Roleplayer #28, April 1992

Wondrous Widgets

More Outtakes from GURPS Magic Items 2

compiled by Drew Bittner

Conjuror's Cookfire

This item appears to be a small, half-burned log about 2 feet long and weighing 12 lbs. When placed into a cooking fire, it appears to burn, but it actually summons a tiny and very minor fire elemental. This elemental will be bound to the Cookfire log and cannot spread flames beyond the limits of the fire itself.

Any food placed into the fire is properly and evenly heated, but won't burn, even if left in the flames all night. The elemental regulates how much heat goes into the food and cuts it down if the food begins to burn.

If the only available wood is wet, the Cookfire log can be ordered to ignite itself, but this requires a successful Will roll. The elemental may not wish to emerge during rain.

The Cookfire log will sustain the elemental, but the user has to spend 2 Fatigue points each time the item is activated.

Component Spells: Summon Elemental variant.
Asking Price: $50,000.


Blinkmail was developed for the Elusive Knight, who ambushed and cruelly murdered other knights. When he was finally brought to justice, the armor mysteriously vanished, but was later duplicated. The original set of armor has never been found.

An ordinary-looking suit of plate armor, Blinkmail is enchanted with the Blink spell, allowing the wearer to tele-port short distances. Wearers without the Body Sense advantage may become disoriented (-2 on all actions for one turn). GMs may permit long-time Blinkmail users to buy Body Sense.

Blinkmail also has Deflect+1 and Fortify+1.

Component Spells: Blink, Power (3 points), Deflect, Fortify.
Asking Price: $500,000.

Magic One-Man Band

This "object" is a collection of different instruments all attached to a harness. Instruments include a bass drum, harmonica, trumpet, xylophone, horns and whistles. At the wearer's command, the instruments all begin playing.

If the wearer has any Musical Instrument Skill, the sound will be pleasant, despite the diversity of the One-Man Band's components. If not, the sound will be raucous and loud, provoking laughter and very little aesthetic appreciation.

Nobody knows who created the One-Man Band or why. It may have been nothing more than a practical joke or exercise in absurdity. Certainly its owner, if he knows how to use it, can earn a good living as an entertainer.

Component Spells: Voices variant.
Asking Price: $120,000.

Lightning Leggings

These gray and blue wool leggings go over hose or trousers and buckle into place. When buckled, they cast Great Haste (level 20) on the wearer, who pays all Fatigue costs.

The Leggings were made for Raldie the Clever, a courier for King Theobard. Raldie used them for over two dozen years, until, at the age of 49, he disappeared while on a mission; the Leggings turned up in a distant seaport a few months later. Several knock-offs have been enchanted since then.

Component Spells: Great Haste.
Asking Price: $140,000.

Muscle Shirt

This white, sleeveless cotton shirt adds +3 ST and +1 DR to any wearer. The shirt must be worn by itself for its magic to work; it can't be worn with armor of any kind (not even Macho Leathers or a Chainmail Bikini).

The shirt pays the first two points of energy for the magic; the wearer must pay the rest.

The Muscle Shirt also adds +1 to Reactions from any member of the opposite sex impressed by large muscles. The wearer's muscles look big while the Shirt is worn. This seems to be a side-effect of the strength-boosting spell and not a separate illusion.

Component Spells: Might × 3, Armor, Power (2 points).
Asking Price: $253,500.

Cantankerous Tankard

This heavy, black-metal tankard casts the Emotion Control spell on whoever drinks from it, putting him into a foul, combative mood. The drinker becomes a "mean drunk" for the rest of the night, picking fights, insulting other bar patrons and so on.

Repeated use may affect the drinker's Reputation, as well as get him into serious trouble with the City Watch.

Component Spells: Emotion Control variant, Power (3 points).
Asking Price: $90,000.

Junk Jewelry

This object, a fabulously valuable gold necklace with a diamond pendant, reduces the value of jewelry worn with it. Any other gems or precious metals are gradually transformed into valueless base metal and glass, at a rate of $100 every minute the Junk Jewelry is worn. It doesn't affect other jewelry if kept in the same box; the effects only work when the Junk Jewelry is worn.

Most wearers will not realize the Junk Jewelry's inimical magic until other valuable items have been destroyed by it. A successful Professional Skill/Jeweler or Merchant -2 roll will reveal Junk Jewelry for what it is.

Component Spells: Hypothetical "Reduce Value" spell, Bane.
Asking Price: $245,000.

Crystal Vintner

This fine goblet, obviously a valuable piece of cut crystal, casts Water to Wine whenever water is poured into it. The goblet's user can decide if the wine created is white, red or champagne. The wine produced will be good, but never remarkable.

The goblet's powers are Always On, and it has 2 points of Power. The tiny runes engraved on the bottom of the cup-section glow a dim yellow when the goblet performs its magic.

Goblets like this are enjoyed by rich folk who are more interested in novelty and display than in the wine itself. True connoisseurs have no use for them, as they would rather have genuine vintages.

Component Spells: Water to Wine, Power (2 points).
Asking Price: $135,000.

Death's Hourglass

Withered Jinfriyn was said to be the first holder (if not the creator) of this macabre item, which has been the object of many treasure-seekers and curiosity-collectors. It looks like a pair of crystal funnels holding a quantity of glittery black sand. The framework holding the hourglass is of tarnished silver, blackened yet gleaming; it resembles human leg bones, with a small ring of silver skulls around the top and the bottom.

When inverted, the holder Casts Steal HT on any target within range of the spell. The stolen HT goes to the holder. The spell lasts while the black sand keeps running, a maximum of five minutes.

If the holder chooses, he can cast Steal Youth instead, with the same limitations as the Steal HT power. The holder must pay all the energy points needed for either spell.

Component Spells: Steal HT, Steal Youth.
Asking Price: $452,750.


This metal whistle always feels chilly, though a user's lips will not stick to the end even in subzero temperatures. It is made of blue steel and has symbols resembling icicles engraved on its sides. There are many such whistles.

When blown, an Icebreaker makes a high-pitched, almost inaudible sound. This sound is the exact pitch needed to shatter all ice in a fan-shaped wedge up to 12 hexes from the user, to a depth of two hexes. Each toot costs the user 3 points of Fatigue.

Icebreakers will also dislodge any snow covering crevasses or deep holes, breaking up any fragile snowdrifts or crumbling ice gathered on cliff-faces within range.

In glacial waters, such a whistle is very valuable. It can break up ice floes and allow sailing ships easy passage, or shatter extra-thick ice for ice-fishing.

Old ice-crossers believe walruses will hurry toward the sound of an Icebreaker. This could be an old wives' tale . . . or a peculiar side effect.

Component Spells: Hypothetical "Shatter Ice" spell
Asking Price: $56,500.


This item is a foot-long torch-handle made of bronze, with a claw to grip torches at its top. It was crafted specially for Vorigan the Demagogue, the premier rabble-rouser of his day. He didn't care whether the cause was just or noble; he simply enjoyed getting a crowd upset and agitated. The Duke of Ambeshire eventually executed Vorigan and confiscated the Firebrand; in his son's time, the item was stolen and quickly duplicated – they are now relatively common, but often illegal.

When a torch is set into the claw, its light becomes magical – anyone who sees it will believe whatever the holder says. The Firebrand allows a holder to cast Mass Suggestion ("believe/trust me"), with all normal Fatigue costs, at level 20. The gist of the spell cannot be altered, nor can the Fatigue cost be paid with powerstones; the energy must come from whoever holds the Firebrand.

Component Spells: Mass Suggestion.
Asking Price: $32,500 where legal, much more where outlawed.


This small blue rock generates good air. It can be used once per hour to cast Purify Air at level 20; if there is no air at all around it, it casts Create Air instead. Whoever holds the Airstone determines how large an area it will affect, and pays all Fatigue costs over the first point spent. The Airstone glows pale blue while its magic is in operation.

An Airstone could provide air indefinitely for someone trapped in an enclosed space; its 1 point of power would be enough to keep the user from spending any Fatigue. If many people were trapped, they could still survive by taking turns spending Fatigue to power the stone, using it to create larger amounts of air once per hour.

Airstones will work underwater, creating bubbles of air, but there must be some type of airtight container available for the user to breathe the created air.

Component Spells: Create Air, Purify Air, Power (1 point).
Asking Price: $56,500.


This object is a battered, blue metal box with white wings painted on the side. Two human-sized figures can sit on the metal bench bolted to the floor.

When it is occupied, a black metal framework swings up from behind the Aircart, fitting securely over the occupants' shoulders and latching securely into place in front of them.

The latch does not lock. A simple bolt mechanism holds it secure. The passengers are free to unlatch the frame at any time, but doing so deactivates the Aircart's magic. Unlatching the frame in midair is a bad idea – the Aircart will go into a terminal power dive.

Once the frame is latched, the Aircart takes off, flying wherever the passengers wish to go. Inconveniently, the Aircart moves like a low-flying jet, dodging trees and flocks of birds, flying under bridges and over flagpoles, without slacking its pace one bit (80 hexes/turn). The final deceleration is instant, but magically safe for the passengers.

The riders can change their desired destination in mid-trip, but there is no other way to control the Aircart's course.

Characters unfamiliar with flying must make a Fright Check or two during the ride. Anyone must roll vs. HT or feel weak-kneed and dizzy when stepping out of the Aircart (treat as 1d turns of Mental Stun if the roll is failed).

The Aircart has PD 6 (due to its speed) and DR 8 on the sides, 40 on the bottom; its open-air construction doesn't give passengers much protection. Riders are also -5 on any Active Defense they undertake in the Aircart, due to movement restrictions imposed by the frame.

The Aircart weighs about 450 lbs. It has no wheels or any ground-movement ability; it either flies or sits on the ground. It is not buoyant; if the riders land on water, it will sink like a rock. It may be possible to "fly" the Aircart underwater, but riders would need Breathe Water or other air-producing magic to survive.

An extradimensional origin has been suggested for this device, but since air-mages can build them, this is less than probable.

Component Spells: Hawk Flight × 2, Lighten Burden (-50%), Power (8 points), possible unknown others.
Asking Price: $1,530,000.

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