A Chest of Magical Enchantments!

A Chest of Enchantments!

Magic items… The objects of great quests–and even the most stalwart hero will get starry-eyed with greed for them. The Fantasy Trip had a good (if sometimes confusing) system for creating them–but the list in the canon books was kinda short. Other sources and game systems have a plethora of magic items, sources that need to be mined for TFT use. The goal of this column is to do just that.

What is Currently in The Fantasy Trip

In the canon rules, magic item creation is split into three major sections: Weapon/Armor Enchantment; Lesser Magic Item Creation; and Greater Magic Item Creation. Weapon/Armor Enchantment is for, well, enchanting weapons and armor to give various bonuses. Lesser Magic Item Creation is for creating items that mimic spells with IQ 14 and below; Greater Magic Item Creation is for spells of IQ 15 or more.

The rules also give a pretty detailed table for each spell, and other items that do not fit neatly into using a particular spell. The table lists “street costs”, special ingredients and other requirements for each.

Finally, the rules give a process for determining exactly what it takes to create any give item, including the impacts of additional spells on the item.

In general, I think this system works pretty well. It can be a tad complicated at times, but it is still formulaic. The problem comes in when you want to make “special” items like crystal balls or other things that do not fit in exactly with a spell. You have to use some judgement and wing it.

Plans for Additions and Conversion

I don’t have a problem with that–it leaves some wiggle room for tailoring items to particular worlds or campaigns. What I plan to do with this column is start converting various magic items from other sources and game systems into TFT, and publishing them here.

I also plan to make the magic item table in Advanced Wizard a downloadable file as well, and update it with new items that I add here. And if there are any that you want to submit–please send them on!

Some Samples…

And to whet your appetite, here a couple magic items that I converted (loosely) from AD&D…

The Gem of Seeing

The Gem of Seeing is a special scrying tool, used by wizards engaged in ceremonial magics. Similar to a crystal ball, it can see other places, but not other times. The Gem of Seeing allows a wizard to cast the Scrying spell, using 1 less die than normal. It is commonly used to assist in improving the chances of the Scrying portion of a magic ceremony succeeding. The ST cost to use the Gem of Seeing is 15.

Greater Magic Item
Price: $45,000.
Weeks to Make : 40.
ST/day: 175.
Cost/Week of Ingredients: $0.
Starting Item and Ingredients Required Weekly: $1,000 gem.

The Skeleton Key

The Skeleton Key is a cursed magic item. It allows the holder to open a lock with the Knock spell on any lock, and does not expire. The catch is that the more the key is used, there is a greater chance that a skeleton will be summoned, who will attack the holder.

The first time the Key is used, the player rolls 2 dice against the character’s IQ. Each additional time he uses the Key, the player adds an additional die. If the character fails the roll against his IQ, a magical skeleton appears on the other side of the door and attacks the holder when he opens the door. The ST cost to use the Skeleton Key: 2 ST.

Skeleton: ST 14, DX 12, IQ 2, MA 10. Attacks with claws that do 1d+1 damage each turn. The skeleton is a magical creation, and not a true undead creature. It cannot be turned–just destroyed.

Greater Magic Item
Price: $9,000.
Weeks to Make: 6 weeks.
ST/day: 350.
Cost/Week of Ingredients: $50.
Starting Item and Ingredients Required Weekly: A simply key made from a human bone, $10.

So–hopefully these two items will give you a proper taste of things to come… If you have any magic items to provide the community–let me know!

Marko ∞


  1. I finally got an opportunity to read this, and must say I like your additions! Keep ’em coming!

    I also have to agree that the rules for creating magical items are a bit…fiddly, at times. But I think the real problem comes from the fact that they were poorly written and poorly edited. I suspect that one of the first things Steve Jackson would re-write, were he given the opportunity, would be the rules for magic items and potions creation, to simplify and streamline them. I also suspect that his examples (which were more confusing than the rules themselves — simply because they seemed to contradict the rules themselves) would get a serious re-vamp as well. I’ll be interested to see what you do with the system here.

  2. Even with the errata from Space Gamer 29 (which cleaned up the examples), the sections on Chemistry/Alchemy and Magic Items are hard to follow. I am going to try to clean some of the process up just for my own sanity. I also want to add more flavor to the potion rules.

    What I really want to do for the Chest, though, is add new magic items for everyone to use. Considering some of the things that Steve Jackson has said about wanting retro-clones off the market, I wonder if I will have to take down some of the info on this site–and only be able to post additions…

  3. I know, it’s a pity in a way (though don’t get me wrong — as I said elsewhere, I would cheerfully mortgage my soul and give 40% of the stock to get TFT back in print again); because it makes for a lot of confusion out here in the active fan world. Your best bet is to definitely contact Steve and talk to him. Find out what he thinks and his feeling is on where he wants to go. Obviously, now that he HAS copyright, he’s got to protect it or it’s worthless, but he’s always struck me as a very sensible and reasonable man who is willing to work with people of good intent. You, likewise, strike me that way; I can’t see the two of you not coming to some kind of agreement and setting some mutually acceptable ground rules!

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