For the first time in ages, this post is about something I actually use in games. When running anything where "box full of incredibly weird shit" is appropriate, I tend to have a list of incredibly weird shit to put in boxes. Since (much, but not all) of this list is pulled from session notes many (but not all) of the items are ripped straight from something else, because stealing ideas reduces cognitive workload at the table, and can also trigger an "oh fuck no" reaction in players who understand the reference (they rarely ever do).
Unloaded shotgun with a half-empty box of shells. The stock is covered in Love Live! stickers, over which someone has written SHIT TASTE in permanent marker.
Silver canister (1' tall, 8" diameter), with a series of USB ports arranged in an inverted triangle on the side. Cold to the touch. Vibrates faintly.
- The canister contains the preserved and still very-much-alive brain of a Yale professor last seen in September 1937. Long-term sensory deprivation has caused severe deterioration of mental state. Has the social attitudes one would expect, if he is mentally coherent enough to have them. Can interface with technology built by [XENOENTITY M-3] and possesses first-hand experience of interactions with [XENOENTITY M-3]. Interface with terragen computers, while possible, is both difficult and not recommended.
Enormous leatherbound codex. Black cover, with a red-orange circle in the center. Interior pages filled with dense, beautiful calligraphy in an unidentified script. Illuminated illustrations of fantastic locales and the inhabitants therein.
- Propagandistic autobiographical narrative of far-future tyrant. Fragmentary, hand-written translation notes found within. Long-term exposure will open up possessor / reader to contact with [TRANSTEMPORAL ENTITIES].
Glass fishbowl containing a sea slug (species Nembrotha kubaryana) and a small silver hand bell.
- Slug is capable of mental communication, possesses persona of penny-dreadful Victorian explorer-gentleman. Seems unaware or only partially aware of surroundings and of its own status. Hand bell, when rung, will summon nondescript (though well-dressed) human male of middle age who will fulfill tasks requested of him, whatever they might be, so long as they are within the physical capabilities of an ordinary human being.
There is no Item 5.
- Object 5 self-deletes from the memory of any individual that comes into contact, direct, visual, or remote, with Object 5.
Long knife made from a human thigh bone. Handle wrapped in red parachute cord.
- If used to kill a willing individual, the next use will be instantaneously fatal regardless of the scope of the injury.
Sheaf of yellowing paper (108 pages) held together with binding clip. Typewritten record. Redacted names accompanied by alphanumeric code.
- Roster of known [HIGH ENTROPY ENTITIES], the powers they possess and offer, places of contact, and known contractees. Composed ~forty years ago by no-longer-extant government entity, entries may be inaccurate.
Finger-length glass vial containing golden liquid. Labeled "analeptic".
- When mixed with brain tissue, permits the eaters to inherit the memories and experiences of the recently deceased.
VHS tape. Handwritten label reads "DO NOT VIEW". Underneath, "THE FAT LADY SINGS" is written in Mandarin.
- Heavily-degraded footage of a room, dimly lit by a flickering fluorescent light. Cracked concrete wall covered in graffiti. A pile of corpses sits fills much of the frame. A cardboard sign sits on a wooden chair, displaying an RCA test pattern and the text PLEASE STAND BY. Occasional humming and heavy footsteps can be heard from offscreen. No apparent end to footage.
Crayon drawing of a cow in a field. Three stick figures are laying in the field. The cow is covered in red.
- Drawing an individual personally known to the artist in the field will cause individual to be trampled to death and subsequently eaten by a cow, regardless of their actual proximity to any bovines. Target must be drawn in crayon, may not overlap with another figure, and the artist must intend that they be trampled and eaten by a cow.
Dented green ammo container. Label in Brazilian Portuguese. Interior is empty, but severely damaged by gouges and apparent claw-marks.
- No anomalous properties.
Nokia cell phone, black. Plastic casing has been exposed to high temperatures but otherwise intact. Battery has been removed.
- Pressing call button will generate static and indistinct voices. Call ends after 10-15 seconds. Further anomalous properties unknown.
Manilla envelope containing Binding of Isaac GameBoy Advance cartridge. FOR EVAN is written on the front.
- Game functions as expected, is a non-anomalous piece of impossible media. Edges of envelope will flatten to monomolecular cutting edge when the envelope is empty (it will return to its ordinary state so long as there is an object inside, regardless of the object).
Thumb-sized fetus (blue, horned) suspending in red-purple-black organic slurry.
- Drinking the mixture (do not chew) will generate an instance of [HIGH ENTROPY ENTITY B-2] upon death. Generated [HIGH ENTROPY ENTITY] will possess partial continuity of consciousness, inheriting some memories and personality traits. Manner of death is irrelevant.
Skull of adult human male. The word DENNIS has been carved into the forehead.
- Putting a coin in the skull's mouth will generate a bullet of random commercially-available caliber in the user's pocket, with a 5% chance of being accompanied by a functional hand grenade.
Kindle e-reader pre-loaded with an Updated English Translation copy of the Kitab al-Layl. Screen is cracked but device is otherwise fully operational.
- Possesses no supernatural traits on its own, but is the most widely-read book of occultism in the world and thus provides a certain amount of shared conceptual language.
Oil painting: "Still Life of Meat". (framed)
- Anomalous properties unknown.
Severed human hand (right). Skin is cracked, bright red, and flakes off when disturbed.
- Fingers catch fire when held by a liar, a cheat, a thief, or a coward. Invisible entities within its light are revealed, while the wielder is rendered invisible (the light will remain visible). The fingers will occasionally be seen to grip at things that are not there.
Engraved lead tube wrapped in copper wire and affixed to wooden rifle stock. Generates a hum, heat, and vibrates when trigger is pulled.
- Any targeted living matter will spontaneously begin developing tumors, which will grow in size and severity the longer the target remains within the beam. Extended use will cause barrel to grow increasingly hot, eventually deforming it into uselessness.
Series of 6 mason jars containing cuttlefish preserved in formaldehyde. Will turn to face observers. Regularly shift tentacle positions.
- Tentacle positions can be decoded into an English cipher. Default state is a repeating hymn to Tulu, of whom they are a collective priest. They will respond to humans who attempt to communicate through the cipher.