Your player characters might. When not delving dungeons or defeating dragons, many players engage in a little downtime and enjoy doing some roleplaying in town. And because you can’t (or maybe shouldn’t) spend all of that downtime in the tavern, the marketplace is a great place to let your characters explore.
It could be the central marketplace in a large city with its colorful awnings and open storefronts. It could be an open-air market in the middle of a field just outside a city, or perhaps at the crossroads of two major trading routes. It could be a market at a busy oasis in the middle of a desert.
Wherever your marketplace, you need to have some items for the players to stumble across to give your market some flavor and depth. Presented here is a list of 100 possible items for your players to discover among the various roots and vegetables. Use some dice, or just peruse the list and pick out what intrigues you.
For the most part, the items listed are not magical or enchanted… but they could be if you want them to be. Some items are fairly mundane. Others are exotic and mysterious. A couple might even be amusing. You’d be surprised by what your player characters may decide to do with some of these items should they purchase them. You can set your prices to match your local economy.
And because not every marketplace is a sprawling marketplace with vendors from far-off lands, I’ve tailored this list so that every fifth item is something one might find in a small village market. Simply roll 1d20 and multiply by 5 to pick something at random.
A future list may include a table of magical or enchanted items, but this list presented here will make a great start for you to find a variety of marketplace finds to add flavor and character to your setting or even form the basis for a whole new adventure hook.
Treated leather waterproof slipcover sized perfectly for a spellbook
Set of leg chains with a standard lock, missing the key
Bag of clean, crushed clamshells
Wooden statuette of a beautiful elf maid holding a harp
Bottle of liquid soap with a slightly leaky stopper
An oddly polished and fancy looking orc battle helm
Large wooden chair with ornate carvings and ivory trim, but so poorly constructed that it won’t hold the weight of anyone heavier than a male halfling
Map of the local area written in the language of the Underworld
Commemorative plate with a well-known wizard’s face on it
1 lb. bag of roasted coffee beans (or tea leaves)
Heavy chain leash ending in three large, spiked dog collars
Yo-yo with small, razor-sharp blades along the edge
Blacksmith’s hammer with the word “Momma” stamped on the side
Small grooming kit suitable for dwarven beards or furry halfling feet
Box full of empty wooden spools
Pair of floral knickers made for a storm giant
Preserved orc head in a jar
Envelope containing a dozen tangle-vine seeds
Large, exotic butterfly mounted on cork and displayed in a glass-topped box.
Doll family consisting of two adults and three children
Portable sewing kit, the case made of sturdy; water-resistant canvas reinforced with steel bands.
Decorative shield with an unknown family crest featuring a purple worm on a field of orange
Used silverware set for a service of six but missing all the knives
Teapot fashioned to look like a goblin’s head
Large tapestry featuring the hunting and slaying of a red dragon by a pair of elf warrior maidens
Five barrels each a little smaller than the previous so they can all fit nested into one barrel
Bandolier equipped with five throwing knives
Bottle of Samwell’s Miracle Hair Tonic
Pouch of 20 cat’s eye marbles
Necklace with a dozen dried orc ears dangling from it
Bolt of colorful plaid fabric (40 sq. yards)
Small pots of paint: red, blue, green, white, and black
Set of old navigation tools
Pair of dice with dwarvish numbers on the sides
A pair of brand-new children’s shoes
Collapsible magnifying glass
Thirty-foot spool of wire
Stuffed owl dressed as a wizard
20 sheets of lambskin parchment
An unused sharpening stone
A hand-written collection of poetry from the local abbey, beautifully illustrated
Three tiny bear traps measuring three inches across when open
Fresh gingerbread cookies in the shape of centaurs
Polishing mixtures and rags suitable for plate armor
Facsimile replica of a wand of fireballs
A dozen purple carrots
Complete set of glassware for an alchemy lab. All pieces are individually wrapped in soft paper and straw and carefully placed into a wooden box designed for it. Extremely fragile and expensive.
Violin and bow. Roll 1d6 for quality and cost, 1 is poor and cheap, 6 is exquisite and expensive.
Set of five carved wooden figurines depicting different types of dragons
Riding saddle designed to be worn on a pegasus
Simple and complete chess set that has passed through a hundred different owners
Sealed bottle of 1,000-year-old wine. Guaranteed drinkable. Very rare.
Old guest ledger from an ancient inn far away
Bundle of exotic feathers of various bird species
Uncut diamond sitting at the bottom of a box of chunks of quartz
Large bag of charcoal
Pair of fingerless, calf-skin scribe’s gloves, new
Candelabra featuring a sneering medusa’s head of which seven snakes branch out to hold the candles
Taxidermist kit with enough supplies to preserve and pose a mammalian creature the size of a wolf
Large pewter drinking mug with a glass bottom
Collapsible campfire grill
Modern grammar for the orcish tongue
Long-stemmed clay pipe meant for a large-sized humanoid
Set of four small souvenir spoons from a far-away land
Saucy novel featuring the exploits of a halfling bard
Wagon with a false bottom
Bottle of highly effective laxative
Pouch of finely ground graphite
Insulated flask guaranteed to maintain the temperature of a liquid for 12 hours
Written history of a small, local temple devoted to a god of light and justice
Two pounds of iron roofing nails
Severed monkey’s paw. Rumored to grant wishes to the right person. (It doesn’t.)
Colorful mask intended for use at fancy balls
Two dozen strange foreign coins made of steel and with holes punched through the centers
Coiled beeswax candle (100 hours) with holder.
Hand-carved wooden fork and spoon suitable as a modest wedding or baptismal present
Ship’s anchor weighing 10,000 pounds
Mounted head of a young red dragon
Three-foot square piece of rolled up parchment with a 1-inch grid laid over its entire surface
Bottle of black ink that claims to be waterproof
Crude lantern made out of a large, hollowed-out turnip with a candle stuck inside
Finely made rug
Sealed glass bottle of a clear, carbonated liquid
Silver runcible spoon
Bundle of surprisingly absorbent rags
Large jar of dried apples, figs, and nuts
A very fancy, but heavily reinforced metal cage about three feet on all sides
Exquisitely painted and gold-trimmed chamber pot
Highly detailed drawing of a waterfall at the edge of a deep canyon
Set of very heavy manacles designed for use on a humanoid of gigantic proportions.
Large pair of sharp steel shears
25-foot roll of sturdy chicken wire
Fresh, but fully tanned, deerskin
Three marble spheres, perfectly smooth and polished, about five inches in diameter
Sealed bottle of very rare elvish wine
What are some of your favorite marketplace finds? Share in the comments.
A forest can be much more than a simple terrain sprinkled with occasional encounters. A forest exists whether the party is there or not and, therefore, has a life of its own. It is full of animals, creatures both mundane and fanciful, areas of magic and mystery, and places with history.
People have been through this forest before your party, and some may still be in the area. People drop the oddest things in forests.
In your game, you can break up the monotony of forest terrain travel with some of these items. Roll some dice, or just pick out something that seems like fun. Use an item below as described or apply your own twist. It can be a passing sort of thing, or you might decide to weave it into your adventure.
13 straw dolls arranged around a weeping willow
A broken down, abandoned tinker’s wagon
A map showing the route from the nearest settlement to a spot just beyond where the map is found.
A boot filled with water and a live fish.
A silver medallion featuring a crescent moon.
A severed hand holding a rabbit’s foot.
A fairly new pair of children’s shoes.
The crumbling, broken remains of an adventuring party that has been turned to stone. A dwarven warrior, elf sorceress, and human rogue are all in defensive poses.
An oil lantern mounted to a post that casts Zone of Truth in a 15×15 area. Only works in this spot. Oil runs out in 8 hours.
The smoldering remains of a small campfire.
An assortment of small stones laid out in the shape of an arrow pointing north.
An invisible tree.
A large stone statue of a gargoyle facing east but pointing south.
An old wagon wheel with unknown runes carved in the spokes.
A wicker basket filled with edible mushrooms.
A dead rabbit dressed in chainmail armor.
A perfectly spherical granite stone, five feet wide, half buried in the ground. Weighs 11,230 lbs.
A piece of parchment pinned to a tree with a rusty dagger. On it is the word “Run!”
A large X on a large rock painted in blood.
A traveler’s bedroll. It is old and moldy. Hidden between two blankets is an opal pendant on a leather string.
Two empty crystal goblets and a bottle of fine red wine perched atop a tree stump.
A perfectly healthy, but somewhat hungry, human baby wrapped in swaddling cloth.
A deep hole, a shovel, and a wooden box with a strange looking wand inside.
A wooden flute that has been snapped in half.
A silhouette of a humanoid figure burned into the ground.
A wanted poster with an image of one of the party members. The reward is insultingly low.
A single tulip made of glass in the center of a clearing.
A row of unmarked tombstones equal to the number of party members.
A 10×10 iron cage. On one side, the bars have been broken and bent outward.
A large iron cauldron that has been split in half. There is blast damage on the surrounding trees.
Three trees with tall mirrors mounted on them and facing toward the middle.
A broken beartrap. There are owlbear feathers found nearby.
A four-sided wooden top. When spun, it will heal 1-4 points depending on which side is facing up when it stops spinning. Sides are unmarked, so players do not know the amount healed. Can be used three times a day.
A large oak tree with five axe blades embedded in the trunk in various spots. Nonetheless, the tree looks healthy and strong.
From one large oak to a large elm about fifty feet away, there is a five foot wide cobblestone road that ends at the base of each tree.
A flowering mountain laurel that sneezes in the presence of a dwarf.
A raven wearing a top hat and monocle is perched on a tree branch. It sees the party and says, in a loud voice, “Now I’ve seen everything!” and flies off.
A bird’s nest that has toppled to the ground. Among the twigs and grass making up the neat is a locket on a chain. Within the locket is a very small uncut diamond.
A glowing silver ring floating five feet in the air. When reached for, it teleports in a random direction 20 feet away. This happens 1d12 times before disappearing for good.
The forest opens up to a large, hastily made clearing. There are a dozen campfire remains spread about and the signs of a large force of people having camped here. Careful investigation uncovers some abandoned personal cookware and a military style polearm. The campsite is less than a week old.
A smashed lute with broken strings and a dagger plunged into the body.
A tree whose branches all point west.
A potters bench and a carefully cultivated bed of tea roses. The bench holds five empty clay flower pots and a small gardening trowel.
Nailed to a tree, a broadsheet with the current date from a city over 200 miles away.
Three dozen soap bubbles of various sizes gently floating on the breeze. They pop easily and release a pleasant rose scent which heals 1 hit point to the person closest to it and within two feet.
An old tin box full of wooden buttons of various sizes.
An open scroll case filled with live spiders.
A 2’ x 4’ painting of an unknown mountain.
A tree decorated with 100 white ribbons. Misfortune to any who removes a ribbon. The more ribbons removed, the greater misfortune.
One half of a giant rat that has been split cleanly down the middle.
A patch of thorns with various dead animals decomposing in it. A scratch results in 1d4 damage plus save for paralysis.
An old wooden marionette of a small boy.
Hanging from a branch, a clean set of traditional wedding garb for both bride and groom.
A wide candle set atop a flat rock. Around the candle, runes have been scratched into the stone.
The remains of a goblin hunting party that came to a bad end.
An abandoned woodcutter’s hut. Sleeps two, but is in very poor condition.
A seashell beneath some brush. When held up to the ear, it relays a muttered conversation between a man and a woman in an unrecognizable language.
Three broken war axes.
An old wheelbarrow filled with gravel. At the bottom of the gravel are the remains of a human foot.
A tree that grows both apples and pears on the same branches.
A signpost that reads “You are here.”
A necklace with the same number of small vials of blood as the number of party members.
A decomposing severed left wing of a small red dragon.
A hunter’s bag with seven freshly killed rabbits.
A small spring that offers refreshing drink, but once left, cannot be found again.
A mound of small animal bones with a fresh, uneaten apple balanced atop it.
Half buried in leaves and muck, a small mortar and pestle.
A broken compass.
The storm-wrecked shell of an old Norse longboat.
A set of wind chimes made from finger bones hanging from a tree.
A tree with a hidden panel covering a small storage space. Inside the space is a dagger, 20’ of rope ending in a noose, and a camp shovel.
Two small wooden figurines of gnome warriors inside a small box lined with straw.
A horse saddle with a broken strap.
A horned helmet, the inside of which is coated with wet moss and small mushrooms.
A rock that kind of looks like a dog.
A porcelain doll of a young girl with the eyes scratched out.
A 5×5 pit trap covered by a lattice of thin branches and leaves approximately 10 feet deep and lined with wooden spikes at the bottom.
Twelve arrows thrust into the ground beside a broken longbow.
An old faded map sticking out of a hollow in a tree that leads to buried treasure on an unknown island.
A litter of kittens and a hungry momma cat.
A circular area about 40’ across in which everything has been burned to ash.
A surprised looking troll that has turned to stone.
A cleared campsite complete with campfire ring, firewood, a trough of fresh water, and three loaves of fresh bread wrapped in thick paper and tied neatly with string.
A tree that has been recently split down the middle by lightning.
A low branch with a robin’s nest and three eggs. The eggs are just about to hatch and the mama robin wants you gone.
A sunrise. No matter what time of day or night it is, the party suddenly experiences a beautiful sunrise for ten seconds before everything snaps back to normal time.
An old canvas tarp, dirty and musty, but still in good condition.
Three empty but unbroken wine bottles.
A chunk of fool’s gold.
An old wooden whistle that attracts bees.
Some low brush from which a soft giggle can be heard, but the source not found.
A stack of cut honeycombs wrapped in oil paper leaning against a large rock.
The ruins of a small ancient farming village.
A glass jar full of beach sand.
A pile of old deer hide.
An exposed field of granite crisscrossed with thick veins of quartz.
A tent that has been ripped to shreds by something large and awful.
An area of forest about 50’ wide absolutely covered in spider webs.
A spruce tree decorated with ribbons and orbs of painted glass.
A pile of newly carved wands, none of which have been finished or empowered.
Forests can be fun! What are some of your favorite forest finds? Reply in the comments.