Happy After-Yule Sale everyone! Being Handbook-World’s premiere shopping event (or at least the slightly safer option), it is the place to find marked-down and vintage magic items. That dress for example? It’s an ultra-rare gown of the goo-goo muckNot only does it confer minor bonuses to Perform (dance), you also attract mysterious murders and gothic intrigues when you wear it. (You can see why resident goth girls Witch and Van Helscion are fighting for it.)

Today’s comic might be the result of a (very) random holiday Patreon poll,  but I am pleased that it’s given us the opportunity to talk about gag items. The wand of smiles springs to mind as a prime example of the genre. Ditto the cloak of billowingThese kinds of items have little impact from a mechanical standpoint, but they are exactly the kinds of imaginary props that can fire your imagination.

In my experience, festivals and holiday sessions are some of the best times to hand ’em out. They can reinforce a chosen theme (Halloween candy that casts spoopy ghost sound when eaten), confer a bit of interesting lore (animated shadow puppets that act out The First King’s Ascension), or even use IRL objects that also exist in the game world (it casts the light cantrip)! The beauty is that you don’t have to worry overmuch about balance or action economy. You just get to image a bit of magic, then stand back and watch as it appears in your fiction.

So while we paint new minis, pour over new source books, and thank Santa for the many dice left in our collective stocking, what do you say we pause to consider these oft-overlooked pieces of game design? Your assignment for today’s discussion:

  1. Pick any holiday (from the real world or in-game).
  2. Design an appropriate gag item for the occasion.

If we are collectively creative, we all might walk away from today’s comment section with some useful items to hand out in our own campaigns.


THIS COMIC SUCKS! IT NEEDS MORE [INSERT OPINION HERE] Is your favorite class missing from the Handbook of Heroes? Maybe you want to see more dragonborn or aarakocra? Then check out the “Quest Giver” reward level over on the The Handbook of Heroes Patreon. You’ll become part of the monthly vote to see which elements get featured in the comic next!