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The Armorer’s Handbook: Equipment Upgrade and Rune Magic System for 5E
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The Armorer’s Handbook: Equipment Upgrade and Rune Magic System for 5E


The Complete Armorer's Handbook

Armorer's Shop Sign

The Armorer’s Handbook is a complete equipment upgrade ruleset that allows weapons and armor to grow along with your characters in an organic way that feels anchored in your setting.

This supplement is a comprehensive modular framework that allows characters to improve their equipment as they see fit by finding some artisans and spending some coin! Chapter 1 covers nonmagical upgrades, which approximate the basic +1-3 progression of magic items in the Dungeon Master’s Guide. Chapter 2 introduces rune magic as a means to imbue your equipment with magical properties, including a fully-realized crafting system for characters wishing to create their own runestones using simple gemstones.

The two chapters comprise the following, with each option being adjustable, ignorable, or replacable without impacting the whole:

Chapter 1 header


  • A Revised Armor table based on real-world historical armor, weight and prices, with scalable purchase options and three types of shield, each filling a unique role.
  • Armor Upgrade rules including 14 unique upgrades.
  • A minimalist Revised Weapons table, offering four new weapon properties.
  • Weapon Upgrade rules including 13 unique upgrades.
  • 7 types of Special Ammunition with easy crafting rules.
  • 8 of Special Materials with simple modifications to the upgrade rules.
  • Rules for equipment Wear and Repair.
Chapter 2 header


  • Rune magic lore and how to introduce rune magic and runestones into your campaign.
  • Runestones – socketable gems used to empower equipment with magical properties.
  • Runesmithing – a complete ruleset for player-crafting of runestones.
  • Runesmith’s Tools – a new toolkit used to craft runestones using gemstones.
  • The Runesmith’s Guild – a complete ruleset for joining and progressing through a crafting guild, with tangible benefits to those who achieve status among their peers. Also includes new downtime activities!
  • A New Feat only available to veteran runesmiths.
  • Two New Artificer Infusions to enhance the potential of runic equipment.
  • 39 Runestones, plus guidance on creating your own. Its also easy to repurpose the properties of magic items from any source—and you can even allow characters to "trade" magic items to help the guild scholars in their quest to discover/create new runestones!

Quick Previews:

pg. 8 preview pg. 9 preview pg. 16 preview pg. 17 preview

Creator's Note:

The Armorer's Handbook is the first in a series of toolkit expansions I hope to release in 2020. A bit of a serial number-cruncher, I enjoy figuring out complex systems, making them work inside constraints (the official rules), and presenting them in a functional and easily understandle form for you fine folks to enjoy. If you like what you see, please consider showing your support by making a purchase! You can also join the mailing list ( to receive notifications of new product releases (new release notifications only, no spam!) or find me on Twitter @DMheavyarms.

Praise for the Armorer's Handbook:

comment by Travis of the Hook & Chance podcast

comment by @thievescantrpgs

comment by Mike Shea / author of Return of the Lazy Dungeon Master

Current Version: 1.5 / 26 January 2020

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Reviews (11)
Discussions (3)
Customer avatar
Christopher H January 27, 2020 10:02 pm UTC

I was wondering if there was an alternative to proofing? Or if there was a level you anticipated a player picking them up?
Customer avatar
heavyarms . January 28, 2020 6:02 am UTC
There's a variant proofing option on page 9 that is simpler and uses +X-to-AC (but is more expensive as its way stronger!)

To your second query: its hard for me to put a finger on when a character will pick up proofing, as it depends on the choice of the player/party on how they wish to prioritize their spending (of gold). I guess my general expectation would be that proofing isn't really considered "good value" until 5th level and beyond—but if the party chooses to invest in it sooner then power to them!
Customer avatar
Robert B January 21, 2020 4:54 pm UTC
Any chance you can convert this to FG (Fantasy Grounds)?
Rob Twohy does conversions that are really good, if you need help I'd recommend talking to him!
Customer avatar
heavyarms . January 21, 2020 5:00 pm UTC
I'll definitely look into an FG conversion once I'm confident any outstanding corrections, typos, or other edits have been eliminated from the document as I won't have the ability to fix anything in FG after the fact. I hope you understand the slight delay—I just want to ensure that its the best it can be!
Customer avatar
Darren C January 13, 2020 10:42 pm UTC
I can't see anything on the preview besides the title page and a half-page of the table of contents. Is this just me?
Customer avatar
heavyarms . January 14, 2020 12:52 am UTC
While I can't be completely sure, for me it displays just fine on two different browsers (PC) and on Safari (iOS/mobile) :3
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File Last Updated:
January 26, 2020
This title was added to our catalog on January 13, 2020.