There are two major categories of treasure: mundane and wondrous. Mundane treasure includes money, valuables, simple machines, NPC favors, and other such things. The most important quality of mundane treasure is that it is not connected to character traits in any meaningful way. There are no prerequisites for use. A sack of money can be used by a squire just as easily as by a powerful sorcerer.
Wondrous treasure is not necessarily more potent than mundane treasure (though it often is). The defining quality of wondrous treasure is that use is dependent upon character traits. Some traits may also be primarily concerned with using (or even creating) wondrous items. All wondrous items have a rating, from 1 to 6, which relates to a specific character trait. There are traits on every path which relate to different kinds of wondrous items.
Exactly how wondrous items interact with character traits varies by item. Some require a minimum level of a certain trait in order to function at all. For example, a certain magic sword may be inert (that is, function as a mundane sword) for warriors with less skill than 3 in melee combat. Other items may require a successful trait check (less than or equal to the trait value when rolling a d6) before the item can be used, or even per use. For example, an antediluvian gauntlet may allow reaching into stone as if it were water, but only with a successful antediluvia trait check.
The wondrous items related to the path of battle
are magic weapons, which are governed by either the melee combat trait or the ranged combat trait (depending on whether the item in question is a melee weapon or a ranged weapon). The wondrous items related to the path of guile
are antediluvia (artifacts left over from before the deluge). The wondrous items related to the path of wonder
are spell formulae, potions or potion recipes, magic devices, and scrolls. Though anyone can use a potion, it can also be reverse engineered. Thus, potions straddle the line between mundane and wondrous treasure.
As wondrous items are keyed to specific traits, not paths, characters with points in the necessary off-path traits can potentially make use of any kind of wondrous item. For example, a sorcerer with melee combat 3 can make use of a potency 3 sword just as well as a character on the path of battle (though it would have been more costly in terms of experience for the character on the path of wonder to develop that martial skill). The most complex antediluvia might only be usable by a character on the path of guile (based on the cap for off-path traits), but other less complex items are usable by any character with the appropriate trait.
One method for placing wondrous items: roll d6 to determine if there is a wondrous item; on a 6 there is. Then, roll another 2d6 and take the lowest number to determine the potency or complexity. Finally, roll on the following table to determine the wondrous item type.
- Antediluvian item
- Weapon of power
- Magic item
- Spell formula
All wondrous items should be unique to a given campaign. Though not all wondrous items need have drawbacks, they should all have quirks and idiosyncrasies. Some wondrous items may have no direct adventuring use, only being able to generate strange seemingly useless effects. Few wondrous items are both of unlimited use and without potential drawbacks.
I am building a system for generating campaign-specific wondrous items as part of the referee scenario design process.