Thursday, December 24, 2015

What's in the Quay's Wunderkammer?

I recently picked up The Brothers Quay Collection on DVD. This led to some direct observation and indirect contemplation of what's in the Quay's Wunderkammer. Suitable for use in your RPG du jour.

If you want to just jump straight into the action, click here to generate a popup randomly selected from the results in the table below Thanks to The Seventh Order of the Random Generator for supplying the technology.

What’s in the Quay’s Wunderkammer?

1.         A smaller Wunderkammer, containing another, smaller Wunderkammer, and another, and another, and another . . .

2.         1d12 black, ball-headed straight pins, magnetic.

3.         A wooden hand.

4.         A tarantula body.

5.         Silver forceps.

6.         A lobotomized doll’s head, with lobotomizing tools still inserted in the nostrils.

7.         Ship-in-a-bottle, cobwebbed.

8.         1d4 alabaster eggs.

9.         “Magic” lantern with 1d4 plates showing scenes from hell. Real scenes.

10.       A crown made of books, mostly esoteric texts.

11.       A tri-corn paper hat, shiny red.

12.       A tiny loom with spider-silk tapestry.

13.       Doll-sized divining rod. It works.

14.       A platinum fork.

15.       A never-melting ice cube. It can be crushed, but never melted.

16.       A tiny leather pouch containing a live cricket. The cricket never dies. Ever.

17.       A flapping bird wing. No bird is attached.

18.       A wig made of flies’ hairs.

19.       A pearl through which one sees oneself hanging from a gibbet.

20.       A pair of granite scissors.

21.       A tiny feather, always “on the wind”.

22.       A doll’s arm reaching out from a tiny, interdimensional portal. It’s hand is grabby.

23.       A golden silk cocoon.

24.       A model of the Black Forest, made from dandelion seeds.

25.       A button that, when pushed, rings alarm bells from nowhere.

26.       Metal-mesh goggles.

27.       A wooden esophagus.

28.       A box of cigars from the future.

29.       A matchbox painting of a headless specter.

30.       A candle whose flame burns black.

31        A pocket watch that refuses to keep correct time.

32.       A cymbal-crashing monkey doll that only plays when it wants to – which is always the worst possible time.

33.       A hand mirror that temporarily (1d4 rounds) blinds anyone who holds it and looks into it. Only works on the one holding it.

34.       A demon-possessed maggot.

35.       A dust mote that doubles its size for every turn it is outside of the cabinet for as long as it is outside the cabinet. At a certain point, it can’t be swept back in . . .

36.       A dandelion that reforms no matter what you do to or with the seeds.

37.       A bag containing the monotonous screeching of violins.

38.       A swarm of porcelain dolls that destroy your clothes and re-tailor your wardrobe.

39.       A high-heeled stiletto doll shoe, forged from a rusty screw.

40.       A screw that, once spun, never stops spinning.

41.       A quivering piece of meat. It still quivers.

42.       A convulsing glass eye.

43.       A twitching insect antenna.

44.       A vibrating barcode that never quite comes into focus: 8033 30 25 86.

45.       A thread that, when brought within 10’ of a musical instrument that is being played, instantly throws the instrument out of tune.

46.       A ballet-dancing, calligraphy-swirl-drawing, animated drafter’s compass.

47.       A leather ball that only bounces up stairs.

48.       A throw-bolt that doesn’t want to stay thrown. It can be forced, however.

49.       A swatch of striped cloth whose stripes alternately lighten and darken in varying shades of gray.

50.       A sewing needle that, when floated in mercury, always points to the position of the sun in the sky, even when the sun is not visible with the naked eye.

51.       An ape-headed baby doll.

52.       Matchbox portrait of a mouse in a monocle and top hat.

53.       A tiny electric fan that constantly blows, sans electricity.

54.       A yo-yo that crawls up and down the string 100 times per second, regardless of what the wielder docs. Stopping it requires a difficult dexterity/agility save, which can be attempted every round.

55.       A tiny magnet, ½ cm square, that attracts all metal unseen shavings within 50’, though it cannot be attached to a piece of metal larger than a shaving.

56.       A straightedge razor that can’t be handled without the handler being cut.

57.       A shadowbox showing a paradise, elsewhere. It is real, but you know you’ll never go there. You can’t. It’s not for you.

58.       A dollhouse ladder that only leans against dying trees in autumn.

59.       A clown-marionette’s red nose.

60.       A six-pointed-star-shaped thimble filled with pure water. It is far deeper than the bottom of the thimble. Miles deep, in fact. The water cannot be tipped out, as the thimble can not be tipped over, but the water can be sipped.

61.       A tiny music box that, when opened, causes one finger of every hearer (within 20’) to uncontrollably twitch. This can cause havoc for spellcasters or weapon wielders.

62.       A sinister porcelain doll face that causes nightmares to all who see it.

63.       A rose that, if cut, causes the color to fade from the world, thrusting all into black and white.

64.       A strip of cloth that becomes hopelessly entangled in the fingers of anyone who touches it. It must be transferred to another person to become disentangled from oneself.

65.       An ointment that, when applied to any piece of wood, causes sharp thorns to grow on the wood.

66.       A metal comb which, if used to comb one’s hair, causes flowers to spring forth. They are instantly woven into the hair.
67.       A marionette wig made of hedgehog quills.

68.       An inside-out globe of the known world.

69.       A small teapot, 1” high, 1” wide, stretched to 12” long.

70.       Tiny mechanical hounds that chase, kill, and eat a mechanical stag. No trace of the stag remains after the scene has played out.

71.       A bubble, floating on a teacup half-full of urine, which cannot be popped.

72.       Spectacles that cause anything in the yellow spectrum to appear as a star-filled night sky.

73.       Breathing apparatus that causes underwater visions of cyclopean ruins of non-Euclidean architecture.

74.       Crystal marble that shows visions of a man with a tiny mustache, wearing a brown coat. He screams in an unknown tongue and raises his hand in the air a lot. Unseen crowds cheer and chant.

75.       An egg that explodes when touched by flesh, then reforms a few seconds later, the pieces of shell and yolk flying back to the original location to form, again, an unbroken egg.

76.       A 1” cube of metal that smells of pineapple and lavender. If put in the mouth, it tastes like pineapple and lavender. It never loses its flavor.

77.       A receipt, written by a marionette carver. If read, the reader is mesmerized and unable to act for 1d4 turns.

78.       A 5’ long string which, if attached to the neck of another person, gives the holder complete control over the other person’s physical actions. It will stay attached for 1d3 rounds. A successful “hit” must be made on the target.

79.       A tiny cone which, if one speaks into it, his voice emits from the farthest corner of the room (or the nearest room if one is outdoors) for one round. Usable only at night and only once per night.

80.       A piano tuner which, if struck at high noon or midnight, causes earth tremors to a radius of 100’.

81.       A crack in the wood of the Wunderkammer shines with a searing light. Flesh that touches the crack is blistered and burned. Other materials that touch it are charred or ignite, if inflammable. Once touched, it seals up, blinking out of existence.

82.       A miniature jade elephant. If touched, it walks with an un-natural jerking motion. It stops when not being touched.

83.       A stuffed cardinal, whose red color drains from it like blood when it is placed in sunlight, leaving it pure white. The pool of red evaporates quickly. When put back into darkness, it flushes read again.

84.       A glass face-shield that, when looked through, causes the wearer to see any held object at all angles at once. This causes nausea, vomiting, and a splitting headache that lasts for hours.

85.       A key that, when turned in the air (as if one is unlocking a door), makes a clicking sound, followed by the sound of a door creaking open. Nearby observers and the key turner are filled with a sickening sense of unease brought on by an unseen presence or force.

86.       A paper man, with features inked in, that dances in the three dimensional world on the 29th of July.

87.       A metal hear, upon which is painted two large eyes. If picked up, a tear falls from one of the eyes and the holder is reminded of a time of extreme sadness from their past.

88.       A stuffed toy bunny whose ears flop rapidly back and forth if its feet are squeezed.

89.       A beautiful diamond ring. Anyone reaching for the ring will find their fingers and hand convulsing uncontrollably until they pull back the hand. Any other body part directed toward the ring also convulses uncontrollably, only ceasing when the offending member is withdrawn.

90.       A richly-adorned, severed hand in a non-descript box. If taken out of the box, it will “run” around like a spider, pinching, poking, and scratching to defend itself until stuffed back into the box.

91.       A stuffed hummingbird whose proboscis is a hollow needle that will inject a powerful narcotic if it pierces skin.

92.       A glass tumbler that will not stay upright, but insists on rolling around on its side . . . tumbling . . .

93.       A decrepit wooden box. When one puts his ear to it, he can hear the distant rumble of thunder.

94.       A sharpened stick, with rough bark on the shaft. If dipped in water, one may write with it as a quill or pencil. The lines are the color of yew leaves in spring.

95.       A tiny window in a tiny frame, set in the body of the Wunderkammer. If one looks inside, he sees a vast room, with furniture the size of castles.

96.       A stag horn that writhes when touched.

97.       A tiny wire strung across a U-shaped piece of brass. If plucked, it sings with the high soprano voice of a well-trained singer, though the song is haunting and highly disturbing. Shrieks can be heard in the distance.

98.       A gaunt marionette, 6” tall. He is well-dressed, but sickly. If his mouth is forced open, it will resist, then give way, letting out an explosive organ symphony of incredible volume until forced shut again. This it will also resist.

99.       A match, with the head of a blackened skull, that is always aflame and cannot be put out, but which never consumes the matchstick.

100.     A porcelain baby doll head whose eyes cast light like bullseye lanterns. The light never goes out, but the eyes can be stoppered shut with cloth.

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