Persuasion Check: Unearthed Arcana – Magic Items of Eberron

It’s October, which means the newest Unearthed Arcana is either going to be a trick or treat- and a treat it is! We’re taking a look at a group of Eberron style magic items, where magic is a part of everyday life.

Specifically we have 12 items to take a look at- 2 arcane focuses, 7 common magic items, and 3 Warforged parts. I’ll briefly describe each and give my thoughts on their in-game impact, even if they are understandably light on mechanics. Without further ado, let’s get to it!

Arcane Focuses
We start off with two arcane focuses, each of which operate in a similar fashion- one bolstering offense, while the other gives a defensive option. These are not meant to be game changers; they’re just focuses after all.

Imbued Wood
Imbued Wood, the offensive option, is wood infused with planar energies that can be put into a wand, staff, or other focus of choice. The type of wood used gives a +1 bonus to one damage roll of a spell that deals a specific type of damage. For example, Fenrian ash adds the +1 damage to spells that deal fire damage.

Orb of Shielding
On the other hand, the Orb of Shield is made of crystal or stone that gives the wielder a reaction to reduce damage of a specific type by 1d4 depending on what the orb is made out of. Again, an Orb of Shielding made of Fenrian basalt allows the wielder to reduce fire damage by 1d4 as a reaction.

Both of these options are nice little buffs, especially for a lower level character or a spellcaster who favors one type of damage. They do require attunement so they very well could be discarded as the party gains more powerful magic items. That said, the Orb of Shielding doesn’t require its wielder to be a spellcaster, so knowing you’re going up against a monster that spews lightning could result in stocking up in a few Orb of Shieldings made of Lamannian flint.

There is the additional rule for two-handed Arcane Focuses. Since they are also weapons, two handed versions could exists, such as a staff, that improves the range of offensive spells by 50% as well as fulfilling the need for a somatic component. This is a nice little addition that yields images of wizards channeling their power through their staff rather than their fingertips. Overall, thumbs up for a great addition for low level spellcasters.

Common Magic Items
One of the hardest things to do is to come up with magic items that are both fun, but harmless. I think these common magic items mostly capture that, giving your players very minor powers when wielding them without imbuing anything that actually changes the game.

Very quickly, here is a rundown of each item:
Band of Loyalty – You die instantly at 0 HP, as to not be captured
Cleansing Stone – Removes dirt from you and your clothes
Everbright Lantern – Bullseye lantern with flame that doesn’t go out
Feather Token – One time use, basically slow fall insurance
Glamerweave – Illusion-infused clothing to give you cool effects like a fire halo
Shiftweave – 1 Outfit that can look like 5 others on command
Spellshard – Magic e-reader stone that can be password protected and used as a spellbook

Ok, so let’s work from least impactful to most as we take a look at these. The Cleansing Stone is mostly a stationary item you’ll find in town squares and inns so you don’t track orc blood everywhere. Neat. Get a portable version so you can infiltrate an enemy camp easier without their own blood on your disguise.

The Everbright Lantern. Do you like lanterns? Hate having to refill them with oil? Constantly burn down small forests when you knock your lantern over? Well do we have the item for you!

While a cool idea, Glamerweave isn’t super functional. Maybe a really dumb goblin will believe that you have a flaming halo or other cool effect, but you’re essentially just wearing last year’s Paris Fashion Week look.

Shiftweave on the other hand, could have a bit of impact. For example, since it can hold 5 different outfits, if you’re being chased in a very flamboyant outfit, going around the corner and shifting to a dirty robe is sure to have your chasers thrown off the trail. Alternatively, placing disguises or uniforms that belong to different factions will let you play some political intrigue.

The Spellshard is nice- it can hold letters or even a spellbook. Better yet, it can get wet and be fine! Even better are the harder to come by shards that can be password protected to keep the message safe. Having one of these fall into the hands of the players might make for a good side quest where they try to decrypt the password for vital information stored inside.

Now, let’s not forget, Feather Tokens already exist in the Dungeon Master Guide with a variety of one-time use functions, so this is really more of a new variant on an existing item. That said, having a slow fall in your pocket is very handy when you might have a risk of falling and falling far. Keep your reacts for better use and prepare a better spell!

And lastly, the Band of Loyalty kills you at 0 hit points rather than allowing you death saves, lest you be captured. I actually like this item for a variety of reasons. For one, it’s a good last resort for when your players try to capture an NPC you weren’t expecting them to, and so they just die. On the other hand, they then get the ring, and you know they’re going to sell it to some poor, unsuspecting person. At least it requires attunement or you know your rogue would be sliding it onto everyone’s fingers mid-combat for a laugh.

Overall I like this lot of items- lots of good, small impacts that, when used creatively, could have a larger impact than first thought. Get creative and see what ideas you can come up with for alternative uses. Thumbs up!

Warforged Components
Lastly we take a look at some additions for our construct friends, the Warforged. There’s a non-disarmable Armblade, a sentient metal sphere, and a wand sheath for holding your wand.

The Armblade is a magical (but not magical) weapon that can be any one-handed melee weapon that attunes to the Warforged. Once it’s attuned it integrates with the arm of the Warforged and it cannot be disarmed or removed against the Warforged’s will, nor can that arm be used for anything other than attacking. Of course it can be unattuned and removed. While magical, an Armblade itself doesn’t count as magical unless it’s been specifically enchanted to be, such as a Vorpal Armblade or a +1 Armblade.  Pretty solid, and in and of itself not too powerful, so it gets a thumbs up.

Then we have the Docent. It is basically Siri or Cortana for your Warforged, having a personality all its own, including ability scores for intelligence, wisdom, and charisma. It speaks telepathically with the Warforged that it is attuned to, and understand Common and Giant and occasionally other languages. Typically they act as a translator, though since they are independent it may not be very useful. Treat it bad and it could withhold information, or worse yet lie to you about anything. Along with all that, they can have a host of other properties, such as an expanded knowledge of history, the ability to cast detect magic at will, or a bonus to medicine checks with the added ability to attempt to stabilize the Warforged if they go down. A Warforged can use a bonus action to ask the Docent to use one of these bonus properties on the Warforged’s behalf, though again only if the Docent is willing will it comply. Thumbs up for a potentially sassy sidekick (they will always be sassy in my games).

And lastly, we have the Wand Sheath. It attaches to the forearm, and like the Armblade, cannot be removed against the Warforged’s will. It takes up an attunement, but shares attunement with any wand put into the sheath so that they together only take up one. Once a wand is inserted, it can retracted or extended as a bonus action, and is protected while retracted. If the wand is extended it can be used as normal with the exception that the Warforged’s hand is still free. Not too shabby, so it get a thumbs up for tri-wielding.

I gotta say, I’m digging these. I’m not apt to play a Warforged despite these cool upgrades, but should a player of mine I’d welcome them. The arcane focuses and common magic items both add small, fun components to the game that allow creativity to flow, and I sure hope to see more magic items along these lines come along. They truly can spice up a game and make a player happy when they get possession of one, even if the shininess of the toy wears off quickly.

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