Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Magic Item Reset (XI): Arms items

The arms slot is a strange one, in that it combines two very different types of items: bracers and shields. If you have ever wondered what it would be like to fill your arms slot with something that didn’t grant an item bonus to damage, this selection is for you.

Covering Shield – Level 2+ Common Arms
Lvl 2 (Heroic); Lvl 12 (Paragon); Lvl 22 (Epic)
Requires: Shield.
Power (At-Will) Opportunity Action. Trigger: You are targeted by an area or close attack. Effect: One ally targeted by the attack gains partial cover against the attack.
    Level 12: One or two allies targeted by the attack.
    Level 22: All allies targeted by the attack. You can use this power as a free action.

Shield of Deflection - Level 5+ Common Arms
Lvl 5 (Heroic); Lvl 15 (Paragon); Lvl 25 (Epic)
Requires: Shield.
Special: When this item is created, choose ranged attacks or area and close attacks.
Property: You gain resist 2 against the chosen types of attack.
    Level 15: Resist 4.
    Level 25: Resist 6.

Throwing Shield - Level 8+ Common Arms
Lvl 8 (Heroic); Lvl 18 (Paragon); Lvl 28 (Epic)
Requires: Shield.
Property: This shield can be used as a +2 magic throwing hammer to make melee and ranged attacks.
    Level 18:  +4 magic throwing hammer.
    Level 28: +6 magic throwing hammer.

Bracers of Armor - Level 1+ Common Arms 
Lvl 1 (Heroic); Lvl 11 (Paragon); Lvl 21 (Epic)
Property:  While wearing light armor, you can use a +2 modifier instead of your dexterity or intelligence modifier to calculate your AC.
    Level 11: +4 modifier.
    Level 21: +6 modifier.

Bracers of Opportunity - Level 2+ Common Arms
Lvl 2 (Heroic); Lvl 12 (Paragon); Lvl 22 (Epic)
Property: Your opportunity attacks deal an extra 1d6 damage.
    Level 12: 2d6 damage.
    Level 22: 3d6 damage.

Armbands of Power - Level 5+ Common Arms
Lvl 5 (Heroic); Lvl 15 (Paragon); Lvl 25 (Epic)
Special: When this item is created, choose melee attacks, ranged attacks, or close and area attacks.
Property: Your critical hits with attacks of the chosen type deal an extra d8 damage.
    Level 15: 2d8 damage.
    Level 25: 3d8 damage.

Bracers of Cleaving Strikes - Level 9+ Common Arms
Lvl 9 (Heroic); Lvl 19 (Paragon); Lvl 29 (Epic)
Power(Encounter). Free action. Trigger: You hit an enemy with an attack. Effect: Deal 1d8 damage to an enemy adjacent to the triggering enemy.
    Level 19:  You can use this power twice per encounter, but only once per turn.
    Level 29: 2d8 damage. 

Recoil Shield - Level 5+ Uncommon Arms
Lvl 5 (Heroic); Lvl 15 (Paragon); Lvl 25 (Epic)
Requires: Shield.
Power(Encounter). Immediate Reaction. Trigger: An enemy hits you with a melee or close attack. Target: The triggering enemy. Effect: You knock the target prone.
    Level 15: Effect: You push the target 3 squares and knock it prone.
    Level 25: Target: The triggering enemy and all enemies adjacent to you.

Fortress Shield - Level 10+ Uncommon Arms
Lvl 10 (Heroic); Lvl 20 (Paragon); Lvl 30 (Epic)
Requires: Shield.
Property: You gain resist 2 against attacks without combat advantage.
    Level 20: Resist 3.
    Level 30: Resist 4.

Quickhit Bracers - Level 5+ Uncommon Arms
Lvl 5 (Heroic); Lvl 15 (Paragon); Lvl 25 (Epic)
Power(Daily). Trigger: You hit or miss an enemy with an attack. Effect: You make a basic attack against an enemy other than the triggering enemy.
    Level 15: Effect: You make a basic attack against up to two targets within range.
    Level 25: Effect: You make an at-will attack against up to two targets within range, with a +2 power bonus to the attack roll and a +5 power bonus to the damage roll.

Bracers of Accuracy - Level 10+ Uncommon Arms
Lvl 10 (Heroic); Lvl 20 (Paragon); Lvl 30 (Epic)
Power(Daily). Until the end of the encounter, you gain a +1 power bonus to attack rolls, and your attacks score critical hits on rolls of 19-20.
    Level 20: Crits on rolls of 18-20.
    Level 30: +2 power bonus.

Dragonslayer Shield - Level 6+ Rare Arms
Lvl 6 (Heroic); Lvl 16 (Paragon); Lvl 26 (Epic)
Requires: Shield.
Property: You become immune to fear. You gain resist 5 against area and close attacks.
    Level 16: Resist 10.
    Level 26: Resist 15.
Power(Daily). Immediate Interrupt. Trigger: You take damage from an attack. Effect: You reduce the damage taken by 2d6. An enemy adjacent to you takes that much damage.
    Level 16: 4d6 damage.
    Level 26: 6d6 damage.

Golden Bracers of Riposte - Level 3+ Rare Arms
Lvl 3 (Heroic); Lvl 13 (Paragon); Lvl 23 (Epic)
Property: Whenever an enemy misses you, it grants combat advantage to you until the end of your next turn, and gains vulnerable 2 against your attacks until the end of your next turn.
    Level 13: Vulnerable 4.
    Level 23: Vulnerable 6.
Power(Daily) Immediate reaction. Trigger: An enemy hits you with an attack. Effect: The attack also hits the triggering enemy.

As usual, any feedback will be greatly appreciated.


  1. Excellent stuff! Again, happy to see the downfall of the Iron Armbands of Cheese.

    I think your Bracers of Armor miss the mark on your goal to have every item be useful to at least someone in the party, though. I can't think of a character I've ever seen played without either heavy armor or at least a +2 in Int/Dex.

  2. The Bracers of Armor are a concession for the handful of builds in the game that are currently forced to spend a feat on Chainmail Proficiency, or are otherwise doomed to hideous AC: Con-based shamans, Star Pact Warlocks, and (though much less deserving of any boost) melee rangers.

    I thought it was worthwhile breaking my own rules this one time in order to provide a cheap item-based fix for those classes. Apart from that... yeah, they won't get much use. Though there might be a (weak) case for chainmail-proficient characters willing to sacrifice a point of AC for some added mobility...

  3. Personally, I think that AC doesn't scale right for anyone; you basically need a +2 item bonus (by 30th level) to AC just to keep up with the increasing attack bonuses of monsters.

    But it's possible that 1st level characters have high AC relative to monster attacks and that just gets factored out over time.

  4. Again, for aesthetics sake, I'd recommend making Fortress Shield grant Resist 5 at epic.

  5. It is true that there is a 2-point gap in AC progression from level 1 to 30 (after accounting for enhancement and masterwork bonuses, and ability increases), but this is usually mitigated by one or more of the following:
    - Feat bonus to AC (usually from armor mastery)
    - With light armor, Epic Destiny bonus to abilities.
    - AC bonus from paragon path or epic destiny.

    So, for many characters, this 2-point gap is more like a 0-1 point gap. And even if it weren't, this is a "decrease" in power I'm fairly comfortable with. Epic PCs get plenty of options for increasing their defenses, both from powers, feats, and features, and this opens up a bit of breathing room for them. Otherwise, the game wouldn't be able to handle many of these bonuses before reaching unhittable values. And, in the worst scenario, monster hit rates should remain within fair values.

    Then again, if I did think this was an issue, using specific item enchantments wouldn't be the way to handle it. It´s much better to use flat modifiers that will be available for all PCs.

    As for fortress shield, resist 4 is the highest value I was comfortable with, even at epic. That's a pretty significant benefit for a continuous effect.