Today’s letter inspired me to pull Kemp P. Battle’s compilation Great American Folklore from the history section of my library and flip through its pages for inspiration. Pages 41 and 42 list several superstitions about traveling, and I said to myself, “Self, this might work!” After all, adventurers travel, doing so in a world where the hazards attributed to superstition in our world can be real dangers. (Dramatic Aside: I know of one RPG product that’s expanded on the ideas of superstitions within the game world, the aptly titled Superstitions by Creative Mountain Games.) Let’s pull out a few of traveling superstitions compiled by Battle, and briefly muse about their game effects.
Superstition: “When you leave on a trip, toss an old shoe behind you for good luck.” Possible Game Effect: A character who performs this simple action gains a floating +1 luck bonus that can be used once at any time during the trip. If not used before the trip ends, the floating luck bonus goes away.
Superstition: “If you find a pin on the road, pick it up; it’s good luck.” Possible Game Effect: The bearer of the lucky pin gets to reroll the first failed roll he makes. He must abide by the results of this second roll.
Superstition: “If you see a spoon, let it be! Some folks are known to throw out a spoon when their luck is going badly, hoping that a passerby will pick it up and take the bad luck with him.” Possible Game Effect: This is the opposite of the lucky pin. The PC carrying the bad luck spoon must make two rolls and accept the worser of the pair. If the GM feel particularly grumpy, turn the spoon into a cursed object that the unlucky PC cannot easily rid himself of.
Superstition: “When you pass a crossroads, slap your right leg for good luck.” Possible Game Effect: After the leg slap, the superstitious PC gains a +1 luck bonus to saving throws and Perception checks for the remainder of the day.
Of course, it seems sensible to me that these little superstitions shouldn’t be universally or automatically effective. Not everyone who tosses a shoe behind them enjoys good luck on a trip, but some people do. I’m not sure about what means should be used to determine if a superstition has an effect. Perhaps I’ll ruminate on that and save it up for S?