By Jake Shultz
I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before, but one of my favourite abilities I’ve ever had in a TTRPG was during a game of Houses of the Blooded. If you’re unfamiliar, it’s a game about squabbling nobles competing for social status, titles and renown, through whatever means necessary.
I was playing a young princess, just entering the world of courtly intrigue and with a penchant for getting into trouble. The only special ability I had was the power to once a day force everybody in the room to give me their full attention. A very simple ability – but one with a lot of potential. One that you really had to think about how to best use. It had no specific mechanical benefits, just gave me an opportunity to exploit. As someone who had previously come from D&D, non-combat, socially focused powers were very interesting to me.
Did I use that power to betray another player at a crucial moment, pinning a crime that we both committed squarely on him during a party where all the most important nobles in the city were in attendance? Yes I did.
Thinking back on this inspired me to create the following items and spells for D&D5E that focus on social encounters and social skills.
3rd level enchantment
Casting Time: 1 Action (Ritual)
Components: V, M
Duration: 1 Minute
As you speak you magically weave alternative meanings into your words, causing different individuals to hear different things.
When you cast the spell, choose a number of creatures you can see up to your spell casting modifier. For the next minute, whenever you speak you can choose for those creatures to instead hear different words of your choice.
1 minute after the spell ends, each affected creature makes a Will saving throw. If they succeed, they begin to remember your actual words and realize they have been deceived.
You can cast this spell as a ritual. If you do, you must prewrite your alternative message as an additional material component. You can then activate the spell any time in the next 24 hours. When cast as a ritual, you can affect twice as many targets and they have disadvantage on their Will saving throws.
Wondrous, Rare (Requires attunement)
Arcane fabric of deep purple and subtle shimmer, woven of threads encoded with common memories and experiences
While wearing an article of clothing made from familiar fabric, you can spend a bonus action to cause anybody you’re meeting for the first time and who doesn’t already know of you, to believe you look familiar and that they’ve perhaps seen you around town or even met you previously.
If you do, you can then choose to use an action to cast Modify Memory as a 9th level spell with a save DC of 17, except you can only implant a memory that involves you and the target.
Once you’ve used the fabric to cast Modify Memory, it turns a dull grey colour and loses all abilities.
Wondrous Item, Uncommon
A small black notebook with yellowing pages. Some of the pages look like they’ve been written, erased and rewritten many times over.
While carrying the register on your person, when you are introduced to somebody, you can spend a reaction to have their name and an image of their face magically appear on the first empty page of the book. The name recorded is the name given during the introduction, even if they normally go by a different name. You can recall this information at will while the book is in your possession.
Cursed. The Instant Register is cursed. The register can hold 15 entries, at which point if an additional entry is added the oldest is erased to make room. When this happens, you immediately forget all knowledge and memories of the erased person, as if you had never met or heard of them.
If you are away from the register for more than 24 hours, all entries are erased. Make a DC 15 Intelligence check for each entry, forgetting them on a failure.
Wondrous, Very Rare (requires attunement)
A silver brooch depicting a peacock. When activated, the peacock’s feathers unfurl and change color into a scintillating rainbow.
Once a day, the Peacock Brooch can be activated as an action and affects all creatures that can see and hear you. Make a Charisma (Performance) check with a DC equal to the highest passive Insight among affected creatures. If you succeed, each target is forced to pay you undivided attention for 1 minute. For the duration they are more susceptible to your words, granting you advantage on Charisma skill checks against them, and they have disadvantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks to notice anybody other than you. The effect ends if you cast a spell, attack or take damage.
If you fail the skill check by 5 or more, instead each affected creature is inclined to ignore you for 1 hour. You have disadvantage on any Charisma skill checks targeting them, and they have disadvantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks to notice you.
Wondrous Item, common
A small porcelain statue of a toad.
The Pocket Toady can be activated once a day by rubbing its head. When you do, an invisible voice manifests that will woop, holler, cheer, hype, sing your praises, and emphatically agree with everything you say. This lasts for 5 minutes or until dismissed.
Wondrous, Uncommon (requires attunement)
A pair of spectacles with gold frames and dark glass lenses.
While wearing these glasses and conversing with somebody for at least 1 minute, you become aware of how many lies they’ve told in the last 24 hours. If you speak to the person for 10 minutes or more, you become aware of the last lie they told. Finally, if you speak to them for 30 minutes or more, you can make a Wisdom (Insight) check versus their passive Deception. If you succeed, you learn what they believe the truth is regarding the last lie they told.
A wooden crate with the words “Brodwin’s Soap Co. Est. 1481 DR” painted in bright red script on the front.
While standing on the soapbox, your regular speaking voice can be heard by anyone within 500ft. Additionally, as an action you can cause the paint on the front of the box to change into any logo, slogan or other still, two dimensional image you desire.