D&D 5e: Heirloom Magic Item #002 –
Shock and Awe Punching Daggers – Monk Weapon
Welcome to the second installment of Heirloom Items for Players – Unique Magical Items that stay with a player from the start of the campaign to the very end. Items that define a character and are totally unique to that character’s play style. Something that they will love, and will not outgrow every time they find a +1 greatsword that is marginally better than the one they already have.
We covered this extensively in a previous article – D&D 5e: Player Heirloom Magic Items – Focal Points For Characters so we won’t go too in-depth on the reasons why I love these world-building items. I encourage you to check it out and critique my reasoning, but to make sure you have some background, I will copy pasta from the original article for simplicity’s sake.
Designing magic heirloom items in Dungeons and Dragons
In Dungeons and Dragons, there is a clear set of rules regarding tiers of play and power levels for items in that play level. This provides a pretty good starting place to create items that players will love and continue to use and enjoy until the very end of your campaign. Single sessions can be dedicated to enhancing these items, or even entire story arcs for the last tier of upgrades, bringing the players together to forge these items of destiny and empower each other and challenge the very gods. Let’s have a look at the tiers of items:
Levels 1-4: Normal quality weapon with minor spell abilities
Levels 5 – 9: +1 weapon with higher abilities or bonus damage types (+1d6 fire)
Levels 10 – 14: +2 weapons with additional modifiers or special abilities
Levels 15 – 19: +3 with some really nice power on top of the existing ones.
Levels 20+: Artifacts, seriously powerful weapons and spell-like abilities
In addition to the rules for creating an appropriately balanced item there is another important point, possibly the most important reason for making an item of this type:
Heirlooms must be unique and provide just as much roleplaying potential as mechanical advantage
Today I wanted to share another Heirloom Magical Item from a recent campaign. I present to you:
Shock and Awe – Twin Punching Daggers (katar) – Magic Weapons
As you might be able to guess, this weapon set was made for a monk who wanted to have special punching daggers. We bounced around hand wraps or weighted gloves, but a set of katar is what he settled on. This character’s ultimate goal was to be able to end any fight in a single punch so that he could protect his friends and the innocent with as little bloodshed as possible. The term Shock and Awe were used during his description and I felt I could work up a concept around that phrase alone.
While a bit cheesy name-wise, the player loved these items to death. He even went so far as to create a 3-D model and print of katars that he glued to his miniature! Needless to say, this monk was truly powerful and really played with the roleplaying aspect of these items. We agreed on several interesting uses for them over the campaign for roleplaying purposes. Shock, the lightning infused dagger, could deliver minor shocks like an extra strong static shock, or he could course with electricity for dramatic effect.
Awe, the sonic dagger, could vibrate loudly like a rattlesnake, or in one case vibrate the air around him giving him a strange aura that played like he was radiating power. It was fun, interesting, and the player continued to surprise me with interesting ways to roleplay these deadly beauties. Let’s get to the details, shall we?
Description: “These twin katar are masterwork quality. One courses with a static that raises the hair on your arms and the other vibrates gently.”
Level 0 attunement/Player level 1-4 Shock (katar) – 1d6 piercing + 1d4 lightning damage / Awe (katar) – 1d6 piercing + 1d4 sonic damage.
Shocking punch– Spend a Ki point to add 1d12 Lightning damage instead of 1d4 to the target.
Sonic Punch – Spend a Ki point to add 1d8 sonic damage instead of 1d4 to the target and target must make a DC 15 CON saving throw or be stunned until the end of your next turn.
Level 1 attunement/Player level 5-9 – Both weapons gain +1 Magic Weapon Condition.
Masters Patience – Gain an additional Ki point.
Shocking Punch now deals 3d8 damage.
Sonic Punch now deals 2d8 damage.
Level 2 Attunement/Player level 10-14 – Both weapons gain +2 Magic Weapon Condition.
Lightning Strike – Once per encounter you can use an action to punch so forcefully that a bolt of lightning erupts from your fist in a line that is 5 feet wide and 120 feet long. Each creature in that line must make a DC 24 Dexterity saving throw, taking 9d6 lightning damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.
Sonic Boom – Once per encounter you can use an action to punch so forcefully that it exceeds the speed of sound and creates a sonic boom. Each creature in a 60-foot radius must make a DC 24 fortitude saving throw, taking 4d6 sonic damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one. All creatures in the radius are deafened for 1d4+1 rounds.
Level 3 Attunement/Player level 15-19 – Both weapons gain +3 Magic Weapon Condition.
Grand Masters Calm – Gain 1 additional Ki point.
A Single Punch – Expend all Ki points, but at least 4 Ki points at a minimum – Move at double speed and make a successful melee attack against the target. The target takes 10d10 damage, suffers crippled, stunned and is knocked back at least 60 ft. if the target hits a solid object they take an additional 5d6 crushing damage.
The user must meditate for at least 10 days before the attack can be used again.
Feedback is always welcome
What do you think of my take on a scaling, heirloom style item in Dungeons and Dragons 5e? Would you be interested in seeing more of these items? (Full Disclaimer: I have too many of these to count, so be prepared regardless!)
Background unknown - it's a secret!
I am The Skree – One of the most visionary wizards in Vathis! Also, the drunkest. I have been called “A serious threat to people of Average Intelligence” by the authorities from Osept to Leyathar. A man of many talents, most of which are magic. Except for the one involving -EXPLETIVES DELETED- which is always popular.