Junk and its uses

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Slloyd14
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Junk and its uses

Post by Slloyd14 » Fri Oct 18, 2019 8:34 pm

I think the idea of collecting junk that happens to be super useful later on is a common trope in a lot of Fighting Fantasy books (especially ones by Ian Livingstone) and I like the idea of having characters who start off with almost nothing - either as peasants, beggars, heroes who have been robbed or as part of wilderness survival.

So, with this thread, I aim to make a list of all the junk that heroes can pick up and some legitimate uses for it.

Rules:

1) The items must be really cheap if they can be bought at all. Maximum price 1sp

2) The items should not be useful as spell components - all uses should be nonmagical

3) The items should not be useful because an individual or race really covets the item - they need to have an intrinsic use.

Here are my thoughts:

Clay marbles - catching pursuers off balance (+1 to escape pursuers)
Ball of string - leave a path in a maze
Charcoal - used for writing
Chalk - used for writing or improving grip when climbing (+1 bonus)
Sand/pebbles - useful for scattering on the floor to see hidden pits or bridges painted to look like the chasm they go over.
Rags - used to cover hands when holding something dangerous or poisonous or corrosive - improvised gloves
Pole - can be used to poke floors to search for pressure plates or reach things.
Rock - can be used as a hammer or for grinding.
Wire - can be used to help pick a lock (+1 bonus)
Bamboo - can be used as a blowgun or musical instrument (or as an improvised spear)
Maggots - can be used as fishbait or to clean dead flesh from wounds (maggots only eat dead flesh and leave live flesh. In fact, maggot therapy is still a thing today!)
Manure/mud - used to disguise yourself as a filthy peasant (perhaps in an autonomous collective!) or to cover your scent (or to make yourself invisible from creatures that only see in infra red. Predators, for example)
Bone - can be used as a distraction for guard dogs or hollowed out to make a whistle or flute.
Offal - used as distraction for animal, or, at a pinch, food (only restores 1 stamina!)
Bag of flour - can be thrown at an area and cover an invisible creature
Candle - low budget light source
Torch - low budget light source
Sack - low budget storage
Needle and thread - repairing clothes

Weapons of poverty

Club - as in sourcebook
Rock - as club with -1 to damage rolls.
Shiv (sharpened piece of metal) - as dagger with -1 to damage rolls.
Shard of broken glass - as dagger with -1 to damage rolls.
Stick - as quarterstaff with -1 to damage rolls.

On another note, Bloodberries by Sean Loftis[url = "https://boardgamegeek.com/filepage/1855 ... an-loftiss"] is a one page dungeon entry using the Fighting Fantasy[/url] system with a random junk table.

Please add any more that you can think of!
http://virtualfantasies.blogspot.com/

A blog about writing gamebooks. My musings on how to write a gamebook and what makes a good gamebook.

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SkinnyOrc
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Re: Junk and its uses

Post by SkinnyOrc » Sat Oct 19, 2019 2:08 am

Finding potentially useful junk has a long and proud tradition in the FF gamebooks! :)

It makes sense you'd find this sort of stuff and it can be interesting for the players to spot the useful item amongst it. There are some decent random item tables floating around, I'm sure we could make a great big list to include the useful ones in.

drbargle
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Re: Junk and its uses

Post by drbargle » Tue Oct 22, 2019 9:17 am

One issue I can see is that, in a gamebook, the paths and choices are more tightly restricted than in a ttRPG, so the 'junk' you find at the start of the adventure will almost certainly be useful (or a nasty trap) later in the adventure. Now, you can replicate this is a ttRPG, but getting in the habit of, say, putting a conspicuous barrel of chalk dust in the first encounter that is necessary/very useful in the penultimate encounter sets up certain player expectations regarding the objects mentioned by the Director. On the other hand, putting lots of junk everywhere - not all of which the Director has an anticipated use in mind - and having the Director describe it all would be overwhelming.

I'm trying to encourage my players to interact with the environment *beyond* the GM/Director description. What I mean is that they can, in effect, 'create' plausible items, objects, etc. for that location, without me having to describe them first. They could always do this, and clever players always have, but I have needed to encourage players to look beyond the description.

Another option is to make 'having the right junk at the right time' a use of LUCK - Test Your Luck to see if you picked up any of those iron nails, or those seashells, or those sickly smelling flowers, etc. when it becomes apparent that they might indeed be useful.

Eddie
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Re: Junk and its uses

Post by Eddie » Tue Oct 22, 2019 10:47 am

in agreement with drbargle, in addition in a dungeon you can typically retrace your steps in a ttRPG but not in a CYOA book.

I like the idea in general principle, will try to put some stuff in my own adventures in future, I like it as homage to where the game(s) came from.

Slloyd14
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Re: Junk and its uses

Post by Slloyd14 » Sun Oct 27, 2019 7:56 am

drbargle wrote:
Tue Oct 22, 2019 9:17 am
One issue I can see is that, in a gamebook, the paths and choices are more tightly restricted than in a ttRPG, so the 'junk' you find at the start of the adventure will almost certainly be useful (or a nasty trap) later in the adventure. Now, you can replicate this is a ttRPG, but getting in the habit of, say, putting a conspicuous barrel of chalk dust in the first encounter that is necessary/very useful in the penultimate encounter sets up certain player expectations regarding the objects mentioned by the Director. On the other hand, putting lots of junk everywhere - not all of which the Director has an anticipated use in mind - and having the Director describe it all would be overwhelming.

I'm trying to encourage my players to interact with the environment *beyond* the GM/Director description. What I mean is that they can, in effect, 'create' plausible items, objects, etc. for that location, without me having to describe them first. They could always do this, and clever players always have, but I have needed to encourage players to look beyond the description.

Another option is to make 'having the right junk at the right time' a use of LUCK - Test Your Luck to see if you picked up any of those iron nails, or those seashells, or those sickly smelling flowers, etc. when it becomes apparent that they might indeed be useful.
This is a great idea and reminds me of this prestige class I came across once - https://www.dandwiki.com/wiki/Master_Ad ... ige_Class)

The master adventurer does a test to see if they always had a particular item all along. Since this isn't Dnd, we won't copy it entirely (because we won't want people to just happen to have magic items), but we could do the other items, maybe based on cost.
http://virtualfantasies.blogspot.com/

A blog about writing gamebooks. My musings on how to write a gamebook and what makes a good gamebook.

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