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The 5th level party I DM for just found a Hat of Disguise. Our Rogue (Thief Archetype) is fascinated by the endless possibilities, but slightly put off by the shortcomings of the Disguise Self spell it casts. She has had a conversation with our spellcasters, and her player has asked me whether they could find an item that would cast the more powerful Alter Self spell. I see much potential for entertaining mayhem in this.

Is there an item that casts Alter Self, say, once a day? Even homebrew? (If I can't find anything official, I'll homebrew it anyway.)

I have skimmed through the DMG and only found the Wand of Polymorph, which isn't quite what we had in mind. The Infiltrator's Key is way overpowered for this.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Worth noting that Alter Self is generally not strictly more powerful than Disguise Self. In fact, for purposes of infiltration you’d normally find that Disguise Self works better. \$\endgroup\$
    – Cubic
    Jun 28, 2020 at 10:25
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Cubic part of the benefit is that Disguise Self is an illusion, so defeated easily by an inspection that finds your visual appearance doesn't match your physical body - but as a transmutation of the body, Alter Self holds up to physical inspection, even if it can't be used to fake a uniform or something. (And it allows you to change your appearance repeatedly over the duration of a single casting.) \$\endgroup\$
    – Carcer
    Jun 28, 2020 at 12:09
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    \$\begingroup\$ The big question would then be whether the other item is a hat. If it's not a hat, the thief could use alter self for its advantages, and then the hat to fake a uniform if needed. \$\endgroup\$
    – Mary
    Jun 28, 2020 at 15:30

3 Answers 3

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Based on a search of all magic items available in D&D Beyond, the Infiltrator’s Key from The Explorer’s Guide to Wildemount is indeed the only official magic item that casts alter self.

There are probably plenty of homebrew items that do - I found this ring of alter self on one of the many D&D wikis. It confers one specific, personalised application of the effects of the spell while worn, and the effect becomes permanent if it is worn for 30 days.

That may not be quite the effect your rogue is after if they enjoy the spell’s versatility, but as the spell is only second level an item that can cast it once or even a few times a day should be easy to create without too many balance problems.

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As Guybrush stated, there are homebrew options, but depending on the party's level and abilities, they can either enchant an item (pages 128-129 of the DMG) or they can have it commissioned. Commissioning or creating gives them control of how powerful the item is by making them put more time or gold into it and gives them the option to choose what item to put the enchantment in.

Example: If they find an item, it may just be a wand or a coin but if they make it or commission it, they can choose to put it in a ring, cloak, circlet, etc to match their equipment slots.

As a DM, you can choose to just make up the item and give it any limitations you would like. "This enchantment only lasts for one hour until cast again and can only be used 3 times per long rest" or have it use a command word.

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Is there an item that casts Alter Self, say, once a day?

A Ring of Spell Storing can store up to 5 levels worth of spells and anyone can cast them from it. Since Alter Self is a second-level spell, you could potentially store up to two castings of this spell in the ring. The ring has to be recharged by a spell caster and Alter Self is not a ritual, so it costs the caster a spell slot. Chances are the wearer of the ring might not get to cast Alter Self from the ring more than twice per day (although they might with some spell slot regaining features from spell casters that use them to reload the ring or with the help of other spell casters).

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