Performance Check

Magic Item Special Features for Planescape Campaigns

Some of my favorite things in the 5e DMG are the Special Features charts for magic items. They are cool ways to bring some personality to a magic item that might otherwise be uninteresting, but provides good functionally. A +1 weapon is never going to be bad, but you might not want to necessarily make it an item of mythos and lore every time you hand something like that out. If you are like me, you still want the item to have an identity that speaks to the lore and setting of the game – if only in form. For example, with the current chart you might end up with an elven-crafted weapon that was one of those wielded by a group of spellcasters that acts as a compass. It’s not hard to imagine this group was focused on exploration, and might pop up in other areas of the game world now that it’s been established. If you want a more direct approach, maybe it’s not a compass, but a key. These weapons are used to unlock the vault of this elven cabal – which is undoubtedly at least a side-adventure. No matter how you slice it, this chart is just a great way to expand the lore of mundane items, provide them a unique feel, and offer them an opportunity to be integrated more firmly into the game. Given this, it should be no surprise that I think MORE of these would be a good thing. So, here’s a chart I have made for the in-person Planescape game I just started running.


Who Created It or Was Intended to Use It?

d20 Creator or Intended User
1 Athar. This  item is adorned with blackened metal, and is inscribed with passages doubting and decrying the gods.
2 Believers of the Source. This item bears obvious hammer strikes (even if the weapon is not made of metal), around which are floral designs.
3 Bleak Cabal. This item appear neglected and ill-used, despite being in peak condition. Any handles or held areas are wrapped in the same grey, tattered cloth.
4-6 Doomguard. This item bears myriad cracks, and have pieces missing from them – despite being strong and otherwise new looking. Even if the weapon is mended or re-forging is attempted, these flaws remain.
7 Dustmen. Pieces of bone and solidified ash are seamlessly integrated with this item. It vibrates slightly when a creature within 30 feet is dead or dying.
8 Fated. These items are overly ornate, combining motifs from different cultures and groups into its own style. Elements found on different items are also included.
9-10 Fraternity of Order. Fragments of laws and rules in various languages adorn these items, each of which adhere to the exact standards and specifications of the item in question.
11 Free League. This item contain the signature of the crafter on them, and often depict broken chains, towers, or crowns.
12-13 Harmonium. This item is more durable than other items of the same type. Harmonium items are elegant, yet simple in appearance.
14-15 Mercykillers. This items is red, adorned with spikes, and have images of chains or battles present on them.
16 Revolutionary League. This item is adorned with incomplete shapes, and the proportions are irregular.
17 Sign of One. This item is made from crystal and acts as a prism, but otherwise functions normally.
18 Society of Sensation. This item is made from the finest material, and costs at least double what this item normally costs. Images of revelry are prominently displayed.
19 Transcendent Order. This item is more dense than an item of its type would normally be, and are plain other than symbols of moon that are found upon it.
20 Xaositects. This item is obviously patched together from other items that are not at all related, but somehow seems to form a functional whole.


What is a Detail from its History?

d8 History
1 Adrift. This item belonged to one of the races of the astral plane, before it made its way into your hands. They would almost certainly want it returned to them.
2 Blood Wars. This item was used in a conflict in the Blood Wars. Those of the upper planes find it distasteful.
3 Dead God. This item was created in tribute to, – or was wielded by a worshipper of – a god that has been slain. Worshipers that remain might desire this item.
4 Key. This item was once a key to a portal, but has been expended. It might be recharged, or others might remember what purpose it was used for.
5 Mazed. This item once belonged to someone well-known who was placed into the Maze by the Lady of Pain. People might recognize this, for good or ill.
6 Mind Wiped. This item was once sentient, but suffered damage when coming to the planes and has lost its intellect. There might be those able to restore its mind, or it might now be floating in the planes, looking for its rightful home.
7 Prime. This item was once an item of legend on one of the prime material worlds, before being drained of its power when it game to the planes. Its power could be restored, or simply lost forever.
8 Rebellious. This item was prominent in a rebellion somewhere in the planes. There are those who will remember this item.


What Minor Property Does it Have?

d20 Minor Property
1 Abyssal. This item emits a faint sulphurous odor, and emits a thrill of exhilaration to the wielder when a known law is broken.
2 Acheronal. This item slowly consumes any blood that is present on it, leaving no trace of it behind.
3 Arboreal. This item allows the user to determine if food or water is naturally safe for the user to consume.
4 Arcadian. When presented with the option to follow a law or rule, the item heightens the wielder’s urge to do so.
5 Astral. When this item is used in the Astral Plane, it acts as a navigation tool and imparts proficiency to its wielder.
6 Baatoran. This item emits a faint smoke at all times, and is either warm or cool to the touch, despite the ambient temperature.
7 Beastlander. This item conceals the natural scent of the wielder and alters the weight perception of the wielder’s tracks.
8 Bytopian. This item functions as Tinker’s Tools – even if it does not appear like it normally would be able to do so – and the wielder is proficient in using this item for that purpose.
9 Carcerial. Whenever the wielder is afforded an opportunity to cheat or lie, the item heightens the wielder’s urge to do so.
10 Celestial. This item doubles as a holy symbol for any good god, even though it does not bear the symbol openly.
11 Elysian. This item can be utterly destroyed beyond repair to immediately cast remove curse as an action.
12 Ethereal. This item acts as a charm on the Ethereal plane, becoming utterly destroyed to prevent the death of the wielder when on the Ethereal Plane.
13 Gehennan. This item cannot be destroyed by lava or extreme heat, and provides the wielder with advantage on Charisma (Deception) skill checks when the wielder attempts to convince others of a harmful plan or scheme.
14 Hadean. This item allows all Wisdom (Insight) ability checks made against the wielder to be made with disadvantage.
15 Limbonal. This item will glow faintly within 120 feet of any slaadi or gith – though which one it currently detects is random.
16 Mechanusian. This folds up into a perfect 3” cube.
17 Outlandish. This item allows the wielder to determine the nearest location of a Gate Town.
18 Pandemonium. The wielder of this item is not impeded by strong winds, and provides the wielder with the ability to shed light equal to a candle as a bonus action – though this light is only visible to the wielder.
19 Ysgardian. After performing any Strength (Athletics) or Dexterity (Acrobats) ability check, scoring a critical hit, or reducing a creature to 0 hit points you may spend your reaction to allow your voice to carry clearly for 300 feet – provided you boast about your deed.
20 Roll twice, rerolling any additional 20s.