Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Treasure Compendium - Custom Magical Curios from 5th Edition D&D - Entry 1

I am incredibly excited about the new edition of Dungeons & Dragons. I ran a 1st edition campaign for eighteen months (it wrapped up last year) and 5th edition feels like 1st edition minus the cruelty. It's awesome.

My new campaign started recently and I don't have much to go on for published magical items for my adventuring company. But I have all these ideas and tools given to me by this new system. Things like bounded accuracy, long and short rests, advantage and disadvantage, proficiency, charges … all of these are fantastic levers for creating custom items.

As my adventurers encounter the treats and traps I have placed in campaign, I'll post them here. Perhaps others will find them interesting and useful.

In their first adventure, the company defeated a teeming nest of giant rats in an ancient cellar broken in to by some contractors rebuilding a section of town. Among the filth, they recovered some coin and two potions. One was a standard healing potion from the starter set. The other is a custom item.

Potion of Inspiration

For 1d4+1 rounds, all attacks, skill checks, and saves are made with Advantage. If a Disadvantage would apply, the effects of the potion cancel out the Disadvantage (the roll is made with neither Advantage or Disadvantage)

There are a few pitfalls I want to avoid with custom items. I want to steer clear of healing without a specific reason. The system works the way it does because of the healing system. Healing potions are expensive. And long rests are useful. Also, I want to avoid giving away features. The fighter has Second Wind. I am not going to give that to anyone else.

The days of the ubiquitous +1 magic sword are gone for me. All my magical weapons will have names. Few of them will have straight bonuses. But the levers of advantage and disadvantage are great. A sword with advantage is usually as good or better than a +1 sword!

Other keys are going to be using rests, attuning, and charges to modulate power levels. Characters can only have three attuned items, so they better make good choices. I am a big fan of consumables. The Potion of Inspiration is very powerful, but it is uncommon and temporary.

Let's see if they find anything interesting during tonight's adventure!

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After writing op-eds and travelogues for several years, after finishing a few books, and after failing to get the ball rolling with project after project I stumbled into an idea that might just hold my interest long enough to enjoy some level of satisfaction with my writing.