D&D 5E Campaign defining magic item

Hey all,

Inspired by a discussion in the Worst Spells thread (it’s a fun read), I got to thinking about magic items. Namely, the idea of letting the party find a powerful magical item at low levels; the equivalent of Bilbo finding the One Ring. My thought here is that by finding such a powerful thing so early on, it becomes a focus for the story. The players can regard the item as helping to define the party (‘we’re the guys with the sword of striking!’) and the magical item then becomes something that you can write plot around, so that powerful wizards keep harrassing the party for it, rival adventuring parties offer to buy it, monsters flee when they see it, bad guys change their schemes to include it, that sort of thing. Now, the real question is: what kind of item would suit this?

My suggestion in the other thread was a Ring of Three Wishes:

I think Wish is now a great utility spell. For a 9th level slot - or, more interestingly, a Ring of Three Wishes - you can get any save-my-bacon spell you want. It makes the Ring the sort of thing that I think would be fun to give to a party at level 2; they'll always have that ace up their sleeves, and you can watch them be inventive with something that powerful so early, without it undermining the whole campaign since they need to be really careful with it.

Is there a more exciting option? Something like a Vorpal Sword has the drawback that really only one character has it, whereas a Ring of Wishes - due to casting powerful spells - tends to be something that benefits the whole group. A Folding Boat is fun, and I love the imagery of it, but it’s so utility that the players will probably forget about it. The Apparatus of Kwalish just sounds like a good way to turn your campaign into Robot Wars. A set of matching magical armour has a certain charm to it - everyone gets a uniform! - but I wonder if it'd make the players paranoid beyond all measure to walk into a dungeon room and find five perfectly suited sets of armour...


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Magic Wordsmith
All of the figurines of wondrous power except for the obsidian steed which is held by a terrible fiend that lives at the heart of a volcano.

Completing the set is worth a lot of XP.

Oh, that's a nice idea. Seeding the lot of them around the place after they find the first one; like a lower power and less epic version of the Rod of Seven Parts.

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A powerful weapon or set of armour would be really neat, but it will place emphasis on the PC that gets to wield such item. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but some would probably require the group to agree on it before hand having a "main character" type of group dynamic.

Flying carpet, folding boat (I think it can become galleon sized) and Daern's Instant Fortress are all interesting choices that the whole group can use. I'm not sure if I would call these campaign defining though.

Cubic gate is clearly meant for a planar campaign.

Soul Stigma

First Post
All of the figurines of wondrous power except for the obsidian steed which is held by a terrible fiend that lives at the heart of a volcano.

Completing the set is worth a lot of XP.

Funnily enough my wife's Sorceress found one, and has made up her mind to find them all. I like this idea!


I let the Axe of the Dwarvish Lords and Blackrazor into my OotA campaign. Both weapons, but Blackrazor in particular, came to have a major role in the course of the game. Possession of the Axe allowed the duergar Oathbreaker to seize control of Gracklestugh in a coup. A drow Immortal wielded Blackrazor and the demands of needing to "feed" it led to the character basically becoming a serial killer who stalked the Derro on Gracklestugh. Later on, multiple groups from the surface sought to thwart the character as they saw him as a menace; eventually the Doomguard started making overtures of acquiring the sword. Ultimately, the player elected to give up the sword.


Steeliest of the dragons
Problem, in general, with this scenario for a D&D game...Bilbo found the ring. It was Bilbo's. Bilbo got to use it and have all of the wild n' crazy stuff happening to Bilbo because Bilbo had the ring.

Unless you're interested in doing a Saturday morning cartoon D&D, where everyone gets their own special signature item, then this is really a near impossible thing to pull off without complete player sign-on beforehand. And even with initial "buy in," there will still likely end up being some resentment and fatigue with the game/story/concept after a time...humans being humans and all.

Things will inevitably continue to circle back around to whomever "Bilbo" is and "Bilbo's special do-hicky" while the rest of the party is reduced to background/supporting character type roles. Not fun for many people.


A set of rings, A set of magical broaches, a set of magical weapons.

Any one of these could have belonged to an adventuring group of ages past. Perhaps the rings allow the players to use the message cantrip to send messages to all other ring wearers in range. Perhaps they are one of each of the elemental rings, not enough rings for each player? Create a new one, perhaps one controls wood and summons shamblers (perhaps their power combined summon... no, no, let's not go there).

A set of magical pins or broaches that protect the wearer.

A set of magical weapons. A sword, a staff, a dagger, a bow, an axe, a hammer. Whatever you need, each tailored to a small group of classes so that any one of those classes can make use of it. Otherwise, just tailor them towards your team. You could even allow the weapons to have powers which unlock as the heroes advance or as preset conditions are met (Bathe the blade in the tears of the moon to unlock its radiant power).

I think you'd definitely want either something for each of the heroes at the same time or have them questing for the rest of the items so that each player will have that feeling of receiving an item which the group has invested in finding. If searching, I think having rumours of the weapons abilities would help drive the quests.


I like the idea of a party meeting the royal wizard in the final days of the kingdom. They are given each a magic item, like the cartoon, but become frozen in time before they can have a chance to save the kingdom. Now 10 or 50 years later they are freed and need to make their way. Most likely they will try to do something about the old kingdom or remnants of it.


...Daern's Instant Fortress...

Change it to a fortress that randomly moves among various locations. Roll 4d10 (or whatever) to determine how many hours it stays in a particular location. The characters obtain the key allowing them to enter the fortress. As they level, they learn more about the fortress, eventually learning how to summon it to their location, to choose which locations it travels to, and so on. Of course, others are searching for the tower and want to gain control for themselves, so the characters will have to protect the fortress and its secrets.

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