Monday, 10 June 2013

Movie Watch: The Brass Teapot

I like indie films, they can often get away with things that Hollywood wouldn't or couldn't get through its exhaustive audience testing process.  The Brass teapot is one such film, it's essentially a morality tale disguised as a comedy with a supernatural focus in the form of a magical teapot which gives you money in exchange for pain.

The tale follows the likeable, but struggling young couple, Juno Temple (Atonement, Killer Joe) and Michael Angarano (The Forbidden Kingdom, Sky High) who discover a magical, money producing teapot and set about using it to change their lives.  The pair are likeable although a little stereotypical, and are surrounded by a plethora of family, friends and enemies who are all exploited by the pair as they gradually fall under the spell of the teapot. 

Add in the pair of Jewish grandsons and the strange Chinese Professor of Antiquity who both know the true power of the teapot and things turn comically dark. 

What's in it for role players

Well obviously it's the magic teapot.  I loved the way the story of this cursed item played out for the couple and it would pose a challenge to any greedy character in your game.   Essentially the teapot rewards you financially in exchange for experiencing pain but the longer you use the teapot more it's power grows, and it moves on to the next stage of its reward structure.
  • Stage 1: Accidental Injury to oneself. 
  • Stage 2: Self Inflicted Injury
  • Stage 3: Injury inflicted by another
  • Stage 4: Injury to a stranger
  • Stage 5: Injury of a friend
  • Stage 6: Death of a stranger
  • Stage 7: Death of a friend
  • Stage 8: Death of a thousand
  • Stage 9: Death of a town
  • Stage 10: Death of a Nation
  • Stage 11: Death of a species or race.

I'd make sure that it was found as a side treasure in a tomb and be pretty but mundane looking, either functional or at best semi-valuable, so as not to become an instant trade. 

Have the items power hidden for a time and only revealed to one or two characters (preferably a thief) who can keep a secret.  Allowing them to gradually discover the teapot's secret should add some interesting side story to your party.  As the owner becomes blasé about using the teapot's power, it should start paying less, or stop altogether.  They won't get a similar payout again until they find a new way of causing pain, which could be fun in it's own way.


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