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Minor Charms & Knackbardies


Knacks (knakkespelle, kitchen magic, pocket charms, cradle airs, etc.) are the pettiest of petty magic—very minor utility charms, often passed down in families.


Mole, Mole, come out your hole
Or else I'll beat you black as coal!
Mole, Mole, put out your head
Or else I kill you till you are dead!
—To drive vermin from fruit still on the tree, recite this poem while burning moss from the tree's trunk and limbs.

One, two, three, four, five,
See, I caught a hare alive.
Six, seven, eight, nine, ten,
Then I let her go again.
— To address complaints of the liver, catch a hare, pluck a small amount of fur from its belly, and then release it.

Knacks have no game mechanics. They do not have a definitive effect on the world. They increase the odds of succeeding at mundane tasks by an undetermined amount. Knacks are valuable to their possessors; a farmer who can recite a rhyme that increases the likelihood of picking fertilized chicken eggs has a distinct advantage over their neighbors. And in a small, rural village, you might make your reputation, or even your living off a good knack.

Knackbardy: one who makes their trade off a collection of knacks. Knackbardies are slightly disreputable, as many are charlatans. Furthermore, knacks are considered private family secrets, and suspicion is cast on how a knackbardy acquired their menu.

The intention with knacks is to add folkloric flavor to a campaign. They create a sense of background magic, while also making real spellcasters seem more dramatically powerful in comparison. If the villagers are impressed with the local seamstress whose knack keeps her from missing a stitch, what will they think of the PC with a mending cantrip? The slightest act of prestidigitation is undeniably more efficacious, adaptable, and impressive than a dozen of these little charms.

 A Sampling of Knacks

  1. To call weevils out of cheese
  2. To clarify rendered fat
  3. To diminish a wen, wart, or blemish
  4. To ease insomnia
  5. To find a lost ewe
  6. To find edible mushrooms
  7. To freshen spoiled meat
  8. To give hair an extra luster
  9. To increase docility of bees in their hive
  10. To keep socks and stockings dry
  11. To lessen a headache
  12. To make a child’s teeth grow in straight
  13. To make a rival nauseous
  14. To raise high loaves of bread
  15. To shave without nicks
  16. To smooth the lumps out of oatmeal
  17. To sort out pebbles from grain
  18. To steady a flame in high wind
  19. To take the sourness out of cheap ale
  20. To untangle knotted strings

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