• The window for editing your posts has been extended from 48 hours to about two weeks or so. Please report any problems with this in Trouble Tickets.

Making magic items more unique

Ultimatecalibur

Registered User
Validated User
Hobbits are sneaky but being invisible is a major upgrade. Just being a hobbit wouldn't have gotten him past Gollum, the goblins, the spiders, the elves...
True, but would being invisible have let the dwarves or Gandalf do the same? Depending on the answer to that question is the difference between magic items augmenting a character and magic items defining a character.
 
How about magic items that are useful but not for combat? How about a scabbard that keeps the blade in the scabbard from ever rusting and keeps it perfectly sharp all the time? Such a scabbard would be extremely valuable to a fighter who has a weapon that is subject to normal wear and tear and the the GM takes that into account. I have run games where I have told players that equipment will break and regular maintenance is necessary to keep weapons and armor in tip top shape.

Or what about a shield that on command could turn on a beam of light (very useful for traveling in tunnels and dungeons)? Do your players travel the seven seas on a ship? Then what about a brass bell that summons a wind or water elemental to help move the ship when the wind has died out?

A magic item that is unique to the character is much more interesting. The items specific power doesn't even have to be particularly powerful as long as the item is uniquely useful to the player or the party as a whole.
 

Dagor

Registered User
Validated User
How about magic items that are useful but not for combat?
I'd say that's in principle not a bad idea, though with two caveats:

1.) Depending on just who you ask, a large part of playing RPGs (and specifically D&D in particular) is all about combat, so an item that's not really useful there may end up feeling less interesting than one that is, let alone one that has both peaceful and combat applications.

2.) Items that solely exist to ease mundane logistics (magical light sources, everfull waterskins, the works) are probably less interesting than just about anything else. Don't get me wrong, they can be incredibly useful -- they just very much embody the "Boring, But Practical" trope kind of by definition.
 

Calypso

Bunny With a Glock
Validated User
I'd say that's in principle not a bad idea, though with two caveats:

1.) Depending on just who you ask, a large part of playing RPGs (and specifically D&D in particular) is all about combat, so an item that's not really useful there may end up feeling less interesting than one that is, let alone one that has both peaceful and combat applications.

2.) Items that solely exist to ease mundane logistics (magical light sources, everfull waterskins, the works) are probably less interesting than just about anything else. Don't get me wrong, they can be incredibly useful -- they just very much embody the "Boring, But Practical" trope kind of by definition.
Yeah, my group still talks about the time we found a +1 plow. The GM thought it was brilliant, what farmer wouldn't want a magically sharp plow that never rusted or dulled. Turns out we were less enthusiastic (though we still thought it was funny).
 

Stattick

Electronic Thing
Validated User
Yeah, my group still talks about the time we found a +1 plow. The GM thought it was brilliant, what farmer wouldn't want a magically sharp plow that never rusted or dulled. Turns out we were less enthusiastic (though we still thought it was funny).
Use to be a sword. Then the peace came...
 

Stattick

Electronic Thing
Validated User
I heard that Old Man Smithers has an axe he uses for chopping firewood that's a re-hafted dwarven battleaxe called Skull Splatter that killed hundreds during the Dwarf-Troll wars. And someone else told me that the ol inn's doorstop used to be part of a mace of disruption. But I don't believe for a moment that the mayor's banner pole is actually a repurposed Staff of the Magi. That would just be silly.
 

Ultimatecalibur

Registered User
Validated User
How about magic items that are useful but not for combat?
The funny thing about those is that they tend to primarily used to invalidate "annoying" problems and mechanical systems.

Handy Haversacks, Bags of Holding and Portable Holes are mostly given out when carrying capacity rules start causing problems.
Infinite light sources such as Everburning Torches, Continual Light rocks and the shield you described tend to get handed out so that players don't need to track consumable light sources or even to hand wave away the need to pay attention to lighting rules at all.
Infinite food sources and everful waterskins are most often used so that players don't need to track provisions.
That Brass Bell you suggested and things like Magic Sails and Rudders are often used to negate the boring dangers of sailing and get to the "fun parts."

While useful for simulation and setting they are rarely enjoyed in when players are more gameist.
 

Calypso

Bunny With a Glock
Validated User
I heard that Old Man Smithers has an axe he uses for chopping firewood that's a re-hafted dwarven battleaxe called Skull Splatter that killed hundreds during the Dwarf-Troll wars. And someone else told me that the ol inn's doorstop used to be part of a mace of disruption. But I don't believe for a moment that the mayor's banner pole is actually a repurposed Staff of the Magi. That would just be silly.
Oh my god... I just had a brilliant idea for a one-off involving investigating a murder in an adventurer retirement community.
 

Calypso

Bunny With a Glock
Validated User
What do you guys think of something like this (note that turning into a dwarf is not disruptive in this game, because players can essentially shift bodies for a fee). In particular I'm interested in feedback on the general approach to structuring the item (with multiple ranks, unlocked by various knowledge/deeds).

Corona of Melair IV
Wondrous Item, minor artifact (requires attunement)

This finely wrought circlet is made from mithral and inlaid with copper. The geometric shapes that adorn the circlet resemble the peaks of a mountain range, and engraved within the circlet are ancient Dwarven runes that read "Let not complacency foster defeat".

Markdown (GitHub flavored):
| Rank | Requirement | Effect
|---:|:---|:---
| 1 | *Knowledge.* Melair IV was the last ruler of the Melairkyn Dwarves and was killed in a war with the drow over a thousand years ago. [DC 15 Intelligence (History) or Research -5] | **Melair's Belevolence.** You have advantage on Charisma (Persuasion) checks made to interact with dwarves. In addition, you may cause your voice to carry clearly for up to 300 feet.
| 2 | *Deed.* The wearer must spend a week or more underground. | **Melair's Intuition.** You can cast *locate object* 1/day, but only to detect gems, jewelry, or precious metals. In addition, you can accurately appraise the value of gems, jewelry and precious metals.
| 3 | *Knowledge.* The circlet was originally crafted for Melair I by his brother Rykos, from the first mithral they pulled from beneath Mount Waterdeep. [DC 18 Intelligence (History) or Research -8] | **Melair's Gift.** You gain proficiency with artisan's tools related to blacksmithing, brewing, and stonemasonry. In addition, you can cast *fabricate* 1/day.
| 4 | *Knowledge.* Rykos was killed by the drow Sylnder of House DeVir, starting the war that would eventually lead to the downfall of Melairkyn. [DC 20 Intelligence (History) or Research -10] | **Melar's Grudge.** You gain the following flaw: "Drow are a blight upon Faerun and must be dealt with severely." In addition, you have advantage on all attacks against drow and saving throws against drow spells and effects.
| 5 | *Deed.* The wearer must locate and slay all remaining members of House DeVir. | **Melair's Blessing.** Your maximum Inspiration increases by 1, and you gain 1 Inspiration at the end of a long rest.
Alignment. While attuned to the circlet, your alignment moves one step closer to Lawful.

Curse. The circlet bears a curse that affects any non-dwarf that becomes attuned to it. Even if the attunement ends, the curse remains. With each passing day, the creature's physical appearance and stature become more dwarflike. After seven days, the creature becomes a dwarf, losing their existing racial traits and gaining those of a mountain dwarf. The physical changes wrought by the circlet aren't considered magical in nature (and therefore can't be dispelled), but they can be undone by any effect that removes a curse, such as a greater restoration or remove curse spell.
 
Top Bottom