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In Tasha's Cauldron of Everything p. 134, there is a magic item: Rhythm Maker's Drum (paywalled link). It gives a bonus to spell saving throw DCs (and spell attack rolls) of the user depending on rarity: +1 for uncommon, +2 for rare, or +3 for very rare.

Even though the same +X for a magic weapon is normal, and some weapons have specific extra effects, it seems a bit dodgy for spells, because that is +X for every spell attack roll, with all their different extra effects covered. But then +3 save DC for "save or suck" spell effects, like the 1st-level Ray of Sickness spell or the 4th-level Polymorph spell, just seems way out there at any character level.

Question:
Am I overreacting, is there something I am not seeing? Or is this drum, and any similar item, just something which a balance-concerned DM should not allow anywhere near their table, or maybe limit it to +1 version and making that very rare or something?


Reminder: I'm not asking for opinions. An answer like "it's fine" or "it's broken" must be backed up by facts (other items, rules quotes, official rulings, etc.).

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Is showing that there exist other items with similar effects sufficient for you, or do you want further reasoning that such items are not unbalanced? \$\endgroup\$
    – BBeast
    Mar 28, 2021 at 10:00
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    \$\begingroup\$ @BBeast Well, a similar item of similar rarity in earlier books, especially PHB/DMG, would go a long way to show that a bonus like this has been taken into account with game balance. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 28, 2021 at 10:03

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This effect has precedent: the rod of the pact keeper

DMG p. 197 has the rod of the pact keeper, which is almost identical in function and rarity to the rhythm maker's drum (as you describe it; I don't have Tasha's Cauldron of Everything, but the drum sounds like the bard equivalent). It grants a warlock a +X to spell attack rolls and saving throw DCs of their warlock spells, with the rarity and bonus matching that of the drum. It also has a 1/day action to regain a spell slot.

Honourable mention to the legendary item robe of the archmagi, which gives a +2 to spell attacks and save DCs, but also grants advantage on saves vs. magic and grants a high AC calculation when not wearing armor.

The effect of buffing save DCs is indeed powerful and difficult to come by. You would do well to be careful with handing out items with such effects. But considering that there is no other way that I know of to buff your save DCs (besides increasing your ability scores and proficiency bonus), you should not get issues with stacking bonuses like you would for AC or attack bonuses. As such, because the buff to spell save DC is limited, as long as you don't give multiple similar items to the same character it should not break bounded accuracy.

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