D&D 5E Crafting armor from a Beholder's hide/scales

akr71

Hero
TL/DL; What would Beholder Armor give you?

The druid in my game has made it clear that he's on the lookout for an armor upgrade. He asked how rare magical studded leather is and whether it would require attunement. He said that it is likely the best armor he could hope for. I responded that if it is just +x armor, then no, attunement is not required. I also added that just because he can't wear metal armor, doesn't mean that he couldn't get something better. If the party comes across a creature with a particularly tough hide and he gets armor crafted from its hide or scales, it could offer better protection and may convey properties of the creature upon the wearer.

In our last session, the party ran into a Beholder which they successfully defeated. At the end of the session the druid immediately pipes up "All you nimble fingered folk, I need your help getting this thing skinned in one piece. I want some armor."

So what would Beholder scale mail or Beholder hide armor do for the wearer. The anti-magic field is specifically a trait of the large central eye and the eye beams are traits of the eye stalks.
 

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Stormonu

Legend
It would be very colorful scale or hide armor. Might even be able to get chitin plate out of it.

As far as magical properties, none inheritantly. If you want it to have special properties, it needs to be properly enchanted - method up to you, but I would suggest some ritual spells, a ceremony and a heap of gold. Maybe some skill checks (Arcana to harvest the “magic”, Nature to properly skin come to mind).

As for suggested powers, I’ve seen old pictures in an old FR sourcebook with a headdress made of eyestalks (a helm, basically) that could be enchanted to reproduce one, some or all of the eye rays. The hide itself might be steeped in the beholder’s ichor to grant spell resistance (Or maybe potions of spell resistance distilled from its tears). Might also be possible to harvest whatever magic allows the beholder to float/fly and incorporate it into the armor, a cloak, boots or the headdress. Eyestalk bracers or wands might also be appropriate. Amulets of the eye might be a possibility.
 

akr71

Hero
Since its a druid asking these questions, I think he'd prefer medium armor so I'm leaning toward scale, half-plate or a breastplate. The breastplate doesn't impose disadvantage on stealth, so we'll probably land there...

I was thinking of some sort of limited fly speed and possibly spell resistance. The eyestalk wands or bracers is a neat idea, I hadn't considered other items like those or a helm ... something to think about.
 

Richards

Legend
I'm sorry for the visual, but the first thing that popped into my mind was taking a section of beholder hide centered around one of the eyestalks...and making a magical codpiece out of it. At the very least, the druid would be very distinctive.

Johnathan
 

AcererakTriple6

Autistic DM (he/him)
This is a cool image. I would probably make it be +1 or +2 armor (dependent on your party's level), as the AC of a beholder is 18 (natural armor, which makes its scales either the equivalent of plain plate armor, or +2 scale mail armor).

A similar idea that is official in 5e is Dragonscale mail, which is very rare +1 scale mail armor that gives the attuned wearer advantage on saving throws against Draconic Presence and Breath Weapon effects, and resistance to a draconic-damage types, and the ability to sense dragons within 30 miles of you as an action once a day.

So, if you were to take this and change it a bit, I would make Beholder-Skin Armor a set of Very Rare scale mail armor that requires attunement, granting a +2 AC to the wearer, advantage on saving throws against Beholder Eye-Rays, and the ability to get a beholder's 20-foot hover speed for 1 minute.

(I also like the ideas of eye-stalk based items, too. Eberron: Rising from the Last War actually has a similar magic item, Belashyrra's Beholder Crown.)
 

akr71

Hero
I'm sorry for the visual, but the first thing that popped into my mind was taking a section of beholder hide centered around one of the eyestalks...and making a magical codpiece out of it. At the very least, the druid would be very distinctive.

Johnathan
The druid in question already collects penis trophies from combat victories. I am definitely NOT going to be giving him this idea. :D
 

akr71

Hero
This is a cool image. I would probably make it be +1 or +2 armor (dependent on your party's level), as the AC of a beholder is 18 (natural armor, which makes its scales either the equivalent of plain plate armor, or +2 scale mail armor).

A similar idea that is official in 5e is Dragonscale mail, which is very rare +1 scale mail armor that gives the attuned wearer advantage on saving throws against Draconic Presence and Breath Weapon effects, and resistance to a draconic-damage types, and the ability to sense dragons within 30 miles of you as an action once a day.

So, if you were to take this and change it a bit, I would make Beholder-Skin Armor a set of Very Rare scale mail armor that requires attunement, granting a +2 AC to the wearer, advantage on saving throws against Beholder Eye-Rays, and the ability to get a beholder's 20-foot hover speed for 1 minute.

(I also like the ideas of eye-stalk based items, too. Eberron: Rising from the Last War actually has a similar magic item, Belashyrra's Beholder Crown.)
Good idea limiting the hover speed. However, even at 1 minute I have to resign myself to the fact that, should he get this armor crafted, I'm going to have a cave bear flying about the battlefield. Its only 20 feet so it shouldn't cause too much chaos.
 


akr71

Hero
I've now got a spreadsheet outlining what items are needed to craft beholder armor, as well as additional reagents, enchanter's fees and time needed to enchant it. Looking at the Armor table in the PHB, I decided that Scale Mail, Breastplate, or Half-plate could all be crafted. If the party is able to harvest enough of the right materials, the druid will be able to choose which to get crafted. I think my construction costs & times are a little on the low side. The party isn't in a position to take a whole lot of down time and gold is easy to come by so numbers don't mean much.

I also have 'add-ons' should they manage to harvest other organs and fluids, which could be used to add further enchantments to the finished armor.

Armor
typeacstealthadditional propertiesmaterialsconstruction costconstruction time
Scale Mail16 [max +2 Dex]disadvantagefly 20' for 1 minute/day30# scales3000gp3 weeks
5# hide
3 vials of beholder ichor
10 gems worth at least 100gp each
advantage vs beholder eye raystear duct from the main eye1500gp1 week
gem dust worth 1000gp
1/2 pound of beholder liver
cancel beholder anti-magic field [30' line, 5' wide]intact brain stem1000gp1 week
bile duct
breastplate16 [max +2 Dex]-fly 20' for 1 minute/day15# scales2000gp2 weeks
5# hide
2 vials of beholder ichor
gem dust worth 2000gp
advantage vs beholder eye raystear duct from the main eye1500gp1 week
gem dust worth 2000gp
1/2 pound of beholder liver
cancel beholder anti-magic field [30' line, 5' wide]intact brain stem1000gp1 week
bile duct
half-plate17 [max +2 Dex]disadvantagefly 20' for 1 minute/day30# scales5500gp4 weeks
10# hide
3 vials of beholder ichor
a gem worth 5000gp
advantage vs beholder eye raystear duct from the main eye1500gp1 week
gem dust worth 3000gp
1 pound of beholder liver
cancel beholder anti-magic field [30' line, 5' wide]intact brain stem1000gp1 week
bile duct
 

NotAYakk

Legend
Beholder Armor:
This +1 Breastplate is made out of the carapace of a Beholder and partially preserved eyes and eyestalks. When attuned it has the following effects:
  • The residual anti-magic effects of the central eye mean that magical effects originating or ending in the 5' square immediately in front of the wearer roll saving throws at advantage.
  • The armor has 4 eye tentacles attached to it. Tentacle #1 can store a 1st level spell, tentacle #2 a 2nd level spell, tentacle #3 a 3rd level spell and tantacle #4 a 4th level spell. The wearer can cast a spell of the appropriate level into the tentacle and it is absorbed. The spell must have a casting time of 1 action or 1 bonus action. As a bonus action, you can cause a random tentacle to activate (roll 1d4), and cast the spell stored within it; once a tentacle does this, further attempts to activate it fail until a new spell is put into it. If the spell requires concentration, the wearer must provide it. The eye stalks lose their spells if the armor is unattuned, or attuned to a new user.
  • You can cast Featherfall, but only on yourself, as a reaction.
---

This is basically a +1 breastplate with a modified ring of spell storing, plus some ribbons.

The ring of spell storing is missing the shenanigans of moving spells between casters and some flexibility, but gains action economy, loses flexibility, loses control (you can't pick which spell to use!), and gains total slot levels (1 2 3 4 sums to 10).

It evokes the feeling of a beholder, which is what I'm aiming at.

I consider the anti-magic to be a ribbon; the character could go up to an enemy spellcaster and force advantage on all spells the spellcaster imposes, but also grant advantage to that character. Or protect a single ally who stands right in front of them.

The self-only featherfall is residual hover magic. You fall slower.

---

A way to approach this that doesn't require spending months of downtime on crafting is to require other magical items as ingredients. If the above requires consuming a ring of spell storing, you could imagine it being faster and cheaper.
 
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aco175

Legend
Typically in my games, the PCs take something like this and drop it off at a smith to make something. They just leave it and pay extra to have it done in a week instead of a month. They have also taken more that the mount needed for themselves and offer the extra to the smith as a discount on their armor.

I could see making scale mail for the 14AC, or something more like a chain shirt for 13AC. Depending on level, you can make it +1 armor. I tend to add cool powers instead of +1 basic. You can have something simple like;

at-will can use mage hand
1/rest cast levitate as per spell
1/day cast dispel magic or you can have something like reroll a save.
 

Eltab

Lord of the Hidden Layer
Another kind of Beholder Armor might grant all-around vision. Mechanically you cannot be sneak attacked because one eyestalk or another will see it coming. And/or you cannot suffer the penalties from being flanked. Bonus to Perception checks as long as you are not in combat.
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
Awww, man, this reminds me of the iron-armoured beholder I used which rose up out of a vertical shaft in its 3D lair (because why would a beholder have 2D lair?)
 

I agree with @AcererakTriple6 on the +1 or +2.
As far as innate magic goes, I like the idea of blur, mirror image, see invisibility, and identify. Another route would be to take a bit of intelligence, like comprehend languages.
Not sure if anyone thinks that is too strong, but what is the harm in giving the druid something with several powers to choose from? (Except that it will slow the game down.)
And the cod piece is perfect.
 

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