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Folk Magic: Magic Items for City Dwellers

Folk Magic: Magic Items for City Dwellers

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 butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker—all to make their lives a little more manageable, productive, and safe?

Here are some items used by the denizens of large cities.

Book of Remembrance

Wondrous Item, Uncommon

When the owner traces their finger across a page of this small black book, they can record a thought, desire, or memory up to three sentences long without ink or quill. They decide at the time whether it is visible only to them or to everyone.

Casket of Decomposition

Wondrous Item, Common

These wooden coffins are carved with the rune for “decay.” Designed by necromancers and grave binders to keep cemeteries from overflowing, when these coffins are buried or enclosed in a crypt, the coffin and the body (or bodies) within crumble into dirt and dust within 24 hours. Assassins use them to quickly dispose of inconvenient bodies.

Chime of Cheaters

Wondrous Item, Common

This tiny brass bell sits on a small tripod and can be easily placed on a gaming table. When someone uses the Sleight of Hand skill or any enchantment or illusion spell is cast within 30 feet of it, the bell sounds a sharp, cheery tone. It can be suppressed by a dispel magic, silence, or anti-magic field spell.

Door Sprites

Wondrous Item, Common

These small wooden bas relief figures always come in pairs, usually carved in the shape of cartoonish fey (but could be in the shape of any paired creatures). One can be magically adhered to the doorframe of any portal or entrance to any room or building, and the other placed on a wall inside of the residence. Normally, when the fey figurine in the doorway is poked or stroked, it giggles, and the twin announces, “Visitors!” However, when a command word is spoken (usually at night, when the household goes to bed), any creature passing the threshold without saying a password triggers both figurines to shout loudly for 1 minute, heard clearly in a 50-foot radius: “Intruders! Thieves! Calamity! Alarums!” and the like. Repeating the command word again silences them.

Duster of Cleansing

Wondrous Item, Common

This turkey feather duster has the rune for “clean” etched on it. It can be brushed against any surface or material to remove dirt, mud or grime completely. Once per day, the rune can be pronounced, and the dirt is violently purged from the duster. If it is ejected in the face of a creature within 5 feet of the wielder, the target must succeed on a DC 14 Dexterity save or be blinded until the end of their next turn.

Iron Bracers

Wondrous Item, Uncommon (Requires Attunement)

Used by city guards and bounty hunters, these clockwork bands of iron spring to life as a reaction when the owner successfully grapples another creature. Unless the target succeeds on a DC 15 Dexterity save, the target is immediately shackled and fettered at wrist and ankle, acquiring the restrained condition while so bound. The owner of the bands can unlock and recall the manacles as a bonus action.

If the target succeeds on the Dexterity save, or knock or dispel magic is cast on the irons, they fall to the ground at the target’s feet. They can be recalled as a bonus action by the owner, so long as they are within 120 feet. The bracers can be used again the next round, if another creature is successfully grappled.

Pinecone of Scents

Wondrous Item, Uncommon

This enchanted pinecone absorbs strong, unpleasant smells within 60 feet. It fills up in one week. Then, if it is smashed or thrown against a hard surface, all the malodorous scents are released at once. Any creature with the ability to smell within 10 feet must succeed on a DC 13 Constitution save or suffer the poisoned condition until the end of their next round.

Rod of Disbarment

Wondrous Item, Common

This small, cold-iron rod is about 6–8 inches long and has the rune for “stop” etched on its side. When placed against a doorframe and a closed door, and the command word pronounced, it stays in place, barring and locking the door until the command word is said again. While in place, all attempts to break the door or pick the lock are made with disadvantage. The rod can also be deactivated by casting dispel magic or knock, in which case it clatters to the floor, inert, until is replaced and reactivated.

Spoon of Poisonous Colors

Wondrous Item, Common

This silver spoon can be stirred in any potable liquid. If poison exists in the liquid, the spoon crumbles and dissolves, turning the liquid an angry, violent red or a dark, curdled black, depending on the poison present (non-lethal or lethal).

Vigilant Crystal

Wondrous Item, Uncommon (Requires Attunement)

Commonly carried by merchants and caravan guards, this small, translucent crystal sphere can be worn about the neck on a thong or kept on the owner’s person. When a creature with violent intent toward the owner comes within 30 feet, the crystal glows red, vibrates strongly, and grows warm. The closer the enemy, the more these sensations increase. Any bearer so alerted cannot be surprised. All attackers have Disadvantage on attacks against the owner in the first round of combat.

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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.

1 thought on “Folk Magic: Magic Items for City Dwellers”

  1. Great ideas for magic items! I have always given cooks and bakers an Eternal Recipe Book – similar to your Book of Remembrance. Only the owner can store, read, or retrieve written recipes from one of these.

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