Many magical items adventurers seek out help them carry more loot, keep themselves fed and healthy, or just simply hack the bad guys to itty bitty bits. This one lets their loot carry itself.
Centipede nails may be mistaken for caltrops when first examined. They have three to five shorter, curled spikes, called the leg spikes, in a crown around the top of their longer main spike, called the anchor spike. The leg spikes are typically only one to three inches long, while the anchor spike is usually about twice that.
Centipede nails can be driven into an inanimate object, typically a chest or trunk, but care must be taken not to damage the leg spikes. Usually the centipede nails have a specially crafted nailset made specifically to cradle the leg spikes while driving the anchor spike. A nailset can be jury rigged by just carving a small piece of wood to the shape of the centipede nail head. Once driven into the object, each nail supports about 15 to 30 pounds, depending on the craftsmanship of the creator. Once enough nails have been attached, the object can commanded to move, either to follow the user or to follow another item fitted with centipede nails.
If twice as many nails are put on for the objects weight, the nails can move twice as fast, enough to keep pace with a loaded horse. If the nails are overloaded, they can only move very, very slowly, slower than a walking man. If the nails were damaged while driving them in, usually they will simply move slowly, but in some cases the object develops a limp, shaking the contents and sometimes breaking contents.
The centipede nails allow inanimate objects to travel, but the nails are not very big and have no intelligence at all. They cannot cross gaps bigger than twice the lenght of their legs, which usually means 2 to 6 inches, so rope bridges are right out, and even gutters cause problems. Stairs are impassable, unless they are less than 2 to 6 inches tall, and while they can climb slopes, even steep ones, if the object tips over, the nails can do nothing to stop it and it just rolls away.
The nails cannot swim and don't recognize any distinction in the terrain they walk over, they just walk. They walk through snow, mud, puddles, fire, or anything else they are directed to walk through, regardless of the damage to the object. The object doesn't need to remain intact for the nails to function, it can be smashed to bits by a boulder and as long as the nails weren't damaged, they will keep walking, carrying the splinted remains with them.
? Golden (6 voters / 7 votes)
? Community Contributions (1)
Jumping Nails: Like centipede nails, they can be hammered into the bottom of an object. When commanded to jump, they will release a spring-loaded that will propel the item they are attached to upwards. Jumping nails function similarly to centipede nails, in that the more you attach the more jumping power you get. In addition, they can be used alone (usually as a joke) or in combination with centipede nails (they will curl up out of the way, so that they don't create drag or obstruct the centipede nails in any way).
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? Responses (25)
Interesting. Very useful, but relatively frail item. There are surely ways to repair it (lowering the maximum load a bit).
Hmmm, if there is a straight path (not necessarily for humans, may be just inches wide) usable in conquering a walled town or something, one centipede could be attached to a bomb, and sent right there...
Brilliant! Hints of Terry Pratchett's walking luggage. I especially like the comical downsides of the item: just imagine a character's dismay when his party stops to avoid an imminent rockfall and realises his chest is nowhere to be seen (later they try to salvage the bent nails from the rubble...).
When these nails are not in use do they wriggle and writhe around? I can imagine they'd be hard to carry around.
I don't think they would.
But if the command words are spoken at the wrong moment...
All I have to say is... torture device.
Only works on inanimate objects.
So put a couple nails in some handcuffs and you have a porta rack.
Aww, cute... Most items here are so Uber-powerful but this has it's limits. Never heard of limping magical items before but that's truly touching. :,/ Though they are just mindless objects, I wonder if they might one day develop a consciousness and hold a strike against barbarious masters who are too stingy about adding enough nails to their items. These things remind me of the coal carriers in Miyazaki's Spirited Away. *Starts campaigning for Centipede Nails' trade union.*
Maybe there's an 'original' version, a now extinct form of centipede that acted similarly?
It would be cool if they were smaller, and they could like leap and stuff. You could attach them to the bottom of plates and mugs and such, and wizards could punish their apprentices by having their plates walk away. 'You are done eating, young apprentice... *skitter*' ;)
See: an absolutely logical item that has to exist.
Love it. It'd be cool to have a little story or something, but that's just being picky. I will definitely give these to players early on. What player/DM wants to kepep track of how much they can carry? This solves that problem, and creates a magic item that doesnt actually make my players more powerful, but they can't complain because they do really need it. Plus, it's inability to get unstuck from some basic circumstances should provide humor.
Hadn't noticed these before, but I like the concept. They're the sort of thing that your average adventurer would see in use, and smack himself in the forehead while exclaiming, 'Why didn't I think of that?'
Useful, not overwhelmingly powerful, and frail enough to be able to be used for creative trouble by the GM.
Great idea, one possible application is for a thief to sneak the legs under a chest, and then let it walk out of a heavily guarded room on its own accord.
Another excellent little item Agar! Great job!
I think I'm throwing this in for when the party meets the big wizard. He has a table, and chair follow him everywhere. (he only has ramps)
or, I can just picture the salesman, "Well if you are going to buy those, you'll want this installer. oh, and a leg repair device. Oh, and spares too. My wife Rachel will paint them or mark them with your crest for a nominal fee. I hear they have a tendency to walk off. Ha ha. If you wish, we can sell a specialized holder. You just dial in how much weight you want here. Turn the crank like so. and the correct number come out here." Oooo A vending machine (like a gumball machine that takes 1 coin to purchase.) Or, a tradesman opens his vest with tons of these lining the inside. a Field repair handbook. (think iPods) Useful for PCs and GMs alike.
Anything invoking this much thought deserves a 5/5
Question, Do they need to be fed?
Heheh. As magical constructs, they don't feeding (they don't have a mouth anyway). The best thing one can do is the occasional maintenance.
These nails still have it!
They would be quite useful (and probably common) in a wizard's lair, but with their disability to pass even small obstacles, I think they wouldn't be very useful in the outdoors?
Random encounter: a Centipede Nail is walking down the road/through the forest or desert, and no potential owner is to be seen, for miles around. For fun one could add a cryptic note or a too small piece of a treasure map. ;)
And of course this would work for the organic version as well :)
Perfectly useful little devices. I really like manfred's idea for a random encounter.