DMs Guild Review – The Complete Armorer’s Handbook

New weapon and armor upgrades, including runestones for adding enchantments.

dms guild review

A review copy of “The Armorer’s Handbook: Equipment Upgrade and Rune Magic System” was provided by the publisher. Find more DMs Guild Reviews on my website and YouTube channel.

Support my work by using affiliate links for shopping and pledging via Patreon.

Designed by: Heavyarms

Josie the Warrior is setting off on her first big adventure, proudly carrying her grandather’s sword that was passed down to her. After a few dungeon crawls she finds a generic +1 sword. Sorry gramps!

The Complete Armorer’s Handbook fixes these equipment issues by adding an upgrade system for non-magical weapons and armor, as well as adding a new runic system for slotting additional abilities or magical effects, creating an enticing new way to upgrade your character.

The 28-page supplement is divided into two chapters. The first chapter covers the new upgrade system, using modifying tags like “Balanced” (+1 to attack rolls) and “Spiked” (1d4 piercing damage to creatures attacking with unarmed or natural weapons) to add modifiers and abilities to weapons and armor.

Each upgrade has a cost and may require a certain piece of armor or kind of weapon as a prerequisite. Multiple weapon upgrades can be acquired, but at double the cost per tier. And yes, you can upgrade your own weapon to a +1 for a cool 10k gold. Given how rich most players become, the upgrade costs feel like a solid money sink, with more common upgrades costing 100 or 1,000 gp.

The first chapter also includes new special ammunition types, such as sleep darts and armor-piercing arrows, as well as optional rules for upgrading with special materials such as adamantine. There are also optional rules for adding durability and forcing players to repair their equipment as an additional money sink. I wouldn’t use a durability system in my games, but for more gritty or low-magic games it could work very well.

dms guild review

The second chapter covers runestones. Runestones can be slotted into an item that has the runic tag upgrade (cheap for weapons, less so for armor). Nearly 40 runestones are listed, organized by rarity to denote their level of power.

The Warrior runestone is a common weapon runestone, and prevents you from being disarmed while wielding it. The rare Phoenix runestone slots into a piece of armor, detonating a self-centered Fireball when you drop to 0 HP, before healing you for 1d6. Nice!

The chapter also includes rules for crafting runestones via the Runesmith’s Guild. By paying a tuition cost and making a skill check, you can advance up the ladder at the Guild and gain access to rarer runestones. Or ignore the crafting part completely and simply award runestones as part of your players’ loot. You can also create your magic items using the upgrade tags and runestones, which can then be modified, changed, and upgraded by your players.

All these upgrade systems presented in The Complete Armorer’s Handbook work incredibly well without adding any additional complexity. Add in an absolutely gorgeous, professional layout that looks an official Wizards of the Coast product, and you have a recipe for one of the most impressive supplements on the DM’s Guild.

Pros:

  • Beautiful, professional layout and presentation.
  • Over 25 weapon and armor upgrades and seven new types of ammunition.
  • Optional rules for special materials and repairing worn equipment.
  • Nearly 40 runestones that can slotted into weapons to add new effects.
  • Rules for joining the Runesmith’s guild and crafting runestones.
  • Appendices feature design notes, reference tables, and a FAQ!

Cons:

  • None!

The Verdict: With well-developed rules for weapon and armor upgrades, a runic system for enchanting equipment, and a gorgeous, professional layout, The Complete Armorer’s Handbook is one of the most impressive, and useful supplements on the DM’s Guild.

A review copy of “The Armorer’s Handbook: Equipment Upgrade and Rune Magic System” was provided by the publisher. Find more DMs Guild Reviews on my website and YouTube channel.

Support my work by using affiliate links for shopping and pledging via Patreon.

Author: roguewatson

Freelance Writer

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