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Folk Magic: Beggar Magic

Folk Magic: Beggar Magic

Fakir

In a world suffused with magic, what kind of magic do common folk use in their day-to-day lives? What so-called hedge magic is used by the peasantry to make their lives a little more manageable, productive, and safe in their huts and hovels?

Vault of Magic has scores of options for adventurers! Here are a few magic items used by the lowest of the low, beggars, in a high-magic campaign.

Trickster’s Charm

Wondrous Item, Uncommon (Requires Attunement)

This carved wooden icon of a trickster god is usually worn on a leather thong around the neck. It gives advantage on all Charisma (Persuasion) or (Deception) checks regarding begging and asking for alms.

Gruel Bowl

Wondrous Item, Common

This small, carved wooden bowl has the rune for food etched on the bottom. When the rune is pronounced aloud (once per day), it is filled with a gray, tasteless paste that contains enough nutrients to feed one Medium Humanoid for one day. It is rumored that a version of these bowls created by a goddess creates a true feast each day.

Beggar’s Charm

Wondrous Item, Uncommon (Requires Attunement)

These small, beaten copper discs bear the image of a trickster demigod, and create a glamour around the attuned wearer. The wearer appears more pathetic and pitiable, missing limbs and/or digits, with great sores weeping pus. These trinkets are normally given out by thieves’ guilds to their medicant auxiliaries to increase their begging profits, or to distract while beggars act as lookouts for the thieves.

Salted Tin

Wondrous Item, Common

This small begging bowl made of wood or tin, has the rune for coin etched underneath. When the rune is pronounced aloud, the illusion of a few copper coins appears in the bowl, thereby “salting the tin” as the phrase goes in Thieves’ Cant. Professional mendicants know that almsgivers are more likely to give if there are already a few coins in the bowl. Like the Beggar’s Charm (above), they are often given out by thieves’ guilds to enhance the take.

Coins of Mammon

Wondrous Item, Rare (Requires Attunement)

These three golden coins bear the image of Mammon on them. No matter how or where they are spent, they always return to the coinpurse or coffer of their attuned owner. Note that all three must be spent together. If they are spent separately, they do not return, and the attuned owner finds that they have also lost 3–9 additional gold coins, gems, or the equivalent in personal treasure.

Amulet of Vardesain

Wondrous Item, Rare (Requires Attunement)

These dull, pewter amulets bear the image of a ghoulish skull. Any living creature attuned to the amulet cannot die of hunger, but is still wracked with hunger pains. For each day in a row they go without eating, there is a 1% chance they are transformed into a ghoul. If a 1 is rolled on the percentile dice, the bearer is transformed into a ghast, and if a 100 is rolled, they are transformed into a darakhul.

Black Cauldron of the Goat

Wondrous Item, Rare (Requires Attunement)

This large black cauldron, forged from cold “sky” iron that has fallen to earth, is engraved with images of wheat stalks, crabs and octopi. Whatever organic material (fur, rotten meat, live rodents, mildewed barley, teeth, or claws) is thrown into the cauldron and boiled, becomes an edible and addictively delicious stew. Some say excessive consumption of the “Goat’s Stew” brings prophetic visions and madness.

Any creature that consumes the stew three days or more in a row experiences a dark prophetic vision (DM’s discretion). After the vision occurs, the creature must then succeed on a DC 13 Wisdom check or acquire a random madness (DM’s discretion). Each day the creature eats from the cauldron afterward, it must make a DC 8 Constitution saving throw. On a failure, the creature is transformed into a random aberration (DM’s discretion). The curse can be lifted by the casting of any of the following spells: remove curse, lesser or greater restoration, miracle, or wish.

Bone Necklace of the Moon

Wondrous Item, Rare (Requires Attunement)

These necklaces made of finger bones are crafted by devotees and priestesses of the moon goddess. The attuned wearer loses 2 points each of Strength and Constitution during the day. After the sun sets, they gain 2 points each of Strength, Constitution until the sun rises, and can use the rage class feature once per night as a 1st-level barbarian. If the wearer rages three nights or more in a row, they must make a DC 12 Constitution check. On a failure, they are permanently transformed into an orc.

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Want more magic for your game? Of course you do. You’re no simpleton.
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about Adam W. Roy

Adam has been playing TTRPGs for almost forty years, and has been a freelance game writer and editor for decades. He has written for Kobold Press, Paizo, White Wolf, and others. He is also a full-time father, husband, and e-commerce guru…. He manages all of this by avoiding sleep altogether.

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