D&D General Magic item creation. How it works or what it does?

HammerMan

Legend
So my buddy gave our group a headache tonight. She started by asking “if I wanted to make a +4 armor would you let me? And we all thought that simple. “Nothing above 3 and even then you need to be high level.

So then she asked if she made double strength bracers of defense that gave a +4 instead of a +2. This had a bit of discussion but we all agreed no in the end.

We asked where she was going with this and she said she was almost done.

What about a ring of prof that was equal to 1/2 the wearers prof (+1 at first but in theory up to a +3).

Then she said. “What if I wanted to make a wand of mage armor?”

We all agreed even though there was no wand of that in the DMG it would work.

Last twist “what if I wanted a set of dresses that each could cast mage armor 3/day?”

Now what she really wants is +4 cloth. With the drawback that every 8 hours she needs to burn an action.

She is currently a 7th level bard 3ed level fighter. 2nd level paladin. We are having more and more social interactions so she is out of armor a lot (in the field she has both a +1 plate and +1 shield and the shield spell to add to it and the armor has unique to the campaign properties.). In battle ready gear she has 24-29 AC… but Goni to kings ball and it drops to 13-18. One thing that was suggested 2 weeks ago was she should learn mage armor. (Our warlock can cast it at will).

So what she pointed out is “I want a +4 to my AC comes off reall different depending on how you phrase it. “Double strength bracers of armor” would be better then mage armor cause it would stack. Same with “ring of prof that goes up” and the ring would also add to saves. (Including death saves that we have some homebrew reason to use more often then usual). But really “Dress out for +4” isn’t really diffrent from “Dress that casts mage armor 3/day.” And the only difference between that and “wand of mage armor” is that you could share that item.

Realistically we all agreed that giving her (well letting her craft) 7 +4 dresses would make it feel weird she could not up grade her plate to +4. But if she made a wand it would feel fine.

The DM then pitched to her a set of earrings that had a permeant mage armor cast on them for who ever wears them.

But then she made us all do a double take with “Do you need the piercing in your ears or will any body piercing do?” And spiraled out into more conversation about where you have items on. In 5e (unlike 2e and 3e) you don’t really have body slots.

Nothing would stop a high level artificer with 5 attunement slots from having 5 magic rings attuned.

The last wrench I threw before we finally started game (over 2 hours late) was do rings of port stack? Could that artificer have +5 AC and saves with 5 rings of protection?



Now this long wrangling TLDR was about how 2 items could have the same story and at the table effect BUT one seem over powered and the other normal.
 

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Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
Mage Armor doesn’t give you +4 AC, it sets your AC calculation to 13+Dex mod. Unless you’re talking about a different edition, in which case maybe tag the thread as such?

EDIT: also, no, the bonuses from attuning to multiple of the same magic item do not stack.
 

Yeah, talking about attunement makes this look like a 5E specific discussion, so I'm going to focus on that. Custom magic items that are just better than the standard items is a really, really bad idea. A rare magic item you could work off of is Glamoured Studded Leather, which can be made to appear to be normal clothing by spending an action. If you wanted to be very generous, you could consider allowing Glamoured Plate Armor as a very rare/legendary item, which should help solve her issue. Alternately, she could try to wear full armor in court by claiming knighthood, but that's not always going to work, and might require Deception or Persuasion to avoid causing offense. Realistically, she shouldn't worry about combat in a location where people aren't expected to have armor and weapons anyway...
 


For my part, regardless of system, I prefer magic item creation to be a process, ideally one that actually involves effort and choice on the player's part.

So, for example, in my Dungeon World game, I gave one of my players a fun magic item. At first, it just appeared to be a staff made of living wood, which meant that its bonuses carried over into his animal forms when he transformed (he's a Druid.) But after doing some research and learning more about his "living stick," he found out that it's actually a disassembled artifact: it USED to be one of the Scythes of the Sun or Scythes of the Moon, but the blade was somehow detached without destroying the artifact. As a result, he's been on the hunt for the right material to restore it to its full glory. This is a pretty significant thing, as these two druid orders died out a long time ago, and restoring an artifact of theirs with a thematically-appropriate material would be an extremely significant symbol in a world where symbols have real (if not always directly visible) power. There were quest hints and concepts on where this could go, but the character is currently on hiatus, as the player wanted to try some new things with a different character. We'll see if it gets resolved or not.

Other examples: dried-out wondrous pigments that need some kind of special liquid so they can be restored to proper potency; ancient magic items that once belonged to the First Sultan, which grow stronger the more of them you have; and magic items that 'resonate' with the magic a person knows how to use, allowing them to do more than they normally could (e.g. a Hat of Disguise for a normal character is just a solid, magical disguise; for our Bard who picked up non-combat Druid transformations, it allows him to appear like essentially anyone he wants, and it's a physical transformation, not an illusion, so it cannot be "seen through.")

So, if this player wants something of this nature...make it a quest! Make it an experience. Give the player actual challenges, not just in terms of "can you roll high enough numbers to kill this thing," but "to what lengths are you willing to go to get this? What price are you willing to pay?" Getting to the end of that journey will be so much sweeter than just pouring in the money and having a magic item pop out, and I guarantee your players will remember it for a lot longer.
 

DND_Reborn

Legend
First, I would re-tag this to 5E since that is more appropriate than General.

She is currently a 7th level bard 3ed level fighter. 2nd level paladin.
So, a 12th level PC wants to create +4 items? Those are artifact level items and would involve a tremendous amount of questing, etc. IMO.

Nothing above 3 and even then you need to be high level.
For crafting items, I would agree. But personally I have given a +3 weapon to a 5th level character (who had a heck of a time keeping it LOL!) because I let items be determined randomly, so such things are possible.

For myself, to address each request:
So then she asked if she made double strength bracers of defense that gave a +4 instead of a +2. This had a bit of discussion but we all agreed no in the end.
No. Again, it is a +4 item.

What about a ring of prof that was equal to 1/2 the wearers prof (+1 at first but in theory up to a +3).
At this level I would allow this as a very rare item since the maximum bonus is +3 for PCs. Since rounding down is the default rule, this would only be +3 at 17th level or higher. At her current level of 12th, it is +2, so only a bit more powerful than a normal ring of protection.

Again, using the crafting magic items rules in XGtE, this would require a CR 13-18 challenge/encounter as well.

Then she said. “What if I wanted to make a wand of mage armor?”

We all agreed even though there was no wand of that in the DMG it would work.
Sure, I would make this an uncommon or rare, depending on the number of charges and how it regains them. 3 charges, regaining 1d3 daily, like a Wand of Magic Detection would be uncommon, but 7 charges regaining all each day would definitely be rare.

As an item, I actually really like this. I can see a caster waving the wand over a creature to cast Mage Armor on them. :)

This seems like the most reasonable request IMO.

The last wrench I threw before we finally started game (over 2 hours late) was do rings of port stack? Could that artificer have +5 AC and saves with 5 rings of protection?
LOL, no, they don't stack. ;)

Now what she really wants is +4 cloth. With the drawback that every 8 hours she needs to burn an action.
This is interesting as well since she is a bard.

I like the idea of a magical dress which has certain properties your player might like:
Jasmine's Magnificent Dress
(Wonderous item, rare, requires attunement by a spellcaster)

This magical garment never gets dirty, stained, or torn. While attuned to the dress, when you finish a short or long rest, you can choose the form the dress takes, altering its appearance. It can be as light as cotton or silk, or as heavy as cold winter clothing. It can also assume the form of a light armor if the wearer desires it.

This dress also has 3 charges. As an action, you can spend a charge to cast mage armor on a creature, including yourself. (OPTIONAL for increasing to very rare: You can also expend a charge to cast shield on yourself.)

The dress regains 1d6 + 1 expended charges daily at dawn. If you expend the dress's last charge, roll a d20. On a 1, the dress loses its magic and remains in its current form.
 

HammerMan

Legend
Mage Armor doesn’t give you +4 AC, it sets your AC calculation to 13+Dex mod. Unless you’re talking about a different edition, in which case maybe tag the thread as such?

EDIT: also, no, the bonuses from attuning to multiple of the same magic item do not stack.
Yeah it was like 3 am after gaming I posted this. 13was right I just messed up (should not have posted after 6 hours of gaming should have waited until morning.

I mixed the two editions in my head and her “double strength bracers of armor” idea was the +4
 

HammerMan

Legend
First, I would re-tag this to 5E since that is more appropriate than General.
I never know how to use the tags. I went with general cause this can apply to any edition really (maybe not 3rd as mich as that one irks me they did spell out item creation for custom items and stacking)
Everyone keeps saying this is there a rule we forgot? I don’t see anything with a quick look.

I like the idea of a magical dress which has certain properties your player might like:
Yeah since she would not want to always be in the same dress (not that I get why half the party only has 1 nice outfit) the DM suggested jewelry that cast it.
 

HammerMan

Legend
Yeah, talking about attunement makes this look like a 5E specific discussion, so I'm going to focus on that. Custom magic items that are just better than the standard items is a really, really bad idea.
But again we did all agree last night that a +3 cloth or +4 bracers were more powerful but the wand of mage armor is just a first level spell in a wand and as such not more powerful then any other 1st level spell.
A rare magic item you could work off of is Glamoured Studded Leather, which can be made to appear to be normal clothing by spending an action.
That is a great example. That is only 2pts of armor and can look like cloths.
Alternately, she could try to wear full armor in court by claiming knighthood, but that's not always going to work, and might require Deception or Persuasion to avoid causing offense.
Yeah the types of social events we have been playing through did not lend themselves to that.

Realistically, she shouldn't worry about combat in a location where people aren't expected to have armor and weapons anyway...
For years we have worked that way. It is the fact that we have twice in this campaign had fights break out at social events that has brought this up.
(Around 2 levels ago when at the princes 13 birthday ninja warlock assassins broke in and we had to defend prince… and a few weeks ago at current level the lich that has been the bane of our existence sent 2 shadow demons leading a small squad of insubstantial undead after the duke”s pool party to celebrate the new treaty. In near her case did anyone have weapons or armor except the few very dead guards that had MM guard stats with some race mods put on them).


Edit: we all have spells. So even without weapons we were not defenseless so this isn’t a jerk DM thing. Of the 5 players we have 2 multi class Gish (including her) and 2 full casters and a half caster
 

MatthewJHanson

Registered Ninja
Publisher
Mage Armor doesn’t give you +4 AC, it sets your AC calculation to 13+Dex mod. Unless you’re talking about a different edition, in which case maybe tag the thread as such?

EDIT: also, no, the bonuses from attuning to multiple of the same magic item do not stack.
Yes, this is an important distinction. I would not allow an item that gives +4. I would allow an items that casts mage armor or even just outright gave you 13 + Dex. (Essentially +1 studded leather for wizards).

For what it's worth Robes of the Archmagi already give 15 + Dex plus other neat stuff, of course they are legendary.
 

Everyone keeps saying this is there a rule we forgot? I don’t see anything with a quick look.
Bonuses from the same source don't stack. So two Bless spells, even from different casters will not stack. However a Bless spell and a Boldness Elixir (which does the same thing) will stack.
Likewise two Rings of Protection will not stack, but a Ring of protection and a Cloak of Protection will stack.

(And yes, and Artificer could wear a ring on each finger, or stack several on one finger and still use them all.)

Yeah since she would not want to always be in the same dress (not that I get why half the party only has 1 nice outfit) the DM suggested jewelry that cast it.
Mage Armour is not a Self only spell - it is Touch range. Couldn't one of the other party members cast it on her?
 

DND_Reborn

Legend
Everyone keeps saying this is there a rule we forgot? I don’t see anything with a quick look.
It is because you are attuned, and easy to overlook:

1656856982513.png


Which specifically mentions rings of protection. Pg. 138 in the DMG.
 


HammerMan

Legend
Bonuses from the same source don't stack.
I thought 2 diff rings would be 2 diff sources.

It is because you are attuned, and easy to overlook:

View attachment 252553

Which specifically mentions rings of protection. Pg. 138 in the DMG.
Thank you we missed this. That DOES answer that question.

Mage Armour is not a Self only spell - it is Touch range. Couldn't one of the other party members cast it on her?
I am glad I read through before responding... I was going to say if the warlock has the shadow armor invocation he or she can put it on the whole party.
Shadow armor isn’t just mage armor atwill it is mage armor on YOURSELF at will
 

DND_Reborn

Legend
Thank you we missed this. That DOES answer that question.
NP. People often get this confused with this idea that magical effects (from the same source) don't stack either.

Another stacking issue is that any feature of the same name won't stack (such as Unarmored Defense from Barbarian and Monk classes).

Glad I could help.
 

billd91

Hobbit on Quest (he/him)
Sure, I would make this an uncommon or rare, depending on the number of charges and how it regains them. 3 charges, regaining 1d3 daily, like a Wand of Magic Detection would be uncommon, but 7 charges regaining all each day would definitely be rare.

As an item, I actually really like this. I can see a caster waving the wand over a creature to cast Mage Armor on them. :)
Yeah, well, it seemed reasonable to allow just about any spell in a wand in 3e. Turned out to be a really easy way for wizards to run roughshod over any sense of niche protection, particularly for the rogue.

I‘d limit it to something worn and only affecting the wearer. Maybe a brooch or other piece of jewelry or clothing.
 


Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
It is because you are attuned, and easy to overlook:

View attachment 252553

Which specifically mentions rings of protection. Pg. 138 in the DMG.
There's also this from page 252 of the DMG. So even if Rings of Protection didn't have attunement, they have the same name.

"Different game features can affect a target at the same time. But when two or more game features have the same name, only the effects of one of them-the most potent one-apply while the durations of the effects overlap....Game features include spells, class features, feats, racial traits, monster abilities, and magic items."
 

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