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Day 26: favourite non-magical artefact

camp ovenThis covers a multitude of sins, doesn’t it? Can it mean dry socks, a well made comb that can get nits out of hair, or are we just talking about the sword that is jagged so that it causes more severe wounds in an entirely conventional way?

My role playing tends to happen in low magic settings, and I prefer wilderness adventuring. This goes hand in hand with my genuine love of the real outdoors. Many is the time I have created lists of gear to go adventuring with that includes all sorts of unexciting mundane things that would be absolutely vital in real life. Over the years I have managed to curb the urge to share this information with any of my gaming companions as most of them have been pandered inner-city types for whom the thought of getting real dirt on their hands is abhorrent.

But of that list of vital non-magical gear for use in adventuring in fantasy settings, my favourite is the iron pot.

Quite aside from the practical uses of it (cooking…), I think it offers so many opportunities for role-playing. Have you ever picked one up, for example? They are heavy. Real heavy, and they need to be. That’s why they do such a good job of cooking. Modern attempts to make them lighter by using space-age material does not improve them. It just makes them less capable of radiating and retaining heat.

They are bulky, too. Fitting one of these into a pack would (and is) a challenge. Swinging it from the end of a long stick over your shoulder is probably the most practical way of travelling, but what do you do when the goblins leap out in ambush? Drop that, get sword, and so on… It’s a hindrance.

So how do you carry one of these when trekking over the mountains into the wilds? Eh? Answer that.

Long ago (the original magazine will be here somewhere) I read an article called “And a ten foot pole.” I think it was in an early White Dwarf or maybe The Spacegamer. Anyway, the author had written a humorous piece describing exactly these kinds of conundrums and talked about things that your average young gamer would not think of taking adventuring – like tools to shape out those dents in your sword, needle and thread to patch your ripped cloth protection, and so on.

Doing a quick search now I find, And A Ten Foot Pole, a full source book. Perhaps it is by the same author as that long ago article. Perhaps it is just someone, like me, that fondly remembers it and expanded it.

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