Stephen Mark Smith - Aspiring Game Designer

D&D 5e Homebrew Material

During my 2nd year of University, I started playing Dungeons & Dragons (5th Edition) via a society that specialises in tabletop role-playing games and war games. After spending a lot of time enjoying D&D as a player, I became inspired to design items, spells and monsters and create a campaign of my own.

The following materials have been playtested and iterated and will continue to be iterated over time. Also note that the materials were not made commercially. They were made both out of passion and as game design exercises. The materials can be used in your own D&D campaign for free.


Item 1: Lute of Draconic Force (August 2017)
As a player, I got to use an item created by my Dungeon Master (DM) which allowed me to create magical effects by playing heavy metal songs (mostly the music of Metallica). I was inspired by this and created a similar item using the heavy metal band; Dragonforce as the stimulus. As a result, I came up with the first iteration (pictured below).
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I ran a one-shot session where one of the players carried the lute. When I asked for feedback, the player told me that the effects of the lute were too powerful and that it was worth cutting back on a few of the magical effects. As a result, I made the following changes:
– Whenever the player played ‘Ashes of the Dawn’, they had to spend a number of charges which they earned for every two weeks (game time) that they owned the lute.
– Damage inflicted on creatures while ‘Seasons’ was playing was reduced from 2d6 to 1d6.

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Item 2: Sound Sword (August 2017)
While developing ideas for a D&D campaign set in the ‘Adventure Time’ universe, I made serious considerations to include weapons and other items that were either adapted directly from the show or would fit well in show. The first weapon I worked with was the sword wielded by the Earl of Lemongrab; the Sound Sword. This sword behaved in a similar fashion to a regular longsword in D&D but it also had a magical attack that could cause a considerable amount of damage to anyone who dared to get close to the wielder.

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This weapon was playtested and the feedback it initially got was to reduce the sound attack’s range from 40 ft to 30 ft and to alter the damage and status effect. I was told by my playtesters that the sound attack should either deal 3d8 damage but not deafen the target or do 2d8 damage and deafen the the target. As a major part of the sound attack was to cause it’s victims to become deaf for a short period of time, I decided to reduce the damage but keep the deafening effect.
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Item 3: Kingdom Key (August 2017)

As a design exercise, I decided to have an attempt at recreating the iconic weapon from the ‘Kingdom Hearts’ franchise as a usable weapon in Dungeons & Dragons Fifth Edition. In an attempt to keep the weapon true to it’s counterpart in the ‘Kingdom Hearts’ games, I gave the weapon the versatile property (can be used as a one-handed weapon and a two-handed weapon) as well as adding an additional amount of Radiant damage (making it a weapon of light). Continuing this, I made it that evil characters cannot wield the weapon and creatures of darkness take significantly more damage. The problem with the original iteration of the Keyblade weapon was that the wielder instantly regained the weapon if they dropped or threw it. See the image below for the original weapon sheet.

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The second iteration of the weapon allowed the wielder to throw or drop the weapon without it instantly reappearing in their hand, instead, they could use their bonus action to recall the weapon should they release it for any reason. The the image below to see the changes that were made.

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