Ever wanted to have more items at your fingertips to reward your players, or to kit out your bad guys? Or perhaps you and your players have already scoured the items in the core rulebooks over the last few years, and everyone knows what most of the items do. Well fear not - here are nine magic items to inject into your loot piles or to equip to your villains.
When using any magic item in your game, it can be a great idea to ensure that you have a player in your party that can use it to great effect. This holds true especially for weapons - there's no point throwing awesome weapons into your game for them to be tossed to the side because the players are interested in other weapons or play styles. Also take note of little quirks, like temporary resistance to a certain type of damage, or other niche abilities. If you give players an item with a cool niche ability, but its situation never really has time to shine, it can be disappointing for players.
1) Eternal Chestplate (Cursed)
Your armour class becomes 25. This item's effects overrule any other modifications to armour class (For example, Dexterity bonuses, Feats, Cover, etc)
When you put on this armour, you feel it lock in place so efficiently that it feels like the armour's steel has melded with your bone structure. Removing this armour would inflict great damage to you, and you will be unable to wear this armour again in the future if you remove it.
To attempt to remove the Eternal Chestplate, the wearer must pass a DC:15 Strength test. On a failure, they are unable to remove it, and must wait at least another hour before their next attempt. If they succeed, they take 6d6 piercing damage, and the chestplate is removed, but they can never wear the item again.
Whenever you are targeted by an attack (hit or miss), your armour class is reduced by 1. (This can potentially cause your Armour Class to plummet well below standard figures, to a minimum of AC1)
DM Notes: The Eternal Chestplate is a great cursed item. It's a case of "too good to be true," and the players will be highly suspicious of the immense power of this piece. Note that it is medium armour, so Wizards, Warlocks, etc, will most likely not be able to cast spells while they wear it. Once the character puts the armour on, they become aware of the removal clause (you can tell them the damage that it will deal, and explain that they won't be able to wear it again). However keep the hidden ability secret until the next combat encounter, and then the fun begins!
I'd seriously recommend giving this to players that are at least level 6, as the amount of damage this thing will do when removed is high enough to kill low-level characters. When including it in your campaign, either have an enemy boss wear it (after which they can pry the armour off of his bone structure) or even perhaps find it on a corpse of a creature.
Longsword +1 (though, this could be modified to be any Melee weapon)
This weapon is a +1 magic item; the wielder has a +1 on to-hit rolls and damage rolls with this weapon. The damage this weapon deals is treated as magical damage for the purpose of overcoming resistances and immunities. In addition, any goblin creatures that are adjacent to the character that wields this weapon have an Armour Class value of 10. This overrides cover, dexterity, and any non-magical armour. It will not affect goblins who have magical armour, or a magic item that protects them from magic (e.g. a talisman).
DM Notes: Goblinbane is a cool tweak to a magic item that I threw into a one-shot dungeon which had numerous goblin servants. It's not super game-breaking, as goblins have low armour to begin with, and with their minuscule amount of hit points they usually aren't expected to survive anyway.
I'd recommend giving this to players that are at least level 3. Giving a magical weapon with a +1 property to a level 1 or 2 party can cause some imbalances in the challenge ratings for low-levels. I'd also include this if your campaign has a decent amount of goblins (say 1 or 2 goblin fights/dungeons every level or two of the characters). When including it in your campaign, it could perhaps be locked deep in a goblin vault so that it cannot be used, or perhaps a rival gnoll tribe (or other enemy of the PCs and the goblins) has this weapon and uses it against goblins themselves, whereby the PCs can kill the wielder and inherit their weapon.
3) Shard of the Archangel (Cursed)
Trinket (A shard of Obsidian that is always warm to touch)
While you wield this shard in your hands, your spell save DC is increased by 2. Furthermore, whenever you cast an evocation spell of level 1 or higher, deal 2d6 fire damage to a random creature that is within 10 feet of you. (Note that this can potentially hit allies)
The DC for your death saving throws is equal to your spell save DC.
DM Notes: While it is technically a cursed item, it definitely has the potential for using the abilities as a bit of a tradeoff. Your players would have to watch their positioning to try and mitigate any friendly fire, but at the end of the day, 2d6 isnt going to kill anyone who’s at a reasonable level. The player would have to be careful if they fall unconscious though, those death saving throws are nasty!
4) Bluespark Talisman
While wearing the Bluespark Talisman, whenever you deal an instance of Lightning damage, you deal an extra 1d4 Lightning damage. Once per day, you can use your reaction to gain resistance to lightning damage until the start of your next turn.
DM Notes: The Bluespark Talisman is a simple magic charm that you could give to a lightning-focused Wizard or Sorcerer, or even a tempest Cleric. It gives them a little buff to a bunch of their damage spells, while also giving them a cool new way to use a reaction.
5) Dawn, Avenger Longsword
(Longsword) 1d8 Radiant Damage (Versatile 1d10)
Dawn is an avenger weapon, wielded by divine heroes and used to turn God's will into reality. While wielding Dawn, you may cast the light cantrip as a bonus action. Dawn also has a holy charge, which refreshes an hour after the previous holy charge was used. The wielder can use the holy charge to use their Channel Divinity ability, or can use it to cast Smite (2d6 extra radiant damage) or Cure Wounds (Heal 1d8) as level 1 spells.
DM Notes: Dawn is a Longsword that deals Radiant damage instead of slashing damage. It can only be mastered by a Cleric or paladin usually, but if a "worthy" person wields it then it may also function for them.
6) Totem of Stability
(Totem, hand item)
Usable only by Druids, Clerics of the Nature domain, or Wizards of the Transmutation school.
While the Totem of Stability is wielded in one hand, the wielder has a +10 bonus on all spell concentration checks.
DM Notes: This totem is a great little utility item for spell casting-heavy Druids, or other similar spell builds. Note that Druids cannot use the totem while in wild-shape form. As an alternate build, you could make an orb of stability (for Wizards/Sorcerers) or a staff of stability (Clerics, Wizards, Warlocks) or something else, which has the same effect. This is particularly useful as an item if you have a player who is always frustrated by having his concentration spells disrupted.
7) Grimoire of the Black Mace
Requires Pact of the Tome Warlock
This item can replace your tome that you use with your pact ability. In addition to the usual benefits, you also have the ability to cast the following spells once per long rest:
DM Notes: This Grimoire is a powerful magic item, for use by PCs at a level of 5 or higher. It really helps out with one of the Warlock's problems, which is their inability to cast a variety of spells in combat. With only two spell slots until level 11, this Grimoire could really come in handy. Perhaps your warlock would have them have to battle an enemy Warlock who is using this tome in battle to get the item in the first place!
8) Negative Dagger of energy
(Dagger, but could also be any sword weapon)
When this weapon successfully hits a target, the blade gets a charge. The next time this weapon hits an opponent, it deals an extra 1d8 force damage, and the target must pass a DC 10 Con save, or suffer 1 point of exhaustion (Undead and Constructs are unaffected by this ability). The weapon can only store 1 charge at a time, and charges vanish after 1 minute.
DM Notes: The Negative Dagger of Energy is a weapon for an assassin, or perhaps a martial hero like a fighter or ranger. It's probably balanced to be suitable for characters between level 4-8.
9) Shield of Iron Will
When you have this shield equipped, it cannot be removed while you are alive without your consent. You have a +2 bonus to saving throws against fear effects, and against sleep, charm, or hold spells. You also have a +2 bonus on any saves against effects that push, knock prone, or stun.
DM Notes: This is a pretty niche item, but it has a few cool mechanics behind it. A lot of shield bearer PCs have a susceptibility to status effects and mind spells, due to their heavy focus into armour class. This item gives them some added protection against spells and other effects that mere armour class cannot provide. It would definitely help too if there was an enemy type that was really annoying them with sleep, charm or hold effects, or perhaps abilities that push, knock them prone or stun them, but that part is optional.
In summary, you want magic items to be invaluable to your players. Make them so cool that the players will shudder at the thought of parting with them, instead of simply cashing them in and selling them at the first chance they get. Don’t be afraid of giving them strong items, but make them work for it, for example, make them pry that new sword out of the grasp of the bandit leader they just killed. And also keep in mind that you may have to adjust the difficulty of encounters as the players get more and more powerful. Finally, don't give your players an item that has a bonus in certain situations if those situations never come up - because that can make the item seem worthless.
Now get out there and unleash the power of magic items!
Peter is an avid dungeon master, role-player, and story teller. When he's not running homebrew campaigns, he is creating new worlds, or he is reading and writing fantasy stories, forever immersing himself in the gaping black-hole known as the fantasy genre.
I am become death, destroyer of worlds.