D&D 5E Items that adjust Proficiency Bonus?

Quartz

Hero
What do you think of items that adjust Proficiency Bonuses?

The obvious is a cursed Item of Ineptness which sets the PB to zero. And maybe applies Disadvantage to boot! :) But more reasonably, how about an item that provides some useful powers but reduces the PB by one?

Conversely you could have an item that improves your PB by one (perhaps to a maximum of six or seven).
 

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kbrakke

First Post
The Ioun Stone of mastery does exactly that, and it's Legendary. Given how many things proficiency bonus touches it looks like they wanted to keep boosts to that low (Given that it's +skills, saves, attacks and is doubled with expertise). Something that blanket reduces your overall PB should give something significant to boost. I could imagine a cursed weapon that reduced your PB by 1, but gave you expertise on attack rolls with it.
Seems like a fun space to play in.
 


Bardbarian

First Post
The Ioun stone of mastery is a top tier item for several classes and I would exercise caution making abilities like that common in your campaign. It wont break things but it might set a new bar for expectation of some abilities. Proficiency bonus is a core scaling mechanic of 5e.
 

Mad_Jack

Legend
Probably the wisest course of action would be to take a somewhat 3.5 Ed. approach, and create specific items that grant Proficiency/Expertise in one specific skill or Proficiency in one particular weapon, type of armor, or saving throw.

For magic items that aren't going to be completely character-defining, you'd probably want to limit them to giving you Proficiency in something you don't already have. An item that allowed a character Expertise in a particular skill would be something really extraordinary.
An item granting a character Proficiency in one type of weapon or armor they normally wouldn't be proficient in wouldn't be too terribly unbalancing, since that's something you can actually accomplish with downtime.

But something that increased your proficiency bonus toward attack rolls or spell save DCs would quickly unbalance the combat math.
 

I would be cautious about using this kind of effect, because it's "invisible" in gameplay. When you've got a sword that lights on fire or a bag that can hold everything, you know it. But adjusting the proficiency bonus, after the initial "wow!" moment, rapidly disappears into the background math of the game. So having just one legendary ioun stone that does it sounds about right to me.
 

delericho

Legend
What do you think of items that adjust Proficiency Bonuses?

Such an item would be spectacularly powerful. Handle with extreme care. :)

(Also, if introducing such an item, I'd definitely go with "your Proficiency Bonus becomes +X", rather than "your Proficiency Bonus increases/decreases by +X" - that way, there's no risk of people trying to stack them. :) )

Finally, I am inclined to echo what [MENTION=6683613]TheCosmicKid[/MENTION] says - items that do nothing other than adjust the underlying numbers of the game (such as a weapon +X or armour +X, or this) tend to be very powerful but really quite dull.
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
I would be cautious about using this kind of effect, because it's "invisible" in gameplay. When you've got a sword that lights on fire or a bag that can hold everything, you know it. But adjusting the proficiency bonus, after the initial "wow!" moment, rapidly disappears into the background math of the game. So having just one legendary ioun stone that does it sounds about right to me.

Very much agreed. Maybe as a conditional bonus so it's noticeable when it comes up.

Elixir of Final Effort
When consumed, this gives you superhuman effort but burns you out. Your proficiency bonus increases by four, you gain proficiency on all saves and resistance to all damage types for 10 minutes. For the duration, you must make a DC 25 Constitution save every minute starting immediately upon consuming. Each failure grants a level of exhaustion. While the potion is in effect, you may ignore all effects of exhaustion except death. The effects of this elixir may not be dispelled, but a Remove Curse will end the duration.

(Note that since you are proficient in CON saves, the +4 to proficiency makes that save a lot easier than it looks.)
 

aco175

Legend
To me PB is more a game mechanic and not a magic item. I can see where a +1 sword is magic and can make up a reason for it, but a sword that doubles your PB is just the same as a +6 sword, or whatever. I like the way that the power grows with the character and would be cool if the PC received it at level 3 and it bumped at levels 5 and 11, but it is super powerful. I tend to give places like in the old Zelda game with mystic glens or such where PCs can get items bumped up in power at one point in the game so this may not work for me.

Same with a sword that gave you advantage on attacks would be more powerful than a regular +2 sword, or even +3.
 

Winterthorn

Monster Manager
Items that adjust proficiency bonus can really skew the game, so IMHO they should only appear as temporary single use items saved by the players when they may really need a boost. Even then such items should be, advisedly, infrequent.
 

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