I realize this isn't the best reference, but there was a show in the 90's "Captain Planet" where there was 5 kids, and each had a ring of power, and it was when they would combine all of them the bigger/biggest power would be called forth.

I'm writing my next campaign, and everyone wants it to center around magic items (find 'em, use 'em style) I've been looking through the Magic Item Compendium, they have set-items, but that is primarily for a single user to combine and gain the extra benefit.

Where would I find some information about a set of magic items that would be for a group of characters and they would need to combine their powers to unleash an ultimate power. If I nothing exists, some ideas would be appreciated (rings of power seem a little over done)

My group is fairly well balanced: assassin, fighter, beguiler, cleric, rogue, & wizard.

Albeit we are still unsure if this will be a good campaign or an evil one. (I realize that makes a difference, but I should be able to adapt the alignment specific parts)

  • \$\begingroup\$ Fun idea! While 3.5 specific, I'd be interested to see the answers and find possible ways to have them in other versions or games. \$\endgroup\$
    – The Jug
    Commented Apr 25, 2011 at 16:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ Since you've got a well-balanced party, one thing that might help ensure the items are distributed among your players instead of being unevenly distributed is to make the items enhance or require particular class features of the various classes. It's a little heavy-handed, but it works so long as the items have benefits they actually want. \$\endgroup\$
    – GMJoe
    Commented Feb 5, 2013 at 4:31

4 Answers 4


Two things come to my mind immediately: Artifacts in the original AD&D DMG like the Rod of Seven Parts, and an extension of artifacts that I used in a D&D 3.5 game. Hopefully you'll get some ideas that will work for your game.

The AD&D artifact route is fairly straightforward: as you get more pieces of the artifact together, you get access to more and more powerful powers. So as you get more parts of the Rod, or collect more teeth, or gather the saint's remains you get access to more powers. If each part has a different basic power, it may make sense to have different party members "own" each item and pull them out to combine them as situations come up.

I don't think that's exactly what you're looking for, so I'll tell you about The Cubes.

In my game, the party stumbled onto a glass bracelet with a huge ruby in a treasure hoard. After some research, they discovered that its natural form is a glass cube with a smaller ruby cube inside it, hypercube-fashion. They discovered how to tune it to a specific person, and after some concentration and experimentation the wearer (he was a rogue, so it took him several levels of putting skill points in Concentration to do this) could get a direction on where the next piece lay.

Come to find out there are seven cubes, each dedicated to an ancient god. Each embodies an aspect of the appropriate god and provides a passive and active power to the wielder, but it must be in cube form in a hand to use the active power. So the Green Cube embodies Life and provides a continuous Death Ward aura, and it can be used to cast Heal once a day. The Red Cube embodies Fire so the wearer can heal when exposed to fire, and it can create a Meteor Swarm once a day. The Purple Cube embodies Magic so its wearer enjoys continual Arcane Sight, and it acts as a Rod of Spell Absorption up to 10 levels of spells.

Once the party started fitting the cubes together, they discovered that all the other cubes could adhere to the Purple Cube, and it would amplify or extend their powers using its stored spell levels. So a Purple/Green combo could increase the Death Ward aura into a Regeneration aura, or a Purple/Green/Red combo could call a green-tinged Flamestrike which would do double damage to undead but heal 1d8+5 HP to all living targets in the blast. The trick is, only the PC attuned to the cube can use it and control it. So multiple-cube effects requires several PCs concentrating to maintain contact with and control their particular cube.

Yes, we strayed from the rulebook a bit, but having the structure of World of Darkness Mage-esque keywords gave the players guidelines on what the cubes could do, and then their imagination took over. The life-powered Flamestrike was entirely my group's idea, but it fit within the realms of the cubes involved and the power level that the cubes could handle so it made sense to allow it. The purple cube can only absorb 10 spell levels, so a couple of 5th level effects would max out the effect unless the cube wielders wanted to tap into their active effects and "burn out" that power for 24 hours.

The spell levels of effects were pretty easy to figure in my head. There's usually a metamagic effect that's pretty close to what they wanted to make, or I thought of the effect as two spells cast at the same time. And yes, I granted bonus spell levels for really cool combo ideas.

These are really rough guidelines, and I never really codified the powers, but I took the basic inspiration from the Rod of Seven Parts, added effect keywords that I swiped from the Mage RPG, and fit the effects into the 3.5 system. I let my players flexibly define the combined powers, which got them really engaged in "I want to try this" playing as opposed to having them limited by their character sheets.

Your mileage will vary wildly, but hopefully you can get some ideas from my anecdotal ramblings.

  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ Nice. Useful answers backed up with personal experience are very welcome here! \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 25, 2011 at 19:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ +1 - this is a phenomenal way of integrating in some of the best parts of the WW settings (imo) with other systems. \$\endgroup\$
    – aperkins
    Commented Apr 25, 2011 at 19:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ Awesome! That is soo cool. I think it's a great idea to have that type of magical synergism. But the idea of cubes, is just a morph state from rings. I'll need to think more about that. \$\endgroup\$
    – Ray301
    Commented Apr 25, 2011 at 21:12
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @Ray301: I wanted to give a limitation on active powers, so I came up with cubes that require one hand to use. These things are about 3-4 inches on a side, so they're fairly hefty. I'm glad you like the synergy - that's the first thing I thought of when I read your initial question. Thanks for the comments, all! Makes a first-time answerer like me feel right at home. \$\endgroup\$
    – T.W.Wombat
    Commented Apr 26, 2011 at 1:41

One potential solution is to give each party member an item that can cause a particular status effect, and make it so when multiple party members use their items on a single character, the effects amplify.

For example, maybe the Assassin in your group has a dagger that slows enemies: enemies struck take a -5 foot penalty to their speed. Also, let's say your Wizard has a staff that lets him apply the dazzled condition to an enemy. IF both of these hit the same enemy, they amplify, giving a -10 foot penalty to their speed and a -2 to attack rolls. If enough effects hit the same enemy, it could amplify further into more potent conditions, like frightened or slowed.

This way, each player can have their own abilities that can be used whenever they want, but if they combine their powers, they get a lot more powerful. Also, rather than using rings, you can use a class appropriate combat useful item.


It seems you could get the job done by giving everyone a magic item with the option of using up a readied minor action to simultaneously cast a spell. Having only a couple items should provide options too. For instance, in the cartoony example, if you had all five rings on different PCs, they would be able to summon the monster Captain Planet.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Well that is where this idea came from. Reading the Magic Item Compendium, they have set items. Where for example having 2 of the 5 items in the set grants an additional bonus or ability, +2 to a skill or something of that nature. That being aside from the actual function of the item itself. I'd like to combine that with the Captain Planet example, but summoning a monster, even a powerful monster just seems a little to mundane for what I'm looking for. --My latest thought was when combining the items all together they would have some control over time & space. Don't know yet. \$\endgroup\$
    – Ray301
    Commented Apr 26, 2011 at 1:27

perhaps each magic item fits into the next, and when all are combined, they take the form of a key. this key opens a dimension door and releases a certain creature or allows access to a sanctuary or cache of some sort.


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