Top 10 5E D&D Homebrew Magic Items for Exploration by a Factor of Three

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Real World Adventure Hooks for D&D — Locke & Key on Netflix

Over at Nerdarchy the YouTube channel Nerdarchists Dave and Ted carefully analyze the best magic items for a exploration in fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons. This is another unusual conversation topic, like the one on magic items for 5E D&D rogues. Players rarely get an opportunity to choose their character’s magic items. But it’s worthwhile to keep an eye out for particular magic items during the course of adventures. There’s two other situations I can think of when players have control over their characters’ magic items. In Adventurers League play items can be traded on a one-for-one basis for items with the same rarity. Making a trade costs each player involved 15 downtime days unless they’re playing at the same table. The other scenario is games beginning beyond 1st level. In our own monthly fan one shots we give players an option to choose magic item(s) for their characters this way, and I’ve played in many games with the same guidelines. Protip: for a tier 1 adventure or campaign try letting players choose one rare magic item to start and see what happens. So let’s get into it and look at homebrew magic items for exploration from D&D Beyond.

Magic items for exploration at D&D Beyond

It’s worth noting you can create homebrew content for private use and share your homebrew content publicly at DDB at no cost — there’s no subscription required to access these services. However if you want to add any of the homebrew magic items mentioned below or any other homebrew content you come across to your collection you must subscribe at the Hero Tier or above. There’s a lot you can do at DDB for free. Check out what you can do here.

The DDB homebrew collection uses several statistics to track entries. Views shows how many people looked at any particular homebrew creation, Adds shows how many times a creation was added to someone’s collection and Rating is an upvote/downvote system. Since there are over 82,000 magic items in the collection I’m going to share the top 10 highest rated, most viewed and most added selections that also make particularly good magic items for rogues. We’ll have a little objectivity and a little subjectively, so let’s get to it.

Top 10 highest rating magic items for exploration

  1. Vardo’s Wagon of Holding. Vardo’s Wondrous Wagon is a well decorated and brightly painted living wagon. It’s like a TARDIS! Plus you can cast certain spells on it to enhance what it can do temporarily.
  2. Adventurer’s Wand. Any character can use this to cast several useful spells for exploration.
  3. Moral Compass. A compass that points to the strong evil or good.
  4. Divine Axe Rhitta. Looks like this one got tagged with everything possible. It’s not really very exploration themed but nevertheless, there it is. This isn’t the time to start making subjective decisions.
  5. Sharpie The Shovel. I’m going to guess the designer of this item was in the US Marines because it seems like a magical entrenching tool, which is awesome.
  6. Amulet of Light. Creating light isn’t very difficult in 5E D&D, whether by magic or mundane means but a rating is a rating.
  7. Book of Travel. The ultimate guide, this magic book is a collection of maps for every place in a given campaign world. Does it get much more handy when it comes to exploration?
  8. Goblin Compass. A cursed item! This is a fun one that could lead to unexpected adventures and amazing roleplaying opportunities.
  9. Hand of Glory. Now this is pretty neat — a light source only the holder of the item can see.
  10. Blackfire Lantern. Another nifty and unusual light source, this time it turns lit areas into dim ones, sort of a reverse lantern for creatures with Sunlight Sensitivity.

Top 10 most viewed magic items for exploration

  1. Bag of Bounty. A magical container that creates food and water is a magic item I wish I had in real life! Bonus if you’re proficient with cooking utensils the food created by the bag is a gourmet meal.
  2. Ring of Water Breathing. Well, this one is weird because unless I’m mistaken it’s rarer than a helm of underwater action but does far less.
  3. Orb of Direction. Sometimes I come across magic items that make me wonder, “why is this a magic item?” It’s a compass, but magical.
  4. Orb of Wild Magic. A massively powerful artifact for Wild Magic sorcerers specifically there’s a whole bunch of features that aid exploration, combat, social interaction and probably just as often muck those things up with wild magic effects.
  5. Divine Axe Rhitta
  6. Ring of the Shapeshifter. Now this is nice, a buffed up alter self plus immunity to other magic that transforms the body can be very handy.
  7. Spectacles of Truth (Vestige). An item inspired by Vestiges of Divergence in the Critical Role Tal’Dorei Campaign Setting. So it’s powerful, and then it can get even more powerful when it’s Exalted.
  8. Amulet of the Raven. You can summon ravens and transform into one yourself, which is awesome.
  9. Arcane Watches and Clocks. Basically a magical Casio.
  10. Warp Shortsword. A magical weapon is always good to have and this is neat because you can teleport to where the weapon is, with some limitations.

Top 10 most added magic items for exploration

  1. Vardo’s Wagon of Holding
  2. Amulet of the Raven
  3. Adventurer’s Wand
  4. Ring of Water Breathing
  5. Moral Compass
  6. Bag of Bounty
  7. Airship. I mean…it’s an airship so it’s about as incredible as you can get for exploration. The world is your oyster at this point. Congratulations!
  8. Orb of Wild Magic
  9. Orb of Direction
  10. Armor of The Storm Stalker. Protection from extreme temperatures, bonuses to track and even combat perks when you’re in stormy weather is thematic, useful and just plain neat.

 

5E D&D exploration magic items
Gather your exploration gear both magical and mundane. Explorers Guide to Wildemount releases March 17, 2020 for your 5E D&D characters to explore and adventure in the setting for Critical Role Campaign 2.

Magic items for exploration rising to the top

Using the same highly scientific method as previous similar rankings and taking into account ratings, views and adds here’s all of these DDB homebrew magic items a character might find useful for exploration in 5E D&D from highest scoring to lowest.

  1. Vardo’s Wagon of Holding
  2. Adventurer’s Wand
  3. Ring of Water Breathing
  4. Bag of Bounty
  5. Moral Compass
  6. Divine Axe Rhitta
  7. Amulet of the Raven
  8. Orb of Direction and Orb of Wild Magic
  9. Sharpie The Shovel
  10. Amulet of Light and Ring of the Shapeshifter

Vardo’s Wagon of Holding is the runaway winner here, and like the Apparatus of Kwalish Dave and Ted mention in the video it’s great to have a magical vehicle for the whole party. I’m not surprised to find several unusual items in this search, some that made my question why they are tagged with exploration at all. I feel like this is the most confusing pillar of 5E D&D play when really, to me it’s the most obvious (and prevalent!) one. If you’re not fighting or talking with other creatures, you’re exploring more or less. Dave, Ted and I get more into this in our examination of the three pillars of play here.

More than any previous look at DDB homebrew items this one was all over the place. There’s been much higher crossover in ratings and views in the past. I’m not sure what to extrapolate from this but felt like it is worth mentioning. Personally from this selection of items I really like the bag of bounty because of the interaction with tool use, Sharpie the Shovel because it’s thematic with lots of uses and the adventurer’s wand for utility and because I think it’s fun for nonspellcasters to employ a wand.

5E D&D exploration resources

Here’s a few places for more exploration related content to add to your 5E D&D games.

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Nerditor-in-Chief Doug Vehovec is a proud native of Cleveland, Ohio, with D&D in his blood since the early 80s. Fast forward to today and he’s still rolling those polyhedral dice. When he’s not DMing, worldbuilding or working on endeavors for Nerdarchy he enjoys cryptozoology trips and eating awesome food.

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