So here’s the thing about magic items. If you’re trying to be a lawful good gamer and do exactly what the item says, then it can only ever be so interesting. Your flaming sword deals +1d6 fire damage to the baddies. That bead of force is good for anti-personnel shenanigans and not much else. But I’ve seen flaming weapons used to cauterize wounds. I’ve seen beads of force used to recreate this ludicrous moment from The Avengers. You can and should use the tools at your disposal in interesting ways. The trick is learning the difference between “cool idea” and “blatant abuse.”

For this, I always like to refer to Laurel’s college GM. They played a lot of d10 System in those days, which necessitated a certain open-mindedness in terms of rules. As any White Wolf fan can tell you, the setting information for those games is deeply immersive. The rules, on the other hand, can be frustratingly vague. Therefore, whenever a questionably legal idea came up at the table, this GM would resort to a wonderfully useful phrase: “I’ll allow it once.”

I love this idea as a philosophy. Suddenly you don’t have to worry about whether a given tactic is game-breaking. You let the cool thing happen, and then you don’t worry about it. The table knows and understands that it’s a one-off event, and the system doesn’t crumble beneath the weight of the ruling.

As I write, I’m thinking about this obnoxious little item in particular. A tree feather token is one of those minor magic items that’s pretty much designed to encourage creative play. It’s a quick ladder, a 5′ wide wall, a convenient hiding place, or even a source of food if you can convince your GM to allow you to gather acorns. But the problem comes in when you have players asking to attach the token to arrows so they can shoot literal trees at people. And since the item is so cheap, it’s possible to turn this tactic into a go-to strategy. I won’t bore you with the questionable legality of the tactic. And I won’t deny that it is exactly the kind of ridiculous hijinks I like to see at the table. But I do think that this is a prime example of that lovely little phrase in action: “I’ll allow it once.” You get the cool moment, but you don’t have to worry about Tree Shooter the archer wrecking your game.

Question of the day then. What are some minor magic items that you’ve used in interesting ways? Let’s hear it in the comments!


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