Adventurer’s Vault 2: Overview and Item Sets

2009 August 17
by Dante

We were lucky enough to get a review copy of the Adventurer’s Vault 2, which appears to have made itself into the wild at GenCon a few days early.  There’s plenty of excellent stuff in this book to go around, I wanted to get a copy of this one badly so I ripped into it right away.

What its all about

This book is the second “arms and equipment” style book to arrive for 4th edition.  This one focuses on more magical items (hooray!) which includes two new implement types – tomes and totems – which expand beyond the implements brought to reality in the original Adventurer’s Vault.  Our good buddy Bartoneus over at Critical Hits correctly points out that this book appears to flesh out the Swordmage and Bard gear a bit.

To add some variety, this book present magical tattoos (which are pretty much self-explanatory) and a new type of consumable called an immurement which allows the battlefield to be reshaped by overlaying sections with fantastic terrain for several rounds.  I think this is a cool mechanic, which I intend to review later on this week as part of our continuing Adventurer’s Vault 2 coverage.

We also have a very special post planned to expand upon the new concept of Lair Items, which are magical items that are stationary in nature and cannot be carried around with an adventurer but affords them “comforts of home” which can extend in some ways to the battlefield.  This is probably my favorite section of items in the entire book, since I see these as more roleplaying-centric, creative oriented items.  In fact, I have a favorite item in this book and it is one of the Lair Items.  I know Stupid Ranger is going to mention this item in her post, so I won’t spoil it for now.

Item Sets

Finally, this book introduces the concept of item sets to D&D.  They are what you would expect them to be: groups of items that provide additional bonuses the more items you have in the set.  They also have the notion of a group set, which are set items that gain benefits if multiple members of your adventuring party has one.  I actually like the group set concept better, since the DM gains the potential plot hook of acquiring the group set of items and the entire party benefits from gaining them.  This seems like a simple recipe for group cohesion, infused into a handful of magical items.

Both types of sets (individual and group) are pretty incredible as a whole.  Reading through the epic group sets, I was quickly compelled to work the potential for a few of those into my campaign.  It also seems that the authors and design teams responsible for these supplements are really getting to the pulse of the favored character archetypes.  In this book are several set items designed around tinkerers or gadgeteers, which I have had in an adventuring party recently.  Also present are Battle Regalia for barbarians, Time Wizards tools for anyone that likes that sort of thing (I’ve known MANY over the years), and sets of magical stones and rings which are always crowd favorites.


One aspect of this book that I truly enjoy are the segments of history, lore, and flavor text that the authors have chosen to include.  Throughout the Magic Items sections, there are insets that describe the history or flavor surrounding certain magic item types.  Many of these insets include several plot hooks that can be used to inject a magical item into your world.  To me, this is one of the most valuable aspects of this entire book.

In addition, all of the sets – both group and individual – have Lore sections that provide increasingly specific details surrounding the history of the set.  This, once again, provides a lot of opportunity for the Dungeon Master to include these sets into the world and give the players a sense of awe when they acquire an item from the set.  Some of the Lore sections included appear so detailed as they could be the foundational points for an entire main segment of a campaign, just add water!

Continuing Coverage

We are going to provide continuing, in-depth coverage of the Adventurer’s Vault 2 this week, so check back often for more details!  If you have any questions, or specific areas you’d like us to cover please call them out in the comments and we will do our best to work it in!

4 Responses leave one →
  1. August 17, 2009

    I’m playing a Time Wizard in Bartoneus’s game, and have owned the Chronomancy book from 2e since it debuted!

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