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Artifact of Attraction

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"This stone is not yet twenty years old. It was found in the banks of the Amoy River in southern China and is remarkable in having every characteristic of the carbuncle, save that it is blue in shade instead of ruby red. In spite of its youth, it has already a sinister history. There have been two murders, a vitriol-throwing, a suicide, and several robberies brought about for the sake of this forty-grain weight of crystallised charcoal. Who would think that so pretty a toy would be a purveyor to the gallows and the prison?"
Sherlock Holmes, "The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle"

The Artifact of Attraction is an object that inspires obsession. It can cause a group of friends to become paranoid and distrustful, making them stop working together or even come to blows over ownership. Unsurprisingly for an object that can bring about a veritable Hate Plague on those who set eyes on it (or even just know of its existence), the Artifact of Attraction tends to be a powerfully cursed item, though some mundane objects can become this trope merely through reputation and uniqueness.

Any object can serve as an Artifact of Attraction, but they tend to have a certain je ne sais quoi. They may be a luxury item (like a fashionable pair of red shoes or a ring), or perfectly mundane (a red stapler or a warm blanket).

Knowing the Artifact of Attraction is capable of this doesn't stop the effects it causes, but may give the heroes enough warning to resist the effects long enough to destroy it or give it to the bad guys. Of course, because of its nature, no one wants to destroy it, making this kind of curse ideal for preserving an Artifact of Doom and Amulet of Dependency from being destroyed. It can also turn the possessor into a Doom Magnet, as countless people die fighting among themselves while attempting to claim the artifact.

Though plenty lethal on its own, the Artifact of Attraction may be triple enchanted to serve as an Artifact of Death (to up the kill count) and as an Artifact of Doom (to corrupt the hapless holder) and serve as a trifecta of desire, death, and corruption. This can cause a character to become Drunk on the Dark Side if the artifact grants its bearer some form of supernatural power.

To neutralize such problems, the heroes can always follow the example of the Hope Diamond and donate it to a museum. That kind of unselfish act often means that the curse is broken while the item is kept in a safe place for everyone to enjoy... and get stolen by villains too dumb to realize Evil Is Not a Toy.

A Sub-Trope of MacGuffin.

Compare Glamour, Hypno Trinket, and Magic Is a Monster Magnet. Compare & contrast Gold Fever, which is about people turning greedy and paranoid when suddenly gaining ordinary material riches (often gold). See also Apple of Discord, which is not about the object, but a group of friends bickering to the point of coming to blows after a seemingly trivial comment or question (who is fairest, strongest, etc).


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    Comic Books 
  • There's an inversion in Green Lantern. Larfleeze, the Orange Lantern of the light of avarice, is the greediest being in the cosmos. How greedy? Everything and even everyone he sees become Artifacts of Attraction for him. He hoards precious and useless things and he even "steals" the people he kills by turning them into "ghosts" under his control, making up the Orange Lantern Corps. He's the sole member of the Corps because aside from the Orange Light growing weaker if there's more than one wielder, he's far too greedy to ever share any of his power.
    • His Orange Power Battery is itself an artifact. Merely touching it makes a person become an Orange Lantern who wants everything. Probably because it's got the greed entity Ophidian stuck in it.
  • The Golden Helmet from Carl Barks' Donald Duck comic of the same name is a headgear version of the One Ring. Using an ancient edict, an Amoral Attorney has come up with some legal mumbo jumbo that declares anyone who owns the helmet becomes legal king of North America, and one by one, the heroes succumb to the temptation and decide they don't just want to keep it away from the villain, they want to rule North America themselves! They eventually manage to throw it into Mt. D— sorry, the ocean, only for it to reappear courtesy of Gladstone Gander in a sequel by Keno Don Rosa.
  • X-Men student Tag has this trope and its inversion as his mutant ability. He can make whatever he touches telepathically compel people to flock to it or run away.

    Fan Works 
  • The Mask of Darth Nihilus becomes one for Jaune in Jaune Arc, Lord of Hunger. From the moment he lays eyes on it, Jaune feels inexorably drawn to the mask. Eventually, he starts to carry the mask everywhere with him and uses it like a stress ball. By "Destiny", this has turned in an almost Gollum-like obsession and the mere thought of being separated from the mask sends him into an all-consuming, blind rage.
  • The Slytherin Horcrux ring has this effect on Sirius in Oh God, Not Again!. Harry telling him that putting the ring on would kill him doesn't disillusion him in the least. Hilariously, he's only able to resist when Harry says, "Sirius, if you put that on then Snape will have to save your life. SNAPE."
  • In the Worm/Dishonored crossover fanfic, A Change of Pace, the Runes are this to Taylor. The first time she finds one, she's flat-out drawn to it until Glory Girl pulls her away and later goes on to hunt down more of them. She's reasonably freaked out about the effects they have on her.
  • In the Worm fanfic Intrepid, Benjamin's power as a Master-Stranger is his ability to dedicate an item into something everyone who hears his voice will want. They'll be willing to do anything to get it, including fighting their allies.
  • With This Ring: In addition to Larfleeze's canon drive to hoard everything he can seize, it's indicated here that the Orange Light Fountain that he clings to has steadily drawn in the greediest beings from across the galaxy to challenge him. Paul actually considers this to be a public service, removing dangerous individuals from circulation. Which doesn't stop him from reclaiming the Fountain and putting it in a properly shielded housing.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Trope Illustrator: the One Ring, a.k.a. the Precious of The Lord of the Rings. This is an especially dark example, given that Sméagol murders his best friend not two minutes after merely seeing the ring, just to get it for himself. Like in the book, the Ring's inability to make someone stop obsessing over it ends up being its undoing.
  • The Coke bottle from The Gods Must Be Crazy is treated like this. It's pretty and useful, but the fact that there's only one causes the tight-knit villagers to fight over it, ultimately culminating in one of the villagers using it to hurt another. It's also harder than anything that can be found in the Kalahari Desert (namely wood or bone), so to dispose of it, the protagonist sets off on his quest to throw it off the edge of the world.
  • South Korean film The Red Shoes (2005) has the eponymous (highly cursed) red shoes. Every woman who sees them wants to wear them, and will even steal them from treasured friends to do so. Once put on they get murdered horribly by a ghost.
  • The Blue Max concerns one of Germany's highest bravery awards in WW1. And the lengths a pilot called Bruno Stachel will go to in order to win it.
  • The Holy Grail had this effect in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. It's the source of the divide between Indiana Jones and his father, who spent his whole life studying it. Meanwhile, the grail's allure drives both villains to their doom. First, Walter Donovan drinks from a decoy grail, causing him to age to death. Then, Elsa Schneider attempts to take the grail out of the temple with disastrous results. In a Literal Cliffhanger moment, she's so tempted to reach for the grail instead of Indiana's hand that she loses her grip and falls to her death. Indy nearly suffers the same fate trying to reach the Grail, but his father convinces him to let it go.
  • In The Brass Teapot the titular Teapot has the power to draw people to it. Touching it once is enough to fall under its power and do anything to try to obtain it.
  • The Thundering Sword: The titular sword is the most powerful and dangerous weapon, with entire clans eager to slaughter each other for its possession.
  • Slaxx: The titular possessed blue jeans are capable of brainwashing people into trying them on when they look at the embroidered SS logo on the back pocket, which happens to Jemma and Lord.

  • The Seed of Charm in Dragoncharm, which has a magnetic attraction for Wraith (which makes sense because he is a Charmed dragon), but also for Fortune.
  • Tolkien's Legendarium:
    • The title Silmarils in The Silmarillion are a prime example of Artifacts of Attraction. They don't confer any special powers and possessing them provides the owner with no benefits whatsoever. But when Finwë (the creator Fëanor's father) is murdered and his murderer Morgoth (the local Devil stand-in) takes them with him just because they looked interesting, Fëanor swears revenge and makes an oath that he, his sons, and their people will not rest until the murder is avenged and the three jewels returned to their rightful owners. 500 years and no less than seven battles of epic proportions later, almost the entire High Elven nobility has been wiped out one after another, thousands if not millions of elves have been killed by orcs or other elves, and the entire region of Beleriand has been swallowed by the ocean, just because eight elves did not Know When to Fold 'Em.

      And all of the Silmarils end up where mortals (and immortals alike) can no longer reach them, by the way. One was sunk into the depths of the sea, one was thrown into a fissure into the core of the Earth, and the final became the planet Venus. Though that might have been the only way to end the whole mess. The Silmarils were so attractive that Morgoth wore them in a crown even though their light burned him. The burns were severe enough that they would never heal, but he kept the Silmarils anyway.
    • The One Ring in The Lord of the Rings has this power. Everyone who loses the ring wants to retake it. Even worse, anyone who brings the Ring to the one place that can destroy the Ring, then decides to keep the Ring. This property of the Ring is what ultimately brings about its downfall: when two people it had ensnared arrive at Mount Doom at the same time, their fighting over it is what causes it to fall into the volcano.
    • The Arkenstone of The Hobbit implicitly has this effect, though it may not be strictly supernatural but rather an enhanced form of Gold Fever caused by the gem's immense value and uniqueness, and its noted tendency to glow.
    • In The Fellowship of the Ring, the treasures from the tomb of the Barrow Wight are cursed. Since the only way to break the curse is to give the treasure away freely, this is probably the form it would take.
  • Jorge Luis Borges:
    • The Zahir from the 1949 short story El Zahir is the most fascinating object in the world. It doesn't matter what it is — but there's always one Zahir in the world at any one time. Zahir is an Arabic word meaning "the obvious meaning," "the conspicuous" or "something that cannot be ignored."
    • Later, Borges wrote that one of the characters of this tale, Teodelina Villar, was a deconstruction of this trope: Who could be fascinating to anyone in Real Life? A Satellite Love Interest, someone who nobody (not even the guy who is in love with her) can define why is he in love: Teodelina was a Rich in Dollars, Poor in Sense Rich Bitch when she was young, and then she was a Fallen Princess. Even when Borges describes her as pretty stupid, he claims to love her, even when he cannot justify why, except because Borges admit he is a snob.
    • This trope is deconstructed again at "Deutsches Requiem:" Otto Dietrich Zur Linde, director of a concentration camp, realizes that he could invoke this trope as a form of Cold-Blooded Torture. He even describes this method, but an editor censors it:
      I had realized many years before I met David Jerusalem that everything in the world can be the seed of a possible hell; a face, a word, a compass, an advertisement for cigarettes—anything can drive a person insane if that person cannot manage to put it out of his mind. Wouldn't a man be mad if he constantly had before his mind's eye the map of Hungary? I decided to apply this principle to the disciplinary regimen of our house, and—'' 4... In late 1942, Jerusalem went insane; on March 1, 1943, he succeeded in killing himself.
      4 Here, the excision of a number of lines has been unavoidable. Ed.
  • Rudyard Kipling's The Second Jungle Book story "The King's Ankus" is named after a jewel-studded ivory artifact that Mowgli finds in a lost treasure chamber and then carelessly discards. He soon discovers that the Ankus causes men to kill each other (The reader knows it's for greed, but not Mowgli) and wonders why he alone is immune. Mowgli invokes this trope as the only logical answer.
  • Red gold from the Belgariad can trigger Gold Fever in any who behold it, but the effect is strongest on those who have some in their possession. It's said to call to its own, such that having some makes one want a lot more. For this reason, the Grolims who control the source spend it like water when they find those who are susceptible and yoke them into Torak's service. There are hints that the gold is magically created in the first place.
  • The Sword of Tears from The Legend of Huma.
  • In E. Nesbit's Five Children and It, the children accidentally wish their youngest sibling into this. Fortunately, it wears off at sunset, after a long day spent chasing after everyone who kidnapped him.
  • Brandon Sanderson:
    • The Stormlight Archive: Shardblades are supernaturally sharp and indestructible blades which aren't actually supernaturally attractive, but they're so valuable (there are approximated to be a hundred on the planet) that the difference is academic.
    • Warbreaker: Nightblood. It wasn't designed for this purpose; it was actually designed to destroy evil, but unfortunately a sword has absolutely no idea what evil is. The souls that were used to create it made a democratic guess and decided to define evil as trying to "take the sword and use it for evil purposes, selling it, manipulating and extorting others, that sort of thing." Anyone who is exposed to Nightblood and wants to do any of those things will be compelled to take it and draw it, at which point another of the sword's powers kicks in, and everyone in the area gets slaughtered. Those who do not want to use it for destructive purposes can wield it safely, though it makes them uneasy to touch it. This isn't, however, a perfect test—The Dragon is able to resist the effect because even though he's starting a war over greed and revenge, he doesn't want to use Nightblood. In The Stormlight Archive, Szeth proves immune for similar reasons; despite all the evil that he has done, he never wanted to do any of it, so the sword has no effect on him.
  • The Apple of Discord from The Illuminatus-trilogy has the power to appear as the most desirable object or concept that whoever viewing it holds in their mind. It's used unexpectedly for benign purposes, preventing a small army of Nazi zombies from slaughtering thousands of festival goers.
  • The Elder Wand in Harry Potter, a wand so powerful that nearly every person who has ever owned it was murdered by someone else who wanted it. The only known exceptions have been Dumbledore (who died for other reasons), Draco Malfoy (who never realized its significance until it escaped his grasp), and Harry himself (who decided it was too risky for him to use). Possibly subverted given that nearly every owner has also bragged that their wand made them invincible. Thus leading to others killing them for it. Though it's still a powerful wand, so it's probably a very Downgraded version. It's touched upon when Harry catches Ron and Hermione looking it at "with a reverence that even in his sleep-befuddled state, he didn't like."
  • In the Discworld novels, the "Gonne" from Men at Arms. Maybe it's just due to the lack of guns in Discworld, but the gonne appears to have a demonic power that draws people into using it.
  • Andre Norton:
  • In Tanith Lee's Tales from the Flat Earth, Ferazhin has tears that turn into gems, which are in turn fashioned into a beautiful collar. Any mortal who sees it has to have it, causing murder and mayhem.
  • Downplayed and discussed in the Sherlock Holmes story "The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle"; the titular carbuncle is a rare and precious stone, noted for its unusual blue colour. When he finds it, Holmes solemnly notes that the stone has a very bloody history, with many people driven to murder and violence in the desire to possess it. It's not supernatural in nature, of course, just human greed, but he does caustically note that all the bloodshed has nevertheless been over what ultimately amounts to a lump of "crystallised charcoal".
  • In The Pearl, the titular pearl that Kino finds serves as one; it's not magical, but it's unusually large and would make its owner filthy rich. Multiple people break into Kino's home to try to steal it, pearl buyers try to swindle Kino into selling it to them for a pitiful sum, and raiders pursue him and his wife when they try to travel to another town to sell the pearl there and end up accidentally shooting their infant son dead.
  • In the short young adult novel Prom Dress by Lael Littke, the eponymous object is one of these. Women who see it are driven to extremes in order to wear it (theft, etc.), but unfortunately for them, the thing was cursed by the woman who made it. Karmic Overkill hits each of them where it hurts the most - the dancer ends up paralyzed, the gifted quiz bowl student loses her memory to severe brain damage, and the woman who wants to marry a minister has her reputation completely destroyed.

    Live-Action TV  
  • One episode of Angel had a group of thieves (and Gunn and Angel, who'd infiltrated the group) try to steal a shroud containing the soul of a demon, which turned them against each other.
  • An episode of The Big Bang Theory parodies the attractiveness of The One Ring by having the geek protagonists discover a (stolen) ring prop actually used in the movie and going to ridiculous lengths to make sure it's shared fairly, then fighting over who should get to keep it. Highlights include Sheldon having a nightmare in which he turns into Gollum, while Leonard finally decides to end the fighting by sending it back to its rightful owner, Peter Jackson... only to reveal he's actually hidden it in a box under his bed.
    Leonard: Precious...
  • Played for laughs in an episode of Frasier, concerning Martin's ratty old lounge chair. It's a frequent point of contention between Frasier and Martin that the chair is completely mismatched with all of Frasier's elegant, expensive furniture, but in this episode Frasier hurts his back and ends up in the chair... and remarks in a voice of wonder that there's no glare on the television set and that there's a perfect little table right next to it for a drink. Everyone else acts like the chair is somehow taking him over.
    Niles: Stand up slowly, and whatever the chair tells you, don't listen.
  • Grimm had the Coins of Zakynthos, which gave the person holding it charisma and a great feeling of power (useful for creating a Cult of Personality, which helped Adolf Hitler create his), but made them erratic and obsessed with keeping them, even going as far as killing for it. The person possessing the coins will always be in danger, since many people want them.
  • The Lost Room has a group of ordinary items carried by a traveller in the 1950s - a watch, matchbook, bus ticket etc. - which have been transformed into Objects, mysterious indestructible things which are greatly coveted by various groups. Some of the items have great power, others... not so much (the watchband has the power of boiling an egg), but all are greatly desired.
  • Kamen Rider has several instances of such artifacts:
    • Kamen Rider Double treats Gaia Memories this way for Dopants once they're addicted to the Memory's power, most notably with the Bird Dopant.
    • Kamen Rider Gaim draws its threats from the eldritch Helheim Forest, whose fruits compel anyone who lays eyes on one to eat them. Eating the fruit will turn the poor soul unlucky enough to do so into a mindless monster. One of the effects granted by the belts the main characters wear is to shield them from the compulsion to eat the fruit.
    • Kamen Rider Build centers around the Pandora Box, an artifact from Mars that unleashed a World-Wrecking Wave when it was first touched on Earth. Those at ground zero of the event were afflicted with a Hate Plague whose effects include an obsessive need to possess and open the Box.
  • The Sword of Kahless in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Kor starts seeing it as a way to reclaim his glory days in the Empire and Worf nearly lets Kor fall to his death (he claimed there was a ledge that Kor could reach below, but Kor couldn't see one, while Dax saw it but could tell it wouldn't support Kor's weight) in an attempt to keep the sword for himself. Eventually, Dax has enough of Klingon posturing and stuns them both just to get them to shut up. The writers resisted any attempt to say that the sword or the air or whatever had any kind of mind-altering effect and that it was simply the idea of having the sword once possessed by Kahless himself that made them act like they had. In this case, simple lust for power is a likely culprit, as both Klingons contend that ownership of the sword would give the holder a solid claim to leadership of the Klingon Empire. Considering the holy status of Kahless, this is a pretty reasonable argument. Similar to the Hope Diamond solution, they eventually decide that bringing it back to Klingon society would only cause even more power lust and bloodshed over holding it, and decide to "hide" it by beaming it into empty space to wait for another age before being found.
  • The 10th Kingdom has magical shoes that make the wearer invisible, but the longer you have/wear them, the more you want to keep wearing them...

  • The Grand Relics from The Adventure Zone enthrall people into using them. The only reason that the Tres Horny Boys are able to resist their thrall is because they and the other Red Robes were the ones to create them.
    • To a lesser extent, the Slicer of Tapir-Weir Isles. It has no value of its own, but bears an enchantment that allows its owner, with a successful Persuasion check, to convince a target to accept it in exchange for the most valuable item they own. Taako exchanges it for Garfield's Flaming Raging Poisoning Sword of Doom mere minutes after purchasing the Slicer from him in the first place.

    Puppet Shows 
  • Thunderbolt Fantasy: The Seven Blasphemous Deaths is a bloodthirsty sword that possesses its owner once they unsheathe its blade. When Xiē Yīngluò got a hold of it in season 2, the sword spends some time compelling her into using it until she finally gives in.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Any artifact or relic in 1st edition Dungeons & Dragons could have this one of the random/chosen by DM side effects for the item in question — it would thematically fit the "Jacinth of Inestimable Beauty", an incredibly large and beautiful gemstone capable of charming anyone viewing it.
  • Beast: The Primordial has this as one of the Anathemas Heroes may place upon the titular Beasts. A Beast suffering from an Entrancement Anathema becomes obsessed with some specific item or substance and finds it difficult to focus on any goal other than acquiring and keeping the object of their obsession.

  • Wagner's The Ring of the Nibelung features a magic lump of gold from the Rhine river which, if forged by one who had renounced love, could be made into a ring that would turn its bearer into the master of the universe. Guess what Alberich the Dwarf decides to do. Eventually, though, the Ring gets stolen from Alberich, so he places a curse upon it: Everyone would desire the ring, and whoever possessed it would eventually be undone by it.

    Video Games 
  • The Red Marker and the Black Marker in Dead Space have this effect. The hallucinations of deceased friends and relatives will often urge the victims to "protect the Marker" which often leads to them being fanatically devoted to the Marker in a matter of hours. Not even Unitologists are safe- the Red and Black Markers both affect everyone regardless of allegiance, though with varying degrees of success based on the individuals intelligence and will to survive.
  • The "World's Most Interesting Bomb" in MDK. Dropping it causes every enemy to drop what they're doing and run up to ogle the bomb. Which then explodes.
  • Left 4 Dead's blinking, beeping pipebomb works similarly. Only affects mooks, though.
  • Dragon Age:
    • In Dragon Age II, the lyrium idol that Hawke and Varric find in the Primeval Thaig. Being made of the supposed 'leftover creation' (lyruim), it is able to draw people to itself. It starts with Varric's brother, convincing him to lock Hawke and friends in the thaig, then ends up in the hands of Meredith, who has it forged into a sword. From there she clings to it religiously and becomes drastically harsher and more paranoid of mages. Without this trait, almost the entire endgame could have been averted.
    • By the sequel, an entire chapter of the Templars has individual copies of the same artifact. The Inquisitor also discovers the horrible truth about how it works: it's darkspawn-blighted lyrium... but the blight only works on organics. Lyrium is alive.
  • Reaper artifacts in Mass Effect cause a weaker form of the indoctrination that will gradually condition organics in close proximity to protect or use the artifact. This is most frequently seen with humans willingly impaling themselves on Dragon's Teeth but also plays a major role in the Arrival DLC with Object Rho.
  • The Elder Scrolls series has the recurring sword Umbra. A crossover Empathic/Evil Weapon, it was forged long ago to steal the souls of its victims. However, the wielder of the blade becomes a victim as well. Over time, it infests the mind of the wielder, until they begin to refer to themselves as "Umbra", and turns them into a vicious Blood Knight. Either they slay their opponents and steal more souls for the sword, or they are slain, and the sword finds a new and more powerful wielder.
  • Mario Kart: Double Dash!!: The Shine Sprite in Shine Thief serves as this, being a very conspicuous object that is the key to victory. Human players have a strong tendency to congregate around the Shine and to follow closely behind the Shine holder, often resulting in them getting in each other's way and enabling the Shine holder to escape. This Battle Mode returns in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, though the trope doesn't apply to the CPU-controlled characters.
  • RuneScape has The Stone of Jas. It is the most powerful of the artifacts left behind by the elder gods. It can grant immense power to those that possess it, enough to turn somebody into a god. Fighting over the Stone of Jas played a major part in keeping the God Wars going. During the Sixth age, Sliske attempts to start another God Wars by offering the Stone as a prize for a competition between the gods. When Zamorak tries to cheat by just stealing the Stone, Sliske warns him that the Stone of Jas is addictive. The Stone is also dangerous because it is cursed so that anytime somebody other than Jas uses it, it gives an equal amount of power to the Dragonkin and makes them feel uncontrollable rage.
  • In Sryth the dreadstones are an example, it is a rare example wherein it effects the player character, who has to pass several checks to not murder dear friends over them. Later you see just how much damage prolonged exposure can do to even the mightiest of men. The Wand from the adventure of the same name has a similar power.
  • The Stanley Parable: Ultra Deluxe introduces the Reassurance Bucket, A plain-looking metal bucket that's meant to help Stanley by providing him reassurance and comfort. If brought along, it changes the outcome of most of the endings, usually focused on Stanley's manic obsession with it, we also find out the Bucket's influence extends to the game's other characters.

    Web Comics 
  • Nodwick has "This One Ring" as a parody of The One Ring, from you know where. It didn't do anything and was eventually replaced by "This One Rock". Which also did nothing. Everyone (Except for Nodwick, the only person who notes that This One Ring is just a ring and points out that a randomly selected stone he calls This One Rock is just as magical — by which he means not at all, not that anyone listened) still wanted both of them.
  • The NSFW comic Oglaf has an interesting variation on the Artifact of Attraction. The box makes you want whatever's inside it more than anything else.
  • In El Goonish Shive, Abraham suspected the Dewitchery Diamond was one. He believed it had a will of its own somehow finding its way to cursed beings so they could use it.

    Web Videos 
  • Janice from Why Not Janice? has her MacBook pro and her cell phone. Don't you dare ask her what time it is. And how does she wrap the computer up? Not only completely safe in one blanket like the rest of us: she has three layers to hide it from the world and protect it from any potential damage.
  • JourneyQuest revolves around the Sword of Fighting, which was accidentally picked up by the incompetent wizard Perf, and which he can't get rid of. While he works out this dilemma, every other member of his party rationalizes why they should have the sword instead.

    Western Animation 
  • American Dad!: The Running Gag of Roger's golden jewel-encrusted poo (a.k.a. "The golden turd"), which people kill each other fighting over.
  • The episode "Crystal Canyon" of ThunderCats has the Keystone, an object that can boost the powers and intellect of the holder, but is addictive. Tygra and Alluro fight over it before Alluro gets it and Tygra is forced to give up the addiction. At which point the Keystone breaks, leaving Alluro screaming.
  • In The Simpsons episode "Three Men and a Comic Book", the #1 issue of Radioactive Man acts like this on Bart, Milhouse and Martin.
  • The key and the treasure itself, in the episode "The Lost Treasure of the Golden Squirrel" of The Penguins of Madagascar.
  • In My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic Twilight Sparkle can make objects into this using a "want-it-need-it" spell. She casts it on her Smarty Pants doll in the episode "Lesson Zero", causing the whole town to fight over it.
  • The Mary McGuffin doll in Phineas and Ferb is so appealing that girls fight over it — which is what caused it to be pulled from the shelves in the first place.
  • Transformers: BotBots: Dave's phone turns into one for the Lost Bots when they steal it, distracting everyone with the various apps they find, until they're at one another's throats. Then, Burgertron declares the problem is clearly the phone, and the solution is throw it into a burning dumpster. The phone turns out to be another BotBot, who is understandably pretty miffed at this, and calls them out for not being able to set personal boundaries.
  • The Sphere of Doradus from Transformers: Robots in Disguise (2015) is believed to lead to Doradus (basically cybertonian El Dorado) and it definitely has an effect on any nearby cybertonians as they will immediately covet it and be willing to turn on each other for it, the effects will stop if the sphere is removed from the vicinity however.
  • Green Lantern: The Animated Series: The Orange Lantern Battery can induce feelings of extreme avarice into anyone who gets into close proximity with it. Not even those who have incredibly strong willpower, like a Green Lantern, are safe from its influence.

    Real Life 
  • The legendary Hope Diamond started out as the biggest blue diamond in the world and even after being cut down a few times is still ginormagantuan. The story is that it was stolen from a temple in India and the god who was robbed laid a terrible curse on the gem. Every owner of the Hope has suffered immense tragedies; deaths of family and friends, collapsing businesses, ruined reputations, all that. And yet there was always someone who was willing to chance the curse just so they could say they owned the Hope. The last owner donated it to the Smithsonian and so far nothing bad has happened to them. The actual story of the Hope Diamond is quite the opposite. Very few of the supposed "mysterious deaths" or other misfortunes attributed to the diamond were those of people to have ever actually owned it.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Artefact Of Attraction


Evil Mattress

Going along with the Lord of the Ring parody, an evil object they must destroy is Beef's mattress that's filled with dark magic. The evil mattress even tries to use its dark magic to tempt the Fellowship into betraying each other.

How well does it match the trope?

4 (4 votes)

Example of:

Main / ArtifactOfDoom

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