Magical Item Creation
Adding a bit of mysticism to a game is never a bad idea, but often times we forget to bring the terrifying, mind boggling, and intriguing aspects into our games. Magical items, I feel, are often times taken for granted and used too little, too much, or they are not treated as magical items and rather just another thing to throw into your pack, but how can we prevent this?
Magical items are great for plot twists, key items, character advancements, or something similar. They can also be minor, non important parts of the game, but what fun is that? Scouring continents to find magical items or hidden keys that aren’t actually keys at all but something much greater is almost always a great plot hook. The creation of customized magical items is probably one of the greatest things you can learn in the world of magical items, and how to appraise them will be an even greater still. When giving away magical items, you don’t want to be considered a Monty, and you don’t want a holy greatsword of +1 dragon slaying sold for only 1000 gold! You need to decide how valuable something is before you can decide what level it is. Let’s make a magical item now!
Pick an item, any will do! Weapon, armor, holy symbol, a pebble even. Whatever your heart desires! I will be choosing a medallion for cliche-sakes, a vibrant jade medallion with a royal seal on it attached to a woven platinum chain. Sounds expensive, so let’s say without magical properties it’s worth about 1000 gold pieces given it’s nature and all (including the fact its from royalty!). Now, to decide what it does. I’m going to pick up my players handbook and investigate the spells section if I’m in third edition, otherwise I’m going to peruse some of the powers (or make up my own!).
Considering the fact my party has a base level of 3, I want to keep it fairly simple but well enough that it is worth while to keep. For third edition I think I might use it as an extra spell slot, so my spell casters can cast an extra spell per day, or perhaps even memorize one extra spell – and as for fourth edition, I will allow my casters to learn one extra encounter power, but it can only be used twice daily (giving them another daily power seems a bit too much right now.)
With that I have created a basic magical item. Feel free to create a history or backstory for your magical item!
In this case, I’ve decided my medallion was created for a young, royal sorceress who was killed mercilessly by her own father, thus encasing her magical aura within the magical item. (Uh oh, do I hear a plot twist?) This magical item now has the ability to become an NPC (in the form of a manifested ghost!), to became a bane, a plot twist, or even the campaign (seek revenge upon the evil father, and find out he killed her as a sacrifice to some great demon, maybe?). One silly magic item can be a catalyst if you let it, or it can be a simple magic item you sell on the streets for 1500 gold and a new dagger. For convenience, I have created a few samples below to give you some inspiration or ideas of things I use.
Imitation Orcus wand: this wand is an imitation of the original “Wand of Orcus”, a deadly item that is said to kill most any mortal that touches it! The imitation was created in it’s image with a few changes so as not to horribly anger Orcus. It’s imbued with a green glow to scare off any seeking eyes. Originally this item was created in hopes to scare and control peasants and small villages by disguising himself with a spell and overtaking them, though one peasant girl saw through the guise and he was soon over taken, the item is now said to be nearly worthless.
Attributes 3rd Edition: Wand of Orcus grants the spell “Disguise self” twice daily, and gives a +1 to any disguise resembling that of a demon.
Attributes 4th Edition: Wand of Orcus grants a “Disguise Self” twice daily, and grants you the power “Necrotic Ray”, At Will Power, standard action, 2d6 + 3 Necrotic Damage.
Shield of Spell Reflection: Good Alignment: At one point there rose a great Paladin, his name is only a whisper known only to the oldest of peasant families. This man was considered a Holy Lord that crossed the seas with only his steed and a golden carpet laid out by the God’s. Upon his death he left behind a single shield hidden within the bowels of the darkest caverns and behind the most sinister of eyes. Only he who has the gaul to take on these evils is said to inherit it’s power, taking on the Paladin Lord’s great burden, is but a gift to a humble man.
Attributes: Any spell that is cast on the character wielding this shield that misses has a 50% chance of being reflected back on the user. Who will then roll that spell/powers damage on themselves. Note: Any secondary effects like poison and ongoing damage will be applied to the caster
Hope some of this helps, happy gaming all!
This post was provided by Dungeonmastering.com expert Krystal. Dungeons and Dragons has always been a passion of hers. She got her start in her wee little years by crawling on the table eating miniatures and dice. She’s been a menace to DnD games around the world ever since!