GM Toolkit: A Magic Item Template For You


Here’s a template to help you design great items.

In response to my Treasure First: A Quick Hack For Creating Adventure Hooks tips from last week RPT GM Jeremy Brown sent me this fantastic D&D 3.5 stat block for magic items. It’s my hope you might adapt it for your campaigns and game system to help flesh your treasure out. I especially like the Knowledge lines – fantastic way to add more lore to your game while rewarding players who have smart characters.

Magic Item Template (D&D 3.5)

Overview & Backstory

  • Name of Item:
  • Origin of Item:
  • Age of Item:
  • Who First Used the Item:
  • Who Last Used the Item:
  • One Event Where the Item Did Something Good for Someone:
  • One Event Where the Item Was Involved in Something Bad For Someone:

Lore

  • Knowledge DC 5:
  • Knowledge DC 10:
  • Knowledge DC 15:
  • Knowledge DC 20:
  • Knowledge DC 25:
  • Knowledge DC 30:
  • Knowledge DC 35:
  • Knowledge DC 40:

Traits

  • What is the Item Made of:
  • Describe the Shape/Ornateness of the Item:
  • Describe Other Decorative Details if Any:
  • Magical Abilities:
  • Special Rules/Quirks of Item:
  • Caster Level:
  • Prerequisites:
  • Cost to Create:
  • Market Price:

Jeremy also kindly sent me an example, which you can read in the next section below.

Cloak of Starless Night

Overview & Backstory

Origin of Item: The cloak of Starless Night was first reported in the possession of a sorceress known only as Al Shadira in the Gershada Empire. She opposed the rise of the Monks of the Flaming Sun, and she was eventually hunted down by them and slaughtered.

Age of Item: The cloak was first reported in 3628 or 3629 in the Gershada Empire.

Who First Used the Item: Al Shadira, a sorceress who claimed to have power over shadows.

Who Last Used the Item: The cloak was last known to be in the possession of DienChow, the WuJen dictator of Menang in the 41st century.

One Event Where the Item Did Something Good for Someone: It is said that the cloak blinded the priest of Jeddar, allowing Al Shadira and her followers to escape into the night and steal away to continue their resistance against the Order of the Flaming Sun.

One Event Where the Item Was Involved in Something Bad For Someone: It is said that DienChow used the cloak to infiltrate the palace of Menang and slay the former lord of the city.

Lore

DC 10: The Cloak of Endless Night was said to be made for or by (stories differ) the sorceress Al Shadira. She was a mighty mage and claimed to have power over shadows, having lived in their realm for a time. Most people believe this was boasting.

DC 15: Al Shadira fought against the Order of the Flaming Sun when it began spreading through the Gershada Empire. Al Shadira is said to have waged a small war with the monks. They eventually cornered her and slaughtered her. The cloak was taken back to the monastery of Sirania in Gershada. It was stolen from there.

DC 20: A cloak matching the description of the Cloak of Starless Night is reported in the hands of a Kurushi thief named Yusef ibn Jahin al Manu. This thief was finally caught by Gwendorian authorities in the eastern town of Talhausen in the Gwendorian Empire. He was put to death, and his cloak sent for study by the Mages of the Arcane Order. The cloak disappeared from their treasury along with a number of books on illusion magic.

DC 25: The next report of the cloak comes from the Knights of the Road, who slew a person who claimed to be called Arangariax the Shadowblessed. It is believed that this Arangariax is the reported founder of the Night Company, a band of evil worshippers of Thanwe the goddess of night. The last reported appearance of the cloak is in the hands of DienChow the WuJen who took over Menang through guile and assassination in the 41st century.

Traits

What is the Item Made of: This robe of gray-brown and black silk is made in an eastern style common in the Gershada Empire some years ago. The hood, unlike most cloaks, allows the hood to completely envelop the head, hiding the face.

Describe the Shape/Ornateness of the Item: The cloak can cover the entire body and head, completely hiding the wearer. Further, it has tiny onyx gems woven into the cuffs and hems in arcane sigils. These crawl if studied too closely under light, and after a time, if studied closely, they disappear entirely until the light is taken away.

If a knowledge arcana DC 30 is made, these runes seem to recall diagrams in a book known only as the Arcanabulum Tenebrorum, a work attributed to a Gershadian wizard known only as Al Shadira.

Describe Other Decorative Details if Any: When the hood is pulled over the face, the front of this garment takes on the appearance of a shadowy shifting blur that occasionally reveals the features of the creature who wears the robe.

Magical Abilities: When worn the robe grants its wearer +1 to the save DC’s of any shadowcaster mystery or spell with the shadow or darkness descriptors. The wearer can produce deeper darkness as the spell once per day.

Further, the wearer always has concealment against opponents except those who can function in total darkness (darkvision, blindsight, tremorsense, or the like), or if in bright daylight (daylight spell or equivalent).

If in shadowy conditions, the wearer of the robe may disappear as under a greater invisibility spell once per day for 1 minute. In addition, once per day the wearer may take shadow form as the spell for 1 minute.

The robe does not recharge any of the above powers if it does not receive at least six hours of darkness in which to regain its potency.

Special Rules/Quirks of Item: Besides the recharge time mentioned above, if the cloak is ever subjected to a light spell of 4th level or higher, it is deactivated and loses all magic for 1 month or until taken to the plane of shadow and allowed to absorb its dark energy for 1 day.

Caster Level: 10th.

Prerequisites: deeper darkness, greater invisibility, shadow form, rary’s mnemonic enhancer.

Cost to Create: incalculable.

Market Price: incalculable.

Great stat block, Jeremy, thank you. And fantastic example item! I love the lore you have going on in your campaign — well done.

Cheers,
Johnn
roleplayingtips.com
Have more fun at every game!

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