Suffice to say, with everything that’s going on these days I’ve been short on creative steam. We’re living in weird times and only going to get weirder, unfortunately.
Aside from the madness out there, I’ve been very deeply involved in some projects that such up any creative energy I muster. One of them is a complete newbie-friendly packaged adventure. The distribution details for this project remain to be sorted and they take forever. I started it with no expectations, so if nothing else pans out, I will just be releasing it for free as a pdf. The pdf formatting is, however, a consuming and mind-numbing process, which I’ve slowed considerably as I wait to see if other options pan out.
I don’t have a segue, so here’s a fun fact: Although I believe it should be a class feature and not a spell, Find Greater Steed is probably my favourite spell in Xanathars. Something about rolling in on a Pegasus or a goddamn Rhinoceros just does something for me when it comes to Tier 3 & 4 Paladin aesthetic.
When the game I was DMing reached this point, the Paladin in the party asked if he could have a Giant Bat to ride. Greater Steeds trend around CR 2 and a Giant Bat is CR 1/4, so I did the only sensible thing. I drafted up a CR 2 Dire Bat and let him summon that instead.
In the theme of Find Greater Steed being cool because of the diverse, stylistic options it provides, here are some weird-ass CR2 creatures that are balanced to be used as options in the Find Greater Steed spell.
The Dire Bat doesn’t hit as hard as other steeds, and is a little lower on the HP range. To make up for htis, it brings a fly speed and the Giant Bat’s echolocation to the table, which definitely give it utility that many other choices lack.
Dire BatLarge Beast, Unaligned
Armor Class 13 Hit Points 38 (7d10) S Speed 10 ft., Fly 60 ft.
STR 15 (+2) DEX 16 (+3) CON 11 (+0) INT 4 (-3) WIS 12 (+1) CHA 6 (-2)
Saving Throws Dex +5 Skills Stealth +5, Perception +3 Senses passive Perception 11, Blindsight 60 ft (blind beyond this radius) Languages None Challenge 2
Echolocation. The bat can’t use its blindsight while deafened. Keen Hearing. The bat has advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on hearing.
Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, reach 5 ft., one creature. Hit: (1d8 + 2) piercing damage.
Find Greater Steed doesn’t have any good aquatic options built in, which I think is an oversight for certain campaigns. If you’re looking for a steed that is terrifying in the water, and moderately slower but still terrifying on land, choose the massive, blubbery bulk of a Sea Lion.
Sea LionLarge Beast, Unaligned
Armor Class 12 (Natural Armor) Hit Points 52 (7d10+14) Speed 20 ft., Swim 50 ft.
STR 20 (+5) DEX 10 (0) CON 14 (+2) INT 2 (-4) WIS 10 (0) CHA 8 (-1)
Relentless (Recharges after a Short or Long Rest). If the sea lion takes 10 damage or less that would reduce it to 0 hit points, it is reduced to 1 hit point instead.
Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, reach 5 ft., one creature. Hit: (2d8 + 5 piercing damage.
Since they were so lacking, I think it’s worth doubling down on aquatic creatures. If a Sea Lion is too coastal, a more deep-sea minded paladin might consider flexing on the land-dwellers with his awesome fish-horse, the Hippocamp.
HippocampLarge Monstrosity, Unaligned
Armor Class 13 Hit Points 52 (7d10 + 14) Speed Swim 80 ft.
STR 18 (+4) DEX 16 (+3) CON 14 (+2) INT 3 (-2) WIS 14 (+2) CHA 10 (0)
Saving Throws Wis +4 Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 12 Languages None Challenge 2
Trampling Charge. If the hippocamp moves at least 20 feet straight toward a creature and then hits it with a hooves attack on the same turn, that target must succeed on a DC 15 Strength saving throw or be knocked prone. If the target is prone, the hippocamp can make another attack with it’s hooves against it as a bonus action.
Hooves. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one creature. Hit: 14 (3d6 + 4) piercing damage.
I don’t know who exactly wants to ride a ooze inside a shell, but I know you’re out there, you degenerate weirdo.
Hermit OozeLarge Ooze, Unaligned
Armor Class 12 (Natural Armor) Hit Points 51 (6d10+18) Speed 25 ft., climb 25 f.
STR 16 (+3) DEX 6 (-2) CON 16 (+3) INT 2 (-4) WIS 5 (-2) CHA 6 (-2)
Saving Throws Con +5 Damage Immunities Acid, Psychic Condition Immunities blinded, deafened, prone Senses passive Perception 8, blindsight 60ft. (blind beyond this radius) Languages None Challenge 2
Multiattack. The hermit ooze makes 2 pseudopod attacks, or 1 pseudopod attack and withdraws. Pseudopod. Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one creature. Hit: (1d8 + 3) bludgeoning damage. Withdraw. The hermit ooze withdraws into it’s shell. While in it’s shell the hermit ooze has 18 AC, but it’s movement speeds are all reduced to 5 ft. The hermit ooze may cancel this effect by spending it’s action to reappear from it’s shell.
Giant Hercules Beetle
Finally, let’s admit it. Flying steeds are cool and useful, and there should be more options for them. There should also be more options for enormous bugs. The Giant Hercules Beetle remedies this nicely.
Giant Hercules BeetleLarge Beast, Unaligned
Armor Class 14 (natural armor) Hit Points 42 (5d10+15) Speed 30 ft., fly 50 ft
STR 20 (+5) DEX 10 (0) CON 16 (+3) INT 2 (-4) WIS 8 (-1) CHA 8 (-1)
Tusk. Melee Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, reach 10 ft., one creature. Hit: 12 (2d6 + 5) slashing damage. Sweep. The giant hercules beetle sweeps it’s horn violently in a 10-ft cone, attempting to knock down anyone in range. Each creature in the cone must make a DC 13 Strength saving throw or be knocked prone and take 8 (1d6+5) slashing damage.
I’ve given the question of stat generation a lot of thought, and I’ve developed a method so good that I don’t think I’ll be able to ever use anything else. I’m generally pretty reserved about the way I run my game – every table should do what they think is fun. But I’ll go right out and say it:
This is objectively better than Standard Array, 4d6 drop 1, and even Point Buy. Prove me wrong. 3d4 Array.
5e assumes pretty limited access to magical items. But if you’re playing a homebrew setting, high-level game, or just a high-magic setting like Sigil, you may want a thriving magical item economy that is just not supported by WotC materials.
Personally, I use Sane Magic Item Prices as a quick reference, but I find it falls short in a magical marketplace setting. Players will naturally want to know everything that’s available and how much it costs. They will spend a long time shopping and arguing about money, and I just don’t have the bandwidth to audit a pile of items and prices individually to make sure nothing is game-breaking.
I needed a good baseline that I could use for what players can expect when they stumble across a large marketplace with access to magical goods, and from there I can throw a few wondrous items as I please. First, I reviewed the low-impact magic items that I would expect to be commonly available or “made-to-order”, like scrolls and potions. Then I adapted some magical materials and items available in the 2nd edition In the Cage: A Guide to Sigil.
The result is, in my opinion, a suitably broad and fantastical-feeling list. It’s simplified as to not overwhelm DMs, Players, or break the game, but it also doesn’t feel milquetoast when you whip it out. Fiendflesh leather armour, or a glowing golden celestial focus are just objectively cooler than handing out +1 items.
Characters can find spell scrolls up to level 5, or casters willing to perform these spells. Higher level casts require a specific contact willing to help you, and higher level scrolls become hard to come by due to their prohibitive scribing requirements.
All manner of healing potions are plentiful. Potions that provide other temporary beneficial effects are available for purchase, but Investigation is required to track down specific types. Potions and magical procedures granting permanent alterations to the subject’s physiology are only rumoured.
Minor magical items (Cantrip Effects, Glamour Items, +1 Weapons, etc.) are easy to come by. Specific, unique magic items are unlikely to be found, due to their cost and rarity. Artifacts are rarely for sale anywhere, as those that find them often choose to use them.
The Multiverse is home to substances rarer and more effective than prime material ores. These materials are crafted to create unique weapons, items and armour for adventurers. In a large magical marketplace, you can easily find traders and craftspeople specializing in each. These substances all have a faint, innate magical property.
Mined from the rich red ore that is found on the surface of the first layer of the Abyss, abyssal blood iron is used by Demons in the Blood War. Abyssal blood is a dark red ore, the color of fresh blood, and naturally develops spikes and spines over time.
Blood Iron Piercing and Slashing weapons are Viscous +1 Weapons, and are treated as magical for the purposes of overcoming damage resistances. The cost of a weapon is increased by 1000 GP.
Blood Iron armor is +1 Armor. Additionally, if a creature rolls a 1 on a melee attack against the wearer of the armor, they take 2d6 magical piercing damage from its natural spikes. The cost of armour is increased by 50% of the armour’s base cost and 1500 GP.
Blood Iron shields are +1 Shields. Push and shield bash actions deal 1d6 additional magical piercing damage on a success. The cost of a shield is 1250 GP.
Mined from the deepest pits of the Nine Hells, this mint-colored steel is a favored material for the Baatezu devils, due to its heavy consistency that is very similar to adamantine. All Green Steel equipment is 50% heavier than normal.
Green steel bludgeoning weapons are +1 Weapons that automatically critical hit on attacks against items, and are treated as magical for the purposes of overcoming damage resistances. The cost of a weapon is increased by 1000 GP.
All Green Steel armor confer disadvantage on stealth checks, and any strength requirements to use armors are increased by 2. However, Green Steel armor acts as +1 Armor and grants immunity to critical hits from non-magical weapon attacks. The cost of armour is increased by 50% of the armour’s base cost and 1500 GP.
Green Steel shields are +1 Shields. The cost of a shield is 1000 GP.
Devil crafters have learned an alchemical and supernatural process by which they can harvest the flesh of their conquered enemies to work into strong suits of armor, affording themselves increased protection against their opponent’s weapons.
Only armors that would otherwise be made out of leather or hide can be made from Fiendflesh. Fiendflesh armor is +1 Armor which reduces all incoming Poison, Fire, and Non-Magical Piercing, Slashing and Bludgeoning damage by 5. The cost of armour is increased by 50% of the armour’s base cost and 1250 GP.
A special glittering silver ore mined from the various astral islands that drift across the Astral sea, which is said to amplify the natural psionic abilities of its users.
Weapons created from astral silver are +1 Weapons which can affect incorporeal creatures or creatures on the ethereal plane normally, and are treated as magical for the purposes of overcoming damage resistances. The cost of a weapon is increased by 1000 GP.
Astral Silver armor is +1 Armor. Incorporeal creates cannot pass through Astral Silver and cannot move through or occupy your space, and gain attack or damage advantages due to being incorporeal when wearing Astral Silver Armor. The cost of armour is increased by 50% of the armour’s base cost and 1500 GP.
Astral Silver Shields are +1 Shields. The cost of a shield is 1000 GP.
Mined from the lower levels of Mount Celestia, Sun-Gold is too soft to forge weapons and armor, but the resident Dwarves craft object which radiate energy.
Sun Gold always acts as though it is under the effects of the Light spell. Divine focuses crafted by Sun-Gold are +1 Focuses but cannot be used by evil-aligned creatures. The cost of a focus is 2000 GP.
Sun-Gold Shields are +1 Shields. The cost of a shield is 1000 GP.
Powdered Sun-Gold, when mixed with water, produces Holy Water.
A living fragment of the tree of life Yggdrasil, items crafted from Ashwood resonate with powerful vital energy.
A weapon crafted from Ashwood are both a +1 Druidic Spell Focus and a +1 weapon of its type. Only bows, crossbows, staves and clubs can be created from Ashwood. The cost of any of these items are increased by 2500 GP.
These rare crystals are found scattered throughout the Outer Planes. The Crystals maintain some of the purity of the Plane from which they are mined and are magical in nature.
A raw crystal or any item constructed from the crystal can be attuned to, which grants advantage on Saves to resist any ambient psychic and harmful persistent environmental effects of it’s native plane, and resistance to any damage incurred from such sources. The cost of an item imbued with planar crystal is increased by 1000 GP.
Blades made from planar crystals are +1 Magical Weapons and deal an additional +1d8 Radiant, Psychic, Necrotic or Force damage, depending on the native plane. They cannot be wielded by creatures of an opposite alignment to the crystal’s home plane. The cost of a weapon is increased by 2500 GP.
Arcane spell focuses crafted from Planar Crystals are +1 Focuses. They cannot be wielded by creatures of an opposite alignment to the crystal’s home plane. The cost of a focus is 2000 GP.
I’ve never had a session 0, but I hear they’re great. It seems good expectations about what kind of game you’re going to run before a player shows up to your tense political game carrying a sheet for Brawlnald MacDonald, the barbarian burger clown. At they’re best, they can give players a chance to get hyped about their characters and the adventure before things even get going.
This is just a nice way of conceptualizing the game you plan to run is nice, digestible terms. A few scales defining the tone and focus of the game, a diagram where you can mark it’s emphasis between the 3 pillars of play and the real quick and dirty details of the campaign – who, what and why.
I haven’t used this yet but I certainly plan to when I start aback up again, which is an inevitability. Here’s a link to a PDF, which should be easier if you’re printing.
The single character that ran level 1-18, session 1 to campaign conclusion, in my most recent 5e game was the Ranger, Althea.
Ranger is problematic in 5e.
This was evident to me before we even started, which is why I suggested that the player use the Revised Ranger (which she did). And while the Revised Ranger was a solution to some of the problems inherent with the class, namely making it more competitive in terms of power level, we still had frustrations.
Favoured Enemy is still dependent on DM Fiat or Metagaming but somehow ironically worse now, your DPS depends on it. The out of combat applications of Natural Explorer basically remove the exploration pillar of play. Primeval Awareness sounds cool but is straight up goofy in actual play, especially when the Ranger chooses Beasts as their favourite enemies.
“Yes, Althea, you sense the presence of millions of earthworms below you. There are 14 deer and three black bears in the forest. 4 Miles to the east, you sense saltwater fish…
Player and DM, we still weren’t happy with the Ranger. So after some prodding, around level 8 or 9, I put together a Re-Revised Ranger addressing the problems that I had with the class.
Since then, an Unearthed Arcana, has been released that addresses some of the issues quite nicely actually, and I think if that gets tuned and released in an official capacity, it might be the best iteration of ranger so far. But until then, and for posterity, here is how I fixed the Ranger.
The Re-Revised Ranger
Abstract: Why Revise the Ranger… Again?
The Ranger, as it appears in the Player’s Handbook, has received a lot of criticism for being under-tuned and more importantly, not particularly fun to play.
The popular “Revised Ranger” Unearthed Arcana did a lot to address the complaints about the power level and combat utility of the class, particularly with the complete overhaul of the Beast Master archetype. However, it did little to address the holes in the overall design of the class that lead to an unsatisfying play experience. These unsolved problems, as I see it, are the following:
The Ranger fills an ill-defined combat role, being neither as mobile as a rogue, nor as powerful as a fighter, and lacking the burst damage of the Paladin or the sustain of the Barbarian, they lack the means to stand out relative to other martial and “half-caster” classes.
When compared to the other “half-caster”, the Paladin, the Ranger is outclassed in tanking potential (Heavy Armor Proficiency), burst damage (Divine Smite), burst healing (Lay on Hands), spell selection (with Paladins preparing spells from their full list, and access to Oath spells), party support abilities (Aura)… In a direct comparison the Ranger falls short in almost everything aside from actually trekking through the wilderness.
Long-distance travel, the one niche where Rangers truly stand out, is rarely relevant. Starving or getting lost in the woods shouldn’t pose a dire threat beyond the first few levels of play, even for parties lacking a ranger, and urban campaigns never benefit from many of these abilities.
Favored Enemy, the signature ability of the ranger, is a holdover from previous editions that is among the most poorly designed class features in the core game. The Revised version, while improved by the addition of some combat utility, still doesn’t address the core failing of the ability. Favored Enemy benefits a Ranger most in campaigns that lack a diversity of foes. Rangers must choose one of a few viable, common creature types (Monstrosity, Humanoid, etc.) or risk infrequently benefitting from the ability (Oozes and Plants).
Too many passive abilities limit the tactical choices and agency of Ranger players. Players like to use abilities, make choices, and roll dice. Class features like the inability to get lost while travelling do not offer a sense of satisfaction for the player, and instead only serve to reduce the opportunities for the DM to create tension or drama.
In contrast, this redesign of the Ranger should:
Fill a unique roll, mechanically and in class flavor. The new Ranger will focus on preparation, planning, awareness and support.
Feel useful and have tactically-relevant abilities at all levels when compared to other classes, particularly the other half-caster Paladin.
Have versatility that does not rely on encountering certain enemies, certain terrains, or performing overland travel.
Use Favored Enemy frequently, as the signature ability of the class.
Make more choices, roll more dice and use less passive abilities overall.
I think my redesign of the class is a success in these regards. When paired with any archetype except Beast Master it stacks up against any other class in the game, in a way that Ranger did not before.
Hit Dice: 1d10 per ranger level
Hit Points at 1st Level: 10 + your Constitution modifier
Hit Points at Higher Levels: 1d10 (or 6) + your Constitution modifier per ranger level after 1st
Armor: Light Armor, Medium Armor, Shields
Weapons: Simple Weapons, Martial Weapons
Skills: Choose three from Animal Handling, Athletics, Insight, Investigation, Nature, Perception, Stealth, and Survival (Note, the above features are unchanged from the PHB Ranger. Spellcasting and Starting Equipment are likewise unchanged.)
Beginning at 1st level, you have experience studying, tracking, and hunting creatures of various types. With adequate time to prepare yourself, you can steel yourself against a certain type of foe, adapting your equipment and conditioning your mind to exploit their weaknesses. Whenever you complete a long rest, you may choose Beasts, Plants, or Humanoids to be your Favored Enemy. When selecting Humanoids, you must choose a specific sub-type, such as Gnolls, Goblinoids, or Elves, to apply this feature to. You gain +1 to AC against attacks made by creatures of this type, and you cannot be surprised by your Favored Enemy.
Beginning at 4th level, you have become an experienced leader and trainer, able to prepare small groups for combat. When you choose a Favored Enemy, you may target a number of friendly creatures equal to 1 + your Wisdom Modifier (minimum 1) that you can see. These creatures gain a +1 AC against attacks made by your Favored Enemy until they complete another long rest. Additionally, the list of creature types you may choose from expands to include Oozes, Undead, and Monstrosities.
Beginning at 10th level, you gain advantage on saving throws caused by your favored enemies abilities, other than spells. The list of creature types expands to include Fey, Giants, Aberrations, and Elementals. Additionally, you can select now 2 creature types to be your Favored Enemy when completing a long rest.
Beginning at 14th level, the list of creature types expands to include Celestials, Constructs, Dragons, and Fiends. In addition, the bonus granted to targeted friendly creatures gives advantage on any saving throws caused by your favoured enemies abilities, other than spells.
You are a master of navigating the natural world and you act with swift and decisive action when attacked. This grants you the following benefits:
You have advantage on initiative rolls.
On the first turn during combat, you have advantage on attack rolls against creatures that have not yet acted.
In addition, you are a seasoned guide, skilled at navigating the wilderness. You gain the following benefits when traveling for an hour or more:
Difficult terrain does not slow your group’s travel.
You have advantage on Survival checks to avoid becoming lost, to forage food, or to find fresh water.
You may engage in another activity while traveling (foraging, navigating, tracking) while remaining alert to danger.
If you are traveling alone, you may move stealthily at a normal pace.
Archery: You gain a +2 bonus to Attack rolls you make with Ranged Weapons.
Defense: While you are wearing armor, you gain a +1 bonus to AC.
Dueling: When you are wielding a melee weapon in one hand and no other Weapons, you gain a +2 bonus to Damage Rolls with that weapon.
Two-Weapon Fighting: When you engage in two-weapon fighting, you can add your ability modifier to the damage of the second Attack.
Live off the Land
You gain proficiency with two of the following tools: Carpenter’s tools, Cartographer’s tools, Cook’s utensils, Herbalism kit, Leatherworker’s tools, or Woodcarver’s tools.
Beginning at 5th level, you can attack twice, instead of once, whenever you take the Attack action on your turn.
Hide in Plain Sight
Starting at 6th level, you can spend 1 minute creating camouflage for yourself. You must have access to fresh mud, dirt, plants, soot, and other naturally occurring materials with which to create your camouflage.
Once you are camouflaged in this way, you can try to hide by pressing yourself up against a solid surface, such as a tree or wall, that is at least as tall and wide as you are. You gain a +10 bonus to Dexterity (Stealth) checks as long as you remain there without moving or taking actions. Once you move or take an action or a reaction, you must camouflage yourself again to gain this benefit.
Starting at 8th level, moving through nonmagical difficult terrain costs you no extra Movement. You can also pass through nonmagical Plants without being slowed by them and without taking damage from them if they have thorns, spines, or a similar hazard.
In addition, you have advantage on saving throws against Plants that are magically created or manipulated to impede Movement, such those created by the Entangle spell.
One Eye Open
You are a master of resting in adverse or dangerous conditions. Starting at 10th level, you still benefit from your full passive perception score when sleeping or meditating, and you are aware of anything that moves through your line of sight during that time.
Starting at 14th level, you can use the Hide action as a Bonus Action on Your Turn. Also, you can’t be tracked by nonmagical means, unless you choose to leave a trail.
At 18th level, you gain preternatural senses that help you locate creatures. You gain Blindsight of 30 ft. This feature does not work if you are Deafened.
You also have advantage on any Intelligence (Investigation) check to discern illusions.
At 20th level, you become an unparalleled hunter of your enemies. Once on each of your turns, you can add your Wisdom modifier to the Attack roll or the damage roll of an Attack you make against one of your Favored Enemies. You can choose to use this feature before or after the roll, but before any effects of the roll are applied. If it is reduced to 0 hit points by this attack, all hostile creatures within 60 feet of you and who are able to see the target must make a Wisdom save against your spell save DC or become Frightened of you for 1 minute. They may repeat this save at the end of each of their turns.
Notes on Changes Made:
1: Overall, level 1 is mainly a less front-loaded version of the Revised Ranger’s first level.
The new Favored Enemy, grants a defense boost.
Originally, as in the Revised Ranger, it added a damage boost. However, this falls off in utility in high level play, and with the ability to grant a similar effect to your team later on, it became a nuisance to track. AC, because it is relevant outside of your turn, proves easier to remember. It’s a buff, but still nothing crazy.
The targeted creature type can be changed on a long rest, which is a considerable buff that is only particularly useful once the ranger advances to higher levels. At level 1 ability the ability is heavily restricted by creature types available. The 1st-level options will rarely be relevant outside low level encounters, but the available options increase as the ranger increases in level.
Favored Terrain has been removed, as in the Revised Ranger, due to its over-specificity. Instead, Natural Explorer is not limited by terrain type, but its passive abilities have been nerfed slightly. They now grant advantage to more rolls, rather than providing automatic success to certain activities, giving a more active feel to using the ability. Natural Explorer’s combat bonuses from the Revised Ranger have been retained, granting an interesting first-level combat advantage that does not lose its utility as the ranger advances in level.
2: No change made.
3: Primeval Awareness received a major overhaul in the Revised Ranger, but in neither version was it particularly useful, nor did the quasi-magical super-sense match the flavor of the class. It also proved problematic in play, scanning a radius of many miles which could include thousands or more of a certain creature type. It is almost impossible to practically convey anything that is both valuable and realistic using that information in play. Particularly this becomes an issue with the Revised Ranger’s version, with the “Beast” or “Humanoid” favoured enemy.
Instead, the ranger gets a ribbon ability “Live off the Land” which opens up a little roleplay by allow the ranger to fill a couple under-utilized out-of-combat niches. Since players are also choosing a Conclave at this level, a minor side upgrade is fine.
4: A boost to Favored Enemy is provided in addition to the regular Ability Score Improvement for this level. It provides a minor boost to the party’s overall defense and gives access to more useful creature types.
5: Unchanged, level 5 provides a major power spike for the Ranger.
6: As Natural Explorer and Favored Enemy improvements no longer occur on this level, Hide in Plain Sight has been moved from Level 10 to Level 6. This is a “slow” level following the fast growth and powerful abilities granted in levels 3, 4, and 5. Hide in Plain Sight is a specialized and generally underwhelming ability, so granting access to it earlier does not provide extra power ramp.
7: Conclave Features are currently unchanged.
8: Lands Stride is another somewhat weak ability, but falling on the same level as an ASI, I see no need for changes.
9: Unchanged. The Spell Level and Proficiency Boost on their own is sufficient and in line with other classes.
10: The ranger no longer receives a new Favored Terrain (removed) or Hide in Plain Sight (moved to level 6). Instead the Ranger gains an improvement to their Favored Enemy, granting more options, a defense boost to non-spell abilities (emphasizing their role as a monster hunter), and the ability to designate 2 Favored Enemies per rest, for a major boost. They also receive a new ability, One Eye Open, which like Hide in Plain Sight is situational but flavorful, and benefits the ranger’s role as guide and lookout.
11-20: The first 10 levels have been adjusted to scale better into higher level play, so only small adjustments were made to later levels.
Rather than an additional favored enemy at 14, the ranger now has access to all creature types and provides their saving throw buff to other party members.
Feral Senses was a fundamentally situational ability that was nowhere close in utility or power to what other classes receive at this level. It now grants full Blindsight for 30 feet, conditional on being able to hear, and Advantage in discerning the nature of illusions.
Foe Slayer has been buffed with a powerful Fear ability to make it a more fitting capstone ability.
Getting a Holy Avenger is cool not just because it’s powerful, but in part because of its name and history within D&D. Sometimes though, it’s just as cool to get a weapon completely unique to the world and, by extension, the character.
Making boutique magic items for every occasion is time consuming. So, over time, I punched entries into a list of stuff I might want a magic weapon to do and, eventually, I had enough that a d100 generator was easily in reach. Now, whenever I need to pull a random magical weapon out of nowhere, I can roll a couple dice and generate something unique without pawing through the DMG for an item of a suitable power level and type.
If you want to get spicy, you can give the PCs a blacksmith’s hammer blessed by the God of craft, which can imbue a weapon with one of the blessings on the table (should they find a master blacksmith to use it). Getting a player to roll a D100 with results ranging from “this weapon sings” to “this weapon can cast wish” is an exciting roll to be sure.
The table is fairly simple, generally high numbers = stronger, or sometimes rarer, when there is a such a distinction to be made.
Are some of the higher results overpowered? Well yeah, that’s part of the fun. But, aside from the 100, nothing should break games.
If you would like a random base weapon type (for dungeon loot or merchants), roll on the Weapon Type table. Otherwise, simply choose a weapon type.
Roll a D100 on the Weapon Enchantment table to imbue the weapon with a random weapon enchantment. The number you roll will add an effect, modify the name of the weapon, and indicate whether or not the weapon now needs to be attuned.
The Tier of the weapon determines the bonus it grants as follows:
Tier 0-3: +1 Weapon
Tier 4-5: +2 Weapon
Tier 6+: +3 Weapon
Multiple enchantments can be placed on a single weapon. When doing so, add the Tiers of the enchantments together to get the Tier and Bonus of the weapon as a whole.
If you have a particularly neat or powerful weapon, roll on the Optional Properties table.
When this weapon is used, a beautiful song can be heard.
The bearer can use a bonus action and speak a command word to cause this weapon to shed bright light in a 10-foot radius and dim light for an additional 10 feet.
The bearer can alter the apparent color, material, and design of the weapon as a bonus action – this does not affect the weapon’s type, stats or abilities.
The weapon whispers warnings, giving +2 bonus to initiative.
This weapon floats on water and other liquids. Its bearer has advantage on Strength (Athletics) checks to swim.
While underground , the bearer of this item always knows the item’s depth below the surface and the direction to the nearest staircase, ramp, or other path leading upward.
The bearer of this item knows the Thaumaturgy cantrip.
This weapon falls slowly, like a feather. It is treated as having no weight for the purposes of encumbrance.
The bearer cannot be disarmed of this weapon.
The bearer may attack as though they are proficient with this weapon, even if they are not.
The bearer has advantage on Strength (Athletics) or Dexterity (Acrobatics) checks to break free of grapples.
The owner’s base speed is increased by 5 ft.
The bearer is unaffected by difficult terrain.
The bearer gains a swim speed equal to its walking speed.
The bearer gains a climb speed equal to its walking speed.
Of Safe Landing
The bearer never takes damage from falling, although they fall at normal speed.
The bearer may cast the spell Jump as a bonus action, targeting themselves, at will.
A creature dealt a non-lethal blow by this weapon is restrained by ethereal shackles. They may make a DC 25 Strength (Athletics) check every hour to escape, once they regain consciousness. The owner of this weapon may dispel this effect by speaking a command word.
The bearer gains advantage on all saving throws to avoid being knocked prone or moved against their will.
This weapon has the thrown property with a normal range of 20 feet and a long range of 60 feet. If the weapon already has the throwing property, the normal range and long range of the weapon are both doubled.
The owner requires half the normal amount of sleep or meditation to gain the effects of a long rest, or avoid the effects of exhaustion.
When a 20 is rolled on an attack roll with this weapon, the bearer gains 3d4 temporary HP.
The bearer may cast the spell Detect Magic as an action at will.
The bearer may cast the spell Detect Evil and Good as an action at will.
The bearer may cast the spell Animal Friendship, targeting themselves, as an action at will.
The bearer may take a Dash action which does not expend their regular action for the turn. This effect has one charge which it regains at dawn.
The bearer has advantage on saving throws against Fear.
The bearer has advantage on saving throws against magical Charm effects.
The owner receives a +3 bonus to their Passive Perception and Passive Investigation scores.
The bearer may cast Enlarge targeting themselves. This effect has one charge which it regains at dawn.
The bearer has darkvision with a range of 60 ft. If you already have darkvision, the range increases to 120 ft.
The bearer may cast the spell Shield. This effect has one charge which it regains at dawn.
[Damage Type] Shifted
By speaking a command word, the bearer can change the damage type dealt by this weapon to [Damage Type] until the end of turn. (Roll on the Damage Type table to determine the damage type.)
When you hit with an opportunity attack, weapon deals an additional +1d8 Thunder damage and hurls an insult.
[Damage Type] Tinged
This weapon deals an additional +1d4 [Damage Type] damage. (Roll on the Damage Type table to determine the damage type.)
Of Water Breathing
The owner can breathe underwater
When this weapon is stowed, the owner may speak a command word to make the weapon invisible. A creature attempting to discover the hidden weapon must pass a Intelligence (Investigation) check with a DC 16.
The bearer may cast Invisibility targeting themselves, using the weapon as their focus. This effect has one charge which it regains at dawn.
You may reroll a single attack roll with this weapon. This effect has one charge which it regains at dawn.
The bearer can use a bonus action and speak a command word to cause this weapon to shed bright light in a 20-foot radius and dim light for an additional 20 feet. Invisible creatures are visible as long as they are in the light cast by this weapon.
The bearer may cast Cure Wounds as a first level spell, using Wisdom as their spellcasting ability and the weapon as their focus. This effect has one charge which it regains at dawn.
The bearer has advantage on all Constitution saving throws against Poison and Disease.
The owner does not need to sleep or meditate during a long rest, and is immune to negative effects, including exhaustion, due to lack of sleep.
As a bonus action, the bearer may speak a command word, causing the weapon to erupt in illusory flames that shed bright light in a 40 foot radius and dim light in an additional 40 ft.
When a 20 is rolled on an attack roll with this weapon, the critical hit infers a “Bleed” condition, dealing 1d4 damage at the start of the targets next 3 turns.
When a 20 is rolled on an attack roll with this weapon, its critical hit deals an extra 2d6 damage of the weapon’s type.
You can spend an action to coat the weapon in magical poison. The poison remains for 1 minute or until an attack using this weapon hits a creature. When an attack with this weapon deals damage, the creature must succeed a DC 13 Constitution saving throw or take 2d6 poison damage and be poisoned until the end of their next turn.
The owner gains a +5 bonus to initiative.
When the bearer is reduced to 0 hit points but not killed outright, they may drop to 1 hit point instead. This effect has one charge which it regains at dawn.
Of Water Walking
The bearer may stand on and move across any liquid surface as if it were solid ground.
When a creature is struck by this weapon, the next attack made by an ally against it gains Advantage. This effect does not stack.
The bearer is immune to magic that allows other creatures to read their thoughts, determine whether they are lying, know their alignment, or know their creature type. Creatures can telepathically communicate with the bearer only if they allow it.
When the bearer is struck by a critical hit, they may choose to use their reaction to cast the Blink spell, targeting themselves. This effect has one charge which it regains at dawn.
This weapon deals an additional +1d4 cold damage. On a hit, the target has all movement speeds reduced by 5 until the end of it’s next turn.
[Damage Type] Charged
This weapon deals an additional +1d6 damage. Roll on the Damage Type table to determine the damage type.
The bearer has resistance to one type of damage. Roll on Damage Type table to determine the damage type.
The bearer gains +2 bonus to AC against ranged attacks.
The bearer gains a fly speed of 10 ft.
The owner does not need to eat or drink.
The bearer can breathe and speak normally in any environment (including liquids and vacuums), and has advantage on saving throws made to resist harmful gases and vapors.
You can use an action to coat the weapon in magical poison. The poison remains for 1 minute or until an attack using this weapon hits a creature. That creature must succeed on a DC 15 Constitution saving throw or take 2d10 poison damage and become poisoned for 1 minute. Any creature that fails their save can repeat their saving throw at the end of each turn. This effect has one charge which it regains at dawn.
When a 20 is rolled on an attack roll with this weapon, the target and all other creatures within 10 ft must succeed a DC 15 Wisdom saving throw become effected by fear for one minute. Any creature that fails their save can repeat their saving throw at the end of each turn.
The bearer may transform into one type of animal, as though using the Druid class feature Wild Shape. This effect lasts 1 hour, and has one charge which it regains at dawn. Roll on the Transmogrification Table to determine the type of animal.
The owner gains advantage on initiative rolls. The owner and any allies within 30 ft can’t be surprised, except when incapacitated by something other than non-magical sleep. The weapon magically awakens the owner and companions within range if any are sleeping naturally when combat begins.
The bearer gains proficiency in an additional saving throw. Roll on the Ability Score Table to determine which saving throw the proficiency is gained in.
When a creature is struck by this weapon, the first attack it takes on it’s following turn is taken with disadvantage. This effect does not stack.
The owner is hidden from divination magic and can’t be targeted by such magic or perceived through magical scrying sensors.
Of Lesser Spell-Storing
Any creature can Cast a Spell of 1st through 3th level into the weapon by touching the weapon as the spell is cast. This weapon can store up to 3 levels worth of Spells at a time. The bearer can cast any spell stored into this weapon without using components. The spell uses the slot level, spell save DC, spell Attack bonus, and spellcasting ability of the original caster, but is otherwise treated as if you cast the spell. The spell cast from the weapon is no longer stored in it, freeing up space.
[Damage Type] Aspected
This weapon deals an additional +1d8 damage. Roll on the Damage Type table to determine the damage type.
[Damage Type] Laden
This weapon deals an additional +1d10 damage. Roll on the Damage Type table to determine the damage type.
Of [Ability Score]
The owner gains +2 to a single ability score. Roll on the Ability Score table to determine which score receives the bonus.
The bearer gains a fly speed equal to its walking speed.
When hit, dragons take an extra 3d6 damage of this weapon’s type.
This weapon has the thrown property with a normal range of 20 feet and a long range of 60 feet. If the weapon already has the throwing property, the normal range and long range of the weapon are both doubled. At any time, a bonus action may be used to return the weapon to its owner’s hand
The bearer regains 1 hit point every 5 minutes provided that the bearer has at least 1 hit point.
[Damage Type] Blast
When a 20 is rolled on an attack roll with this weapon, its critical hit deals an extra 4d6 damage. Roll on the Damage Type table to determine the damage type.
When a 20 is rolled on an attack roll with this weapon, its critical hit infers a “Wound” condition, dealing 2d4 damage at the start of the targets next 5 turns.
When the bearer makes their first opportunity attack per round, it does not consume a reaction.
The bearer may transform into a single type of animal, as though using the Druid class feature Wild Shape. This effect lasts 1 hour, and has one charge which it regains at dawn. Roll on the Transformation Table to determine the type of animal.
The bearer may cast Cure Wounds as a fifth level spell, using Wisdom as their spellcasting ability and the weapon as their focus. This effect has one charge which it regains at dawn.
The bearer can make one attack with this weapon as a bonus action on each of their turns.
The bearer gains a +1 bonus to all saving throws.
This weapon negates all critical hits against the bearer.
Any creature can Cast a Spell of 1st through 5th level into the weapon by touching the weapon as the spell is cast. This weapon can store up to 5 levels worth of Spells at a time. The bearer can cast any spell stored into this weapon without using components. The spell uses the slot level, spell save DC, spell Attack bonus, and spellcasting ability of the original caster, but is otherwise treated as if you cast the spell.The spell cast from the weapon is no longer stored in it, freeing up space.
This weapon deals an additional +2d6 damage. Roll on the Damage Type table to determine the damage type.
Of [Damage Type] Immunity
The bearer has immunity to one type of damage. Roll on Damage Type table to determine the damage type.
The bearer has resistance to all damage dealt by spells.
The bearer gains a +1 bonus to AC.
The bearer’s proficiency bonus increases by +1.
The critical hit range for this weapon is increased by one.
Hit points lost to this weapon’s damage can be regained only through a short or long rest, rather than by regeneration, magic, or any other means. Creatures killed by this weapon can only be brought back to life by a True Resurrection or Wish spell.
Of Greater Spell-Storing
Any creature can Cast a Spell of 1st through 7th level into the weapon by touching the weapon as the spell is cast. This weapon can store up to 7 levels worth of Spells at a time. The bearer can cast any spell stored into this weapon without using components. The spell uses the slot level, spell save DC, spell Attack bonus, and spellcasting ability of the original caster, but is otherwise treated as if you cast the spell. The spell cast from the weapon is no longer stored in it, freeing up space.
The bearer may speak a command word as an action to gain the effect of the Etherealness spell, which last for 10 minutes or until the weapon is dropped or stowed. This effect has one charge which it regains at dawn.
The weapon ignores resistance to the weapon’s damage type. When a 20 is rolled on an attack roll with this weapon, if the target is a creature with at least one head, you remove one of the creature’s heads. The creature dies if it can’t survive without the lost head. Otherwise, the attack deals an additional extra 6d8 damage of the weapons type.
[Damage Type] Fury
This weapon deals an additional +2d10 damage. Roll on the Damage Type table to determine the damage type.
Of Greater [Ability Score]
The owner has a single ability score raised to 19 if it is below 19. Roll on the Ability Score table to determine which score receives the bonus.
The bearer receives advantage on saving throws against Spells and other magical effects, and spell attacks have disadvantage against you.
Of Wondrous Protection
The bearer gains a +2 bonus to AC.
The bearer has truesight with a radius of 30 ft.
The bearer may cast the spell Wish. This effect has one charge which it regains after one century has passed.
I didn’t drop a big pile of campaign lore on the players at the beginning. My first handout was less than 500 words – probably should have been less than 200 to be honest. It was about 15 sessions in, I think, when I realized the setting was going to have legs and I should probably have a little bit more comprehensive information for the players and, to a certain extent, myself.