Dungeons and Dragons – Mystara
Design Part 11 – Magical Item Overview
What are magical items -In the D&D game, and many of the variants such as Pathfinder, characters can obtain enhanced equipment that provide them with a new or enhanced capability beyond what they could do normally.
Why are my items different?
I have chosen to modify my items to make them part of the five element concept and allow them to grow with the character and become something more than it was, to inspire legends.
This also provides a way for mystery to return to the game. I have quite a few players who have run the game themselves and can’t help but look up the “Stats” or call them out once they think they know something is.
Each item will have a unique ID in my world, and with it a backstory. While this backstory may not be defined as the item is found, it will be expanded as the characters investigate further into the items history. Sometimes this will be created by the players, and sometimes by me.
A player can conduct a research activity to discover (or choose) one fact about their item that is added to its description and lore.
What are the rarities of items?
Magic is separated into different scales of magic that can be used by characters, and these have been tailored to the five element theme as well to make them more descriptive and fit the setting better.
- Standard – These are the items that are non-magical and while not always available are the cheapest way to increase a characters versatility and capability.
- Common – lucky to find in hamlets and villages.
- Uncommon – lucky to find in villages and towns.
- Rare – lucky to find in towns and cities.
- Very Rare – lucky to find in cities and major trade hubs
- Legendary – usually require a quest to find
While they can be considered a magical item, artefacts will be using a different set of rules and abilities.
- Artefact – never found by accident
An example of this is a sword’s base level is you gain an attack with it, when it gains levels of power, it can provide an upgrade to the chance to hit, the damage, or upgrades to other abilities such as initiative with weapons of warning, or new capabilities such as ability to automatically return when thrown and the ability to cast a spell.
What are the item design features?
The item features are taken from the Dungeon Masters Guide table for Creator, History, Minor Property and Quirk. Each item will also be given a unique name to go with the number to represent its story in the game.
These are used as a guideline to build a unique item for the campaign that then has a backstory that can be investigated with characters spending downtime on research. Two items with the same features may have a completely different description and may even have other powers based on that.
Magical Items and Teleportation Effects
Any item that interacts with another plane of existence, does not teleport, and cannot be put into an extra dimensional space. This is the default rule for the setting, and characters would need to research a specific item if they wish to learn how to bypass this restriction for that item.
Relics are an addition to the magical items that provide bonuses depending on the race of who is using it. They can have any power level from common to artefact, granting addition powers based on what they are.
What about Intelligent Items?
Intelligent items do exist, and they are brought about by heroes investing in their use, or the intervention of the immortals.
How many Attunement Slots do I get?
A character in my world of Mystara can attune to 2 items plus the Tier of the character (starting characters get 3 attunement slots). I am using the Tier system as a milestone in how much magic you can maintain.
What else is different about attunement – When you have attuned an item, its standard item power is not usable on another individual while you remain attuned.
Artefacts have their own attunement slot, and you can only have one artefact attuned at any time. There are specific times this rule is broken, but that is not player or character knowledge in my game.
And what about those Artefacts?
Artefacts have a few categories of power, each of these can have the same levels of power shown earlier.
- Minor – These are the items created through mortal means.
- Standard – These are the items created through mortal means.
- Major – These are the items created through mortal means.
- Vestige – These items have been infused with Immortal power.
- Immortal – these items are Immortal power and can damage mortals who wield them.
What are the power level of items?
Magical items can gain power based on what they were designed to do, how they have been used, and places they have been.
- Standard Item – All expendable items can’t progress from this level, and this is the functionality available without attunement. This can be identified with a short rest.
- Attuned Item – This is an investment in on character that allows you to access the higher level powers of an item. These powers can only be discovered with attunement or casting Identify on the item.
- Awakened Item – This is a unique advancement to the item that has formed a bond with the character. It is possible for the item to gain a level of sentience with this. It may have unique conditions on the duration of the awakening, who can use it, and what can end it.
- Exalted Item – This is the stuff of legend, the item extracts a price, but becomes more powerful.
Artefacts are not an evolution of an item, but a pinnacle of creation.
- Artefact Item – The item has reached the end of its evolution, though there are separate power levels when talking about artefacts.
What is next?
I intend to deliver regular Thursday posts on the items held by my players as examples of what I have planned long term for this game.
I like my magical items to be more that just cookie cutter bonuses to be ignored by my players, I want them to be part of the history and lore of a setting. I have always enjoyed the feel of the setting when items don’t just appear in a vacuum and depending on who made them have different properties, appearance and story.
I intend to expand upon the five element concept of the setting into the workings of the magical items, but as to how that will work is still in a conceptual stage in the back of my mind.
Update: After doing this for close to a year, as of 2021 I started putting out the items in bulk to get through all the items my players can come across over the course of the campaign.
- 2021-07-31 – Updating the content and links.
- 2020-04-19 – Structure and cleanup.
- 2020-03-13 – Structure and content update.
- 2020-02-28 – Adding in notes on changes to attunement with these rules.
Part 1 – Five Elements,
Part 2 – Five Spheres,
Part 3 – Pantheons,
Part 4 – Divine Features,
Part 5 – Reference Material,
Part 6 – Races,
Part 7 – Secret Crafts,
Part 8 – Weapons Mastery,
Part 9 – Setting,
Part 10 – Timeline,
Part 11 – Magical Item,
Part 12 – Classes,
Part 13 – Downtime,
Part 14 – Immortality,
Part 15 – Elemental Aspects,
Part 16 – Immortal Patrons,
Part 17 – New Directions,
Part 18 – Symbols
Part 1 – Mapping
Tuesday Items: T001, T002, T003, T004, T005, T006, T007, T008, T009, T010, T011, T012, T013, T014, T015, T016, T017, T018, T019, T020, T021, T022, T023, T024, T025, T026, T027, T028, T029, T030, T031, T032, T033, T034, T035, T036, T037, T038, T039, T040, T041, T042, T043, T044, T045, T046, T047, T048, T049, T050, T051, T052, T054, T055, T056, T057, T058, T059, T060, T061, T062, T063, T064, T065, T066, T067, T068, T069, T070, T071, T072, T073, T074, T075
Wednesday Items: W001, W002, W003, W004, W005, W006, W007, W008, W009, W010, W011, W012, W013, W014, W015, W016, W017, W018, W019, W020, W021, W023, W024, W027, W028, W029, W030, W031, W032, W033, W034, W035, W038, W039, W040, W041, W042, W043, W044, W045, W047, W048, W049, W050, W051, W052, W054, W055, W056, W058, W059, W061, W062, W063, W064, W065
Friday Items: F002, F005, F006, F007, F008, F009, F010, F012, F014, F016, F019, F025, F026, F027, F028, F029, F030, F031, F032, F033, F034, F035, F036, F037, F038, F039, F040, F041, F042, F043, F044, F047, F048, F049, F050, F051, F052, F054, F055
D&D Menu – Adventures, Artefacts, Backgrounds, Classes, Dominions, Downtime, Feats, Gazetteers, Gods, Magical Items, Monsters, Organisations, Pantheons, Races, Ranks & Titles, Rune Magic, Secret Crafts, Settlements, Spells, Timeline, Weapons Mastery
Class Builds –
Artificer – Bombardier (Tinkerkin),
Barbarian – Totem Warrior (Plamin, Camdu),
Bard – College of Valour (Sunfey),
Druid – Circle of Dreams (Woodfey), Circle of the Tree of Life (Seasonfey),
Fighter – Battlemaster (Seashire), Eldritch Knight (Kerendan), Weapons Master (Lani), Weapons Master (Stonebound),
Monk – Way of the Elements (Tidal),
Paladin – Oath of Radiance (Sunfey), Oath of Vengeance (Firechild),
Sorcerer – Wild Magic (Shadowfey),
Warlock – Celestial (Llewell),
Wizard – Bladesinger (Nerye),
Dragon – White (Calcryx).
Multiclass – Cleric/Wizard (Xhall), Rogue/Cleric (Dracnomir), Rogue/Sorcerer (Yodrey), Wizard/Rogue (Traladaran)
Floorplans – Thyatian
Session Recordings – Campaign Journals
This site is constantly under revision, no blog posts are final as this is a work in progress place for me to develop my game settings and rules. Some posts might be placeholders for future content, so feel free to check back later for updated information.