Okay, apologies for the delay, but I finally got the chance to get this written. I've had a flu bug or something the past few days, and didn't have the energy to do any sort of cohesive thinking that writing a blog requires. ( Although, now that I think about it; some bloggers don't seem to think at all when they write their blogs.... )
Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah, I started this when I was reading some of the magic item descriptions in AD&D DMG 1E. ( Here's part one. ) I came across the Robe of Useful Items, and started thinking about some of the odd things that are on it, and really started thinking about what kind of spell is required to turn some of these things into a cloth patch! As far as I can tell, there is no corresponding spell in the lists that would create these patches, but at some time in the past wouldn't there have to be a spell? Perhaps it's still out there somewhere?
It would have to be a very powerful spell, and it does either one of two things. It either transforms the target into a cloth patch ( and attach it to the robe ), or it transfers the item into another dimension, where it's stored in stasis until "summoned" ( by pulling off the patch ). The patch is merely a "link".
Some of the items on the robe are very complex. Several living creatures are listed, war dogs, a mule, giant owl, and on the Appendix P listing there's a wasp nest, which is described as normal, with 200 wasps. Now, I don't claim to be an expert on wasps or their nests, but 200? That's a lot of wasps...
I find one of the oddest items to be the 10 cubic foot open pit. Does the wizard have the pit dug, and then cast the spell? Does it include the sides of the pit, or just the empty space? Also, when you use that particular patch, assuming your using on the ground or in a dungeon, what happens to what was there before? Hhhmmmm...
On the matter of the spell, is it just too powerful to let a player character learn? It would be a very useful spell, in so many different ways. Carrying large items out of dungeons, smuggling contraband, a dead party members body, etc...
Also, consider that whatever gets turned into a patch does not age, decay, or deteriorate in any way! Need to provision your party for an extended megadungeon crawl? Load up the Robe of Useful Items!
There are two things you would never want to turn into a patch. One is a Portable Hole, the other a Bag of Holding, trying to turn either into a patch would probably result in a nasty dimensional vortex that sucks everything around into it. Of course the players wouldn't know this unless they did a lot of research. There could also be other disastrous results for trying to turn powerful magic items into patches. At the very least the items should get savings throw versus magic, especially if said items are intelligent. The same goes for intelligent races and monsters. Of course if you succeed, heh, having a red dragon patch would be awesome.
Of course I believe this would be a fairly high level spell, and would be expensive to cast, i.e. very costly material components. Also if it is a known spell, I can imagine that most magic users would closely guard it, and try to keep it secret at all costs.
Then again, maybe the spell is lost to the ages, and would require years of research, and who knows how much gold to replicate? If the ROUI is rare then eventually, they will all be used up. So I started thinking that perhaps to make the robe even more useful that there's a chance the robe comes with a wand that can turn items, creatures, things, or whatever, into patches. It wouldn't have a tremendous range, and a large area of affect would drain more charges. I also think that magic users are the only ones that should be able to use the wand. Perhaps one day I will write the wand descriptions in more detail, but I'm really torn as to what to call it? Wand of Patch Making?
Well, I feel that I've rambled on enough about the Robe of Useful Items. It really is one of the oddest magic items in the AD&D DMG 1E. Before I started writing this, I did a google search, but didn't find too much about it. Then again it was a quick scan. I've been wondering if there ever was an article in Dragon Magazine about the ROUI? Anyone out in the blogosphere know?
Maybe next time I will write about the ubiquitous iron spike, the dungeon delvers friend, in all it's various permutations. It is after all a much more simple thing than the puzzling, mind boggling, and mysterious Robe of Useful Items.