One-Yard Wonders

Continuing the theme we started yesterday, I have another random table based on the Storey Publishing deck of cards. This time we have the classic One-Yard Wonders, a Look How Much You Can Make with Just One Yard of Fabric!

So, roll a six-sided die (or throw six coins in the air and count the number that come up heads), then roll another (or flip a final coin, where a head is EVEN and a tail is ODD):

  1. a Folklore Bag. A sturdy, roomy shoulder bag, with a pockets on the inside and a buttoned lip.
    • ODD: The characters pick the bag up accidentally as it resembles one of their own pieces of luggage sufficiently for the mistake to have happened innocently. The bag contains:
      • 1: a selection of arcane papers concerning the dissection of the human body for components, as well as several jars of oddly coloured fluids;
      • 2: the miniaturised kingdom of Abtikwhem, lost to legend and currently contained in an ornate snow globe;
      • 3: several small wooden boxes containing the various ashes of an entire dynasty of noble rulers;
      • 4: dozens of keys, of various shapes and sizes, with a 1 in 6 chance every time the characters come upon a locked door, the bag contains one that opens it;
      • 5: a multitude of sealed wax paper packets stowed in dozens of different pockets, each containing different leaves, powders or grains with potential medicinal uses, some illegal;
      • 6: dozens of small glass bottles of different colours and designs, most with wax stoppers. Removing a stopper releases a captured sound, like birdsong, a whispered comment, a scream, trailing footsteps, or a final breath.
    • Of course, the greater issue might well concern the content of the bag the character’s have lost and who now holds it.
    • EVEN: While relaxing in a tavern or the open room of an inn, a bard approaches the characters with a forlorn expression, strumming wistfully on his lute. He explains that he:
      • 1-2: had his bag stolen from his room and suspects whoever took it has yet to leave the property. While he can’t locate it, he’s owned it long enough to attune to its presence, and he’s certain it’s still right here. While he has a reputation as a capable musician and storyteller, he also has other less reputable habits likely to have drawn the ire or attentions of others;
      • 3-4: wrote a song about the character’s most recent and public adventure and intended to perform it tonight, but someone took the manuscript along with his bag. It wouldn’t warrant a mention if not for the fact the manuscript contains his rough notes that specify the characters names or what loot they stole – something that in the wrong hands might make them the targets of thieves or revenge;
      • 5-6: held a ballad in the bag intended to magically defeat a monster threatening the city / settlement / local folk. He fears the minions / followers / worshippers of said monster may have taken it – and suggests that if the characters recover it they might share in the benefits of the monster’s downfall.
    • The bard will pay or offer his services in return for anything the characters do to help, should they ask.
  2. a Book Sleeve. A wraparound case for a large book; soft on the inside and crafted from leather on the outside.
    • ODD: The characters buy a book from a merchant and it comes sleeved. Some time after the purchase, the sleeve:
      • 1-2: falls from the book and transforms, turning into a thief wearing a cloak made of the same material. He proceeds to rifle through the character’s possessions, taking anything valuable, and then seeks to make his escape;
      • 3-4: comes loose and the character realise that the inner surface of the sleeve bears an inscription, warning or even a map;
      • 5-6: starts to whisper and hiss, uttering words that hover on the edge of comprehension. If a character meditates upon the sleeved book they make out muttered marginalia the author never added to the book – his thoughts, conclusions and daydreams, which might lead to any number of strange adventures, encounters or valuable secrets.
    • EVEN: The characters discover the book sleeve in a library, treasure chest or tucked away in a pile of junk. The sleeve has dimensions suited to a hardback bound reference book rather than a diary (but such a sleeve might equally turn up). Should the character choose to sleeve a book, the item:
      • 1. protects the item covered from any damage. While covered, this also means no one can write in or erase the content, as the pages repel ink;
      • 2. backs up the content of the volume. If the character removes the sleeve and places it on another volume, of at least equal internal dimensions, it will show identical notes. On removing the sleeve from the ‘copy’, the writing disappears – such that the sleeve could not serve as a cheap Xerox device;
      • 3. shrinks in size down to the size of a pocket book, whatever the original dimensions. While sleeved and shrunk, the character cannot open the book, no matter how much they try to force the pages apart. The book can still suffer damage in this state – a character simply can’t read it;
      • 4. translate the content of the volume into a [randomly selected] language, or vice versa if placed on a volume already written in that language. Damage to the sleeve or book while translated garbles the text into an unreadable and indecipherable state;
      • 5. changes the appearance of the pages as to appear as a foreign travel guide to a long lost city, written in a dead language. On removing the sleeve, the book returns to the original state. Practically, the character might translate and refer to the travel guide, which itself might have some value;
      • 6. displays a previously hidden runic symbol on the front cover, associated with an ancient god of destruction or ignorance. If the character places their palm over the symbol for three heartbeats, the sleeve and the book with disintegrate into dust.
  3. a Plush Animal. An amateurish rendering of a creature made from off-cuts of fabric, stuffed with straw and sporting button eyes.
    • ODD: The characters discover the stuffed animal discarded along their path or road, or perhaps tucked away in a chest or bag. The doll animates if splashed with:
      • 1: blood;
      • 2: holy water;
      • 3: vinegar;
      • 4: amniotic fluid;
      • 5: a herbal tincture, the recipe for which appears embroidered on the animal’s belly;
      • 6: tears of a newborn child
    • And becomes a:
      • 1: dog, with a scent that it follows unerringly, though to what end isn’t clear unless followed;
      • 2: magpie, with a liking for shiny things, the nearest of which it will find and bring back to the person who revived it;
      • 3: dragon, trapped by a sorcery in ancient times and now seeking a means to reverse the curse and prepared to gift who assist with a treasure;
      • 4: plush eyeless bear, which remains an eyeless plush, but imbues the person holding it with enhanced senses of sight and smell, while diminishing vision to a shadowy blur;
      • 5: cat, while the individual who revived it becomes a thinking, speaking, mobile plush replica. The cat immediately runs away, but must be recovered or render the transition permanent;
      • 6: chimera, which immediately attacks out of panic and confusion, having been trapped in this form by a collector of some lost civilisation.
    • The transformation generally lasts for an hour and will end early only through intervention by a high level dispel or miracle.
    • EVEN: The characters come across a weeping child in the middle of a busy marketplace, inconsolable over the loss of his plush toy. Whether or not the characters immediately assist, they stumble across the doll an hour later – wherever they happen to be at the time. Do they return it?
      • 1: If they return it, they discover the child’s father is a local trader of some influence who will broker a discount off their next purchase;
      • 2: When they touch it, they’ve fallen into a trap – as the child was a decoy for a sting by a local guild or crime family, and the toy is a sort of homing beacon to a bunch of toughs, thieves or keen apprentices;
      • 3: If they return it, they receive the heartfelt gratitude of the child and the promise of a favour – which you should return to them in some later unrelated adventure – possibly even an unrelated game – but do it with clear reference to the encounter;
      • 4: Upon returning it, the characters release a minor servitor daemon who had been bound by the existence of the doll, who will then enact its revenge upon whoever enslaved it – a crime which might come back to bite the characters for their involvement;
      • 5: On returning it, the child returns the key or possession stolen on first encounter, and during the interim someone else used the item for their own ends;
      • 6: If they return it, the child’s parent turns up and accuses the character of inappropriate behaviour, bringing the ire of an enraged mob down on them.
  4. a Component Organiser. A collapsing fabric box that, when opened, expands into nine compartments for holding a selection of oddments.
    • ODD: The court advisor to a local monarch seeks the assistance of anyone with tracking skill to find an item he describes as an Organiser, a fabric bundle tied up with a leather cord. A courier carrying the item:
      • 1-2: died at the hands of bandits who took the item along with his horse and coin purse, but have discarded the item somewhere in their lair;
      • 3-4: handed the package willingly on to a spy for a neighbouring realm or city, but pretends to have been roughed up by bandits;
      • 5-6: got drunk on-route and lost the organiser in a game of cards to a itinerant magic-user who recognized the value of the item without much care for what it contained). The advisor will pay well for the return of the Organiser, complete and intact.
    • EVEN: The characters find the Organiser abandoned somewhere, folded and tied up tight with a length of ribbon. On opening the Organiser, they find it contains:
      • 1: spell components of a magical practitioner of some forbidden art, certain to seek out whoever holds the Organiser and punish them for the theft;
      • 2: the composite elements of a small daemonic statue;
      • 3: the dissected organs of a dangerous animal;
      • 4: the thrice-blessed relics of a hokey upstart religion;
      • 5: a collection of letters, relating some embarrassing romantic liaison;
      • 6: eight odds and ends that appear to be nothing more than random knick-knacks, but if they can figure out what connects them and find the missing item, it will lead them to a discovery, magical object, or quest item.
  5. a Utility Apron. A ribbon-belted apron with an array of pockets on the front.
    • ODD: The characters face an opponent wearing a tattered and stained apron. The apron:
      • 1-2: appears to be made from weather-stained leather, deeply ingrained with streaks of what looks like rust – and while worn, any blades or sharp objects in the owner’s possession never dull;
      • 3-4: has a strange patchwork appearance, with fragments of heraldry from hundreds of houses and families of blood, imbuing the wearer with a staggering charisma and a tone as of one privileged with command;
      • 5-6: shows the russet stains of splashed blood and gore, having once belonged to an executioner. The spirit of the uncompromising butcher instils the wearer with a singular focus and rage upon an individual perceived to have committed some heinous transgression, until such time as they have paid the price for that act.
    • EVEN: While shopping for goods in a local market, the characters witness a young woman, wearing an apron and attire similar to the other traders and tinkers, stealing goods from a food stall. She takes several items and stuffs them into the pockets of the apron, but the apron gathers no bulk in the process and the pockets do not fill or spill the items. Anyone following her further will see similar activity around stalls selling clothes, hardware and pretty much anything else. The apron pockets still show no evidence of her crime and even when someone glances her way, they take no offence and make no accusations. She’s:
      • 1: a witch gathering components for a tricky ritual;
      • 2: a thief cheating in his exam;
      • 3: a wizard’s apprentice misusing a magic item;
      • 4: a sorcerer with a short fuse and a self-righteous attitude;
      • 5: a time traveller gathering samples for a museum;
      • 6: a deity out for entertainment and fun, which she’ll take at other’s expense… perhaps having stolen items reappear in the packs or pockets of the characters.
  6. a Stylish Capelet. A warm and splash-proof cloak suited to a small sized creature (or perhaps an animal, like a dog).
    • ODD: The characters discover a small corpse at the side of the road. It would appear to be a [small lawfully aligned creature] who has expired (1-2: from exposure; 3-4: from poisoning, only evident with an autopsy; 5-6: from a spell that exploded his heart, evident from a livid bruise on his chest). A search of his person and possessions reveals:
      • 1-2: a map of tunnels beneath a named city with three stars marked in different and distant locations;
      • 3-4: a wax sleeve sewn into the lining containing a set of compromising lithographs depicting a local mayor engaged in lewd recreation with [select appropriate creature or species likely to raise a ruckus];
      • 5-6: a slip of paper bearing a name of someone known to the characters and a secreted brown bottle of noxious poison.
    • EVEN: The characters discover the capelet in a treasure chest or hung up in a room. It would appear to be made from:
      • 1-2: star stuff, a black and speckle material that works perfectly as a cloak by day, but between sunset and sunrise exerts a weight ten times normal gravity, pulling whoever wears it to the floor or cracking the furniture/floor beneath them if flimsy;
      • 3-4: human skin, and when worn, whoever the wearer last touch suffers the damage of the first strike suffered after donning it – which might serve to offset the damage, but might also serve to warn someone to their peril;
      • 5-6: woven heather, which keeps the wearer warm and scented like forest in the summer, even if smeared with excrement, the gore of a slaughterhouse, or the sweat of a hard day’s labour.

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