Did I ever tell you about the Arrow of Returning?
I have a thing for quirky magic items. In a world where curmudgeonly old fools are apt to possess great magical prowess, it’s pretty likely that for every well crafted Longsword +1 there’s bound to be another item that is less obviously useful, if not downright head scratchingly dangerous. The road to Spell Casting Mastery, as they say, is paved with good intentions (and the corpses of those who had the misfortune to try those good intentions out).
I remember, for example, the Potion of Create Water I put in one small treasure pile. In my defense, it was clearly labelled “Do not drink”, though I confess that just guaranteed one of the PCs would do just that. I know my players, and I even had the drowning rules bookmarked ready. It pays to be prepared.
This time though, it was the player’s own fault.
I gave them a useful enough magic item – an Arrow of Returning +1. When the arrow was fired, it returned the following round; straight into the bow if it was drawn, or into the quiver (or other receptacle) if not. It meant that our Ranger only needed that single arrow unless he was using some kind of Multi-Shot ability.
That was until the party faced off against Trolls, and our Ranger (whose name I have long since forgotten) thought it would be a good idea to set fire to his Arrow of Returning. With an Everburning Torch.
Now, we had ruled that Everburning Torches could set fire to things, but the fire died down and otherwise behaved as ordinary flames. But setting fire to another magic item….. that’s a whole different ball game. Our Ranger has unwittingly created an Everburning Arrow of Returning, and that’s just asking for trouble.
He liked the Arrow a lot during that battle where he fired, hit, and the flaming arrow returned to his bow to be fired again. After combat though, it returned to his quiver. And promptly set it on fire.
He doused it in water. It continued to burn. He dropped it to the ground, buried it and walked away. When he was 100′ away, it returned to his backpack, setting that alight. He gave it to another PC to carry and all was well until they separated and it appeared in the Ranger’s belt and set his pants on fire too.
For a while he dragged the blasted Everburning Arrow of Returning by a rope behind him before compromising and using it as a torch when not in combat and as ammo when fighting. It was, as far as self-inflicted cursed items go, pretty darned useful.
After a while, I relented and said the Arrow was keyed to the bow. Both the Arrow and the bow found pride of place on a shelf in the Ranger’s Hall, illuminating a corner for ever more.
I like to think they’re still there.