Incidental Treasure

October 18th, 2017

Josh Zaback

Magic Market Archive

I have plenty of memories of finding treasure in some odd places: once I found a ruby inside of a dead spider (or possibly frog), and I’ve seen chests in the middle of the woods without any real indication of where they came from, and the like. While incidental treasure always feels a little weird, I thought it would be fun to describe the kinds of valuables PCs might be able to loot, and just how they might come about finding these accidental goodies in this week’s new Top Ten.


1. Fancy dress and strand of pearls. Clearly animated in a hurry by a careless or unperceptive necromancer, this walking corpse sported a fine silk gown in what appears to be latest fashion, worth 60 gp. It also wears a string of ancient pearls holding a locket bearing a family crest. Only worth 40 gp, the necklace might be more valuable to someone belonging to the family, if they could be tracked down.

2. A blood soaked +1 halberd. The PCs were not the first to fight this ferocious giant armor-plated lizard—only the first to succeed. The remains of a former hero still lie in a broken pile near the creature’s body. Though most of his gear is ruined, a magic halberd caked in the lizard’s dried blood is still serviceable.

3. A cast-aside cloak of resistance +3. Though unsure of what the thing actually was, close examination its nest reveals that in addition to the soiled curtains, old wools, and rancid coats, there is a magical cloak of resistance of deep burgundy color. Who the cloak belonged to and how the creature came to have it in its nest are both questions without ready answers.

4. A slightly battered golden statue. Though the monster seemed to think it had greater value as an improvised club, this full size golden statue of the late king would fetch a fine price, and perhaps a bit finer price if fixed up, once it can be wrested from the hulking ape that was swinging it at the PCs’ heads.

5. A handful of +2 arrows. Though likely unrelated to the PCs’ last encounter, now that the dust has settled somewhat, one of the PCs might notice an arrow lodged into a nearby tree. Further examination reveals a number of the magical arrows, which have missed their mark, lay haphazardly in bushes, snapped on the ground or stuck in trees and logs. In all, 24 arrows can be uncovered, but what might be of greater consequence is the nature of a conflict that caused so many powerful magic arrows to miss their mark.

6. A huge sapphire that glows with an uncanny light. While examining the body of this white-furred beast, the PCs should notice an azure glint coming from the creature’s underbelly. Close examination reveals a jeweled dagger lodged into the creature’s belly, perhaps a last desperate jab before the creature claimed the life of some knife-wielding attacker. Though the dagger itself appears to be ruined, the gem is large and easily pried free. Though no obvious ability presents itself, the fact that it glows might lead the PCs to believe that it is more than a mere sapphire.

7. Glittering dung. Though perhaps not the most pleasant experience for the PCs, the especially greedy among them by be intrigued with the shining dung of the absent or slain behemoth. The sparkling effect is in fact caused by the indigestible gems and coins carried by the adventurers who make up the bulk of the creature’s meals. Separating them from the waste is certainly possible, but a messy process.

8. A brass key. While the cathedral had long been picked clean of valuables before the shadows ever arrived, PCs making a thorough investigation of the ruins discovers an old brass key lingering in a dusty corner. PCs asking around town about the odd-looking key learn that it unlocks the basement door to the abandoned Mathers estate. Venturing there and opening it, they discover a treasure trove of religious art and artifacts that Mathers had been restoring for the church, before he died discovering the shadows.

9. A scroll of planar ally. Though it’s unclear how it got there, and it seems quite impossible that such a thing could exist, as the PCs are skinning the hide from a slain cave bear, they discover that on one side of the creature’s skin the ritual words of a prayer for assistance from beyond the mortal realm are painted in an elegant hand. Reciting the words calls forth a powerful hound archon paladin, who thanks the PCs for avenging the hunting hounds and noble rangers slain by the rabid bear, and offers to treat with them in exchange for his service.

10. A silver raven figurine of wondrous power. Though the PCs might not be entirely sure why, after overcoming the giant fiendish spider, something makes them cut the creature open. Upon doing so, they discover the bird figurine, which was devoured by the spider on its way to deliver a message for its former master.