Cloak of the Giant Guard

(Wondrous item, requires attunement)

When worn, this cloak gives a +1 to AC against any creature making a melee attack against you with advantage who is not the creature you most recently attacked

Regardless of direction, there is a 10% chance upon taking damage to negate that damage. There is a 1% chance that instead the attack will result in double damage. (Assume percentage dice being rolled with an arbitrarily agreed-upon block of 10% as representing a success.)

To clarify: you could have the 1 be any number you want its simply a 1% chance of failure i simply liked the idea that if your rolling a d100 and get a 1 you should be punished.(sorry for confusion)

Thanks for feedback modified some to make clearer and bring in line somewhat with 5e. And since we do use flanking still very useful, What rarity should this item be in order to be in line with other published magic items?

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ There is no facing in 5e, you are never attacked "from behind" \$\endgroup\$
    – András
    Mar 16, 2019 at 6:23
  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ @lostcauses as Andras points out, facing isn't a default rule in 5e. There is a facing variant described in the DMG that I know lots of people use. I think the post would also be improved if you specify whether this item assumes DMG's variant facing rule or some other application of facing. \$\endgroup\$
    – nitsua60
    Mar 16, 2019 at 12:40
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ Is it a roll of 1 on a d100? or on a d10? It's strange to assign a specific number to one outcome, and a percentage to another. \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Mar 16, 2019 at 23:22
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ As V2blast has said, the mechanics here still aren't clear . \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Mar 17, 2019 at 14:11
  • 6
    \$\begingroup\$ When you say that there's a 10% chance to negate the damage, but rolling a 1 doubles the damage, you're using two different scales, which confuses the question. If I'm using percentile dice, does that mean I have a 10% chance to negate, and a 1% chance to double? Does that change if I'm using dice with fewer faces? \$\endgroup\$
    – DuckTapeAl
    Mar 17, 2019 at 21:04

2 Answers 2


Probably Rare, But Difficult to Rate Based on Abilities

[Note, at the time of writing this the item seems to stop any sort of damage 10% of the time, but I believe based on past variations that it may be the designer's intent to stop only melee attack damage. In the latter case I would rate it uncommon, as it seems, on balance, to fall a little short of other items mentioned. Please leave a comment if the item description is changed to clarify this so that I know to edit].

There are two damage mitigating abilities here, so let us consider both of them separately.

First we have +1 AC under certain circumstances. A straight +1 armor is a rare item which doesn't require attunement. A Cloak of Protection is an uncommon item that does require attunement, which always applies and also gives +1 to saving throws. The AC on certain advantaged melee attacks (which would cover flanking for those tables with that variant rule) is far weaker than a straight +1 to AC. A far weaker version of an uncommon item's ability should not increase overall rarity by too much.

The other ability is much trickier. 10% of the time when the wearer takes damage it results in damage immunity, and generally damage immunity is a very high level ability in any form (immunity to only one or two types of damage is the providence of the legendary Efreeti Chain armor, or a 18th level Storm Sorcerer ability). However with this item the immunity comes comparatively rarely and unreliably, at unpredictable times, and there is a 1% chance of double damage, which makes the calculus of having, using, or relying on the ability very different.

I think we have to look more broadly at damage mitigation. Avoiding damage entirely comes in the game mostly by way of increasing AC and spell save. Ultimately the average damage avoided will be substantially less than +1 to AC and spell save would, since that saves the character from damage more than the net 9% of the time this will. Once again this has your cloak coming up relatively weak versus various uncommon and rare items (Cloak or Protection, Ring of Protection, +1 Armor, etc).

It is true that, unlike any of these items, this item has a ten percent chance of saving you even from a natural 20 crit, but it also has a one percent chance of doubling that crit, which at lower levels could be very deadly indeed. It also can protect you a small percentage of the time from all other forms of damage such as area attacks that do half damage on a save, spells and abilities with guaranteed to hit attacks (eg: magic missile), or potentially most dramatically impact damage from falling off an airship, being crushed by an avalanche, etc., etc.

Ultimately I would say that, combined, these abilities, along with filling a relatively common magic item slot and requiring attunement, leave the uncommon Cloak or Protection as the closest analogue in terms of practical effects and the nearly identical, rare Ring of Protection as the next closest. In terms of preventing the sort of damage these items will it comes up a bit short. It seems, however, that it can provide universal damage immunity potential, albeit in a highly unreliable way. This definitely tips the scale towards rare, but I would not be surprised if playtesting proved it more in line with a very rare item.

The ability to occasionally protect a character from any sort of damage also seems like something that would make it desirable to many players, perhaps beyond its actual practical value, something you may want to take into account.

  • \$\begingroup\$ 1% chance of double damage, not 5%. \$\endgroup\$
    – Ben Barden
    Mar 21, 2019 at 23:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ @BenBarden Good eye. That was the main change I was alluding to. It was previously unclear that the OP was using a percentile die. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 21, 2019 at 23:13

Likely Rare

The first benefit is an extremely situational version of the Cloak of Protection (minus the +1 to saving throws), an Uncommon item. Uncommon items are considered +1 items. However with the significant restriction that they attacker must have advantage, that you must not have just attacked them and the loss of the +1 to saves this ability is really only a Common. Hence unlikely to increase the rarity significantly.

The second benefit we have no precedent for, negating damage like that isn't something that commonly happens in 5e. If we were to consider it equivalent to imposing disadvantage on the attack roll* (a more sensible ability) then it would be the same as the Cloak of Displacement, a Rare item. Rare items are +2. The Cloak of Displacement has a limitation to only work until it is hit each round. This offsets some of the differences between disadvantage and 10% miss chance.

This damage reduction could also be considered equal to a +2 to AC. Increase AC by 2 also reduces incoming damage by 10% (sort of). +2 Armour is a Rare item. So either way this ability is roughly equivalent to a rare item.

The 1% chance of doubling damage is fairly insignificant and balances out with the first benefit. So in total this item is mostly likely Rare.

*10% Miss is slightly better at reducing damage at low AC < 10 and gets worse as AC increases. See this anydice calculation for the math.

  • \$\begingroup\$ For AC: A cloak of protection gives +1 to saving throws as well, so this with it's +1 AC sometimes, seems way less powerful on that front than a cloak of protection by comparison. For the other part remember that the Cloak of Displacement only works successfully once per round and has additional limitations. But good job on trying to find equivalents! \$\endgroup\$ Mar 20, 2019 at 0:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ Heads up: the difference in actual damage taken based on AC is higher than the change in probability of hitting. At the most extreme case of a +2 to AC meaning that an opponent needs to role a minimum of 20 rather than 18 they would do damage a third as often as they would without the +2, not 10% less often. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 22, 2019 at 0:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ @BenjaminOlson Hence the "(sort of)". The math is this is kinda fudgey but then again so it item rarity, so it doesn't matter too much. \$\endgroup\$
    – linksassin
    Mar 22, 2019 at 0:39

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