4d4 Wondrous Magical Items
by Creighton Broadhurst
November 04, 2019
Magic items should be wondrous objects, but these days they often seem to be relegated to nothing more than a commodity to be bought and sold like any other (expensive) item. That’s not right, and an evocative, flavoursome description of an item can help to reestablish the the sense of mystique and excitement that should surround such items.
Boots, belts, robes, cloaks and hats can all be imbued with potent magical powers. From the humble cloak of protection and the cloak of the elvenkind to the much sought after boots of speed all such items have great value to adventurers.
Use the table below, to determine what kind of magical attire the characters have discovered.
- Of supple leather these knee-high boots are incredibly soft. They fit their owner’s feet perfectly and slowly change colour to match the wearer’s outfit. Perceptive characters notice the owner leaves much shallower tracks than normal, when wearing the boots.
- With built up heels these sturdy leather war boots are thick and tough. Marred by all sorts of old stains including mud, blood and other unidentifiable things these boots appear worthless, and certainly not something a well-to-do adventurer or noble knight would willingly wear.
- This almost blindly white fur cloak is completely without blemish of any sort. No stain sticks to the cloak for longer than a few minutes. Although of fur, the garment is lightweight and no more encumbering than a light-weight summer cloak.
- This slender golden belt shimmers in the light as its owner moves. Supple and strong it has the flexibility of rope and the hardness of iron.
Magic rings are a staple of fantasy gaming, and much sought after by adventurers. Such objects can call forth or project a range of powers and effects, at their owner’s command.
To generate a magic ring’s description, roll on the table below.
- Crafted from a slender piece of magically shaped white ash, this ring appears sized for a human’s little finger. The ring’s surface is incredibly smooth and free of any imperfection.
- This solid, grey-iron ring is chunky enough to be used as an impromptu knuckleduster. Dwarven runes, whose meanings hint at the ring’s powers, decorate the inside of the band.
- A faint shimmer seems to hover over the surface of this golden band. The ring reacts in a particularly strange way to flickering torchlight and the like; the flame’s reflections seem to dance and writhe across the ring’s surface as if they are bound within.
- Forged of platinum this plain silvery ring at first glance seems to be nothing particularly special. The ring is incredibly light and appears worn through much use. Perceptive characters, detect the almost worn smooth sigil of the legendary elven archmage Firmah Aralivar etched into its band.
Wondrous Rods, Staves & Wands
From the common wand of magic missiles to the awesomely rare and much coveted staff of the archmagi, rods, staves and wands can channel awesome power. Such items rarely appear to be nothing more than a tapered stick or quarterstaff.
Use the table below, to determine the appearance of the item found by the characters:
- A red crystal tops this slender, fire-blackened shard of willow. Barely perceptible heat shimmers rise from the wood, and anyone firmly grasping the wand feels the heat pulsing within.
- The grinning skull of an obscenely sized and proportioned rodent—its jaws gaping wide—tops this gnarled, twisted length of diseased wood.
- Glimmering with a multitude of red, blue and green precious stones, this smooth, but thick, piece of iron has an obvious grip at one end. The object is surprisingly light weight.
- Fine gold and silver wire entwine about this length of beautifully stained oak. At one end, the wires come together in a tightly wound ball giving the whole a bulbous look.
Special Note: Wherever possible, the words “rod”, “staff” or “wand” have been omitted from the above text. Where they do appear, treat them as interchangeable so you can get the maximum usage from the items above.
Magical swords are the quintessential warrior’s weapon. Such weapons have a wide range of powers and many have a reputation as impressive as the hero wielding them.
Use the descriptions below, to bring a sense of wonder and excitement to the magic swords in your campaign.
- With a gleaming steel blade and a handle wrapped in worn, supple leather this sword is well looked after. Careful examination of the weapon reveals its maker’s mark—a pair of crossed swords—etched into the pommel.
- The handle of this perfectly balanced sword comprises smoothed and polished ivory topped by a gleaming silver pommel. The blade is of watered steel and its wavy pattern seems to writhe and twist like a living thing in bright light.
- A large circular black stone flecked with tiny white imperfections surmounts this blade’s pommel. The stone is an onyx and has been magically hardened. If the sword has any additional powers, they emanate from the onyx; when they do so, the stone’s white flecks glimmer and sparkle. The blade is called Glimmer Star.
- Of obviously ancient design, this sword’s blade comprises magically hardened brass. Its plain hilt is much worn and the blade is thinner than normal; a close examination reveals a few tiny imperfections on its edge. The sword’s bronze pommel is shaped like an oversized acorn.
Special Note: Wherever possible, the descriptions above do not reference a specific type of sword (such as longsword short sword, bastard sword and so on). This is deliberate. Omitting the sword’s type increases the utility of the list as a GM can apply the sword’s description to any weapons found. To determine randomly the type of sword assume 70% of swords are longswords, 20% are broadswords, 5% are short swords, 4% are bastard swords and 1% are two-handed swords.
This article is an extract from 20 Things #43: Items Most Wondrous which is available for download here at the Raging Swan Press store.
Check out the companion article (with another 16 magic items) to this post here.