Magical items are one of the staples of the fantasy genre: even the low fantasy world of Game of Thrones is home to gems that can change someone's physical appearance and swords that always remain sharp.
The big names in the genre are usually focused on the power provided by a single magic item, such as the One Ring in Lord of the Ring or Stormbringer in the Elric series.
The different editions of Dungeons & Dragons have been no stranger to magic items, as they are often the most highly-sought out pieces of treasure in the game.
There are limits to what you can purchase with gold and silver, but magic items will make you more effective in combat and give you more of a shot at surviving the attacks of your enemies.
The mere existence of magic items gives players the chance to temporarily bend the rules of the game, as even the dumbest warrior can be given the chance to use magic.
It is in these moments that the player can use their magic items to try and gain an advantage that the dungeon master wasn't expecting, leading to an exploit that can easily ruin a campaign.
We are here today to look at the ways you can use magic items to break the rules throughout the various editions of Dungeons & Dragons; from the cube that does the exact opposite of what is it supposed to do to the wand that can break the challenge in any dungeon.
Here are the 20 Ways To Use Magic Items To Cheat In Dungeons & Dragons!
20 The Cold Keeps The Magma Out
There are a lot of enemies in Dungeons & Dragons that use cold-based attacks, so it makes sense that there would be magic items and spells that provide protection from a frosty demise.
One of the best items that the player can find for this purpose is a cube of frost resistance, which creates a ten-foot barrier around the party that absorbs cold damage.
The reason why players were able to exploit the cube of frost resistance was due to how its abilities were described in Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, as the area within the cube was said to always be 65 degrees Fahrenheit.
This specific wording meant that the cube of frost resistance also protected the player from effects related to heat, as the temperature within the cube never changed.
This means that the player could use the cube to protect themselves from extreme heat and lava.
19 The Teleporting Tree Token
Quaal's feather tokens are some of the cheapest magic items that you can craft in Dungeons & Dragons. They look like regular bird feathers, but they possess the ability to transform into various items, such as an anchor or a whip.
The most dangerous of the feather tokens is the one that transforms into a tree. This is due to some shoddy writing that doesn't set limits on what the item can do.
The description of the tree token in the third edition of Dungeons & Dungeons describes the item as being able to transform into a sixty-foot tall tree when used.
The reason why this can be abused is due to the fact that there are no limits as to where you can use it.
A player would be well within their rights to place the tree token within the mouth of an enemy during battle (which is a lot easier when it is a huge monster) and activating it, leading to an instant victory.
18 The Necklace Trap
The fireball spell is one of the most popular attacks used by arcane spellcasters in Dungeons & Dragons. This is due to the long range and wide area of effect that fireball has to offer, as well as the damage that scales with the character's level, making it an ideal solution for dealing with groups of enemies.
The necklace of fireballs consists of several different red jewels that act as a fireball spell when removed and thrown at the enemy.
There is a risk associated with wearing a necklace of fireballs, as being struck with a fire-based attack means that the necklace has to make a saving throw. If the necklace of fireballs fails the saving throw, then all of the remaining jewels will activate.
This weakness means that the necklace of fireballs can be used as an amazing offensive weapon.
If you can use a spell to force the necklace onto the enemy and spam fire attacks until it fails the save, then the enemy is facing a potential 58d6 worth of fire damage.
17 The Falling Fortress
The average adventuring party will need to find refuge in a dangerous location at some point during their journey, as the spellcasters in the group will need to rest in order to regain access to their magic.
There are some spells that make it safer for the party to hide while resting, such as Mordenkainen's magnificent mansion and rope trick, as they create an extradimensional space in which to hide.
Daern's instant fortress is an item that creates a thirty-foot tower made out of adamantine, which the player can use as a portable refuge.
The player will find a lot more use for a Daern's instant fortress as a weapon, rather than a campsite. This is due to the fact that the tower deals 10d10 damage (or half on a successful Reflex save) to those next to it when it's activated.
The tower makes an ideal weapon in combat, as it can be used to crush the enemy by speaking the command word and forcing the fortress to repeatedly shrink and grow.
16 The Boat Blockade
There are some Dungeons & Dragons adventures that take place on the high seas. It's in these kinds of campaigns that players will start to research the costs associated with purchasing a ship, as everyone wants to be the fantasy version of Jack Sparrow and live the life of a pirate.
The player will quickly discover that buying ships is an expensive prospect, with the average sailing ship costing ten-thousand gold pieces, to say nothing of the cost of maintaining and storing the ship, as well as hiring a crew.
There is a magic item called a folding boat which can be a real asset to the seafaring adventurer, as it is a small box that can transform into a twenty-four-foot-long ship on command.
A folding boat can be extremely useful in combat, as it can instantly provide total cover from one angle, due to its size.
You can summon a boat as if it were a Pokémon and it will offer you total protection from ranged fire and prevent you from being targeted by spells.
15 The Army Of Wights
Necromancers are a common foe in Dungeons & Dragons campaigns even though no one is quite sure why anyone would want to become one.
The ability to create zombie monsters through the use of magic isn't worth the trouble, due to the fact that the spells have expensive components.
It costs twenty-five gold pieces per-skeleton and zombie that you wish to create, each of which can easily be dispatched by a party of first-level adventurers.
The cunning necromancer can exploit the rules to create an undead army. They can do this by disposing of a commoner with a spell that grants negative levels (like enervation), which will transform them into a wight.
A wight is a powerful undead monster with the ability to transform those it slays into other wights. This means that it is very easy to create a small army of wights and unleash them upon the world.
14 The Rod Trap
There is a type of magical item in Dungeons & Dragons called a rod, which are different from wands in that their abilities aren't finite, or at least they weren't in the older editions of the game.
It cost a lot of money to create a magical rod, with the exception of immovable rods, which cost seven-thousand-five-hundred gold pieces each.
If you push the button on an immovable rod, then it will stay in place. It takes over eight-thousands pounds worth of pressure to move it.
The reason why immovable rods are so useful is due to their ability to be used in weight traps.
All you need to do is stack four-thousand pounds worth of items on top of two immovable rods (an easy task when using extradimensional storage or conjuration magic) and drop it onto the enemy from above.
This means that you have a portable trap that deals 20d6 damage from a drop of only twenty feet, as you can easily deactivate them from a distance with the help of magic.
13 The Water Bag
The bag of holding is one of the most popular magic items in Dungeons & Dragons. These are bags that are a lot bigger on the inside, which means that players can easily carry loot around with them and avoid any arguments about encumbrance rules.
The one thing a bag of holding cannot be used for is shipping other characters around. This is due to a lack of oxygen, which will run out quickly once the bag is closed.
The reason why this restriction exists is to stop the players from using the bag as an easy means of sneaking into areas.
The easiest way to get around this restriction is through the use of water. There are several spells that allow characters to breathe underwater (like water breathing) or to transform into an aquatic creature (like polymorph or the druid's wild shape ability).
All you need to do is put some containers filled with water within the bag of holding and use them as a means of breathing.
12 The Anti-Lawyer Potion
Glibness is often considered to be the most broken spell in the 3.5 edition of Dungeons & Dragons, as it provides a +30 bonus to the player's Bluff skill. This means that the player can deceive people into instantly believing their lies, as they have become impossibly persuasive.
The glibness spell is actually a weaker version of the potion of glibness, which appeared in the third edition of Dungeons & Dragons.
The reason why the potion of glibness was even more powerful was due to the fact that it was incredibly cheap, costing only five-hundred gold pieces to brew, and could be used by anyone.
The potion of glibness also had the extra benefit of making the character immune to the effects of spells that discern lies.
This means that they can easily talk their way out of any legal proceedings that come about as a result of their illegal activities.
11 The Hungry Bag
There is a cursed item that is impossible for the players to make, which is called the bag of devouring. The bag of devouring is intended to resemble a bag of holding, but it eats anything that is placed inside of it.
If a player stumbles across a bag of devouring during their adventure, then they should keep hold of it, as it's one of the best weapons in the game.
A bag of devouring has a +8 to grapple checks when a living creature puts a limb inside of it. The bag will then consume that creature within the space of one round and devour them so thoroughly that they cannot be brought back to life with magic.
A player with a bag of devouring could use it as an incredibly effective weapon in combat, as all they need to do is wrap it around an opponent's head and keep it there for one round.
10 The Arrowhead Of Destruction
There is another kind of magic item that is useful for storing items, called the portable hole.
Those players who want to save even more space by placing a portable hole inside of a bag of holding will quickly discover that this is a bad idea, as putting one inside of the other will cause a rift to open to the astral plane.
This will utterly destroy all creatures within a ten-foot radius of the bag, without any kind of saving throw or spell resistance check to save them.
This restriction can actually be used to the player's advantage, as combining the bag of holding and portable hole can be used to take out incredibly powerful enemies.
This led to the creation of the "Arrowhead of Total Destruction," which is a fan design for an arrow that will push a portable hole inside of a bag of holding when it is fired at the enemy.
9 The Wand Of Infinite Wishes
The Eberron setting brought magical technology to Dungeons & Dragons, as it was a world that featured skyships and trains that were powered by the arcane arts.
The version of Eberron that appeared in the fourth edition of Dungeons & Dragons also brought with it the ability to use infinite wish spells.
In order to use this exploit, the player needs to acquire a staff of wishes and a wand of unfettered heroism, as well as the Wand Surge ability.
The Wand Surge ability allows the player to use action points instead of charges to activate a magic item.
The wand of unfettered heroism gives you free action points every turn. You can combine these effects for free uses of the staff of wishes.
8 The Vorpal Build
The vorpal sword was created by Lewis Carroll in Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There. Vorpal weapons would later appear in Dungeons & Dragons, where they would possess the ability to instantly dispose of enemies upon a successful critical hit.
Vorpal weapons became a problem in the third edition of Dungeons & Dragons, due to the numerous ways in which a player could increase their critical threat range.
It wasn't unheard of for players to be able to create a character build with a critical threat range of 11-20 on a twenty-sided dice.
The vorpal enchantment was significantly nerfed in the 3.5 update of the game, so that they only instantly slew an enemy on a roll of twenty, rather than just on a critical hit.
7 The Broken Bow
True strike is a powerful arcane spell that has some strict restrictions in order to make it balanced. If you cast true strike, then you will receive a +20 bonus to your next attack roll.
The restriction is that it only lasts until the end of your next round, at which point the true strike spell expires.
There is an item in Sword and Fist that turns archery based characters into unstoppable combatants. This item is the bow of true arrows and it offers the character unlimited uses of the true strike spell, so long as it is used in conjunction with the bow.
An archer who possesses a bow of true arrows can spend a round casting true strike in order to ensure that they will never miss, as well as offsetting the penalties of some of the archery-based Feats.
A bow of true arrows only costs two-thousand-two-hundred and fifty gold pieces to make, meaning that it is within easy reach of the players.
6 The Shurikens Of Healing
The healing spells provided by divine spellcasters are an important part of keeping any adventuring party alive, as they will restore hit points that were lost in battle.
The majority of the healing spells in Dungeons & Dragons can only be used by touching the afflicted, which limits their use.
The best way to get around the short range of many healing spells is to put them inside of a shuriken of spell storing. These items can be cheaply produced and can store a cure serious wounds spell inside of them.
A medium shuriken will deal 1d2 points of damage to the target, but it will then heal 3d8 points when the cure serious wounds spell activates.
5 The Cloak Of Dodging Every Hit
It's very difficult to hit a rogue with a spell that requires a Reflex save in the third edition of Dungeons & Dragons, which isn't helped by their evasion ability that prevents all damage on a successful save.
It's ironic that the shadiest characters in each Dungeons & Dragons campaign will gain the most benefit from an item that comes from a source of goodness and light, namely the starmantle cloak.
The starmantle cloak renders the wearer immune to attacks from nonmagical weapons. If they are hit by a magical weapon, then they have to pass a DC 15 Reflex save in order to halve the damage.
This means that a rogue wearing a starmantle cloak can avoid all damage from physical attacks due to their evasion ability, as long as they keep passing a relatively easy saving throw.
4 The Wish For More Wishes
The most powerful spell in Dungeons & Dragons is wish, which acts exactly how you would expect it to. It's the job of the dungeon master to interpret the wish in the best way to screw over greedy players.
A person who casts a wish spell is prevented from wishing for more wishes, due to a restriction on its ability to copy ninth-level spells.
There is a way around this, due to the existence of creatures that can grant wishes.
It's possible for players to create or purchase an item called the candle of invocation, which they can use to summon an efreeti. If they can bribe or charm the efreeti, then they can request three wishes from it, which it can do once per day.
If the player uses one of their wishes to ask for another candle of invocation, then they can have all the wishes they want.
3 The Bottle Of Save States
Those who have a played a retro video game on an emulator will be familiar with the concept of save states. This is a feature that allows the emulator to save your progress outside the boundaries of the game.
A magic item exists in the world of Dungeons & Dragons that acts in a similar manner to the save state feature. It is the thought bottle, which debuted in the Complete Arcane.
The thought bottle is sort of like the Pensieve from Harry Potter, in that it allows the player to store their experiences inside the device.
This allows the player to store their experience points total for the cost of five-hundred experience points.
Once the player has stored their experiences inside the thought bottle, then they can spend their experience points on creating magic items and for using the effects of spells like permanency.
They can then restore all of those lost points by using the thought bottle.
2 The Horn Of Shattering Eardrums
The power of music is a tangible thing in the world of Dungeons & Dragons, due to how bards can use their magical songs to ensnare the minds of the weak-willed.
There is a more direct way of using the power of music to influence the world and it comes in the form of the horn of blasting, as the version of the item that appeared in the third edition of Dungeons & Dragons was incredibly overpowered.
The horn of blasting creates a blast of sound in a one-hundred-foot cone in front of the user. Those within the range of the blast have to make a Fortitude save or take damage and be stunned for two rounds.
The reason why the horn of blasting was so overpowered was due to the fact that it still stunned enemies for a single round if they passed the saving throw.
This guaranteed stun, coupled with its huge range, made it an incredibly powerful weapon.
The horn of blasting was changed into two different items in the 3.5 update of Dungeons & Dragons, both of which severely nerfed its abilities.
1 The Wand Of Dungeon Breaking
The average dungeon is filled with things that will harm an adventuring party. The monsters are a given, but the dungeons are often filled with environmental hazards and traps that are designed to make the party suffer in extremely entertaining ways.
The easiest way for a player to deal with the hazards in a dungeon is by buying or creating a wand of summon monster I - IV.
A character with a wand of summon monster III can cast the spell fifty times. This means that they could summon an ape or an elemental for five rounds.
This gives them plenty of time to walk down a corridor and set of any hazards that may be there or attempt to open a container that the player suspects may be trapped.
The summon monster method of dungeon clearance is an easy way of keeping your character out of harm's way, as they will be far away from enemy ambushes and traps. All you need to do is keep letting your summoned friends take all of the hits for you.
Can you think of any other ways to use magic items to cheat in Dungeons & Dragons? Sound off in the comments!