Random Things: Gothic horror trinkets for D&D 5E

These 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.

To honour the recent of the Curse of Strahd by Wizards of the Coast this article provides 100 gothic/horror themed trinkets that can be substituted for those in the 5E PHB.

1A cracked set of spectacles, anyone looking through them occasionally finds themselves viewing a land of nightmarish creatures.
2A set of leather driving gloves, the fingers are torn as though burst open from the inside.
3A small water-damaged book labelled 'The Genealogy of the Walpo Family.'
4A map of an ancient castle.
5A glass jar containing an ectoplasmic substance that glows faintly in moonlight.
6Three silver bullets with crosses engraved on them.
7A single, blood red, rose that never seems to wilt or require water.
8A tiny doll made out of straw, when not observed, it's clothes change to match those of the person possessing it.
9A single black pearl with an oddly slimy feel.
10A large bronze key inscribed with the emblem of a skull and two crossed swords.
11A wooden whistle carved in the shape of a wolf, when blown it gives out a low howling sound.
12A faded portrait of a large family dressed in their finery, the two children in the picture are both covering their faces.
13A dagger that always seems to be cold.
14A map of a local moorland, plotting out the various sinkholes and hazards to navigation.
15Three knuckle-bones that have been carved into dice.
16The stuffed and preserved remains of a large bat.
17A love letter to a man identified only as V signed by a woman identified as M, the letter is sealed with red wax.
18A sealing stamp bearing the emblem of a wolf's head.
19A small signet ring with the emblem of a bat on it.
20A face mask that appears to be made from flayed skin, if worn it moulds itself to the wearers face.
21A painting depicting an ancient stone castle, the picture is titled 'Castle Flerrenbaum.'
22An evening dinner menu, there are spots of what appear to be dried blood on it.
23Some sort of religious icon made of gold depicting a creature resembling a blasphemos crossing of man and sea-beast.
24A black lace veil, people viewed through it appear as emaciated skeletal versions of themselves.
25A small black cauldron that appears to have meat juices burnt onto the bottom of it.
26A vampire fang carved into the bust of a beautiful woman.
27A black velvet evening dress.
28A small prayer book, the cover is stained with an unidentifiable slime.
29A map of a local cliff-face showing a hidden cover once used by smugglers.
30A bottle of a vintage wine that has an odd metallic taste.
31A small crystal ball that is filled with a shifting white mist, occasionally when peered into it shows possible scenes of death that are about to occur.
32A small pot of rock-salt with Vistani words scratched onto the front of it.
33A deck of Tarroka fortune-telling cards.
34A thick black hood that has the smell of damp earth lingering about it.
35Five crossbow bolts that have religious blessings etched onto the hafts.
36A set of make-up in various skin tones.
37A small tin of red, sparkling powder, when an undead crosses the powder it glows faintly.
38A candle made from a severed hand-dipped in wax.
39A lump of deep purple crystal.
40A small skull fashioned out of an opaque white crystal.
41A pickled human toe.
42A small paper parcel containing the dust from ground up mummies.
43An ancient and battered Ouija board.
44A shrunken head that occasionally whispers in an incomprehensible language.
45A preserved human scalp.
46A set of trousers made from flayed skin.
47A sprig of heather that never seems to wilt.
48A basalt idol depicted a creature that appears to be half-man and half-fish.
49A brick made of strange green stone that contains undeciphered hieroglyphs.
50A blunt knife with an ivory handle.
51A stone with a hole in it, when looked through on the night of a full-moon it shows the landscape as it was 100 years previous.
52A censer attached to a chain with some strange smelling herbs in it.
53A quill and ink set, when used the quill sometimes (without the writers notice) writes dire portents of doom and death.
54A human skull with elongated canine teeth.
55A lock of human hair held together with a clump of wax.
56A compass that points unerringly to the site of the nearest death.
57A burial shroud with a figure outlined in dried blood.
58A stick of blue chalk that floresces in moonlight.
59A lantern that cackles eeriely when lit.
60The deeds to a crumbling old manor house.
61A family tree showing the seven male heirs of a noble family, there is a red circle drawn around the name of the seventh son.
62A neatly written note that appears to be written in some form of cypher.
63A length of hemp rope that ties itself into a noose each time it is stowed away/
64A ring that appears to contain a floating human eye.
65A necklace containing a faded portrait of a pale, middle-aged woman.
66A small, cracked porcelain doll with most of it's hair burnt off.
67A mask depicting a screaming human face.
68A necklace made from an animal's jawbone.
69A map of the local cemetery, there are red crosses drawn by several of the graves.
70A set of metal 'hell coins' although made of cheap metal and having no real monetary value these items are often placed with the dead to buy passage to the underworld.
71An effigy of a small boat with a minature coffin in the hold.
72A silver pendant depicting an eye contained within an eight-pointed star.
73A black eyepatch with a silver skull painted on it, whilst wearing it the user gains disadvantage on any normal perception rolls but advantage on any such rolls to spot the undead or signs of their passage.
74A set of haunting sheet music labelled as 'Rudolpho's Concerto of Madness.'
75A preserved monkey's paw, each time a character is reduced to 0 HP whilst holding the monkey's paw they will automatically stabilise, one of the fingers on the paw then folds up, once the paw has become a fist it ceases to work for that person. Each time the paw stabilises someone in this way they get a level of exhaustion.
76A mummified human hand that smells vaguely of spices.
77A golden locket containing black stones that occasionally cry tears of blood.
78A candied apple carved into the shape of a human skull.
79A miniature wooden coffin, complete with miniature tin skeleton inside.
80A set of dark wooden pipes that produce a low moaning sound when used.
81A hand-mirror that sometimes shows a shadowy figure lurking behind the person looking in it.
82A recently painted picture of an author believed to have disappeared fifty years previous.
83A scribe's fevered account of having watched a play that caused the audience to go berserk and attack each other, although the scribe claims to not remember the contents of the play.
84An old, battered telescope that shows odd luminescent lines linking the stars when it is used.
85A small glass vial of a cloudy red liquid.
86A set of five rusty, bent, nails, stained with a black liquid.
87A pot of green powder, when sprinkled on a lit torch is causes the flame to glow green and become invisible to the unintelligent walking dead.
88A werewolves talon, during the day it resembles a human fingernail and at night a black wolf's claw.
89A lavender smelling silk handkerchief stained with tears.
90A map showing the location of a small village reputed to only appear once every 50 years.
91A piece of parchment with 'The spectre of Samantha Tholun still roams her ancestral halls' written on it.
92A map to the abandoned castle of the deceased Geraldo family lineage.
93A golden wedding ring with the word 'always' inscribed on the inside.
94A Vistani good luck charm made of animal bones and twine.
95The diary of man who claims to have been cursed to forever walk the earth, the write is unidentified and the last few pages are missing.
96A severed, active, zombified halfling head with it's teeth removed.
97A map to a hidden subterranean level below a public building.
98A childs jack-in-the-box that plays an eerie piping melody when the handle is turned.
99A blackstone ring that grows warm in the presence of emanations from the Shadowfell.
100A modern transcription of an ancient prophecy predicting that the highest of the land will fall when the sky cries blood.


What the hell are Vistani?

Sébastien Allard from RPG Brigade facebook community raised the very good point that people who are unfamiliar with Ravenloft (the inspiration for this article) might not know what a Vistani is.

Simply put, Vistani are an imaginary, fictional re-imagining of the Romani people (gypsies) used in the Ravenloft setting, you can simply subsititute any mention of the Vistani for gypsies or the equivalent in your campaign world; if you want to know more about the Vistani, this is a good place to start:


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