Many magical items in AD&D books, articles, and modules go without much
visual description. That's fine if the idea is for magic to go unnoticed among
the mundane until a mysterious power manifests itself. In many campaigns, once
the end of the adventure is at hand, the characters pile all the loot into a
pile, someone casts a detect magic, and the wheat is very quickly separated
from the chaff. And then what have they culled? A +1 this, a +2 that . . . with
nothing much to distinguish them other than effect. Some are of fine craftsmanship,
and the off-the-rack enchanted sword glows, but many are unusual in function
It doesn't have to be that way. Legends tell of the wondrous properties
of mythical beasts, such as the anti-poison powers of the unicorn's horn, and
it stands to reason that the body parts of other magical critters should also
be magical. An item made from a monster could confer some of the creature's
power, or grant the user some protection from the creature's kind. Materials
must be preserved to prevent their rotting (and continued diminishing of effect)
and enchantment is necessary to maintain and control their magical powers. Otherwise,
the materials will decay and lose power, and there is no way to turn such abilities
on or off, much like a severed medusa's head.
Unusual materials can have side benefits as well. Armor and shields
made from a creature's natural armor should be immune from the effects of corrosion
(unless the creature itself is metallic), while giving better protection than
Of course, intelligent creatures should recognize items made from
their own kind and react accordingly.
Blink dog cloak
The logical counterpart to the displacer cloak, this cloak of
brown and yellowish pelts allows the wearer to blink for 1-6 rounds once per
day, reappearing 1' to 3' from an opponent. The wearer has no control over where
he will reappear, but has enough prescience so as not to be surprised. If he
had a weapon already drawn, for example, he could use it upon re-appearing.
The wearer will always re-appear facing the nearest opponent. Roll 1d12 to see
where the character reappears:
1 = in front of opponent
2 = left front flank
3 = right front flank
4-12 = behind opponent
The command word is a reasonably loud bark, which the wearer must
make with every blink. Needless to say, this will spoil any attempt at initial
Since a blink dog is a lawful good creature, most good-aligned
creatures should be loath to wear such an item, and possessing such an item
in open sight should provoke disgust among good creatures.
Using this cloak in proximity to someone using a displacer cloak
makes the wearer hostile towards that person, due to overstimulation of the
nervous system caused by the two abilities. The character will also develop
an enmity towards displacer beasts.
This item was first seen worn by a hermitlike mage who had formed
a friendship of sorts with a fur trapper. The powers of the cloak made him even
better at eluding adventurers seeking arcane lore, until one spring his body
was found not far from his domicile, apparently torn apart by beasts. XP value:
GP value: 17,500
This item is made from the cured hide of a cloaker, complete with
the ivory-colored claw clasps and buttonlike black eye spots. Although the "buttons"
are only spots, the cloak wraps around the wearer, with a rather unsettling
effect. At the wearer's pull, the cloak releases.
A thief wearing this cloak gains a 20% bonus to hiding in shadows.
The item allows the wearer to manipulate shadows. When in shadowy areas (out
of direct sunlight with only dim or small sources of illumination (up to the
DM's discretion), the wearer can:
1) Obscure an opponent's vision, thus gaining +3 protection. This
applies only in hand-to-hand combat. Undead are not affected.
2) Create shadowy images (treat as mirror image spell cast by
a sixth-level wizard). This can be used twice/day.
Twice per day, the wearer can emit a subsonic moan akin to a living
cloaker's, but only of the first two intensities. The first intensity causes
unease and numbs the minds of those within 80 feet of the cloak. The immediate
effect causes a -2 penalty to victim's attack and damage rolls against the wearer.
Any creature forced to listen to the moan for six consecutive rounds is temporarily
forced into a trance that renders it unable to attack or defend itself (save
vs. paralyzation applicable) as long as the moaning continues.
The second intensity acts as a fear spell. All creatures within
30 feet must save vs. spell or flee in terror for two rounds. The moaning can
be used for up to 8 rounds. The wearer cannot use two functions at the same
Note that the moaning effects friend and foe alike. While the
wearer does not feel the brunt of the effect, the continued use of moaning eventually
gives the wearer a randomly chosen form of insanity. There is a 2% cumulative
chance per use of moaning.
Wearing the item for more than an hour each day has a slight chance
(1% each time, noncumulative) of transforming the wearer into a cloaker. The
effect is subtle at first -- a slightly greyish, rubbery nature to the skin,
then webbing of the fingers or toes -- and takes several days to complete. Standard
efforts to return the victim to his normal form -- dispel magic, for example,
have the usual efficacy.
Despite its potential side effect, this item is prized in the
XP value: 3,000
GP value: 17,500
Whip of cockatrice feathers
This is a cherrywood-handled leather whip with golden brown feathers
woven into the tip. Treat as a standard whip for proficiency and modifiers.
The touch of the feathers turns victims to stone. Because the effect is reduced
after death, even with special enchantment, the victim gets a +1 to its save
vs. paralyzation. Each successful hit with the whip (regardless of whether the
victim saves successfully) drains the power from one feather, which drops from
the weapon. The feathers cannot be re-enchanted, but new ones can be added to
the whip. A typical cockatrice whip has 1d6+6 feathers.
This weapon can be extremely hazardous to the careless user. Touching
the feathers has the same effect as a successful hit. Holding the feathered
end negates a save.
This weapon was first seen in the hands of Slagnar the Enforcer,
a cruel henchmen who destroyed all but one member of an overconfident adventuring
party trespassing on the property of Lakarsa the Unquestioned. The lone survivor
told a tale of a narrow but valiant escape, though the boot-shaped dent in his
armored backside indicated otherwise.
XP value: 4,500
GP value: 22,000
Death dog cloak
This cloak, made from the black pelts of death dogs, gives the
wearer a +4 bonus to saves vs. rotting diseases, and adds +2 to AC. The hides
of these two-headed creatures grant the wearer the ability to cast ventriloquism
as a sixth-level spell caster once per day. A thief wearing this cloak receives
a +20% bonus toward hiding in shadows.
The smell of the hides, even after curing, will cause uneasiness
in even heavy warhorses, and extreme skittishness in riding horses. Only heavy
warhorses will allow a wearer of the cloak to ride them, and all horses within
20' of the wearer will bolt if there is a canine anywhere near. Only a paladin's
warhorse is immune to this effect.
Such a cloak was oft-seen on the back of Barthas Shothsun, a fallen
cleric who had taken to ministering to the poor and diseased. Rumor had it he
had taken up thieving as his new avocation, as well. None of his new professions
could save him when he startled a lady's horse and got an iron-shod hoof in
the head. He had been seeking alms.
XP value: 1,500
GP value: 12,500
This item is made from the bluish black pelt of a displacer beast,
with a belt fashioned from the furred part of its tentacles. It functions as
the cloak of displacement described in the DM guide, with this drawback:
When used in proximity to someone using a blink cloak (see above),
the wearer will feel hostility towards that person, due to overstimulation of
the nervous system caused by the two abilities. While this ill-will does not
cause the wearer to immediately attack, it will affect subsequent interactions,
even if the cloak is not further used. The wearer will also develop a hatred
for blink dogs, and vice-versa.
This cloak was first seen on the back of Ghash Mackar, a half-elf
gutter thief known by his compatriots as "mule-skinner." While the cloak had
saved his life in a firefight with the giants of the Rusty Hills, it helped
contribute to his death when he sought out the advice of a reclusive mage who
apparently possessed a blink dog cloak
XP value: 3,000
GP value: 17,500
This gray hide, complete with hood, gives the ability to imitate
a nonspecific human or humanoid for one hour once per day. The wearer can take
the form of a human, demihuman or humanoid of up to 1' greater or lesser height.
Note that this does not confer ESP, so while the wearer can duplicate the target's
physical form with 90% accuracy, people familiar with the victim have a percentage
chance equal to 50% plus the person's intelligence to spot inconsistencies,
unless the impersonator has some form of natural of item-produced ESP power
that doesn't require exclusive concentration.
The cloak also gives a +2 bonus to AC, and +2 to saves vs. sleep
and charm spells.
Doppelgangers can see such hides for what they are, and are not
at all fooled by such impersonations. Such offense will they take from such
a cloak that they will put aside whatever schemes they are undertaking to trap
and slay anyone wearing the skin of their kindred.
There is a 5% noncumulative chance per change of form that the
wearer will become a doppelganger during the transformation. The change will
not be readily apparent to the victim's comrades, since he will seem to havw
his normal form.
XP value: 4,000
GP value: 35,000
Fire lizard armor
This reptilian leather armor is the more realistic option for
those without the wherewithal to kill and skin a red dragon. It has the base
AC of chain but the encumbrance of leather. It is gray in color mottled with
red, and it gives a +2 to saves vs. fire-based attacks. It fools no one, no
matter how much red polish is applied.
This scaled-down status symbol was first popularized by Gromesch
Alspett, a fighting man known as "the hydra hunter" because any creature he
ever claimed to have got near gained more and more heads with each retelling.
XP value: 700 per plus of enchantment
GP value: 3,500 per plus of enchantment
This impressive headgear, made from the metal scales and horns
of a gorgon, confers immunity to gas attacks and grants a +2 to saves vs. petrification.
Because gorgon scales are themselves metallic, this item is not immune to rust.
The helm improves AC by +1.
This item is highly prized by Vikings.
XP value: 1,500
GP value: 12,500
Harpy feather token
This enchanted harpy feather hangs on a leather thong around the
neck and confers +3 to saves vs. the songs of harpies and other forms of charming.
XP value: 200
GP value: 1,000
Leather armor made from the hide of this cousin to the gargoyle
is so hard that it's treated as chainmail of equivalent bonus for AC, with the
encumbrance and sleepability of leather. The armor can be enchanted up to +3
bonus. It also allows the wearer to blend into stony surroundings as a cloak
of elvenkind. It is not at all attractive, though, being warty and scaly. Any
creature of gargoyle-kind will recognize its origin on sight or scent and attack,
attack, attack, attack.
This armor was a prized possession of Lansam Mienkor, a not-at-all
dashing thief who was said to have had the blood of a billygoat in him, the
way he could climb the steepest of cliffs. No one ever got an answer from the
gargoyles who caught him as to whether his blood tasted goatish.
XP value: 800 per plus of enchantment
GP value: 5,000 per plus of enchantment
This grotesque mask is ringed with writhing serpents, which animate
at the wearer's mental command. (They do not bite, though; they are for effect
only). When activated, the mask turns to stone any within 30 feet who meet its
gaze (save vs. petrification at +1). The user is not immune to the effects of
its reflected gaze.
The mask can be used for 2d4 rounds once per day. Each use carries
the 5% cumulative chance that the mask will fuse to the wearer's face. Should
this occur, the character will take on the mentality and alignment of a medusa.
Nothing short of a limited wish will reverse this effect.
This item is a favorite of Melanthea Jhehuss, a sorceress who
could really put the fear into people. She has quite an impressive collection
of statuary these days.
XP value: 3,000
GP value: 20,000
Unicorn helm This helm, fitted with a unicorn horn like
a spike, gives the wearer +1 to AC and +3 to saves vs. poison and charm, hold,
and death spells.
Wearing this item in public will bring out the hostility of unicorns
and the virgins who love them.
A helm of this type was worn by Blarass Ungenshoren, a warrior
of Arungen Pass who credits this item from saving his life many times, from
attackers leaping from above and rivals seeking to poison him. He was known
to wear his helm to the victory dining hall, the point still stained with blood,
and dip it into his mead and stew to nullify any harmful effects. He was said
to be hated by virgins. He died without a care.
XP value: 1,500
GP value: 12,500
Winter wolf cloak
This glistening white cloak, complete with head, gives +3 to saves
vs cold (and -2 to each die of damage) and immunity to the winter wolf's breath
attack. The wearer is unaffected by normal cold above -30 degrees Fahrenheit.
Unfortunately, the wearer receives 1 additional point per die of damage from
fire-based attacks. The cloak gives a +1 bonus to AC.
A half-elven warrior named Siff Ranashan was so fond of his cloak
(he cut the hide from the wolf before binding the wounds of his comrades) that
he wore it even through much of the spring and eventually moved to the arctic
so that he could seldom be without it. He was eaten by a remorhaz.
XP value: 1,000
GP value: 7,000