Posts Tagged With: Equipment

A Brief Summary of Mundane Healing

I’ve commented on my simultaneous pleasure and displeasure with healing in 5E – on the one hand it is too easy, and other the other hand the RAW on Healing Kits & Herbalism Kits are confusing at best. Now, when the DMG came out the optional rules for healing (notably the “Healer Kit Dependency” and the “Slow Natural Healing” on pp266-7) this was somewhat correct, but not entirely. My complaints were compounded by my use of a very robust set of rules for non-clerical healing in my old 1E game that are now (sadly) probably lost with the hard drive. So these rules are an effort to codify what we’ve come up with, as well as adapt some of my “old rules” into the 5E system.

First, a Short Rest is an hour, a Long Rest is 8 hours – you can only take one Long Rest in a any 24 hour period.

Next, a Healer Kit, Herbalism Kit, Chirurgeon’s Tools, and a Meridian Set are all defined as Tools. Herbs (for use with the Herbalism Kit) come in four different varieties (Common, Rare, Exotic, and Mystical) and Surgical Supplies (for use with the Chirurgeon’s Tools) are purchased separately.

The Medicine skill can be used to diagnose illness (variable DC) and Stabilize an Unconscious (and Dying) character (DC10 Wisdom).

During a Short Rest, a character may use a Healing Kit on themselves or another character to allow the use of any number of Hit Dice for healing. These dice are rolled at the end of the Short Rest. A character may similarly use an Herbalism Kit with Herbs to alleviate the treatable symptoms of any malady (Disease, Madness, various Conditions, etc) the DC for this varies.

During a Long Rest, a Healer’s Kit may be used in the same manner as a Short Rest. If no Hit Dice are expended for healing and no other mundane healing (for other maladies) is attempted, then the character recovers half their spent Hit Dice. A character may similarly use an Herbalism Kit with Herbs to attempt to cure a treatable malady (Disease, Madness, various Conditions, etc), the DC for this varies.

A character may use their Chirurgeon’s Tools with Surgical Supplies on themselves or another character to heal 1HD (DC10 Dexterity) outside of a Rest. The Chirurgeon’s Tools may also be used to treat some maladies – dependent on the ruling of the DM.

A character may use their Meridian Set to alleviate a variety of maladies (Conditions, Madness, Exhaustion, and some Diseases most notably) during a Short Rest.

When a character with the Healer Feat (PH p167) uses a Healer’s Kit, the recipient regains 1HP (meaning that they immediately regain consciousness). They are also so skilled that they can use a Healer’s Kit or a Surgical Kit & Surgical Supplies to tend to a creature and heal 1d6+4HP, plus the number equal to the recipients total Hit Dice. No character can receive this benefit more than once between both Long Rests and injuries.


Healer’s Kit – A  large leather pouch containing a selection of bandages, minor salves, and splints. As an standard action, any character may use a Healer’s Kit to Stabilize a creature at 0HP without making a Medicine check, and allows those with the skill to use their Proficiency bonus when doing so. 10 uses. Cost: 5 Silver — Weight: 3lbs — Availability: Village

Herbalism Kit – A leather satchel containing a variety of tools such a clippers, mortar & pestle, as well small pouches an vials to store solutions and poultices. This Kit allows the character to use their proficiency bonus when attempting to identity, apply, and preserve herbs, and various maladies may require different or multiple herbs to treat successfully. Properly preserved herbs work perfectly well, but require a double dose for full effectiveness as they have lost some of their potency.  Cost: 25 Silver — Weight: 3lbs — Availability: Village

Chirurgeon’s Tools – A large satchel containing scalpels, drills, needles, & clamps for use during surgical procedures. These tools allow for “quick and dirty” wound care on the battlefield as well as more complex care for internal ailments.  Cost: 75 Silver — Weight: 2lbs — Availability: City

Meridian Set – A small pouch containing a combination of needles and other tools used to manipulate to energy flows of the body. The training involved means that attempts can be made without the kit or with improvised tools, but at Disadvantage. Cost: 5 Silver — Weight: 1lb — Availability: Exotic

Common Herbs – Best when fresh, though many can be preserved through various means, Herbs can be found in the wild, cultivated, and purchased from the appropriate shop.  1 Use. Cost: 1 Bronze — Weight: Negligible — Availability: Village

Rare Herbs – Best when fresh, though many can be preserved through various means, Herbs can be found in the wild, cultivated, and purchased from the appropriate shop.  1 Use. Cost: 1 Silver — Weight: Negligible — Availability: City

Exotic Herbs – Best when fresh, though many can be preserved through various means, Herbs can be found in the wild, cultivated, and purchased from the appropriate shop.  1 Use. Cost: 1 Gold — Weight: Negligible — Availability: Great City

Mystical Herbs – Best when fresh, though many can be preserved through various means, Herbs can be found in the wild, cultivated, and purchased from the appropriate shop.  1 Use. Cost: 1 Platinum — Weight: Negligible — Availability: Great City

Herb Pouch or Case – Carefully constructed with an eye to keeping Herbs protected and in the best of shape, it holds 20 Herbs. A poorly kept herbs imposes Disadvantage on Herbalism checks. Cost: 1 Silver — Weight: 1lb — Availability: Village

Surgical Supplies – Comprised of additional needles, sutures, compresses and sponges. These supplies are needed for any surgical operation a lack or these materials forces the use of ad hoc materials and imposes Disadvantage at best. 10 Uses. Cost: 1 Silver — Weight: 1lb — Availability: Town



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Not-Scrolls, Not-Wands, Not-Rods, and Not-Staves

So, one of the things that ended up changing in my game world in the long migration away from AD&D is that I changed the things that I really didn’t like, or wanted a different game experience of – namely those some semi-ubiquitous magical items. It’s probably worth explaining this so that a couple of things mentioned in the last Session recap make sense.

Scrolls, as a disposable magical item, never made much sense to me. So instead there are a couple of different things. Arcane magic tends to be contained within things called “D’lanni Stones” – these are roughly grape-sized (though they can be larger or smaller) crystals that operate the same way as a scroll does. Divine magic for Clerics (and Paladins) tends to be held in some reliquaries of divine energy called a Monstrance. These can be a specific spell, but in 5E terms are more likely the equivalent of a spell slot usable for any spell of that level. Monstrances tend to be “aspected” in that they are associated with a specific deity or religion, so while the Lightbringer of the Church of the Lords of Light could arguable use a Monstrance of the Goblin Court, it can end up being an alignment violation or just simply bad juju. Druids tend to create carved Runesticks that operate similarly to a D’lanni Stone. Yes this makes Monstrances more powerful, but they also tend to be more rare.

Like 5E, my home-brew system essentially had a set of rules around Arcane Foci, and as a result the presence of Wands, Rods, and Staves seemed to be oddly redundant or otherwise problematic. What I ended up doing was drawing from real world magical practice and occultism and looking at magical seals, cylinder seals and chops. So the concept of the “Wizards’s Seal” came into being for my world – generally being in the form of Cylinder Seals or Chops for complicated items, possibly a Pendant or a Signet for simpler (one or two effect items). Alternately they would be adapted in the same way as I changed the “Staff of the Adder” that the party just found into the “Armlet of the Adder” as some of them simply seemed to be better suited in that way.

Now, this isn’t to say that you can’t find a “Wand of Magic Missiles” or a “Staff of the Magi” in my game world, but this tends to be when someone has enchanted their personal wand or staff with those properties – and this sort of personal item tends to be both highly idiosyncratic as well as somewhat recognizable to other mages. In some cases it is quite the coup to be carrying around some particular mage’s staff, in others it just means that his friends and allies can find you easier in order to extract revenge and recover it…


Categories: Campaign Development, Game Design, House Rules, Magic Item | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

Basic Magical Armor and Weapons

So, I have a game with a relatively high magical content, and the “east” availability of these materials reflects this. These rules owe a fair amount to the years I spent running a home-brew game engine. In that system, there was little in the way of +X weapons and instead it was either the quality of the forging combined with the characteristics of the materials, plus other enchantments (Flaming, Frost Brand, Holy, etc) that determined its characteristics. This itself had it’s root in the 1E DMG which described the various +’s of weapons and armor as various types of metallic alloys.

When I went back to AD&D (and now 5e D&D), these continued over (since it was now a well-established part of the campaign world. I actually think these work even better in the “bounded accuracy/low magic” sensibility of 5e. A couple of things to remember, I use a Silver standard, you can probably use Gold instead without messing with the game balance too badly if you use a Gold standard. This stuff is intentionally expensive because it is always “nominally available” if you are looking for “better stuff to buy” to beef up your character


Adamant: One of the rarest and strongest of materials, weapons made of Adamant are considered Enchanted and gain Advantage on all attack rolls against non-Adamant armor and automatically do double damage dice. Armour made of Adamant is Resistant to Slashing, Bludgeoning, and Piercing weaponry and is Resistant to and creates Disadvantage for non-enchanted weaponry. Weapons and armour made of Adamant have half the normal EV, and are always considered to have the Finesse quality. A single weapon or ten pieces of Ammunition can be bought as Adamant for the cost of 4000sp. Armor made of Adamant costs double the standard amount, to a minimum of 8000sp. When saving against destruction it has a +5. Availability: Exotic

Black Adamant: An even rarer form of Adamant from the Shadowlands, weapons made of Black Adamant have all the properties of Adamant with additional properties as well. Weapons made of Black Adamant are also able to strike Disembodied spirits in the Astral and Ethereal Realms. Black Adamant armor also grants Resistance to and Advantage against Necrotic damage and spells. A single weapon or ten pieces of Ammunition can be bought as Black Adamant for the cost of 5000sp. Armor made of Black Adamant costs double the standard amount, to a minimum of 10000sp. When saving against destruction it has a +5. Availability: Exotic

Bronze: An uncommon metal for use in weapons and armor in these Ages, some ancient or ceremonial weapons and armor remain in existence and use, and some especially primitive cultures may have not yet developed better smithing techniques. Bronze weapons have Disadvantage against other metal armours, as well as natural hides and scales that are AC15 or better. Weapons of other metals always have Advantage against armor made of Bronze. It’s single benefit is that it does not rust and is not ferrous (and thus susceptible to magnetic effects). Armor and weapons made of Bronze costs double the standard amount. When saving against destruction it has a -2. Availability: Town

Cold-Iron: A relatively common form of special material, it can have a variety of effects to those creatures Vulnerable to it. Armor made of Cold-Iron grants Advantage against magic of the Fae, and Advantage and Resistance to abilities and damage from creatures of the Dearth. A single weapon or ten pieces of Ammunition can be bought as Cold-Iron for double the normal cost. Armor made of Cold-Iron costs double the standard amount, to a minimum of 100sp. Availability: Town

Cold-Silver: Uncommon though not exactly difficult to make for skilled smiths, this is an alloy of both Cold-Iron and Silver and has the properties of both. A single weapon or ten pieces of Ammunition can be bought as a combination of Silvered and Cold-Iron for five times the cost or a minimum of 250 Silver. Armor made of Cold-Silver costs double the standard amount, to a minimum of 500sp. Availability: City

Hematite: A very rare material from the Shadowlands, weapons made of Hematite are considered Enchanted and always have Advantage against Undead or Dearth, and do double damage dice against the same. Armour made of Hematite grants Advantage against Undead and Dearth spell-like abilities, and Advantage to saving throws against and Resistance to Necrotic damage. A single weapon or ten pieces of Ammunition can be bought as Hematite for the cost of 3000sp. Armor made of Hematite costs double the standard amount, to a minimum of 6000sp. When saving against destruction it has a +2. Availability: Exotic

Orikalcum: A bright and shining, coppery-golden alloy, Orikalcum has significant anti-magical properties and is greatly feared by mages everywhere. Weapons made of it are considered Enchanted and are the Bane of highly magical and magic-using creatures (spell-casters included) – this means that these weapons have Advantage against and do double damage dice against such creatures. Armour made of Orikalcum grants Advantage on all saving throws against magic or spell-like effects, as well as providing Resistance to all damage done by magical effects. A single weapon or ten pieces of Ammunition can be bought as Orikalcum for the minimum cost of 2000sp. Armor that is made of Orikalcum costs double the standard amount, to a minimum of 4000sp. Availability: Exotic

Moonsilver: Also known as “Truesilver” this metal is a luminescent silvery metal of great strength and resilience. It addition to having all of the properties of Silver, weapons made of Moonsilver have Advantage against Shapechangers and Lycanthropes, also gaining double damage dice against such creatures. Armor made of Moonsilver causes the natural attacks of such creatures to be at a Disadvantage, and provide Resistance to those same attacks. A single weapon or ten pieces of Ammunition can be bought as Orikalcum for the minimum cost of 1500sp. Armor that is made of Moonsilver costs double the standard amount, to a minimum of 3000sp. When saving against destruction it has a +3. Availability: Exotic

Mithril: Considered by many to be “the king of metals” and prized by Dwarves and Fae alike for it remarkable properties, Mithril is extremely popular and is probably the most commonly encountered of the Exotic materials. Weapons made of Mithril have Advantage against non-Enchanted armor. Armour made of Mithril is Resistant to non-enchanted Slashing, Bludgeoning, and Piercing weaponry. The EV of armor and weapons made of Mithril is a quarter normal. A single weapon or ten pieces of Ammunition of Mithril can be bought for 500 times the normal cost with a minimum of 1000sp. Armor that is made of Mithril costs double the standard amount, to a minimum of 2000sp. When saving against destruction it has a +4. Availability: Great City

Silver: Very easy to get ahold of, Silvered weapons have a variety of effects on creatures that are Vulnerable to them, notably Lycanthropes. Armour that is Silvered gives those same creatures Disadvantage when attacking if they are using natural weapons (again notably Lycanthropes). A single weapon or ten pieces of Ammunition can be bought as Silvered for double the normal cost. Armor that is Silvered costs double the standard amount, a minimum of 200sp. When saving against destruction it has a -1. Availability: Town

Truesteel: A popular alloy in use across the Realms, Truesteel actually comes in a variety of different alloys that are used by various groups (such as the shimmering golden Sunsteel in use by the Society of Light or the dark Shadowsteel in use in the Shadowlands). Weapons made of Truesteel are considered Enchanted and armor made of Truesteel has Resistance to Bludgeoning, Slashing, and Piercing damage from non-enchanted weapons. A single weapon or ten pieces of Ammunition of Truesteel can be bought for ten times the normal cost with a minimum of 500sp. Armor that is made of Truesteel costs double the standard amount, to a minimum of 1000sp. When saving against destruction it has a +1. Availability: Great City

Categories: Campaign Development, Game Design, Game Play, House Rules, Magic Item | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments

Economics of Magic in 5e

Ok, this was going to start out as a short rant about another crazy bit of unthinking largess on the part of the writers of Lost Mines of Phandelver – who have obviously never played an edition of D&D where money equated to experience or played with folks who wanted to squeeze every last cent of loot and treasure from the adventure.

Let’s just say that my players lit up upon being told that there was an entire wizard’s workshop or alchemists laboratory “there for the taking” – and the idea that the “most valuable things in it” were three rare components worth 25 coin each is laughable in any logical sense. You are going to tell me all that glassware isn’t worth money? Even if we only roughly analogize this to a 1e workshop this room should have at least a couple of thousand coin worth of stuff in it. Even giving up on the idea that treasure = experience points, my players are used to conquistador-levels of pillaging. The arms and armor that the bandits or the goblins are wearing and carrying is almost always worth more than the coin in their pockets…

Ok, that little rant out of the way, now to a larger rant about how the magical economy makes no sense in 5e.

In 1e, magic was limited because you had to be a certain level of magic user or cleric to make magical items. Basically 7th level-ish for consumables like scrolls and potions, and 12th level for charged magical items (for the 6th level Enchant an Item), and then 16th level to make anything permanent (because you needed a Permanency spell).  It was relatively easy to see why magical items were rare-ish, so rare that many DM’s I knew came up with ways to explain some types of ostensibly permanent magical items were so darn common (surely not every +1 weapon needed a 16th-level Wizard involved did they?). In fact, in 1e magical items were actually pretty common depending upon the setting – in places like the Forgotten Realms they are positively commonplace! This was an inherent inconsistency of the rules as written (inherent setting assumptions) vs. the modules presented (actual setting presented). This inconsistency was also seen in the tables for generating magical items for PC and NPC groups given at the end of the 1e DMG – definitely “high magic” not the supposed “low magic” that was said to be the case.

Now, in 5e we have the exact opposite problem. Supposedly it is a “low magic” setting, and that is certainly the case if we look at the first modules presented. But when we look at the 5e DMG we find an utterly confusing and contradictory set of rules governing the economy of magical items. First they are supposed to be so rare that they are difficult to sell and basically impossible to buy – but making a +1 sword or a Wand of Magic Missiles only takes a 3rd level character who can cast the base spell, four days and 100 coin to make!

And the rules for selling it, if used as written, essentially guarantee at least a small loss (because you had living expenses during the Downtime spent looking for buyers) and probably a larger loss upon selling it (again, assuming a buyer can be found).


Even in a crazy-to-modern-sensibilities ancient/medieval economy this makes no sense.

I think that 5e tries to “fix” by introducing some “Attunement” rules that limit the number of powerful-ish magic items a character can use at one time – though that seems somewhat spotty in application in the DMG. Unfortunately, to these tired old 1e eyes this seems exceedingly awkward, much like the old rules that limited the number of magic rings you could wear at one time. Sort of. I like the idea for certain magic items – like only being able to have a certain number of intelligent magical items – but it seems otherwise arbitrary for no good reason other than “game balance” and that is rarely a good reason to set in a new limit of this sort.





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Economics, Equipment, and Availability

I’ll be posting some rules for weapons and armor made from a selection of metals, most (but not all) of them also considered “enchanted” when and if such a thing would matter. The list includes not just a description of effects, but also refers to my “availability codes” for equipment.

Years ago now I took a page from the Pendragon RPG which has separate equipment lists for “Standard” areas and another for  “Great Cities” (essentially London and Camelot), essentially forcing the characters to certain areas if and when they wanted certain items because that is the only place they were available. I experimented with a variety of systems over the years, but when I really sat down and hammered out an economy I drew deeply from the Pendragon well, along with looking at systems such as Harn for other inspiration.

The first thing I did was do research living expenses and wages across a number of eras, and eventually decided to peg the daily wage of a standard mercenary (aka “an adventurer”) at 1 Silver per day, the cost of a standard (long)sword at 30 Silver (a full month’s wages), a Laborer’s wage a 2 Copper per day, a bottle of table wine at 5 Copper, and a days worth of Bread at 1 Copper (a day’s worth of Dried Meat is also a Copper, Dried Vegetables is 1 Bronze). All other prices were essentially figured out using pegging things to these prices either using real world analogies, or simply eyeballing it, keeping in mind the difference between ancient and modern economies.

Using this system, a laborer can eke out a very poor existence assuming that they keep working and are supplied someplace to sleep by their employer – if not then space in a field or a stable is usually 1 Copper, the Common Room of an Inn or Tavern is 2 Copper a night, and a Private Room is 5 Copper ( a Private Suite is 1 Silver, sans any other amenities). Interestingly it took very little work to adapt the 5E “Living Expenses” to this system.

Given the “Wild West Mining Town” trope that Lost Mine of Phandelver has been running with, I decided that it is also working under semi-typical inflated prices. In this case merely doubling prices, with some slightly tweaked availability of mining related  equipment from the normal “Town” gear.

In any case, a large part of what I wanted was to have a relatively exhaustive list of equipment, but also make it clear that some things were rarer than others. As a result, on my equipment list (and associated documents) items are noted as being available in Villages (generally less than a hundred people), Towns (anywhere from couple of hundred people to upwards of 1500 people, usually 600-800 inhabitants), Cities (smaller cities ranging from 1500 to 2500 people, larger cities from 2500 to 5000 inhabitants), Great Cities (10,000 or more inhabitants), or as Exotic. You can always find things from a smaller population available in a larger population center, but the reverse is not true (and such items are invariably inflated in price considerably when they can be found).

Exotic items are exactly that, treasures from the Shadowlands or Faerie, especially hard to craft items, especially rare herbs or spices, etc. These are technically available anywhere that you can find a seller – but that is much more likely in a City or Great City.

It sounds like this was a great deal of work to set up, and in some ways it was, but is was also just the sort of world-building detail-work that I enjoy researching and chewing on. It also starts to build up a certain Gygaxian Naturalism into the campaign world.



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