D&D 5E Weird and terrible things to go into a collection

TheSword

Legend
So I want to have a Mind Flayer agent and intermediary who is quite rich and successful. He has collected all manner of ancient and wicked objects, some magic, some just unique. If anyone has read the Ravenor books then Orfeo Culzean is an inspiration for him.

I want the final boss fight to take place amongst his collection. With it containing weapons, constructs and strange creatures either in cages or glass cabinets etc that the mindflayer can release or activate during the fight.

The important thing is that anything in the collection could possibly be obtained by the PCs so from a power point of view I want things to stay reasonably balanced. Party has a wizard, a rogue, a Paladin and a cleric. They are all level 8. It’s Forgotten Realms setting.

What kinda of things would be cool in the collection?
 

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BookTenTiger

He / Him
A collection of tortured dreams! Crystal orbs in which the mind flayer has syphoned the dreams and desires of his victims. But the dreams are twisted so that the piece of their mind trapped in the orb is forever tortured.

If an orb breaks, it releases powerful, chaotic psychic energy that can either inspire someone with a dream or torture them with a nightmare.
 

Stormonu

Legend
A brain in a jar (whose attached eyes watch the fight closely); if the PCs break the lead-lined glass jar that block its psychic abilities, it can get off a few psychic blasts at the mind flayer before expiring, or the mind flayer could attempt to eat it to regain health or uses of its abilities.
 


CreamCloud0

Adventurer
Various rare books,
a set of high quality tools,
fine clothes,
bits of weird creatures(scales of a leviathan, the horns of a dragon, the feathers of a pheonix),
an imp or suchlike that bonds to whoever frees it as a familiar,
potions or scrolls for the flayer to potentially use in the fight,
pieces of treasure that have more cultural value than monetary,
various ‘X in a bottle’s(a storm that pours rain covering the floor and the occasional lightning bolt, vines that cover a radius with difficult terrain, a tornado that pushes everyone 10ft in your chosen direction once a round),
I don’t know if you want to put in some low level magic gear for the purpose of intentionally having it looted but having the flayer use them against the players in the fight beforehand leaves an impression,
magic items that are more curios than practical(a harp that plays music by itself, a potted plant that grows flowers of ice, an artificial bird that flies around the room, a lantern that produces light of any colour)
 
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BookTenTiger

He / Him
A collection of screaming skulls!

These are skulls collected from the bodies of tortured victims. They still possess a fragment of the pain and suffering inflicted on the body that possessed it. When disturbed, the skull emits a piercing, terrible scream, disrupting Concentration and making communication difficult.
 

steeldragons

Steeliest of the dragons
Epic
Not to get bogged down here...I have to get moving...but a few things that just jumped to the top of my head... it's a Mind Flayer big bad...so presumably its collection is going to be an assemblage of acquired rarities of evil and wickedness that few others would know of or could even begin to try to find and artifacts/souvenirs of conquered foes/victims...presumably the bulk of which are going to slide toward to "good" and/or "lawful" side of the scales...So,...

  • The horn (possibly stored in a jar along with a half eaten brain) of a Kirin.
  • A mid-sized apothecary jar containing an apparent tiny storm cloud. Occasional streaks of lightning illuminate dark grey thunderheads give way to muted cracks and rumbling of thunder. Occasionally, the clouds swirl into a whirlwind that twists about within the jar for a time before forming back into billowing clouds. Opening the jar (perhaps during the fight) will release the Djinn trapped within. He will be all too happy to engage/destroy his captor.
  • A scroll of pure silver (that rolls and unrolls as easily as paper) that holds a map to the <lost/forgotten/thought destroyed> <city/nation/realm> of <lost/forgotten/untold> magic and riches.
  • The pitchfork of a malebranche/horned devil.
  • Three small pieces of amber. Close inspection reveals within each is contained a miniaturized deva, weapons brandished, wings spread apparently in flight, dramatic poses. They were, in fact, real devas but are fully/truly deceased, frozen in the amber.
  • The mummified head of a shedu (or sphynx?). If activated/animated somehow (DM can chose how), it will answer any three questions truthfully... Or, maybe, instead, utters some kind of prophecy (presumably warn of some evil or something to further the cause of Good)... that's all the shedu's soul/spirit was able to leave imparted on its mind. It can/will repeat the prophecy/verse as requested.
  • Several jars containing the heads of various sapient species: various kinds/colors of human, a couple of elves, a dwarf, maybe a tiefling or something more exotic. Some have hats or head covering or jewelry (earrings, headbands, etc...) still intact, some may be of cultures the PCs do not know/recognize. All have eyes wide and mouths agape in twisted horror. All have the rear of their skulls broken open/holes bored into them. All of the brains are gone, of course.
  • A jar with a very bored, but very much alive, homunculous of some long dead alchemist from a previous age. Generally disagreeable and gruff, but has a great deal of [accurate] alchemical knowledge that it will grudgingly share if you can win its trust... and in exchange of crackers or (preferably) cookies. Gods help you if you try to give it a vegetable!
  • A rather large jar containing, a preserved-in-some-liquid, fair-sized tentacle (a section of an aboleth tentacle)
  • A massive (two handed for PCs, for sure) silvery lightning bolt-shaped sword. A balor/type VI demon's sword - who may or may not (DM's choice) still be alive/exist and may or may not (DM's choice) be interested in getting it back.
  • The highly magical shield of <setting mythic hero/champion of good>, perhaps not even thought to be a historical/"real" person to the PCs.
  • A golden disc, about 10"-12" plate or platter, etched around the edges with multiple circles and mystic characters. Cursory arcane investigation/detect magic/arcana checks immediately note them to be "very advanced" sigils, Abujration in nature. Within the gylphed circles of the plate sits a human-looking skull with gemstones in the eye sockets and several square-cut gems as "teeth." Yes, it's an actual demi-lich. The demi-lich's spirit is far afield, pursuing arcane power across the existential planes. It's skull has been placed -perhaps by the mindflayer, perhaps someone else- in a magical "statis" to prevent the demi-lich's unexpected return. Any disturbance of the symbols, however, or removing the skull from the plate (it can, afterall, just be picked up) and things could get...very bad, very quickly.
Right. On with it. Good luck. Enjoy.
 

  • A pair of trousers with pockets dimensions
  • A treant seed
  • A broken clock that will accurately answer a single question about the indoor room it sits in twice daily
  • A small sack of gold coins that can be used to track any coin removed from it. Each coin can only be used once before losing its magic.
  • A key that will unlock any door. After an unknown number of uses, it instead opens a door into the parlor of the devil who crafted it.
  • A small silver mirror with a bit of verse inscribed around the border. When first gazed upon, the mirror briefly reflects the face of the previous owner before showing the user's own reflection. If the user speaks the verse while looking directly into the mirror, they lose one ability score point (randomly chosen) and grow a number of years younger equal to 1/10 of their maximum lifespan. Alternatively, if they speak the verse while smearing the blood of someone killed for the express purpose of invoking the mirror's magic, they gain the same number of years at no personal cost. Even without invoking its magic directly, the user must hold the mirror and speak the verse (with or without looking into it) in order to confirm ownership. Failing to do so results in the mirror vanishing and coming into the possession of someone who has seen the user's face in the last year.
 

GuyBoy

Hero
A collection of screaming skulls!

These are skulls collected from the bodies of tortured victims. They still possess a fragment of the pain and suffering inflicted on the body that possessed it. When disturbed, the skull emits a piercing, terrible scream, disrupting Concentration and making communication difficult.
And if you wanted to be truly awful, have one of these skulls (a more recent one) be somebody linked positively with one or more of the players.
 



TheSword

Legend
There are lots of great ideas here for macabre curiosities!

In terms of 5e constructs or creatures that might be good for the mindflayer to activate, what do people think? Or things kept in cabinets that might be accidentally released in the fight.
 

A wand of fear made from the eye ball of a beholder, skewered like a campfire marshmallow.
A jewel that can't be picked up when looking at it.
A ball of braided hair that imparts a sorrowful sleep.
A mirror that can reflect a secret image of light and shadow on a wall. (Chinese magic mirror)
 

Quickleaf

Legend
There are lots of great ideas here for macabre curiosities!

In terms of 5e constructs or creatures that might be good for the mindflayer to activate, what do people think? Or things kept in cabinets that might be accidentally released in the fight.
A mass of sodden wriggling flesh that flings itself at creatures, telepathically whispering "The body subsumes the will, The will consumes the body." (a re-skinned rug of smothering)
 



The helping hands.

A wall that sprouts forearms. The arms act as shelves holding a variety of things. PCs can be knocked into it, and they restrain the PCs against the wall while incidentally dropping that which they held.

Which has interesting consequences, of course.
 

TheSword

Legend
Thanks for all the suggestions! Exhibits I’m thinking of including so far include.

  • A brain in a jar enclosed in a glass case
  • A mirror that contains a bound Bone Devil
  • A scroll of Evards Black Tentacles
  • Talking skull (linked to one of the players)
  • A cloak of smothering - (reskinned rug)
  • The Book of Vile Darkness
  • A full order of angels enclosed in amber at moment of death.
  • A full hierarchy of devils enclosed in amber at moment of death
  • A unicorn horn
  • An Efreeti bottle
  • A full set of preserved beholder eyestalks
  • A stone golem carved from basalt. A last ditch attempt in case the party make it all look easy.
 
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Stormonu

Legend
A couple other thoughts:

A crystal skull, possibly enchanted as a flameskull or even a demilich
A bloodstone dorje (psychic wand) carved with glowing illithid script that floats within its display case, tuned to some psychic spell
A brain golem (perhaps a reskinned flesh golem with a ranged psychic attack), created from an amalgamation of brains from victim races
A collection of rare gems, perhaps ioun stones or holding an imprisoned soul (attunement allows asking the being questions or drawing upon a former ability).
 

*Various petrified creatures
*A cookbook entitled "To Serve Man"
*glue made out of unicorns
*various anachronistically high tech items, such as a flashlight and a gun
*A githyanki silver sword
EDIT:
*A planter where body parts are being grown like flowers
 
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