One of the memorable elements of Dungeons & Dragons is outfitting a character. Choosing the right weapons, armor and spells says a lot about how a character handles combat. You have a lot of equipment to choose from, though. Different Dungeon Masters have different takes on how players should handle this element. Some Dungeon Masters enjoy watching players figure out 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 5th Edition splits the difference between the two. It offers pre-bundled kits of equipment to get players out of the shop and into danger more quickly. We’ve taken a look at the lists in the Player’s Handbook to single out Dungeons & Dragons items that can get adventurers out of trouble.
No, they’re not just for fidget spinners. A bag of 1,000 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 ball bearings 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 thrown on the floor. That will cause some difficult terrain to pop up wherever a player needs it.
Hammer and pitons
Fifty feet of rope is the industry standard for the Dungeons & Dragons adventurer. But 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 slides through it. This gives the rope extra security. Plus it means you can guide the rope 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 strong enough to drive 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 to deal with it. These flasks are great for keeping that important torch burning, as well as enhancing characters who already have fire-based powers. Oil can also be used to ease the friction on doors and polish 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 spell scrolls dry and useful, but players can also use these cases for smuggling items where they might not belong. Does anyone suspect an enchanted dagger to be 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 can also keep items in isolation, unlike a backpack in which everything rustles together.
This item is an obvious choice because everyone needs to stay hydrated when battling a hydra. However, it has many other versatile functions. Any time an adventurer needs a small bag to hold something, the waterskin is a good choice. For example, it can hold some pocketed gems or a poisonous frog to unleash on sleeping rivals. An empty waterskin could also offer a splash of holy water against undead enemies.
Originally published on November 3, 2017.
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.