Magic Items with Purpose

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I always liked the idea of intelligent magic items in D&D with special purposes. I appreciate that 3rd ed expanded the options to include things other than weapons.

I was thinking, though… what if all permanent magic items had purposes? Maybe without a purpose, a magic item couldn’t sustain its magic. This wouldn’t require the magic item to be intelligent – the purpose would, in general, be that of its creator.

For example:

Cloak of Elvenkind
Old-style: gives a +5 competence bonus on Hide checks.
New-Style: The cloak was created by elves to allow them to ambush orc invaders to their woods. It gives a +5 competence bonus on Hide checks against everyone but elves. In addition, Orcs have a -2 penalty to their Spot checks against you. This penalty increases to +5 in forested areas.



2 Responses

  1. I like it. Have you ever looked through Fantasy Flight Games’ Spells and Spellcraft? Its an older book, created for 3.0, but it has some useful nuggets. Of particular interest for me was a chapter on magic items that grow as the character gains levels. A neat concept, though I think a bit under-defined in the book itself.

  2. Hrmm, reminds me of how magic items worked in Earthdawn, except if you wanted them to level you had to fulfill certain requirements. Such as finding out legends about it, using it to do certain deeds, bathing it in ork blood, things like that.

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