Art Objects.... Pimp your BBEG's crib!

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DM: A search of the necromancer's tower uncovers 4500 gold pieces, a Shield +2, and a 1700Gp gem encrusted ring.
Player: Another gem encrusted ring? Who buys all this crap?


Who buys gem encrusted crap indeed! An oft-ignored (until now) treasure table in D&D has been 'Art Object'. This is well and good, except the DMG fails to embellish much, and many DM's are left handing-out three pieces of "art": Gem encrusted rings, Golden statues, and Elvish tapestries.
If you run a 'Hack n' Slash' game, I suppose that would be just fine. Kill, Loot, and do it again next week. But for those of us who run more elaborate campaigns, we have all new ways of (psychologically) torturing PCs . We have horse thieves, taxes, entire legions of undead to threaten helpful NPC villages... But always have Hero's enjoyed the valuable 'Gold piece'. But now I suggest you put even more of the BBEG's total treasure value into 'Art Objects'.

After all... Do you own stuff, or do you own nothing and have all your money in a shoebox?

Yes, most of us BUY stuff. Playstations, couches, Mail-Order-Brides, compact disks, towels, cars, motorbikes, deer rifles. And since we buy stuff, we must assume most BBEG's like to spend money too (except possible dragons who sleep on mounts of gold and still cut coupons). Since BBEG's tend to be wealthy, intelligent types; they will spend money on 'Art Objects'..... Because plasma TV's haven't been invented yet.

BUT!, say the DM's, we dont know what Art Objects are! Thats OK. Just think of any object, and chances are there are super-expensive items that do the exact same thing, but people buy anyway: $2000 pens, $1,000,000 stereos, BMW's, etc etc

Why more ART? Because A: Its harder to haul out of the dungeon
B: PC's now have to find an Art-Dealer to sell it to
C: Its funny to see what PC's "collect" themselves.

Fumbuck the 1/2-Orc barbarian: "This is my mahogany davenport with solid brass accents and a polished marble top. It was hand-carved by halfings in the village of HappyFunLand and I found it in the possession of an Ogre-Mage who's skull I smashed with a hammer. Would you like to see my collection of ceramic rustmonster miniatures or maybe my Electrum dwarvish-whiskey shotglass set?"
Other Character:

Introducing Wereooze's Fine Art aka. The Dunegon Decorators Collection.. to stock a BBEG lair with, or add spice to your campaign world! (based on Table 7-6:Art Objects of DMG 3.0 ). Inspired by a copy of The Home Decorators Collection that showed-up with todays junk mail.

10gp
*ceramic figurine/statuette. about 6" long and hand-painted. Can be of anything: rustmonsters w/ pink bows, beholders, orc-Hobos. Be sure that any statue type (such as Orc hobo or rustmonster) as an entire series of statues by a famous ceramic statue designer that the PC can collect. (collecting rare statuettes can make for interesting side-quests and annoy fellow PC's)

*Scrimshaw. Ivory with design etched onto it. Usually boats & nautical themes as it is a popular hobby with whalers. Put scrimshaw on regular items to make them worth more treasure room... like pocket knife handles.

*Electrum whiskey glasses (emblazoned with the name of a famous tavern)

*Gold body jewelry

*

55gp.
*hand-crafted chairs (pair), in Teak, Walnut, or Mahogany. Certain to be comfortable and add some flair to any dungeon chamber. Geometric patterns, leaves, or skulls carved into the chair-arms along with an upholstered seating area (embroidered to taste) are common at this range. Remember that any BBEG worth his salt is going to have at least 8 chairs around any masterwork dinner table (105gp).

*Copper framed wall mirror. The hand-wrought frame surrouns a mirror of silvered glass. dragons & leaves are common styles. They make really good treasure 'cause they break easy!

*Painting. It might be still-life, surreal, or maybe Orcish impressionism of the third age. But 55gp paintings are usually ho-hum and 24"x36".

*silver flatware. The eating utensils. made of silver. Service for 8

*Masterwork cooking pots. Ceramic enamled cast-iron baking goods available in most colours. Add a +1 to any Cooking skill DC.

*Leatherbound, gold leafed book. A tome on any skill or knowledge, determined randomly. A character may use it to refrence at time of spending skill points... or just sell it.

*Crystal decanter and wine-glass set.

105gp

*Dinner Table. for 105 gold pieces its so shiney it looks wet and the legs have decorative 'claws' on the ends. Or maybe dolphins..whatever floats yer boat. (Be sure to include chairs...mentioned above).

*Booze cabinet. Prbably manufactured by the same halflings as the table & chairs, this tall armoire-like piece of old-growth kindling has shelves for a whole array of fine glasses & goblets, decanters & meauring shakers. Also a second storage bin at knee-level holds bottles of wine/spirits

*ornate silver goblets, set of 8. Shaped like squids , human skulls, or just bizarre arcane sybols... silver wine glasses say alot about your kind of person.

*gold flatware, service for 8

*painting. still 24"x36" but this class of painting is of intresting subject matter: nude elves, decapitations.... something to make up for the price.

*Pair of boots designed by snooty high-end boot maker. Bards (and women) love footwear with nose-bleed prices.

*lifesized marble bust of famous person. I'd personally have Vecna myself

*masterwork dagger w/ ivory handle

*Silver tea set

350gp

*King-sized bed to match your table & chairs

*masterwork oversized harp that nobody knows how to play

*20' long tapestry of some battle

*3' tall ceramic vase. Painted by elves of some remote island. Heavy & easy to break. holds flowers

*Intricate waste-paper basket. Made from an Owlbear leg!

*Walking stick. Gold handle

*2' long oriental dragon statue made of gold.

*Winterwlf fur coat

*masterwork dagger with ivory handle & minor jewel pommel

550gp

*Floor of residence professionally tiled with marble & soapstone tiles by dwarven mastercraftsman. Lets see the PCs try to hock that in town....

*Arched interior door crafted of old-growth teak, set with blackend steel hinges, and a brass lock.

*Ornate ironwork torch scones. set of 50. may be shaped to resemble skulls, music notes, etc

*leaded-glass fireplace screen. With stained-gass picture effect. covers any 5' wide fireplace.

*5' marble statue

*bejewelled circlet

*platinum framed spectacles with smoked glass lenses. to look cool and protect from harsh solar rays.

*masterwork dagger with dragonbone & platinum handle

1000gp

*masterwork dagger with scrimshawed dragonbone handle, platinum fittings, and jeweled pommel.

*masterwork glazed bone-chian plates w/ silver serving platters

*wastepaper basket, made from dragon leg!

*undead brain-in-a-jar. Sci-Fi style decor for your alchemy lab.




I'll be sure to add more to my dungeon catalog when I've got more time. I hope you have as much fun making your PC's try to sort & sell all of this crap as I will :D
I'm with you on this one. I love putting several assorted stuff like this in treasures. Gives it more of a "treasure" feel to it.

The Piazza A renaissance of the Old Worlds. Where any setting can be explored, any rules system discussed, and any combination of the two brought to life.

I think my next BBEG is gonna be blinging hardcore.
I . . . wow. This is just so . . . evil. My DM-sense is all tingly.

Wereooze:
Fumbuck the 1/2-Orc barbarian: "This is my mahogany davenport with solid brass accents and a polished marble top. It was hand-carved by halfings in the village of HappyFunLand and I found it in the possession of an Ogre-Mage who's skull I smashed with a hammer. Would you like to see my collection of ceramic rustmonster miniatures or maybe my Electrum dwarvish-whiskey shotglass set?"

That is so going in my sig. :D
Mmm.... winterwolf fur...

I always encourage my players to invest thier extra gold in things like jewlery on the small scale and land on the large.
After all... Do you own stuff, or do you own nothing and have all your money in a shoebox?

What?!? WHO TOLD YOU ABOUT THAT?!?!

Seriously, I really love this idea. I'm suprised we never thought to include it a possibility for a DM Competition topic. Edit: As a side note, you have "undead brain in a jar" listed under the 1000gp category. Just for G.P. information, Libris Mortis includes a new monster...the Undead Brain In A Jar!



Yes, most of us BUY stuff....Mail-Order-Brides

What?!? WHO TOLD YOU ABOUT THAT?!?!

:D
Screw the looting! My gamers would evict the BBEG and move in!

BLING-BLING, BABY!


My DM sense is tingling big-time...


And now I want to find out the price if I were to comission a life-sized marble statue of my character, Corellon, Ehlonna and Moradin as members of a rock band, rocking out really hard.

(The dwarf on the drums, of course. :P )

This is bling-tastic, baby.
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Art objects have always been a favorite of mine. Ever since finding the candlesticks in the evil temple in Keep on the Borderlands...

I have a smallish list of artsy stuff I'm happy to share. Most of the items aren't as detailed as above, but we can't all read the J Crew catalog...


When I dropped art objects into my FR campaign with my younger brothers Paul, my youngest brother, decided his character would start collecting statues. He was new to role playing and made this choice on his own. I was so proud of him...
May I take my own stab at this?

*Stab Undead!*

10gp

*Intricate Bronze locket, possibly with lock of maiden's hair inside.

*Copper ring. Possibly with magnets imbedded.


55gp.

*Silver ring. May be inscribed with the name of your beloved.
(How many PCs may feel regret about killing the BBEG when they realize he was killing people in the villiage that lynched and murdered his lover? Maybe even spark a quest to make ammends.)

*Polished mahogony walking stick.

*Fine crushed velvet hat with an eagle's feather.

105gp

*Fine crushed velvet hat with a Griffon feather

*Golden ring. Possibly inscribed with name of beloved.

350gp

*Fine crushed velvet hat with enchanted Roc feather.

*Bas Relief exquisitely carved on piece of dragon eggshell. Quite likely of the scene of the dragon's hatching, or possibly of it's mother being slain, depending on what kind of dragon it was.

*Dicebag. Contains finely-made dice of various forms of marble and obsidian, with numbers very carefully carved. Set from D4 to D20, includes D100.

550gp

*Crushed velvet hat with a Celestial/Eryines feather in it. Because nothing says pimp-daddy extreme than having an Erinyes' feather.

*Crushed velvet three-piece suit in garish colors. Bling-Bling, baby.

1000gp

*Diamond-encrusted gold medallion, quite likely spelling out your name.

*Really Freaking Huge Diamond.

*Black, crushed-velvet Dicebag lined with woven hair from an elf maiden. Dice contained are of extremely high quality, carved to perfection with intricate attention to detail, the numbers, instead of being painted, are chiseled out of the surface by faeries, and filled in with a mixture of platinum and faerie dust which solidifies.

Let's not forget some of the higher-end art objects that BBEGs would want.


For the cultured BBEG, why settle for images of nude elves when you can have a nude elf statue, carved from your choice of fine marbles. Can be in a variety of poses and demeanors, ranging from the stately to the beautiful to the lewd. 6000 GP, includes stand and a gold and mahogony plaque with your choice of words. Garunteed to be 100% lifelike to the finest detail.

For the villian with the bent for music, how about your very own pipe organ? And not just any humdrum, find-me-in-any-church pipe organ. This pipe organ is as big as most churches themselves, powered by magical air to fuel the pipes, this baby is LOUD, best used in caverns where you can get the best acoustics (as a bonus, playing this is certain to rid your less-refined subterrainian areas of pesky stalactites,) or in the grandest hall your grandest castle has. As a bonus, it's constructed and has three Musical Unseen Servants which will play your favorite tunes non-stop, and has valves to control volume, should you want something mellow. The pipes come in your choice of gold, platinum, or even obsidian (Enchanted to never break,) which will definately effect acoustics. The base and bench are typically carved from mahogany, Ironwood or Darkwood, or else made out of marble, slate or obsidian. Darker colors work better, but the customer is of course always right. The keys typically are made of ivory (depending on the status of elephant herds the world over, this may be unavaiable,) or various bone (One of these can take an entire Great Wyrm to make, which will increase the price but definately make a statement.)
45,000 GP.


For the BBEG with wealth so overflowing he dosen't know what to do with it all, art objects don't have to be portable. Your entire HOME can be an art object! Dragons roaring and breathing flame are no longer relegated to tapestry - you can have nude nymphs frolicing with dryads in the woods carved onto the very walls of your abode! The floor tiles can be carved with holy symbols or made of blackstone and have your initials inlaid in silver into each and every tile, you can relax in your bed carved from Darkwood, with a matress so thick and luxuriant that it takes ten strong men, eight stronger undead, or a whole iron golem to lift it, relax on a pillow stuffed with the down of Eryines or Celestial, and pull the canopy off the bed to admire the orgy scene on the vaulted roof of your chamber.
When you wake, why not take a stroll on the grand balcony, each colum of the guardrail a nude female of the fairer races - elves, humans, half-elves, drow, nymph, dryad, etcetera, and not a single creature duplicated once, all of them standing up beautifully, holding aloft a rail two feet wide with it's own sub-rail, perfect for perching your spellbook or glass of wine to watch the sun or moonrise. Then take a stroll through your library, lit at day by sunlight streaming through a vaulted ceiling made of solid amber, with bookshelves that are themselves carved with the holy symbols of gods of magic and books, furnished from solid Darkwood.
I'm sure you get the picture. Not all wealth need be portable. Hell, the PCs are as likely to claim the place for their own as they are to sack the place and put it to the torch. Be creative. This kind of castle deserves a thread all to it's own.


And the #1 item for the morally bankrupt... Why settle for a statue of a nude elf in your bedroom when you have a real, live nude elf, petrified and unpetrified on your command. She wears a tiara, when you utter a command word, she will be petrified, unpetrified, or disciplined. Any attempts by her to remove the tiara will be futile. Use her only as a statue, or to entertain any debauched desires you may have.
125,000 GP.
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*Silver ring. May be inscribed with the name of your beloved.
(How many PCs may feel regret about killing the BBEG when they realize he was killing people in the villiage that lynched and murdered his lover? Maybe even spark a quest to make ammends.)

Mean and gives a nice personal touch, or sets the party at that innocuos seeming NPC they met in the tavern.

*Diamond-encrusted gold medallion, quite likely spelling out your name.

*Really Freaking Huge Diamond.

BLING!!!

For the villian with the bent for music, how about your very own pipe organ? And not just any humdrum, find-me-in-any-church pipe organ. This pipe organ is as big as most churches themselves, powered by magical air to fuel the pipes, this baby is LOUD, best used in caverns where you can get the best acoustics (as a bonus, playing this is certain to rid your less-refined subterrainian areas of pesky stalactites,) or in the grandest hall your grandest castle has. As a bonus, it's constructed and has three Musical Unseen Servants which will play your favorite tunes non-stop, and has valves to control volume, should you want something mellow. The pipes come in your choice of gold, platinum, or even obsidian (Enchanted to never break,) which will definately effect acoustics. The base and bench are typically carved from mahogany, Ironwood or Darkwood, or else made out of marble, slate or obsidian. Darker colors work better, but the customer is of course always right. The keys typically are made of ivory (depending on the status of elephant herds the world over, this may be unavaiable,) or various bone (One of these can take an entire Great Wyrm to make, which will increase the price but definately make a statement.)
45,000 GP.

Impressive, imposing, totally unlootable, and great for having dramatic music as the party attacks. Marvellous. Oh and don't forget those dungeon-wide bard songs!

For the BBEG with wealth so overflowing he dosen't know what to do with it all, art objects don't have to be portable. Your entire HOME can be an art object.....

Fantastic! And I think having the party break in on: a sculptor forced to work the wall against his will would be a cool encounter. Bare in mind that even importing the more mundane stuff is going to be a bit attention grabbing, but a nice plot hook, just because it doesn't sound interesting.

Imean if you had a choice investigatING the strange figures in the graveyard, stopPING some orc raids or trackING an unknown demand for marble, which adventue would you pick?

And the #1 item for the morally bankrupt... Why settle for a statue of a nude elf in your bedroom when you have a real, live nude elf, petrified and unpetrified on your command. She wears a tiara, when you utter a command word, she will be petrified, unpetrified, or disciplined. Any attempts by her to remove the tiara will be futile. Use her only as a statue, or to entertain any debauched desires you may have.
125,000 GP.

You are a very naughty boy, and deserve to be sent to bed with no supper!

just as soon as you tell me where I can get one
About the organ: if you've ever played Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, that's the kind of thing.

Just remember, if you make places this extravagant and describe and detail them out in this kind of detail, the players are likely to move in once they've evicted the previous occupants.


And re: sending me to bed with no supper.
That's cool, so long as I have my bedroom elf. ;)
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I've wanted to do this for a long time but didnt have time to think of a bunch of new art objects.
And re: sending me to bed with no supper.
That's cool, so long as I have my bedroom elf. ;)

It's in your bedroom then, is it? *Steeples fingers* Eeeeeexcellent......

For me, one thing that Art objects can be used for is minor plot hooks. A carved pewter goblet is just treasuer, but a pewter goblet carved with the image of a dragon taking gifts from dwarves, or with goblins fighting elves, or a set of holy symbols helps give a richer history to the world, and perhaps imply little plot bits. Also, if they need it appraised by an art expert, you can have him look at it and go "well, that is interesting...." and explain history, or why something seems out of place.

Just out of curiosity what does the BBBBEG (bling bling big bad evil guy) have in his torture chamber? Gold plated Iron maidens? Diamond studded racks?
Well, just think back to Castlevania.

Dracula draped his depravaties in the trappings of nobility, which was only slightly less bling bling than this, but when you got to the dungeon levels, you exposed the rough, harsh and bare reality of the castle.


Then again, this is FR, not Castlevania. So I'd say that the BBBBEG would probably have his torture chambers professionaly made by Drow elves.
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Interesting thread. I like the tables, plus the idea about having the BBEG's home being a n art object just sent me off on a tangental plot hook. Thanks guys.
Yeah, as much as some folks don't like the Console game/RPG crossover, Castlevania has some darn good ideas for art objects!

And I love this thread. I am a strong believer in the art object myself, and sometimes tho even I have to be reminded to use them more. Don't forget the jewel encrusted instrument collections maybe left over from an old band of bards that no longer exist or something.

Like others, I am SO pimpin one of my next BBEGs. This is too much fun and it makes the PCs do more than just lug home sacks of gold and a magic wand.

Or maybe the BBEG's gilded backscratcher IS a magic wand...(how many PCs would want to take home a backscratcher??) Make them regret no taking home the stuff that looks mundane once in awhile. (I mean, the golden toilet paper holder doesn't have to be magical.)

The Silver Plated Pixie Skull Shotglass set would be just right as a present for the more morally corrupt in your life as well.
This is such a great idea.

I think next time I can, I'm going to have a BBEG lair with those 1970's style naked black chicks with afro paintings.

It'll be sweet.
I found some Living Paintings and Active Paintings somewhere on the 'net that worked off of the image spells and were constructs (respectively).
Inspired by winterwolf fur and an Erinyes feather cap, both of which I need now, here are some more art objects with a monsterous flavour.

500G

Griffons's Head, mounted and stufed, on a lovely chestnut base with a gold plaque
Juvenile Green Dragon Head, mounted and stuffed, crest preserved
Head of a humanoid, mounted and stuffed, on a chestnut base with gold plaque
Oversized golden cup, used by cloud giants, inlaid with various pastoral scenes
Crystal phial of hydra or troll blood, with a golden stopper
Beard clasp set, made of burnished gold and inlaid with gems
Nagahide boots
Lamp with a living will-o-wisp providing light
Basilisk's Eye, in a crystal phial with golden stopper
Rug made of grizzly fur, head preserved

1000
Dire Bear, mounted and stuffed, placed on a fine wooden pedistal in a fierce pose
Small basket woven from treated howler spines
Coat made of dire weasle fur
Table carved from a dead dryad, face preserved

1500
Dragonbone endtable, each piece carved to fit in joints, otherwise kept intact
Medalian, chain crafted from adamant, with the actual medalian being a gear from an Inevedable
A shattered litch's phylactery
Coat made from mustuvial fur (Mm... warm *and* evil)
Beholder's large eye, in crystal phial, with golden stopper
Support beams for a room made of dragon ribbones
Ah, art objects. I love them, nothing like giving out treasure worth 50K and having the party fence the stuff to Honest John for 10K.

As an aside, I had a DM once give out a 15ft high crystal pillar weighing about 200 pounds. We needed to hijack a cart to loot that one. This was the same guy who gave us 20,000 copper peices as a bandit haul.

Yes twenty thousand (more or less) copper pieces. Did we leave them? No, the paladin's mount was pressed into packanimal service (ha ha).


Like the bedroom elf idea. Craft Wonderous Item would be needed I guess, and a large amount of gold, some sort of Tiara for the control method and presumably an elf. I'm so rubbish with the item creation calculations
"*lifesized marble bust of famous person. I'd personally have Vecna myself"

With or Without the Head of Vecna? ;)
(old joke, go look it up)

eudas
Screw the looting! My gamers would evict the BBEG and move in!(snip)

Yeah that's pretty much what I was thinking, too. I'd be moving in for sure! Living in the lap of luxury... now all i have to do is get rid of all those pesky evil minions that keep tracking mud and ichor all over the carpets...

eudas
re:statue

edit: ah, wait, nevermind. i responded too quickly -- the statue's inventor already addressed this issue, and far better than I!

eudas
Hehehe, great ideas, and just think, if you make some of the fancy pants art objects (note to self: include "fancy pants" as art object) animated objects, will the pcs still destroy them?

Let's not forget classics, like gold teeth, or embedded gems... or just using gems for teeth (like Cohen the Barbarian, or discworld trolls), gem studded eye patches, enchanted peg legs/arms/heads, a nice sahuagin skin diamond studded and gold threaded collar for a hellhound pet/ally, or bonded staff. PCs may or may not kill a goblin jester who was cursed to remain always in a certain room, or within a certain radius of, say, a very nice enchanted sword the pcs want, but they'll certainly be surprised when an evil type did something evil with his money.

1,000 gold: Rare antique chess set: This chess set is made out of a mithril and adamantine board, and the normal pieces are replaced by... bakers, serfs, butchers, weavers, tanners, and so on, or just different races. Halfing-pawn, elf-bishop, dragon-queen, wizard-king, knight-, umm, knight, for example.

Ancient artifacts- yes, it may look like a crappy old piece of pottery, but the dragon/lich/whatever remembers getting it when it was first made... 20,000 years ago. To the right collector, musty dusty junk is invaluable, moreso than coins, at least.

Maps- antique maps are valuable for the same reasons as artifacts, but also for clues as to where things used to be, or what they used to be called, as well as artistic value.
The best thing about art objects is ANYTHING can be treasure. Just pick up and snooty mail order catalog and have a look at the overpriced junk they are pawning off as 'collectables'...

Cloth of gold, silks, satins, embroidered with silver or gold wire. Hell, a villains closet could be worth a fortune, but only to somefur who likes that kind of style. Sure every piece cost him 300gp, but would you wear the chartrues silk robe with magenta collar and cuffs and the 18in diameter symbol of Lolth worked in gold thread across the back? Have fun finding a buyer for that!

As for magical items, I've had so many players ignore things that didn't look like magic items it's not funny. They loot every sword, shield, armor, wand-like object, book, scroll, ring, brooch, etc, but ignore everything else. Sometimes they will even drop the items above that may be valuable just because it's not magic.

Art objects would be just the place to hide many magic items. Some beneficial, to the owner, and some just really annoying...

Unhallow can be cast on other things, not just a skul carved from ebony. Simply put it on a simple statue and the PCs might have a hell of a time getting it back home, and then more fun when it is home. Gotta hate that Circle of Protection against Good...

Anit-plant shell on a pair of hedge clipper.

Awaken on a pulled bell in the servants quarters to summon sevants at any time day or night.

Calm Emotion on a run placed befor the throne to calm unruly visitors...

Detect Lies on an Ear Horn, you know, the thing you need when you are harm of hearing.

Dominate Person on a nice chair, or set of chairs, that the host pulls out personally for his honored guests...

Knock places on a large, ornate key that is in a drawer with other large ornate keys, all of wghich do not fit any lock in the building...

Know Direction placed on a sextant, handy for overland and ocean voyages, since you will always know direct north.

Levitate on a small carpet, useful for servants to do the dusting in your great hall with the 50ft high valued cieling.

Magic Mouth on any object that proclaims in a loud voice who owed it whenever it is touched...

Maze placed on any extremely valuable item. Do you really want to take every gold statue in the room?

Resist Elements(water) placed on an umbrella.

Tasha's Hideous Laughter placed on a feather duster.

True Seeing placed on a mirrow. You see the truth about what is viewed in the reflection. Hand held mirrors would work best, since it's easier to conceal that you are looking at others rather than yourself.

Zone of Truth another good carpet spell...
Ok, Ok, I know that this is about art objects, etc, but I just can't help posting this. I used this art object/Wonderous Item as a trap in a campaign I ran... a very effective trap, which took out a party member.

In a gallery in a BBEG-style mansion (there was no BBEG, but the mansion itself was the enemy), there is a room full of pictures of various types. Some landscapes, still lifes, portraits, etc. One portrait is of the owner of the mansion. The painting is an telepathic intelligent item that can dominate 1/day through a gaze attack. Anyone who looks at the painting must make a will save or be dominated and ordered to kill everyone around them. If they fail their save (set it as you see fit according to the rules), they should just begin attacking the party around them. Since this was, by chance, the last room my PCs encountered in the mansion, they were HP low. Someone viewed the painting, failed the save, and slashed the nearest PC... with a crit. The PC went down (sorry, guys). The rest of the party subdued the dominated PC and, eventually, figured out what happened.

It's not a perfect interpretation of the rules, but I suggest that it have cast on it alarm (to set off the trap), eyebite (for the gaze attack), and, obviously, dominate.
Further speakings on Art Objects.

The overwhelmingly positive feedback to my thread has reinforced the idea that 'Art Objects', as covered in the DMG, have been short-sheeted. In future, I will attempt to write a comprehensive essay on Art, covering all these listed, and any other facets that I might think of. But for now, here is some further 'spanin, and a few examples.

Why Art?

The purpose of Art Objects in the D&D, as should apply to a campaign, serve basically one of three goals

* Flaunt wealth/Status symbol
* Promote morale
* Serve as a setting for an encounter

Of the three, the primary reason encountered in-game would apply to the personal wealth of an NPC.

But just remember that where art exists, there must be an artist. Famous guilds or individuals provide for campaign background, history and flavor.

Art and NPCs

NPC's, and in particular villains/BBEGs & nobility, are set above the common man by means of great wealth. A DM could always state that an NPCs total value is entirely in coin, but that is unrealistic, and does not promote any further possible roll-playing opportunities.

Art objects allow the wealthy NPC to stand-above the common NPC, whether they be peasants or soldiers, and be easily identified. If a pair of identical twins encountered you, and one wore a Rolex watch while the other had a Timex, you could be fairly certain in guessing which twin had more money.

Art objects can also function as a character trait. These things make NPCs easier to remember. If you describe Johansen the pirate as having an eyepatch studded with rubies, or Rupert the sage walks with an ivory cane, you can be sure that traits will help people remmeber that particular character (Even if there is no game-mechanic benefit for ruby studded eyepatches)

Art and the encounter

DM: You have defeated the necromancer, his hoarde includes 2500Gp, 4000Cp, and a wand of magic missles.
Player: Alright, we will split the coins evenly among our group and give the wand to our Sorcerer character.


As you can see, nothing much happens. But if, instead of coins, the necromancer's hoarde included gilded tomes, elvish taperstries, antique furnishings, a tube-set monoblock power amplifie,r et cetera; Then the group is left with an array of options:

*Do they make several trips to carefully unload the dungeon of all its possessions and hope to sell it in the nearest town?
*Do they decide to leave the heavy object, although worth a sizable chunk of the total haul, just because its simpler?
*Do they sort the individual items to try and sell them to famous collectors in far-away cities for an even greater profit?

And this assumes that the PC's have even found the Art in the BBEGs lair. In all fairness a DM could easily rule that unless the characters specifically search for art objects, or even make an appraisal check, that the Art Objects might go undiscovered and that fraction of the Loot wouldn't even go to the PCs! (and might be used/sold by the lairs next occupants!).

New 'Art Object' examples

BOOKS

Gutherbert's Bibles: The sages of Gutherbert monestary have a long history of beautifully illustrated tomes on every subject. But the finest of all were the 'Gutherbert Bibles'. These massive tomes are twenty inches across, tweny four inches tall, and nearly six inches thick. They contain nearly 500 pages of impecable calligraphy and full colour paintings. The covers are made of duskwood, covered in durable chimera leather that has been dyed to match the colors of that bibles covered god. The corners are reinforced with platinum, the covers are locked with a mithril clasp, and the edges of the paper pages are leafed in gold.

There is a bible for each god/religion (ie. a Kord bible, a Pelor bible, a Gruumsh bible), and the bible covers every aspect of that religion. A bible weighs nearly forty pounds, and can fetch 2500gp from a collector. The steep price ensures that only major cathedrals and the wealthiest of private owners can afford such a luxury. A complete set (one bible of each religion) has never been collected, but would be worth an astronomical sum to any Sage or library.

Bryth'Tanria Encyclopedia of the Arcane: Centuries ago, the elvish wizard college of Bryth'Tanria underwent a project that took their scholars several human lifetimes to complete; A complete library on the treatise and theories of each school of arcane magic. The volumes are twelve inches across, eighteen high, and two and a half deep. They have roughly 250 pages of material, written in silver ink on rare elvish rice paper. The covers of the Encyclopedia are made of burnished gold.

There is one encycopedia volume for every school of arcane magic (ie. necromancy, illusion, evocation, chronomancy et cetera). The tomes are written in archaic elvish and most well-traveled wizard has seen at least one volume of the set in his/her lifetime. Only the largest of magical schools could afford the entire collected encyclopedia, as each volume is worth nearly 3000gp alone. Some wealthy wizards will collect a single volume or two, corresponding to their specialized schools of magic.
Very informative and creative thread, its given me a new way to look at handing out treasure. I haven't added much in the way of art in my campaigns, but here's some I had fun with:

Osyluth in a Jar: This is a large block of crystal, enhanced and strengthened with magic. Inside is a bone devil, perfectly preserved (alive or dead is your choice). An excellent conversation piece sure to liven up any collection.

Tarrasque Exhibit: An oak case the size of a table or larger, lined with velvet and with a glass cover holds one or more bones from a Tarrasque, such as claws, skull fragments or pieces of the carapace.
You know, I just happened to really take towards placing situational art objects as treasure in my last game, and I really did like the effect. I think I have some examples in my old notes. Ah, here are the notes from an ancient sacrificial temple (excerps from various rooms):
  • The skeletons are easily identified as hobgoblins, but closer inspection reveals that they are somewhat short for such and would appear to be a more primal breed than is currently seen. In the hands of one of the skeletons is a ornate electrum ceremonial dagger with a star ruby inset in the handle, worth 800 gp.
  • A faded, yet mostly intact tapestry is along the western wall, showing a black-skinned, taloned and winged figure with crimson eyes holding out something as if offering. If fully restored (such as with Make Whole) each tapestry is worth 500 gp, though a buyer might be hard to find.
  • Also in the drawer is a gold idol of the same ilk seen on the tapestry, worth 800 gp.
  • Resting on a ledge projecting from the pulpit is a silver chalice with a ruby inset into its bottom, worth 700 gp. It is still filled with water, though cast an eerie red hue by the gem.
  • Also in the room, propped against the dias is a bejeweled ceremonial scepter, worth 4,000 gp.
Heh, I also had a very difficult encounter set with most of the treasure placed as a sorcerer's personal possessions, including a pair of fine mahogany tables, several ivory crests, a gold-threaded tapestry, a renowned painting, and to top it all off, a large golden statue of the sorcerer itself. I remember chuckling at the placement of the tables, as I really didn't see the party hauling off fine furnature to sell. But all told it provided a wealth of functional treasure, as well as painting a good picture of an excessively opulent hall.
There is an additional element to treasure you failed to cover, Wereooze, and I wouldn't mind so much except that it's one of the main reasons I use art. While some art is hard to haul about (an osyloth set in stone or a large masterwork harp), a good deal of it is much, much easier to truck around than coins. 10,000 copper pieces is a pain in the butt to load up and ship, whereas a pair of Nagahide boots is not.

Also, more art objects (because you sparked my creativity)

- Designer-made perfume, made from kraken oil and scented from a rare flower that blooms once every century. 7,000G
- Gloves made from Quasit skin. 500G
- A neck mantle made of mythril and banded together with deer leather. 1,000G
- A two-century old bottle of elven wine, crafted from grapes which no longer grow in the region and crafted by brewers that no longer exist. 500G
-Gold chargers, set of 12. 800G
-A burned out wand (no charges left) of an epic wizard. 100-700G
-A burned our staff (no charges left) of an epic wizard. 200-2,000G
Don't forget magically enhancing items

For example:

A silver hair brush that magically removes any knots in your hair while you brush

An ornate wash-basin that will fill with warm soapy water on command (The PCs in my game pull this one out whenever they rescue a prisoner "here, clean yourself up. Being seen with someone who is dirty and stinky will ruin our image."

A magical gem encrusted carving knife which never needs sharpening.

A silk pillow of sleeping for the wealthy narcoleptic (casts "sleep")
make some of the fancy pants art objects...animated objects

A fine painting of a landscape with happy trees, and a twisting river... that changes with the seasons.

And so on
I had a pillow of sleep once. That was nice.

I would keep magic items away form art abjects, though, as magic items, even pillows of sleep, are really wonderous items.
Gilded Rocfeather pen w/ magical glowy glyphs: 249 gp (plus tax)

Crystalized monster eye collection: 20,000 GP and counting.

Mordenkainen and Manshoon action figures; et al (with real special effects!): If you have to ask, you can't afford it. But you're a BBBBEG. You don't need to ask; hell, you don't even need to pay.

Servants to look like they're actually doing something: 0-50 gppd, depending on your intimidate check.

seeing those immature party members fall into a trap after playing with your action figures: priceless.

There's some things money can't buy. But you're a BBBBEG and can get those anyway.
Brass Knuckles imprinted with "B-B-E-G" and "P-I-M-P": 50 gp each.

Displacer beast leisure suit: 500 gp.

Couatl-feather boa. 1000 gp.

Having your own episode of BBEGTV's "Cribs": Priceless.
Gold-tinted mad-scientist goggles: 60 GP.
Whitewashed Black Dragonhide Lab Coat: 1,250 GP
Gold-tipped ebony cane: 450 GP
The look on the PC's faces when you smack them upside the head with the cane: Priceless.

There are some things money can't buy.

For everything else there's Master Carde, Visa and Associates, proud moneylenders to BBBBEGs everywhere.
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The hexblade bbeg in my game has only one thing to say to this
"I'm Rich *****"
as he sports a Platinum Grill set with princess cut soul gems holding to Astral Devas spelling out the word BLING (cost 220,000)
Bling-Bling, baby!
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Does any of these come with a free t-shirt?
oh boy, I love this! Some of my PCs love art objects, which means they'll probably be very poor magic-wise and still look fabulous!
Hehehe.

Just remember, Art Objects are very good candidates for being turned into Wondrous Items. Being masterwork and all.

Any stupid wizard can fly around on an enchanted carpet. But you'll never forget this team of adventurers:

Barbarian - who sails into battle astride an enchanted bearskin carpet, which also roars frighteningly.

Paladin: Having forsook the ground-bound life, she rides into battle astride a beautiful thick throw rug embroidered with care with her Diety's holy symbol on front and back sides.

Wizard: Sails serenely into battle sitting crosslegged on his luxurious deep pile carpet, which gracers his bedroom when not in use as a steed.

Bard: giggling like a lunatic, he swoops around on a quilt made by his very own personal mother, which has a patchwork design made of musical intriments and musical notes.
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