Monsters & Treasure
MAGIC ITEM TABLES (continued)
“SCROLLS:I like the footnote for Curse Scrolls. It does give one the feeling that referees were charged with presenting thoughtful challenges and ways to outsmart the players in an attempt to always keep them on their toes. There is no suggestion for unfair play, but I think at the time of this writing, that the authors had witnessed the gamesmanship of their players, and were always cooking up ways to throw a curve ball at them in order to keep things interesting.
51-60: 1 Curse*
* The referee must take extreme care in handling all Scrolls with an eye towards duping the players when a Curse Scroll is found…having non-Curse Scrolls disappear on occasion if not identified will help to force the reading of Curse Scrolls.”
What follows is a table which details the effects of reading such scrolls by rolling 1d8, and having the curse effect all in a 3” diameter.
“1 or 2: Any monster of the referee’s choiceThe effect of being duped by a Curse Scroll can be downright nasty.
3 or 4: Disease, fatal in 3 turns unless healed
5 or 6: Polymorph to insect of referee’s choice
7: Transportation 1,000 miles, random direction
8: Transportation to another planet”
"MAPS:"Three tables follow detailing the types of maps which might be found in a treasure hoard. Maps constitute 25% of all randomized items from the ’any’ category. We already know that maps such as these are worthless without a Magic User capable of casting a Read Languages spell. In the past, in my older campaigns, I never used maps in this manner. Maps were always hand-drawn handouts for the players, detailing actual features within the game world. These D&D maps seem to be encoded, encrypted or magically enciphered, so there is nothing to hand-out until a Read Languages spell has cracked the riddle of the map. At this point a hand-drawn handout could be employed, a simple list of directions could be given, or the referee might allow the characters to ask “North, South, East or West?” at each intersection until they locate the treasure. On the other hand, the maps might give directions that send the characters out of their current locale altogether, or so far deep into the underworld that the map is currently of no use. The rules aren’t very specific, but I come away from the whole system feeling as though it is to be handled with no handouts at all. Maps seem to be a simple system of rolling the dice and allowing the group to find some invisible or secret location, guarded by something appropriate, often just hand-drawn onto the game or dungeon map after a treasure map has been used properly. It’s as if the deciphering of a treasure map generates the treasure listed, along with its guardian.
Up next on Tuesday: SWORDS, which deserves one large article.
~Sham, Quixotic Referee
PS: Added a link to an example of a well-played Curse Scroll for your reading pleasure.