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Level Up (A5E) interesting changes to the game & world from magic items

tetrasodium

Legend
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I'm pretty thrilled about the new stuff in trials & treasure that enable more nuanced security than "roll thieve's tools" & wanted to put together a post about them because some of those things are subtle empowerment that might not be obvious at first glance while others require a bit more thought from the narrator than "the door is locked, dcX to pick".
  • Absurdist web: This one enables a few things & shifts a few problems in interesting ways. Smaller things placed in it can get lost just because then narrator declares it lost but it can hold creatures in stasis for a month. given a dc well over 20 to find things you don't know are in it the thing makes a great way of smuggling larger objects like your noisy plate clad friend the macguffin, or an entire cabinet of books. The really transformative bit to this is that instead of the noisy party members staying behind in a party split while the stealthy types sneak off they instead take the party with them & look for a safe place to spend two actions pulling them from a pocket or try to do so in the middle of a fight if things have gone really wrong.
  • Alliance rings: These might not seem like something to help with breaking and entering situations at a glance, but by knowing approximate distance the distraction side of the party can know when the side that's doing things like breaking in to steal/disrupt things are moving away and/or at a safe distance so they can wrap things up with the distraction. Even better is that the other effect of shifting damage makes them pass a check for dangerous objects as something plausible for a person to have.
  • Archaic Creed: The curse might seem like a bad thing, but books/movies/tv is filled with examples of a double agent planted in the team to spy on or double cross it for the boss under certain conditions. There's nothing that prevents the boss in question from making a deal with the fiend in question in order for this useful reward to be the double agent/spy in question. Even better is that you as the narrator can even decide to use it as such long after letting the players have it.
  • Assembling Armor: While glamoured armor might let someone permanently run around in armor that looks like casual (or formal) clothes, this allows them to run around in those clothes and have a short lived safety net that's long enough for a few fights or an escape sequence type series of events but short enough that they won't want to make it their go to solution of choice for armor when out adventuring in the wild.
  • Atlas to libation: If the party doesn't have alcohol on them (which may very well be part of their supply!) it's a safe bet map to the bandit camp, hideout, goblin warren, kobold nest, & so on as long as the party can get within a mile. Only downside is that the nearest source might be that ogre farmer's still & he's not going to be too happy about letting the party pour out or drink his 1v 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 & 10 year aged barrels of moonshine... now the party needs to do something interesting for this farmer like help him clear out the phase spiders from the cave he used to age it in so the map goes where the players need it to go.
  • Bead of Tracking: Again fiction is filled with examples where the team needs to put a tracking device on someone or something so they can track where it goes. This nifty little doober lets the players do exactly that.
  • Candle of the Surreptitious Scholar: at 115 gp & 3 charges with 1d3 returning each day these put a hard clock on dungeon crawling, especially if the players aren't tracking the 1d3 themselves or if they have larger versions that don't recover daily. Players can sneak around a city building or a dungeon just the same without being the ones walking around with a spotlight on their position for the locals to see a few rooms away, These add a lot of interesting options.
  • Cantrip wands: There are tons of niche cantrips that just aren't worth taking as one of a player's allotted cantrips. a5e does better than o5e by giving caster classes one of those fluff cantrips that aligns with their class for free, but these allow a player to pickup others deliberately or through treasure found while adventuring.
  • Charcoal stick of aversion: Linking an object with limited charges to temporarily "hide" objects means that players need to proactively consider when & what they are going to be hiding rather than reflexively just declaring that they try to conceal everything at all times & gives some extra benefit to concealable stuff. It's not exactly an expensive item, but players aren't going to be putting an x on everything they own every day & will probably only be doing it with one or two things they want to make sure stay really well hidden like a box or bag with all the gear & treasure that they need one or more actions to retrieve open & pull things from.
  • Chime of Opening: On it's own this seems pretty uneventful, but paired with something like glass rings it raises a lot of possibilities in an arms race between completely visible security & tools to thwart it. That deserves a section of its own though & this is more of a callout to an old item made more interesting by other new items than anything else.
  • Cunning tools: These shift thieves' tools from a tax on one player's tool/skill choices to an important item that someone now needs to keep safe if nobody has that tool proficiency for whatever reason. Even better is that they are pretty much an obvious red flag if players are being searched in certain situations.
  • Explorer's chalk: Nothing in this prevents the mark from being made on an object that is moves away like a coin in a pouch you give or throw away. On top of the bead of tracking type uses this allows for finding things like the path back while you were blindfolded in a wagon or something.. if you can escape within 24 hours & don't need too many markers to follow the route out ;D
  • Fathomer's ring: Instead of being limited by water breathing players can explore a sunken ship or similar until it sinks... of course water flooding back in is certain to make things difficult if players are still inside or need to return ;)
  • Glass ring: letting players reach through a pane of glass completely bypasses any lock on a great many doors. Dual pane windows can stop it, but why have it there in the first place if the players can't use their toys as part of interesting challenges? These makes the hurdle to get through a door more interesting.
    First you've got the possibility of animals or monsters inside on the other side of that door, but that's low hanging fruit to be killed or animal handled & ignored assuming it's not a creature that needs to be fed something hard to get or is smart enough to know better. Other fun things include the need to have a physical token in order to avoid setting off the alarm/magic mouth spell that warns everyone of the intruders.. That token could be hidden in the room, in a locked drawer across the room, or even a thing the players will need to undertake some other adventure to retrieve quietly without alerting the person who normally has it.... Fiction is filled with examples where first gaining the trust of a mark is needed in order to abuse that trust. Any number of traps could be substituted for that magic mouth/alarm spell though & it's quite difficult to look for them while on the other side of the door ;)
  • Ivory Knights: It doesn't take much imagination to see ways that walkie talkies can enable groups to work together when not in the same room. These trade an ready to hear voice for the need to be holding them. Of course 120 feet is not very far & maintaining the distance could keep someone in a very conspicuous position that leads to other problems needing to get solved ;)
  • Lockpicks of memory: Another magic item that allows thieve's tools proficiency to be moved from the rogue to someone who happens to carry these with the drawbacks of cunning tools & simple yes it does/not it doesn't unlock a lock & the narrator getting to use them to point out any locks they deem important enough to draw player attention to. If players travel to a new city it could be a whole ordeal to get a new set for that city though.
  • Luminescent Gum: It's not as fancy as the candle earlier, but it's hands free, not at all cheap, & doesn't require a hand to hold it.
  • Message stones: More expensive than the ivory knights but sending rather than message allows for quite a bit more range if you prepare ahead to be sure the person you want to call once per day has the stone before you need to start using them.
  • Mourning medallion: High risk, maybe high reward. Makes for a great way for players to gather information about a place or group before getting there & the narrator could even give this to players early on counting on the eventual 5 or less & general "unknown" to eventually destroy it. The fatigue/strife that gores with dropping to zero makes repeatedly using it outside coincidence a bit sticky to consider for players even before considering the difficulties of recovering hp.
  • Portraiture Gremlin: They say that a picture is worth a thousand words & that's true, It's also a very good description for purposes of things like teleport & scrying.
  • Sea Witch 's Amulet: Instead of needing a specific physical object to bypass security, players might need the voice of someone specific. Of course said person is likely to notice their missing voice unless they are somehow incapacitated or unable to report the voice theft.
  • Security Gremlin: A shouting gremlin might not be a concern for players, but if that shouting triggers a box of bees or some other trap?... that could be a problem ;)
  • Seeds of Necessity: A minute could be a long time to be concentrating on a ladder bridge or whatever... but they can do a great deal to empower planning when out adventuring away from town.
  • Skeleton Key: Yet another solution to nobody having thieve's tool proficiency in the party.
  • Star Heart: Bit dark for many campaigns, but there's always a specialist to be hired for off camera work. Being able to make a clone of someone restrained well enough by severing a limb & having that clone know everything the original knew makes for an easy way to double the odds of having one tell you the thing you want to know & the other be tortured or killed. Of course someone is likely to notice them missing for all that time it takes to grow the clone.. Of course with the possibility of someone doing that kind of thing it's also possible that someone (including a PC!) could go missing for a few days, wake up in a ditch with no memory of the last few days of being unconscious/drugged, & have another copy of themselves running around causing interesting problems for them ;)
  • Steelsilk mantle: Another nifty tool for expanding planning options when out adventuring
  • Tailored suit of armor: Like the assembling armor this grants a little bit of protection beyond simple clothing but trades AC for duration & is very eye catching. There are a lot of places where a formal outfit will render someone effectively invisible, but even a place as common as a tavern or an arms dealer might make the wearer stand out in the memory of everyone. Players will rarely consider these kinds of things until the moment of "ohhhhh yea... that's right".
  • True Weight Gloves: 50gp to check if something is counterfeit is pricy enough to make casual counterfeiting a thing, but it does put a bit of a cap on what can pawned off & what situations fake documents might have a chance of working in.
 

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