Cheap, pointless, magical items for carnival prizes

Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

For the campaign I am currently in we have no set DM. We are taking turns writing modules or story archs. At the end of this month it will be my turn to DM and I'm doing a Halloween themed event, because how fun is that.
I present to you Dr. Elix Elizer's Twilight Carnival.
I intend to incorporate a haunted house, a house of curiosities, scavenger hunt, pumpkin carving contest, a test- your-strength arena challenge, as well as various food and drinks (both in game and irl) and more (still brainstorming)

Each event with merit a certain number of carnival tokens depending on how fast or how well the players do. These tokens has be redeemed for carnival prizes.

I want to have four prize boxes, each with a bunch of random items.
1 token prize box will have silly mundane items with a small chance for a silly magical item.
5 token prize box will have a slightly higher number of magical items
10 token, even higher
20 token garenteed silly random magical item.

Any favorites or good ideas for these magical items? Either in the ultimate equipment book or house made?

how cheap is cheap here?

75 gives ioun torches. Which are just fault ioun stones (useless, but still floats) with a continual flame cast on them.

They are useless as handless torches. They are the first thing I think of as 'useful, cheap magic items'. Depending on the caster, they might be able to deal with some magical darkness too (clerics get it at a higher level than wizards, which is actually good for light spells, particularly a 'one and never need to cast it again' type like this).

Feather Tokens are cheap and don't do much. They are either weirdly circumstantial (anchor) or generic enough that they might inspire creativity in their use (tree, bird).

A number of the one-use and limited-use items would probably fit the bill as well.

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How about a comb that will comb the user's hair, but only in one specific style: center part.

A small silver bell that rings with a novelty sound (dm choice: ticking of a clock, bark of a dog, a child's laugh).

A hand mirror that shows the user in front of an unreal background of a fancy suite.

A brass duck figurine that swims in circles when placed in water.

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Prestidigitation effects bonded to items (rightly) get no space in magic item tables, but would be my go-to here.

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My swash would love a outfit that self cleans itself...

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Scythia wrote:
A small silver bell that rings with a novelty sound (dm choice: ticking of a clock, bark of a dog, a child's laugh).

This went from neat to potentially super creepy in a heartbeat.

"Hey, guys? This dungeon has been sealed for decades, right?"

"Yes. Why do you ask?"

*child's laughter echoes through the tunnels*

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How about a pill of instant water. Just add water. [A few drops will activate it, but the created water has no container, so unless they thought to put it in a container, it gets wasted.]

Also a sippy cup of water. Always half full of clean water. It only lets you get a sip at a time. Optional: each sip also causes a few drops to fall out of the cup.

Pad of endless paper, 2"x2", not sticky. Write as many notes as you want, but you have limited space to write it into. Optional: each piece of paper disappears 24 hours after leaving the pad.


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An inkwell that always has ink for the pen. You can't pour it out, though.

A hand mirror that reflects an image of you wearing any garment (including armor) that you are holding.

A bar of soap. No matter how much you wash with it it's like new tomorrow. Attempting to remove soap is permanent, though.

A pillow. Toss it on a bed and the bed is perfectly made.

A wand of treasure finding, fully recharged each day. Unfortunately, the creator was seeking something very specific and not generally valuable and that's all it can find. There is no indication of this, it just fails to find treasure until the right target is close enough.

Self-cleaning dishes. Just put them away, they'll be fine next meal.

A backpack that, space permitting, will always scurry out of the way if it's in the way. (It doesn't avoid being picked up, it just gets out of the way if you try to walk through the space it's in.)

A shadow dog. Normally it will sit upon you somewhere--the result is a dog-shaped blackness on your clothing, or body if you aren't wearing a big enough piece of clothing, but if you throw anything which isn't destroyed in the process it will jump off you and try to fetch it. It will not enter a square occupied by anyone not known to it, if no acceptable path exists it will wait until one does. It can jump onto any wall and move in shadow form at speed 5. It can't do ceilings, though. (Wall = any solid surface within 30 degrees of vertical.) Thus it can go up or down cliffs. It fetches one item at a time. It has an unerring sense of where anything it saw land is and a 50% chance to find where something whose landing was unobserved is. Other than it's ability to walk on walls it can only go where a normal dog could. It moves at half speed in the area of any light spell, is suppressed for spell level * caster level hours by any light spell targeted on it and destroyed by any damage-dealing light spell targeted on it. Any shadow attack on it doubles it's speed for caster level (or creature HD0 hours. Any other source of damage is non-lethal, the dog vanishes at 0hp but returns at 1hp.

A shadow cat. It moves and is affected as per a shadow dog. However, if the owner is awake the shadow cat is always asleep. When they sleep the shadow cat will leave. When they wake the shadow cat will return within 1 minute. It will be bringing a dead mouse if mice exist in the environment.

A shadow bird. It is affected by magic as per the other shadow animals, but it moves by flight. If the owner wakes before sunrise the shadow bird flies off. It returns at sunrise with a dead worm assuming they exist in the environment.

No shadow animal will leave it's owner if the local environment is inhospitable to an animal of it's type. All have an unerring sense of where their owner is and can find them even across continents so long as a path exists. Shadow animals need neither food nor water.

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How about a few gag items?

Potion or Scroll of Feather Fall
Potion of Hold Person
Potion of Gentle Repose
Scroll of Read Magic

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real items or can items be made up? i was thinking a die that would add a number of freckles on your face equal to the number rolled on the die and the effect lasts 1 min, another could be a deck of cards that minorly changes features about the person for a small amount of time like you have purple hair now or your shoe size is one size larger

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1. a wonderful set of gnomish combs, one for every type of body hair; when used they also change the color of said hair (may be random or deliberate)

2. Mirror of Affirmations: when gazed upon it delivers a random compliment such as "your eyes sparkle in that outfit" or "confidence radiates from your winning smile"

3. Cup of Drink Chillng: upon filling the cup with liquid and speaking the command word (Netflix) the liquid is chilled to a cool but drinkable temperature

4. Whistle of Many Bird Calls: may simulate the sound of any fowl desired. Not a speak with animals effect and has no ability to compel the bird to any form of action.

5. Eversmoking Pipe: this device can create whispy, tobacco-scented smoke upon speaking the first command word; a second one ends the effect. The smoke delivers no concealment but it acts like normal smoke once it leaves the pipe. Even if the smoke is somehow contained each individual puff fades after one hour

6. Whirlygig: this yo-yo device knots itself on command to the wielder's finger and can be commanded to release itself as well. When spun it purrs, almost like a cat. It can also be commanded to go weightless whereupon it floats in midair (please note: Whirlygig can only support itself and up to one pound of material; this is NOT advised for levitating the wielder). Finally certain frenetic tricks performed with the Whirlygig cause it to make a buzzing sound like a saw, flicker with multi-colored lights (in total only illuminating as a Candle) and even discharge several (harmless) sparks of static

Also, how about some with a Halloween like theme?

1. Bat Lights: bat-shaped creations of a rubbery, flexible material roughly the size of a bow tie; upon command they make a repetitive shriek, flutter through the air (Fly 5'; Poor) and their eyes glow with an eerie red light (Illumination as Candle). The wielder can direct their movement but there is no way to shut off sound or light without employing other spells or effects (throw a towel over it)

2. Vampire Kisses: a pair of false fangs worn in the mouth of the wielder. While the device itself appears obviously fake and are incapable of dealing any damage to an opponent, they nonetheless radiate minor magic. When fitted in the mouth if the wielder applies their lips to the neck of a willing recipient, said recipient gains an illusory pair of puncture marks in that spot as well as a small trickle of dried blood around the affected area.

3. Amulet of Eerie Underglow: when worn and commanded this wolf-headed torc emits a creepy, flickering illumination (as Candle) but magically only rises up the neck to light the underside of the wearer's head

4. Dust of the Grave: single-use item that, when applied to the skin makes it appear pale and bloodless. The powder also carries the mingled scents of grave-rot and loamy earth. The effect lasts for 1 hour or until washed off

5. Ghostly Creeper: this is a pillowcase with a pair of eyes and a mouth drawn upon it in an eerie, glowing ink. Upon command the device floats, fluttering from below as if born aloft on a breeze; the fluttering bottom of the sheet disappears into three inches of green-glowing smoke (water vapor that evaporates harmlessly beyond the three inch barrier). Finally the Ghostly Creeper emits either the sound of rattling chains, otherworldly moans, or the word "BOOOOOOO" over and over. The Ghostly Creeper can move in a direction commanded by the wielder at a rate of 1'/round

6. Bloodwax Candle: this candle, once burning, cannot be snuffed by any mundane means (a spell of 0 level or better will end the effect) and burns for one hour. During that time any wax melting off of the device carries the scent of fresh blood and turns from a tallow white to a sanguine red. After the candle finishes burning all of the dried wax evaporates

Basically I just picked out non-combat affecting Cantrips (Prestidigitation, Dancing Lights, Ghost Sound) and added them to items. If players conceive ways of using these "useless" items for an actual, mechanical benefit I might give them things like adding a +2 Circumstance bonus to Intimidation to Demoralize or something.

there might be something thematic you could convert from the following for a rare prize:

PRICE 3,500 GP
SLOT shoulders CL 5th WEIGHT 1 lb.
AURA faint abjuration and conjuration
This forest-green wool cloak is thick and warm. Its hem and the edge of its hood are embroidered with small figures of forest creatures (rabbits, squirrels, and the like) in white thread.
When worn, this cloak bestows a +1 resistance bonus on all saving throws. The wearer can remove the cloak at any time and lay it on the ground outdoors. This ends the resistance bonus but summons a number of animals from the cloak. The animals serve the character who summoned them for 10 minutes (or until slain or returned to the cloak’s folds). A summoned creature can follow any of the commands described in the Handle Animal skill. Use the following tables to determine what animals can be called forth.
The cloak summons creatures only when laid down outdoors on naturally occurring ground (not, for example, on a wooden deck or stone pathway). The cloak can be used to summon animals up to three times per day.
d% Animal
01–30 1 owl
31–60 1d3 rats
61–75 1 weasel
76–90 1d6 squirrels
91–100 1d4 rabbits
Craft Wondrous Item, resistance, summon nature’s ally I"

just change the animals to more Halloween themed creatures like a bat, raccoon, spiders, black cat, etc.

Shadow Lodge

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Bag of Treats: On command, this belt pouch fills itself with an assortment of confections. The Bag of Treats can produce enough food to sustain a single medium or small size creature, but because the treats are of poor nutritional value treat this as wandermeal. Offers of sweets may also provide a +2 circumstance bonus on certain Diplomacy checks, GM's discretion. (If you want it to be even more useful, allow it to produce a slightly wider variety of treats, such as dried fruit or jerky, and allow the bonus to be used on Handle Animal checks.)

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When my GM ran us through Murder's Mark, he also gave out small memorabilia. I got a tiny figurine of a mammoth (my character came from the Mammoth Lords) I could tie to my weapon, similar to a cell phone charm. I thought that was kinda cute, especially since he tied it into my backstory.

Also, Googling "d&d joke items" comes up with a lot of threads. I already found a few I'm stealing for my campaign. >_>

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Pipe of Rings: allows you to control the movement of mundane smoke produced by the pipe within close range. Useful for smoke rings.

Whistle of Owl Summoning: Summons an owl 3/day when blown. Offers no control over it however.

True Wine: Changes colour to gold if an object immersed in it is at least 90% pure gold. One use only.

No one's mentioned the Glittering Trinket yet? Possibly an even cheaper version for a carnival.

I would think magical items at a carnival would have a value less than 25gp and would have powers in the realm of cantrips with about 7 charges(uses). This would give the carnival time to move on before the batteries ran out...
Of course there's the minor cursed item assortment...

Dark Archive

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I see the Scroll of Read Magic has already been mentioned. It is my favorite "nonsense" scroll, and costs only 12,5gp.

I have played in a home-game in which we sometimes find really strange magic items. They might be fun additions here as well.

The Banana of Holding: an empty banana from which only the top can be opened. Works as a Bag of Holding, but the opening is only big enough for coins. Can hold on to 10 lbs of coinage, and if you ever peel the banana, the item becomes non-magical.

Canister of Infinite Toilet Paper: This canister creates infinite supplies of scented, soft toilet paper. The paper disappears after 1 hour.

Self Heating Kettle: The name kinda explains it all. Heats any liqued inside, but you have no control over the temperature (just keeps boiling until you pour it out).

Oil of Instant Portrait: This is just a simple "take a picture" spell, but it is also something that a child might have fun with, creating instant "art" of whatever it sees.

Gnomish Cooking Utensils: Non-Magical (I think...). Think an Hand-operated Egg Beater, but instead of whisks at the end, there are spatulas that flop around and clap together ever time you rotate the wheel.

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Raucous Canards

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Grab something from Willy Wonka, like fizzy lifting drinks(that levitate you one inch over solid ground) or gum meals(that change your skin, hair, and eye color for twenty-four hours). Children NPCs will love them.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

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A slow mirror with a dial that causes it to delay what it is reflecting by 1 to 60 seconds.

A comb that changes your hair color.

A spice shaker that lets you select your choice of salt, pepper, sugar, garlic, onion, cinnamon, etc.

A glove that acts as a swift action mage hand.

An endless bunch of grapes.

Shoes that sound like they're going away from you.

Spectacles that translate from Language X to Language Y.

Matches that start different colored fires.

Chalk that draws string.

A fishing lure that works all the time.

An umbrella with lots of hidden compartments and alchemical substances and devices.

A hand-held hoop that amplifies your voice by x10.

A bell or whistle or horn that can only be heard by a specific alignment, creature type, religion, faction, bloodline, family, etc.

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I'l take inspiration from some loot we got in a dungeon and say, A Wand of Detect Good! (We got a bunch of those..)

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A kazoo of fog - like a horn of fog, except less effective and more annoying. It fills your square, or a single square adjacent to you, with fog that gives concealment, which dissipates after 1 round.

Cutting Board of Cleanliness - Selfcleans and doesn't absorb any smells.

Pool Noodle of Amazing Buoyancy - This pink wobbly..... thing..... is magically imbued to support up to 300 pounds of weight in calm water.

Animated Deck of Monsters - These playing cards have simple moving animations of some of the most dangerous monsters in the world. If a character studies them at the start of the day for 10 minutes, he gets a +2 to the first knowledge check to identify a monster that day.

Gnome Voice Candy - A bag of colored hard candy. If you suck on one, your voice changes pitch drastically for 1 minute.

potion of exquisite plumage - For 1 hour, your whole body is covered in an amazing array of colorful feathers.

Tankard of Mediocre Ale - This tankard fills with 1 pint of mediocre ale at sundown. It is not refrigerated by itself. Still, it's better than nothing!

Mechanical Coal-miners Canary - this tiny construct in a rather unwieldy cage will squeak for 1 minute when it detects poison (As if casting Detect Poison At-will), then cease to function.

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Sensational Candy: The candy creates a temporary synesthesia effect.

  • Roll 1d6 to find out which sense is effected: (1) Touch, (2) Sight, (3) Smell, (4) Hearing, (5) Taste, (6) Pain
  • Roll 1d6 to see what sense the effected sense is replaced by: (1) Touch, (2) Sight, (3) Smell, (4) Hearing, (5) Taste, (6) Pain

Monkey's Paws: Gloves that allow the wearer to walk on their hands as if they were feet.

Pizzlewatt's Perfect Beer: Why is it perfect? It only exists for twelve hours, which means when it leaves your system, so does the hangover!

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Hat of disguise that only makes you look like a court jester.

Bookmark that casts make whole on any book, once a day.

Cheap holy symbols. Collect them all. (magical only when worn by clerics, true believers, and related classes)

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There's a whole realm of stuff you can mine from searching for some general sorts of terms as well.

"Useless magic items," "near-useless magic items," expanded homebrew trinkets lists for D&D 5e would be great for this, even some of the official trinkets from WOTC would be great magic carnival prizes.

Of course, the whole tradition of perennial threads about creative uses for useless items is testament that certain players will find a way to leverage just about anything.

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In one of my games I gave the players a failed wand of cure light wounds. It worked as intended 90% of the time, but on a 91-100% it would misfire and cast a 0 level cleric spell of my choice. Usually light or create water. They called it the wand of HMO; usually helps you, sometimes makes things slightly worse and wastes your time.

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WhiteMagus2000 wrote:
In one of my games I gave the players a failed wand of cure light wounds. It worked as intended 90% of the time, but on a 91-100% it would misfire and cast a 0 level cleric spell of my choice. Usually light or create water. They called it the wand of HMO; usually helps you, sometimes makes things slightly worse and wastes your time.

That doesn't sound too bad.... unless it casts bleed on someone that you were rushing to heal because they went into negative HP....

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