A mystery, wrapped in an enigma… and then sealed in a bottle to annoy some nerds

In my last blog post, I made mention of items in roleplaying games that never get used because they’re always being saved for a better opportunity. This got me thinking about one such item in a recent D&D game that took this to the extreme.

We were about 8th or 9th level, I would guess, when we found a mysterious sealed bottle. Our wizard’s ridiculously high arcana skill couldn’t identify what it might be, except that the runes around the seal were some sort of binding spell, so we elected not to open it until we had a better idea what was in it (though we did briefly consider using it as a weapon, by chucking it into a group of foes and just seeing what popped out).

We carried the “vampire grenade” for several levels, never finding a use for it, while making periodic (failed) attempts to identify it more accurately. After a while, we came to the realisation that whatever was in there (friend or foe) was likely to be so far beneath our level by this point that it wasn’t worth letting out anyway.

Eventually the game ground to a halt around mid-Paragon tier (I think everyone was suffering from 4e’s option bloat) and we switched onto something else, but the question of what that bottle had in it was never resolved. Now, I could ask the DM to satisfy my curiosity, but I’m not sure I want to… after all, it could have been something far less exciting than we had built up in our minds. I guess some mysteries are best left unsolved.

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