I knew an AD&D player who said he loved that edition’s Dungeon Masters Guide because you could quickly turn to the treasures. They’re right in the middle. He compared it to the Bible—probably one of very few to ever do so—because in the middle of that book is The Book of Psalms…the Bible’s treasures. He ran Monty Haul campaigns so our characters were practically living legends at mid-levels even by Monty Haul standards. We enjoyed gold and XP. We intuitively understood THAC0 and had the XP level thresholds for the main classes memorized. But it was treasure at the heart of our adventuring. Damsel in distress? Meh. Magic sword in the dungeon with her? We’re in. Fast-forward a couple of dozen years and I love 5E. It’s not lacking in treasures, but any supplement that gives us more is always welcome. Enter Esquiel’s Guide to Magic Weapons by Hipsters & Dragons.
Esquiel’s Guide to Magic Weapons by Hipsters & Dragons
Writers: Hipsters & Dragons (Duncan Rhodes)
Publisher: DMs Guild
Product Length: 51 pages
This guide provides you with 120 new magic weapons and 20 new sets of armor. Duncan has focused his efforts on making up for where the 5E DMG falls short. That is to say he has focused more on those types of weapons that the DMG merely casually mentions. He gives us more magic axes, arrows, nets, and even blowguns. For crying out loud there are even four different whips! Perfect for your Indiana Jones adventures.
I can hear the dissension already from the skeptics in the back row. “Yeah, great. More magic weapons and armor to break the game.” That’s actually not the case here. The author went to great lengths to ensure these magic items are balanced and even wrote a section about it as well as tips for balancing your own creations. A preview of that section is to the right.
The bulk of this supplement is the third chapter, “Esquiel’s Guide to Magic Weapons”. Those weapons are each unique and interesting and ready to be dropped into your campaigns as rewards or as MacGuffins, be they as the objects of the PCs’ obsessions or as weapons to be relinquished from some villain through the players’…persuasion.
Generating New Weapons
If, for some reason, none of the provided items are to your liking the seventh chapter is for you. There are a series of tables you can use to generate new weapons if your players are 10th level or lower. Using these tables I rolled on four different tables: one for the weapon type, a second for bonus modifier, a third for magic property which led to the fourth and final one to detail that property.
Now I have a +1 sickle that is divinely blessed by Mielikki. It grants advantage on Wisdom (Survival) checks if I’m in forest terrain. What would you name this weapon? The Sickle of the Forest Queen? I don’t know. But there you have it. It took me about 30 seconds to come up with it. Don’t like it as a sickle? Reroll (or choose from the list) and you can suddenly have The Mace of the Forest Queen. The other properties are the same but now maybe it’s wielded by a nature domain cleric. Anyway, the point is that it gets ideas flowing.
One part I particularly liked was the “Superior Weapons” section. I have often thought that sometimes the one crafting a weapon could easily make better weapons without them being magical in nature. Think of the “Saturday night special” colloquialism. Some weapons are better than others as it concerns reliability and craftsmanship. Perhaps your players deserve a +1 sword that isn’t magical. This is something that the author suggests and I think it’s a great way to keep weapons balanced among your players while still rewarding them. If the druid has to cast shillelagh to have their weapon be magical then perhaps it’s unfair to give another player a weapon without that same requirement. Instead, maybe a “fine” weapon is enough. A +1 to attack or to damage (not both…there are suggestions for that too).
At first glance, I thought the comments on the sell page from the creator regarding balance and the generator tables would just be something to pay lip service to these things. But after reading it thoroughly, I now understand that Duncan Rhodes paid particular attention to maintaining balanced weapons and an intriguing system for generating new weapons quickly and cleanly. When Esquiel’s Guide to Magic Weapons speaks of balance it’s important to note that it means balanced among the players, not in creating balanced encounters. If creating balanced encounters are your thing, this isn’t the guide for that. That’s not to say this makes encounters unbalanced. It’s just a fun tool for giving your players more shiny toys to chase after and to use to kill monsters.
- professional-looking art, layout, and editing
- versatile and useful tool for a DM to use on the fly or to plan campaigns’ treasures/MacGuffins
- conveniently lists out the weapons/armors currently in the DMG and the pages they can be found
- while it gives tables for finding existing high-level treasure, it doesn’t have enough for creating legendary weapons/armor