Old Game Notebook: Bottles of Gopal

Michael O. Varhola

This pair of items probably dates to around 1990 and were part of the massive 2nd Edition D&D "Indian Adventures" project I was working on at the time. They were printed out on an 8.5x11 sheet of paper that was three-hole punched and which had slight scalloping all-round, suggest it was printed on that old-style paper with edges that had to be removed. These items actually got used extensively by my players for a number of years, and of the reasons I introduced them into the campaign was because of the perpetual and debilitating shortage of rogue's in the party. Some handwritten annotations indicate that I had some reservations at the time about allowing the table implements to be sold and most assuredly would not allow that now.  

Bottles of Gopal: Named for a weaver who owned them for many years, these are a pair of plain ceramic bottles. They may be found together or individually. The bottles are Vamana in origin, and other types of similar bottles may exist.

Up to once per day, when a command is given to the first bottle, a pair of tiny Vamana will hop out of it, and set choice foods and fine drink before the owner of the bottle. This is enough food for two people for an entire day (or a group of six or so for a single meal). The servants will attend the diners for up to two hours, and then return to the bottle. If they are prevented from doing so they will evaporate, and the bottle will be unusable for a month.

The plates, goblets, and serving vessels are all of silver and gold plate, and are worth a total of 20 gp. Thus, selling them can provide a steady source of income.

The second bottle houses a pair of tiny servants, similar in appearance to the first vamana, but armored and armed with weighted staves. They can be used for tasks such as fighting or spying on behalf of the owner of the bottle, and can stay outside of their bottle for up to two hours a day. If they are killed or cannot return to their bottle, then they will evaporate, and the device will be unusable for a month.

Bottle servants: AC 6; HD 2; HP 16; #A 1; D/A 2-8. They each have the thieving abilities of a 2nd-level vamana rogue.

XP Value: 700

As part of my ongoing struggle to keep Skirmisher HQ/my home office under control, I have decided that it is time to do something with the hundreds of pages of handwritten game rules, ideas, and other content that I have been compiling for decades. Some of this material, in fact, goes back more than 30 years, to when my friend George and I were developing our "Skirmish Wargaming Rules." And, when I began playing D&D in 1982, the notebooks, index cards, and scraps of paper with notes and stats increased exponentially. Some of that material has ended up in one form or another in various Skirmisher products, of course, but much of it has sat fallow for many years. So, with an eye to getting some fresh use out of it, I will be incrementally posting it here -- and then disposing of the hardcopy originals. Material will be presented in the order I discover or feel like keying it in. And I reserve the right to correct misspellings and add punctuation and the like!