What’s in the box?

Seems a simple question, right? “What’s in the box?” And yet, it can have so many answers – just ask Schrödinger’s cat! This post continues the strange vein I’ve been exploring for James Introcaso’s RPG Blog Carnival topic this month –“Homebrew Holiday Gifts”.

Let’s take a simple three step process like I’ve used with the Little Spaces series of products (property, sense, and descriptor) and see what we can do.

Gift Property (d8)

  1. gift boxShape
  2. Size
  3. Purpose
  4. Giver
  5. Recipient
  6. Weight
  7. Balance
  8. Age

Sense (d6)

  1. Sight
  2. Hearing
  3. Touch
  4. Taste
  5. Smell
  6. Re-roll

Descriptor (d10)

  1. Round
  2. Square
  3. Oblong
  4. Long
  5. Short
  6. Grotesque
  7. Stone
  8. Wood
  9. Paper
  10. Jeweled

A Few Examples

  • Shape/Sight/Stone – One of the last gifts the blushing bride opened with her new husband was very oddly wrapped. She joked that it was an egg and he offered a pensive laugh when he saw who it was from. His great aunt lived alone in a shack in the woods “communing with nature and the spirits,” so there was no telling what might be under the piece of burlap with some ribbon tied in a pretty little bow. As if to punctuate that thought, they heard an audible crack and then a flutter of wings as they untied it…
  • Size/Hearing/Long – The little girl wondered at the enormous present she’d been given for her birthday. She was not expecting much from her family. They were rich in spirit but poor in the purse, so when she found the box on the front step of their tiny hovel at sunrise she was surprised. Her father and brother helped bring it in and commented on how the contents moved wildly. And as she began to tear the garishly decorated paper, she heard a long growl that scared her away. She sat with her family in the farthest corner of the room away from the box and waited…
  • Purpose/Touch/Grotesque – The village elder was feared more than loved often received gifts from the people under his watch seeking favor, but had a strange feeling about the box before him. Nobody claimed it or saw who delivered it. It was a small box wrapped in an old sack and tied closed with a piece of twine. He laughed at his paranoia and cut the twine, unwrapped, and opened the box. Whatever was within was tucked under a small cloud of cotton fluff so he reached in to pull it out, pricking his finger on something at the bottom of the box. He pulled out his finger even as the poison began to take effect, twisting first his hand, then the arm, and finally his whole body into a spasm of pain. His body was found later with his face twisted in a grotesque death mask. Seemed the village had a position to fill…

Obviously there are many different ways these combinations of ideas can go, but I have to say this was definitely fun to explore.

Be sure to check out the RPG Blog Carnival for tons of other great ideas. The archive is hosted by Roleplaying Tips these days!

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