I was thinking about throwing in two "home made" magic/special items for when my players go up to level two this weekend, but I'm not sure if it would be at risk of being unbalanced because I was hoping to create two common permanents (just two players; a Fighter and a Sorcerer).

  • A sword with a couple of features that makes it seem like more than it is but it only gives a +2 to initiative as well as be able to harm creatures that need a magic item to harm.

  • A coat made of winter wolf pelt that will give a resistance to cold.

Would either of these be too much too soon? I'm planning on holding back a bit on the real deal magical items as to not flood it but I want to give my players a couple of "oooh shiny..." items that will give a small boost and also compliment their characters.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I think these are both excellent items, just magical enough to feel special. You're definitely going to want to throw the PCs into some set-piece encounters versus resistant/cold-based foes to let them really enjoy these. \$\endgroup\$ – Sebkha Jan 8 '16 at 10:38

From DMG p.187, the initiative is suggested as minor property to add onto a magic item to make it distinctive:

Guardian. The item whispers warnings to its bearer, granting a +2 bonus to initiative if the bearer isn't incapacitated.

Therefore, the sword is less powerful than a +1 sword and is suitable for a party of this level.

The cloak is not as good as Armor of Resistance (Rare) or Boots of the Winterlands (Uncommon) but better than a Potion of Resistance (Uncommon). It is probably OK but if you are worried you can make it require attunement.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Resistance against one damage type can hardly be game-breaking considering how easy it is for the DM to work around it: just don't confront the party with anything serious which does that type of damage. Unless, of course, the DM gives them out like candy so players end up with a resistance to practically any type of damage and the DM runs out of plausible threats to target their few remaining weaknesses. \$\endgroup\$ – Philipp Jan 8 '16 at 8:37

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