What do you hand your players when a +1 sword just won’t cut it anymore? These Common Magic Items will liven up any loot table.
Magic Items have long been a staple of any RPG campaign. Whether the adjective-laden items of 3.x/Pathfinder, where your sword could literally be on Ice and Fire at the same time, to the power-possessing enchanted items of 4th edition. In 5th Edition, Magic Items are a little more streamlined, requiring less of this:
And more just doing things that feel magical. But of the myriad magic items, a few see more than their fair share of uses. How do you add a little bit of the spice of life (which I know is actually Melange, but for this article let’s pretend it’s variety) to your loot tables? Try these common magic items out. Some are useful, some provide extra roleplaying options, all are guaranteed to get a reaction from your table when it comes time to identify the loot.
Boots of False Tracks
These boots let you live out your Looney Tunes dreams of walking and leaving behind a different set of tracks. What I love about this item is that it makes you think about things that as a normal sane adventurer you’d probably never think about–things like how to disguise your tracks. Embrace the gift of this item and leave behind half-orc or halfling footprints everywhere you go, throw off any Inquisitive or other investigator types that might be on your trail. Set up tracks to make it look like an ambushing force has been in the area. Once a player has these, the real fun (trying to use them every chance you get) begins.
This is a mysterious key with a question mark worked into its head. It has a 5% chance of unlocking any lock that it’s used on. Once it unlocks something, it disappears. I love this idea so much–it’s a great reward, especially for parties where the rogue can’t unlock doors and nobody prepares/knows the Knock Spell. Better yet, it has a 5% chance of unlocking anything, so take that Arcane Lock–most of the time it’ll do nothing, but the one time it works will be one of those memorable moments.
Cloak of Billowing
This cloak may be the most sought-after magic item in your party once people realize that you can cause it to billow dramatically as a bonus action. Punctuate every speech (or sentence) with dramatic flair. Give it to a player who has been hanging back and see how it changes them–this item demands the spotlight.
This ammunition packs a wallop (taken verbatim from Xanathar’s Guide). This ammunition forces creatures hit by it to make a strength save or be knocked prone. It’s only DC 10, but every single time it works the party’s archer is going to be delighted. For maximum enjoyment, try and find Shuriken or Darts or Sling Bullets with this property.
Pot of Awakening
Your potted pal who’s fun to be around, this is a strong contender for my single favorite item on this list, this is a magical 10-pound clay pot, which, if you plant an ordinary shrub and let it grow for 30 days (no more, no less), the shrub will transform into an Awakened Shrub which is friendly towards you and may listen to commands you give it.
This is the stuff that dreams are made of. An arrow that cannot be broken, except when inside an antimagic field. If you can’t think of at least a dozen possible uses for this arrow, there’s no helping you. This is the arrow for making your DM get that far-off sad stare that you know means their spirit is broken just that much more inside. Hang the arrow somewhere and use it as a way to climb down. Wedge open any door. Bet people in taverns that you’re stronger than them–you snap a regular arrow and give them your unbreakable arrow. Build a shelter out of unbreakable arrows and weather a storm. The list goes on–but this item has potential.
Most of the common magic items have that kind of potential–there are ways to use them, but you have to get creative to really make the most out of them. And that’s what I like about them. It isn’t just that they’re frivolous, but that they encourage players to really think about how they can get away with things in the game–that’s as much a part of D&D as kicking in a door to a 10’x10′ room with an Orc guarding a chest. So, I hope you enjoy figuring out how you’re going to use the Tankard of Sobriety (which means you never get drunk) to create further adventures.
Until next time, happy adventuring!