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

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The Complete Armorer's Handbook

Armorer's Shop Sign

The Armorer’s Handbook is a complete equipment upgrade ruleset enabling 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 seeking out craftsmen 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

CHAPTER 1: UPGRADING EQUIPMENT

  • 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

CHAPTER 2: RUNE MAGIC

  • 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:

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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 (https://mailchi.mp/62cb4e9f2fb3/heavyarms) 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 Mike Shea / author of Return of the Lazy Dungeon Master

Current Version: 2.0 / 4 April 2020


 
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Reviews (36)
Discussions (47)
Customer avatar
CHARLES P September 11, 2020 9:28 pm UTC
PURCHASER
I really like this addition to the 5e rules. It brings a bit of "crunch" that I've been missing since 3.5e.

I do have one question... The Dragonslayer and Giant Slayer runes have in their descriptors: "...and must succeed on a Strength saving throw or fall prone." Looking on page 15 the only thing I can find that defines what this saving throw DC might be is under Using Runestones: "For magical effects created by runestones, your spell attack modifier and spell save DC use the ability modifier of the weapon used for the attack."

I'm probably being dense, but I don't understand what this means and how it calculates what the Strength saving throw DC is.

Thanks for a great product!
Customer avatar
heavyarms _ September 20, 2020 8:45 am UTC
CREATOR
Hi Charles! Sorry for the delay in replying, I've been taking a little time away from a screen :)

To answer your question, its calculated the same as any other saving throw, which is 8 + your proficiency bonus + your attack ability modifier. This ability modifier will most likely be either Strength or Dexterity, but could also be a different score such as Charisma if you're a Hexblade.

Hope this clears it up!
Customer avatar
murphy V September 02, 2020 12:00 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Hey there, great product. in the latest downloadable version, pages 2 and 4 are blank for me. is this something gone wrong on my end?
Customer avatar
heavyarms _ September 03, 2020 1:23 am UTC
CREATOR
Hey murphy, thanks for your support! My guess is that its probably your end, as others have downloaded v2.0 without reporting any issues. As there are multiple versions available (high quality, medium quality, no background, etc) the first thing is to check is that the issue is consistent across all versions or just one. If you need help with it, you can reply here or contact site support who should also be able to assist :)
Customer avatar
Sean M August 29, 2020 12:58 am UTC
PURCHASER
Currently running a game as the party armorer, loving this stuff so far. I gotta ask tho if there are any plans to give the player the option to do their own weapon upgrades? I saw that the runemagic had rules for crafting but the base weapons didn't.
Other than that I LOVE this book, gives me the customization that I love in games, and being the one to facilitate this kind of customization in my group is satisfying.
Customer avatar
heavyarms _ August 29, 2020 3:22 pm UTC
CREATOR
Hey Sean, glad you're enjoying it!

Honestly that (chapter 1 crafting rules) was the plan as we employ rules for doing such at our table. Unfortunately, the idea was scrapped for this book when the artificer class dropped as Tool Expertise turned the class into an "must-have" party member, and we didn't much care for that level of steer. We did consider including them anyway with an asterisk of "maybe change Tool Expertise" but that felt like a rough edge, so its been shelved until/ if that's resolved.

If you have any ideas for working around Tool Expertise drop into the Discord and say hi—I'd love to talk about it!
Customer avatar
Tommy L August 15, 2020 8:31 am UTC
PURCHASER
Excellent product, well worth my purchase and I'm very happy with it, I'm planning to include it into some of my future campaigns. But I'd like to have a printed version of professional quality. Do you have any recommendations or preferences about how or where it should be printed from? I found a site called Peecho that seemed like the best bet for me to have a personal copy that isn't going to be resold.
Customer avatar
heavyarms _ August 18, 2020 3:53 pm UTC
CREATOR
Hey Tommy, appreciate the positive feedback! For printing, I kinda wish I knew the answer to that myself! But hang tight, I might try getting onto the Guild and seeing if they might consider a POD option as its been ready to go in that respect (or thereabouts) since January.
Customer avatar
Garrett B August 06, 2020 10:57 pm UTC
PURCHASER
What's the difference between this product and the ancestral weapons book?
Customer avatar
heavyarms _ August 07, 2020 1:06 am UTC
CREATOR
Perhaps I'm not the guy that should be answering this one, but the most obvious thing is that it tackles armor as well as weapons. Another significant difference is this system utilizes gold as the primary means for progression.

There are many more things I could point out, but for me those two are the most fundamental.

Anyone else care to chip in?
Customer avatar
Jefferies A August 03, 2020 11:28 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Hi, my DM added these systems into our most recent campaign and everyone at the table is loving it. I have a couple of questions in need of clarification:

How exactly does the Brutal tag work on weapons such as Mauls and Great swords? Does rolling one 6 on a d6 result the player being able to roll one extra d6 or must both d6 have to roll a 6 wherein the player adds two extra d6. And does the Great Weapon Fighting style allow the extra d6s to be rerolled if they are 1s or 2s?
Customer avatar
heavyarms _ August 07, 2020 12:58 am UTC
CREATOR
Hey Jefferies! The brutal tag requires all weapon damage dice to be maximized in order to trigger—this means both d6's for 2d6 weapons, and also includes any extra weapon damage dice resulting from a critical hit. As it only cares about the result, you can use GWF beforehand to reroll any 1s and 2s :)
Customer avatar
Darin H July 29, 2020 5:24 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Hey, absolutley love this product, and have been using it in my game for a few months now. I do have one question:
The runestones are described as magic items themselves, but do they make the weapon / piece of armor that they are used in magical, or are the effects just the runestone temporarily extending its power?

Again, love the product and can't wait for the next version!
Customer avatar
heavyarms _ August 01, 2020 5:55 am UTC
CREATOR
Hey Darin, so glad that you're getting your money's worth!

The chapter 1 introduction states that none of the upgrades make an item magical, and this includes the runic tag. I'll admit there's some ambiguity around whether or not runestones are themselves magic items (its not specified as I don't believe that distinction is important*) but the key clause is that in order to benefit from the effects of an affixed runestone the wielder must attune to the item.

* If I've missed something anyone is free to chime in on this comment chain and offer correction! I don't believe it matters whether or not you choose to describe runestones as magic or nonmagical (though magical would make more sense to me) unless the technicalities around destroying them is of crucial importance.
Customer avatar
Darin H August 01, 2020 8:32 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Thanks for clarifying, I think you've covered it!
Customer avatar
Oliver D July 15, 2020 4:44 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Hey team heavyarms.

Congrats on a great product that I have implemented well in both campaigns I run, one pre-published, the other homebrew. Quick question - I see there's a v2 now (I was using Feb's v1.8) - any chance of a change log please? A quick spot check comparison hasn't thrown up what's changed and I want to be able to share with the groups.

Cheers.
Customer avatar
heavyarms _ July 16, 2020 12:53 pm UTC
CREATOR
Hi Oliver, thank you for the compliments! I don't have a change log to-hand, but every time I push an update a bullet list of changes are included in the update. If you go to your Library and navigate to the AHB, you should see a list of updates which should contain the information you're looking for :)

A version 2.1 update will arrive shortly, which is just clearing up a few final grammatical issues and such. There are no further mechanical adjustments planned, though the door is always open to feedback!
Customer avatar
Oliver D August 07, 2020 12:18 am UTC
PURCHASER
Alrighty, thank you. Again, cracking product and as ever, I've homebrewed a handful of specific runestones for my campaign to complete the set, which is great. One for each of the chromatic dragons, which provide a nice but balanced damage buff of the corresponding damage type, with a minor rider on each. And a vorpal runestone, which is...deadly. Caveat is my homebrew group has just tipped into epic levels, so I'm cool with that.
Customer avatar
Jake H July 12, 2020 7:28 pm UTC
PURCHASER
I have a few questions regarding this product:
- What happens if you don't meet the strength requirement for a heater or tower shield?
- Can existing magical effects, such as in the DMG, be applied to the special materials? For example: Could you create or find a +2 adamantine shield?
Customer avatar
heavyarms _ July 16, 2020 12:50 pm UTC
CREATOR
Hey Jake! The following are my own rules/ interpretations, but of course you're welcome to modify for your own game:

1. Holding a tower shield reduces the character's speed by 10 feet unless they have a Strength score equal to or higher than the listed score (i.e. the same as the Strength requirement for heavy armor in the Player's Handbook.)
2. If you like, sure, just keep the principle of bounded accuracy in mind!
Customer avatar
Bryan C June 28, 2020 8:05 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Hi - love the book, we're integrating it at my table and everyone loves the options so far.

I have a quick question about the Runes. It says 'For magical effects created by runestones, your spell attack modifier and spell save DC use the ability modifier of the weapon used for the attack."

So the way I read this would be, for example, if someone in the party attacks with their battleaxe that has a relevant runestone, they are only using their strength modifier to calculate spell save DC/attack modifier - no proficiency bonus is used in the calc. Is that correct?

If that's correct, is there a reason proficiency bonus isn't included?

Thanks!
Customer avatar
heavyarms _ June 29, 2020 4:55 am UTC
CREATOR
Hey Bryan, glad you enjoy the book!

Proficiency is included as normal, the intent being that it functions the same way as making an attack roll: the modifier is specified, and you also add your proficiency bonus if you are proficiency with the weapon (and in pretty much all cases you are going to be, right!?)

For clarification, see the "Attack Rolls" subheading on pg. 194 of the PHB.
Customer avatar
Bryan C June 29, 2020 3:09 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Oh great! I was scratching my head wondering why no proficiency but I guess that's just because I was wrong in thinking that way, haha.

Thanks a lot of the clarification :).

Customer avatar
Eric V June 13, 2020 3:49 am UTC
PURCHASER
So with the Berserker, how does that interact with criticals? I dont see it in the FAQ.
Customer avatar
heavyarms _ June 13, 2020 5:57 am UTC
CREATOR
Hit Dice are extra dice added to the attack, and so are doubled as per the normal rules for critical hits (PHB, pg. 196). This is further hinted at in the rune's text: "including any extra damage from a critical hit."

If you have a low Constitution modifier, the rune can potentially deal an amount of extra damage (and cause you to lose a number of hit points) very close to your hit point maximum on a crit :P
Customer avatar
Eric V June 14, 2020 2:28 am UTC
PURCHASER
Damn I missed that completely in the rune description. Thanks!
Customer avatar
Heath I June 04, 2020 7:40 pm UTC
Late to the party, but I don't know if the 'muffled' makes sense. When you look at mithral armor, it has two advantages, it is light and it is flexible. This negates two penalties, the strength requirement and the stealth disadvantage. This suggests armor has to be either light or flexible (or both) in order to not have those penalties. Muffled is not addressing either of those. Wearing heavier armors is like wearing an exoskeleton, but one that you can't feel through, it sticks out beyond the edge of your body's awareness. Sure it might not clank together, but with Stealth usually comes sneaking around very close to other objects...it'd be like wrapping a cardboard box around you and then trying to go through a china shop...you're still going to bang into stuff no matter that the material itself doesn't make noise.
Customer avatar
heavyarms _ June 06, 2020 5:16 am UTC
CREATOR
Hi Heath, thanks for commenting! The muffled tag can only be applied to brigandine, which isn't a type of (heavy) armor that you're using to illustrate your point. If I've missed something or misunderstood please let me know.
Customer avatar
Chirmaya N June 01, 2020 10:33 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Loving the book!

When it comes to stuff like Flanged and Bodkin, do they only affect actual armour, or do they also affect monsters with a listed "natural armour"? If they do, would the bodkin arrow effect apply against a dragon's scales, but the Flanged wouldn't? Or would the Flanged also work and the dragon would have to rest a night to heal the broken scales and remove the negative armour effect?
Customer avatar
heavyarms _ June 02, 2020 5:19 am UTC
CREATOR
"targets wearing armor" means exactly that—no effect against naturally armored targets! These effects are quite powerful and as such have a limited use-case by design. However (and just to clarify) you can use broadheads against targets with natural armor!
Customer avatar
Donovan C May 29, 2020 6:30 am UTC
My DM of course passed the system out to all of his players before we got into the meat of the campaign, and I don't think he's said anything about it so I thought I would. In the text you list a rare rune for weapons as "Spelleater" but there is no information on what that rune is. Love the content, I think we're gonna have a lot of fun with this! I just wanted to give a heads up, no big deal otherwise though.
Customer avatar
heavyarms _ May 30, 2020 4:10 pm UTC
CREATOR
Hi Donovan, this was fixed a few months ago in an update—if your DM checks their library the new version should be available :)
Customer avatar
David S May 22, 2020 2:54 pm UTC
PURCHASER
A reviewer wrote: "I hear that you are also working on a system for Potions/Herbalism/Alchemy."
Is this so? It would be great! If so, when will it be available? :)
Customer avatar
heavyarms _ May 22, 2020 3:27 pm UTC
CREATOR
The rumors are true! Unfortunately I'm can't give you a more accurate timeframe than "hopefully before the end of summer" :)
Customer avatar
David S May 22, 2020 8:01 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Still great news! Thank you!!
And keep up the great work!
Customer avatar
Fernando B June 02, 2020 3:54 am UTC
PURCHASER
Would that be the Alchemy Manac?
Customer avatar
Florian D May 14, 2020 5:00 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Hi! I've recently bought this Handbook; it's a great resource, super well crafted both on the content and the appearance. I've been trying to get it printed in multiple places but facing a couple of issues: various print-on-demand websites rely on distinct files for interior and cover, which is a bit difficult to do without source for the spine and Acrobat Pro.

Do you think it would be doable to provide such configuration in future releases? (I imagine it's a lot of work for not many people, so I would completely understand a negative answer).
Cheers!
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Product Information
Adamantine seller
Community Content
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Pages
28
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File Last Updated:
April 05, 2020
This title was added to our catalog on January 13, 2020.