D&D 5E Special Ingredients for Crafting +x Items

cbwjm

Legend
The mentioning of a treant, again, reminds me of a magical item that my druid player might get, depending on which way they go in the feywild. The Green Man (treant archfey, one of the more powerful archery in my setting) will grant the druid a staff of fireflies as a gift which will be formed from one of his branches, and a plain ol' jar. The staff allows the wielder to cast light, daylight, and fireflies (homebrew spell, essentially a 2nd-level druid version of magic missile with a 1 round faerie fire effect). As they spend/gain charges the number of fireflies in the jar changes.
 

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Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
Ok, so a +2 weapon is pretty good but a bit bland so...

the DMG has the answer! Look at the "special features" - some of them are already chosen - like the creators/origins are dwarves, for example, but others you can roll randomly. Maybe it's a "signature" of the smith. Maybe it will be related to the special ingredient.

... and that should point you towards what the weapon is made of.

I'll give you an example for a +1 battleaxe:

"THE AXE
shark tooth

Gurthlimbnél (literally, death fish tooth in sindarin)

The haft is made of wood from the Grandfather Tree. My clan are its guardian. From time to time the Tree sheds branches. The wood is collected and used as it has magical properties, especially for life magic. In this case, the strong living essence within the mood nourishes the tooth, allowing it to constantly repair itself and remain ever sharp.

The haft was given to a group of sea-elves, who found the mastodon tooth and bound it to it, creating Sharktooth.

About 200 years ago, the axe was stolen by a pirate, who wielded it in a bloody 15 year career and earned himself the name "SharkTooth"

However, his ship eventually sank and the axe was lost. Now it is back in elven hands. If I were to perish in this endeavor, please return the axe to elven hands, to my clan preferably - my time outside the sacred woulds will have been very short, but my finding of the axe will be worthy of a song."

This was based on creators: elves, heroic, waterborne and hungry. We modified it slightly to allow it to be wielded underwater without disadvantage.
 

Firstly, since the PCs already completed a task (they got a cloak worth 750 gp), I would consider to give the item (i.e. consider that perhaps the dwarves already own a +2 battleaxe and are so grateful that they will give it as a reward). If that's too much (it's an opinion), don't make the side-quest too hard. E.g. focus on CR 9-10, not 11-12.

For example: A Clay golem was created millenia ago, by someone long forgotten. It got buried in the soil. Eons of geology washed it into dwarven caverns through some underground streams and mud flows. It now occupies the main cistern of the dwarves, attacking anyone who comes to get water. It seems to have a bright gem embedded in its forehead, which surely must have strong magical properties. The adventurers must remove the clay golem and get that gem.
If you are nice to the barbarian PC, you can make it a +2 battleaxe which also grants acid resistance, and call it the Axe of the Cistern.
 

pukunui

Legend
For example: A Clay golem was created millenia ago, by someone long forgotten. It got buried in the soil. Eons of geology washed it into dwarven caverns through some underground streams and mud flows. It now occupies the main cistern of the dwarves, attacking anyone who comes to get water. It seems to have a bright gem embedded in its forehead, which surely must have strong magical properties. The adventurers must remove the clay golem and get that gem.
Funnily enough, the PCs are about to encounter a clay golem that is guarding the Heart of the Mountain - a chamber at the center of the dwarven ruin they have been exploring that dwarves can attune to and cast divination at will from. I was actually thinking about making the clay golem be the thing they need to defeat - but rather than have it have/be the source of the ingredient, instead the PC has to defeat the golem in order to gain access to the Heart of the Mountain, where they need to commune with the dwarven gods in order to get the axe blessed by them and turned into a +2 weapon.

This also gives them a reason to try to enter the Heart of the Mountain. Without a good reason, they might just leave it be, since the doors can only be opened by the "hand of a king" - and the only readily available one is from the mummified body of the old dwarf king buried elsewhere in the ruin, which the two dwarf PCs would be loathe to desecrate.

I like trying to get my players to make difficult decisions.
 

Dungeon Delver's Guide

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