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One of the memorable elements of Dungeons and Dragons is outfitting a character. Choosing the right weapons, armor and spells says a lot about how a character handles combat. There’s more equipment to be bought, though, and different Dungeon Masters have different takes on how this element should be handled. Some Dungeon Masters enjoy watching players handle the resource management of arrows, food, rope and equipment that a major expedition brings. Other Dungeon Masters don’t really care about all the bits and pieces a player carries into the dungeon. D&D Fifth Edition splits the difference between the two by offering pre-bundled kits of equipment to get players out of the shop in town and into danger more quickly. We’ve taken a look at the lists in the Player’s Handbook to single out items that can get adventurers out of trouble even though they might be buried in a list, or worse, in a backpack.
No, they’re not just for fidget spinners. A bag of 1000 ball bearings doesn’t sound exciting, but these little spheres can be useful in a lot of ways. Setting a handful on the ground and watching where they roll might help detect secret doors based on the slope of a passage. While thieves tools often get the glory when it comes to disabling traps, you can also wedge enough of these in a pressure plate gap to keep it from springing on members of the party. Additionally, in a moment of desperation, the whole bag could be cast out on the floor and cause some difficult terrain to pop up wherever it might be needed.
Hammer and pitons
Fifty feet of rope is the industry standard for the Dungeons and Dragons adventurer. (We look forward to the argument of hempen vs. silken rope in the comments.) Rope won’t do a lot of good without the support of these classic tools. The hammer drives the piton in a crack in the wall and the rope slide through it allowing for extra security and shaping the line to go into places where it might not normally be able to go. Having an extra hammer on hand is always useful in combat, as are a collection of pointy things that are strong enough to be driven into a rock face. It might not stop a vampire dead in its tracks like a stake through the heart, but it will certainly hurt.
Flask of oil
Fire is an important element to adventurers. Torches are often a necessity for those without Darkvision. When adventurers come across an unfamiliar monster or cursed relic, fire is often the first, last and only resort in dealing with it. These flasks are great for keeping that important torch burning as well as enhance characters who already have fire-based powers. Oil can also be used to ease the friction on doors and polish up magic items that might have an inscription on them with suggestions on how to be activated.
Map and scroll cases
It’s important to keep treasure maps and scrolls of spells dry and useful, but these cases are also useful for smuggling items where they might not belong. Does anyone suspect an enchanted dagger wrapped in a musty old scroll inside a scroll case? What about a rogue pulling a switch to keep the item the adventurers toiled to find in one case and handing shredded parchment to the rivals who have them under the blade? These cases also can keep items in isolation, unlike a backpack where everything rustles together.
This item is an obvious choice because everyone needs to stay hydrated when battling a hydra, but it has many other versatile functions. Any time an adventurer needs a small bag to hold something, the waterskin is a good choice, whether its some pocketed gems or a poisonous frog to unleash on sleeping rivals. An empty waterskin could also offer another splash of holy water against undead enemies.
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Want more beginner-friendly RPG support?
- Check out essential items for your first D&D session.
- Help manage your Dungeon Master’s stress levels and keep them happy.
- Need supplies? Grab a set of Critical Role pencils and dice for your next RPG session!
Featured image: Wizards of the Coast
Image Credit: Wizards of the Coast, LucasBosch/Wikimedia (CC 2.0), Wikimedia (Public Domain)
Rob Wieland is an author, game designer and professional nerd. He writes about kaiju, Jedi, gangsters, elves and is a writer for the Star Trek Adventures RPG line. His blog is here, where he is currently reviewing classic Star Wars RPG adventures. His Twitter is here. His meat body can be found in scenic Milwaukee, WI.