Review: Dungeon Master’s Guide 2 – Artifacts…

2009 October 12
by Dante

It seems that a common feature of the expansions to the core rulebooks seem to be punchy little sections expanding the available artifacts.  The DMG2 offers a great segment on new artifacts, which provides a few classic favorites and some more meat behind the principles of artifact creation presented in previous books.  Here I present a long overdue look at this excellent segment of the DMG2.

Artifact Care and Feeding: Concordance and you!

The preamble to the artifact details outline some excellent advice for how and when to introduce artifacts into your game.  There are a few paragraphs outlining how to put your players in conflict with the motives of the provided artifacts and how to embed the artifacts more fully into the backstory of your campaign.  Happily, this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to heavily ingrained artifacts and your campaign.

I really enjoy the sections of the book that relate to artifact concordance.  The DMG2 expands artifact concordance with insets that expand on some background and motives behind certain artifacts.  For me, this is an invaluable tool that gives some context to these items and it helps to really polarize how I would use these in my own campaigns.  I particularly like the descriptions when the artifact is pissed off at the character and what negative effects come along with it, mostly because I like seeing how the artifacts will screw with my players.  Does that make me a bad person?  Yes, but I don’t care.

Some old favorites, and some new hotness…

As many of you have already discovered, the DMG2 repackages the Rod of Seven Parts and the Cup and Talisman of Al’Akbar – two classic artifacts of editions past.  The effort to retreat these artifacts is great… they seem to fit organically into the new edition.  In addition, these two really articulate the value of the concordance tiers.

For fun, I went ahead and took a few artifacts that I have encountered in past and found it very easy to fit most artifact archetypes into this pattern.  But I get off-topic… some of the new artifacts almost act as set items.  One such set, Rash and Reckless, is two sets of boots that can bestow special abilities on the person that is wearing the other pair of boots.  In addition, you get some Dexterity related benefits to your attacks.  These boots can suggest courses of action to the wearers, sometimes to the advantage of the character and other times merely to amuse or entertain the boots themselves.

If you haven’t already, check out this section of the DMG2.  I left the 14 pages with so many ideas I’m pretty sure I can’t contain them all in one campaign, which is a great problem to have!

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