We all love to imagine weapons or objects from various universes that, when brought to our tabletop campaign, would effectively turn our characters into all-powerful gods. However, isn’t it more worthwhile to think about the fictional items that would, instead of breaking the game entirely, change one aspect of D&D to make it easier and more fun, yet still maintain the roleplay challenge we know and love? No? You want the god-weapons? I thought you might.
If you aren’t a party pooper, check out our short list of items from other fictional universes that break D&D just enough to get you that rush of power but not so much that the rest of your campaign essentially becomes a rather drawn-out inventory of your Scrooge McDuck hoard.
Green Lantern’s Power Ring | DC Universe
In brightest day, in blackest night, bandits beware the power of Green Lantern’s light! With almost endless capabilities (energy projections, force fields, and a radiation-powered laserbeam), the power ring would certainly be welcome in a pinch.
The ring has no race restrictions, so any party member could pop it on, and its force field protects the wearer from virtually any environment: goodbye difficult terrain! Low visibility in dim light or complete darkness? Forget it. He’s the Green Lantern. Plus, even when tugging the rest of the party along, the wearer of the ring can fly at twice the speed of sound, whizzing past any nearby aarakocra.
However, the ring’s might is limited by the wearer’s willpower. While any party member can wear it, the goliath barbarian with low wisdom and intelligence might have difficulty wielding the ring (sorry, Grog). Additionally, power rings run out of… well, power. Once they do, they need to be recharged; so you’d need a rest to bring the ring back to strength before facing Big Bad.
Poké Ball | Pokémon
“I choose you, Owlbear!” shouts the young cleric before the creature pounces out of the Poké Ball and ferociously pecks at his face. No, you probably wouldn’t want to release an owlbear if you’ve captured one, but a Poké Ball’s capabilities could allow players to safely transport a prisoner or postpone an opponent’s attack.
In a D&D campaign, the use of a Poké Ball wouldn’t be restricted to Pokémon but would rather apply to any living thing. Throwing the ball at something would automatically capture it, and it’d make a saving throw periodically to attempt to break free, with different rules in and out of combat. The being would have a catch rate, dependent on its level, health, and other relevant traits, which would determine whether or not it is trapped in the ball. So you should theoretically not even think about lobbing the ball in front of a Beholder, except to confuse it.
The Gray Cowl of Nocturnal | The Elder Scrolls
In Oblivion, the Gray Cowl of Nocturnal allows you to instantly become the Gray Fox, the most infamous thief in the land. While wearing the cowl, everything you do is attributed to the Gray Fox instead of to yourself. You can commit a murder, be arrested, take off the cowl in front of the guards, and be released with no questions asked.
With the cowl, deception becomes unnecessary. If you’re about to do something naughty, throw on the cowl and let the Gray Fox take the fall. Then, throw it off to make your escape (and by escape I mean casual stroll out of jail). However, for a character with a good alignment, it could become problematic. Without consequences for your crimes, how can you justify using the cowl? If you wear it in public, guards will attack you, and you have no option but to fight back or let yourself be captured. While you can take off the cowl and become unknown, your party has no such defense, and they were just seen collaborating with the Gray Fox.
Time-Turner | Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
It marks the hours, every one. Time-travel has always been unwieldy, and the wizarding world is no exception. When Harry, Ron, and Hermione travel back in time, the time-turner simply enables them to bring about the events that were always going to transpire. For D&D, the DM would have to decide how players can use the time-turner.
Could they use it like in the rescue of Buckbeak and help their past selves bring about what has already occurred? The DM would then have to decide how the campaign ends, which takes the element of chance out of the game. Any player wishing to look into this future should know that the party can’t change outcomes they already know. Being able to safely travel back a maximum of five hours, they could still make last-minute combat escapes or chain together several short rests.
Could they instead use it to actually alter the past, potentially causing devastating butterfly effects? Time-travel is powerful but dangerous, and this would hopefully inspire players to consider the consequences before turning time.
The Luggage | Discworld
Imagine a sentient bag of holding that follows you around and acts as your bodyguard. The Luggage not only defends its owner fiercely but is also generally homicidal, its victims disappearing somewhere into its TARDIS interior. However, were you to open the Luggage, you’d find not piles of mutilated bodies but your belongings just as you had placed them.
Because the Luggage moves on its own, you don’t have to worry about carry weight or a bag of holding. Having a mind of its own, of course, does not necessarily mean that it always obeys your will. Confronted with an obstacle, the Luggage will charge into it headlong instead of looking for a way around. It can always find its owner, but it has a tendency to get lost, like all luggage, and may disappear at inopportune moments in the campaign.
What fictional items would you like to use in D&D, and how would you incorporate them? Let us know in the comments!