Tag Archives: historical treasures

d100 Objects of Moderate Value

Wooden Elephant StatuetteWe already know that coins are boring treasure. I mean, a sack of gold is fine now and again, but in general, treasure is a lot cooler when it’s some kind of valuable object.

I’ve got this bad habit, though. Anytime I go to make a treasure object, I make something of phenomenal quality. An item whose manufacture exceeds what ought to be possible with the technology available in my game world. It’s fun to let your imagination run wild, and describe solid gold cat statue of perfect lifelike quality. But when you go wild describing an object, you’ve got to give it an impressive value in coins to match. And before you know it you’ve unbalanced your game’s economy again.

It’s more interesting if treasure is down to earth. Something the player can expect to earn a few hundred coin for; but not the lost opus of some ancient master craftsperson. In the end it just makes sense if most valuable objects are a little bit mundane.

  1. An unfinished painting comissioned for a duchess who died before it could be completed. The painting is only a little more than half done.
  2. A tribal mask from a far off land, carved from a single piece of wood.
  3. A brass tree, with many twisting branches of thick wire. Tree is flat, meant to hang on a wall.
  4. An ancient clay vase, cracked down the side. Was clearly decorated at one time, but most of the paint has chipped off.
  5. A 4′ picture frame of mahogany, inlained with pearls at each corner. No picture inside of it.
  6. An intact piece of old correspondence which sheds some light on a minor historical mystery.
  7. An erotic candelabra depicting a nude woman with her back arched, and her breasts pointing straight up. A pair of candles can be mounted where her areola ought to be.
  8. The embroidered green vestments a priest might wear on special holy days.
  9. An erotic sundial depicting a man reclining, with a large erection casting a shadow on the disc.
  10. A jewlery box of birch, with braided steel trim. The box is empty.
  11. A fine wood chalice with gold inlaid on the interior of the cup. Religious symbols are carved into the base.
  12. A steel monstrance with eight rays radiating from the center. The hinge is rusted shut.
  13. An oversized stein, large enough that it would be difficult to lift safely to your lips with one hand. Decorated with art of men on horseback hunting a boar.
  14. A small ivory bust depicting a veiled woman on one side, and a skeleton on the other.
  15. A silver hairbrush, decorated with spiral ivy patterns. Most of the bristles are missing.
  16. A jade comb with a simple spiral pattern at the center. Has one missing tooth.
  17. Steel thinning-shears with a gold handle.
  18. A steel hand mirror with a handle shaped to look like an angel. The angels wings rise up on either side to frame the glass, their points meeting at the top. The glass is cracked, but usable.
  19. A decorative dagger sheath, with silver inlays, and spiral patterns imprinted into the leather.
  20. A decorative longsword scabbard, dyed blue with a crisscrossing lattice of gold thread binding it.
  21. A single tile, clearly meant to be one of many. It depicts a castle tower, with a guard standing on it. The side of a tree is also visible. The art is superb.
  22. A stack of decorative tiles, decorated with swirling blue patterns. A few are cracked, but most are in perfect condition.
  23. An oversized, ornamental key made of tin. Clearly meant as a trophy, rather than as a functional key.
  24. A steel chamberpot. It has been embossed to look like the head of some villainous person or other in caricature. It’s unlikely you’d be able to find anyone who was familiar with the person depicted, and it’s probably the result of some personal grudge.
  25. A lyre, carved with small depictions of birds along the left side of it.
  26. A birdcage of brass wire, twisted to look similar to wood. An occasional brass leaf protrudes from the wire.
  27. A cross made of several woods, which have been polished and pressed together.
  28. A marble bust of Virgil.
  29. A woodcarving of a bear with a sword in its mouth. Meant to hang on a wall.
  30. A distinct warbanner, colored green with two strikes of yellow and one of black. This is one of many once used by a famous army of conquest, which many of the player’s grandparents likely fought with, or against.
  31. A 1′ by 8″ portrait of a woman, perhaps a merchant’s wife. It is painted with skill, but the subject is of no great significance.
  32. A bronze elephant, raising its trunk into the air. It is hollow, and made with no great skill, but still attractive.
  33. A clay circle inlaid with a variety of smooth stones. The stones form a simple spiral, with larger stones towards the center. The item has no obvious function.
  34. A ceramic pitcher, painted tan and brown, and adorned with a simple painting depicting the coronation of a king.
  35. A wooden statuette of a ram, about 1.5′ long. It’s light weight, and painted to more closely resemble the animal.
  36. A single arm, broken off of a lovely chandelier. Brass, plated with gold, decorated with a dangling chain of crystal from the tip.
  37. An artist’s sketchbook. The artist is signed “H.G.,” and doesn’t conform to any widely known style. But some of the pieces are quite good.
  38. A parish bible, complete with painted scenes, fancy lettering, and gilded pages.
  39. An unpublished Hymn, written in the handwriting of a moderately well known composer of hymns from 60 years ago.
  40. A lost manuscript written by Catherine Parr, titled “The Lamentations of a Gleeful Sinner.” Apparently an early draft of her later published work.
  41. An ancient game. There’s a block of wood with six peg holes in a circle, one peg carved from ivory, and four dice, each of which is painted with a skull on a single side. Evidently there are some missing pieces.
  42. A lantern with small paintings of birds on the glass. When lit, these birds appear as shadows on the walls.
  43. A recipe for preparing halibut with cabbage, sugar, and pigs feet. A note, scrawled at the bottom like a signature, reads “Fit for a king!”
  44. A bronze sphere of exceeding smoothness. It is remarkable in just how perfectly spherical it is.
  45. A leather scroll, on which is printed an ancient formulation of a mathematical proof. A proof which was lost, and only rediscovered a dozen or so years prior to now.
  46. A leather satchel with gold-colored silk inlays, a silver tie cord, and an intricate braid pattern pyrographed around the outside.
  47. A marble head. The neck is jagged, and was clearly broken off of a larger statue. Knowledgeable players may recognize the head as being a depiction of a man whose memory was banned 150 years ago. While the law is still technically on the books, no one takes it seriously anymore.
  48. A richly appointed pair of trousers. Dyed black, with a pair of gold braided cords down the right leg, and a single red braided cord down the left leg.
  49. A neck chain with thick, heavy links. Mounted on the chain is a large cross of polished mahogany.
  50. A hanging wooden sign for the Cobbler’s Knee Pub, stolen long ago from the establishment where an infamous assassination took place, setting off a decade long war.
  51. A refracted glass cylinder with small wooden birds and cotton clouds within it. As you walk around it, the refraction of the glass make it appear to contain gently drifting clouds.
  52. A belt buckle depicting a cheerful dog. The belt coming through the buckle would look like the dog’s tongue.
  53. A pair of ceramic hands mounted to a base. Between the fingers is a silver thread, held in an elaborate string-figure pattern.
  54. A chunk of marble from what was once a beautiful statue. It depicts a hand grasping some piece of flesh. The way the fingers indent the flesh shows exceedingly superb craftsmanship.
  55. A housecat-sized statue of an ant, made from tin. The statue is mounted on a cedar base, and has pearls for eyes.
  56. A key, the handle of which depicts a blacksmith swinging two hammers. The shaft and teeth of the key depict the haft and head of the hammers.
  57. A censer shaped to resemble a funeral pyre. The ‘body’ can be raised to fill the container with incense, and the smoke rises from slats between the ‘wood’.
  58. A small collection of 2d6 pewter figures of knights in armor, shown  in different battle postures.
  59. A glass bottle with a tiny cottage built inside of it. There is dirt, and fake grass. The cottage is simple, of the sort that people lived in a few hundred years ago.
  60. A bit of silver shaped to look exactly like an acorn. Exactly.
  61. A fragment of a tablet. Something is written on it in a pictograph language. The language is known, but has never yet been translated.
  62. A coin purse filled with false teeth. There are ivory, wood, steel, silver, and gold teeth. Several of each.
  63. A ceramic statue of a horse, about 4′ tall. It is crudely shaped, limited by the artistic expertise of an earlier era, but that history lends it a sense of gravitas.
  64. A fine box with a silver clasp and velvet lining. The box contains a crystal inkwell, a small knife meant for cutting quills, and a small book detailing the best way to pick and to cut quills.
  65. The nameplate of a ship. Players with any knowledge of history may recognize the ship’s name as being among 77 that were sunk during a great battle some 25 years ago.
  66. A simple brick mounted on a plaque. The plate indicates that this brick was once part of a very famous building, demolished some 43 years ago.
  67. A sword, rusted into complete uselessness. Notably, the design of the sword is one that has not been common for some 500+ years. Despite it’s condition, it is a valuable antique.
  68. A wooden box filled with carefully organized tools of good quality–drills, a hammer, files, and the like. These are a set of carpenter’s tools for a true craftsman. The sort of set that would be purchased once, and used throughout their whole lives, then be passed on to their children.
  69. A ceramic teapot of great delicacy, with a meadow scene painted on the side of it.
  70. A clay tablet with the cycles of the moon etched into it. Beneath that is a depiction of a lunar calendar plotted out for several hundred years. The last year plotted was 18 years prior.
  71. A glasswork lightning bolt, tinted a metallic sort of yellow. The bolt is fused to a clear, flat base, also made of glass.
  72. A chamber pot with a primitive depiction of pooping kings all around the outside of it.
  73. A steel bell embossed with images of clumsy stupid servants running around, failing to perform their duties competently.
  74. A milking stool of unusual quality. It has a padded seat, gold tassels, and ornately carved legs resembling praying cows.
  75. A birdcage of delicate reeds, arranged with perfection.
  76. A quilt large enough to cover any bed the players have ever seen three times over. Each patch is completely unique, and depicts some scene from rural life.
  77. A heavy steel lock. In inscription, in Latin, warns thieves to stay away or be struck down by Mars.
  78. A crude fasces. Several of the rods are cracked at the base, but it is otherwise in good condition.
  79. A blue Mitre, with knee-length tassels dangling from either side, and an embroidered white sun on the front.
  80. A single chess pawn. It obviously comes from what would have been an amazingly ornate chess set. Even this single small piece is crafted in bronze, affixed with a wireframe soldier on one side, and capped with a large pearl.
  81. A pair of manacles ill-suited to restraint. The links are loops of silk, and the cuffs themselves are polished wood, padded with cloth on the inside, and closed with leather straps.
  82. A roll of cloth containing a collection of 33 stone knives. The knives range from apparently very old and dull, to relatively recent and sharp.
  83. A phallus of leather and clay, with a wooden core. Stitched to perfection.
  84. An arrow of red, with peacock-feather fetching, and a heart-shaped ruby tip. Obviously non-functional.
  85. A large glass jug, sealed with a cork. Within is a functioning miniature biome, complete with dirt, plants, and a moisture cycle.
  86. A cylindrical steel container, shaped like a tiny angry man. The top of his head can be pulled off to open the container.
  87. A paintbrush with a jade handle, encircled with a braid pattern. The bristles are horse hair.
  88. A life-size statue of a woman, which appears to be made of stone. It’s crudely done, but notable in that it is remarkably light. Perhaps enchanted in some way, or made of some unknown material. It can easily be carried by a single person, though it is still oversize and awkward to hold.
  89. A handwritten & illustrated book describing some 350 fictional monsters. The disturbed ravings of a madman, but none the less an item of intense curiosity to the right buyer.
  90. A dogwhistle shaped like a running dog,
  91. A false nose, made of ivory, and held to the face by two leather straps that go around behind the head.
  92. A barometer, along with a leather-bound book written by an unknown German woman who experimented extensively with the strange device she inadvertently invented.
  93. A taxidermy mouse with tiny diamonds for eyes.
  94. A freestanding suit of plate armor, 3′ tall, with human proportions.
  95. A set of table silverware. Each spoon, fork, and knife has a tiny human face carved into the pommel. Each face is unique, and they display a range of emotions.
  96. A Grecian wine bowl, with pornographic images at the bottom. When you tilt the bowl back to drink, you also get to see dicks and tits!
  97.  A reproduction of a famous piece of art. It’s not really convincing enough to fool any but the completely uncultured.
  98. A map made by an ancient people of a now well-populated area. The map is crude, but has historical value.
  99. A sadomasochistic erotic novel written by Isabella of Castile
  100. A star chart on a roll of leather. Clearly made by a people who did not need to use leather, but chose to for ceremonial reasons.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...