Interesting magical gear mechanics

Hautamaki

First Post
I'm always on the lookout for ideas to make magical gear more mechanically interesting, and, well, magical. The standard +1-5 to hit/damage is pretty boring, and I like the gear that has more unique benefits. Here are a few mechanical items of my own devising to get the ball rolling (the fluff I think I can leave up to you), with a little 'behind the curtain' style note for my experiences of using these in play.

Weapontype of Reliability: roll 2d20 to make attack rolls and always keep the higher one. (quite powerful--increases the average roll by a few points, but also nearly eliminates your chances of critically fumbling and doubles your chances of critting)

Weapontype of Power: roll double the weapon's damage die and always keep the higher result. (not as powerful as Reliability but for many players even more satisfying as it greatly reduces the chances of getting a disappointing 1 on damage after succeeding on getting a hit in--especially if the player got a crit)

Weapontype of Thunderous Smiting: roll exploding damage die (basically if you roll max damage on any damage die, you roll it again for additional damage). (makes weapons that use more but smaller damage die much more powerful, especially on crits. Can slow the game down a bit but often in a very dramatic and fun way as the damage can sometimes just keep on stacking up)

Weapontype of Energytype bolt: As a full round action (character cannot move and must maintain concentration) this weapon can fire a bolt of energy as a ranged attack (60') that deals d8 points of damage. (the energy bolt is not normally an effective choice in combat but it gives a fighter a way to contribute to a ranged battle without having to fiddle about with changing weapons, and to many it may seem 'cooler' than just firing a mundane crossbow or bow)

--Note: All these weapons also work great as a set of gauntlets, which allows players to keep these sorts of bonuses they love while switching out weapons, or even combine a gauntlet and a weapon to create powerful combos. If you go this route be aware that the stacking benefits can be super-powerful so keep that in mind when pricing these items.

Charm of Protection: When an enemy crits you, the charm absorbs d6 points of damage. (takes some of the sting off of getting critted, players love this item)

Sacrificial Dagger: when used to inflict the killing blow on a foe, an arcane spell caster can recover an expended spell. (arcane casters shouldn't normally be trying to kill things with daggers but this makes it a very tempting option!)

Armourtype of Regeneration: 1/day this armor can replenish d4 HP/character level of its wearer. (gives a player a get out of jail free card for when his character is on the ropes due to an unexpected crit/ganking)

Helm of Vigilance: Roll 2d20 for all perception and initiative checks and keep the higher roll. (Players who hate getting ambushed, being flatfooted at the start of battles, or acting last in initiative love this item)

Possessed Shield: This shield floats in front of a fighter as if held by an invisible third arm, allowing a fighter the benefits of a shield while still leaving both his arms free. (a surprisingly powerful item as a fighter can now have improved AC while still being a two weapon or two-handed weapon user--plus creative players can find lots of ways to make use of a floating shield in and outside of battle)


The two unifying themes for these items are

1) A good item gives a player an interesting option that he didn't have before

OR

2) A good item is satisfying to a player by either mitigating against when simple bad luck derails his character or makes the benefits of good luck even more dramatic.


Bad items are items which have an effect so powerful that it eliminates all other interesting choices

OR

Items which add too much dice rolling and calculation and slow down the game too much for no real benefit

OR

Items which incrementally improve a character in a way that is hardly noticeable to the player in actual play (like the very boring +1 swords of yesteryear).
 
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Stormonu

Legend
Sacrificial Dagger: when used to inflict the killing blow on a foe, an arcane spell caster can recover an expended spell. (arcane casters shouldn't normally be trying to kill things with daggers but this makes it a very tempting option!)

This is a great item in theory, but combined with coup de gracing downed foes, might be too powerful.
 

Hautamaki

First Post
This is a great item in theory, but combined with coup de gracing downed foes, might be too powerful.

Well unless the players legitimately go out of their way to ensure that enemies are downed but not actually killed then I wouldn't just let a magic user say 'I go around and slit everything's throat, how many spells do I get back?' Otherwise yeah, it could easily get abusive (and also not that fun for anyone according to the principles I outlined at the bottom of my post).
 


Stormonu

Legend
Weapontype of Deathrattle: Instead of making a normal attack, the wielder shakes the weapon in the direction of a foe, who makes a Fort save. If the save is failed the foe takes the weapon's base damage (such as 1d8 for a longsword) + wielder's Cha modifier.

Shield Wall: Upon a spoken command word, this shield firmly plants itself in place, tranforming into a 5' wide, 10' wall of iron, providing complete cover behind it.

Tornado Flail: Grants free use of the Whirlwind Attack feat with the weapon.

Weapontype of Heavy Striking: change weapon dice to 2dX, roll 3 such dice and keep the best two (for ex., With a LongSword of Heavy Striking you would roll 3d4 damage and keep the best two.)

Thingamagig of Ability: Choose a skill, when making a skill check, roll 2d20 and keep the better roll.

Thingamagig of Mastery: Gives a particular skill roll exploding dice (i.e., on a 20, roll again and add to result)
 

I'm using inherent bonuses for my 4e campaign. +1 to +5 weapons are therefore pointless.

These items look a little complicated. Weapontype of deathrattle, for instance, should probably be a rod, as it's obviously intended for sorcerers. (While it might be thematic for a fighter, only a paladin is likely to have the Charisma necessary to make that worthwhile.)
 

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