Content of the article: "Advise on Scaling/Leveling Magic Items"
In the near future, I'll be starting my first homebrew campaign. My players and I have decided that it would be most fun to start with characters who are already at level 5, which to me also seems like a reasonable level for each of them to have acquired one magical item of significant rarity. I've worked with each of them a little to create their own unique weapon, armor, or wondrous item which is not only tied into their character and backstory, but also somewhat fits into the playstyle that they would like to adhere to. My hope was that each of my players would have fun with roleplaying and get attached to these items, which I would like them to keep and level up with them over time, as they complete character and story arcs.
But, as a new DM, I am chiefly concerned that I don't know what I'm getting myself into. I worry that the items might be too strong, or that one of them will be much stronger than the others, leading to my players feeling either bored or outshone, or both. So, I figured I'd ask some more experienced DMs what they might think about these items so far. If you have any advice, like how to tweak these items, or perhaps what to look out for as these items get used in the campaign, then please let me know! I want them to be fun to use, but not game breaking.
Item #1: An enchanted greatsword for the Leonin Battlemaster who lives for the thrill of combat.
Lionsfang, Greatsword +1, Attunement required
Can only be attuned to by Braxius of the Ivorymane, however if another creature attempts to attune to the sword, it then breaks Braxius's attunement.
The deadly edge of this exquisitely forged greatsword is imbued with an ancient magic, fueled by the blood of slain foes. Lionsfang adds +1 to all attack and damage rolls made with it, and it counts as a magical weapon against creatures with resistance or immunity to nonmagical attacks. Furthermore, it carries 5 arcane charges which fully regenerate every night at midnight and can be spent on the following innate ability:
Bestial Bloodlust (1 charge): As a free action, you may enter a frenzy until the start of your next turn. During this time, all creatures gain +2 to any attack rolls made against you. You may also choose any single creature that you can see as the object of your bloodlust, and gain +2 to any attack rolls you make against it with Lionsfang while frenzied. If you successfully hit this creature with an attack from Lionsfang while frenzied, it then becomes overwhelmed with a sense of your predatory instinct, and instead suffers -2 to any attack rolls made against you until the start of your next turn. Once you have used this innate ability, you can't use it again until your next turn.
Item #2: A cursed armor for the Dragonborn Oath of Conquest Paladin with ties to the setting's god of light, and justice.
Chained Conqueror, Adamantine Chain Mail (AC 16), Attunement required, Cursed
This gleaming chain mail is forged of pure adamantine and lined with fine, black leather. Emblazoned on the chest is a golden, seven-pointed sun. While equipped, it turns any critical hit against you into a normal hit.
Burning Radiance: As an action, you can cast the Crusader's Mantle spell for its full duration without concentration. For the duration of the spell, in addition to its normal effects, you also gain a +1 bonus to your AC and become a source of bright light out to 15 feet, and dim light for an additional 15 feet. Once you have used this feature, you can't use it again until you have finished a long rest while wearing the Chained Conqueror.
Curse: Once you don this cursed armor, you can't doff it unless you are targeted by the Remove Curse spell or similar magic. While wearing the Chained Conqueror, you have an irrational paranoia and fear of being out of it. This often manifests as sleeping, bathing and even going to fancy balls while still in your armor as if something is out there waiting for you to take it off and then strike you down. Even when the armor is successfully removed, you are left with an itching desire to put it back on.
In addition, whenever you take damage from combat, you must make a constitution save as if you were attempting to maintain concentration. If you pass, then you maintain your sanity and suffer no other ill effects. Otherwise, you begin to lose your sanity, and at the start of your next turn you must make a DC 16 intelligence save. If you pass, then you regain your sanity and can take your turn as normal. Otherwise, you feel your mind slip out of control and must perform the first possible action of the following:
– If there is a creature that you can see that is within range, then move along the shortest path to the nearest creature that you can see, and then take the attack action against this creature without switching weapons.
– If there is a creature that you can see that is not within range, then take the dash action, move along the shortest path to the nearest creature that you can see, and then suffer 1d6 psychic damage.
– If there are no creatures that you can see, then use your action to scream in anguish at the top of your lungs, and then suffer 1d6 psychic damage.
Once you have performed one of the above actions, or if you take damage or your movement is interrupted while attempting to perform one of the above actions (e.g. by triggering a trap), you then regain your sanity and can complete the remainder of your turn as normal.
Item #3: A cursed talisman for the Human Rogue with ties to the setting's god of dreams.
Periapt of the Somnambulist, Attunement required, Cursed
This delicate-looking talisman which fits in the palm of your hand appears to be intricately carved from a single piece of flawless, translucent amethyst. The charm, stylized as an evil eye, is attached to a long, fine loop of silver which has no clasp. Once attuned, putting the loop around your neck causes the Periapt of the Somnambulist to disappear from other creatures' perception entirely, though you still remain aware of its presence. If worn outside your clothing, other creatures with a passive perception of 18 notice the item, otherwise they must succeed on a DC 15 perception check in order to notice it.
While wearing the Periapt, your constitution score is set to 19. This effect is negated if your constitution score is already 19 or higher.
Third Eye Waking: As a bonus action, you may close your eyes and conjure a third, skyward gazing eye with an iris of blood red on your forehead. To all who can see you, the appearance of this third eye is extremely unnerving. Your third eye lasts until you open your eyes again with a bonus action, or up to a total duration of 10 minutes, whichever comes first. While your third eye exists, you can see normally in darkness, both magical and nonmagical, to a distance of 120 feet. Furthermore, the Periapt ceases to avoid perception by other creatures, as it begins to emit a faint glow which seems to penetrate even through opaque objects up to 5 feet thick. If the Periapt is unequipped from you while you are using this feature, you immediately suffer one level of exhaustion and your third eye vanishes. Once you have used this feature, you can't use it again until you finish a long rest while wearing the Periapt of the Somnambulist.
Curse: After each use of Third Eye Waking, you must make a DC 16 constitution save or suffer one level of exhaustion.
In addition, every time you attempt to take a long rest while wearing the Periapt, you must make a DC 13 wisdom save. If you pass, you may finish your long rest as normal. Otherwise, you suffer a sleepwalking episode lasting for the duration of your long rest, to be used at the DM's discretion, and eventually suffer one level of exhaustion on waking. While in this state, if you take any damage, or if a creature within 5 feet of you uses its action to shake you, you then immediately wake without any additional exhaustion effects, but your long rest is interrupted.
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