Yesterday, while on a weekend outing with the family, I found myself facing down one of our world’s most expansive and ominous foes: the designer shoe mega-store. Consumed by rows upon rows of strappy summer sandals and perky peep-toed pumps, I felt like a pilgrim in an unholy land. I did attempt to employ my skills to help, assuming that “black heels” were an easy order to fill. However, many incorrect boxes later, I began to suspect that all my offerings would be too tall, too short, too shiny, or too much.
So I was left with little choice but to deploy my first and most formidable weapon in times of social crisis: nerdy escapism. Today’s offerings of enchanted footwear are the fruits of those labors. As usual, I’ve attempted to make them universal to a wide array of systems and settings. Just roll a D10 to find your prize, and if the results don’t suit your needs, feel free to give them the boot. Well, a different boot anyway. Oh, let’s just get on with it!
Please note that while all of these enchanted items are labeled as “Boots of…” for easy reference here, the shape of the actual article may be morphed into one that best compliments your campaign.
1. Boots of Discretion: The wisest heroes know that there are some battles best left to be fought another day.
Main Effect: Any character equipped with this article moves twice their normal speed when attempting to escape, elude, or otherwise retreat from danger.
Side Effect: Once they have reached safety, the character is gripped by an instant and oppressive hunger; they find any action other than satisfying that hunger very challenging until they have consumed sufficient nourishment (as decided by the GM).
2. Boots of the Explorer: Intrepid adventurers can never be sure where their exploits will lead them next.
Main Effect: This article always adjusts to the terrain one finds themselves in, allowing for optimum traction, stability, and movement. This may mean sprouting iron spikes on a frozen lake, tough cleats on a mountain hike, or wide flat soles in the sand.
Side Effect: The character must keep the boots in contact with a natural surface at all times, or risk losing the arcane connection between the article and the environment.
3. Boots of Compassion: You can never truly understand another’s pain until you have walked a mile in their shoes.
Main Effect:A character equipped with this article may heal any natural wound, sickness, or ailment of another by carrying the afflicted party for one mile. They have not, however, shown any ability to remove curses or arcane ailments. (GM’s judgment should always decide the final effect.)
Side Effect: The character wearing these boots is more vulnerable to injury, disease, and sickness for the next 3 days following a healing trek.
4. Boots of the Snare: There are some conflicts that can only be won by standing one’s ground- or forcing one’s opponent to stand theirs.
Main Effect: Any character who owns these boots may put them on, or alternately put them on another character, and speak an arcane control word (determined by the GM). Any character so equipped will prove immovable from that spot, and may not remove the boots, until the control word is spoken again.
Side Effect: The character speaking the control word moves at half their normal speed for 3 days following a successful use of this article.
5. Boots of Truth: Noble adventurers will sometimes find that true purpose may lend wings to their feet, and speed to their step.
Main Effect: A character equipped with this article may travel at full speed, without rest or sustenance, when delivering a formal request, an urgent message, or call for aid. This effect lasts until the message is safely delivered.
Side Effect: Once the message has been delivered, the character will be unable to speak for a duration roughly equal to the article’s effect, as described above.
6. Boots of Bounding: Leaping tall buildings in a single bound has brought at least one hero fame and glory.
Main Effect: Any character equipped with this article may jump over obstacles, enemies, or openings with little or no effort. (GMs should decide the limit of these leaps.)
Side Effect:Once the character is equipped with this article, the GM should roll a 4D6. This is how many times the boots will successfully function for this particular user. Once determined, the GM may or may not wish to inform the character of this number.
7. Boots of the New Moon: Some situations are served by stealth, relying on the ability to move without a sound.
Main Effect: Any character equipped with this article can tread without sound at will, and is nigh undetectable while moving at any speed.
Side Effect: While equipped with this article, the character is unable to control the volume of their voice; instead, they will sound like they’re shouting any time they attempt to speak.
8. Boots of Homecoming: Home is where the heart is, and quite often the rest of the body will need to follow.
Main Effect: A character may don these boots in a specific location, click their heels together 3 times, and incant “Domesticum.” From that point forward, the boots can always lead the way back to that specific location no matter how lost the character is. To find their way, the character need only tap their heels together 3 times and incant “Remigricum.”
Side Effect: Once the character has activated the boots to take them home, they cannot stop moving- or remove the boots- for any reason.
9. Boots of the Cat’s Paw: There are moments when survival depends heavily on which part of a hero hits the ground first.
Main Effect: Any character equipped with this article will always land on their feet following a fall or leap.
Side Effect: Characters equipped with this article require 50% more rest than they normally would, or the main effect of the boots begins to fade.
10. Boots of Thundering: The quickest path to adventure lies through an obstacle, not around it.
Main Effect: Any character equipped with this article is capable of breaking natural or artificial barriers with merely a swift kick or stomp.
Side Effect: A character so equipped cannot move silently, and is detectable at all times by just about everyone- even foes incapable of hearing.