Idea: Giving XP to items

Heavy Arms

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There's the Exalted 3e route, where magical items are just something you spend XP on if you want them to get better; though it does the whole "commune with your weapon" sort of deal instead of weapons inherently leveling up on their own.

How much bookkeeping it is then just goes with however you handle XP/advancement without any additional steps, and adding some PC intention means you don't have to judge actions as 'worthy' of the item getting better.

Base Delta Zero

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It doesn't, strictly speaking, give levels to items, but you might look into the Weapons of Legacy system from 3.5, which allows items to level up with the character.

The Benj

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I remember GURPS having rules about exactly this. I can't recall exactly how they work though. I think it was in GURPS Thaumatology.


Social Justice Witch
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This idea does not easily extend to items such as rings of invisibility or amulets of water breathing, though.
"It is foolish to seek after rings of invisibility. Relatively few people go through their lives completely unnoticed by others. Those who do are likely to sell or pawn any ring they find (often leading to the creation of a much more common Ring of Want: useful for inspiring determination in those who do not value their dignity)."- Adrianna Ulcedes, Court Mage

"Do you know how many madmen I had to drown to make this amulet? 106. It was worth it though: the delusions of the one who enchanted it are particularly strong and very particular: the amulet also keeps off rain and blood. Handy in my line of work."-Durgen, Brigand and Sometime Natural Philosopher.


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Check out Earthdawn. They have this style of item mechanic.
2nd the recommendation to check out Earthdawn for these types of rules. Each legendary treasure and magical ("thread") item requires the character to bind a bit of their magical pattern to the item. Then, the item presents a Riddle, like "Who was my first owner". Once you go out and find the knowledge, you get to spend XP to upgrade your magical thread to the item. Each rank usually has a riddle and an ability. Some get crazy. Seven league boots, spell storing swords (no class restrictions to weapons in Earthdawn), crystal boxes that capture enemy spells and then allow you to re-cast them on someone else. Each item has between 5-8 (ish) ranks of abilities.

Because you have to go out and research the item, travel to where it was made/used and gather secrets on it, etc, each major Legendary Treasure is an instant plot hook, and handing out 3-5 of them for a normal sized group means the players always have things they want to go and do.
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You could just have the items gain experience when the player does. Maybe they pick one of their items, so you don't have to keep track of experience for everything they are carrying.
I remember GURPS having rules about exactly this. I can't recall exactly how they work though. I think it was in GURPS Thaumatology.
Came here to say this. The short version is that the character selects a single weapon (or other item), which costs a small amount of starting character build points. Thereafter, every XP the character earns (or, at the GM's discretion, earns through using that item specifically) adds a certain amount of magic points to the item. These are spent to add powers based on the magic point cost of regular enchantment by wizards (which doesn't have to be possible in your game world, but it's a handy system for figuring out how magic something has to be for various effects).


Miao wow!!
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I think it's a great idea. Items can be extremely important to both players and characters, so it makes total sense IMO to give them XP if they've proved themselves in battle etc.
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