Sentient Magic Item (5e Race)

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Sentient Magic Item[edit]

Never trust magic items found in dungeons. Especially when they cackle.
—Common advice offered by most adventurers.

Physical Description[edit]

Adobe_20210706_222333.png
Sentient magic items come in all shapes and sizes. Source

A sentient magic item has two forms, their natural form, and their personafied human form.

Due to the sheer potential variety of sentient magic items, they can take almost any vaguely humanoid shape, although, specific types and origins tend towards certain physical traits. For example, a sentient sword of fiery elemental origin may have sharper, more jagged features, with wisps of either faint, moving, or even crystalized flames erupting from their bodies.

While it isn't always the case, certain traits that come from the item appear in the form, too. A sentient staff that incorporates floating orbs into it's design may cause them to appear in their humanoid form, curved blades might make their form curved itself, a regally adorned item may encrust their skin(or otherwise) with gems.

The sky is the limit for what a sentient magic item could look like.

Built with Purpose[edit]

Due to the difficulty and material cost of creating a sentient magic item(comparable to golems), the creation of one is not taken lightly, and done for a good reason.

Due to the challenges presented by creation, there are primarily only two types of people that will create them. Powerful spellcasters, or deity-esc beings.

For spellcasters, they generally serve as a perfect companion, more than a golem, familiar, or other mortal being. Most are fairly intelligent, allowing them to carry out complex duties, or actually learn how to do some spellcasting in their place. While they aren't as physically imposing as golems, they do still function as excellent guardians, if designed to do so. However, a companion is not without it's flaws. Even though most are bound in service, they are learning creatures, and sometimes these terms can change.

For deities, they can serve any number of uses. A gift for a destined hero, an unresting guardian of a specific tomb, or a weapon to send against their enemies. Due to the resources at their disposal, and general inability to enter the material plane, sentient magic items serve as the perfect swiss army knife for any problem that may come up in said plane.

But Those Without[edit]

Of course, not every sentient magic item is made for a reason, or they lose this grand purpose along the way. How this can happen varies.

Sometimes, due to one accident or another, these items become deactivated for a time. Eventually, when they're woken up again, their duties may have already been failed long ago. Perhaps they were created to defend an emperor in the past, but his empire has already crumbled with the tyrant's head on a stake in the present.

Those who find themselves without purpose usually struggle, even moreso than most regular folks. Unlike those of flesh and blood, they came into this world, and try to find their own path. But for these items, their path was set, and they were programmed to be fine with this. When this predetermined destiny fades away, so does their confidence and sense of self. The very thing that defined their being is now gone. Searching for a new purpose often consumes most who fall into this fate, either finding new masters or striking out on their own.

Sentient Magic Item Names[edit]

Due to being completely genderless, sentient magic items have no names specific to such things. Depending on the creator, a sentient magic item may have a title, share a name with their item itself, have a proper name, or any other such thing

Item Names: Bane of Rot, Skypierce, Judgement's Left Hand, It-That-Flays, Dawnbreaker, Hammer of Karranath

Person Names: Ruby,

Sentient Magic Item Traits[edit]

Magical items, capable of taking humanoid form.
Ability Score Increase. One ability score of your choice increases by 1.
Age. Due to being nonbiological, they essentially don't age, and are created mature.
Alignment. While dependant mostly on origin, sentient magic items tend towards either lawful or neutral bends.
Size. Very comparable to humans, if a bit more extreme, the physical forms sentient magic items take tend to be around 4 and 7 feet. Your size is Medium
Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet.
Nonbiological. Even though you were constructed, you are a living creature. You are immune to Diseases. You do not need to eat or breathe, but you can ingest food and drink if you wish. Instead of sleeping, you enter an inactive state for 4 hours each day. You do not dream in this state; you are fully aware of your surroundings and notice approaching enemies and other events as normal. While in this inactive state, you take the appearance of your Item Form.
False Appearance. When in Item Form, while you remain motionless and aren't flying, you are indistinguishable from a normal item.
Languages. You can read, speak, and write Common, and one other language based on your subrace.
Subrace. Sentient magic items are categorized into two seperate types of subraces, Type and Origin. The former dictactes what item they are, the latter where they came from.

Type[edit]

Weapon[edit]

One of the most common types of sentient magic items, they are able to take the shape of one specific type of weapon. Their humanoid forms are generally more physically built, generally either slender and agile, or stocky and brutal.
Ability Score Increase. Either your Strength or Dexterity increase by 2.
Item Form - Weapon. Choose one weapon. You are proficient with it, and can turn into or out of this type of weapon as a bonus action. Everything you are wearing or holding melds into your new form, and you lose all movement speeds and gain a flight speed of 30 feet, however, you are not able to fly higher than 10 feet when using this flight speed. In this form, you cannot hold anything, can only make attacks as the weapon you turn into, and cannot preform somatic or material components for spells. In this form, your AC is 16. If you make an attack with a weapon that requires ammunition, it is created as part of the attack and dissapears a round later.

At 5th level, you gain a bonus to attack rolls, damage rolls, and AC in this form equal to half your Proficiency bonus, rounded down.

Shield[edit]

Easily the hardiest of them all, sentient shields are tough as nails, and big too.
Ability Score Increase. Your Constitution increases by 2.
Item Form - Shield. You are proficient with shields. Additionally, you can turn into and out of a shield as an action. Everything you are wearing or holding melds into your new form, and you lose all movement speeds and gain a flight speed of 30 feet, however, you are not able to fly higher than 10 feet when using this flight speed. In this form, you cannot hold anything, cast any spells, or maintain concentration on a spell. Attacking in this form can only deal 1d4 + your Strength modifier bludgeoning damage. While in this form, your Armor Class is 18.

At 5th level, your Armor Class and bonus to all Saving Throws increases by half your Proficiency Bonus, rounded down.

Spellcasting Focus[edit]

Less physically imposing than their other brethren, sentient spellcasting focuses are instead mental powerhouses. Commonly, they take vague humanoid forms instead of bodies, like a robe or suit of armor.
Ability Score Increase. Either your Intelligence or Charisma increases by 2.
Item Form - Spellcasting Focus. Choose one spellcasting focus. You can turn into or out of this as a bonus action. Everything you are wearing or holding melds into your new form, and you lose all movement speeds and gain a flight speed of 30 feet, however, you are not able to fly higher than 10 feet when using this flight speed. In this form, you cannot hold anything, but can cast spells as if you were holding a spellcasting focus. In this form, your Armor Class is 15.

At 5th level, while in Item Form, whenever you cast a spell using a spell slot with a level lower than half your Proficiency Bonus, rounded down, you can instead cast it as if you used a spell slot two levels higher. You can do this twice, and regain both uses on a long rest.

Tool[edit]

An odd niche, sentient tools aren't often seen. The humanoid form of a tool varies generally based on the type of tool, if at least always smaller than their other kin.
Ability Score Increase. Your Intelligence increases by 2.
Item Form - Tool. Choose one tool. You gain proficiency in this tool, and you can turn into and out of these tools as a bonus action. Everything you are wearing or holding melds into your new form, and you lose all movement speeds and gain a flight speed of 30 feet, however, you are not able to fly higher than 10 feet when using this flight speed. In this form, you cannot hold anything, or make attacks. While in this form, you can preform relevant skill checks as these tools, can cast spells using the tools if normally capable of doing so, and can cast one cantrip, based on the table below. If you already know this cantrip, you learn a different one of your choice from the same school. Intelligence is your spellcasting modifier for this spell, as are the spells granted to you through your Origin subrace.

Tool Cantrip
Alchemist's supplies Acid Splash
Brewer's supplies
Calligrapher's supplies Message
Carpenter's tools Shillelagh
Cartographer's tools Guidance
Cobbler's tools
Cook's utensils
Glassblower's tools
Jeweler's tools
Leatherworker's tools
Mason's tools Mold Earth
Painter's supplies Minor Illusion
Potter's tools
Smith's tools Thunderclap
Tinker's tools
Weaver's tools Thorn Whip
Woodcarver's tools
Disguise kit Mind Sliver
Forgery kit Vicious Mockery
Herbalism kit
Navigator's tools
Poisoner's kit Poison Spray
Thieves' tools
Holy Symbol[edit]

A favored one among the gods, sentient holy symbols are like walking advertisements for their divine power. Generally, the holy symbol is incorporated into their design in some way, like a sentient holy symbol of Pelor having a gauntlet, or one for Hoar having two faces.
Ability Score Increase. Either your Wisdom or Charisma increases by 2.
Item Form - Holy Symbol. Choose one holy symbol. You can turn into or out of this as a bonus action. Everything you are wearing or holding melds into your new form, and you lose all movement speeds and gain a flight speed of 30 feet, however, you are not able to fly higher than 10 feet when using this flight speed. In this form, you cannot hold anything, but can cast spells as if you were holding a holy symbol. In this form, your Armor Class is 15.

At 5th level, while in Item Form, whenever you cast a spell, and roll a die that isn't a d20, you can add your Proficiency bonus to the result. You can do this twice, and regain both uses after a long rest.

Origin[edit]

Abyssal[edit]

The home plane of demons, your origins lie in the abyss. Whether crafted by a demon lord, or your normal demonic form is bound inside the item, your appearance and nature are as cruel and unusual as it gets.
Innate Spellcasting. You learn the primal savagery cantrip, and at 3rd level, you can cast chaos bolt once at its lowest level, regaining the use after a long rest. Charisma is your casting modifier for these spells.
Extra Language. You can also read, speak, and write Abyssal.

Abberant[edit]

Some of the strangest sentient items out there, those who come from the Far Realm have both strange mannerisms and purpose. Whether a condensed chunk of the plane itself, a creature shaped into the item, or otherwise, they are all abberant.
Innate Spellcasting. You learn the eldritch blast cantrip, and at 3rd level, you can cast arms of hadar once at its lowest level, regaining the use after a long rest. Charisma is your casting modifier for these spells.
Extra Language. You can also read, speak, and write Deep Speech.

Arcane[edit]

Almost solely created by wizards, arcane sentient items are
Innate Spellcasting. You learn the mage hand cantrip, and at 3rd level, you can cast detect magic once at its lowest level, regaining the use after a long rest. Charisma is your casting modifier for these spells.
Extra Language. You can also read, speak, and write one language of your choice.

Celestial[edit]


Innate Spellcasting. You learn the sacred flame cantrip, and at 3rd level, you can cast guiding bolt once at its lowest level, regaining the use after a long rest. Charisma is your casting modifier for these spells.
Extra Language. You can also read, speak, and write Celestial.

Elemental[edit]


Elemental Attunement. Choose between Fire, Air, Earth, and Water. This choice will affect your other subrace features.
Innate Spellcasting. You learn the first spell listed, based on the table below and your choice in Elemental Attunement. At 3rd level, you can cast the second spell listed once at its lowest level, regaining the user after a long rest. Charisma is your casting modifier for these spells.
Extra Language. You can read, speak, and write one language based on the table below and your choice in Elemental Attunement.

Feywild[edit]


Innate Spellcasting. You learn the minor illusion cantrip, and at 3rd level, you can cast charm person once at its lowest level, regaining the use after a long rest. Charisma is your casting modifier for these spells.
Extra Language. You can read, write, and speak Sylvan.

Negative[edit]


Innate Spellcasting. You learn the toll the dead cantrip, and at 3rd level, you can cast inflict wounds once at its lowest level, regaining the use after a long rest. Charisma is your casting modifier for these spells.
Extra Language. You can read, write, and speak Netherese.

Positive[edit]


Innate Spellcasting. You learn the light cantrip, and at 3rd level, you can cast cure wounds once at its lowest level, regaining the use after a long rest. Charisma is your casting modifier for these spells.
Extra Language. You can also speak, read, and write Sylvan.

Shadowfel[edit]


Innate Spellcasting. You learn the chill touch cantrip, and at 3rd level, you can cast hex once at its lowest level, regaining the use after a long rest. Charisma is your casting modifier for these spells.
Extra Language. You can read, write, and speak Netherese.


Design Note: Due to the simplicity of making origin subraces, and the limitless amounts of other potential origins, some may want to make their own. Below is a system for doing so.

Innate Spellcasting. Choose one cantrip, and one 1st level spell. They must either deal the same type of damage, or come from the same school. You learn the cantrip, and at 3rd level, you can cast the 1st level spell at it's lowest level once, regaining the use on a long rest. Charisma is your spellcasting modifier for this spell.
Extra Language. You can also read, speak, and write one additional language of your choice.

Random Height and Weight[edit]

Base
Height
Height
Modifier*
Base
Weight
Weight
Modifier**
3′ 7″ +5d10 100 lb. × (1.5) lb.

*Height = base height + height modifier
**Weight = base weight + (height modifier × weight modifier)

Suggested Characteristics[edit]

When creating a sentient magic item character, you can use the following table of traits, ideals, bonds and flaws to help flesh out your character. Use these tables in addition to or in place of your background's characteristics.

d8 Personality Trait
1 I tend to coldly analyze most situations I'm put in.
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
d6 Ideal
1 Purpose. I was created for a purpose, and hardly anything else drives me in life.
2
3
4
5
6 Chaos. Why am I here? Who made me? Who cares!? I live, and I decide what happens to me next! (Chaotic)
d6 Bond
1 My creator is my greatest link to this world.
2 For a time, I was lost, until I found a new family.
3
4
5
6
d6 Flaw
1
2
3
4
5
6

Racial Feats[edit]

Awakened State[edit]

Prerequisite: 8th level

You tap further into your power, as your origin expands. Choose a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd level spell which all either deal the same damage type or are from the same school as one of your Origin spells. You can cast each of these spells once, regaining the use after finishing a long rest. These spells use the same casting modifier that your origin spells do.

Exalted State[edit]

Prerequisite: Awakened State feat

Reaching the source of your power, you fully tap into it. When using Item Form, you can instead summon the relevant item into your hand, still granting the 5th level bonus but not changing your statistics in any other way. Additionally, you gain a bonus depending on your Type subrace.

  • Weapon. Your attacks in Item Form deal an extra 1d10 damage, of a type of your choice.
  • Shield. While in Item Form, allied creatures within 5 feet of you share your AC, if theirs isn't lower.
  • Spellcasting Focus. While in Item Form, all spells you cast in this form are immediately one level higher.
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