but then went mad with power, creating ever larger steel spitters, until one the size of a small keep exploded, scattering her weapons to the winds. A Steel-spitter chews up bits up metal and spits them at your foes. It is functionally an exotic crossbow, with a reload time similar to a crossbow during which you must feed bits of metal to a small demon maw on the pipe. This weapon deals 2d12 damage with a range of 100ft and ignores non-magical armor. Rolling doubles on the damage dice causes this weapon to misfire and instead spit the hot metal back at its wielder. Two misfires less than 1 minute apart causes this weapon to explode in a 10 ft burst for 6d12 damage.

Flashfire Mud 1500 

Urban legend holds that this stuff is the slag left behind when earth elementals and fire elementals elope. In spite of these rumors, this slightly warm, gray clay is powerful, combustible that is stable even in normal fires, but explodes under magical fire or intense metal fires. A pound of Flashfire Mud can be broken up into eight, palm-sized chunks, each exploding for 3d6 damage at a 15 ft radius when lit. Sellers usually include small pouches of metal shavings and tinder. Each additional chunk used in the explosion will add 1d6 to the explosion damage and increase the radius by 5 ft. Detonating more than one chunk makes the explosion unstable, and rolling 3 or more 6’s will leave behind an angry, mixed fire-and-earth elemental, with HD equal the number of damage dice for the explosion, that knows who you are and wants to kill you.

Ghoultooth Hungering Blade 16000 

Whirring and hungry, this longsword stirs to life when held with a tightly clenched fist, when the twisted teeth along the length of the chain encircling the blade can feel your hatred for your foe. The hunger and hatred of ghouls are bound to this weapon, and it is thought that anyone who would wield this weapon will become a ghoul themselves when they die. As a slashing weapon, the blade cuts deep and rolls weapon damage twice. Each day that teeth have tasted blood they grow hungrier and will howl and clamber when drawn, increasing the damage die for the weapon by one step for each day, reducing back to normal by one die size for each day it stays unbloodied. If both weapon damage rolls are over their normal maximum, the teeth break free of their chain and explode instead, dealing four weapon damage in a 10ft burst, this includes the wielder. Ghoul teeth from ghouls whose total HD equal the weapon damage roll are needed to mend the blade.

Nobles Word 4000 

A folded leather cloth conceals a finely engraved rectangular wooden token denoting a name and likeness. The token is linked, via money-mages, to its owners vault and title. Many nobles appreciate its convenience over carrying gold, but others are not so quick to trust money-mages. The owner can utilize this token to transfer their gold to another’s vault or spit out a certificate redeemable for gold. Money mages rarely create a token for those with less than 100,000 gold in land, title, or goods. For your personal token, your charge die minimum is a d4. For a token you do not own your charge die minimum is a d10. Each charge you make in a month requires a roll of the charge die and an increase in the die size. The charge die drops one size each week. Rolling a ‘10’ or higher means that money mages freeze the account and investigate. Expect assassins; or worse, lawyers. Larger purchases add to the roll.

Animist Artifice 7500

A smooth oaken handle appears well worn and maintained. When attuned, any mundane tool or set of tools weighing less than 50 pounds will spring forth at mental command. The tools can be activated mentally. They function and move as if they were being used by an average human proficient in their use. The Animist Artifice can be activated once per round with no action and tools act at the end of their controllers turn. The tools last for 1 hour. Every time the Animist Artifice is activated, roll 1d6 for each previous activation that day. For every two “1”’s rolled, lose control of one random tool. Out of control tools do one of the following each turn until you spend an action to regain control of it: overdo their last task, attack the nearest creature, get in the way, move 30 ft in a random direction, summon two similar tools, or force another tool to go out of control.

Forgeblade 5000

A light, hollow blue handle ends in a small bent metal pipe and an inscribed rune. The rune can be turned to spout an intense, but short blade of fire. The blade can be used in three different ways: as a dagger of flame for 2d4+2 fire damage for 1 minute, to cut through metal or stone up to 6 inches thick in a continuous 2d4+2 ft. line, or to act as a portable forge enabling you to craft a metal or stone item 2d4+2 x 10% faster. The flame grows more intense and the handle heats up, adding another d4 to the roll each time doubles are rolled. A Forgeblade cools down slowly, reducing one die size each day it has not been used. Rolling triples deals the result in fire damage to the wielder and requires a CON save vs DC 5 + damage or the wielder gets a second degree burn that disables their hand until healed.

Rock Otter 60000

A big flat, gray rowboat sits low in the water with a large water wheel sitting on its back. Magic spins the waterwheel, moving the boat without aid of rowing nor sails. The Otter sails forward at its speed each round, and its captain can spend an action to speed up, slow down, or turn. The water wheel requires a steady supply of oil, and consumes a gallon of oil each minute, slowing down two speed steps each round when empty. It can carry a maximum of 10,000 pounds. Starting with a drive die of 1d30, each ‘speed up’ decreases it die by one size. When turning more than 45 degrees, doing a stunt, sailing into hazards, or colliding; roll the drive die. Rolling a ‘1’ results in a crash, dealing damage to the boat and its riders as if they had fallen a distance equal to ¼ the its speed and riders must make a reflex save DC speed/10 or fall overboard. The boat has 100 hp. If the boat drops to 0 hp, it will sink in 1d6 rounds. A crash slows the boat’s speed by 2 steps. Collisions deal crash damage to the wagon and the obstacle. D30 30 d20 60 d10 90 d12 120 d8 150 d6 180 d4 210 d3 240 d2 300
eSpiritu 6000 

Some guides and mapmakers are rumored to be so enamored with their craft that they stay around after death in these magic map cases. eSpiritu map cases can be called upon to spit out an overland map of any scale or location, granted the location is well mapped by cartographers in general or a specific map is supplied to the map case. These maps only highlight well known locations or points of interest, unless supplied with a map to more specific or hidden locations. Requesting guidance to a specific location gives a map that moves and twists to point out a the quickest route to the location based on the map information it has. On each request, roll 1d20 for each request made in the last week. Rolling a ‘1’ will cause a magic mishap: the wielder is now listed as location on some else’s map, incorrect map or directions are given, a map given to the eSpiritu is lost, or all current maps are withdrawn and the map case becomes inactive for 24 hours.

Vaxxitrolius’ Survivor Vial (Nonmagical) 1000 (Magical) 5000 

A small, stoppered and wax sealed vial holds a cloudy, salty liquid. Name a disease, break the seal and drink. Gives you the fever for 1d4 days, but afterwards you gain immunity against that disease. Roll 1d10 for each time you have used the vial before. If you roll doubles you are now a plague carrier spreading that disease. Triples permanently afflicts you with that disease, this is your new ‘normal’. Four or more of a kind kills you in 24 hours and raises you as a semi-intelligent infectious zombie. The Vial fills back up and reseals itself at dawn with a loud sneeze.

Percy’s Piss-Poor Polyglot Pad 1000 

Flipping through pages of cross matched words lets you translate anything, albeit poorly. You can translate a written page or short spoken passage of any language, but the DM only gets one verb per sentence and will not use complex sentences. Using the book is mentally exhausting, roll the Translation die on each use. The Translation die returns to a d10 at dawn. 1: You must include one swear word (or a silly adjective for a PG version) in each sentence with that language for 24 hours (this stacks with itself). 2-3: Translate as a familial language, meaning no verbs. 4-5: Decrease the Translation die size by one. 6+: No adverse effects.

Trench Lynx 10000

Metal claws, hard yellow hide with black spots, and deep feral growls are the marks of this construct. Climbing into the mouth of this large metal cat on wheels gives access to runes that control it. The Trench Lynx can be used as a siege weapon or a construction tool. As a siege weapon, it has a resistance to normal damage, 100 hp, a movement speed of 15 ft, and two +8 claw attacks for 2d6+4 damage, quadruple damage to structures, and an armor class of 16. As a construction tool, it can move 2, 10 foot cubes of earth and wood, or 1/4 as much stone, each minute. After its first five minutes of operation each day, roll 1d20 every five minutes of use. When rolling a ‘1’, the nature gods take affront and you become cursed: intermittent earthquakes follow you for a week, vermin within 6 miles are drawn towards you, any food and water spoils as you bring it to your mouth for the next 3 days, some cave-dwellers now know you and want to sacrifice you to their gods, fog and drizzling rain follows you for a week, or your crops and mines produce no profits for a month as the gods turn against your efforts.

Field Mending Cloth 500

Shiny metallic bandages that are intended to fix wounds on objects instead of living flesh. Applying Field Mending Cloth instantly fixes a damaged object of anything short of major damage. Using it to fix an item that is broken makes it serviceable but poor, making any uses of it roll at disadvantage. The next time that item would take damage or be broken, it instead is broken irreparably, and must be fully rebuilt.

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