Something To Do With Rare Magic Items

4

October 7, 2011 by deadorcs

Ever since Mordy’s Book came out, there’s been a lot of talk online about rare magic items. Some folks thing they’re just the thing to fix what they see as a broken system. Others think these items might break a system that’s already well established in 4th Edition Dungeons & Dragons.

Regardless of your opinion on such things, I thought of something that might be entertaining and add a little excitement to your player’s discovery of a rare magic item. Don’t just tell them what they find. Instead, consider working in a skill challenge for those players.

This was just a quick idea I had, but I liked it well enough, that I think I might start using it in my own campaigns. Presented below is a 3rd level example of what such a skill challenge might look like.

 

Rare Magic Item Skill Challenge

Demanding quiet, you hold what must surely be a magical item of great value and rarity. It’s a shame the creator’s notes were destroyed in the fight. Looks like you’ll have to figure out what this item is the hard way.

This skill challenge is designed to determine the powers & benefits of a Rare Magic Item. 

A simple Arcana check (of the appropriate level) can determine during a Short Rest, if a recovered magical item is Rare. If the item is Rare, it’s powers can be determined during the party’s next Extended Rest. 

Pick one person in the party to be designated the primary. That person is now the one that is to complete the skill challenge to determine the nature of the Rare Magic Item. Additional members of the party can assist the primary, but they must be adjacent to the primary in order to do so.

Rare Magic Item Skill Challenge 150 XP
Level 3 
Complexity 1 (requires 4 successes before 3 failures)
Primary Skills
Arcana (DC 13): Using your knowledge of the magical arts & sciences, you uncover the secrets this item keeps hidden.
Success: You gain a 1 success.
Failure: You gain 1 failure. In addition, your blundering causes you to expend a daily power of the item (if it has one). If the item does not have powers (or has no powers remaining), everyone in a Burst 2 area takes Low 
Damage (1d6+5 for 3rd level, for example) of a type relevant to the item (for example, if the weapon is fire based, this damage is fire damage.)
History (DC 13): Special items have unique histories. Surely you can recall something you’ve read somewhere about the item you now hold in your hands.
Success: You gain 1 success.
Failure: You gain 1 failure. In addition, your blundering causes you to expend a daily power of the item (if it has one). If the item does not have powers (or has no remaining powers), everyone in a Burst 2 area takes Low Damage (1d6+5 for 3rd level, for example) of a type relevant to the item (for example, if the weapon is fire based, this damage is fire damage.)
Other Skills
Assistance Bonus (DC 13): You lend aid to the primary person completing this Rare Magic Item skill challenge. In order to do so, roll a skill check of the same type as the primary person completing the skill challenge.
Success: If your assistance roll succeeds, you have managed to provide some helpful information to the primary.The primary person completing the skill challenge gains a +2 to their next skill check roll.
Failure: If your assistance roll fails, you have managed to steer the primary wrong. The primary person completing the skill challenge gains a -2 to their next skill check roll.
Other Relevant Skill (DC 21): This category varies, as different items might lend themselves to being puzzled out by different skills. For example, the Religion skill might be useful to figure out the abilities of a Rare Magic Item that has a religious theme or apparent function.
Success: You gain a 1 success. In addition, you gain a +1 to Arcana or History rolls made for the remainder of the challenge.
Failure: You gain 1 failure. In addition, your blundering causes you to expend a daily power of the item (if it has one). If the item does not have powers (or has no powers remaining), everyone in a Burst 2 area takes Low Damage (1d6+5 for 3rd level, for example) of a type relevant to the item (for example, if the weapon is fire based, this damage is fire damage.)
Victory
If the characters successfully complete the skill challenge, the name and nature of the magical item is revealed. If a successful History check was part of the skill challenge, some historical notes regarding the item are known as well.
Defeat
If the characters fail to successfully complete the skill challenge, they have managed to fool around with an item they are not prepared to understand or master. A magical explosion results, and everyone in a Burst 2 area takes High Limited damage based on the level of the item (2d6+9 for 3rd level, for example). In addition, the magic item becomes dormant and will not be available for testing until the next Extended Rest.

I’d love to hear what you think!  Until next time…

Game excellently with one another.

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4 thoughts on “Something To Do With Rare Magic Items

  1. Richard says:

    This is great – consider it yoinked for my games! Rich

  2. OldSchoolDM says:

    Very similar to an "improve magic item" extended-rest challenge I created. The only real differences were 1) -1 on assist failure penalty (per standard assist rules) 2) the destruction of resources on each failed attempt, and 3) destruction of the item on a complete failure.

  3. R.M. Walker says:

    @Jeremy Morgan – Thanks! Let me know how it works out for you! Enjoy!

  4. Awesome! Love this, Randall. I think I might have to steal this idea.

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