The best magic item in Dungeons & Dragons is both safer and more fun than a Deck of Many Things. It’s also full of beans. Literally.
Dungeons & Dragons is full of many a magic item. And throughout its 47 year history, there have been many that have firmly secured their place in legend, from Vorpal Swords to Holy Avengers, and Spheres of Annihilation, Eyes of Vecna, and of course the dreaded, potentially campaign ruining Deck of Many Things.
But flying under almost everyone’s radar is the best magic item in D&D. It’s all the fun of a Deck of Many Things without the potential to lay waste to your campaign. It’s got some of the most creative options you’ll find, and it can literally take characters to another world. I’m talking about the legendary Bag of Beans II. That’s right, there are two different Bags of Beans in D&D. The first one is barely worth mentioning–much like a Bag of Tricks it’s full of random beans you can pull out which turn into monsters when planted.
But the Bag of Beans II, which was introduced in Dragon #171 is a masterpiece of a magic item. It shows off such breadth and potential that each bean contained inside could be a magic item all its own right. It is full of 101 beans, and like most Bag Of… magic items, you roll on a table to see what bean you randomly draw–but unlike the inferior magic bags, there’s one entry for each bean.
That’s right, there are a hundred different beans that you can get, and each one is wildly creative. It inspired the 5th Edition Bag of Beans but the one from Dragon Magazine is worth finding just to read through it. We’re not gonna through it page by page, but here’s just a sampling of what you can get:
A Geyser erupts, throwing water 20 feet into the air for 1d12 rounds. If desired the water may be replaced by another nonmagical liquid such as ale, beer, berry juice, tea, vinegar, wine, or crude oil. Sitting around the camp and you plant a party geyser–it’s a memorable D&D moment.
A simulacrum of the bean planter rises from the ground, the duplicate joins forces with the planet initially, but after 2d10 days it decides to break away to establish a career of its own. Only 1d10 days later, it melts. But for those 1d10 days, you have another, independent character that’s an exact copy of one of the party out making a name for themselves before they confront Harrison Ford on a rainy rooftop.
Flowers shoot up from the ground for 120 yards around the planted beans and emit clouds of magical pollen that causes creatures in the area to fall instantly asleep for 1d12 rounds. 1d4+1 of affected targets will be granted a limited wish stemming from their dreams–player characters are encouraged to describe their dreams without knowing the consequencce.
An Apparatus of Kwalish, piloted by an unarmed hobgoblin crawls out of the ground.
A beanstalk grows up into the air, and if climbed, it leads to a cloud castle, to wildspace (for a Spelljammer Adventure) or to a different plane altogether (like a Planescape adventure in a cloud city on the Elemental Plane of Air).
And that’s just five beans picked randomly from a five rolls of the dice. Any of these would be a great moment in a campaign. Even if you never give this to your players, seek out the Bag of Beans II, you can find it in Dragon #171 or in the Encyclopedia Magicka, the best 2nd Edition book ever compiled, and you’ve got material for days.