DMs Guild Review – 101 Useful (ish) Magical Items

A collection of funny and creative magic items.

DMs Guild Review

A review copy of “101 Useful (ish) Magical Items 5e” 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: Tal Woodblaze

I’m constantly spoiled by incredibly well-produced DMs Guild products with beautiful artwork, concise editing, and professional-grade layouts. None of that is a requirement, however. 101 Useful (ish) Magical Items may lack the accoutrements of bigger products, but its genuinely clever (and sometimes silly) magic items should not be ignored.

The supplement manages to squeeze just over a hundred magic items into 16-pages thanks to a complete lack of artwork. Even the Table of Contents is embedded into the first page (which lacks a cover), though I do appreciate organizing the items by type.

What I don’t appreciate is the complete lack of rarity and attunement. The brief opening paragraph makes a note of this, claiming, “it’s up to you how you use these items in your own game.” Well no shit! But if you’re designing magic items for D&D 5e, you have to include rarity and attunement as a balancing mechanism.

It’s especially egregious as many of these items would work well as Common-level magic items, like those found in Xanathar’s Guide to Everything. These are items which are magical in a technical sense, but typically don’t confer much of an actual advantage, and are more silly or flavorful in design.

DMs guild review

Examples include the Amulet of Undoing that can untie any knot, performing a perfect handstand with  the Gloves of the Handstand, and using the Slippers of the Goat to transform your legs into hooves. Items like these are easy to reward low-level players, or hand out much more vigorously than standard magic items.

Among the more powerful magic items are some truly inventive and creative ideas. The Amulet of the Old Grey Wolf summons a spectral wolf who protects the owner from an attack (disadvantage, or catches projectiles) but then pees on them for 1d4 radiant damage, causing them to glow.

The Amulet of the Specter absorbs slain enemies. Once 10 bodies have been absorbed, the user can use five charges to transform into a specter for several rounds. The Quiver of the Planes features a random assortment of elemental arrows and detrimental effects, while the Shortbow of Vortex is a damn portal gun that creates two-way portals – a headache for any DM!

There are also a surprising number of cursed items that feature a undercurrent of dark humor, such as the Lock Picks of Ineptitude, Ring of Dysfunction, Potion of Flat Feet, Stone of Uncomfortable Silence, and the dreaded Wooden Spoon of Enmity. I appreciate a list of creative magic items that makes me laugh, even if I wouldn’t necessarily use very many of them.

Pros:

  • Creative and interesting magic items.
  • Plenty of Common-level (and somewhat silly) magic items.
  • Incredibly cheap.

Cons:

  • No rarity or attunement.
  • No artwork.
  • Boring Naming Convention (Boots of X, Gloves of X, etc.)

The Verdict: What it lacks in artwork and balancing, 101 useful (Ish) Magical Items makes up for with creative and funny magic items.

A review copy of “101 Useful (ish) Magical Items 5e” 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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