I run a low magic level campaign, where magic items are legacies of the gods or heroes from past ages, very rare items, all unique (except for consumables). There are not random “+1 longswords” around; all have names and stories behind them.
With this being a low-magic-level campaign, the items I am rewarding my characters with are more “useful” than “powerful”. Not many “battle-oriented” objects have gone their way, so a few players were feeling “robbed” of these kinds of prizes.
Setting aside the issue that we seem to want different things of the game (this will be resolved in its own time), I felt like introducing a couple of magic items that wouldn’t break my campaign, and would make them happier at least for the moment. I asked my players what items they wanted to have crafted ex-profeso, tying it in the storyline to not break immersion, and tried to give them what they wanted.
Both the sorcerer and the warlock asked for something to augment the damage of spells, the to-hit chance, and that maybe had slots of other spells or that you could cast spells into it and release later, etc ...
I had never seen these kinds of items (I do not own the DMG) and tried to come up with something satisfactory. What I did was a very “meh” couple of items, too many caveats and too little power, as we found at a later date when one of them bought the DMG and found items that did exactly what they wanted and in their own words “that their characters could afford”. The items were these two:
These items look like very end-game, so they are not appropriate for a couple of level 8 characters.
What I need is a way to build a powered down version of staff of Magi or staff of power that better fits their level.
What I consider “level appropriate” in this case is what is defined as the “norm” for a regular game, taking away my own preconceptions.
What item would be appropriate for a level 8 character, so that when I finish the items and show them to my players I can say with confidence that what I’ve done is standard, not biased, not too much or not too little powerful. Just exactly what they should be getting in standard circumstances.