Random Things: D&D 5E trinkets for a savage world

desert nightThese random things articles are designed as quick idea generators for time-pressed GMs who want to inject some additional details into their game, in this article we look at trinkets. Trinkets were one of my favourite things about character generation in D&D 5th Edition, each character starts with at least one, a small item or curiosity that has some odd property or something strange about it, it’s not a powerful magic item, just something interesting that could spur conversation and plot.

These items can of course be used in other RPGs.

The list of trinkets in the D&D 5E PHB is great, but it had to be for the standard style of fantasy world that a large number of D&D campaign games take place in, this is great and makes sense from a marketing stand-point, but over the years there have been some really compelling primitive worlds (Dark Sun, for example). Whilst it’s possible to adapt some standard trinkets, I wanted to offer a table themed more towards these savage worlds:

1A small dagger made of bone with red/brown thonging wrapped around it for a handle.
2The sand-colored shell of a large insect.
3A set of leather saddlebags with two concealed pockets inside them.
4A small air-dried skull necklace, at midnight any dead bodies within 100' of the wearer rise and shamble to stand around the wearer, they inflict no harm and the wearer may ask them 1 question per point of their charisma modifier (although the dead are under no compulsion to answer truthfully); once the questions have been asked or an hour has passed the dead disappear like a morning mist, returning to their graves.
5A large coconut full of delicious juice.
6A set of leather gloves, the palms have been textured to allow for superior grip.
7A tiny orb of a metallic alloy unknown to your people.
8A blood-stained set of manacles.
9A spear made from petrified wood and the horn of some great beast.
10A small pearl that always feels warm to the touch, locals call them Dragonpearls, they use them to keep warm during the cold evenings.
11A leather pouch containing a handful of dried edible insects.
12A water-skin that sounds like it has something thicker than water in it.
13A small glass flask containing the hair of a desert dwelling creature, the hair absorbs light during the day and glows at night, if exposed to the sunlight during the day it will shed light equivalent to a lantern.
14A set of wood and leather sandals that appear sized for a halfling or gnome.
15A scroll that appears to chronicle the adventures of Zhataru an infamous thief of legend who vanished mysteriously.
163 strips of spicey jerky.
17The withered, air-dried hand of a gnoll.
18A lime-green paste made from mashing several species of beetle and mixing with a little water, when the sour paste is ingested it has a similar inebriating effect to alcohol.
19An ancient world map that appears to show the land was once green and fertile.
20A round stone with a hole in the middle of it, anyone looking through the stone perceives a red haze about anyone who has been poisoned.
21A thick leather belt containing a number of pockets.
22A dessicated spider wrapped up in a light gauzey cloth.
23A leather pouch containing a handful of dried beetles, when crushed and added to saliva they make a bright blue pigment.
24A child's doll made of twigs held together with thonging and scraps of fabric.
25An unworking black gemstone, occasionally it makes the sound of a hammer striking an anvil.
26A wooden wagon just big enough to fit a single person or a small amount of gear.
27A potrait of man with fire for hair and smoke emerging from his mouth.
28A shield made from the horned skull of a great desert dinosaur.
29A small pinkish crystal attached to a piece of leather thonging, when it the presence of psionic (or magical depending on your campaign) energies the crystals grows warm.
30A small glider built from the cured wing-skin of pteradon stretched over a wooden frame.
31A face mask made from the tanned skin of an orc, wearing it gives the user the advantage on perception rolls in the dark.
32A pipe made from the leg bone of an animal, when played it creates a high-pitched sound that carries for many leagues.
33A portrait of a man sitting astride one of the Great Desert Worms, the portrait changes over time to resemble whoever possesses it.
343 stone coins with holes in the middle, they are tied together with thonging.
35A set of chimes made from hollowed bones, when hung up on a leather thong they make a low whistling sound when the wind hits them right.
36A juvenile specimen of the lands Great Worms, their flesh can be cooked and eaten, they also store large amounts of water in their bodies which can be drunk.
37A climbing aid fashioned from the serrated spine of a desert eel.
38A drum made from animal hide that creates a hollow, echoing sound when struck.
39A shield fashioned from the shell of an extinct species of turtle.
40A necklace of elf-ears.
41A chunk of a strange green glass, occasionally dark patterns seem to swirl below it's surface.
42A ring of dark blue stone, when worn it grants the bearer the ability to see clearly despite environmental impediments.
43A bone sword that was a gift when you went through the rites of passage to become an adult in your home village.
44A tiny slug-like creature, it occasionally emits small clouds of sweet smelling vapour.
45A good luck charm made from the skulls and bones of three small corvids, tied together by leather thonging, each has a symbol painted on them, the symbols are life, death and fortune.
46What appears to be a small dessicated finger, due to the state of it, it's difficult to tell the original species it came from.
47A small stone idol depicting a nightmarish creature that appears be half-human and half-giant worm.
48An ancient flint arrow head with a strange symbol drawn in chalk on it.
49A lightly coloured robe that helps to reflect the harsh heat of the sun.
50A piece of stone that someone has carved a portrait of a young man onto.
51A large panel of glass that magnifies anything placed under it.
52A glass vial containing the powdered remnants of what might once have been a potion.
53A small glass vial of musk extracted from the scent gland of a desert skunk, if the musk is sprinkled on the PCs trial then it gives anyone attempting to track them by scent the disadvantage on their roll.
54An ancient map of a legendary librarian believed to have sunk into the desert.
556 small chunks of a brittle wafer-like substance, each of which can sustain a man as though it were a days rations.
56A club made out of wood studded with chunks of sharp black stone.
57A map carved onto the back of a piece of hide, it seems to show to location of a hidden oasis, however there is what looks like a cloud of smoke and a skull etched beside it.
58A dusty, twisted scale from a huge prehistoric lizard.
59A clear gemstone that seems to reflect back an oddly distorted view of whoever looks into it.
60A small bronze lamp that was reputed to have once contained a genie before it was freed by a foolish sultan.
61A set of weapons fashioned from the claws of a desert lizard, they are fitting to leather straps designed to fasten over the wielders forearms.
62A horn may from the twisted shell of a burrowing creature.
63A blow-pipe with a prayer to the gods carved onto it.
64The bright red feather of a giant bird.
65An obsidian knife, when blood is drawn with it the fluid is absorbed by the blade.
66A small bronze torc, engraved onto it is a scene depicting five people gathering around a moutain with lightning coming from the summit.
67An enchanted waterskin that can hold double the amount of water that a normal skin can without adding any additional weight.
68A stone box containing a single unfamiliar coin of a silver metal.
693 doses of a dull grey powder that flares brightly when fire touches it, it is mainly used to help start fires with damp wood.
70A wooden whistle that immitates the roar of a T-Rex.
71A jar of ointment made from animal fat and various herbs that protects from sunburn or frostbite when smeared on the skin.
72A curved bone blade fashioned from a jaw-bone, it is designed for cutting fat from meat.
73A set of stone divining tiles, used by shaman for foretelling the future.
74The tail of a giant scorpion, it can be used as a shortsword and a vial of poison can be emptied into it prior to striking someone.
75A long spear with a semi-circular bone blade at each end.
76A ceremonial necklace made of desert shells given to those marked by fate.
77A pouch containing dried brown grass that is smoked by the local tribes instead of tobacco; when smoked it gives of a pungent spicey aroma.
78A long wooden pick used for teasing the marrow out of cracked bones.
79A medium sized club made of stone with bone pines drilled through it.
80A salted lizard on a stick.
81A bone comb that is missing several of it's teeth.
82A whip that appears to be made of braided human hair.
83A set of colourful glass beads designed to be worn as hair ornamentation.
84Two glass lenses, a piece of leather and some thonging that can be fastened to create a spyglass capable of seeing over long distances.
85An old abacus with strange characters carved onto each of the wooden beads.
86The picked-clean skeleton of a small mantis-man.
87A bronze insignia of rank from some long-forgotten military force.
88A small cactus plant, 2D6 needles can be extracted as used as ammunition for a blowpipe or makeshift caltrops.
89The cracked shell of a large egg, traces of a pink yolk still clinging to the inside.
90The deep violet tuber of a desert growing plant, rumoured to be useful as medicine.
91A scrap of hide engraved with the first half of a nursery rhyme that you recall from your childhood.
92A bone ear peg fashioned from the small tooth of a desert tiger.
93A leather path with a stylised eye painted on it.
94A wide-brimmed hat made from woven grasses.
95A leather pouch with a board etched on one side, containing coloured pebbles used for a popular local game.
96A small grey stone disk that grows darker in colour when within 100' of water.
97A mirror made from polished stone, occasionally when it is used a demonic burning face can be seen staring back out of it.
98A good luck charm made from the teeth of a giant lizard.
99A flint knife that was given to you by the wise-person of your village.
100A fist sized lump of purple crystal, when the person possessing it is reduced to 0HP they automatically stabilise and the crystal shatters becoming useless, when they awake they recall lingering near death and a figure in purple robes beckoning them back to the land of the living.

Desert Night drawing was created by Aaron Lathon and was taken from Sketchport, licensed under CC-BY

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