I know it’s weird to write about soap, but bear with me here. Awhile ago I saw this review for d20 soap! (There’s also Han Solo in carbonite soap). I’m not going to buy this product, and I certainly don’t want it as a present but I’m glad that it exists. This means that our hobby has reached the popularity of brass knuckles and bacon.
As most things do, this got me thinking about soap and novelty items in our games. First off, do the characters even bathe? Sometimes when get to a reputable inn after a few weeks of dungeon crawling, I’ll declare that my character takes a hot bath, but generally I assume he performs a modicum of hygiene in the background. I don’t think that the standard adventurer’s kit includes a bar of soap, scissors, floss, or a comb. Besides, it’d probably confuse the monsters if we all smelt like lavender and cucumber. However grooming and hygiene is an interesting aspect of one’s character to think about it: how does he or she present herself? Does he keep the armor clean and dent free, brush his hair (or fur?), etc. I know people in the real middle ages weren’t big on brushing teeth, but rich people certainly used perfumes and makeup (even if they were made out of deadly materials – like lead-based lipstick). Grooming should part of the image (or disguise) a character puts on, in addition to clothes (and hats).
What about novelty products? We have plush Cthulu’s and d20 soaps, maybe in your world characters should be able to buy bobble-heads of royalty, posters of great dragon-slayers, or plush Lloth’s. If the party performs some heroic deed that gets them renown across the land, an enterprising NPC (or character) can issue limited edition coins, collectible plates, or toys commemorating the event. It would be a nice memento for the characters to keep. And at $1 per die, a commemorative d6 for a long and fun campaign is not a bad idea, either.