Hidden away inside trapped chests in ancient and forgotten tombs, hoarded by monsters, and prized by societies that have been changed by their presence, magic items are an essential part of Level Up. Although it’s possible for a Narrator to mount an entire campaign without them, adventurers acquiring enchanted gear is a pivotal and fun part of the game, granting access to abilities and prowess that can help them change the very course of history.
Every magic item falls into one of the following categories: armor, potion, ring, rod, scroll, staff, wand, weapon, or wondrous item. In addition, some items are more particular and use a set of general rules specific to a subcategory like gear gremlins or patron tokens.
Charms are magic items that can be attached to a nonmagical item (like a bracelet or necklace) or worn as an earring. A charm attached to a magic item confers no benefits unless its rarity is greater, in which case the magic item the charm is attached to confers no benefits.
Gear gremlins are Tiny magical quasi-real creatures summoned through technomancy to fulfill a purpose, and each is ethereal and unable to interact with objects on the Material Plane—except for their housing items and items they were specifically designed to interact with. A gear gremlin has Armor Class 10 and 1 hit point, though it can only be damaged by creatures on the Ethereal Plane or by creatures who can specifically affect creatures on the Ethereal Plane. Gear gremlins have limited intelligence and can speak Common, though they typically only converse about subjects that relate to their purpose.
Familiars, tomes, and weapons are among the most impressive gifts otherworldly patrons grant their servants—other things are simply baubles designed to delight or unsettle the recipient and those around them. Warlocks typically receive these tokens after completing a significant task, such as when they defeat the patron’s enemies or further its interests in the mortal realm. A servant may deliver it directly, or a gift may appear mysteriously among the warlock’s belongings while their attention is focused elsewhere.
Patron tokens function only for the warlock who receives them. Though the flavor of the items presented here suggests the type of otherworldly patron that might grant them, Narrators can adapt the descriptions to make them more suitable for characters of a different stripe. For example, a warlock with a fiendish patron may receive a confidante’s journal bound in demon flesh, while a fey might grant their servant a seven-sided coin stamped with images of fey creatures.
Magic items range from small things that are surprisingly useful to potent relics of unimaginable power. The availability of a magic item, as well as its lowest and highest possible price, are determined by its rarity. More common magic items might be found among the kit of many adventurers, while rare magic items can only be afforded by successful adventurers or wealthy nobles, and legendary magic items are just that—the stuff of legends.
Each magic item is also listed with a suggested cost for purchase, though the Narrator may choose to reduce or increase the price of any piece of enchanted gear depending on the campaign.
|Rarity||Low Price||High Price|
|Common||2 gp||100 gp|
|Rare||501 gp||5,000 gp|
|Very Rare||5,001 gp||50,000 gp|
|Legendary||50,001 gp||500,000 gp|
The magical properties of some magic items are locked away until they have linked to the creature bearing them, bonding the energies of both together into attunement. Certain pieces of enchanted gear have prerequisites that must be met before they can be attuned to, such as levels in a class. In the case of monsters attuning to an item, they must have spell slots and have access to the prerequisite class spell list. Any creature able to cast one spell qualifies as a spellcaster for the purposes of attunement.
Magic items that require attunement are treated as mundane unless they are described otherwise—a magic sword is still a magic sword, but if it requires attunement it does not deal magical damage or confer its other properties until the creature wielding it has attuned to the blade.
The process of attunement requires a creature to finish a short rest where all it does is remain in physical contact with and focus upon the magic item. This could mean practicing with a magic weapon, concentrating on the details of a wondrous item, referencing arcane tomes, or praying for guidance. An interrupted short rest ruins the attempt to attune to the magic item. Once attuned the creature intuitively knows how to activate the magic item and any command words, but not if it is cursed (or how it is cursed).
Unless it has a feature or trait that allows it, a creature can be attuned to a maximum of three magic items at a time. Attempts to attune to additional magic items fail until the creature ends one of its attunements first. In addition, it is impossible to attune to two identical items at the same time—a creature can only attune to a single ring of protection.
The most common method to end an attunement is by finishing a short rest focused on the item, but it can also be ended in the following ways: the magic item is more than 100 feet away from the creature for 24 hours, the creature no longer meets the attunement prerequisites, or the creature dies.
Identifying Magic Items
A magic item that requires attunement can have its properties identified by a creature that attunes to it, but otherwise learning what a piece of enchanted gear is and what it can do is the remit of learned minds or magic like the identify spell. Identifying a magic item is similar to the process for attuning to one and requires just as much concentration. A creature can spend a short rest inspecting a magic item, making an ability check at the end against a DC based on the magic item’s rarity (see Table: Identifying Magic Items) after searching its memories for references as it scrutinizes the magic item for clues. The type of the ability check and any skills used for it are at the Narrator’s discretion, determined by the magic item and its origins, but often include Arcana, Culture, History, Nature, or Religion. On a success, at the end of the short rest the creature recognizes what the magic item is and remembers any command words it might require. Whether or not a magic item is cursed requires a success by 10 or more.
Recognizing Artifacts. Extremely potent relics are literally items of myth and even when it might not be immediately recognized for what it is, the countless tales about an artifact make it easy to recognize without all of its secrets laid bare.
Remember that most methods of identifying magic items, including the identify spell, fail to reveal an item's cursed properties so they offer an opportunity to surprise adventurers when the curse is revealed. When describing the items, it’s important for Narrators to highlight their extraplanar connections as the party may be justifiably wary of items with aberrant, fiendish, or otherwise questionable connections.
The curses included with certain magic items in this chapter focus on story possibilities rather than mechanical consequences, and the Narrator can choose to ignore them if their implementation would distract rather than engage the party. Likewise, these items are specific to the adventurer that acquires them and they cannot be sold (even if they were bought).
Wearing and Wielding Magic Items
In order for a magic item to function properly it must be worn or wielded as the item intended: feet in boots, hands in gloves, heads under hats or inside helmets, fingers in rings. Magic armors and shields only work when they are donned, weapons have to be wielded, and cloaks fastened around a creature’s shoulders.
Unless noted otherwise, a worn magic item automatically stretches or shrinks to match the size and shape of the creature wearing it. When a nonhumanoid creature attempts to wear a magic item, it’s up to the Narrator whether it works or not—a merfolk can certainly use rings and amulets, but probably not a pair of enchanted boots.
Multiple Magic Items of the Same Type
Most creatures have only two legs and one head so usually a creature can only make use of a single pair of boots and one hat or helmet. Whether or not more than one item can be worn in the same spot is at the Narrator’s discretion. For example, an ettin (which has two heads) might be able to wear two magic hats, or a half-elven mage may be allowed to wear a magic circlet beneath an enchanted helmet.
Paired Magic Items
When a magic item is described as a pair—boots, bracers, gauntlets, gloves—any properties it grants only function when the full set is worn. For example, an adventurer wearing one half of bracers of defense and one half of bracers of archery doesn’t gain the benefits of wearing either.
Activating Magic Items
There are magic items that require something special to function, like speaking a command word while holding it. Each magic item’s description provides details on how it is activated, otherwise using the following rules.
Note that the Use an Item action does not apply to magic items—any item that requires an action to activate is treated as its own separate action, not the Use an Item action.
Magic items often have charges which must be expended to activate one or more of their properties. How many charges the magic item has is revealed either when a creature attunes to it or after a casting of the identify spell. In addition, when an attuned magic item regains charges the creature attuned to it knows how many charges have been regained.
Command words are specific words or phrases that when spoken cause a magic item to use one of its properties. Magic items that require a command word to be spoken can’t be activated in the area of a silence spell or other circumstance where sound is prevented.
Magic items can also be used up when activated—elixirs and potions have to be swallowed, oils applied to an item or creature’s body, arcane or divine script disappearing as it is read from a spell scroll, and so on. A consumable magic item loses its magic after being used.
Many magic items grant the creature using them the ability to cast one or more spells. Unless stated otherwise, a spell cast from a magic item is cast at the lowest possible spell level, and it requires no components or spell slots. The spell uses its normal rules unless the item describes a change to how the spell functions, and if it requires concentration the creature must maintain concentration on the spell. Some magic items (like potions) simply grant the benefits of a spell, with its usual duration, without requiring the spell be cast or for the creature to concentrate.
When a staff or other magic item requires a creature to use its own spellcasting ability and it has more than one spellcasting ability, it chooses which to use. A creature without a spellcasting ability that uses such an item cannot use its proficiency bonus and it treats its spellcasting ability modifier as +0.
Level Up has a plethora of common and uncommon magic items that cost 150 gold or less. Narrators shouldn’t be afraid or wary of rewarding the adventurers with these innocuous enchanted trinkets—they are perfectly suited for enhancing the roleplaying experience without introducing an unbalancing element to the game. Unless the party are in a metropolis known for its arcana or divinity, most shops specializing in magic items will only have a few more expensive pieces but plenty of enchanted trinkets.