What is the purpose of Ancient Junk?

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I don't understand the purpose of this type of loot.  Is it just to sell?
It can be for that, for my game it's mostly just for laughs.  People explore an area and find crap.  One guy found a vacuum cleaner and a flashlight, he then strapped the flashlight to the vacuum cleaner and said he had a lamp.
I try to make at least some of the ancient crap come in handy in a game. My players usually feel pretty good when they throw stuff together and pull a Mcgyver to get through a tough spot.
Why did the hoop cross the road?
In the game I am currently running, Ancient Junk is barter material when it does not have a direct utility function.

The following items have clear utility:


  • 20-lb dumbbell (1h heavy melee weapon)

  • 8 GB RAM stick (data transport)

  • Air compressor (our crew has a generator, and motorcycles)

  • Ammo (duh)

  • Golf balls (1h light ranged weapon)

  • Golf club (1h or 2h heavy melee weapon)

  • Hockey stick (ditto)



Some things my players have surprised me with utility ideas:


  • Bike lock (kept enemy attached to a door handle)

  • Hand lotion (escaped from a similar trap)

  • Catcher's mitt (caught billiard balls thrown at them)

  • Fly fishing pole (item retrieval)

  • Garage door opener (adjusted frequency to trigger handicap doors on the Chicken Factory)

Here are the PHB essentia, in my opinion:
  • Three Basic Rules (p 11)
  • Power Types and Usage (p 54)
  • Skills (p178-179)
  • Feats (p 192)
  • Rest and Recovery (p 263)
  • All of Chapter 9 [Combat] (p 264-295)
A player needs to read the sections for building his or her character -- race, class, powers, feats, equipment, etc. But those are PC-specific. The above list is for everyone, regardless of the race or class or build or concept they are playing.
Well the like button is gone again, too bad, because I love the two post above this one. (If someone post before me, seekers and the one above his, although if the new post is also creative I'm sure I'll like it as well.)
My group uses ancient junk mostly for bartering. Shops occasionally have some Omega Tech items lying around. Typically, they can trade several pieces of ancient junk that the seller is interested in to obtain them. We've also used several items to pimp out our group's main vehicle. Now it's got spinning rims (taken from an abandoned car), armor plating (salvaged from a minitank), and a built in flatscreen TV and DVD player with Ultraman on DVD (we found a box set of Ultraman and later bartered for the functioning TV and DVD player).
Consider also such house rules as Ancient Junk Wackiness.

I've also implemented a barter system (not a codified one, just the idea that one man's trash is another man's treasure) but my players have been hoarding their crap so much that I might have to call one of those shows in to take care of it.
Encourage your players to get creative with ancient junk.  That is if they come up with some plausible use for some item of ancient junk, let them use it no matter how annoying.  It will take the game into areas "Unruled" and you will have to improvise, but the rewards in a dramatic dynamic narrative. 

I love the description on duct tape.., you'll find a use for it. 
Consider also such house rules as Ancient Junk Wackiness.

I've also implemented a barter system (not a codified one, just the idea that one man's trash is another man's treasure) but my players have been hoarding their crap so much that I might have to call one of those shows in to take care of it.



Those are fun rules.  Thanks for the tip!
It's meant to encourage roleplaying and creativity in my opinion.

Yeah, I would agree that it's mainly to add flavor to the adventure and less about hard rules (such as food and water.) 


Though given some of the junk, I'm amazed that the adventurers can haul half this stuff.  I picture a shopping cart full of random stuff....so the adventurers look more like wandering homeless people than heroes :P

I picture a shopping cart full of random stuff....so the adventurers look more like wandering homeless people than heroes :P


They can't be both?  (I was going to say "This is the apocalypse!" but then I realized that most D&D heroes are ALSO wandering homeless people.)

the party i dm for used the kiddy pool to mask their heat signatures from a swarm of those mutant mosquitoes.