magic equipment

Bard Week Master Post

Forgot to make a “master post” for bard week way back.

Making the Bard Feel Important - A guide to making a support character feel like they belong in your campaign

Musical Puzzles - Some examples of music-based puzzles for the bard to solve in your dungeon

Karest, the Storymaker - An encounter with a werewolf bard that makes up their own endings

New Bard Colleges - Four new subclasses for the bard including colleges of the ringing voice, of fables, of gambol, and of the worldspeaker

Magically Musical Equipment - New magic items for the bard

Bard Week: Magically Musical Equipment

I decided to come up with a bunch of bard-friendly or bard-specific magic items since bards don’t get much love in terms of treasure other than generic weapons or that short list of magic instruments that just cast spells. These are at least unique or interesting, but some are a bit “out there.” If you are a loose DM and your players like having a laugh, these items are perfect for you.


Accelerating Wardrum

Uncommon, requires attunement by a bard

This Behir skin stretched over a black wooden drum can be beaten as a bonus action once per round. Doing so moves a creature the bard chooses to be moved one step ahead in the initiative order.

Rapier of Harmony

Very Rare, requires attunement by a bard

A thin silver +1 rapier that hums when swung. The wielder can use a bonus action to make a Performance check. On a result of 16 or higher, the rapier vibrates and creates a tone that harmonizes with the wielder’s voice. The next attack deals bonus damage equal to the bard’s CHA modifier.

Resounding Scimitar

Rare, requires attunement by a bard

Whenever a creature fails an attack roll against a bard wielding this gleaming white scimitar with a wavy hilt and pattern, the bard can use their reaction to whack the creature’s weapon with the scimitar and cause a loud, grating noise to deal 1d6 thunder damage to the attacker if they fail a DC 14 CON saving throw.

Song of Activation

Special (Song)

A specific song that when played, will activate known magical items or runes in the world. [Use this song as treasure that can progress the plot, almost like finding a key to the next room of a dungeon. Think of learning a new song in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time]

Song of Prestidigitation/Thaumaturgy/Druidcraft

Special (Song)

A specific song that when played, can mimic the effects of a Prestidigitation, Thaumaturgy, or Druidcraft spell, respectively. [A song that can be learned by a bard that is relatively harmless to the integrity of your campaign’s storyline]

Biting Words

Special (Words)

Powerful words that the bard can speak with their magic to deal 1d6 cold damage at a range of 60 ft. This damage increases by one die at 5th, 11th, and 17th levels. [basically a new cantrip for bards that deals more damage than Vicious Mockery but doesn’t impose disadvantage]

Orb of Radiant Song

Common, requires attunement by a bard

Much like a Driftglobe, but only produces light while the bard is singing. [It has slightly less uses than a Driftglobe thanks to negating attempts to move silently with it lit, and its attunement restriction, so it’s meant for the very early game.]

Backup Golem

Rare, requires attunement by a bard

A tiny golem or animated object that comes to life only when the attuned bard is performing. The golem gives the bard advantage on its Performance checks as it embellishes or harmonizes with whatever the bard does for their performance.

Sassy Friend

Uncommon

A tiny totem or charm that is shaped like a mask. When the wielder attempts to make an Insight check to determine if a creature is lying, the Sassy Friend charm animates temporarily with a backhanded comment, which it says aloud (whether or not the creature was lying). This decreases the DC to determine any lie by 1. This bonus does not stack with itself or other Sassy Friends.

Sassy Friend (Greater)

Rare

 A Sassy Friend charm that can also cast Zone of Truth once per day, centered on itself.

Nolzur’s Marvellous Pigments

Very Rare

This is an item that many bards would love to use but people always forget it exists. Whatever you paint becomes real! As long as it isn’t magical.

Cloak of Dancing

Rare, requires attunement by a bard

A bard who dances while wearing this audacious red cloak can fascinate nearby creatures, affecting them in a manner similar to an Enthrall spell, once per day. The bard need not concentrate on this effect, and in fact may make a Performance check against the onlookers’ Insight checks any time during the cloak’s Enthrall effect to animate the cloak and sneak out of it as it continues to dances and enthrall its audience.

Horn of Calling

Uncommon

An iron-bound animal horn acts as a magic megaphone that amplifies the volume of noises that pass through it. The Horn of Calling can also cast Whispering Wind once per day.

Cursed Collar of Tongues

Rare

A golden lace choker that allows the wearer to speak any language, but never quite what they intend to say. Whenever the player wishes to speak, the player says what they intend to say and then the DM blurts out what they inevitably say instead. A DC 20 Insight check will determine what exactly is wrong with the victim and a DC 18 Insight check will allow the player to get their true message across to a character. The player must overcome a CHA save to avoid having their next sentence bastardized by the DM. Each successful saving throw deals 1 psychic damage to the wearer as it the collar fights back against their efforts. The collar cannot be removed except by repressing its magic long enough to remove it, or by casting a Tongues or Comprehend Languages spell upon it along with a DC 15 Arcana check.

Death Whistle

Very Rare

A small bone whistle carved with symbols and imagery of death. The whistle, when blown, casts Circle of Death centered on the whistle. The DC for the spell is equal to the blower’s spell save DC. Once used, the whistle crumbles to dust as its shrill, eerie note echoes into the distance.

Ribbon of Hyucks

Rare, requires attunement by a bard

When this purple ribbon with white polka dots is worn by a bard, whenever the bard makes a pun, all creatures within earshot that understand the wordplay must make a DC 11 CHA save or take 1 psychic damage. This ability can only occur once per round and does not discriminate friend or foe.

Crossbow of the Fartongue

Rare, requires attunement by a bard

This crossbow is fitted with a cone at the end of the barrel, and a scope that is sculpted to look like a mouth’s opening. The weapon allows the wielder to bestow their ammunition with a noise or verbal message of their choosing not exceeding 10 words. This noise plays once when the imbued bolt hits, but then its magic fades. The crossbow can be used to relay information at a distance, create a distraction, or mislead other creatures. If the wielder wishes for the noise to be an explosion, the ammunition deals 1 bonus Thunder damage on hit to all creatures within 5 feet of where the bolt hit. An explosion noise can be heard up to 600 ft. away. The crossbow is dotted with holes and can actually be played as a wooden flute when not in use as a combat weapon.

Cloak of Deflection

Rare

This garment appears to ebb and sway of its own accord even without any wind. The wearer of this iridescent blue cloak may spend their reaction to deflect a single, nonmagical missile targeting them to another creature within 60 feet of the wearer. If the new target of the attack’s AC is equal to or less than the original attack roll, the attack hits the new target and the attacker rolls for damage as normal.

Book of Dreams

Uncommon, requires attunement by a bard

The cover of this book is made with soft leather and is bound with spider silk string and rare bird feathers. The tome is blank, but when a story is told by someone attuned to it, illusionary imagery appears hovering above the book, acting out what the storyteller describes. In addition, when a story puts someone to sleep, the storyteller may allow the book to display and act out the sleeper’s dreams, which usually somehow tie in to the story that was being told. It can be useful for coaxing information out of friendly people without their knowledge.

Creating functioning civilizations in your fiction

Let’s be frank: a lot of this section is likely to be left out of your novel. Why? Because the ins-and-outs of how a city or village functions on a very basic level isn’t really that enthralling. Here and there, a detail will peek through into your narrative, but whole chunks of these thoughts will be jotted down as notes and then left alone forever. 

So why does it matter?

Like so many other aspects of worldbuilding, you–the writer–knowing every tiny detail will help you create a full, vibrant world on the page. You might not actually outline the history of your city’s sewage systems (ahem. we can’t all be Victor Hugo.) but if you’ve thought about these logistics and answered them even in a brief note to yourself, then the parts of your civilization that you do see on the page will feel consistent and real in an important way. 

(There is also some inevitable overlap between these aspects and your culture, so some questions might lean in that direction. Let it be a jumping-off point for more contemplation as you create.)

If you’re not a freak of nature like me and don’t want to spend time making your world absurdly flawless and perfect, than feel free to skip this entry. (But, I mean, why are you even following this blog if that’s the case??) Onward!

  • Where did basic building materials come from, both currently and historically? 
  • How uniform or varied are the buildings and houses of your civilization (both in style and material)?
  • How has the climate affected building style?
  • How culturally ingrained are the visuals (the cityscape) of the civilization?
  • How tight or spread-out are the buildings and homes in relation to one another? Is that because of culture or landscape necessity?
  • How has the city/town/village adapted to developing technologies and systems?
  • How accessible is water? How is it collected and distributed?
  • What foods are grown/bred locally? What is imported? 
  • How is the harvest of food handled on a logistical level? How are its ethics and its importance viewed by society as a whole?
  • Where do people go to the bathroom? How is sewage disposed of or recycled?
  • Does everyday life produce trash, or are all things reusable or recyclable? 
  • Does plastic exist? If so, how ubiquitous is it?
  • How is trash handled and disposed of?
  • What is/are the city’s primary energy source(s)?
  • Do the people pay taxes? How else might city funds be raised?
  • Do they have a money system? 
    • Is it used only within their town, or across the country?
    • Is money balanced with bartering, or does one take precedent over the other?
    • How is value determined, especially in a barter system?
    • What is the money based on? (gold? Or some other precious metal? Or some other resource entirely?)
  • How willing are citizens to pay for non-necessities and how does that affect the local businesses?
  • How is construction handled? By large groups of people or small teams with big equipment? Or magic? 
  • How are children educated? Who oversees it, if anyone?
  • How important is education to the people and how is that reflected in the system, facilities, and schedule?
  • What purpose does the downtown or “hub” area primarily serve?
    • Socialization
      • Bonfire pit
      • Park
    • Commerce
      • Farmer’s Market or local market
      • Corporate high-rises
    • Entertainment
      • Clubs
      • Sports arena
      • Theatre
      • Casino
  • When people get sick, what do they do? Do they have healthcare choices or do they only have the one doctor or single hospital where they have to do if they need help? How is healthcare paid for?
  • How are injured or dying people transported?
  • What kind of law enforcement does the city have? How much power do they possess? How are they viewed by citizens?
  • Is there some sort of fire department? Is it a city branch or is it volunteers? How are they prepared to fight fires?
  • What natural disasters are common and how is the town prepared for them? What happens when they occur?
  • What popular entertainment venues are there? How are they funded and run? What is their reputation?
  • What different entertainment options are there for the rich and the poor, or whatever class system your town has?
  • How are classes separated within the city?
  • If magic exists in your world, how is its use controlled or maintained within urban areas?
  • What kind of transportation do people use, in general? How is the town equipped to handle it?
  • If traffic jams can happen, how do people deal with them? What steps has the city taken to ensure smooth traffic flow?
  • What is it like when you first leave the city or village?
    • Landscape?
    • Distance to neighboring town?
    • Development of roads beyond the city (and who maintains them)?
  • What might be the first thing a newcomer to the city notices upon entering? Will she have an easy or difficult time navigating the place if she’s never been there before?

Check out the rest of the Brainstorming Series!
Magic Systems, Part One
Magic Systems, Part Two
New Species
New Worlds
New Cultures
Map Making
Politics and Government

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Okay I want to talk about the Barns for a minute

Specifically, I want to talk about animals and Ronan’s agricultural management

I’m as fond as everyone else of the idea of strange dream-creatures roaming the fields, of Ronan setting up a magical menagerie.
But I just don’t think it’s likely.

Even if they wake up Niall’s sleeping animals (which I believe they will, at some point), I don’t think Ronan would add to them. There’s always the chance that, when Ronan dies, they won’t be able to recreate the feat (we know it took the whole gang to wake the skeletons in the cave, and presumably doing it again would need that. Scientific method, baby). Who is going to be left to look after the farm? Adam. I wholeheartedly believe that Ronan would not want to leave him with that alone.

Think of the times Ronan has brought back living things: Matthew, Chainsaw, Opal. They were all accidental. (I don’t think much is mentioned about how deliberate the pale buck in TRK was, but correct me if i’m wrong).

He also knows how much of a drain on the line bringing back living things is. I can’t remember the exact quote since I don’t have the book on me at the moment, but there’s the bit in TDT where he says something about Cabeswater not appearing until after Niall’s death, because it couldn’t have the energy while Niall was carelessly dreaming an entire country for himself.

But imagine: 

  • Ronan working out that cross-breeds would probably stay awake when he dies, since he and Declan didn’t fall asleep when Niall died, being cross-breeds between a dream-creature and a natural being themselves 
  • Ronan going to cattle markets, trying to buy animals to breed with the dream cows at the Barns, realising he knows fuck all about farming and actual non-magical farm
  • Ronan reading up on farm management and putting his mind to studying it, because it matters to him and he knows it will have a practical impact on his life
  • Adam being so super proud of him for this, working for something rather than just being a gentleman of leisure, as he undoubtedly could be with his inheritence
  • Building up his own herd, partly his father’s but partly his own, just like he’s making the house his own and not just keeping it as a museum of his dead parents
  • There’s the odd animal that he brings back accidentally: a sheep with wool that can be spun into a garment perfectly waterproof that changes colour to match whatever you’re wearing, a chicken that lays gilded chocolate eggs he sells at the easter farmers’ markets, a cow that produces strawberry milkshake, but they’re few and far between
  • He dreams magic farm equipment that make things easier for him to manage, but don’t look too weird to inspectors

This is also why I really don’t like the idea of Ronan dreaming children for him and Adam. 

Because when Ronan dies, Adam will lose everything, and Ronan wouldn’t do that to him. I am 3000% certain of them deciding to adopt, because, apart from getting around that problem, both of them would absolutely want to help out kids in need (of course they get babies, because bringing in older kids to the magic of the Barns is going to be difficult in a secrecy “don’t tell your schoolmates that dad is magic” kind of way).

please add your own ideas about this!