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The Game Master's Guide to Evolving Magic Items


Want magic items that grow with your characters and engage your players? This guide provides a simple process for creating compelling magic items and introduces a new concept known as evolving signature magic items!

The Game Master's Guide to Evolving Magic Items is written for D&D 5E, though its concepts can apply to any fantasy RPG. You will find:

  • A simple explanation of how magic items are meant to be rewarded in 5E. Know exactly how many items to provide to your players at each level of play!
  • Guidelines for modifying existing magic items to make them feel unique and engage your players.
  • Advice for making cursed items fun!
  • A system for creating signature items customized to each character.
  • Rules to evolve those signature items over time so they grow with characters and keep your players engaged!

Magic Items you customize with this process will enchant your players. The items stay useful and interesting across your entire campaign, and can even launch their own quests as players seek to uncover an item's full potential. Importantly, this method keeps you in control and avoids power creep. 

This guide came from my guest appearance on Dragon Talk, the official D&D podcast. Host Shelly Mazzanoble and I discussed this technique and used it live on the air to come up with ideas for magic items. I'm an accomplished Colombian-American game designer fortunate to have worked with Wizards of the Coast, Penny Arcade, MCDM, Dwarven Forge, Hasbro, and others.

Follow my work by marking the checkbox on the left side of this page. Thanks!

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Discussions (4)
Customer avatar
Kevin C August 09, 2023 9:25 pm UTC
thanks for this Teos, I LOVE the idea of an evolving item, since hearing about similar things in other game systems. It also makes it easier to evolve a growing sense of 'destiny' in the players which means they tend to invest more emotionally as the campaign rolls out.
Customer avatar
Teos A August 10, 2023 5:51 pm UTC
Thanks so much! It is wonderful hearing from folks who are enjoying this!
Customer avatar
Matthew T March 07, 2023 8:22 pm UTC
Why v1.1 and v1.2? What's the difference?
Customer avatar
Teos A March 07, 2023 10:22 pm UTC
The version change was largely formatting, with a few slight phrasing changes. Nothing major. Thanks for asking.
Customer avatar
Teos A January 21, 2022 6:09 pm UTC
And, a second review here by Jared Rascher on his blog. I am considering adding a table that speaks to Jared's comment regarding having a more crunchy way to dole out the evolving benefits.
Customer avatar
Teos A January 14, 2022 11:04 pm UTC
This supplement is also available at no cost to supporters of my Ko-fi and Patreon. Your constructive feedback is welcome here, or via my contact form at Thank you!
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File Last Updated:
June 29, 2023
This title was added to our catalog on January 14, 2022.