View Full Version : D&D 5e/Next Magic Item Concept Refining: Is this too much for a game?

2016-11-20, 02:30 AM
Hi Playground, I am wanting to get a second opinion on the concept of mine.

I am going to be having players do an adventure for a Macguffin that could potentially be used by another player after its retrieval. This adventure is also myself giving a break to a DM within the setting of a greater campaign. While the concept has been greenlighted by the usual DM, I would appreciate thoughts on the idea to refine it before it's introduction. Feel free for suggesting other ideas.

The item in question is a ritual dagger that functions as the focus and "spell book" for the wielder. The advantage of this item is that it can store spells from any class spell list, provided that it is already known. Since I have this item being around for a long time, it can use all spells listed in the Player's Handbook.

The catch is that the spells that are not already known to the wielder can only be cast as a ritual, even if the spell does not have a ritual function. The idea is that a spell slot allows for a caster to carry around a mostly completed spell, trading a limited resource for convenience and speed. The wielder can only prepare as many spells as they can normally. In all cases, they use their regular casting stat for the Spell DC.

A wielder can master spells, and turn a ritualized spell into a spell that can be stored in a spell slot in one of three ways:

1) They spend hit points and equal to the square of the spell level each day for a number of days equal to the spell's level. You can only learn spells of a level you can already cast. You can prepare the number of spells equal to your casting modifier. So a 20 INT wizard can have 5 spells being mastered at once, but they cannot fail the hitpoint cost. If they do so, the process fails, and they must restart.

Cantrips are an exception, as they can be switched out during spell preparation, and the wielder can only have as many cantrips as allowed by your class or other features, with a minimum of two. So if the wielder had 0-1 cantrips, they come out ahead. If they have 2 or more available, nothing changes.

2) The wielder sacrifices non-caster creatures. A sacrifice is made using a ritual with a 1-hour initial set up, with 1 minute between sacrifices after setup. Any creature stabbed by the dagger during sacrificial ritual must make a Con save equal to the wielder's Spell DC or die. On a successful save, the creature takes 1d6+3 damage. A sacrifice yields a number of hit points equal to half the sacrifice's current hit point total - 1d4. If a ritual is disrupted before the required number of hit points are sacrificed, the entire process fails and the wielder must start anew.

3) The wielder sacrifices a caster creature. A sacrifice that knows a spell that the wielder wishes to master can sacrifice the caster with the desired spell prepared to gain that specific spell. Spontaneous casters such as Sorcerers and Warlocks must have the spell slot available to count in this sacrifice.

The process is similar to the one in 2), but only one sacrifice can be made per ritual. The set up for the ritual is 1 hour, after which the sacrifice must be made within 1 minute. Any creature stabbed by the dagger within that 1 minute time frame must make a DC 20 Con Save or die. On a successful save, the creature takes 1d4+3 damage. If the ritual is disrupted, the ritual fails and must be restarted.

Once a sacrifice has been made, the wielder must succeed a save equal to the sacrifices Spell Save DC. A successful save results in the wielder mastering the spell. A failed save results in the loss of the spell.

The dagger cannot steal class features that are magical in nature.


The idea behind this spell is that it does allow for a character to have a lot more versatility, but at they have to be spending down time to gain more spell access, especially when the current campaign trend gives low amount of down time. This does not give any class more spell slots to use their wider range of options, and Concentration still applies, so unless one feels that Sorcerers gaining access to some spells they shouldn't, I see no problems with the greater spell access.

The drawback I am considering with this weapon is that attuning it comes at the cost of your Hit Point Total being capped to the average Hit Points of a Wizard of equal level. I realize this does not make it problematic to Wizards, but I do picture this weapon to have been created by one, so I do not see this as being too far fetched.

Thoughts? Is this idea too broken to be considered? Or could some correction make it usable?

Thanks for any suggestions and feedback.

Tempest Critic
2016-12-20, 10:01 AM
I love it.
I like the idea of spending down time to build power. It not really any difirent from players spending down time coming up with a plan, or crafting traps, or buying spell scrolls, or topping up healing potions. Some players love to get all tactical and min max their out of combat time preparing for fights.

In terms of it being broken?
5e is already broken, a lot of the classes are pretty overpowered by nature. Bards gets minor illusion at 1st level; the amount of social and non-combat encounters you can completely ruin with that cantrip alone are insane.

Perhaps being able to sacrifice a non-caster creature to gain a 'new' spell is too easy.

But requiring the PC to find and murder a caster in order to gain one of their spells is in itself rather difficult, but achievable and interesting. And a DM should be able to balance that on the fly by being careful with what spellcasters you put in their way and what spells they know.

2016-12-21, 12:06 AM
Perhaps being able to sacrifice a non-caster creature to gain a 'new' spell is too easy.

Fair. I only incorporated it as part of the trope of killing a lot of people to gain power. THat can be dropped and fluffed as either your blood or the blood of another caster.