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D&D: Plant Your Flag With These Five Magic Banners

3 Minute Read
Jul 12 2022
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Battle standards are a fantasy staple — from deadly weapons to symbols of hope everywhere else. D&D has had some incredible Magic Banners.

Magic Banners are back in a big way. And Elden Ring played a big part in this flag-waving renaissance. After all, one of the deadliest weapons in the game is a magic banner:

Whether inspiring allies to victory or instilling fear in the enemy, magic banners are a staple of fantasy stories. Especially in D&D. Just look at the purple dragon knight who basically lives to be covered in flags.

But in all of D&D 5th Edition, there are only two battle standards. That needs to change, so if you’re looking for a cool wondrous item to give your players, why not take inspiration from these five magic banners, straight out of D&D’s past?

Holy Banner

Let’s start with one of the best examples of what a banner can be. The Holy Banner is a magic standard that bolsters allies within 60 feet. Everyone gets a +2 bonus to all saves. But wait, there’s more. The standard also turns undead as a 12th-level Priest and has a chance to dispel hostile “priestal spells” cast by evil priests. You could also just flip the alignments and make it command undead to represent an evil-aligned deity.

Banner of Insults

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Now that we’ve gotten the iconic magic banner out of the way, let’s get weird. The Banner of Insults is a magic banner that appears and functions like any other magic banner (including the ones on this list), but when viewed by a creature of 6 or more hit dice, the message displayed is “quite insulting” and “deeply personal.” It cannot be seen by the bearer or their allies, but any creature seeing it has a 90% chance of investigating and will probably attack whomever holds such an insulting standard.

Dragon Flag

This magical black banner bears the outline of a dragon. When unfurled and displayed (such as from the top of a ship, or by a knight charging down a hill), it creates an illusion. Those subject to its majesty will see a three-headed multicolor dragon spewing fire and clawing at the air. Of course, the illusion is entirely visual, without the benefit of sound or smell, so whatever advantage you gain, you’ll have to make use of quickly.

Banner of Bravery

This banner only works if it is carried toward an enemy or dangerous area. When seen by any allied creature, the banner apparently reads “Excelsior”. And NPCs and monsters will follow the user without regard to personal safety. At least until the magic wears off.

Banner of Privacy

This magical banner, taken from the Book of Marvelous Magic, perhaps one of my favorite tomes of D&D Apocrypha, reads “Keep Out” and has a 66% chance of causing any monster or NPC of less than five hit dice to leave the area it’s displayed in undisturbed.

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There are more, of course, but this is a great way to get started. So let your freak flag, your fast flag, your fire flags–really let whatever flag you want to fly the next time you sit down to play D&D.

Happy Adventuring!

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