Nine Items Your Tabletop Character Should Always Carry
Creative thinking can lead to some of the greatest moments in a player’s tabletop roleplaying game career. Ask any long-time player and they can tell you story after story of ingenious ideas and their crazy outcomes. Thinking outside the box on how a spell can be used or using an item in an unconventional way can lead to some truly spectacular results and even better, help the players feel like the heroes they’re playing! Although there is a lot to track, such as abilities, allies, story progression, and a million other things, here are nine items guaranteed to prove their usefulness in any campaign.
Whether you just found out the cellar rats weren’t quite as small as you were told, or a being just a little late in stopping the cultist leader from summoning the all-powerful demon, sometimes fighting just isn’t an option. That’s when someone emptying a bag of marbles or scattering some caltrops could prove very useful. They can cause enemies to fall, maybe take some damage, but no matter what, they’ll do exactly what you need most. Buy some time so you and the party can “tactically retreat” and rethink how you’re going to do this.
Box of Matches
As simple as starting the campfire after a day’s travels to burning down the bad guy’s lair. I doubt you would be surprised how much one match can light on fire. Often however, stealth is key. Although a normal torch can certainly light other objects on fire, it’s pretty to notice. One might suggest using a magic item but ultimately, who wants to reduce their wand of fireball to what is essentially a lighter. A box of matches is cheap, easy to carry, and can be used by anyone.
There’s lots of great things about chalk. It comes a lot of colors, is extremely cheap, comes in a bunch of colors, and can be used to draw on nearly anything. Probably the most obvious use is for scouting ahead and finding a safe path for the rest of the party. Especially if there are some who aren’t quite as agile or quiet as the party rogue. Coming up with a simple color code is a snap and can even add a depth of flavor that sometimes is absent in dungeon crawling.
For those of you who may not know, there are a lot of things that could do some nasty damage just by looking into their eyes. Basilisks and Medusas can easily overwhelm an adventuring party if they’re not careful. Regardless of genre, a mirror on handle used to look around a corner could prove the difference between a stab in the back or success.
Along your travels, you’re bound to collect different knick-knacks and trinkets of different kinds. Whether it be an extra measure of rope, tools of the trade, weapons, or simply extra storage space, a leather pouch can be attached to nearly anything including pant legs, backpacks, or animal companions.
Along the same vein of extra vials and bottles, leather pouches can prove invaluable for a number of reasons.
There are so many uses for blankets. Besides providing warmth, they can be used for an impromptu torch, handling hazardous material, poor-man’s disguise, rope for tying objects together, emergency shelter, and even in extreme cases, a weapon. Although certainly not optimal in nearly any situation, a blanket’s near universal utility makes it a necessary item in the pack.
One important moment each player group eventually realizes, not every enemy needs to be killed. In some cases, it is advantageous to capture enemies. Maybe the captured enemy can tell the party some useful information, used as an enemy interest, or lead them to previously inaccessible areas. The trick is, there aren’t a lot of enemies who will generally turn coat just because they were beat in a single fight. Less, if they’re dead. A simple solution is to carry a pair of handcuffs. They make it hard to get away unnoticed, fight you, or generally being uncooperative.
One word. Notes. Not only is important for a player to take notes on the world and story they’re playing, but player characters also should have a collection of paper to use. At the very least, something the character can use to take notes of the world around them. This can be useful for identifying obscure glyphs, storing important paperwork, and general information collected from journals, scrolls, etc. It’s one small thing that pays for itself over the course of a campaign.
I’m not talking about a dagger. Instead, use a solid survival knife to split kindling, shimmy open a door, pry open compartments, cut rope, or scratch signals in a tunnel. They’re small and having a designated, normal knife will make sure all your other weapons stay in tip top condition.