5 Better Magic Items for D&D 5e (And How They Re-Enchant the Game…)
Title Image © Wizards of the Coast
Players Will Experience These Items as MAGIC, Rather Than Just Powerful
By Riley Rath
I/we love writing for Awesome Dice... it's a ton of fun identifying D&D 5e's shortcomings, inventing new ways to play and role-play, and discovering the ins and outs of various character classes.
But you know what? Sometimes you don't want anything detailed or well developed. Sometimes you just want to read about some nifty magic items. And that's all this post is:
New magic items inspired by mythic/occult/religious symbolism.
But there's a twist... other than the "myth/occult/religious" part. I added some stuff to make them a bit more "magical"... so they evoke true WONDER from your players, rather than feel like just another trinket that makes them powerful.
Table of Contents
- How These 5e Magic Items are Different
- Wood Elf Hunting Arrow (common)
- A Daraktan Divining Shoulder (uncommon)
- Berronar's Solastar Gem (rare)
- Greaves of Noble Gallop (very rare)
- Spark of Divinity (legendary)
How These 5e Magic Items Are Different
You can find homebrew D&D magic items everywhere on the internet. Some of them are built with perfect balance by metagaming masters. Others are carefully crafted to compensate for failures in this or that character class. And some are just downright visionary and fun.
So what makes these ones different?
These magic items are designed to FEEL enchanting to players.
Most magic items feel mechanical; if you do A you are almost guaranteed to get B. They feel like weird devices that run on magic rather than batteries. And with the Identify spell/ritual, most players can easily figure out EVERYTHING about said magic item... it's even easier than reading the instruction manual for something you buy in the real world!
It is an issue I have with most magic systems in fantasy: they feel like science, not magic. And I know for a TTRPG they need to have mechanics in order for it to be, ya know, a GAME. But for something to be magical, it has to violate the laws as we know them (or at least follow some other, completely unknowable laws), and games need rules to be fun!
I don't need to reinvent the wheel... if you want to know more about what I mean, watch this video from Tale Foundry.
So I wanted to make something different, to make magic items that:
To accomplish this, I included the following in all of my magic items:
A Vague Background: This is not just so DMs can fill in the blanks as to what fits their particular adventure. It's also because explaining the where/why/when of something immediately robs it of mystery. So the more powerful the magic item, the less clear its background.
Use "More Difficult Identification" Variant (DMG 136): You are probably catching the pattern here: the more knowledge the players have about the magic item, the less magical it seems. However, we want players to USE these magic items, so we don't want them in the dark forever. To resolve this tension, I added several layers of things players can do to learn about their magic item. The more powerful the magic item, the more layers of learning, with using/attuning to the item gleaning the most accurate information.
Not Every Magic Item Is for Everyone: Some magic items, like invisible rings, can (and should!) work with anyone that picks them up. But I find something enchanting when my character finds a magic item that ONLY works for them... makes me feel destined to be a hero! And, logically, it makes sense that a hobgoblin would have an advantage when wielding a Devastator wand... right?
Magic Items Can Be "Enhanced": A lot of the times, when a player gets a magic item all they have to do is attune to it and BOOM... they are now experts with that item, wielding it to its highest potential. No training or intuition needed. But I believe that a magic item in the hands of the ignorant or unfamiliar should be less powerful. The longer they are with the item, or the more they train, or if they take feats, they should be able to get more out of a magic item.
The end result is 5e magic items that are more fun, mysterious, and still work.
Players should be unable to resist discovery, proceeding with both caution and excitement. And when they learn more about the item, or unlock another magical benefit, they should be filled with a new sense of wonder.
With that, let's get to the items! I have a magic item for every level of power, from common to legendary. And also, since this IS a D&D 5e dice shop, we have paired each magic item with a corresponding 7-dice set.
Wood Elf Hunting Arrow
Wondrous Item, Common
When you notch this arrow, you have advantage on one long-ranged longbow attack.
Background: These arrows are wrapped with dried (and enchanted) white carnations, flowers imbued with purity and good luck. Most wood elf families have one or two hunting arrows reserved for particularly difficult shots. They are common enough to be found lying around general stores, and many merchants will have one they are attempting to sell at an exaggerated price.
Who Can Use It: Anyone proficient in longbows. But players, take note... you MUST retrieve this special arrow after you fire it! And depending on how badly you miss, you might have to pass a rather high DC Investigation check!
How It Works: A) Before firing, players get a free action to pass a DC 10 Arcana check.
Ways to Learn About It:
- Wood elves, rangers, and druids know everything about this magic item.
- Successful Arcana Check: "It is easier to hit your target with this arrow."
- Cast Identify: (Tells you everything).
Enhancing the Magic Item: If you hit a deer directly in the heart (DC 23 attack roll) with this arrow, killing it instantly, then you never need to pass an Arcana check to use it again.
Elven Green & White 7-Dice Set
Awesome Dice Image
A Daraktan Divining Shoulder
Wondrous Item, Uncommon
Allows you to cast the 2nd level "Augury" spell once per long rest.
Background: Orc tribes believe bones symbolize life, not death. Their strength, durability, and resistance to decay indicates not only the stability of life... but life itself. They are living and capable of connecting one with those who lived. It is customary for orc shamans to transform the scapula of mighty chieftains and the previous shaman into instruments of divination. They do this through cleaning the bone of all flesh, traditional incantations, and carving runs in orcish. They are found in orc camps and battlefields or among the collections of divination wizards.
How It Works: Characters can use Augury to gain insight from a long-dead orc chieftain or shaman (DM decides). To do this, players must first A) succeed a DC 15 Arcana or Religion check... OR... B) the bone can be placed over an open fire and pass a DC 12 Insight check to glean the answer by studying the cracks and fissures in the bone.
Who Can Use It: Anyone who is an orc, half-orc, or can speak Orcish will have no trouble understanding the runes covering these bones and rolls with advantage. Those with a +7 or higher to religion checks will roll at disadvantage, as will non-orc wizards and druids.
Ways to Learn About It:
- Arcana Check: "This one is used for divination."
- History or Religion Check: "This is orcish."
- Identify Ritual: All the above plus "... and its abilities can be increased by holding it over a fire."
- Successfully Using the Item: You use this to cast the Augury spell at 2nd level.
How to Enhance Its Power: If an orc spellcaster uses it over a fire and speaks Orcish, they can also cast "Speak With Dead" to the warrior and glean any wisdom the warrior might know (at the DM's discretion).
Marble Ivory 7-Dice Set
Awesome Dice Image
Berronar's Solastar Gem
Wondrous Item, Rare (requires attunement)
This pure, clear diamond is raw, uncut, but is vaguely in the shape of a star. It cannot be scratched and is half the weight of a normal diamond its size.
With this magic item, you have advantage on resisting Persuasion and Intimidation checks. It is also impossible for your alignment to change.
Background: These gems are crafted by dwarven clerics in service to their city. They are used in religious ceremonies dedicated to Berronar Truesilver, the dwarven goddess of hearth and home. They are also used by diplomats seeking alliance or compromise and high profile marriage ceremonies.
Who Can Use It: The Solastar Gem is itself a talisman of purity and fidelity, and demands those virtues from anyone who attempts to attune to it. It accepts A) any lawful good character, B) any neutral good paladin, cleric, or dwarf.
Ways to Learn About It:
- Arcana Check: "The enchantments on this will help you resist Charisma skill checks made against you."
- Identify: "Magical item that enables resistance against any attempt to move you, your character, or you will."
- History or Religion Check: "This is dwarven in nature, and those people are known for being law abiding."
- Dwarven Cleric: "Its power is increased when you hold it close to your heart."
How to Enhance Its Power: If it is embedded into a helm, crown, or tiara, it also grants its user immunity to any spell or effect that would alter its form. Alternatively, when held against your heart by your right hand, you cannot be teleported against your will.
Dandelion Sharpedge Dice Set
Greaves of Noble Gallop
+1 Armor (heavy), very rare (requires attunement)
Your walking speed is increased by 10ft and your mount's speed is increased by 20ft. Furthermore, when you take the Disengage action, you can move half of your movement away.
Background: These finely crafted, human shin guards are exceptionally light and flexible, allowing not only for protection, but also greater maneuverability on the battlefield. They are highly detailed, artistically depicting the exploits of former heroic servants. As symbols of power, these greaves are reserved for lords of great families or captains of great companies. When not being worn, they are on display in the treasury of capital cities, at the base of a knightly order, or in the armory of a rich noble family.
Who Can Use It: Despite being light, these greaves are still intended for close-quarters combat and will not magically operate on any "coward feeling the battlefield." Consequently, they can only be used by anyone proficient with heavy armor. Alternatively, anyone accustomed to mounted combat (+8 to Animal Handling) may also wear them comfortably.
Ways to Learn About It:
- Perception Check: "You notice that these greaves are remarkably lightweight and flexible for being heavy armor."
- Arcana Check: "Someone spent A LOT of money to make these magical."
- Identify Ritual: "Despite only covering your shins, these greaves provide +1 to AC AND allows you to move quickly."
- Attunement: "You immediately notice that you have a lighter step" (10ft walking speed + disengage ability).
- Speaking with Its Rightful Owners: "The better leader you are, the more it responds..."
How to Enhance Its Power:
- If a player takes the Inspiring Leader Feat, the greaves also allow them to offer the help action as a bonus action to an ally 30ft away (once per short rest).
- If the character is blessed or given permission to be its "rightful wearer," you can re-roll Dexterity saving throws, but must accept the second result.
Triton Copper-Blue Metal Dice Set
Awesome Dice Image
Spark of Divinity
Wondrous Item, Legendary (requires attunement) (sentient)
Intelligence of 10, Wisdom of 16, Charisma of 12
This vase contains a fragment of the essence of a deity. It was likely hewn off in a great battle eons ago. At some point, a creature with great magical ability found it and encased it in a vase.
While carrying the Spark on your person, you know the Light Cantrip. You have advantage on any Perception checks while searching for inter-planar portals. As a reaction, you can dispel magical darkness, and all ranged magical attacks against you are made at disadvantage.
If you hold the vase in two hands, you gain a +2 to AC and can innately cast the following spells once per day: Faerie Fire, Guardian of Faith, Dawn, and Wall of Light (ignoring concentration). Characters can use their action to "feel" what the Spark determines to be the best spell for that given moment (player's or DM's discretion) and casts accordingly.
However, if a player uses the Spark to cast a spell while traversing the outer planes, the player must roll a d4. On a 1, the vase shatters and the divine Spark is released from its physical prison.
Background: While the case is a pure glass, the inside is utter darkness save for an ever-burning spark. As the spark flickers, its glimmers extend to a seemingly infinite darkness. It is a tiny piece of divine essence, lost so long ago that while it still retains its nature, it no longer remembers its host. It despises the material plane, finding it to be impure, and longs to make its way back to Mt. Celestia. Such objects are beyond rare, found only in the deepest temple vault or as a prized possession of a dragon's horde.
Who Can Use It: Anyone with a good alignment (and that can put up with this sh*t). However, the Spark of divinity requires that whomever carries it ceremonially wash themselves daily in cold spring water. It will make exceptions for areas where it is impossible to find any water, but it won't be happy about it. If players resist searching for a portal to the outer planes, they will feel the Spark's displeasure, and will have to succeed a DC 12 CON save or be forced awake by the strong emotions of the Spark, robbing them of the benefits of a long rest.
Sentient Personality: The item communicates with its carrier by transmitting emotion. It has a strong will to be liberated from the material plane and will often express disgust with physical actions and mundane physical things. While carried, it will refuse to share a bag with any other object. After one month of attunement, players will notice their senses and appetite change. They will slowly become disgusted with many food and smells they once loved, eventually finding food, drink, and sex completely distasteful. These appetites quickly return once they un-attune with the Spark.
Ways to Learn About It:
- Arcana/Religion Check: "This is an object of extreme magical power."
- Religion Check: "This is the highest concentration of divine presence you have ever experienced."
- Identify Ritual: "This is a legendary... and sentient... magic item. Its spells deal radiant damage and allows you to bring light into darkness."
- Attunement: "The changing colors in the spark of the vase impress changing emotions within you: approval, disapproval, zeal, apathy, disgust, (etc.). These emotions cannot be escaped, but come with great power. Every day, you can spend a short rest further attuning with the object, gaining more understanding each time. However, you do not gain the benefits of the short rest."
- Taking it to a Religious Authority (or a player character that is a cleric or paladin of the correct pantheon): "This is a spark of a god that has forgotten who it is. It despises the material plane. All of its efforts are geared toward returning to Mt. Celestia."
Rechargeable LED Dice
So... yeah.. nifty magic items! Hopefully they are as fun for your players to discover as they are for DMs to unveil. And of course, if you think any of them are over/under powered, feel free to take away/add a benefit or two... whatever works for your campaign. We all "Dungeons and Dragons" in our own ways!
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Based out of Spokane, Riley is a freelance copywriter that combines his love of reading, writing, and people into something useful! He is thankful to be applying his passion for imaginative role-playing to help DnD related businesses communicate their value in the best way possible. He's kinda like a bard giving inspiration, except without the annoying pop covers!