Thursday, March 14, 2013

Unique Magical Auras

Adventurers find magic items.  It happens regularly – at least your players hope it does!  The Old School Renaissance dictates (suggests?) that Dungeon Masters provide some inventiveness, some imagination when describing new found items.  Of course, not every wand, sword, or pair of gloves the adventurers stumble upon is going to be entirely unique.  However, it never hurts to throw in a few words which seem fresh to the characters, as well as, the players.  It heightens that feeling of the unknown.  To me, that’s the heart of old school fantasy gaming.

Use the following list to (randomly) choose a unique aura for the next magic item the adventurers come across.  They see…

1)  a magical aura of some bizarre hue… orange lavender with gold flecks.
2)  a swirling magenta midnight field of energy.
3)  undulating patterns of vibrant crimson illumination.
4)  a dark array of demon-haunted faces screaming in both ecstasy and torment.
5)  spectral green ichor oozing over its surface.
6)  a subtle violet glow accompanied by the sound of ominous droning.
7)  visions of a man with horns and bone-white flesh clothed in dark robes.  With yellow eyes, he stares into a yawning abyss as if waiting for something to emerge from the empty blackness.
8)  shimmering waves of azure flowing in and out of reality, betwixt this world and several others.

There they are – eight non-standard magic item auras.  Go forth and standardize no more!  Also, be sure to mention those auras (even if it’s just a single aspect) the next time it’s used.  Calling back to the original details will strengthen the vitality of your game.  If you occasionally struggle (as I do) with remembering that a certain description goes with a certain item, then do yourself a favor – write down a little cheat sheet and keep it next to your adventure notes for easy reference.

Feedback time!  Is this the kind of thing you’re likely to use in a game?  If so, please let me know by commenting.  Also, don’t be afraid to share this post (and blog) with others!

Venger Satanis
Grognard de Noir