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Nerdarchy > Dungeons & Dragons  > Why you should have Sentient Magic Items in your D&D Game
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Why you should have Sentient Magic Items in your D&D Game

D&D Ideas - Famine
Adding More Divine Presence 5e D&D

One of the best type of items you can hand out in the D&D game as a Dungeon Master, is a sentient magic item. They can D&D miniatures of D&D adventurersbe tricky to pull off at times, depending on party make up and what the personality of the item is, but if the item is good enough the players will deal with the item just to have the benefits.

I have used more sentient magic items in games both as a player and a DM more times than I care to actually count. Back in the 2nd Edition Dungeons & Dragons I saw several sentient swords across multiple games, I feel that sentient weapons are far more common than anything else. But I have used skulls, rings, maps, cloaks and who knows what else in my games.

So what makes sentient items so great. I feel that they have the ability to add a helping hand to the party when you feel the need. Sentient items can shore up a weakness, if one exists on the knowledge department. Be it s skill set weakness, knowledge of a time or place a sentient item can reveal just the right bit of information without the need for a pesky die roll. The item can bridge the gap between two characters that are having a hard time communicating, be it a planned thing or something that has developed over game play. If the wizard and the barbarian have no common ground and never talk, a weapon that needs magic and information about magic could help get them talking, so too could a wand or rod that needs to learn about anger or combat.

But the possibilities go even further because the personality of the item can do wonders for not only the group but the table as well. If you have a magic ring obsessed with necromancy it can offer temptation to a player and possibly have them go down a darker path than what the player was initially conceiving when they made their character. A map that is so new to the world that it has to learn what is right and wrong allows the players to literally choose the fate not only of the item, but how it might be used in a later game.

Are you looking to throw some evil and chaos into the middle of a good aligned party? Doing so with an item bound to a character, unable to get rid of it, makes for a nice role playing challenge. Does the character fold under the pressure of such a magic item or does the item eventually change to meet the needs of its wielder? Have a character who is tempted to go down a dark path too often? What if they find an item that offer benefits for doing good things? Will the character choose to do good when the item stops offering such extra benefits solely because it has become used to doing such?

Having a sentient magic item in the party can come close to having that DM PC that I know some DMs love to do, without it needing its own character sheet and without it being able to solve all the problems. I know the DM PC is a touchy subject and I never view the items I put into the games as my character, but it is yet another way I can influence the game and the characters, so really enjoy doing it. Anymore I feel I do it in just about every game I am currently running.

Sentient magic items can have their own goals and ideals.

They of course have their own personality so they add extra spice to what can already be a great game. So what inspired this topic. Well it could be the recent items I am using such as turning a wish given by my players into a child-like map of the world that knows the facts about places but is clueless on what the world actually is. It could be the obsidian ring found on the tomb of a lizardfolk necromancer that houses a bit of its soul to encourage others to take up the mantle of such spell work.

In all truth this is inspired by the Hat Symbiote being released by the wonderful people over at Hero Forge in partnership with Twogether Studios.

Beyond the cool new items, which can be seen in the pictures on this page, being released by Hero Forge. Twogether Studios is releasing Keith Baker Present: Chronicles. Hero Forge, the maker of custom miniatures for just about every game type out there has started a new line by working with creators to bring more new options to their already extensive line of options. So go and get your character the symbiote hat, the spark crossbow, the thunder crossbow, the lightning crossbow or the Vael Scimitar (Dual).

And to be fair if you are the DM and are adding any of these items to your game, feel free to make any or all of them sentient.

As a player dealing with sentient magic items can be fun. Are they annoying you, stuff them in a bag of holding. See if you might be able to teach them a lesson, just be careful as trying to punish an item for its set personality might make them cranky and refuse to let you use their powers. All in all, sentient magic items can just be straight up fun to add more layers to a game, be they fun, helpful, chaotic or all of the above. So check out these new items on Heroforge.com Tell them Nerdarchy sent you.


Thanks for Reading. Until Next Time, Stay Nerdy!

Ted Adams

The nerd is strong in this one. I received my bachelors degree in communication with a specialization in Radio/TV/Film. I have been a table op role player for about 20 years 17 of which with the current group. I have played several itterations of D&D, Mutants and Masterminds 2nd and 3rd editions, Star wars RPG, Shadowrun and World of Darkness. I am an avid fan of books and follow a few authors reading all they write. Favorite author is Jim Butcher I have been an on/off larper for around 15 years even doing a stretch of running my own for a while. I have played a number of Miniature games including Warhammer 40K, Warhammer Fantasy, Heroscape, Mage Knight, Dreamblade and D&D Miniatures. I have practiced with the art of the German long sword with an ARMA group for over 7 years studying the German long sword, sword and buckler, dagger, axe and polearm. By no strecth of the imagination am I an expert but good enough to last longer than the average person if the Zombie apocalypse ever happens. I am an avid fan of board games and dice games with my current favorite being Quarrios.

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