Thursday, January 6, 2011

Magic Items for 1st level characters

Hope everyone had a Happy New Year!

Occasionally I'm tempted to throw those squishy 1st level characters a bone (I know, I'm a big softy), so here are some magic items appropriate for a 1st level character to be gifted as "starting equipment".

Magic User: Staff of the Apprentice

This staff is typically made of sturdy wood reinforced with brass caps at either end and engraved with arcane runes from top to bottom. They are usually distinct in appearance from one school or master to the next, and are typically given to a young Magic User upon "graduating" to a full-fledged 1st level apprentice. The staff allows the magic user to cast each of the following, once per day: dancing lights, detect magic, and read magic.

Cleric: Amulet of the Acolyte

This is an ornate amulet or holy symbol, bearing the device of the cleric's patron, given to young clerics upon achieving the status of a full-fledged 1st level acolyte. It is typically made of brass or iron with a thin plating of silver or gold, and sometimes inlaid with gems. When brandished, it allows clerics to turn undead as if they were 1 level higher, and also allows the cleric to cast, once per day, protection from evil.

Fighter: Sword of my Ancestor

Not necessarily a sword, this is a weapon, sometimes ornate, sometimes plain, that has typically been hanging over a mantelpiece for most of the young fighter's life, and is given to him or her when they first set off in search of adventure, along with the tale of that brave ancestor's adventures (perhaps with a legacy which may come back to haunt and/or favor the character later in the campaign). While the weapon is not magical (most of the time), once per day the character can draw upon the small amount of magic remaining in it, or perhaps spirit haunting it, to make an attack as if it were a +3 magical weapon. Unfortunately, this is stressful to the old thing, and any "natural 1" rolled during such an attack results in the weapon being irreparably broken.

Thief: Such Clever, Cunning Instruments

This is a set of small tools, picks, and other devices crafted by the thief's master and gifted to him or her upon "graduating". They are typically carried in a small, waterproof leather pouch that may be easily concealed beneath the thief's outer clothing. So cunningly are the tools crafted, that the thief's minimum chance to open locks or remove traps is 40%. Of course, once the thief's own abilities surpass 40% in those skills, the tools are of no more use to him or her and they typically pass them along to the next neophyte burglar.


  1. Very nice. I particularly like the Staff of the Apprentice.

  2. I like the way the Thief tools work the best: they provide a boost at the start but you quickly outgrow them.

    For this reason I'd change your items a little:

    Veteran's Sword lets you attack as a 3rd level Fighter but it's old so on a natural 1 it breaks.

    Acolyte's Holy Symbol lets you Turn 1-2 HD Undead as if you were a 3rd level Priest.

    Prestidigitator's Staff is fine. The spells are useful but not powerful. But it's useful at a high level too. Maybe I'd give him a Prestidigitator's Amulet which gives you AC 8 if you don't have better already, and 4 HP-MAX if your HP-MAX is lower than that. Maybe he could give it to his Toad familiar when he grows out of it.

    Like I said, the Thief one is perfect. I'd say that the 40% OL and F/RT is the base, so difficult locks can reduce that. Otherwise it's possible a high level Thief might want to use them to open a lock for which he would have a -60% or something.

    Also it would be good if these were class-restricted. Otherwise any Fighter would love to have the Thief lockpicks, and a Magic-User would gain much from the Veteran Sword even at mid-levels.

  3. Spiffy! I kind of agree with 1d30 though. The items are a bit oomphy and ought to be class limited a bit.

    I do the heirloom sword as a non magic +1 weapon or a +0 magic one for simplicity and if I thought the player wanted to keep it, let them unlock more powers as the weapon wakes up.

    The picks are super and if you wanted them to be kept, let them add +10% at higher levels.

    The staff is also excellent with potential to become as "Master's Staff" by adding more powers or becoming a magic weapon. I also really like the daily powers as I hate charged items.

    The amulet is also a wee bit strong but I am not sure how to change it best. Its also easy to level up (add +x protection, more powers)

  4. Thanks for this post! Just the kind of thing I'm looking for right now.

  5. Very nice! I'm adding these to my starting character ideas. Thanks!

  6. These are some spiffy items for starter characters. They'd be perfect for goals for a quick starter quest too.



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