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Thanks to Xanathar’s Guide to Everything, crafting magic items no longer requires magic-casting abilities. Instead, the requirements include a formula, a quest to acquire material components, tool- or skill-proficiencies, a gold cost, and a number of workweeks spent creating the item. Favorably, these rules allow Dungeon Masters to involve entire parties on adventures to craft magic items.
In some old-world magic systems, an item becomes magical when something happens to it, such as a killer’s cloak making someone become murderous themselves, or a tree that was struck by a chariot and killed the driver is considered cursed, so the wood of such a tree could create a cursed item. This is how we will view magic item creation in this article: by combining various components, a player can craft a magic item. No inherent magic is required by the creator.
In this article, we will provide formulas for popular magic items and our methods of formula development for Dungeon Masters to mirror and utilize in their story building. While this article does not contain a complete list of magic item formulas, we hope to continue to add to it, especially when we receive requests for specific items from our readers!
Other Quick Resources
Download our Artificer’s Field Guide to reference ingredients and their effects, locations, rarity, DC, and tool proficiencies.
See our Guide to Crafting Magic Items to learn the canonical rules, ideas on encounters, class-based challenges, role-play challenges, item quirks, and more.
Magic Item Index
Developing a Formula
Our formulas draw upon canonical sources, such as the 3.5e Dungeon Master’s Guide, Advanced Dungeons and Dragons 2nd Edition Monstrous Compendium, Magic Item Compendium, additional old edition manuals, a list of Monsters by CR, various deities, and Special Materials from TSR, Inc. or Wizards of the Coast.
We will also reference homebrew material such as Octavian’s Guide to Herbalism & Alchemy, Creature Loot, and RealmsHelp to put together the perfect components.
Keep in mind, and make a note to your players, that while the formulas you give them are simplified for their convenience, the formulas their characters receive are more like elaborate manuscripts with sketched diagrams, complex measurements, detailed calculations, and precise instructions that take time to analyze and comprehend, similar to a Wizard’s spellbook.
Certain skill proficiencies are important in understanding how a formula works, as a formula will be technical, can be coded, or may be written in an uncommon language.
For instructions on how to incorporate the mechanics of Selling your Magic Items into your game, check out this portion of our Guide to Crafting Magic Items.
Crafting Magic Items Requirements (XGtE)
|Item Rarity||Material CR Range||Cost||Workweeks|
Note: Recall that the cost is the price of components and tools over the course of the workweeks, and a workweek consists of 5 days a week, 8 hours per day. These days do not need to be consecutive.
Also, note that consumable magic items like potions and spell scrolls are halved in cost and time required.
Entire parties may lend their proficiencies and skills to craft items, but costs will remain according to the table, regardless of the number of participants.
Amulet of Health
Wondrous item, rare (requires attunement)
Your Constitution score is 19 while you wear this amulet. It has no effect on you if your Constitution is already 19 or higher.
Materials: A gold chain and disk, tuft of fur of a werebear (CR 5), 20 leaves from a Devil’s Bloodleaf (very rare).
Instructions: Create a poultice from the fur and leaves. Using your Jeweler’s tools, engrave an image of vitality, such as a holy symbol or a strong animal, into the disk. Cover the engraving in the poultice for at least 6 weeks.
Proficiencies: Jeweler’s Tools, Nature Skill
Dungeon Master Notes: From the 3.5 edition Dungeon Master’s Guide (p. 246), we read that most Amulets of Health were golden disks hanging from a chain, engraved with the image of a strong beast, such as a lion or bear. Crafters were required to cast the Bear’s Endurance spell, which no longer exists in 5e. However, Druids can cast the Enhance Ability spell and can bestow the Bear’s Endurance ability. This spell requires a material component, fur from a beast.
Because this magic item is Rare, our materials must come from CR 9-12 encounter(s) and cost 2,000 gp. We can require fur from a Werebear, a guardian of the forest, which has a challenge rating of 5. Scale up your CR by adding additional encounters, such as another Werebear or an environmental factor that complicates the situation. We also add to the CR by requiring another rare component, Devil’s Bloodleaf, which may be difficult to find and obtain. Note also that players need not kill a Werebear to get fur; they could grab a handful from a slumbering creature, trade favors from the Werebear for some hair, etc.
From Octavian’s Guide to Alchemy, we find that Devil’s Bloodleaf is a very rare red and yellow flower found in Hills, Swamps, and the Underdark. This primordial plant is large with bold red leaves and is said to give immense vitality and health when properly prepared. To extract leaves from this plant, a player needs DC 18 on an Herbalism check, and will harvest 1d8 leaves per very rare plant. This should give you ample ideas on how to frame your encounters to meet the CR 9-12 requirement.
Armor (shield), AC +2, very rare (requires attunement)
While holding this shield, you can speak its command word as a bonus action to cause it to animate. The shield leaps into the air and hovers in your space to protect you as if you were wielding it, leaving your hands free. The shield remains animated for 1 minute, until you use a bonus action to end this effect, or until you are incapacitated or die, at which point the shield falls to the ground or into your hand if you have one free.
Materials: 2 large ingots of Mithral costing 500 gp, a small parchment with an animating sigil from the priests of Boccob, a vial of mercury.
Instructions: Immerse the parchment in mercury for 2 weeks. Smelt the Mithral, pour into a shield cast, and place the parchment atop the liquified Mithral. Using a tool, push the parchment just below the surface and allow the shield to cool.
Proficiencies: Smithing Tools, Arcana Skill
Dungeon Master Notes: This very rare-item formula development was a little tricky. In the 3.5e Dungeon Master Guide (pg. 218), crafting an Animated Shield requires knowledge of the Animate Object spell, which has no material component. However, there are two spells which, when combined, simulate the effect of the Animated Shield: Shield of Faith and Floating Disk. The material components respectively are: a small parchment with a bit of holy text written on it, and a drop of mercury. Furthermore, a bit of history fun, mercury is an effective parchment preserver.
Next, we look at Special Materials from DnDWiki. In the 5e Dungeon Master’s Guide (pg. 182), we read that Mithral is a shining silvery-blue lightweight metal with a high armor class. Mithral can be found in the Underdark and some mountain ranges (2e Volo’s Guide to All Things Magical, pg. 57). Because Mithral Armor is uncommon (pg. 182 in the DMG), and the cost of uncommon items (pg. 135) is 101 – 500 gp, we will assume the cost of Mithral to forge a Mithral shield is 500 gp, plus costs to use a forge (tools, cast, renting the equipment and space, etc).
And finally, we selected a deity from the core pantheon whose dogma and clergy fit our needs: Boccob, who believes that magic is the most important force in the world and possesses the only library with a copy of every magic spell, item, and potion in existence. Clerics of Boccob devote themselves to magical research, creating magic items, and selling these items to anyone with coin enough. With regards to our formula, perhaps only the priests have access to “animating sigils,” which have been lost to all except in the library of Boccob, which is what makes this magic item very rare. This may fill the deficit to 20,000 gp after other material components and costs associated with smithing and adventuring are met.
Note that a Very Rare Magic Item sells for a base price of 40,000 gp, which is twice the cost required to craft the Animated Shield (XGtE, pg. 133), if players wish to purchase an Animated Shield from the priests (though they may try to get more coin from such wealthy adventurers).
Bonus Effects: In 2e Volo’s Guide to All Things Magical (pg. 57), Mithral may cause unexpected effects when hit with magic. You could give your player’s shield an additional quirk where, whenever magic contacts the shield, the player may roll 1d12. On any odd number, the shield gives the user either a +1 saving throw bonus to beings within 5’ (including the user) or reduces damage done by the magic by the roll of the d12.
Arrow of Slaying
Weapon (arrow), very rare
An arrow of slaying is a magic weapon meant to slay a particular kind of creature. Some are more focused than others; for example, there are both arrows of dragon slaying and arrows of blue dragon slaying. If a creature belonging to the type, race, or group associated with an arrow of slaying takes damage from the arrow, the creature must make a DC 17 Constitution saving throw, taking an extra 6d10 piercing damage on a failed save, or half as much extra damage on a successful one.
Once an arrow of slaying deals its extra damage to a creature, it becomes a nonmagical arrow.
Other types of magic ammunition of this kind exist, such as bolts of slaying meant for a crossbow, though arrows are most common.
Materials: One bucket of blood or essence of the creature specific to the arrow type; steel (for the head); Calantra wood (for the shafts); 50 feathers of a Peryton (for the fletching).
Instructions: Forge and temper steel arrowheads, quenched in the blood or essence. Assemble the shafts and fletchlings and attach to the arrowheads. Produces 100 arrows.
Proficiencies: Smithing Tools, Nature Skill
Dungeon Master Notes: This formula is dependent on the type of creature specific to the arrow. Players will need to harvest blood from creatures, which means defeating multiple monsters, helping us reach the CR 13-18 requirement. We are drawing our inspiration from the special material Arandur, a Gnome metal mixed with the blood of a dragon. Furthermore, we will require Calantra, the heartwood of the hardy tree Calan of Faerûn, which is significantly durable and safe as a spell component.
For the fletching, we will require Peryton feathers. Peryton (CR 2) are foul-tempered evil magical creatures with hide impervious to non-magical weapons. According to Elminister’s Ecology, Perytons were once humans cursed aeons ago by unknown magic. This seems fitting for our arrows, which deal extra damage when piercing the hides of specific creatures.
More on Perytons from Elminister’’s Ecology (pg. 31):
Bag of Holding
Wondrous item, uncommon
This bag has an interior space considerably larger than its outside dimensions, roughly 2 feet in diameter at the mouth and 4 feet deep. The bag can hold up to 500 pounds, not exceeding a volume of 64 cubic feet. The bag weighs 15 pounds, regardless of its contents. Retrieving an item from the bag requires an action.
If the bag is overloaded, pierced, or torn, it ruptures and is destroyed, and its contents are scattered in the Astral Plane.
If the bag is turned inside out, its contents spill forth, unharmed, but the bag must be put right before it can be used again. Breathing creatures inside the bag can survive up to a number of minutes equal to 10 divided by the number of creatures (minimum 1 minute), after which time they begin to suffocate.
Placing a bag of holding inside an extradimensional space created by a Heward’s handy haversack, portable hole, or similar item instantly destroys both items and opens a gate to the Astral Plane. The gate originates where the one item was placed inside the other. Any creature within 10 feet of the gate is sucked through it to a random location on the Astral Plane. The gate then closes. The gate is one-way only and can’t be reopened.
Materials: A large 2 x 4 ft. bag woven from material of the astral plane (such as one a Githyanki would possess, or made from the mane of a Foo Lion), a small jacinth gemstone on a chain of silver.
Instructions: Assemble or acquire a bag from astral plane material. Secure the chain and gem at the opening of the bag.
Proficiencies: Weaver’s Tools if weaving the bag oneself. Otherwise, none.
Dungeon Master Notes: For the 9th level spell Astral Projection, the material components required are one jacinth worth at least 1,000 gp and one ornately carved bar of silver worth at least 100 gp. We can scale that down to fit the cost of an uncommon magic item, 200 gp.
We will also require special material made from the astral plane. This is more to cater to the quest with CR 4-8. Though a Foo Lion does not have stats in 5e, perhaps it is something they could run into if they travel the astral plane themselves. They could also steal equipment from a band of Githyanki without confronting them, or perhaps by ambushing one, in the material plane.
Bead of Force
Wondrous item, rare
This small black sphere measures 3/4 of an inch in diameter and weighs an ounce. Typically, 1d4 + 4 beads of force are found together.
You can use an action to throw the bead up to 60 feet. The bead explodes on impact and is destroyed. Each creature within a 10-foot radius of where the bead landed must succeed on a DC 15 Dexterity saving throw or take 5d4 force damage. A sphere of transparent force then encloses the area for 1 minute. Any creature that failed the save and is completely within the area is trapped inside this sphere. Creatures that succeeded on the save, or are partially within the area, are pushed away from the center of the sphere until they are no longer inside it. Only breathable air can pass through the sphere’s wall. No attack or other effect can.
An enclosed creature can use its action to push against the sphere’s wall, moving the sphere up to half the creature’s walking speed. The sphere can be picked up, and its magic causes it to weigh only 1 pound, regardless of the weight of creatures inside.
Materials: Spherical clear crystals (one per bead for 1d4+4 total beads), 8 oz gum arabic from an acacia tree, a small bag of gunpowder.
Instructions: Melt the gum arabic and mix in gunpowder until smooth. Coat each crystal sphere in the mixture. Allow the balls to sit in sunlight for one hour per day until the crystals have absorbed the mixture (about 6 weeks).
Proficiencies: Herbalism to extract the gum
Dungeon Master Notes: In 3.5e Dungeon Master’s Guide (pg. 248), to craft Beads of Force, players were required the ability to cast Otiluke’s Resilient Sphere, which has material components: a hemispherical piece of clear crystal and a matching hemispherical piece of gum arabic.
To reach your CR rating of 9-12, require your players to journey to a foreign semi-desert region (think Pakistan or India) to harvest precious gum arabic. What challenges could they face on their journey that would be comparable to fighting a Treant (CR 9), Djinni (CR 11), or Archmage (CR 12)?
Up to 4 of the workweeks required should involve traveling to and acquiring the material components.
Boots of Elvenkind
Wondrous item, uncommon
While you wear these boots, your steps make no sound, regardless of the surface you are moving across. You also have advantage on Dexterity (Stealth) checks that rely on moving silently.
Materials: Cork made of Duskwood bark, linen woven from fibers of Shadowtop trees, ashes from burned leaves of mistletoe.
Instructions: An elf or half-elf is required to craft these boots. Assemble the boots with cork and linen. Take the boots to Lake Sember, locate the “Nightmare Mists” (detectable only by Elves and menacing to all other creatures) and dust the boots in mistletoe ash. The boots must sit in these mists overnight. Can craft 1-8 pairs of boots with the materials, cost, and time (at the discretion of the Dungeon Master).
Proficiencies: Cobbler’s or Weaver’s Tools
Dungeon Master Notes: In the Neverwinter Nights Atari game, Boots of Elvenkind were crafted for elven scouts in 884 DR (probably from the sylvan community Elventree), and aided in two major battles against mercenaries from Sembia. However, elves have been very reluctant to share the formula or sell the magic boots themselves in case they fall into the wrong hands, such as thieves or their enemies (Source: Baldur’s Gate II: Shadows of Amn).
Thus, players should only come upon this formula as a gift from a rogue wood elf, or some other reward for their noble deeds when they prove themselves honorable to the elves. Additionally, in the 3rd edition (DMG, pg. 250), only an elf character can craft these. In terms of our formula, only an elf character can detect the sentient mists of the Semberholme, thus an elf is required to be in the adventuring party to create the boots.
Befitting to the magic item’s description, we will use inspiration from the Druid spell Pass Without Trace, which has material components of ashes from a burned leaf of mistletoe and a sprig of spruce.
As for the composition of the shoe, cork is a strong yet silent base for a shoe and can be made from bark, and linen can be woven from fibrous trees. We will use plants from Arch Wood and Cormanthor outside of Sembia.
The lore behind the formula’s sentient mists comes from Semberholme (Part 1) Legend and Mystery Realmslore:
Broom of Flying
Wondrous item, uncommon
This wooden broom, which weighs 3 pounds, functions like a mundane broom until you stand astride it and speak its command word. It then hovers beneath you and can be ridden in the air. It has a flying speed of 50 feet. It can carry up to 400 pounds, but its flying speed becomes 30 feet while carrying over 200 pounds. The broom stops hovering when you land.
You can send the broom to travel alone to a destination within 1 mile of you if you speak the command word, name the location, and are familiar with that place. The broom comes back to you when you speak another command word, provided that the broom is still within 1 mile of you.
Materials: A broom, a ring or piece of jewelry of sentimental value to the crafter, a wing feather from any bird.
Instructions: Take the material components to the large agate formed in the lightning scars at the western edge of the Vast Swamp (where the Battle with Witch Lords occurred). Place the broom and jewelry on top of the agate and trace the magical pathways of the gem. The crystal formations in the agate will glow and consume the jewelry, magically creating the Broom of Flying.
Dungeon Master Notes: In the 3.5e DMG (pg. 251), crafting a Broom of Flying requires the ability to cast Overland Flight and Permanency. These spells no longer exist in 5e, but we can use a similar spell, Fly, as inspiration (material component: wing feather). There isn’t a spell similar to Permanency, but it brings an interesting dynamic to the formula: Permanency has an experience cost, which requires the spellcaster to give up something valuable.
Additionally, based on the item description, it seems there is a mystic bond between the broom and the person who stands astride it and speaks the command word such that nobody else could hijack the vehicle. A spell adjacent to this effect that we could use for inspiration is Warding Bond, which has material components of two platinum rings that both the spellcaster and the target must wear for the duration. An appropriate component for crafting the Broom of Flying would be a ring or piece of jewelry of personal significance that one would give up, similar to the experience cost of Permanency, and similar to the components of Warding Bond.
We will also use the Transmutation spell Awaken as inspiration, which has a material component of an agate worth 1,000 gp, in which you trace magical pathways to activate the spell. This magical gemstone component also capitalizes on the notoriously witchy theme of a flying broomstick.
A brief geology lesson: agate is a gemstone that is basically a rock filled with microcrystals and other mineral impurities, layer by layer, forming concentric bands or other patterns. A similar rock formation, the Fulgurite, is a natural tube of glasslike sediments that form when lightning hits the ground. Depending on the composition of the ground, other crystallization can occur. We’ll use this knowledge in our required materials.
The last key to the formula is a bit of Faerun history from Cormyr: A Novel (pg. 304–311): in 900 DR, a battle took place on the western edge of the Vast Swamp in Cormyr between the Witch Lords of Wyvernwater and the Cormyreans. The Witch Lords “unleashed bat-mounted units who used lightning-based attacks.” Eventually, the Witch Lords’ armies retreated into the swamp, giving Cormyreans the victory.
From these canonical sources, we are going to create our own lore that Dungeon Masters can implement into their campaign:
Twenty years ago, a drawn-out period of dryness caused the west exterior of the ever-expanding Vast Swamp to recede, unveiling the long-lost battleground of the Battle with the Witch Lords. Archeologists eagerly excavated the region and discovered a gigantic 20 ft. x 30 ft. agate formed within the scars of the earth where lightning from the bat creatures in battle struck the swampy sediment. Shimmering with streaks of turquoise, white, and rusty red, this large gem emitted mystical vibes. Before transportation crews could remove the rock, unearthly storms caused the marshes to mostly overtake the agate.
In the notes of one of the archeologists, your adventurers have discovered instructions on using the powers of the Witch Lord battleground to create a powerful broom of flying: “Late one night, while dusting the top of the agate we uncovered, I set my tools and my wedding ring to my side, next to my broom, and began dusting the contours of the gem. A light shone from the rock, irradiating the broom. In a bright gleam, my ring disappeared, and the broom hovered between my legs. A single word whispered in the air: Malefica.”
Cape of the Mountebank
Wondrous item, rare
This cape smells faintly of brimstone. While wearing it, you can use it to cast the dimension door spell as an action. This property of the cape can’t be used again until the next dawn.
When you disappear, you leave behind a cloud of smoke, and you appear in a similar cloud of smoke at your destination. The smoke lightly obscures the space you left and the space you appear in, and it dissipates at the end of your next turn. A light or stronger wind disperses the smoke.
Materials: Water and lye (10 gallons), caligo wings (10 pairs), Blink Dog fur (50 grams), brimstone (1 pound), gold dust (GOLD COST), 15-gallon oaken barrel, silk/nylon/wool textiles, sylvan runes, hyacinth (33 flowers), adult faerie dragon cartilage (from two wings).
Instructions: For the cape’s trim, begin with a ten-gallon base of lye (caustic soda) and water. Grind the following ingredients and add them to the base: ten pairs of caligo (owl butterfly) wings, Blink Dog fur, brimstone, and gold dust to create a golden dye. Seal the dye in a small oaken barrel to be buried under the branches of a tree that has grown to adulthood in a consecrated graveyard or courtyard. Exhume the dye on a night with no moon. Before the next full moon rises, apply the dye to silk, nylon, or wool to be used with the cape’s trim. The trim can mostly be applied according to the taste and skill of a seamstress, except for the cape’s edges which must be sewn intricately to emulate sylvan rune-gate architecture. These runes are associated with the Dimension Door spell when it is recorded in a wizard’s spellbook.
Once the trim has been dyed, it’s time to add more ingredients to the golden dye. Add hyacinth flowers and cartilage from adult faerie dragon wings. Boil the dye, at which point it will assume a new color depending on the deceased faerie dragon’s personality. If more than one faerie dragon’s cartilage is used, the dye may develop peculiar, diverse colorings, resembling a mixture of oil and water. After boiling the new dye for one month, cool it quickly (perhaps with ice). Its temperature must drop to become lukewarm, so act quickly. Make haste as you apply the new dye to the cape.
Proficiencies: Weaver’s Tools
Cloak of Displacement
Wondrous item, rare (requires attunement)
While you wear this cloak, it projects an Illusion that makes you appear to be standing in a place near your actual location, causing any creature to have disadvantage on Attack rolls against you. If you take damage, the property ceases to function until the start of your next turn. This property is suppressed while you are Incapacitated, Restrained, or otherwise unable to move.
Materials: Hide of a Displacer Beast, two yards of fleece, dust from an emerald costing 1,000 gp, gum arabic, soot from a Fey Cherry branch, a copper pot.
Instructions: Combine the gum arabic, soot, and emerald dust into a paste. Mix the paste in a copper pot with a quart of boiling water. Immerse the fleece in the pot’s mixture and allow it to soak for two hours. Sew the now-shimmering black fleece into a cloak, attaching the Displacer Beast hide without.
Dungeon Master Notes: In 3.5e, to craft a Cloak of Displacement, one needed to know the spell Displacement, which shifts the target of the spell 2 feet from its actual location. This spell was replaced by Blur in 5th edition, and neither require material components. However, we can produce similar effect with spells like Minor Illusion and Silent Image, which require components of a bit of fleece. Programmed Illusion requires jade in addition to fleece. We will require fleece to be added to the Displacer Beast’s hide to create this cloak.
We will also explore lore from the Displacer beast (CR 3), lesser known as the Dirlagraun (The Sword Never Sleeps, pg. 294).
From The Ecology of the Displacer Beast (pg. 32), we read:
Another piece of information we will use is the geology term birefringence, or the splitting of light in two separate rays at different speeds. This is a similar effect to how Displacer Beasts refract light from their skin cells to create their illusions. Rubies (5,000 gp) and emeralds (1,000 gp) are two of the most popular birefringerent gemstones. We will require a dye to be made from emeralds to give the fleece a similar refracting illusion, plus add to the enchantment.
The final bit to our formula that enchants the cloak is derived from Dragon Magazine Issue #357, pg. 56. The Fey Cherry is a tree with magical properties that produces fruit once per decade. Though limbs and leaves harvested from these trees contain no magical properties, we will still use it to create the ink to dye the fleece. The soot will create the desired black color, as per the cloak’s image in the Dungeon Master’s Guide 5e (pg. 158), and the copper pot acts as a mordant to bind the dye to the fabric.
To reach the CR requirement of 9-12, design complex encounters around defeating a Displacer Beast and retrieving wood from the Fey Cherry.
Cloak of Invisibility
Wondrous item, legendary (requires attunement)
While wearing this cloak, you can pull its hood over your head to cause yourself to become invisible. While you are invisible, anything you are carrying or wearing is invisible with you. You become visible when you cease wearing the hood. Pulling the hood up or down requires an action.
Deduct the time you are invisible, in increments of 1 minute, from the cloak’s maximum duration of 2 hours. After 2 hours of use, the cloak ceases to function. For every uninterrupted period of 12 hours the cloak goes unused, it regains 1 hour of duration.
Materials: An Oni eyelash, three pounds of gum arabic, crushed crystals costing 100 gp, a bag of powdered graphite, one pound of powdered platinum, a small copper rod, a flask of Aboleth mucus, nectar from the Hinny flower, wool from a particular lamb (see instructions), rubber boots.
Instructions: Paint: Heat the gum arabic to melting. Add crushed crystals and powdered graphite to create a thick substance. Drop in the Oni eyelash and powdered platinum and allow the chemical process to take place. The result will be an electric-conductive paint with magical properties.
Cloak dye: Dissolve copper in Aboleth mucus (highly acidic, hence Alchemist’s tools proficiency required). Dilute with water. This will give the fibers of the cloak conductivity so that entire piece of clothing will become invisible.
Cloak: Gather nectar from the Hinny flower, which only blooms on the first day of spring. Administer the nectar to a pregnant ewe within the last month of gestation (month 4). Spin the wool from the first shearing of the lamb, which takes place at 8 months. This wool will be thinner yet stronger than normal wool due to the nectar. Dye the yarn in the cloak dye and weave into a cloak.
Paint the holy symbol of Leira on the back of the cloak (clockwise swirl contained in an upside down triangle) with the electricity-conductive paint. Don the cloak and rubber boots in close proximity to Will-O’-Wisps engaged in reproduction (within 30 feet). One must wear the cloak during this process so that it does not disappear and become lost. However, the wearer must not disturb the symbol painted upon the fabric. Note that Will-O’-Wisps will attack creatures encroaching on their territory.
During Will-O’-Wisp reproduction, energy will be drawn from the Negative Material Plane, and a portion will transfer to the electric-conductive cloak, activating its invisibility properties.
Proficiencies: Weaver’s Tools, Alchemist’s Tools, Arcana Skill
Dungeon Master Notes: Note that this item is Legendary, so this formula will be very involved and challenging.
The material component for the spell Invisibility is an eyelash encased in gum arabic. From the Bead of Force formula, we can recall that gum arabic (acacia gum) is found in semi-desert region, like Pakistan or India, and is used as a binder in ceramics and painting, among other things (Source). We’ll use these spell components as inspiration and require an Oni (CR 7, at-will invisibility) eyelash encased in gum arabic.
For this item, we’re taking a slight science-fiction route by explaining that the cloak’s invisibility comes from energy that conducts into the very fibers of the piece of clothing, mixed slightly with magic. Graphite and copper are electricity-conductive, and crystals store energy.
For a more magically-inclined touch, we add that the powers of Leira, the goddess of illusions, via her holy symbol will also contribute to the item’s creation. With this, there is ample potential for Leira temple encounters.
We’ll also use additional monsters with inherent invisibility abilities for components. However, to reach our CR requirements, we’ll add extra challenge with this monster using Advanced Dungeons and Dragons first edition lore. Let’s take a look at the Will-O’-Wisp from the Dragon Magazine Issue #99 (pg. 19).
From this knowledge, we can upscale the CR of the Will-O’-Wisp encounter by making them difficult to find, combined in battle, and worthy of a legendary magical item.
Note that the time required (nearly a year) for production is due in large to the amount of time needed to gather and prepare wool, plus harvesting the nectar at a specific time of year, and locating mating Will-O’-Wisps. Costs should be spread throughout the 50 weeks and pay for equipment, hiring a shepherd (possibly the largest expense) and purchasing the wool, travel expenses, and components.
Daern’s Instant Fortress
Wondrous item, rare
You can use an action to place this 1-inch metal cube on the ground and speak its command word. The cube rapidly grows into a fortress that remains until you use an action to speak the command word that dismisses it, which works only if the fortress is empty.
The fortress is a square tower, 20 feet on a side and 30 feet high, with arrow slits on all sides and a battlement atop it. Its interior is divided into two floors. with a ladder running along one wall to connect them. The ladder ends at a trapdoor leading to the roof. When activated, the tower has a small door on the side facing you. The door opens only at your command, which you can speak as a bonus action. It is immune to the knock spell and similar magic, such as that of a chime of opening.
Each creature in the area where the fortress appears must make a DC 15 Dexterity saving throw, taking 10d10 bludgeoning damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one. In either case, the creature is pushed to an unoccupied space outside but next to the fortress. Objects in the area that aren’t being worn or carried take this damage and are pushed automatically.
The tower is made of adamantine, and its magic prevents it from being tipped over. The roof, the door, and the walls each have 100 hit points, immunity to damage from nonmagical weapons excluding siege weapons, and resistance to all other damage. Only a wish spell can repair the fortress (this use of the spell counts as replicating a spell of 8th level or lower). Each casting of wish causes the roof, the door, or one wall to regain 50 hit points.
Materials: A miniature iron fortress weighing 1 lb, two harbor moon coins, a nugget of adamantine, a feather from a griffin, a shard of wood from a noble palace.
Instructions: Smelt the iron fortress figure with the harbor moon coins and adamantine. Shape the new metal into a 1-inch cube. Brand the cube with Daern’s symbol of a shield on a parapet. Take the feather, wood shard, and cube to the priests of Daern to bless. The feather and shard will be consumed by the magic.
Proficiencies: Smithing Tools, Religion Skill
Dungeon Master Notes: In 3.5e Dungeon Master Guide (pg. 254), Daern’s Instant Fortress crafters were required to know the spell Mordenkainen’s magnificent mansion, which has material components: a miniature portal carved from ivory, a small piece of polished marble, and a tiny silver spoon. Additionally, Daern the Unshakeable is a hero-deity of defense and fortresses, and she was often associated with griffins. We’ll utilize her priests in this formula. Note that there is not a lot of information about Daern and her priests. Here is your chance to tie in campaign lore!
The fortress, when activated, is built of adamantine, which is an alloy of five parts adamant, two parts silver, and one part electrum, and can be found in the underdark in veins of ore. Sometimes a meteorite could be found with an amount of adamantine (Volo’s Guide to All Things Magical, pg. 55-56).
In the 1990 Forgotten Realms Adventure (pg. 130), we read that a harbor moon coin is made of electrum and plated in platinum. It is worth 50 gp within Waterdeep and 2 gp elsewhere. Shaped like a crescent moon, the coin has a hole punched through to allow it to be strung on a chain.
The final ingredient in our formula is a shard of wood from a noble palace. We’ll require the shard to be from an honorable palace (the palace inhibitor should match the alignment of Daern—lawful neutral). The shard should come from the structure of the palace, such as a rafter, a pillar, floor boards, etc.
A dagger fashioned from the tooth of a dragon. While the blade is obviously a fang or predator’s tooth, the handle is leather wrapped around the root of the tooth, and there is no cross-guard.
You gain a +1 bonus to attack rolls and damage rolls you make with this weapon. On a hit with this weapon, the target takes an extra 1d6 acid damage.
Draconic Potency. Against enemies of the Cult of the Dragon, the dagger’s bonus to attack rolls and damage rolls increases to +2, and the extra acid damage increases to 2d6.
Materials: A young black dragon’s tooth or claw, leather, a handful of fire ants, dried powdered peas, powdered animal hoof, powdered rhubarb leaves, an adder’s stomach (or any poisonous giant snake).
Instructions: Using mason’s tools or carpenter’s tools, shape the dragon tooth or claw into a dagger, paying attention to balance, the edges, and a hold for one’s hands. Grind together the fire ants, powdered peas, animal hoof, and rhubarb leaves. Rub the mixture onto the leather and place within the adder’s stomach for 2 weeks. After this time, remove the leather, wash thoroughly, and cut it into strips. Immediately apply the leather onto the handle of the dagger while the leather is wet and malleable. Take the completed dagger to a temple of Mystra and allow her priests to perform a ceremony to grant it power against the Cult of the Dragon.
Proficiencies: Mason’s Tools or Carpenter’s Tools
Dungeon Master Notes: This magic item was released with Rise of Tiamat and is intended to be used against the Cult of the Dragon, also known as Purple Wearers. Because the weapon deals acid damage and requires a dragon’s tooth or claw, I looked for dragons that deal acid damage near the CR range required. A young black dragon became the target of the formula for this reason. Additionally, I looked at spells that also deal acid damage and what sort of material components are required there.
Melf’s Acid Arrow requires powdered rhubarb leaf and an adder’s stomach; Acid Breath requires a handful of fire ants; and Acid Fog requires a pinch of dried, powdered peas combined with powdered animal hoof. These ingredients are perfect for a dye. From the picture of the dagger, you can see that the leather is purple, which aligns with the fact that the Cult of the Dragon are also called “Purple Wearers.” Therefore, we can use the ingredients to dye the leather purple. The adder’s stomach (a poisonous snake) can act as a mordant to bind the dye to the leather, as well as provide some sort of acid resistance to the leather handle such that it does not deteriorate upon the dragon tooth.
Finally, to make the dagger effective against the Cult, we should expect some sort of deity to play a part in its creation. The Cult of the Dragon was founded by a mad mage called Sammaster, who was once a Chosen of Mystra, but could not contain her powers and hurt a lot of innocent people. When he tried to kill another Chosen of Mystra, the deity stripped him of her powers, and it became a goal of the temple to fight against the rising cult throughout Faerun. I think it’s appropriate to have a priest of Mystra bless the dagger as a tool for fighting the Cult.
Dragon Scale Mail
Armor (scale mail), very rare (requires attunement)
Dragon scale mail is made of the scales of one kind of dragon. Sometimes dragons collect their cast-off scales and gift them to humanoids. Other times, hunters carefully skin and preserve the hide of a dead dragon. In either case, dragon scale mail is highly valued.
While wearing this armor, you gain a +1 bonus to AC, you have advantage on saving throws against the Frightful Presence and breath weapons of dragons, and you have resistance to one damage type that is determined by the kind of dragon that provided the scales (see the table).
Additionally, you can focus your senses as an action to magically discern the distance and direction to the closest dragon within 30 miles of you that is of the same type as the armor. This special action can’t be used again until the next dawn.
Materials: One intact scale from a young adult dragon, premium leather, web silk from a Drider, Atigax fungus, blood of a Giant (type associated with dragon scale resistance type).
Instructions: Dry the Atigax mushrooms for one week. Treat the web with an alchemical concoction of ground Atigax and Giant’s blood for up to four weeks. Assemble your leather and scale with the treated web thread.
Proficiencies: Leatherworker’s Tools, Alchemist’s Tools
Dungeon Master Notes: According to 2.5e Draconomicon (pg. 5), “heavy scales cover a dragon from the tip of its tail to [the] end of its snout,” and “a dragon has hundreds of hard, durable scales covering its body” (pg. 7).
By the young adult age (51-100 years), a dragon’s scales have developed into formidable armor (pg. 13). By age 401, scales begin to show signs of aging, with chips and cracks at the edges (pg. 14).
From this dragon ecology, we can infer that a strong material and tool will be needed to assemble the scales or hide. To assemble the armor, we will require thread from a very strong material, using Drowsilk (3.5e homebrew) or Spidersilk as inspiration. The crafter must concoct an alchemical reagent to bathe web from a Drider (CR 6) to use as thread.
Note that Driders are drow who have been cursed by Lolth. Only half of the Drider population can produce web silk, and according to The Drow of the Underdark (pg. 11), they can produce web up to ten times per day, though the silk is extremely dangerous to all but the Drider and acts like Rope of Entanglement. Use this knowledge to set up your CR 13-18 encounters. How can they handle Drider web without it attacking them? What solutions can they come up with as a party? Perhaps the formula they receive notes very little about the dangers of Drider web.
Next we will require the silk to be treated in an alchemical concoction that will stabilize the silk in daylight. The reagent will be made from the fungus Atigax, which removes sensitivity to sunlight, and the blood of a Giant (CR 9) whose type the dragon scale is resistant to. Giants are notoriously strong, and this concoction will give our thread stability in light, resistance to specific damage, and durability.
Canonically, there are six varieties of Giants: Hill, Stone, Frost, Fire, Cloud, and Storm. Our resistances are Acid, Lightning, Fire, Poison, and Cold. Let’s pair these together:
|Cloud||Cold or Lightning|
Based on DM’s guidance, multiple players may create Dragon Scale Mail simultaneously on this quest, assuming there are enough gathered dragon scales.
Dust of Dryness
Wondrous Item, uncommon
This small packet contains 1d6 + 4 pinches of dust. You can use an action to sprinkle a pinch of it over water. The dust turns a cube of water 15 feet on a side into one marble-sized pellet, which floats or rests near where the dust was sprinkled. The pellet’s weight is negligible.
Someone can use an action to smash the pellet against a hard surface, causing the pellet to shatter and release the water the dust absorbed. Doing so ends that pellet’s magic.
An elemental composed mostly of water that is exposed to a pinch of the dust must make a DC 13 Constitution saving throw, taking 10d6 necrotic damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.
Materials: A corked vial, purple dust from the Plains of Purple Dust, sagebrush native to the Plains, water from the Grinning Skull oasis, chalk.
Instructions: Upon gathering materials, burn a wand of sagebrush at the Grinning Skull. On a rocky surface, draw a circle with eight dots on its border at equal distances. Connect one dot to the remaining 7 dots.
Dungeon Master Notes: In the 3.5e Dungeon Master’s Guide, Dust of Dryness crafting required the user to be able to cast Control Water, which has material components of “a drop of water and a pinch of dust.” We’ll require these components as well, but they will come from uncommon locations or sources.
There are a few desert locations of interest in Faerun, but for this item, we will focus on the Plains of Purple Dust. According to Old Empires (1990) pg. 8,
In this manual, there were “no uses found for” Purple Dust, so perhaps the source of the formula development was ancient, secretive, tribal, and difficult to come by, or written by a Nezramite mage native to the Plains. Remember that there are a myriad of ways to develop an item, and this is just one formula for Dust of Dryness. The water will come from the Grinning Skull oasis of the Plains, which is shielded by a large skull of a great wyrm dragon.
Encounters in the Plains can range from pirates, mages, and nomads to young brass/brown/blue dragons and undead Imaskari artificers to ancient arcane towers or ruins. Remember to keep your CR encounters from 4-8.
Other aspects to include in your adventure to tie in the Dust of Dryness:
The incantation is a Goblin translation of “As the great wyrm dragon has withered, so too will this dust wither whatsoever it touches,” courtesy of ScrewyTruths.com. The nomadic mongrelmen of the Plains, who are a crossbreed of several races including goblin, could be the original developers of this Dust of Dryness formula (I’d prefer they had a new name, though).
Elixir of Health
When you drink this potion, it cures any disease afflicting you, and it removes the blinded, deafened, paralyzed, and poisoned conditions. The clear red liquid has tiny bubbles of light in it.
Materials: Silverbark sap, the stomach of a Flail Snail, crushed water opal
Instructions: Combine the sap and crushed stone, and store the mixture in the stomach of a Flail Snail for eight weeks.
Proficiencies: Herbalism Kit
Dungeon Master Notes: Based on the description that an Elixir of Health is clear red with tiny bubbles, we will utilize the sap of a red antitoxin tree, the Silverbark, which grows in swampy areas or wet grounds.
According to The Ecology of the Flail Snail (pg. 58-63), the stomach and liver of the Flail Snail (CR 3) could be used as an ingredient for the Elixir of Health to negate the effects of ingested poison. Note that Flail Snails hibernate during winter unless food was available year-round and flee from bright lights.
In 2e Volo’s Guide to All Things Magical (pg. 53), an Elixir of Health could be created by crushing a water opal into holy water. Because Xanathar’s Guide has specific requirements for CR and cost, we’ll only use this as a partial ingredient. Water opal can be found among the drow (The Drow of the Underdark, p. 94.) and has a base value of 1,000 gp.
Weapon (any sword), rare (requires attunement)
You can use a bonus action to speak this magic sword’s command word, causing flames to erupt from the blade. These flames shed bright light in a 40-foot radius and dim light for an additional 40 feet. While the sword is ablaze, it deals an extra 2d6 fire damage to any target it hits. The flames last until you use a bonus action to speak the command word again or until you drop or sheathe the sword.
Materials: Fyrite ore, four leaves of sumac, a small bag of sulfur, a small ball of bat guano, one flask of Alchemist’s Fire
Instructions: Grind the leaf of sumac with the sulfur and bat guano. Drop the sulfur mixture into a quenching bucket of water. Allow the mixture to dissolve in the water. Forge the Fyrite ore in the fires of the Elemental Plane of Fire and then throw the flask of Alchemist’s Fire into the bucket such that it breaks at the bottom and allows the oil to rise up to the surface of the water. Quench the sword in the bucket of water, which will have a layer of flaming oil atop.
Proficiencies: Smithing Tools
Dungeon Master Notes: In the Dungeon Master’s 3rd Edition Guide, Flame Tongue was created with the use of scorching ray, flame blade, flame strike, and/or fireball spells. The material components of these various spells include leaf of sumac, pinch of sulfur and a tiny ball of bat guano and sulfur.
According to Elemental Hazards: An Exploration of the Inner Planes (pg. 42), Fyrite is a red ore that can be forged in supernaturally hot fires upon the Elemental Plane of Fire. Fyrite weapons will be as strong as steel and immune to heat, though vulnerable to cold. This vulnerability should not be of much concern to us in creating the Flame Tongue. In this manual, we also discover that Fyrite ore may be found near the hottest substance on the Elemental Plane of Fire: cerulean magma.
To activate the flame of the sword, we will require quenching in a bucket of water that has the sulfur, guano, and leaf dissolved into it, and a layer of Alchemist’s Fire alight on the surface.
Note also that Flame Tongue can be any sword. See our Guide to Common Swords for inspiration and information. For instance, the Flame-Bladed Sword provides unique parrying benefits and anti-grabbing properties, to add some flair to your fighting style.
Gem of Seeing
Wondrous item, rare (requires attunement)
This gem has 3 charges. As an action, you can speak the gem’s command word and expend 1 charge. For the next 10 minutes, you have truesight out to 120 feet when you peer through the gem.
Materials: Topaz gemstone costing 500 gp, three Olus Veritis mushrooms dried, fat from a Canoloth, a handful of saffron, holy water
Instructions: Mash together the dried mushroom, fat, and saffron. Cover the Topaz with the salve. Place in a fiery furnace for six minutes. Remove and allow to cool. Wash the gemstone with holy water. You will know the enchantment worked if the Topaz has lost its color, appearing as a clear crystal.
Proficiencies: Arcana or Religion skill
Dungeon Master Notes: In the 3.5e Player’s Handbook, to make a Gem of Seeing, one must be able to cast True Seeing, which requires material components of a salve for the eyes made of mushroom powder, fat, and saffron.
We can also look for specific gemstones that have a high cost. We will use Topaz for its immunity to breakage when enchanted (3.5e Volo’s Guide to All Things Magical, pg. 52). The Gem of Seeing is naturally crystal-clear, so we will conclude that the enchantment is activated when the topaz loses its coloring.
For the mushroom powder, we will require Olus Veritis, which may be used in compelling the truth. These mushrooms are found in the Outlands in Spring, Summer, and Fall.
For the fat, we’ll require a piece from the hulking Canoloths (CR 8), trusty hounds of the Yugoloth fiends, who have powers of Truesight. Add sly Canoloth tactics into your adventure using this article from The Monsters Know What They’re Doing. Because this is a fiend monster, we’ll require the gem be washed with holy water to counterbalance the evil characteristics.
Ring of Spell Storing
Ring, rare (requires attunement)
This ring stores spells cast into it, holding them until the attuned wearer uses them. The ring can store up to 5 levels worth of spells at a time. When found, it contains 1d6 − 1 levels of stored spells chosen by the GM.
Any creature can cast a spell of 1st through 5th level into the ring by touching the ring as the spell is cast. The spell has no effect, other than to be stored in the ring. If the ring can’t hold the spell, the spell is expended without effect. The level of the slot used to cast the spell determines how much space it uses.
While wearing this ring, you can cast any spell stored in it. The spell uses the slot level, spell save DC, spell attack bonus, and spellcasting ability of the original caster, but is otherwise treated as if you cast the spell. The spell cast from the ring is no longer stored in it, freeing up space.
Materials: Ivory strip 6-inch by 1-inch; handful of decaying leaves from the Quess’Ar’Teranthvar tree; seven golden leaves from the Quess’Ar’Teranthvar tree; ruby dust worth 1,500 gp; large glass flask with 1-inch opening, cork, and wax; 8-inch by 14-inch (at least) strip of wool; leather pouch.
Instructions: Cut and carve a strip of ivory, 6 inches by 1 inch. Etch runic symbols into the ivory using Jeweler’s Tools. A Dungeon Master may reveal what the message is if players are proficient in Arcana or know the language of the symbols (as determined by the DM). Otherwise, they must precisely copy the message from the written formula they receive.
Place decayed leaves from the golden tree in a flask of water, sealed for two weeks. After this time, extract the water, which will be a dark but translucent brown. Soak the strip of wool in the diluted tannic acid from the flask and wrap it around the ivory strip. Place the wool and ivory in a leather pouch and allow it to soften for four weeks, adding more tannic acid each day.
When the ivory has softened after four weeks, use Jeweler’s Tools to form the ivory into the shape of the ring with the etched markings on the outside. Allow the ivory to dry out and harden for three days.
When totally dry, smelt the gold leaves from the Quess’Ar’Teranthvar tree with the ruby dust. Coat the ivory ring in the gold mixture. A Dungeon Master may decide if a ceremony is required for this process to activate the magic-storing capabilities. Perhaps the ring must be blessed or sanctified by Mystra, the Mother of Magic.
Proficiencies: Jeweler’s Tools, Arcana skill
Dungeon Master Notes:
The Ring of Spell Storing is tricky because its gimmick is that it can store any level 1-5 spell. In 3rd edition, the ring had an “evocation” aura, so I’m going to look at evocation spells with more ethereal effects for component inspiration:
- Word of Radiance requires a holy symbol
- Hallow requires herbs, oils, and incense worth 1,000 gp
- Contingency requires a carved ivory statuette of oneself
- Forcecage requires ruby dust worth 1,500 gp
Based on the Contingency spell, I’m going to require the interior of the ring be made from ivory. Think: an elephant never forgets, so a spell storing ring will always remember! Ivory can come from one of the following creatures: Umber (CR 5), Sperm Whale/Cachalot (CR 8), Mammoth (CR 6), Hippo (CR 6), or Elephant (CR 4). And finally, the image of the ring makes it look to be a gold-plated scroll with etchings on it.
To soften and shape the ivory, we will need it to soak in tannic acid for some time. This can come from the bark or leaves of a tree. One particularly cool tree to use is the Quess’Ar’Teranthvar from the 2007 manual Anauroch, The Empire of Shade, page 115. This tree is actually a set of ten scrolls transformed into a golden tree. Supposing players find this tree and they are able to bypass the tree’s guardians (a golden spider), they may be able to take seven golden leaves plus a handful of shriveled and corroded leaves that have fallen from it and extract magical tannins from there. This encounter, accessing the tree, will also bump up the CR range required for the components.
Stay Tuned! We will keep adding to this list, especially by request.