Unlocking the Vault dives into magic items from the Vault of Magic.
The most powerful common magic item found in the main rules is the humble potion of healing—the benchmark for the pinnacle of power allowed for a common magic item. But perhaps we could have more.
One of the great things about the Vault of Magic is the large number of new common magic items it brings into the game. This installment highlights my top 6 common magic items among the weapons and armor in Vault of Magic with discussion about how to squeeze a little more utility out of them!
Note to GMs: Magic is one of the best things about this game. Don’t be stingy with it. A lot of these common items are more useful to low level adventurers (though they can be handy for higher levels as well). Don’t be afraid to let characters have them, especially if they fill a void in the party composition. Put common items in treasure hordes; gift them to PCs from grateful people/creatures they’ve helped or saved; award them as prizes for contests the PCs compete in. Many of these items are worth more than their weight in gold (or at least more than what the guide says is the going price for such things, anyway).
1. Bow of Accuracy
This bow doubles the range at which you can make attacks without disadvantage. A humble shortbow of accuracy has a longer range than a mundane longbow. Meanwhile, a longbow of accuracy allows you to attack enemies up to 300 feet (!) away without disadvantage.
While most encounters don’t take place at such range, this bow is extremely useful for the archer that wants to dish out damage from a long way off, typically during outdoor encounters. Return fire from enemies would be at disadvantage, and you’re too far away to be targeted by most spells, so feel free to snipe spellcasters and archers at your leisure. This weapon is especially useful when attacking or defending a castle.
The item’s name is its whole modus operandi. It does one thing—open locks—and it does it well. The stronger you are, the more likely you are to get the lock open. If your party lacks a rogue, this item serves you well, especially if you have a high-Strength fighter or barbarian. In the case of the barbarian, if you know there’s a fight behind that locked door, then rage first. You’ll get advantage on the roll, and once you’ve busted through, you can wade right into combat.
3. Survival Knife
The sheer utility of this item makes it a boon for any low-level adventuring party. In addition to being a dagger, it can transform into four other pieces of equipment: crowbar, fishing rod, hunting trap, or hatchet. If your gamemaster tracks encumbrance, that’s four pieces of equipment you don’t have to carry until you need them, and that much less gold you need to spend. As a bonus, you can use the hatchet to deal slashing damage in combat, if you’re facing something with resistance to piercing and lack a secondary weapon.
As a side benefit, if you need to carry a weapon in an area and can’t because of laws, guards, or other circumstances, just change the dagger into an innocent fishing rod and you’re fine. (Granted, if you’re trying to sneak a weapon into the royal ball, this might draw some looks, but you work with what you’ve got.)
4. Crusader’s Shield
The biggest benefit here is that you get the Armor Class bonus of a shield while keeping your spellcasting focus in hand. Your AC goes up by 2, and there’s no need to fiddle with material components unless they have a gold piece value.
Then there’s the Versatile Cantrip ability, which is handy for a cleric or druid using the shield (sorry, paladins). Casting a cantrip that you don’t know might just save the day, or at least makes the day a smidgen easier.
5. Muffled Armor
Here’s another item with only a single ability, but a solid one. Ever had an adventure where a stealthy approach to an encounter was the best way, but the disadvantage on a Stealth check meant the fighter’s jingling chainmail alerted the enemy? Not with this armor. Sure, they still might have a lousy score for Stealth, but at least they get to keep a good roll if they’re lucky enough to get one.
6. Shield of the Fallen
This item directly addresses a problem that has frustrated me in many a game session. One of your party members, usually the biggest one, is incapacitated, and you have to get them somewhere safe. Another strong character can carry them, but then they’re not ready for combat. If you don’t have any other strong folk, then you’ve got two people carrying the third, making the party even less ready for action.
The shield of the fallen makes this problem go away. No one has to carry you, the wizard doesn’t have to waste a spell slot casting floating disk, and the party can get somewhere safe until whatever affliction wears off, they’re revived, or whatever necessary thing restores them. A situational item, sure, but it helps in the situation I dislike most in the game, and for that, it’s one of my favorites.
Get details on 900 more magic items in Vault of Magic available at the Kobold Press store! If you like these ideas for weapons and armor, you’ll love what’s in store, including more than 30 unique items developed by special guests, including Patrick Rothfuss, Gail Simone, Deborah Ann Woll, and Luke Gygax. Vault of Magic is on sale now!