Advanced Search

The Armorer’s Handbook: Equipment Upgrade and Rune Magic System
Full‑size Preview

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


Welcome to Christmas in July! In celebration, this digital title has been marked down by 25%! For more values, visit our Christmas in July sale page.

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


  • 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 previewpg. 9 preview
pg. 16 previewpg. 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 Mike Shea / author of Return of the Lazy Dungeon Master

Current Version: 2.0 / 4 April 2020

 More from this Title's Contributors
 Customers Who Bought this Title also Purchased
Reviews (34)
Discussions (40)
Customer avatar
Oliver D July 15, 2020 4:44 pm UTC
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.

Customer avatar
Jake H July 12, 2020 7:28 pm UTC
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
Bryan C June 28, 2020 8:05 pm UTC
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?

Customer avatar
heavyarms . June 29, 2020 4:55 am UTC
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
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
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
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
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'd be like wrapping a cardboard box around you and then trying to go through a china'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
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
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
"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
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
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
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
Still great news! Thank you!!
And keep up the great work!
Customer avatar
Fernando B June 02, 2020 3:54 am UTC
Would that be the Alchemy Manac?
Customer avatar
Florian D May 14, 2020 5:00 pm UTC
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).
Customer avatar
Steven B May 05, 2020 3:51 am UTC
I just purchased this title along with a few others. This was the only title that did not show up to be downloaded. Yet when I check my order history, it's there.
Has the pdf been taken down for updating? Any idea what's going on?
Customer avatar
heavyarms . May 05, 2020 4:29 am UTC
Hi Steven, I just checked (again—see comment below!) and the files are DEFINITELY there, I even asked some people in my Discord server who have confirmed they can see the files. You should be able to find them by clicking on [My Account] at the top of this page and then navigating to My Library > [All Titles]. If they aren't there then please let me know and I'll elevate the issue to site support.
Customer avatar
Steven B May 05, 2020 5:18 am UTC
Thanks for the prompt reply. I checked My Library > [All Titles] and it's still not listed there.
Furthermore, when I go to my Inbox and open the email from DM's Guild, the Armorers Handbook is listed there.
But if I click the Download link, it opens a My Library page as a new tab listing on the Armorers Handbook. But where the title information and download links are usually listed, it just says "No data available in table" and then Showing 0 to 0 of 0 entries.
So the mystery remains.
I did not have any problem downloading any of the other products I purchased in the same order. So that leads me to believe the problem is not likely at my end. I'm looking forward to getting my hands on the Handbook, and grateful for any assistance you can provide towards resolving this. Thanks
Customer avatar
heavyarms . May 05, 2020 5:58 am UTC
Hi Steven, thanks for the update!

If the product is failing to display in your library that sounds like a higher-order technical issue for which you would need to contact support (I have already contacted them but it would be helpful for them to know the order number). If you have a few minutes we can try and resolve it together if you're able to contact me through Discord (server link:, and worst case I can try "gifting" you a copy directly :)
Customer avatar
heavyarms . May 05, 2020 11:49 am UTC
I've confirmed there is no underlying issue with the product—if your problem persists then its likely an unfortaunate glitch and I can only advise you contact support to get things resolved (use this form for best results:

Hope that helps! If you'd like to get in touch the above Discord link will always be available :)
Customer avatar
Steven B May 05, 2020 3:02 pm UTC
I contacted support and now the Armorer's Handbook is in My Library. Looks great! Thanks!
Customer avatar
Charles A May 04, 2020 5:18 pm UTC
I am having issues downloading the pdf. This is my first DMsGuild purchase, and from what I understood, you download it from the view order page. However, it shows that there are no items to be downloaded. Does anyone know if this is a bug or if it is normal? And if so, where do I download the pdf?
Customer avatar
heavyarms . May 04, 2020 5:42 pm UTC
Your first purchase, I'm honored! :D

I just checked and the files are still attached—you should be able to find them (and the files of any future purchases) by clicking on [My Account] at the top of this page and then navigating to My Library > [All Titles]
Customer avatar
Alvaro P April 29, 2020 3:54 pm UTC
Hi! Quick question here. The rules for Armor Proofing say: "While wearing this armor, if you would take 6 or lessnonmagical slashing damage before resistance is applied, you take none of that damage instead"

Does this mean that if the attack excels the threshold of 6 points of damage you would apply resistance to it? Or it just protects you from those 6 points?

Example, i'm taking 28 of slashing damage, wich is obviosly more than 6. Do i suffer 14 points of slashing damage due to resistance or the whole 28?
Customer avatar
heavyarms . April 30, 2020 5:10 am UTC
Hey Alvaro! In your example you would take the whole 28 damage—proofed armor is intended to negate minor damage amounts only. However, it can be used in concert with resistance from other sources such as Rage (Barbarian) or Saint of Forge and Fire (Forge Cleric).
Customer avatar
Ian N April 06, 2020 9:59 pm UTC
Fantastic system. Allows players to modify their equipment to keep up without outpacing magic items. The system is simple enough that it wont bog down gameplay, and useful enough that players will want to spend their hard earned blood money on.

Fantastic supplement that compliments existing mechanics.
Customer avatar
Kyle R April 02, 2020 10:13 pm UTC
If you have a sword with the Tempest Runestone, and the brutal tag, does the damage from the runestone also have to roll max in order for the dice to explode?

Likewise, with the Saw-toothed dagger, does the extra 1d4 of damage have to also be a 4 to explode?
Customer avatar
heavyarms . April 03, 2020 5:53 am UTC
Hey Kyle thank you for asking! The intent of the brutal tag is that it only "sees" weapon damage dice—with "weapon" being the key word in the phrase. The full phrase is only used in the weapon table, critical hits, and the Brutal Critical, Savage Attacker, and Orcish Fury features. These are the *only* sources that should be considered.

However, its muddy waters for features like Sneak Attack which arguably adds weapon damage dice without saying so directly (as it doesn't specify its own damage type). There's a similar-but-different issue with Flametongue that adds extra fire damage (the ruling for flametongue would apply to the tempest rune and saw-toothed tag—my reading is these all work like Divine Smite, which isn't weapon damage.)

I'll revisit the property/description for this tag in a coming update and hopefully do a better job of clearing up any confusion, but for now: the intent is that the brutal tag doesn't consider the extra damage from the saw-toothed...See more
Customer avatar
heavyarms . April 04, 2020 8:32 am UTC
Version 2.0 has just been uploaded which should clear up any room for confusion over the brutal tag!
Customer avatar
Zachary J April 01, 2020 8:19 pm UTC
Just started implementing this glorious system into my own game. Its really a wonderful thing to keep items instead of just chucking them for the sake of something better. Gives more chance for understandable role play.

I have a questions in regards to +1, +2 and +3 items. As stated in a cliff note, you have an optional rule to do armour proofing as +1 at three times the amount. Was there intent for this to be used in conjunction with finding +1, +2 and +3 items still out in the world? Or was this intended to over rule the use of that in armour and shields?
Secondly, was their any intent to add stuff to increase shields beyond just what they are made of? I saw in an earlier comment response that you had intended for +1 via Adamantine construction, but is that the only way to increase a shield without runic capabilities?
Customer avatar
heavyarms . April 02, 2020 5:25 am UTC
Hey Zachary, thanks for the kind words :D to answer your questions in order:

1. The handbook can either completely replace magic weapons and armor or act as a complimentary addition. I use it in its "replacement" capacity, with magic items in our games being primarily wondrous items with the occasional plot-relevant sword/shield/armor of exceptional significance. The variant +1–3 to armor class rule does exactly what it says on the tin: replaces proofing for those who prefer the familiarity of bonuses to AC.

2. I didn't include anything for upgrading shields, but that's a personal choice and you're more than welcome to allow proofing to apply to shields also. Generally I don't give out standard +X shields, as the trade-off for wielding a shield is ~+2 damage for 2 to AC: the damage-side of that trade remains static as you progress through levels, so why should the additional AC increase to +3, +4, or +5? :P The adamantine shield option acts as a flavorful way to introduce...See more
Customer avatar
Kyle R March 30, 2020 9:56 pm UTC
Is the whip eligible for things like sharpen? It doesn't seem to make a lot of sense for it to benefit from sharpening, since real whips actually work through snapping through an area quickly, imparting their damage through sudden acceleration, rather than through high pressure, or excessive mass.
Customer avatar
heavyarms . April 02, 2020 5:09 am UTC
Hi Kyle, sounds like you know your whips! You can check appendix B for a quick reference table of available upgrades for each weapon type.

I do see your point, but you seem to be conflating how a weapon is wielded with its intrinsic qualities or construction. I completely agree that a majority of a weapon's overall effectiveness is determined by skill of the wielder—but weapon properties (both here and magic items) only focus on the latter, with the skill being determined by character stats and proficiency.

While I'm no expert of whips I'm confident that there is such a thing as a "bad whip" and a "good whip" and ways to make a whip intrinsically more effective which is all we're representing here :)
See 16 more
Narrow Results
 Follow Your Favorites!
NotificationsSign in to get custom notifications of new products!

Product Information
Adamantine seller
Community Content
Rules Edition(s)
Original electronic
Scanned image
These products were created by scanning an original printed edition. Most older books are in scanned image format because original digital layout files never existed or were no longer available from the publisher.

For PDF download editions, each page has been run through Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software to attempt to decipher the printed text. The result of this OCR process is placed invisibly behind the picture of each scanned page, to allow for text searching. However, any text in a given book set on a graphical background or in handwritten fonts would most likely not be picked up by the OCR software, and is therefore not searchable. Also, a few larger books may be resampled to fit into the system, and may not have this searchable text background.

For printed books, we have performed high-resolution scans of an original hardcopy of the book. We essentially digitally re-master the book. Unfortunately, the resulting quality of these books is not as high. It's the problem of making a copy of a copy. The text is fine for reading, but illustration work starts to run dark, pixellating and/or losing shades of grey. Moiré patterns may develop in photos. We mark clearly which print titles come from scanned image books so that you can make an informed purchase decision about the quality of what you will receive.
Original electronic format
These ebooks were created from the original electronic layout files, and therefore are fully text searchable. Also, their file size tends to be smaller than scanned image books. Most newer books are in the original electronic format. Both download and print editions of such books should be high quality.
File Last Updated:
April 05, 2020
This title was added to our catalog on January 13, 2020.