Variant magic equipment

Has anyone given thought to magic equipment (particularly weapons and armor) that, rather than granting a +X bonus, gives a character a proficiency? I’m thinking of things like Leather Armor of the Swashbuckler, that (when worn) gives the wearer the swashbuckling proficiency, or a Hammer of Dungeon Bashing that gets +4 to break doors, or specially etched Plate Armor of Intimidation, or a Shield of Skirmishing. I’m not sure if it would horribly unbalance things, but poking it with a stick, it seems like they would be interesting to the players, particularly if kept relatively rare (on par with +2 or +3 equipment). Thoughts? Problems I’ve overlooked?

I suspect that this would work in the players’ favor at low levels, when proficiencies are very few and more valuable, and against them at high levels, when +2/+3 weapons and armor are normally in play (since proficiencies can boost AC and damage by a point or two, but magic normally stacks on top of those profs at high levels). I guess it might depend on how you handled stacking; if you found a Shield of Shield Using (Fighting Style: Shield), and you already had FS: Shield, how would it work? That said, True20 handled magic items just this way, and they were fun.

I think it’s potentially very interesting. I’ve experimented with items this way before, but not with ACKS yet. As jedavis said these items would likely be slightly less powerful at higher levels, but keep in mind that they would keep a free slot for the PC to have another proficiency on top of (instead of) the one given by the item.

I think that anytime you come up with magic items that are outside the box, even if they are less powerful, they are more interesting and more…magical.

Go for it. It will make your game better.

One of my regrets with ACKS is that I did not revisit the B/X magic items to create a whole new slate of magic items based on ACKS proficiencies and spells.

I mean…
Alembic of Alchemy
Boots of Acrobatics
Bow of Precise Shooting
Cloak of Swashbuckling
Ear-Horn of Eavesdropping
Gloves of the Burning Hands
Lens of Lip-Reading
Staff of Battle Magic
Swift Sword of Striking

The awesome is just waiting to be unleashed (in the Auran Empire Campaign Setting!!)

I’d allow the item to stack with the proficiency if the character has both. Given that most bonuses from proficiencies are limited to +1 or at most +2 it’s unlikely to be overpowering relative to a standard “statted” item. If in default, allow a +4 bonus for a second rank of a non-combat skill.

In some cases it would even help the item “grow” with the character. For example, a Cloak of Swashbuckling would provide a +1 bonus to AC from level 1-6, +2 at 7-12, and +3 at 13 and 14. Is that better than a cloak of protection +1? Well, it doesn’t improve saves and only works with leather armor. Etc.

Does the Swift Sword of Striking grant Swift Sword and/or Striking as spell-like profs per Player’s Companion? Because if so, it’s awesome.

Yes - the sword grants 2 attacks per round and deals an additional 1d6 damage per hit.

napkin math says such a sword would cost 500x2x50 + 500x3x50 = 125,000gp to construct. Of course, it would also be amazing for getting your maximum number of cleaves each combat round!