Posts Tagged ‘treasure’

Note: You can now find the magic items in this article as a part of 50 New Magic Items, a Pay What You Want product on the DMs Guild.

This month’s RPG Blog Carnival theme is “Curses! Cursed Items, Spells, and Campaign Stories,” chosen by Johnn Four over at Roleplaying Tips. This is one of my favorite themes yet!

On Tuesday I posted my first entry for the carnival and showed off 20 cursed weapon properties that can be added to any magic or mundane weapon. Now I’ve got another 80 curse properties that can be added to various items. Some of the information from Tuesday’s post is repeated here for you convenience, if you’ve already seen that one, skip down to the armor table.

Designing Curses – You Take the Good, You Take the Bad

When it comes to cursed items, I find it helps to mix the good in with the bad. For instance demon armor on page 165 of the Dungeon Master’s Guide has a lot of beneficial properties, but also has a curse associated with it – the user cannot remove the armor without a remove curse spell after donning it and and suffers penalties against demons in combat. This presents an interesting conundrum for the player. Should the character wear the armor to gain its awesome infernal benefits, but know that whenever its time to doff a 3rd-level spell better be waiting and that combat with demons is extra deadly? Or is it better to wear some normal armor without awesome magic claws and a bonus to AC?

I understand wanted to create a purely cursed object with no benefits whatsoever, but once the players get over the shock and surmount the curse, then the item is pretty much done. If the item has some sweet benefits they may keep that bad boy and that makes the game and the item’s story more layered.

With that in mind I’ve created a bunch of cursed magic item properties which can be added to any existing magic items (homebrew or published). Of course, if you prefer to have a purely cursed item for your game, go ahead and simply add a cursed property or three to an existing item.

Cursed Item Properties

When giving a magic item (or a non-magical item) to your players, you may choose to add a cursed property to the item. These cursed properties are in addition to any other properties the item may already have. To give an item a cursed property, first determine if the item is a weapon, armor, spellcasting focus, consumable magic item, or non-armor wearable item (such as rings, cloaks, boots, etc.). Then roll or pick a cursed property for the item on the appropriate table.PDF

How would you like the information above in a handy-dandy PDF? Ok you got it! The links below have just the information above in one document and the cursed item properties along with the other 200+ magic items I’ve designed in another document.

These documents will live forever on the Free Game Resources section of this site so if you ever need them again, go there to find them alongside monstersD&D fifth edition rules modulesbackgroundsspellsadventures, and more.

If you like what you’re reading, please check out my podcasts on The Tome Show, follow me on Twitter, tell your friends and share this blog post, and/or leave me a comment and let me know you think. Thanks!

Curses! This month’s RPG Blog Carnival theme is “Curses! Cursed Items, Spells, and Campaign Stories,” chosen by Johnn Four over at Roleplaying Tips. This is one of my favorite themes yet!

Recently I designed 100 common magic weapon properties and 100 common wondrous items. These two posts are currently the most popular ever in this blog’s history. Since I love designing cursed items and people seem to love reading about them, I thought for this month’s theme I’d design another 100 magic item properties – this time it’s all about curses. This post includes the first 20 properties, which can be added to weapons.

Designing Curses – You Take the Good, You Take the Bad

When it comes to cursed items, I find it helps to mix the good in with the bad. For instance demon armor on page 165 of the Dungeon Master’s Guide has a lot of beneficial properties, but also has a curse associated with it – the user cannot remove the armor without a remove curse spell after donning it and and suffers penalties against demons in combat. This presents an interesting conundrum for the player. Should the character wear the armor to gain its awesome infernal benefits, but know that whenever its time to doff a 3rd-level spell better be waiting and that combat with demons is extra deadly? Or is it better to wear some normal armor without awesome magic claws and a bonus to AC?

I understand wanted to create a purely cursed object with no benefits whatsoever, but once the players get over the shock and surmount the curse, then the item is pretty much done. If the item has some sweet benefits they may keep that bad boy and that makes the game and the item’s story more layered.

With that in mind I’ve created a bunch of cursed magic item properties which can be added to any existing magic items (homebrew or published). Of course, if you prefer to have a purely cursed item for your game, go ahead and simply add a cursed property or three to an existing item.

Cursed Item Properties

When giving a magic item (or a non-magical item) to your players, you may choose to add a cursed property to the item. These cursed properties are in addition to any other properties the item may already have. To give an item a cursed property, first determine if the item is a weapon, armor, spellcasting implement, consumable magic item, or non-armor wearable item (such as rings, cloaks, boots, etc.). Then roll or pick a cursed property for the item on the appropriate table.

Cursed Weapon Properties
d20 Property
1 When you score a critical hit with this weapon, it deals 1d12 psychic damage to you. This damage cannot be reduced in any way.
2 After attacking with this weapon for this first time it becomes grafted to one of your hands. While the weapon is grafted to you, you cannot drop or sheathe it and you cannot be disarmed. In addition any ability checks you make which require the use of both hands are made with disadvantage. Only a remove curse spell or similar magic can undo the grafting.
3 When you roll a natural 1 on an attack roll with this weapon, roll the weapon’s damage as if you had hit. Instead of the creature you attacked taking the damage, it heals for the damage amount you rolled.
4 When you roll a natural 1 on an attack roll with this weapon, you become poisoned until the end of your next turn.
5 When you roll a natural 1 on an attack roll with this weapon, you become blinded until the end of your next turn.
6 When you roll a natural 1 on an attack roll with this weapon, you become frightened of the creature you attack until the end of your next turn.
7 When you roll a natural 1 on an attack roll with this weapon, you become incapacitated until the end of your next turn.
8 This weapon only deals half damage to creatures of a certain type (chosen by the DM).
9 You have disadvantage on attack rolls made in sunlight with this weapon.
10 Whenever you miss an attack with this weapon, you fall prone.
11 When you draw this weapon it cannot be put away or dropped until it has damaged a creature. While the weapon is drawn and hasn’t dealt any damage yet, you cannot be disarmed. In addition any ability checks you make which require the use of both hands are made with disadvantage.
12 If you carry any other weapons on your person while you wield this weapon, attacks made with this weapon are made with disadvantage.
13 Each time you draw or pickup this weapon you take 1d6 psychic damage. This damage cannot be reduced in any way.
14 When you use this weapon to attack an enemy while you can see another enemy of a higher challenge rating, you have disadvantage on the attack roll.
15 This weapon cannot reduce a creature to 0 hit points. If a damage roll made with the weapon would normally reduce another creature to 0 hit points, that creature is instead reduced to 1 hit point.
16 When you roll a natural 1 with this weapon, you are charmed by the enemy you attacked until the end of your next turn. The creature you are charmed by is aware of this effect.
17 When you attack a creature with a higher Strength score than you with this weapon, the attack roll has disadvantage.
18 Creatures not native to the Material Plane are drawn to your weapon and wish to claim it for themselves.
19 In a combat encounter when all of your enemies are defeated, if you are carrying this weapon, you must succeed on a DC 15 Wisdom saving throw or see all conscious allies as hostile enemies for one minute. You can repeat this saving throw at the end of your turn, ending the effect on a success.
20 Roll twice on this table.

More to Come

You’ve probably noticed the four other four categories of curses are missing. Stay tuned for those on Thursday! It’s Labor Day weekend here in the US so the blog post is a little shorter than usual as I’m spending time with friends and family.

If you like what you’re reading, please check out my podcasts on The Tome Show, follow me on Twitter, tell your friends and share this blog post, and/or leave me a comment and let me know you think. Thanks!

Know what I love? Giving gold to my PCs. It’s a great way to give rewards beyond experience points. The trouble with fifth edition Dungeons and Dragons is that the players don’t have a lot of obvious ways to spend gold in large amounts. At a certain point the PCs may have more gold than they know what to do with once they’ve purchased their resurrection diamonds and suits of plate armor. After that gaining gold can become a bookkeeping exercise as players run out of the obvious, especially since buying magic items isn’t an option in many fifth edition Dungeons and Dragons games.

Well in this post I’m going to give you a whole bunch of stuff players can spend their gold pieces on. Stuff that’s useful for players and has a benefit beyond swimming in a pool of gold a la Scrooge McDuck.

Disclaimer

Before we begin let me state simply that I know not all these options are right for every game. I wouldn’t include all of these in my own game, but you might allow something I wouldn’t so I’m throwing all the options I can think of out there.

Buildings

Who doesn’t want to buy a castle? Well in Dungeons and Dragons, you can! The Dungeon Master’s Guide has rules for building your own castles, keeps, temples, and other strongholds during downtime on page 128. What if your players don’t want to wait and have a mountain of gold burning a hole in their pockets? Let them buy something that’s already been built!

Using the list in the Dungeon Master’s Guide, here’s a list for how much it will cost to buy specific buildings in my game.

Stronghold Costs
Stronghold Cost
Abbey 100,000 gp
Guildhall, town or city 10,000 gp
Keep or small estate 100,000 gp
Noble estate with manor 50,000 gp
Outpost or fort 30,000 gp
Palace or large castle 1,000,000 gp
Temple 100,000 gp
Tower, fortified 30,000 gp
Trading post 10,000 gp

Vehicles

Maybe your adventurers don’t want the house, but they might need a car, boat, or airship. The Dungeon Master’s Guide and Player’s Handbook have tons of pricing information on everything from carts to airships.

There’s plenty of mounts PCs can buy to get them from one place to the next. Checkout the Beasts PDF in the Free Game Resources section of this site for exotic mounts which ignore various types of difficult terrain. With so many wonderful mounts to choose from characters might invest in a whole stable full.

Of course if you really want the players to spend their money maybe you make truly exotic equipment available to them like a dragonborn submarine, ornithopter, or maybe you want to allow your players to buy elemental-powered land carts, boats, and airships like the ones in Eberron. We don’t have prices for those (yet!) but here’s my best guess for 5e!

Vehicle Costs
Vehicle Cost Speed
Elemental airship 100,000 gp 20 mph
Elemental galleon 150,000 gp 5 mph
Elemental land cart 10,000 gp 15 mph

Outfit Buildings/Vehicles

Of course if they’ve already got the house and car, they might want to trick them out with a state of the art home security system! Maybe you’ll let your players buy traps or siege weapons. Who doesn’t want to put a crushing room in a fortress or drive around in an elemental land cart with a ballista mounted on the roof? Here’s my best guess at what it would cost for traps and siege weapons. Note that many of these traps and siege weapons are found in the Free Game Resources section of this site.

Trap Costs
Traps Cost
Abyssal Gate 5,000 gp
Acidic Fall 500 gp
Collapsing Roof 100 gp
Crushing Room 3,000 gp
Electrified Floor 5,000 gp
Explosive Object 1,000 gp
Falling Net 100 gp
Fire-Breathing Statue 5,000 gp
Flame Jets 2,000 gp
Grasping Arms 5,000 gp
Hungry Insects 500 gp
Log Slammer 1,000 gp
Malicious Harpsichord 5,000 gp
Mists of Madness 5,000 gp
Object of Deception 1,000 gp
Pendulum Scythe 2,000 gp
Pit, Hidden 150 gp
Pit, Locking 200 gp
Pit, Simple 100 gp
Pit, Spiked 150 gp
Poison Darts 300 gp
Poison Mister 500 gp
Poison Needle 200 gp
Rolling Sphere 2,000 gp
Room Filling With Water 3,000 gp
Spectral Tendrils 5,000 gp
Sphere of Annihilation 50,000 gp
Spinning Saw Blades 2,000 gp
Widening Pit 5,000 gp
Withering Tapestry 5,000 gp
Zealous Altar 5,000 gp
Siege Weapon Costs
Siege Weapon Cost
Arcane Cannon 50,000 gp
Acid canister 250 gp
Fire canister 250 gp
Force canister 250 gp
Frost canister 250 gp
Lightning canister 250 gp
Ballista 2,000 gp
Bolt 25 gp
Cannon 5,000 gp
Canister shot 50 gp
Cannon ball 50 gp
Chain shot 25 gp
Shell 50 gp
Cauldron, suspended 200 gp
Oil (1 cauldron full) 20 gp
Dwarven Drill 15,000 gp
Mangonel 3,000 gp
Mangonel flaming barrel 50 gp
Mangonel stone 20 gp
Ram 2,000 gp
Siege Tower 1,000 gp
Trebuchet 4,000 gp
Trebuchet flaming barrel 100 gp
Trebuchet stone 30 gp

Make ‘Em Fly

Know what’s cool? Airships. Know what’s cooler? Flying castles. If you’ve got the world for it, why not allow the PCs to trick out their stronghold by letting it fly? It’s certainly not right for every campaign, but think about it. If you’re campaign takes the PCs all over the map, why would they buy a fortress… unless they could bring the fortress with them! To make a building fly I charge my PCs twice the building’s cost. So it would take 2,000,000 gp to make a castle fly or 3,000,000 gp total to buy a flying castle outright.

Magic Items

Many fifth edition campaigns do not allow PCs to buy magic items, but if you want to allow them to buy magic items during their downtime, there’s rules for that in the Free Game Resources section of this site. These rules don’t allow a player to walk in and buy a magic item right off the shelf of a store so it limits players and ultimately keeps things random an in the hands of the DM.

Of course if you don’t want to allow your PCs to buy magic swords, armor, and bioarcane items, there’s always single use magic items like potions, scrolls, and the like. I always allow my players to stock up while they’re in town to spend some of their well-earned gold. Here’s the prices I use.

Potion Costs
Potion Rarity Cost
Common 50 gp
Uncommon 100 gp
Rare 500 gp
Very rare 5,000 gp
Legendary 50,000 gp
Scroll Costs
Spell Scroll Level Cost*
Cantrip 25 gp
1st 50 gp
2nd 100 gp
3rd 250 gp
4th 500 gp
5th 2,500 gp
6th 5,000 gp
7th 15,000 gp
8th 30,000 gp
9th 50,000 gp

*Plus the cost of any material components used in casting the spell.

Setting-Specific Technology

If you have something specific in your setting that your players buy that costs a pretty penny. Exploration Age has firearms and bombs you could sell to your PCs. Maybe even some of Exploration Age’s finest mechs are available for sale. Here’s a quick list for you of how much mechs would cost in my game if I made them available for sale.

Mech Cost
Destroyer 75,000 gp
Gladiator 50,000 gp
Knight 100,000 gp
Lifter 10,000 gp
Lumberjack 20,000 gp
Miner 35,000 gp
Pyro 75,000 gp

Mundane Magic

In some worlds teapots walk across the table and pour themselves, cabinets keep food cold and fresh, and clockwork spiders carry notes from one room in a house to another. If your world is high magic, your PCs might pay for fun and cool little mundane items like these which make their lives easier.

Henchmen and Upkeep

If the PCs are going to have airships and castles, they might need servants, guards, skilled laborers and more to get things off the ground. The Player’s Handbook has some good rules for hirelings which can add up over time.

You might also decide the players need to spend a certain amount of gold maintaining and repairing their prized possessions. Mike Shea of slyflourish.com recently had his PCs acquire a magic flying castle, but in order to keep it flying they have to feed it gold or magic item. Vehicles get damaged in battles and castle walls might fall during a dragon attack. Make sure your PCs are paying for those repairs.

Donations

When the PCs have lots of gold it might be in their best interest to give it away. Their gold could turn them into lobbyists with political influence if they give donations to the right government, church, or guild. Know who else loves gold? Dragons. Imagine if one of those owed the PCs a favor…

If you like what you’re reading, please check out my podcasts on The Tome Show, follow me on Twitter, tell your friends and share this blog post, and/or leave me a comment and let me know you think. Thanks!

Note: You can now find the magic items in this article as a part of 50 New Magic Items, a Pay What You Want product on the DMs Guild.

That’s right. 12 glorious pages of magic items.

Over the past month or so on this blog I’ve shown you a whole slew of new magic items including weapons, armor, rings, rods, staffs, wands, firearms, bombs, wondrous items, bioarcane items, and artifacts. Throughout the entire process a wonderful community of readers, fellow bloggers, and RPG enthusiasts (that’s you!) provided me with amazing feedback. For that I am so, so grateful.

Well that feedback has allowed me to put all of these items in a PDF available for download in the Free Game Resources section of this site and in these links right here, which include a full list and each category of item in its own list.

 

Bioarcane Items

 

Artifact – Tools of Order

I’ve also included the Exploration Age rules for new mundane firearms and bombs as well.

Firearms and Bombs

So grab these PDFs as a thank you from me. You are all amazing. Thank you so much for the super helpful feedback!

If you like what you’re reading, please check out my podcasts on The Tome Show, follow me on Twitter, tell your friends and share this blog post, and/or leave me a comment and let me know you think. Thanks!

The Exploration Age magic item preview continues with sweet new firearms and explosives. If you missed the rules for Exploration Age’s nonmagical firearms and bombs go ahead and check those out.

These are the final items I’ll be showing off (for now) as part of the Exploration Age magic item preview. If you’ve been following this blog you may have already seen the weapons, armor, rings, rods, staffs, wands, wondrous items, bioarcane items, and artifacts for the setting. If you haven’t checked them out please do so. I’m taking any and all feedback into consideration! Once I’ve revised the items I’ll be posting them in a lovely PDF for your consumption in the Free Game Resources section of this site. It’ll live there forever.

So enjoy the excerpt from the upcoming Exploration Age Campaign Guide below.

Aberrant Revolver of Comedy

Weapon (aberrant revolver), rare (requires attunement)

This ivory and jade revolver has a barrel opening shaped to look like a laughing face. When fired, the revolver lets out a wild cackle. You gain a +1 bonus to attack and damage rolls made with the revolver. When you damage a creature with an Intelligence score of 5 or higher with the revolver you can choose to have the revolver cast Tasha’s hideous laughter on the creature (save DC 15). The revolver cannot cast this spell again until you complete a short or long rest.

Aberrant Revolver of Weakening

Weapon (aberrant revolver), very rare (requires attunement)

This revolver is made of shining steel embedded with lapis lazulis. You gain a +2 bonus to attack and damage rolls made with the revolver. When you damage a creature with the revolver you can choose to force the creature to succeed on a DC 15 Constitution saving throw. If the creature fails, its melee attacks deal only half damage for 1 minute. A creature who fails this saving throw can repeat it at the end of its turn, ending this effect on a success. You cannot use this feature again until you complete a short or long rest.

Aberrant Rifle of Webs

Weapon (aberrant rifle), rare

This double-barreled aberrant rifle is made of black steel embedded with spider web shaped tiger’s eye gems. You gain a +1 bonus to attack and damage rolls made with this rifle. This rifle has 10 charges. As an action you can expend a charge and shoot a magic web as a ranged attack from the second barrel of the gun at a creature who is no more than 30 feet away. A creature hit by the web is restrained. The web has no effect on creatures that are formless or creatures that are Huge or larger. As an action, a creature can try to free itself or another creature restrained by the web with a successful DC 15 Strength check. Dealing 10 slashing damage to the web (AC 12) also frees the creature without harming it, ending the effect. This rifle regains 1d6+4 charges each day at dawn.

Asphyxiating Charge

Weapon (alchemical charge), rare

This alchemical charge is filled with a green liquid and explodes on impact releasing poison gas in a 30-foot-radius. Creatures in the effected area must make a DC 15 Constituion saving throw. Creatures who fail take 4d6 poison damage and are poisoned for 1 minute. Creatures who succeed take half damage and are not poisoned. Creatures who fail this saving throw can repeat it at the end of its turn, ending the poisoned condition on a success.

Bomb of Horrors

Weapon (bomb), rare

This bomb looks like a screaming skull and has two red zircons for eyes. All creatures who are in the zone of the bomb’s blast must make a DC 15 Wisdom saving throw or be frightened of you for 1 minute. Creatures who fail this saving throw can repeat it at the end of its turn, ending the frightened condition on a success.

Bomb of Silence

Weapon (bomb), uncommon

This bomb has a single purple zircon on its bottom. When the bomb explodes it makes no sound. After the bomb explodes all sounds are magically silenced in the zone of its blast for 1 minute.

Exploding Bullet

Weapon (bullet), very rare

This diamond dust flecked, lead ball sparkles in the light. When handled it feels quite warm. When you shoot the bullet it explodes on impact in a 20-foot-radius. All creatures in the effected area must make a DC 15 Dexterity saving throw. Creatures who fail take 10d6 fire damage, creatures who save take half damage.

Icer

Weapon (aberrant rifle), very rare (requires attainment)

This blue steel aberrant rifle is studded along its barrel with icy sapphires. You gain a +1 bonus to attack and damage rolls made with this rifle. This bonus rises to +2 if you load the weapon with cold alchemical charges. As an action you can expend a cold alchemical charge loaded in the aberrant rifle to shoot a 60-foot line of cold energy. Creatures in the line must make a DC 15 Dexterity saving. Creatures who fail take 3d6 cold damage, creatures who succeed take half.

As an action you can expend a cold alchemical charge loaded in the aberrant rifle to coat a 5-foot by 5-foot area in a thin layer of ice. The ice lasts for 1 minute before melting, unless the area’s temperature is extremely cold, in which case it could last longer (which is up to the DM). Creatures who enter the effected area must make a DC 15 Dexterity (Acrobatics) check or fall prone. If the ice is used to coat over a door or doorway, a DC 15 Strength check is required to break through the ice.

Musket of Force

Weapon (musket), legendary (requires attainment)

This musket’s oversized barrel flares slightly at the end and its cherry stock is embedded with with a single large sapphire. You gain a +2 bonus to attack and damage rolls made with this musket. When you hit a target with a bullet from this rifle it deals an extra 1d6 force damage and pushes the target back 10 feet. As an action you can shoot the ground beneath your feet, launching yourself 10 feet into the air and in a horizontal direction of your choice. If you do launch yourself this way you must make a DC 10 Strength (Athletics) or Dexterity (Acrobatics) check (your choice) to land safely. If you fail the check, you take 1d6 bludgeoning damage and land prone.

Musket of Lights

Weapon (musket), rare

This musket’s barrel is made of shining steel and polished walnut which never dulls. Its fine stock is embedded with diamond studs. You gain a +1 bonus to attack and damage rolls made with this musket. As an action that does not expend any bullets, you can shoot a brilliant firework from the musket at a creature who is adjacent to you. The target must succeed on a DC 12 Dexterity saving throw or be blinded until the start of your next turn.

Musket of Merriment

Weapon (musket), very rare (requires attunement)

This musket has a mother of pearl stock and gem-encrusted mitral barrel. You gain a +2 bonus to attack and damage rolls made with this musket. As an action you can fire the musket into the air without expending any bullets. Glitter flies from the musket and music can be heard in an area within 30 feet of you. All creatures you choose who can hear the music are subject to Otto’s irresistible dance (save DC 17). You cannot use this feature again until you have completed a long rest.

Pistol of the Blind

Weapon (pistol), uncommon

This pistol has a black steel stock and chestnut handle studded with onyx gems. You gain a +1 bonus to attack and damage rolls with this pistol. When you deal damage to a creature who is invisible with this weapon its invisible condition ends.

Pistol of Drowsiness

Weapon (pistol), rare (requires attainment)

This pistol is has a gem-studded barrel shaped like a wine bottle and a stock carved with images of ale mugs. You gain a +1 bonus to attack and damage rolls made with this pistol. When you deal damage to a creature with the pistol you can force it to succeed on a DC 15 Constitution saving throw or be poisoned for 1 minute. The creature must repeat this saving throw at the end of its turn, ending the poisoned condition on a success. If the creature fails the second saving throw, it falls unconscious 1 minute. If the creature takes damage or another creature uses its action to wake it, the unconscious condition ends. You cannot use this feature again until you have completed a long rest.

Pistol of Honesty

Weapon (pistol), legendary (requires attunement)

This pistol has a gold barrel and an oak stock embedded with three large emeralds. You gain a +3 bonus to attack and damage rolls made with this pistol. Before attacking with the pistol you can ask a creature a question. If you deal damage to the creature with this pistol within 1 minute of asking the question, the creature must make a DC 18 Wisdom saving throw. On a failure the creature must answer the question you asked it as honestly and completely as it is able.

Revolver of the Dragon Hunter

Weapon (aberrant revolver), legendary (requires attunement)

This adamantine revolver has blue sapphires inlaid in the grip and is pure midnight black everywhere else. When used in a fight, the revolver grows warm with excitement and red Dwarish runes spelling out the phrase “death to lizards” appear on the barrel. You gain a +3 bonus to attack rolls with this weapon. In addition, this weapon ignores any acid, cold, fire, or lightning damage immunities of enemies.

Screaming Rifle

Weapon (aberrant rifle), rare

This aberrant rifle is made of heavy adamantine and studded with jade gems. When fired the rifle lets lose a primal scream that can be heard by all creatures in a 500-foot-radius. This rifle deals an additional 1d8 thunder damage. When you deal damage to a creature with this rifle, that creature is deafened until the start of your next turn.

Feedback Please

Don’t forget to let me know what you think in the comments below!

If you like what you’re reading, please check out my podcasts on The Tome Show, follow me on Twitter, tell your friends and share this blog post, and/or leave me a comment and let me know you think. Thanks!

Some of my first popular posts were on firearms and explosives. A lot of those rules are being thrown out since the Dungeon Master’s Guide presented official rules for gunpowder weapons and bombs. The Renaissance items from that book are available for PCs and NPCs alike in Exploration Age. Of course their counterparts, aberrant firearms and bombs will also be available as well. Below is an excerpt from the upcoming Exploration Age Campaign Guide which gives the firearm and bomb rules for the setting.

Firearms

There are two types of firearms in Exploration Age. Those using gunpowder and those powered by aberrant technology. The gunpowder weapons in use are the same as the Renaissance weapons on pg. 268 of the Dungeon Master’s Guide. Aberrant firearms are described below.

Module: Firearms Proficiency

Any character with a proficiency in all martial weapons has proficiency in all firearms available as Renaissance weapons in the Dungeon Master’s Guide and the aberrant firearms in the Exploration Age Campaign Guide.

Aberrant Firearms

Name Price Damage Weight Properties
Martial Ranged Weapons
Aberrant Revolver 500 gp 1d6 varies 5 lb. Ammunition (range 80/320), light, reload (8 shots)
Aberrant Rifle 750 gp 1d8 varies 10 lb. Ammunition (range 100/400), reload (15 shots), two-handed
Ammunition
Acid Charge (10) 5 gp acid 1 lb.
Cold Charge (10) 5 gp cold 1 lb.
Fire Charge (10) 5 gp fire 1 lb.
Lightning Charge (10) 5 gp lightning 1 lb.

Aberrant Revolver. Using technology discovered in the aberrant ruins, researchers at The Arcane College created a weapon capable of carrying eight pieces of ammunition. The gun uses alchemical charges as ammunition. Depending on the charge loaded, the revolver can deal acid, cold, fire, or lightning damage.

Aberrant Rifle. Like the aberrant revolver, the aberrant rifle was also created by The Arcane College. This weapon packs more of a punch, can carry 15 pieces of ammunition, and can shoot further distances, though it is bulkier and requires two hands to use. The gun uses alchemical charges as ammunition. Depending on the charge loaded, the revolver can deal acid, cold, fire, or lightning damage.

Module: Ranged Two-Weapon Fighting

When you take the Attack action and attack with a light (melee or ranged) weapon that you’re holding in one hand, you can use a bonus action to attack with a different light (melee or ranged) weapon that you’re holding in the other hand. You don’t add your ability modifier to the bonus attack, unless that modifier is negative.

If the pistol Renaissance weapon is allowed in your game, the light property can be added to it. The decision to add this property is up to the DM.

Bombs

There are two types of explosives in Exploration Age. Those using gunpowder and those powered by aberrant technology. The gunpowder explosives in use are the same as the Renaissance items on pg. 268 of the Dungeon Master’s Guide. Aberrant explosives are described below.

Name Price Weight
Frost Bomb 400 gp 1 lb.
Lightning Bomb 400 gp 1 lb.
Thunder Bomb 300 gp 1 lb.

Frost Bomb. Using technology found in the aberrant ruins, researchers at The Arcane College developed special explosives. One of these is the frost bomb. As an action you can light a frost bomb and throw it at a point up to 60 feet away. Each creature within 5 feet of that point must succeed on a DC 12 Dexterity saving throw or take 3d6 cold damage and have their speed reduced by 10 feet until the start of your next turn.

Lightning Bomb. The lightning bomb was also created by The Arcane College. As an action you can light a lightning bomb and throw it at a point up to 60 feet away. Each creature within 10 feet of that point must succeed on a DC 12 Dexterity saving throw or take 3d6 lightning damage.

Thunder Bomb. The thunder bomb was also created by The Arcane College. As an action you can light a thunder bomb and throw it at a point up to 60 feet away. Each creature within 5 feet of that point must succeed on a DC 12 Constitution saving throw or take 3d6 thunder damage and be deafened until the start of your next turn.

Variant: Oops, Explosion

Accidents happen. Bombs can be a hazard to the user. Each time you throw a bomb, roll a d20. On a roll of 1 the bomb explodes in your hands.

Make Them Magic!

Now that the rules for firearms have been revamped it’s time to make some magic ones! Our Exploration Age magic item preview continues on Thursday. You may have already seen Canus’ weapons, armor, rings, rods, staffs, wands, and wondrous items. I’ve shown you bioarcane items and artifacts unique to the setting. If you haven’t checked them out yet, please do! I’m taking any and all feedback into consideration so please let me know what you think. Next week get ready to see all these magic items in a nice and tidy PDF on the Free Game Resources section of this site. I’ll also be adding a PDF of these variant firearm and bomb rules. They’ll live there forever, so let’s make sure I get it right!

If you like what you’re reading, please check out my podcasts on The Tome Show, follow me on Twitter, tell your friends and share this blog post, and/or leave me a comment and let me know you think. Thanks!

You may have already read about the dwarven gods of Exploration Age and their religion, Hierotheism. Well each of the seven dwarf gods wields a unique weapon. Today I’d like to show you an excerpt from the Exploration Age Campaign Guide about those weapons… well not the weapons of the dwarven gods, but rather their copies which exist on Canus.

That’s right, the Exploration Age magic item preview continues today with a look at these artifacts. After covering wondrous items, weapons, armor, rings, rods, staffs, wands, and bioarcane items, this was clearly the next thing to show off. Once all of these magic items have been shown revealed and reviewed by the public (that’s you!), I’ll add them to the Free Game Resources section of the site.

Say hello to the weapons of the dwarven gods and enjoy the excerpt below!

Tools of Order

Weapons (varies), artifacts (requires attunement)

Hierotheist priestesses preach that the goddesses of the caste created copies of their weapons for seven mighty warriors to rise up against the chromatic dragons. These weapons, the Tools of Order, had the laws of the caste system eventually used in Bragonay engraved into them. The seven dwarf warriors were the leaders of their stations and enforced the divine will of their goddesses. While the weapons were lost in the war with the dragons, their laws remain in place today. Many dwarfs spend centuries hunting for any clue of the Tools of Order.

Some outside the Heirotheist religion claim these weapons are not divine at all but rather made by powerful shardmind mages. In fact these naysayers claim that the dwarves refused to rise up with the shardminds against the chromatic dragons so the crystalline beings created the Tools of Order to appeal to the dwarves’ piety. They say it is the shardminds themselves who hid these weapons so the dwarves would never know of their deception. These sacrilegious claims have only made seekers of the Tools of Order all the more desperate to find the weapons of their gods.

Each of the Tools of Order is a magic weapon which grants a +3 bonus to attack and damage rolls made with it. When you score a critical hit with one of these weapons roll the attack’s damage dice three times and add it together with any relevant modifiers. Each of the Tools of Order also functions as a ring of evasion, defender, and dragonslayer.

If a non-lawful or non-dwarf creature attempts to attune one of the weapons, it must make a DC 15 Charisma saving throw. On a failed save this creature takes 8d6 psychic damage taking only have damage on a successful one. The creature must repeat this saving throw anytime it attacks with the weapon.

Random Properties. Each of the Tools of Order has the following random properties:

  • 2 minor beneficial properties
  • 1 major beneficial property
  • 1 minor detrimental property

Dominate Person. While holding one of these weapons you can cast dominate person (save DC 18). Once you have cast the spell you cannot cast it again until next dawn.

Strength of the Caste. If 2 or more of the Tools of Order are within 100 feet of one another, each wielder gains an additional +1 bonus to damage and initiative rolls for every other weapon within range.

Destroying the Tools. The only way to destroy the Tools of Order is by freezing them in the coldest part of the Nine Hells and then breaking them against the hardest stone in the Plane of Earth.

Order-Keeper

This greatsword is forged of adamantine and has diamonds shaped into Dwarish runes along the center of the blade. Its engraved hilt of gold depicts a mighty army of dwarves working together to slay an ancient red dragon. It is made in the likeness of the weapon wielded by Caramey, the Heirotheist goddess of the empress caste.

Increased Strength. While wielding this weapon your Strength score increases by 2, to a maximum of 24.

Resist Fire. While wielding this weapon you resist fire damage.

Head-Remover

This sickle’s blade is made of pure emerald. Its ebony wood shaft is marked with silver Dwarish runes on one side and plated with gold depiction of an army of dwarves removing the head of an ancient blue dragon on the other. It is made in the likeness of the weapon wielded by Meralla, the Heirotheist goddess of the warlord caste.

Increased Constitution. While wielding this weapon your Constitution score increases by 2, to a maximum of 24.

Resist Lightning. While wielding this weapon you resist lightning damage.

Secrets Released

This dagger is made entirely of obsidian and embedded with small sapphire Dwarish runes on the blade. Its gold-plated hilt depicts a noble family of dwarves executing a bound ancient green dragon. It is made in the likeness of the weapon wielded by Zelti, the Heirotheist goddess of the noble caste.

Increased Charisma. While wielding this weapon your Charisma score increases by 2, to a maximum of 24.

Resist Poison. While wielding this weapon you resist poison damage. If you are a dwarf, you are immune to poison damage while wielding this weapon.

Judgement

This adamantine battleaxe is adorned with ruby Dwarish runes. Its gold haft depicts a lone dwarf hero standing victorious over the bodies of several dead green dragons. It is made in the likeness of the weapon wielded by Swarvune, the Heirotheist goddess of the warrior caste.

Increased Strength. While wielding this weapon your Strength score increases by 2, to a maximum of 24.

Resist Poison. While wielding this weapon you resist poison damage. If you are a dwarf, you are immune to poison damage while wielding this weapon.

Dragonsbane

This oversized maul is adorned with Dwarish runes of pearl along its marble head. Its gold haft depicts a hail of arrows taking down an ancient black dragon in flight. It is made in the likeness of the weapon wielded by Shalleal, the Heirotheist goddess of the artisan caste.

Increased Intelligence. While wielding this weapon your Intelligence score increases by 2, to a maximum of 24.

Resist Acid. While wielding this weapon you resist acid damage.

Servitor

This war pick’s head is made of pure ruby carved with Dwarish runes. Its gold haft depicts a group of villagers defeating an ancient white dragon in combat. It is made in the likeness of the weapon wielded by Berga, the Heirotheist goddess of the peasant caste.

Increased Wisdom. While wielding this weapon your Wisdom score increases by 2, to a maximum of 24.

Resist Cold. While wielding this weapon you resist cold damage.

Worthy Example

This simple club is carved of oak and inlaid with diamond Dwarish runes around its head. An image of a dwarf slave bowing to another is carved into its wood. It is made in the likeness of the weapon wielded by Almahad, the Heirotheist god of the slave caste.

Increased Wisdom. While wielding this weapon your Wisdom score increases by 2, to a maximum of 24.

Resist Fire. While wielding this weapon you resist fire damage.

Feedback Please!

Your feedback has been so helpful in designing these magic items. Please continue to leave comments and let me know what you think!

If you like what you’re reading, please check out my podcasts on The Tome Show, follow me on Twitter, tell your friends and share this blog post, and/or leave me a comment and let me know you think. Thanks!

Today I’m continuing the Exploration Age magic item preview with a category of items unique to my campaign setting. These items are different from the weapons, armor, rings, rods, staffs, wands, and wondrous items about which I’ve previously posted. Once All of Exploration Age’s magic items have been presented I’ll add them to the Free Game Resources section of this site.

Bioarcane items have their own rules. In order for a PC to use such an item he or she must remove a body part and attach or implant the item in its place. This procedure is risky and done improperly could injure or kill the PC.

For those of you who have been following this blog for a while the concept may sound familiar. I’ve posted about these items before but they had a different name. If you go back and read my post on bioorganic items it will sound similar to what you read here, but a lot of the information has been tweaked or changed to match the fifth edition D&D rules. One of the changes is the name of this item category. A lot of folks took umbrage with the use of the word bioorganic. In fact many believed I made it up. Well I didn’t make it up. It is indeed a real word but the pushback convinced me the word wasn’t right for the item category. I changed it to bioarcane since these are magic items that get grafted to an individual’s body.

Blog Carnival

While this post is a continuation of the Exploration Age magic item preview it also fits into the theme of this month’s RPG Blog Carnival. The theme is one which fits perfectly with World Builder Blog – New Worlds. Since Exploration Age is an original world I’ve created for the fifth edition of Dungeons and Dragons and bioarcane items are unique to that setting, this seemed like the perfect selection for the theme chosen by Nils Jeppe over at Enderra. Go check out his blog (which is all about worldbuilding) to see the other submissions to this month’s carnival.

Now without further adieu please enjoy this excerpt from the forthcoming Exploration Age Campaign Guide.

Bioarcane Attachment

The strange race of humanoids who lived in The Damned Lands before it became a wasteland, left behind a strange technology compatible with the anatomy of today’s humanoids.

The magic of these items is unlocked only by attaching them to one’s body. This requires a limb or organ be removed before the item is grafted to the owner in its place.

During a short or long rest (specified in the item’s description), another creature can perform the procedure of removing your body part or organ and attaching the item to you with a DC 10 Wisdom (Medicine) check. If you decide to perform the procedure on yourself the DC of the check is 15. If the check succeeds the item is attached and you take 3d6 damage which cannot be reduced in any way. If the check is fails by 4 or less, the item is attached but you take 6d6 damage which cannot be reduced in any way. If the check is failed by 5 or more, you lose the organ or body part, the item is not attached, and you take 9d6 damage which cannot be reduced in any way. In special cases noted in the item’s description failure to attach the bioarcane item results in your death. Once the item is attached, it is activated and you can begin to make use of its properties.

Blade Skin

Bioarcane item, legendary (requires attunement)

A first blush, blade skin appears to be a ragged pile of cloth and metal with strange designs in sapphires and diamonds. When handled, blade skin is warm to the touch and calls to the user the way a shell would to a hermit crab. Once inspected thoroughly the truth is learned; this is a second skin which the wearer can affix to his or her body. With the skin attached, you are intimidating indeed, for it is covered in creative scars incorporated with the gems which tell the tale of a famous tavern brawl over the wearer’s entire body. When the metal weapons are not retracted, the user is covered from head to toe in sharp adamantine blades.

You must remove all the skin on your body and replace it with the blade skin. This can only be done during a long rest. The Wisdom (Medicine) check DC for this attachment procedure increases by 5 and if the check fails by 5 or more, you die. While wearing blade skin, hidden, retractable blades lie in wait for enemies just beneath the skin’s surface. When you take damage from an adjacent creature’s melee attack, you can use your reaction to deal 1d6+3 piercing damage to attacker. You may also use your reaction to deal this damage to any creature who is grappling with you on its turn.

With the skin attached your unarmed attacks can be light, finesse, melee attacks in which you are proficient. This attack deals 1d6 piercing damage. You gain a +3 bonus to attack and damage rolls with this attack.

With the skin attached you have advantage when making a Strength (Athletics) check to climb.

Hawk’s Eye

Bioarcane item, uncommon (requires attunement)

An eye carved of pure jade, the hawk’s eye is true to its name and has the appearance and shape of a bird’s eye. Once installed, the eye gives off a slight green glow. You must remove one of your eyes and replace it with the hawk’s eye. This can be done during a short or long rest. Once attached, you gain advantage on all Wisdom (Perception) checks when attempting to spot hidden creatures or objects. In addition, you gain a +2 bonus to your passive Wisdom (Perception) score.

Jumpers

Bioarcane item, rare (requires attunement)

This pair of mithral legs have knees which bend in a direction opposite that of a human, similar to a bird. The bottoms of the feet each sport a large emerald and the calves and thighs are carved with ancient runes which glow blue when the user walks and green when he or she runs or jumps. You must remove both of your legs and replace them with the jumpers. This can be done only during a long rest. Once attached, you are always considered to have moved 10 feet before any jump you make, even if you have not. In addition, whenever you jump, you leap four times the normal distance.

Mage’s Eye

Bioarcane item, legendary (requires attunement)

This is an eye carved of a fiery opal, and a disembodied mage’s eye seems to follow onlookers as they walk. When attached, the eye glows red in the socket and gives off a slight physical heat. You must remove one of your eyes and replace it with the mage’s eye. This can be done during a short or long rest. Once attached, you gain true sight out to 120 feet.

Radiant Heart

Bioarcane item, very rare (requires attunement)

The radiant heart is an expertly carved, heart-shaped ruby placed in a small brass box with windows of glassteel. When attached, the gem can be seen through the window inside the users chest, throbbing and beating with the life of a real heart. You must remove your heart and replace it with the radiant heart. This can only be done during a long rest. The Wisdom (Medicine) check DC for this attachment procedure increases by 5 and if the check fails by 5 or more, you die. Once attached, you can use your action to shoot a beam of radiant light in a line 100 feet long and 5 feet wide from your chest. Creatures in the line must make a Dexterity saving throw (DC 8 + your Charisma modifier + your proficiency bonus). Creatures who fail the save take 8d8 radiant damage, creatures who succeed take half damage. Against fiends and undead, the beam deals 8d10 radiant damage. You must complete a short rest before you can use this ability again.

Silver Fangs

Bioarcane item, rare (requires attunement)

This set of four large, silver canines, has a small sapphire set into the back of each tooth. On the front of the tooth is a small rune, which glows red when the teeth are being used to attack or eat meat. When you attach the fangs, your appetite for meat borders on insatiable. You must remove your canines and replace them with the silver fangs. This can be done during a short or long rest. Once attached, you gain a bite attack which counts as an attack with a light, finesse, silver melee weapon in which you are proficient. This attack deals 1d4 piercing damage. You gain a +1 bonus to attack and damage rolls with this attack. If you reduce a creature to 0 hit points with this attack, you heal 1d4 + 2 hit points.

Sonic Fist

Bioarcane item, very rare (requires attunement)

The sonic fist appears to be a sculpture of an obsidian hand with diamond-studded knuckles curled into a fist. However, when a creature handles the disembodied hand, it flexes its fingers before once again bringing them into the fist. When attached, the hand begins a low chant in combat. This seems to be a sort of hymn in a strange language which grows louder and louder as the fight progresses. You must remove one of your hands and replace it with the sonic fist. This can be done during a short or long rest. Once attached, the fist is a light, finesse melee weapon in which you are proficient. It deals 1d8 bludgeoning damage and 1d6 sonic damage. You gain a +2 bonus to attack and damage rolls with the sonic fist.

With the sonic fist attached you can use your action to create a 30-foot cone of sound. All creatures in the cone must make a Constitution saving throw (DC 8 + your Dexterity modifier + your proficiency bonus). Creatures who fail the save take 6d8 sonic damage and are deafened for one minute. Creatures who succeed take only half damage and are not deafened. You cannot use this ability again until you have completed a long rest.

Tongue of Contentment

Bioarcane item, rare (requires attunement)

This disembodied black tongue is studded with rubies and warm to the touch. It twitches as if it were still alive. It is believed the tongue of contentment was invented by whatever strange race lived within The Damned Lands to prevent folk from starving on long journeys. You must remove your own tongue and replace it with the tongue of contentment. This process can be done during a short or long rest. Once attached, you don’t need to eat or drink.

Wrist Spider

Bioarcane item, rare (requires attunement)

This small device has the appearance of an adamantine spider with eight onyx eyes. It is inserted into the top of the wrist, with the abdomen of the spider facing the user’s hands. After the item is attached, you feel most comfortable in the darkened corners of rooms. You must remove your wrist bones and replace them with the wrist spider. This can only be done during long rest. Once attached, you can use your action to shoot sticky webs out of your wrists at enemies. To do so make an attack roll using your Dexterity modifier and proficiency bonus. If the attack hits, the target is restrained for one minute. On the target’s turn, it can make a DC 12 Strength or Dexterity saving throw as its move to end the restrained condition. You cannot use this ability again until you complete a short rest.

With the wrist spider attached you can use your action to create a 50-foot length of rope made of the web. The rope is only slightly sticky along its length and extremely sticky at its ends. Because of the stickiness on its ends, the web rope can be attached to any surface and can hold 1,000 pounds before it breaks. Creatures who use the web rope while climbing have advantage on their Strength (Athletics) check to climb. After a half hour, the web rope dissolves. You cannot use this ability again until you complete a short rest.

Feedback Please!

As always your feedback is invaluable. I’ve been getting great comments and feedback on other magic item posts so please keep them coming!

If you like what you’re reading, please check out my podcasts on The Tome Show, follow me on Twitter, tell your friends and share this blog post, and/or leave me a comment and let me know you think. Thanks!

Note: You can now find the magic items in this article as a part of 50 New Magic Items, a Pay What You Want product on the DMs Guild.

I’ve created more than a few original magic items in various blog posts on this site. Starting today and over the course of the next few updates I’ll be bringing the finalized versions into the fifth edition Dungeons and Dragons rules. So if you’ve been following the blog some of these will be familiar and others will be entirely new! Once I’m finished with these magic items, I’ll post them on the Free Game Resources section of this site as a PDF so you’ll always know where to find them.

Talk about your legendary items!

But First A Word About Magic Items in Exploration Age

Some of you may already know this, but permanent magic items in Exploration Age require gems to hold the item’s magic. The more expensive the gem, the more magic it can hold.

Variant Exploration Age Magic Item Creation

If a DM allows players to craft permanent magic items in their down time, at least half the cost of creating the item must be paid in gems, which are incorporated into final form of the item.

Now onto that good stuff!

The Good Stuff

Since I love wondrous items I thought I’d share a few of those with all of you now. Some are original and others are taken from my Magic Items, I Made These For You, and A Few (Magic) Things posts. Apparently I really love magic belts.

How’d I Do?

What do you think of these items? Would you use any of them in your game? What might you modify? Sound off in the comments below!

If you like what you’re reading, please check out my podcasts on The Tome Show, follow me on Twitter, tell your friends and share this blog post, and/or leave me a comment and let me know you think. Thanks!

I dare say Perception is the most used skill in many D&D games. It’s used to find secret doors, treasures, traps, hidden foes, read lips, smell distant fires, listen through doors… you get the idea. Heck, it’s the skill which inspired the passive ability check, allowing DMs to know the result of a PC’s Perception roll without the player ever knowing it occurred.

For all its uses, Perception checks do slow down game play. How many dungeon crawls have been turned into dungeon complete stops because players wanted to pour over every room and find the secret doors and treasure hidden by a crafty DM, only to find that there really is NOTHING in that one room with the gray ooze. This isn’t the players’ faults! There’s fun in finding something hidden and sort of the point of many a dungeon crawl.

Still, this method of play becomes monotonous after a time, because players will search a room and find nothing. Even in your favorite published adventures there’s usually a room or three per dungeon that’s monsterless, treasureless, secret-doorless with the words “nothing of interest” attached to the description.

I understand this plight. There’s only so much treasure to go around. It’s not like the DM can put objects and areas of interest in every room, right? I mean that’d be a butt ton of work. Right?!?

Say Nay to the Pile

Now let me say that I LOVE big old pile of treasure. I love a sleeping dragon buried beneath a hill of gold that would make even Scrooge McDuck drown. I love a lich hiding her loot in a secret vault, guarded by devious traps and constructs. Who doesn’t want a moment where adventurers run into a glittering cavern of ornate treasures a la Aladdin‘s Cave of Wonders or The Mummy?

But does every freakin’ lair need all its valuables centralized in one place? Wouldn’t the bandits be more likely to split up their booty immediately after a highway robbery rather than hoard it in one room in their cave? Doesn’t the bandit leader have to pay his goons in order to stop a revolt? Why would an evil cult keep all their artifacts under lock and key? Wouldn’t they hire guards and put the pieces on display as a show of power to remind followers their deity is strong?

Think about your own house. Most of us don’t have a wall safe behind a comically large, hinged self-portrait above our office desk. Your most valuable possessions are spread out all over. The functional things are in the place where you need them most, your art is on display, and your money could be in different places (for instance my wallet is on my person, rolls of quarters are kept next to the laundry detergent in the closet, loose change is thrown into a tin next to the TV, gift cards are on the fridge, and my check book is in a filing cabinet). I don’t hide all my valuables and I’m guessing you don’t either, because you believe the security measures you have in place (door locks, a dog, a doorman, an alarm system, etc.) are more than enough to deter thieves and murderers. You wouldn’t then also hide all your valuables because it’d be inconvenient to find them when you need them. Wouldn’t it be the same for most fantasy baddies who have henchmen, locks, alarms, and traps of their own?

Next time you make a treasure hoard, think about spreading it out in every room. Here are the steps I normally take.

  1. Roll up or decide the grand total of treasure you want to put in the lair. Get a grand total of loot for the adventure, it makes dividing it up a lot easier. I find this works best after you’ve already created and populated the dungeon you want to use.
  2. Assign any useful magic items in the hoard to NPCs. Magic weapons and armor would be worn by the person running the operation or by his or her most loyal henchmen. Don’t just leave it at items good for bonking adventurers. Monsters aren’t just waiting around for PCs to show up and kill them. They have just much use for a bag of holding or some dust of dryness as the PCs do. Simply make a note next to the NPC’s name to remind yourself it has the item.
  3. Display art. What good is a gold-framed painting, silver sculpture, or beautiful tapestry if it’s lying in a treasure heap or locked in a chest? Put them on display! Make a note next to the room’s description or read aloud text about any art object that might be on display (and possibly warrant extra guards, security, or traps).
  4. Hide gems. In my mind gems are the big daddies that baddies keep squirreled away for a big purchase or trade. That said there’s no reason why the dungeon’s big boss should hold every single gem. A lowly henchmen might hide one in his or her boot or under a mattress so their coworkers don’t steal it. The ogre mage might give them to his or her favored bodyguard to assure loyalty. A ruined temple’s former caretaker might have hidden a ruby away in an altar during the structure’s heyday. Again make notes next to the room about the type of gem, its worth, and where it might be hidden next to a room description or NPC.
  5. Divide coinage. Figure out where all the various copper, silver, gold, and platinum pieces should go in your dungeon. First question – are the dungeon’s henchmen being paid? If so, hand over some gold! Each henchman should have a little something tucked in a belt pouch or in a chest at the foot of a bed. Are their prisoners hiding away money? Did someone long ago hide a cache of coin beneath the floor? Is the ogre paid more than the orcs? Remember that most money a person would have on hand would be in a small amount in an easily reachable place (like a pocket or pouch). Large sums of money are more likely to be hidden, locked away, guarded, and/or trapped. Make your notes and you’re ready to rock.

This method assures that your players constant searching will be worth it. Rather than slowing down gameplay, it’s a major part of it.

But what if you really like the big treasure pile? Or your adventure calls for it. Or what if you don’t have time to parse out all the treasure in the way I listed above? Fear not! I have ideas below that can still make PCs’ constant searching and ransacking worth it and interesting.

Worldbuiling Through Searching

Players can find interesting stuff that isn’t treasure when they make a Wisdom (Perception) or Intelligence (Investigation) check. While moving through a ruin, players might find objects and hints about the former life of the structure. While moving through a dragon’s cave, players might evidence of what the dragon eats or the journal of a former adventurer who failed to storm the lair. While moving through an enemy’s castle they might find letters from their enemy’s allies, written plans for villainous schemes old and new, or games of strategy and chance the guards play in their downtime. All of these things may not be of direct monetary value to the PCs, but they tell the story of your world and that’s the reward for finding them.

You can stock a dungeon with these items or you could roll on a chart whenever a player searches a room and you decide there should be something of interest in it.

If you’re in a pinch, page 299 of the Dungeon Master’s Guide has two tables – General Features and General Furnishings and Appointments. These two randomized tables are a great place to roll for randomized objects. Just roll there until you get a result which makes sense when your players search. If you’re a quick improv, attach significance to the object (like a symbol, a note, a special crafting material, etc.) to make it relate to your story and your world. Alternatively you could use the trinkets table in the Player’s Handbook, but those are items are so specific it may be difficult to fit them into your story.

The tables above aren’t really meant for random Wisdom (Perception) checks. They are meant to help DMs create random dungeons. Large furniture is on those lists as well as piles of wood, which are things a player wouldn’t need to search for and in most cases be disappointed to find.

That’s why I’ve created the table below of random story objects players can find in a dungeon!

d100 Object
1 Prayer book to a resident’s diety
2 Vial of herbs used to soothe joint pain
3 Map of an inhabitant’s hometown
4 Notes on an inhabitant’s current scheme
5 Notes on an inhabitant’s old scheme
6 Notes on an inhabitant’s future scheme
7 Bag of local candy
8 Bottle of local alcohol
9 Map of an inhabitant’s dream retirement location
10 Letter to an inhabitant from a loved one
11 Book of the local government’s laws
12 Book of fairy tales for children
13 Book of scary stories
14 Local herbs used in tea
15 Pipe-weed from an exotic location far off
16 Bag of bones used to predict the future
17 Spell component pouch full of sulfur and guano
18 Letter opener with an inhabitant’s family crest
19 Fancy undergarments from a nearby city shop
20 Board game favored by the locals
21 Card game favored by the locals
22 Dice game favored by the locals
23 Drawing of a local legendary monster done by a child
24 Poem written to an inhabitant by a lover
25 Small musical intrument wrapped in sheet music of a classic song
26 Copper coins from a fallen empire
27 Blanket knit with the symbol of a local government or organization
28 Darkened glasses used by an inhabitant with a light sensitivity
29 Ear trumpet used by an inhabitant with hearing impairment
30 Invitation to a party thrown by a local noble
31 Signet ring of a local authority
32 Coffee grounds from an exotic location
33 Sack made out of a local monstrosity’s hide
34 Mask made in the likeness of a legendary monster
35 Pen and stationary set from an institution of learning
36 Text book about the specific ecology of a monster by a well-known sage
37 Brass holy symbol of an inhabitant’s deity
38 Stuffed doll made in the likeness of local dog breed or pack animal
39 Stuffed doll made in the likeness of local monster
40 Recipe for an inhabitant’s grandmother’s famous pie
41 Recipe for an exotic dish
42 Recipe for a local dish
43 Tankard from a local tavern or inn
44 Preserved corpse of an inhabitant’s pet
45 Beast’s preserved head as a hunting trophy
46 Floor plan of the closest blacksmith’s shop
47 Flask emblazoned with a mercenary group’s symbol
48 Pen knife with initials carved in Undercommon
49 Stone arrowheads from a nearby primitive civilization
50 Hidden engraving of an evil god or cult
51 Hidden closet or trapdoor meant for hiding runaway slaves
52 Petrified pet rat
53 Sword sheath with the crest of a noble family on the other side of the world
54 Iron manacles with the preserved hands of a humanoid locked in them
55 Dagger with the crest of a city guard on the other side of the world
56 Wood box displaying the corpse of extinct insects
57 Hit list left behind by an international assassin
58 Dull straight razor made for a Huge creature
59 White gloves made for a Tiny creature
60 Monster training manual written by a now dead eccentric explorer
61 Journal of an inhabitant
62 Music box which plays an off-beat tune
63 Waterskin filled with blood for a ritual
64 Calendar with every holy day of a religion circled
65 Sundial bearing the name of a long-forgotten sun god
66 Saddle for a flying beast of burden
67 Notches in the wall noting the passage of time
68 Small booties meant for a baby
69 Broken miner’s pick bearing the sigil of an Underdark king
70 Tiny set of antlers, too small for a deer or moose
71 Directions to an inhabitant’s best friend’s house
72 Cipher for a secret code which is no longer used
73 Bowl made from the wood of an extinct plant
74 Belt buckle bearing the symbol of a knightly order
75 Set of brass knuckles with a criminal’s initials raised on the points of contact
76 Magnifying glass carved with the initials of a dead police inspector
77 Work gloves covered in the blood of an aberrant creature
78 Iron pot full of humanoid bones
79 Small flask full of an inhabitant’s favorite condiment
80 Voodoo doll of an inhabitant’s employer
81 Paper target with a perfect hole through the bullseye
82 Stone statuette of a beast found on the other side of the world
83 Wax candle carved into the image of a god
84 Map of the world
85 Map of a mysterious island
86 Notes from an inhabitant’s trip to another plane
87 I.O.U. written to an inhabitant
88 Notice of debt written to an inhabitant
89 Collar and tag made to fit a Large animal
90 Sock for a Huge creature
91 Scarf bearing the crest of a local artisan guild
92 Small wooden box with a secret compartment
93 Yo-yo bearing a child’s name
94 Wooden halfling skeleton
95 Common to <insert language of your choice here> dictionary
96 Set of finger puppets resembling a legendary band of heroes
97 Steel box containing the leaves of plants from an exotic location
98 Homemade political cartoon commenting on local affairs
99 Copy of the local news publication
100 Warrant for the arrest of a person on the other side of the world

After rolling on the table above, the rest of the object’s story is up to you!

Variant: Ruin Rule

If the PCs are making their way through a ruin that was formerly inhabited by people other than the current occupants, roll a d10 before rolling on the Randomized Story Objects table. A roll of 4 or below indicates the object found is older and pertains to the previous occupants, a roll of 5 or higher indicates the object is related to the current occupants.

When All Else Fails… They Gotta Eat!

Maybe you don’t want to give your players treasure, but you don’t want to overload them with story objects either. Maybe you’re the kind of DM who asks players to track their use of food, water, and ammunition. Well if that’s the case, when your PCs search, roll on the table below to see what they might find. In certain campaigns, food and water are worth more than gold! For that sort of thing roll a d100 and adjust the rarity of these items based on how often you want them to show up.

d12 Items
1 1 full waterskin
2 1d2 days of rations
3 1 bag of ball bearings
4 1 bag of caltrops
5 1d6 pieces of chalk
6 10d6 feet of hempen rope
7 1d4 flasks of oil
8 1d10 torches
9 1d20 arrows
10 1d20 crossbow bolts
11 1d20 sling bullets
12 1d10 iron spikes

Tables as PDFs

Hey if you like the tables above and want to use them in your game below is a PDF for you. This document will live on the Free Game Resources section of this site!

Alternative Search Tables

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