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The Armorer’s Handbook: Equipment Upgrade and Rune Magic SystemClick to magnify
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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!

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IMPORTANT NOTICE

The Armorer's Handbook is our final product on the Dungeon Master's Guild. We are now self-publishing at heavyarms.com. If you're interested in more of our content, such as the Alchemy Almanac, a crafting system for potions and sister to the Armorer's Handbook, then be sure to check us out and consider joining our mailing list for future releases!

Thank you for the unbelieveable support for the Armorer's Handbook which has made this possible!

Current Version: 2.2 / July 19, 2022 (significant performance improvements / file size reduced by c. 70%)


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Reviews (37)
Discussions (67)
Customer avatar
Martin U September 06, 2022 7:28 pm UTC
Hey Heavyarms. I'm currently running this with my group. One of them with proficiency in smiths tools are asking if they can do it themself.
I've said yes for weapons on 1st tier. But then they asked about if it would affect the pricing. Do you have a answer to this
Customer avatar
Benjamin G June 17, 2022 12:39 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Hey heavyarms, I've got a question about the optional Artificer infusions. Officially, Infusions don't work on magic weapons or armor, and while there is no tag that turns a piece of armor magical, there is one for weapons. Though it says they count as magical, not that they are.
So my question would be: Did you intend to have the infusions stop working if someone upgraded their weapon with the Magical tag? And how would you say this would/should work if one were to rebuild all magic weapons and armor to fit this system?
Reply
Customer avatar
heavyarms _ July 19, 2022 6:16 pm UTC
CREATOR
Hi Benjamin,

The intent is you can't upgrade magic weapons until they have been "converted" to a compatible format - there's an example in the FAQ of how you'd do this with a dagger of venom. As for artificer infusions, that's up to you to decide :) personally, I don't think its a problem so long as you avoid allowing flat bonuses to attack and damage beyond a total of +3.
Customer avatar
Michael S June 16, 2022 2:05 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Joke weapon to abuse the system (This is only a joke)
Adamantine Sharpened, Brutal Toothpick of Doom. Would count as a piercing weapon, but is only a toothpick, so damage dice is only a D1. Meaning it could never not roll max. So every hit is a kill shot. :p

I'd balance it by saying you don't actually roll a dice, so it still only does 1, but amused me thinking of the possible implications
Customer avatar
Alex G May 13, 2022 9:27 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Hi Heavyarms, any word on when we might get access to a 2.0 updated Fantasy Grounds module?
Reply
Customer avatar
heavyarms _ June 12, 2022 5:00 pm UTC
CREATOR
Hi Alex, sorry I missed this one for a while. Unfortunately the FG conversion is the domain of Grim Press and basically out of my hands (they are a product created and controlled by Grim Press, I just receive a royalty). You could reach out to Trevor and make a request, but I suspect it doesn't make sense for him and his team to keep on top of updates given the volume at which they produce conversions.

Having said that, you aren't missing much anyway. If memory serves changes since the FG version are only for grammar and style.
Customer avatar
Greg W November 22, 2021 10:06 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Hey Heavyarms, could you let us know what's changed in this new version compared to V1?
Reply
Customer avatar
heavyarms _ November 27, 2021 8:00 am UTC
CREATOR
hey Greg,

version history should be viewable in update notes in the "Updates" column of your library. If those notes have disappeared or aren't visible (why would they do this), maybe I can scratch something together, but its been a minute so hang tight.
Customer avatar
Kenndrick H September 04, 2021 10:33 pm UTC
PURCHASER
hey, great product and it adds a simple and in-depth way for players to feel a little more attached to their weapons. when it comes to the superior tag in relation to the greatsword would it get upgraded to 2d8? I know it's probably a simple question I just wanted to double-check.
Reply
Customer avatar
heavyarms _ September 05, 2021 5:10 am UTC
CREATOR
Hey Kenndrick, glad you like it! The superior tag actually states in its prerequisites that it can only be applied to weapons with one damage die (greatsword has two). I suppose if you wanted to houserule it, it would be 2d8, but that'd make it pretty strong!
Customer avatar
Jethro B July 23, 2021 7:39 am UTC
Hey mate, love this product and I'm implementing it in my Homebrew world. You've saved me so much time in coming up with something like this myself. I've been working on a similar overhaul of the mount system and I was wondering if you wanted to have a look/collaborate on it? You've done a lot of work on balance which I think would be really helpful
Customer avatar
Rob T June 10, 2021 4:46 pm UTC
I think this would make a fantastic product for the Fantasy Grounds Virtual Tabletop. If you search my name (Rob Twohy) here on DMs Guild you can see we've done this over 400 times. We offer this service at NO COST. It will be more exposure for your product and a new audience as well. Feel free to contact me in Facebook Messenger (http://m.me/rob.twohy.7) and I will explain how it all works.

ThanX for your consideration.
Customer avatar
Charles H June 01, 2021 9:25 pm UTC
PURCHASER
I have no idea what this means:
"While wearing this armor, if you would take 6 or less nonmagical slashing damage before resistance is applied, you take none of that damage instead."
Is this similar to the Heavy Armor Master feat?
Reply
Customer avatar
Daniel R June 02, 2021 4:57 am UTC
PURCHASER
Similar but different.

Heavy Armor Master reduces all non-magical S/P/B damage by 3. So you get hit for 5, you take 2 damage. You get hit for 7, you take 4.

For this, if you take 6 or less damage of the specified type, then you take 0 damage. For example, you get hit for 5 pts of non-magic slashing damage then you take no damage. If you get hit for 7 pts of non-magic slashing damage then you take the full 7.
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Customer avatar
Daniel R June 02, 2021 5:23 am UTC
PURCHASER
I'm not sure how useful it is though. Do characters get hit for less than 8 damage at mid to high level play?
Reply
Customer avatar
heavyarms _ June 06, 2021 7:36 am UTC
CREATOR
Daniel R is correct in their understanding! This is basically how proofing works in the real world (think bulletproof): there is a threshold below which the armor offers complete protection, but above this threshold it is ineffective. Of course, there isn't an exact equivalence here with how the game-abstractions of AC, damage, and hit points operate, but its a fun mechanic, and does a great job of fulfilling the fantasy of being impervious to the efforts of attacks by low-threat creatures.

Hope that helps!
Reply
Customer avatar
Christopher H June 21, 2021 8:56 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Are levels or tiers of play ...relevant? Yeah, there's colored loot in DnD. But that *mainly* represents rarity rather than advanced power. It certainly can, but mechanically a Flametongue is one of the most powerful general magic items in the game. That additional 1d8 damage is really strong at *most* tiers of play. Feats are much the same. You can take a given feat, like Heavy Armor Master, at any level you have the choice available. So, whatever tier of play ...it's irrelevant. It's a useful feat. 5e doesn't really consider whether or not the items you're using are TOO powerful or TOO weak at any given tier of play.
Customer avatar
Wanderer _ May 05, 2021 10:01 pm UTC
How does this interact with Bladelocks? Are they limited to creating weapons with only the tags for magic resistance or do they have some sort of "allowance"? How does Improved Pact Weapon invocation interact with this system?
Reply
Customer avatar
heavyarms _ June 06, 2021 7:44 am UTC
CREATOR
No specific interaction, tho I'd say the weapon you summon can be a weapon that already has the magical tag. For Improved Pact Weapon, give it the balanced, wounding, and magical tags.

Good question, thanks for bringing it up!
Customer avatar
George G April 21, 2021 12:37 am UTC
PURCHASER
Just noticed Masterwork requires Brutal OR Superior. Brutal doesn't make much sense as that only requires Critical... which means you could get Balanced+Wounding for much cheaper than Masterwork. Is that mean to be AND? (though that doesn't allow for different paths)
Reply
Customer avatar
heavyarms _ June 06, 2021 7:39 am UTC
CREATOR
Hey George! You are correct to identify that Masterwork is "low value" compared with a few other options, but this is how the system maintains equivalence with the recommended price of magic weapons in the DMG (for example, a +2 weapon costs more than twice what a +1 weapon costs). Masterwork mimics the exponential cost-jump between +2 and +3.
Customer avatar
Michael O March 26, 2021 6:19 pm UTC
PURCHASER
In past editions you could upgrade magic items in the forgotten realms, why not just have the ability to upgrade mundane equipment with magical bonuses and effects? As in, why not just have this be a magic item upgrade system? Why not just use a Magic Item upgrade system over a Mundane Item upgrade system if these are meant to be comparable to magic items in balance?
Reply
Customer avatar
heavyarms _ April 10, 2021 8:01 am UTC
CREATOR
Hi Jake, not entirely sure I understand your question, but to take a shot anyway: the reason you can't use this system to upgrade magic items is bounded accuracy, which is a fundamental design constraint of the edition. However, as demonstrated in the FAQ you can "convert" just about any magic weapon or armor into an "AHB format", which then allows it to be upgraded using these rules and in-keeping with bounded accuracy.
Customer avatar
Daniel R March 02, 2021 11:27 am UTC
PURCHASER
Love the product! One thing I was hoping people could help me with tho - I'm not a fan of the "crit on 19 or 20" upgrade. I feel it takes away from the fun of the nat 20. Can anyone think of anything of similar power I could replace it with?
Reply
Customer avatar
George G March 11, 2021 12:26 am UTC
PURCHASER
You could probably just ignore that tag. But one idea could be you can re-roll a "1" on a damage die. I think this averages to +.5 dmg which seems like it might be similar in power.
Or maybe on crits you roll 3x weapon dmg instead of 2x. Not sure how to gauge how powerful that would be. It seems like it could be really swingy at least though (extreme for a single hit).
Reply
Customer avatar
Daniel R March 19, 2021 6:05 am UTC
PURCHASER
Thanks! Yep - I think the re-roll is a good one. It's always such a downer to get a crit and roll a 1 on dmg!
Customer avatar
Morten S January 04, 2021 12:18 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Hiya. I love the product but now I have a small concern. My players asked me if it is possible to upgrade magic items. I.e one of them found a magic +1 handaxe. I'm not sure I understand what the FAQ said about it. Correct me if I'm wrong.

Magic +1 Handaxe = Tier 1: Balanced and Silvered + Tier 2: Magical. The value would be 1200 gp? If they want to upgrade it with Tier 1 Sharpened it would cost another 400 gp right? And if he want it to be Tier 2 Saw toothed later it would cost another 1000gp? Total worth then would be 2600 gp? Am I right?

Is there any concerns about things getting too unbalanced if I allow this?
Reply
Customer avatar
heavyarms _ January 04, 2021 6:37 pm UTC
CREATOR
Ello Morten, I appreciate the kind words!

- The cost doubles for each tag in a given tier, so the cost in your example is 100 + 200 + 1000 = 1300 gp (I guess this was a typo because you got the 400 gp cost for sharpened right!) Also, a +1 handaxe possesses the wounding: keen tag as it also gets a +1 bonus to damage rolls, so that would be another 400—bringing its base total to 1700 gp. The player doesn't have to pay this cost, its just doing some catching up so we can figure out what the +1 handaxe is already "worth" in terms of upgrades.

- Now that its been "converted" to the armory system, adding the sharpened tag to the handaxe would cost 800 gp (being the fourth upgrade in tier 1).

- Unfortunately, they can't add saw-toothed tag to a handaxe as-written as that tag is for daggers only. However, if you did want to change that (you're the DM) and allow saw-toothed on a handaxe, then it would cost 2,000 gp (being the second upgrade in tier 2).
...See more
Customer avatar
Bryce B December 30, 2020 3:31 am UTC
Is this official for dnd 5e
Reply
Customer avatar
Andy C December 30, 2020 6:43 pm UTC
PURCHASER
It's about as officially unofficial as most content published on the DM's Guild is.
Customer avatar
Bryce B December 30, 2020 3:31 am UTC
Is this official for dnd 5e
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File Last Updated:
July 19, 2022
This title was added to our catalog on January 13, 2020.