Artisan quality items, masterfully constructed either by sheer accident or by painstaking design, are the focus of this article. Such an item, while not better numerically, offers an advantage over other items in some way. Most artisan quality items are in all ways improved, suffering no setbacks.
Others are in some way diminished, usually by being fragile or less reliable after many uses. In either case, the items in question offer a fantastical advantage that is inherently magical or has only a hint of magic. Interestingly, these amazing items are predisposed to become magical, and are items of legend nonetheless.
How Quality Items Are Made
There are two distinct methods for the creation of a quality item. First, an accident or intentional design can result in a artisan quality item. Accidents result from experimentation or the opus of an ancient artisan. These items are painstakingly crafted, and purposefully made with the finest materials, or imbued with strange reagents that draw on ambient supernatural forces.
Normally, any crafted item has a 5% chance of being crafted as a artisan quality item. A roll is made at the end of the crafting, with a artisan quality item resulting if the roll results in an unmodified 20. If a crafting roll is required, then simply allow any natural 20 results to produce a artisan quality item. Use the example item qualities below as a guideline to determine the qualities of your item.
Intentionally crafting a artisan quality item would require more rigorous conditions, and require a special blueprint to create. Such blueprints are an excellent item to find in a treasure hoard. The item would take twice as long to craft as normal, and cost a minimum of 25 gp for ammunition (per piece of ammunition), 100 gp for tools, or 500 gp for weapon or armor. These are baseline prices, but many such items can fetch prices far higher than the suggested minimums. Again, discussions are encouraged between the game master and player to determine qualities that either match the examples below, or suit the specifics of your campaign.
A more esoteric means of creating quality items is through heroism. Items belonging to storied heroes may themselves gain a fantastic quality, even if they are not themselves inherently magical. Many of these items are handed down by history, stored in dark dungeons, or guarded by proud museum docents. However, it is possible for these abilities to manifest in the hands of a true hero, thus cementing that heroes legend in a very tangible way.
There are no hard and fast rules for the spontaneous creation of an artisan item, but a GM may feel like your players accomplished an especially significant event, such as slaying a dangerous beast, or saving the lives of many people. Such events may organically lead to the hero’s weapon transforming into something unique without involving chance; a GM may simply decide that a feat of heroism is deserving of a reward.
Alternately, an exceptional dice roll is a potential catalyst for an item becoming artisan quality. If the player rolls an attack with advantage, and both dice result in a 20, such a fortuitous event could cause the weapon to develop an amazing quality, as an example. This process would be more organic, and reward players for having exceptional luck, and may just feel right for the moment.
Ultimately, as with any house rule, you are free to handle the creation of such items any way you wish. Artisan quality items are meant to occupy the lower levels of treasure. If you as a GM decide that these weapons simply cannot be crafted, and are instead items of a bygone era, or if you would rather use them sparingly or not at all, the choice is always yours.
|Brutal||Any Bludgeoning Melee|
|Dense||Any Bludgeoning Melee|
|Detecting||Any Slashing Melee|
|Dual Purpose||Any Weapon|
|Fine Edge||Any Piercing or Slashing Melee|
|Macabre||Any Melee Weapon|
|Opportunistic||Any Light Melee|
|Tenacious||Any Piercing Ammunition|
|Two Shot||Any Ammunition|
|Suggested Price Increase||Weight|
|Artisan Tools||+250-500 gp||—|
|Efficient Tools||+300-600 gp||—|
|Instructional Literature, per volume||50 gp||2 lbs.|
|Instructional Literature, full set||500-100 gp||12 lbs.|
|Master Tools||+500 gp||—|
|Master Tools, restock||50 gp||varies (usually 1 lb.)|
|Portable Toolkit||+100 gp||.2 lbs|
|Portable Master Toolkit||+750 gp||.2 lbs|
* This is the price, added to the normal price for that tool, suggested if the item is for sale.
** The weight of a given tool quality could in theory go up or down, but by default consider the weight the same. Portable Master Toolkits are meant to be made small and easily hidden, and as such are assigned a base weight.
Armor Quality Descriptions
The following qualities are available for armor. Note that no armor may possess more than one quality, though an armor may lose one quality and gain another. Though a player can possess both a special armor and shield, it is advised that such items are evenly split among the party. Some abilities are restricted to only armor or shields, or may possess more esoteric requirements.
Basher (Shield). This shield is well balanced, hardy, and thick. You may make a melee attack with your shield that deals 1d6 bludgeoning damage. If you use your shield to successfully shove a creature, you may deal damage to that creature as if you had made an attack with the shield.
Buoyant. Through some strange circumstance or purposeful design, your armor allows you to float. You gain disadvantage to Strength (Athletics) checks when attempting to stay underneath the water’s surface. You are unlikely to drown while wearing this armor, and gain advantage on any Strength 5 (Athletics) checks made on the water’s surface.
Durable. Your armor/shield is especially hardy, and resistant to intentional damage. Your armor is immune to mundane weapon attacks made to damage it. If a spell or special attack would break your armor, you gain advantage on any roll necessary to resist the effect. If no roll is allowed, then you may roll a d100. A result of 51 or higher means that the armor remains intact. Once broken, the armor is still repairable, but this special quality ceases to function.
Good Fortune. Your armor carries with it the blessing of your faith, or a simple kismet that grants you luck. You may reroll an ability check once. You can do so after the roll is made, but before the result of the roll is known. You must take second result. Once this ability is used, the armor’s store of luck replenishes at the following dawn, allowing for another single reroll. The armor may sometimes lead you to situations that require you to balance the karma of the universe, typically to help the needy.
Impressive (Armor). Your armor, though worn, appears impressive and grandiose. If you are wearing this armor when first meeting a person or group, your first Charisma check made to influence them has advantage. This effect does not work in certain places, such as social soirées or grand balls, as wearing armor could be considered gauche, negating the potential benefit.
Interposing (Shield). Your shield is expertly balanced to protected you from deadly attacks. Once per turn, you can use a reaction to impart disadvantage on one ranged attack from an enemy that you can see.
Mirror Shine. Your armor/shield retains an amazing mirror polish. You gain advantage on all saving throws that involve gaze attacks. The shield is considered to be a polished surface.
Nimble (Armor). Your armor is especially light and allows for extra mobility. This armor does not confer disadvantage on Dexterity (Stealth) rolls, and any relevant Strength requirements are reduced by 1. This armor quality does not confer a benefit to armor that has neither a Stealth penalty or a Strength requirement.
Resilient (Armor). Through a trick of ingenuity, extra padding or plating provides you with special defenses. Your armor is especially good at resisting either bludgeoning, piercing or slashing damage. This damage type is chosen at the time that the item is created, or when it gains this quality, and the choice is permanent. You may use your reaction to gain the chosen damage resistance against one attack.
Slide (Shield). Your shield is slippery, and has helped you to avoid danger in style. Once per turn, you can slide on your shield and increase your movement speed by 10 feet. If you use your shield to slide for extra distance, you must make a DC 11 Dexterity (Acrobatics) check or become prone at the end of that movement.
Soul Armor. This armor is linked to your fate, and protects you from deadly harm. If an attack would reduce you to 0 or fewer hp, you are instead reduced to 1 hp. This effect can only happen once per encounter. Once it has protected you a total of three times, the armor breaks. Though the armor is repairable by magical or mundane means, the soul armor quality ceases to function. Both armors and shields can receive this quality.
Stalwart (Armor). Your armor helps you to stiffen and resist movement. You can use your bonus action to stay in place for 1 turn, gaining advantage on any relevant rolls to resist movement or remain in your space. You may not willingly move from your space during that turn.
Bitter (Armor). Your armor is polished with a cheap chemical, soaked in terrible fluids, or soaked with some other horrible substance. Thankfully, your armor retains no smell, and simply tastes bad. A creature who attempts to swallow you whole is at a disadvantage on the attack roll. If it succeeds at swallowing you, they must make a DC 15 Constitution saving throw or vomit you up, losing their next action. This quality may not affect certain creatures, such as constructs, undead, or creatures that eat refuse, at the GM’s discretion.
Worn in. This armor is expertly fitted, is worn in, or is simply made of the finest materials. You gain advantage on any check or saving throw to avoid exhaustion while wearing this armor. This quality does not apply to exhaustion caused by a lack of food or water, nor does it apply to spells or supernatural effects that cause exhaustion.
Weapon/Ammunition Quality Descriptions
Accurate. This ammunition confers advantage, allowing you to attack at long range without penalty, or to attack at short range more accurately. This ammunition is especially fragile, and cannot be recovered.
Balanced. This weapon confers advantage on disarm contests against being disarmed.
Brutal. As an action, you can make a special attack with this weapon. If the attack deals damage, the target must make a DC 12 Strength saving throw, or fall prone. Using this action does not allow the use of extra attacks, but does allow extra actions and bonus actions.
Dense. When you attempt to attack an object with this weapon, you deal an additional 1d4 bludgeoning damage. At the GMs discretion, this may apply to certain constructs, excluding golems.
Detecting. This weapon is polished to a mirror shine, but also has a special property. The polished blade grants you advantage when attempting to detect invisible creatures within 10 feet.
Dual Purpose. This weapon deals an additional form of damage in addition to its normal damage type. This might reflect an axe with a blunt head, a sword crafted to be swing on its flat end, or a rapier with a brass knuckle built into the hilt. You can choose the damage type with each attack made with the weapon.
Fine Edge. This weapon has a fine honed edge that seldom dulls. Once per round, you may forfeit your bonus action to deal an additional 1d4 damage when you attack with this weapon.
Macabre. This weapon is visually disturbing or threatening. You gain advantage on intimidation checks while brandishing the weapon in battle. You have disadvantage on attempts to conceal this weapon on your person.
Opportunistic. When you act in a surprise round, any attack with this weapon deals an additional dice of damage. This dice is not multiplied on a critical hit.
Protecting. This weapon is especially good at protecting you from harm. Once per turn, you may forfeit your bonus action to ready your weapon to defend yourself. Until your next turn, you may use a reaction to impose disadvantage against one melee ranged or spell attack. You may not use your reaction in such a way once the attack roll has been made.
Tenacious. This piece of ammunition sticks in and wends deeper into its target. If this ammunition deals damage to a target, that target takes 2 (1d4) piercing damage after they move for the turn. If a target remains stationary, they are not subject to damage. This condition lasts until a DC 10 Wisdom (medicine) check is performed to remove the fragments, or until 5 turns have elapsed.
Two Shot. Typically crafted in twos, this ammunition can be shot two at a time at the same target, or at two targets within 10 feet of each other. This special feature requires concentration, and may not be used more than once in a round. You may recover one of the two ammunition pieces (as per the normal rules), but the remaining piece may have a twin crafted to use in the future.
Weighted. The range on this thrown weapon is halved, but it deals an extra 1d4 damage when thrown. These weapons are slightly less wieldy than normal thrown weapons, and can only be used once per turn, even if you possess other weapons with this quality.
Price 250-500 gp; Weight — lb.
An impressive tool is one that is so grandiose that it grants the user a recognition within society. Whether a painter’s brush with rare and utile bristles or a finely made lute that resounds with exquisite acoustics, these items help talented people to perform amazing feats that garner fame and fortune. This ability does not apply to tools that craft items meant for general use, but does apply to items meant to be experienced as works of art.
You must present your work to a small group of no more than 100 people, either through performance or exhibition. For the next 24 hours, you gain advantage on Charisma checks with those people, as long as they are friendly or indifferent towards you.
Price +300-600 gp; Weight — lb.
Efficient tools are rather simple in function; they reduce the amount of time it takes to create a physical work. This could be a work of art such as a sculpture, or a manufactured good, such as a piece of wooden furniture. The efficient tool works through experimental techniques, super refined tools, or simply some innovative method to make the work go faster, and assists the crafter in achieving his goal in less time.
With these tools, you multiply the amount of progress you make by your proficiency bonus, provided that you are proficient with this tool. You must still pay half of these costs each day that you spend crafting. Most efficient tools must be maintained to retain this property, a process requiring 10 days of work, and 150-300 gold.
Price 50 gp per volume, 500-1000 gp for a full set; Weight 2 lbs. per volume, 12 lbs. for a full set
Certain amazing works of print can instruct readers in various skills and the use of tools. Such works are normally annotated, and hand written, and include various diagrams that can impart the knowledge of such skills. Though these instructional methods do not preclude mass printing, the works themselves usually span volumes, and can require hundreds of hours of study, hard work and dedication to render any increase in skill, making such mass printings an expensive and relatively thankless endeavor. This fact alone has kept such books as rare curiosities, fit only for those willing to learn in this self driven fashion.
Any such set of books come in 6 volumes. Each volume requires 42 days of downtime to study. After spending that time in study, you gain a +1 to the relevant skill check or tool use per volume studied.
Successive volumes increase this bonus, up to your normal proficiency bonus, though you are not yet considered proficient in the skill. If a specific skill or tool use requires full proficiency to be attempted, your GM may ask you to make the roll with disadvantage, though you would still add the bonuses provided by the number of volumes read, and the relevant ability score modifier. Once you have spent a total of 252 days studying all 6 volumes, you are considered fully proficient. At that point, your normal proficiency bonus completely and explicitly replaces the bonuses previously granted by the books.
Each volume is worth approximately 50 gold, but a full set can command amazing prices. The books must be read in order to have any effect, and the first volume is necessary for the learning process to begin.
Price +500 gp; Weight — lb.
Master tools, much like efficient tools, grant a direct advantage to the user. They are made of exquisitely rare materials, are weighted for ease of use, or are especially efficacious at the task. This quality is meant more for tools that facilitate an action than for tools that craft a physical item.
When using these tools, you have advantage on relevant ability checks to use the tools. Due to the nature of these specialized tools, they lose the property after a single use, but can either be restocked or reconditioned to grant the bonus again for 50 gp. The kind of supplies needed to return the tools to prime condition can usually be found in large population centers. It can sometimes be necessary to parlay with a crafter’s guild to obtain such supplies.
Price +100 gp; Weight .2 lbs
The portable toolkit is something that many experts and specialists swear upon. These tools are meant as a quick and dirty means to achieve a minor goal, and are unsuitable for prolonged use. While such tools could in theory be meant for crafting physical items, the utility of such an item would make it impractical. A portable toolkit is a small and fragile alternative to a normal toolkit. It is generally too impractical for repeated use, and is meant for a single task, or a short term solution. Many are even meant to disintegrate or break apart to avoid revealing trade secrets or damning evidence.
A portable toolkit allows you to either make an ability check with a tool one time, craft one small item, or perform an action for a short period of time (no more than an hour), depending on the item.
Selling Quality Tools
More so than weapons and armor of quality, tools and instructional manual have a greater potential for showing up at a shop or market in larger cities. These high quality items do not offer the same combat advantage as an improved weapon or armor. Feel free to let your players use their hard earned money to purchase an artisan lute, or an instructional manual.Ensure that the supplies are limited, and make it known that these items are usually in very high demand.
Amazing Weapons, Armor and Equipment © 2016, Fat Goblin Games; Author: Ismael Alvarez