Tips for Homebrewing Unique Magic Items

Magic items in DnD official art

Making magical items is a core and fun part of any homebrew D&D campaign. Here’s how to avoid some of the problems that it could bring.

Dungeons & Dragons is a game filled with adventure, fantasy, and magic. The settings that players explore are rife with loot for the taking. Of course, in the mountains of loot players will collect, they are bound to find some magic items. Many Dungeon Masters, however, probably want to make their own magical items.

The dangers that lie in DMs creating their own unique magical items range from them feeling too weak to having them become campaign-ending powers. It’s important that the party has magical items that can make them feel powerful while also maintaining a sense of tension in the campaign. Here’s how DMs can homebrew unique magical items for their party, including everything from fitting these items into the party, ensuring they feel impactful but not overpowered, to balancing multiple items throughout the party. Here’s everything DMs need to consider when designing their very own magical items.

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Magic Items Must Fit the Party

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One of the issues that comes with magical items is ensuring that everyone feels like their item fits their character and can compete with the rest of the party’s items. Of course, to properly homebrew magical items, DMs need to understand their party. Considering the party’s classes, playstyles, and interests is an important part of designing magical items for them. For instance, if a DM knows their party’s druid prefers to play passively by supporting and healing, they probably aren’t going to appreciate a magical weapon. Instead, the DM may want to invent an item that can allow them to support their friends.

It’s very important to remember that not all magic items need to be combat-focused. In fact, if it fits their party better, DMs may need to develop magic items that can play into different facets of the D&D experience. A major part of designing a homebrew magic item is making sure it fits into the party.

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Items Should Be Powerful But Not Overpowered

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Maybe the most important aspect of designing homebrew magical items (from the DM’s perspective anyway) is the actual stats of the thing. Of course, DMs want the items they make to be exciting for their players. They want them to have fun and feel powerful. However, they don’t want the items to feel strong to the point that they break the campaign. A way to avoid this is to understand the limitations of stats as well as party level and encounter building. Understanding the kind of threats the party will experience allows DMs to properly and adequately design items that will hold their own without simply sweeping the challenges they have planned for the party.

At the same time, DMs want their items to feel effective in combat. One of the best ways to ensure this is to understand the abilities, spells, and more they can equip items with. This gives a normal sword, for instance, some flair. Having a sword that can set itself aflame and deal fire damage on a critical hit is way cooler than just a normal slashing weapon.

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Make Sure Everyone Feels Strong

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A final important aspect to remember when designing magical items is that DMs should not favor one party member over the others — even if they need to design different styles of items for players to make sure that they are all strong, fun, and useful. For instance, if DMs make a weapon super damaging and have cool alternate abilities, make sure that the party healer gets a cool item that can also do amazing things. Basically, the rule of cool should apply to the whole party, not just classes or members that the DM considers interesting.

Overall, designing homebrew magic items is a fun way to add to a setting. Like anything, it comes with some challenges. However, as long as DMs make it with their player’s enjoyment, the viability of the campaign, and the idea of adapting the items to their current party in mind, they’re going to do great.


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