As I continue to work on a few new projects, I had some time to work on some freewriting the other night and came up with an interesting process (similar to the one I came up with for Brick by Brick) for describing an object. This goes beyond the last post talking about “What is in the shiny box?” but the two may dovetail into a single product.
It goes something along the lines of: Age -> Purpose -> Maker -> Size -> Material -> Owner -> Condition -> Mender -> Contents
Here are a few different boxes I came up with using this method…
(Old/Gift/Jeweler (Expert)/Small/Metal/Multiple (Child/Child/Grandchild)/Gently worn/Jeweler/Sand) This small box may only measure two inches by four inches, but it holds an important place in the Dhar family tale. Five generations ago, the Dhar family came to these shores to start a new life. They brought with them a small bag of sand from the beaches of their original homeland. When the first Dhar daughter was born here, a jeweler was commissioned the task of creating a fine box to contain some of that sand with the instructions that a single grain cannot be lost when the box is closed and locked. That daughter passed along the box to her daughter, who had to wait a generation for another daughter to pass it on to. There is a rumor that the sand itself is a form of luck and whomever possesses it will be smiled upon by fortune. That has certainly been true for the Dhar dynasty who through five generations have created a noble line acting as the power behind the scenes, though it seems most of that family power is held by the women in the family…
- (New/Storage/Carpenter (Master)/Medium/Wood/Merchant/Scarred/Carpenter (Expert)/Tools) The chest before you has seen better days but could surely tell a few tales of its time on the road. Master Velst, a renowned blacksmith in the region, has hauled the once-beautiful box in his cart from location to location over the last few months. Constructed by a master carpenter, the artisan had no idea it would be used to hold hammers, tongs, gloves, loose metal scraps, and anything else he thought he might need. Velst recently had the chest repaired when a hammer crashed through one side in a wagon accident, but the wood is definitely worse for the wear.
- (Ancient/Burial/Artist (Expert)/Large/Marble/None/Broken/None/Remains) In the center of the stone room lay a crudely carved marble sarcophagus laid open at one corner. Scattered along the floor you find scraps of what may have been a fine fabric long ago and the bones of whomever was interred within the box. Though severely damaged, the relief and sculpture placed along the lid was once finely done, though there is no outward indication of the owner’s identity. (If a PC shines a light within the box, they will notice characters carved into the underside of the lid that may provide that identity as well as a clue to what might have been buried with them.)
- (Months/Storage/Leatherworker/Medium/None/Hide/Open/Owner/Remains) The cave stretches back into the mountain nearly thirty feet and the smell of rot seems to fill every inch. Behind a rock, you find a large leather bag that may be the source of the horrible odor. The bag is open, on its side, and you can just see the shrunken skull of a small humanoid figure peering from within. You find a collection of six rotting heads of varying sizes and genders safely stored for whomever removed them a few months ago. From the jagged cuts at the neckline you suspect each was done in a hurry and kept as a souvenir.
- (Days/Storage/Primitive/Small/Bone/Parent/Open/Remains) You come across a small encampment of the local tribe, slaughtered by bandits seeking a thrill. The depths of their depravity are instantly apparent in the way they treated these peaceful people. A woman’s outstretched hand lay on a crudely carved bone box, now open to the elements. The sunlight shines on a small lock of the finest blond hair caught for a moment in her fingers before it is picked up by the wind and carried aloft…
What do you think?