I’ve been there. You’ve been there. We’ve all been there. The party has got the perfect item for the job, but it’s a single-use potion/scroll/whatever, and there’s no way you’re sacrificing your precious for commonplace purposes. Shall we illustrate the principle via anecdote? Let’s shall. Here’s the latest from my group. Ahem:

So no shit there they were. After unfair traps, false tombs, and countless dead ends, they’d finally arrived at the true Tomb of the Wizard Priest Orr. Clamoring over the lip of an enormous subterranean plateau, they saw the following. As per Monte Cook:

Across the smooth stone floor, you see an enormous and elaborate catafalque, 12 feet high and 30 feet across its diameter. Four massive stone columns rise up around an alabaster sarcophagus adorned with gold and jewels. At the top of each pillar is a large unlit brazier in the form of a watchful death’s head. The cold and emptiness here makes you feel as though you stand upon the precipice of the land of the dead itself.

“Just look at that coffin! This must be it, guys. The true tomb.”

“We’re going to be rich.”

“I open the sarcophagus,” said the resident sneaky guy.

Stone scraped upon stone, but that wasn’t the only sound that rose from the catafalque. A banshee’s wail burst from the death’s head pillars. The party clapped hands to ears, but it was already too late.

“Everyone? Please give me a DC 23 Fortitude save versus death,” said yours truly.

Dice clattered across the table. In a small, disbelieving voice, Laurel said: “Fail.”

Time seemed to slow. That was mostly because we took the time to look up exactly what the aptly-named paladin’s sacrifice spell does.

Laurel’s character began to succumb. The noblewoman’s cheeks grew pale. Her ghostly grandmother—an extension of her psyche—flickered and faded.

“No,” said our paladin. And with a push of divine magic, he took the full effects of that awful sound upon himself. He fell then, and his armor rang upon the stone as he collapsed.

There was a moment of stunned silence. Grief washed over the party, but there was nothing they could do. Determined not to let their valiant companion’s sacrifice be in vain, they climbed down through the newly-revealed passage inside the sarcophagus. In the huge interior space hidden within the plateau, gravity was nullified. The party floated down, and so discovered the corpse of a man hovering in the middle of a great round chamber. It was clad in robes as gray as his dry, ashen skin. Around him floated a staff, a wand, a golden tube, a golden scepter tipped with an enormous emerald, and a jeweled orb. It was the great Orr himself, laid out in state. Despite all the splendor, it was a strange anticlimax in the face of death.

They took the treasure. They took the paladin’s body. They teleported back home.

Back at base there was shock and mourning. There was a flurry of activity, vows to return the slain paladin from death, and calls for suitably valuable diamonds to affect the ritual.

Amidst all this furor there was little that the party’s wizard could do. He had no resurrection magics, and so fell to examining the tomb goods of Orr. It was his keen eye which saw that the jeweled orb concealed a lead-lined compartment. He opened it, and there found a simple golden ring. After many trials and hardship, the party had acquired the greatest treasure in the game. It was a Ring of One Wish. And so, looking at the body of the noble paladin, the wizard made the only decision he could.

“The diamond merchant should be here in a few weeks,” he said. “We can rez him then.”

And so it was that the party preserved its phoenix downs. They’ve still got that wish kicking around in the party treasury. I doubt they’ll ever use it.

What about the rest of you guys? Have you ever decided to keep your precious items rather than actually using them? Was it the right call in retrospect, or do you wish you’d spent your resources rather than hoarding them? Tell us all about your giant potion hoard down in the comments!


ADD SOME NSFW TO YOUR FANTASY! If you’ve ever been curious about that Handbook of Erotic Fantasy banner down at the bottom of the page, then you should check out the “Quest Giver” reward level over on The Handbook of Heroes Patreon. Twice a month you’ll get to see what the Handbook cast get up to when the lights go out. Adults only, 18+ years of age, etc. etc.