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Monday, October 9, 2017

Curious Objects: Potion of Treasure Finding


This is a very simple item with a very short description:

"The user may, when concentrating, detect the direction and distance of the largest treasure within 360' (unless blocked by lead)."

I don't know that I've ever seen this one used. Granted, there's only a 2% chance of randomly rolling this result on the potions table, but I've certainly never placed it deliberately either.

Like other potions, it last for 7-12 turns, so it can be useful in triangulating a bit, but if you're moving at "dungeon exploration speed" and run into any kind of obstacles, you might not get to the loot before the potion wears off.

No, what I find most interesting about this item is its existence at all. Sure, detecting gold and gems makes sense in D&D, but offering the ability as a potion is telling to me. The idea that it isn't a spell, but anyone (e.g. a thief) can quaff this and scry the location of the "largest treasure" underscores the idea that classic games like BX are about exploration, not combat. Finding the treasure gets you more XP than killing the monster. Wasting time checking every door and risking random encounters is not the preferred method. Home in on the reward and get out. You can always come back and check the next area after the Teeth of Gwalhur are safely back at the base camp.


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