To ‘reskin’ a creature or an item is to give it a new appearance in such a way that it changes how it interacts with players more in a stylistic way rather than in a mechanical one.

One of the great creative joys of running a game of Dungeons & Dragons is magic items. I have yet to meet a DM who hasn’t home brewed at least one magic item for their table. There is an art to creating a new item without seeing it tested out and questioned by many before unleashing it at your table. Meanwhile there is a great table in the DMG (pg. 142 – 143) that add such unique character to an item that two longswords +1 can feel very different. Even if you roll on all four of those tables and decide to only use one of the results, the inspiration that it offers is great and often sparks more creative features about that item. An unbreakable black iron blade with vile runes has a backstory and it cries out for a name and has story hooks and hints about its former wielder and might even be spurned by a paladin for it’s fiendish origins.

We went one further step at our table. It started out as reskinning potions as other edibles (blue cheese of resistance to disease, fruit cake of healing, hot sauce of fire breathing, etc.) but it didn’t stop there. The old school D&D lists were full of all manner of odd ball object that were drawn from fantasy literature and in jokes around the gaming table. Following in that fashion, we created a table of random forms to act as a springboard for ideas.

We started with a few rolls on the Random Magic Items tables in the DMG to fill out a treasure horde. Then we rolled on the Magic Item Detail tables. Finally, we gave it form through this home brewed table.
It produced notable items like

  • Traveller’s Silver Spoon – a magic spoon that always pointed north when asked to and could transform into a magic saddle, the spoon being the horn (functioned as a Saddle of the Cavalier)
  • Deck of Missiles – a dragon poker deck that as an action you could throw up to seven cards a day, each flying unerringly at your opponent and dealing 1d4+1 Force damage (as per wand of magic missiles, a quirk variation of Gambler as based on Covetous)
  • Enchanted Fey Fingerbones – the most minute of bones in a stoppered glass vial, that when opened by a magic user, they can attempt to use it to cast Haste as if it were a scroll.
  • Helpful Toolkit – a lizard folk’s wood worker’s tool kit that was blessed by a shaman to cast Mending at will
  • and so on …

Your mileage may vary, but may you find as much inspiration and fun with these tables in creating memorable items as I have …