The Complete Armorer’s Handbook
Publisher: DMs Guild
Product Length: 27 pages (version 1.8, high-res)
Available Format(s): PDF
I’ve written several times about my affinity for magic items (if treasure isn’t one of the rewards I get in playing, why play?). I’ve reviewed compendiums of fascinating magic items as well as collections of only “useful(ish)” ones. But what’s been missing so far is a means to customize mundane items into magic ones, or even just mechanically upgraded ones. Enter heavyarms and The Complete Armorer’s Handbook. This guide helps players and their DMs integrate weapons and armor upgrades into their campaigns thematically as well as mechanically.
Broken into two main parts, this supplement focuses first on mundane arms and armor upgrades. For example, improving a weapon to a +1 to hit doesn’t necessarily mean it’s suddenly magical (important against some monsters). What I love about this approach is that it adds a new layer to playing: caring for your equipment. For the most part, my experience with my equipment has been one of “hope I don’t lose this Holy Avenger…it’s kinda rare.” But now players have a reason to cherish their swords and armor beyond just wanting to have them. If you’re really looking for an immersive experience, doesn’t it make sense that you would want your swords sharpened and balanced or your armor repaired and reinforced once you get back into town? Now you have more options to spend your gold on.
The second section addresses magical upgrades and introduces “rune magic” to your campaigns. There are a lot of opportunities to add additional layers of meaningful NPCs, downtime activity, and perhaps even small-scale political intrigue. If you regularly deal with a Thieves’ Guild or a Bakers’ Union (hey, it happens) then you’re going to love the increased player agency with the Runesmiths’ Guild and how they keep the proliferation of magical runestones in check.
Most of the magical enhancements from these runestones are specific in nature (i.e. “Giant Slayer” and “Dragonbane”) rather than just generally magic (as with a garden variety magic +3 sword).
I could go on and on about the contents but you can see all of that over on the product page. I can only stress its greatness. It is, indeed, a wonderful product that increases a player’s agency, gives players a money-sink, and reduces a DM’s overhead. Couple that with topnotch production and this one is a no-brainer. You want this product. You just may not know it yet. Apparently there are more similar works planned by heavyarms. I can’t wait to see what else they produce. It’s sure to be great.
- heavyarms used a Monte Carlo simulation to test for balance
- professional-grade production quality (both in layout/design and art)
- thematic and useful
- very minor spelling/grammar issues but it seems the product is under constant revision to address such issues