Oddities for a Viking Encounter

Michael O. Varhola

Following is a list of things, some more-or-less "Oddities" than others, that might be found in any sort of a Viking encounter, including in a tomb, a treasure hoard, a mariner's chest, or any other appropriate place where something fun, provocative, and culturally specific is desired. Suffice it to say that my inspiration for starting the list and my contributions for it have come from my current adventure, a cruise through the "Viking Homelands" of the Baltic Sea! 

1. 1d2 silver earrings. Each is fashioned in the shape of a horse's head and body, and has eight tiny chains for legs, each with a little cast hoof at the end of it. 

2. A shortsword of the sort known as a seax that has a hilt made from reindeer antler, to include an irregularly-shaped pommel. 

3. A 1d6-foot-tall oak statue of a bearded man that is holding in its hand a steel hammer and which has embedded in its head a chunk of flint. If the hammer is removed from the hand and used to strike the flint, a spark will be produced that can light tinder. Optionally, if the name of the god Thor is invoked, the spark can inflict damage and be directed at a target (e.g., in a d20 game, 1d4 damage and 5 feet of range per foot of height of the statue). 

4. A drawing of a boat on a scarf-sized piece of linen. Optionally, if the cloth is placed in water, or laid on the ground and has water poured on it, it will turn into an actual vessel (e.g., a row- or sailboat big enough to transport the character party). 

5. 2d10x pieces of tiny gold foil, generally between 1/4 inch and 1 inch, stamped with or in the shape things like trees, people, Elves, wild boars, and the like. Each is worth 1d4 gp. 

6. 1d6 keys attached to a ring that is clearly meant to be worn on a belt (and which is 50% likely to still be hanging from one, which is 90% likely to be made for a woman). 

7. A pair of heavy, metal-plated leather gloves. There is a one in three chance that one of them is missing. Optionally, there is a 10% chance that the gloves are magical, with a default ability to doubling the base damage of any weapon wielded by someone wearing them. 

8. A model of a ship fashioned entirely from the fingernails and toenails of people. 

9. A mariner's chest with a somewhat indented top that is surprisingly comfortable to sit on. Optionally, it is magical and will boost the endurance of anyone sitting on it (e.g., a sailor using it as a seat while rowing). 

10. A simple but heavy gold ring. Examination may reveal reveal runes around the inner rim, and anyone who can read them will see that they say "One Ring to Rule Them All." Anyone who invokes the name "Draupnir" while wearing the ring will thereafter be immune to a specific sort of damage if it is on their finger (e.g., fire, cold, metal weapons).