Occult Treasures

July 23rd, 2015

Alex Riggs

Magic Market Archive

                Some time ago, I wrote an article that deviated from what we normally do here at Magic Market. Instead of providing stats for new unique magic items, I gave you some flavorful descriptions for treasure objects a dragon might possess. I liked the result, and it seemed to go over fairly well, so we’re revisiting that theme; this time, however, the name of the game isn’t dragons, but rather, the strange and wonderful world of the occult. So, get ready to go digging through the attic, basement, and laboratory for strange and wonderful new objects with no particular magical significance (unless your GM decides otherwise).



                A glass jar, filled with a viscous green liquid, inside of which floats a perfectly preserved human brain. A small plaque affixed near the bottom of the jar lists a name, presumably the donor’s. A metal lid fixed atop the jar looks like it can be twisted off. The underside of this lid glows with a magical light, ensuring that the floating brain is illuminated even in dim and dingy conditions. Once in a great while, the brain’s tissue seems to twitch or convulse, though it is over so fast that it seems as if it must have been the viewer’s imagination.

                A glass sphere, roughly one foot in diameter. The glass is perfectly clear and smooth, but the interior of the ball seems to be filled with a strange, misty cloud, that slowly roils and stirs in the orb’s center. The sphere is surprisingly cool to the touch, and when it is touched, the misty haze it stores within whips up into a frenzy, creating a variety of shapes and patterns that suggest and hint at—but can never truly be said to show—faces, places, people, and things. Once contact ends, the mist returns to its dormant state.

                A skeletal hand, wrapped in white linen gauze, and positioned so that the index finger points straight ahead, while the rest of the hand is closed into a loose fist. Small occult engravings have been made onto the bones and inked black, making the bones appear to be covered in small runic tattoos, just barely visible beneath the wrappings. A small tag, hanging from the bones by a leather thong, denotes this as the hand of a saint, though the exact name is worn and illegible.

                An elaborate framework, made of copper wires, that is designed to fit around the head, in a fashion similar to a helmet, though offering notably less in the way of physical protection. The clever design of the framework allows its size to be adjusted to fit a variety of heads, and at various places around the framework’s circumference, the wires have been bent or shaped to securely hold a number of crystals and other low-quality gems, in a variety of colors, shapes, and sizes, holding them in place in a sort of bizarre orrery about the wearer’s cranium.

                A miniature, inverted pyramid, made of obsidian. Its surfaces are smooth, except for a single strange glyph or rune, which has been carved into the center of each face of the pyramid, a different one on each face. The corners of the pyramid are capped with silver, and the cap of the single point facing downwards also has a small silver base attached to it. This base is so small, however, that it appears that the pyramid must surely fall over, but inspection proves that it is remarkably stable, even standing on a single point.

                A complex and detailed astrological chart and extensive notes, providing detailed horoscopes, predictions, and advice every day for the last 30 years, as well as for the next 50. A close examination reveals that it is calibrated for someone born on a certain day at a certain time, and that all of these horoscopes and notes are intended for that person. Curious notes, written in the margin, muse about strange coincidences and the eerie accuracy of the horoscopes, then come to a sudden end. Depending on who the horoscope was for, and if anyone else shares a similar birth date, they might prove invaluable.

                A plain, worn-looking leather journal. Perusing the contents, at a casual glance it appears to be the journal of an archaeologist or explorer, recounting fabulous and strange sights, and puzzling over strange symbolism and puzzles. Closer reading reveals it to be a dream journal, however, detailing the author’s nocturnal exploits into strange and unknowable realms, and his discoveries about the nature of dreams and the symbolic meanings of things encountered within them. Whether there is any value to his musings and his findings is difficult to tell.

                An incredibly lifelike hand and forearm, produced of some strange material that mimics flesh, or possibly actual flesh that has been preserved. The various lines on the palm of the hand have been highlighted in different colors and labeled, making it easy to determine which line corresponds to what. The whole thing is oddly warm to the touch, and as long as the arm is held, a very faint whispering noise can be heard by the one that holds it.

                A colorful and detailed portrait of an unknown individual. The painting contains both a traditional portrait, which is just barely visible, and another layer, painted on top, which is a riot of swirling colors and strange designs. The colors seem to be radiating from the person in the portrait, forming little coronas and splashes of color. A label at the bottom of the painting reveals the work’s title: An Aura Portrait of Frederick Mooremont.

                A deck of very fine tarot cards, each of which is covered with gold leaf, and bears incredibly delicate, hand-illuminated paintings for each and every card. The pictures on the cards have a theme of underwater creatures, and though it is subtle, on close inspection, it becomes clear that many of the people pictured in the illustrations are not the humans and elves that they appear to be on first glance, but actually merfolk, gillmen, and the like.