“Weapon of legacy” describes all the items created using the rules in this article, even those that wouldn’t normally be described as weapons (such as rings or shields). Usually, this article uses the more general term “item of legacy” or “legacy item.”
An item of legacy has the capacity to grow in power as its wielder advances in level. In addition, it confers increasingly powerful special abilities on its wielder. That character might carry and treasure the same item over her entire career as a hero (or villain).
Why not? As her own talents and abilities progress, so too do those of the legacy item, assuming the wielder takes the time to learn its complete history and awaken its quiescent power with the appropriate rituals.
As a player character, you could discover or inherit an item of legacy. Initially, it might
seem like nothing more than a standard magic item. Only when you learn something of its past do you begin to understand that this object has untapped potential. By uncovering the item’s full history, you can discover the keys that unlock the item’s full power.
Every item of legacy is distinct from the next, and each has its own unique story. Unearthing that story (or creating it, when founding an item of legacy) allows you to gain the full benefits of the item. For example, the story of Caladbolg, which appears only
when a great hero has need of it, contrasts sharply with that of Stormchaser’s Cudgel, whose heritage involves the murder of the weapon’s original owner, Suldan Kabrel the giant slayer.
Why use Weapons of Legacy?
If you’re a DM, items of legacy provide exciting rewards for players whose characters are willing to devote time and energy to learning about your campaign world. To unlock the powers of a legacy item, a player character must learn fabled legends of ancient history and complete rituals of mythic significance. Not only does this require the player to study the “backstory” of your world but also provides any number of ready-made adventure hooks for the campaign.
If you’re a player, a legacy item presents a way of personalizing your character while simultaneously building up her might. By tying her development to one of the great tales of history, your character takes on heroic proportions. Who knows? She might even become more famous than the first owner of the legacy item, unlocking powers of even greater potential.
Reading Legacy Item Entries
Refer to this section if you have questions about a legacy item’s presentation.
Name and Description
The name of the legacy item is followed by a description of the item’s appearance and easily observed abilities. Unless you succeed on the DC 15 Intelligence (History) check concerning the item, its name isn’t automatically evident.
Nonlegacy Game Statistics
This entry contains information that can be gleaned by inspection and with an identify spell. The cost listed here is for a normal magic item of the legacy item’s kind, its true status remaining unknown. All legacy items require attunement.
Legacy items are priceless.
Every legacy item has a history, which is often obscured by a gulf of time. Learning a piece of an item’s past requires a character to spend downtime researching it (see page 132 in Xanathar’s Guide to Everything for details).
These research checks do not have to be made by the prospective wielder of the item. The information gained by the research must be accurately communicated to that person, however, because making the relevant Intelligence (History) check also uncovers the ritual associated with part of the item’s legacy. The pieces of lore and the ritual gleaned from a successful check appear parenthetically at the end of each relevant paragraph in an item’s history.
Every legacy item has at least one ritual associated with it—a task that must be successfully completed in order to unlock a range of abilities for your use. A legacy item can have least, lesser, and greater rituals, which grant you access to least, lesser, and greater abilities, respectively, but only if you complete the required ritual.
A legacy ritual has an associated cost in gold pieces, which is listed here.
Successful completion of a legacy ritual grants you the legacy feat listed here as a
bonus feat, assuming you meet its prerequisites. If you don’t have all the prerequisites, you still gain the feat but cannot benefit from it until the prerequisites are met.
Legacy items have more requirements than simply gaining the associated legacy feats. Such requirements are listed here, much like the prerequisites for entering a prestige class.
These requirements do not affect your ability to use the nonlegacy abilities of the item.
Every legacy item is described in terms of a table that lays out conferred abilities according to the following information.
You must possess this character level to gain the legacy item abilities in the same row of
the table, assuming you meet any other requirements. Since a character below 5th level cannot gain access to legacy abilities, each table starts with that level. A wielder of 5th–10th level has access to least legacy abilities at those levels. A wielder of 11th–16th level can gain lesser legacy abilities at those levels, and a wielder of 17th level or
higher can use the item’s greater legacy abilities.
Legacy Item Abilities
The abilities conferred by a legacy item are explained here. In general, using legacy items’ abilities requires you to at least carry the item on your person. This default rule has some exceptions, which are clarified in the specific entries to which they apply.
Unless otherwise noted, activating a legacy ability costs an action. The save DC for any legacy ability is equal to 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Charisma modifier. If the legacy item casts a spell, you can instead use your normal spellcasting ability modifier instead of your Charisma modifier if the result would be higher.
The feats described here are granted to a character who fulfills the rituals required to awaken the corresponding powers of an item of legacy.
Prerequisite: character level 5th, learn and perform the associated least legacy ritual of an item
Choose one item of legacy. If you meet the other prerequisites for wielding that item, you can use any of its least legacy abilities that are available to a character of your level. Least legacy abilities are those granted between 5th and 10th level.
Prerequisite: Least Legacy feat, character level 11th, learn and perform the associated lesser legacy ritual of an item
Choose one item of legacy. If you meet the other prerequisites for wielding that item, you can use any of its lesser legacy abilities that are available to a character of your level. Least legacy abilities are those granted between 11th and 16th level.
Prerequisite: Lesser Legacy feat, Least Legacy feat, character level 17th, learn and perform the associated lesser legacy ritual of an item
Choose one item of legacy. If you meet the other prerequisites for wielding that item, you can use any of its greater legacy abilities that are available to a character of your level. Greater legacy abilities are those granted between 11th and 16th level.
Sample Legacy Item
The following item is a legacy item for you to use in your campaign.
|5th||+1 mithral chain shirt, Armor Proficiency|
|8th||Summon Spiders (CR 1/2)|
|11th||+2 mithral chain shirt, Summon Spiders (CR 1)|
|17th||+3 mithral chain shirt, Summon Spiders (CR 2)|
|20th||Improved Maximized Spells|
Armor (mithral chain shirt), legacy (requires attunement)
Spidersilk is a mithral shirt of exceptionally fine texture and quality. Black threads of spider silk appear to have been woven in among the metal rings. At 5th level and before its true nature is discovered, it counts as a +1 mithril chain shirt. As you unlock its legacy abilities, its AC bonus increases by +1 at 11th level (+2), and again at 17th level (+3.
Spidersilk was originally the armor of the legendary drow wizard Valenet. About four hundred years ago, he received it as a gift from Dierdra, his house matriarch, for slaying a mind flayer that had held her in thrall. The matriarch lavished training and resources upon the young male drow, educating him in the care and riding of spiders as well as the wizardly arts. (First piece of lore; Knowledge of the Spider)
No other male was as pampered or as powerful as the matriarch’s young savior, and Valenet enjoyed his privileged status. But among the drow, jealousy is easily aroused and
quickly manifests in violence. After another drow nearly killed Valenet in a duel, Dierdra forbade anyone to challenge him. Valenet subsequently survived several assassination
attempts, thanks largely to Spidersilk. Eventually, however, he died from drinking a cup of wine poisoned with spider venom. Dierdra buried Valenet dressed in this armor. (Second piece of lore; Test of the Fang).
The odds that the grave of one so envied and hated by other drow would lie undisturbed were slenderer than the finest spider silk. In fact, grave robbers opened Valenet’s tomb and made off with Spidersilk mere hours after the stonemasons had sealed it. Many unverified accounts of the armor indicate a profusion of owners during the next three hundred years.
Legend holds that it was worn by surface dwellers such as Yew, a cleric of Obad-Hai, who was credited with ridding the Yellow Wood of spiders. Occasionally, however, it was
brought back to the Underdark and sold back to the drow as finely crafted armor. Most who wore the armor remained ignorant of its true capabilities. (Third piece of lore; The Still and Patient Spider)
Three rituals are required to unlock all the abilities of Spidersilk.
Knowledge of the Spider. You must acquire proficiency in Intelligence (Nature). Cost: 1,500 gp; Feat Granted: Least Legacy (Spidersilk).
Test of the Fang. You must be bitten by a spider of at least Large size and survive the poison without recourse to magical assistance. Thus, a slow poison or neutralize poison spell would negate the test, but a nonmagical resource, such as a vial of antitoxin, is acceptable. Cost: 13,000 gp; Feat Granted: Lesser Legacy (Spidersilk).
The Still and Patient Spider. You must spend one day per character level in meditation with Spidersilk. At least 8 hours of each day must be spent meditating, and you cannot engage in any strenuous activity or spellcasting during this period. Cost: 40,000 gp; Feat Granted: Greater Legacy (Spidersilk).
The optimal user of Spidersilk is an elf wizard, although any arcane spellcaster might use it. Bards, multiclass rogues, and other lightly armored spellcasters such as warlocks or sorcerers might also embrace Spidersilk as an opportunity to expand their repertoire of abilities.
Spidersilk Wielder Requirements
- Wisdom saving throw proficiency
- Ability to cast spells from the wizard spell list.
Legacy Item Abilities
All the following are legacy item abilities of Spidersilk.
Armor Proficiency. When you reach 5th level, you are considered proficient with Spidersilk even if you aren’t normally proficient with medium armor.
False Life. Beginning at 6th level, you can cast false life once with this ability and regain the ability to do so when you finish a long rest.
Spiderfriend. At 7th level, you are constantly protected from attacks against spider and spiderkin. Any spider or spiderkin (such as an ettercap or drider) who targets you with an attack or a harmful spell must first make a Wisdom saving throw. On a failed save, the creature must choose a new target or lose the attack or spell. This ability doesn’t protect the warded creature from area effects, such as the explosion of a fireball. If you attack an affected spider or spiderkin, the effect ends for that creature.
Summon Spiders. At 8th level, you can summon up to two spiders of CR 1/2 or less (but not swarms) which appear in unoccupied spaces that you can see within 60 feet of you. The summoned spiders are friendly to you and your companions. Roll initiative for the swarms as a group; the swarms act on their own turn. They obey any verbal commands that you issue to them (no action required by you). If you don’t issue any commands to them, they defend themselves from hostile creatures, but otherwise, take no actions. Once you use this ability you can’t use it again until you finish a long rest.
Beginning at 11th level, the challenge rating for spiders that you can summon with this ability increases to CR 1 and you can summon swarms of insects (spiders). And at 17th level, the challenge rating for spiders that you can summon with you Summon Spiders ability increases to CR 2.
Web. Starting at 10th level, you can cast web. You can use this ability three times, and regain all expended uses when you finish a long rest.
Spiderclimb. At 12th level, you permanently gain the benefits of the spider climb spell.
Potent Concentration. When you reach 13th level, you can add your Charisma modifier to Constitution saving throws to maintain your concentration when you take damage.
Maximized Spells. Starting at 15th level, you can increase the power of your simpler spells. When you cast a spell of 1st through 5th level that deals damage or heals hit points, you can deal maximum damage or heal maximum hit points with that spell. After you use this ability, you can’t cast spells other than cantrips until the end of your next turn.
You can only use this ability three times. You regain all expended uses when you finish a long rest.
Spell Storing. At 18th level, you can store up to three spells in Spidersilk as if it were a ring of spell storing.
Command Spiders. Starting at 19th level, you can cast mass suggestion but you can only target spiders and spiderkin (such as ettercaps and driders), and instead of twelve creatures, you can command up to 40 hit dice worth of spiders and spiderkin within range. Spiders with Intelligence scores of 3 or lower automatically fail their Wisdom saving throw against the spell, and spiders and spiderkin with an Intelligence score of 4 or higher make their Wisdom saving throws with disadvantage. You can use this ability three times, and regain all expended uses after you finish a long rest.
Improved Maximize Spells. Starting at 20th level, you gain one additional use of your Maximize Spell ability. In addition, you can expend one additional use of your Maximize Spell ability to maximize the damage or healing of a 6th level spell, two additional uses to maximize the damage or healing of a 7th level spell.
BroadSword Magazine is now on Kickstarter!
It’s hard to believe that we were funded in less than five hours. Thanks so much to everyone’s that’s chipped in with their support.
If you haven’t already heard, go ahead and check it out now. This monthly magazine looks to capture the feel of the old Dungeon/Dragon magazines from the ’80s and ’90s. Old School Feel with New School (5e) rules.
Art by Wizards of the Coast.