Items are generally includes anything that does not count as a Plot Element, such as clothing, a backpack of supplies or a bicycle. Obviously the use of these items are evident but it is largely for roleplaying purposes. Items can give bonuses but do not possess abilities like Plot Elements do. Rather items such as a bicycle give a bonus to one's speed when going from one destination to the next while potions are one use items that increase HP or stats temporarily.
[I have a list to put in here. It will be edited in shortly and it will have always been there. Just like the war with Eurasia.]
Plot Elements are a huge part of D&Dis and can be one of the most unique and amusing parts for players but are also one of the most difficult for Dungeon Mediators. In this Guide I may lay out a few suggestions for Plot Elements, however there is no way to limit it to a single list. It is normally better to learn from someone who has some experience with Mediating but that option is not always available, as such here is a brief guide on how to use Plot Elements.
Encountering Plot Elements
There are three circumstances underwhich Plot Elements can be found.
Most Modules and Campaigns should have pre-prepared Plot Elements lying about in them. Most obviously treasures at the end of Dungeons and loot from the end of Discourses, these are the most straight forward and similar to the Magic items one might find in a Fantasy RPG. Players may attempt to capture hostile enemies as plot elements, however, there are several draw backs. If you are planning a campaign yourself, be sure to include Plot Elements for your players as they progress. Typically, completing a Dungeon should give them a Plot Element just slightly more powerful than they are, while Monsters drop useful and unique but generally weaker elements.
The Second Method is through specific player request. If a Player wishes to have a certain Plot Element for the sake of flavour or uniqueness, then they may trade a certain number of treatise for the Element. Make the ability roughly correspond to how much they sacrificed for it; a player who trades in one or two treatise earns a simple plot element with roughly a rank one ability, while if a player trades in nine treatise around level ten, then they would get a plot element with a rank four ability. Keep in mind however that this is your decision rather than an obligation and should be done for flavour and roleplaying purposes only.
Finally, when situations occur players either remark on a cliche or give an expression to summarize their current situation. For example, should the skies suddenly become overcast, they may attempt to capture a "Bleak Outlook" or if they become suddenly famous they may attempt to capture their "Moment in the Spot Light". Since these are remarked on by the players, these can be some of the most difficult elements to incorperate but also some of the most entertaining and rewarding for players.
If a player wishes to get rid of an element for whatever reason, he may do so at any time unless the element specifically forbids him from it.
Designing Plot Elements
Writing a plot element can be difficult and occaisionally may require the input of players as well, however for the most part it simply requires one to think about possible applications of the object or concept in question and balancing them against abilities or simply emulating abilities of a class outside one's own. "A Moment in the Spot Light" might create an effect similar to Insufferable genius. It might be one use only with lower level philosophers. "Bleak outlook" likewise would mimic Existential Dread.
Some plot elements, particularly creatures, may last as allies in battle. As a general rule, most players are not allowed to summon multiple plot element allies at once, though exceptions can be made provided the player is willing to accept slightly weaker elements. Again, this must be done at the Mediator's descrepancy. Most Captured Monsters fit into this category, while certain allies may allow you to capture them and summon them later for advise. It is recommended that Captured monsters retain only one active ability and that those with passive abilities last only a single turn.
Not all Plot Elements necessarily have to fit into either of the two categories. Some can have lingering effects, others might give a bonus to capturing plot elements, some might have very plot relevant abilities that only work on certain Monsters.
Hostile or Negative Plot Elements
Plot Elements are not always good. Sometimes they may be dangerous or only exist to punish players. For example if a player will not allow a joke to die, you might consider giving him a "Dead Horse" as a plot element and summon it whenever he reuses the joke, forcing his character to spend the turn beating the dead horse. Plot elements like these, for obvious reasons, cannot simply be disposed of at will.
Some Plot Elements may be double edged. Rather than weakening abilities for lower level, there is the option of allowing them to fail or even backfire under certain conditions, such as rolling a one. Other examples would be a plot element that reduced the HP or stats of a player or even an element that damaged a player or allies in exchange for an increase in stats. Giving elements various draw backs make them more interesting, however make sure that these draw backs do seriously affect the summoner in order to prevent abuse.
Hostile Plot Elements on the other hand are copies of monsters taken either by surprised or during a battle. Once summoned, the player must make a Charisma check against a difficulty of your choice but it should be rather difficult. On a failure, roll a dice to determine who the hit [2d6 with a number for each possible target]. They will, when summoned, target everyone near the battle save those of their own kind or former allies. This continues until a charisma check succeeds.
Plot Elements are very campaign relevant, preventing many from being predesigned, and do require a certain amount of trial and error. If you are new, make sure that the players understand that rebalancing may be necessary as play progresses to keep things more interesting and fun for everyone.