Frequently when building characters, you find that there are some things that are more or less “essential” for your character to survive after the first few levels.
And worse, you sometimes find that your class doesn’t grant them. Which means you have to rely on magic items to make sure your character doesn’t end up useless half the time.
This post is a collection of lists of items that can help you get these “essential” capabilities down by using magic items. I assume that if you are looking through the lists that all of your class levels, feats, skills and resources other than magic items are already tied up – if you have a class feature (like a spell) that can give this to you, it is usually the most efficient way to take care of it. I also assume that you are looking for a “long-term” solution – I do not include scrolls and potions (although I do include wands).
Also, I focus primarily on defensive and tactically enabling items. I assume that your class provides you with ways to perform the task your class needs you to perform – this list is for the things your class may not provide, but still needs.
A note on custom items: I sometimes refer to the custom item creation guidelines. These are, obviously guidelines that are subject to DM approval. I list them here because sometimes they are simply a very handy way to take care of a problem.
BoED: Book of Exalted Deeds
CArc: Complete Arcane
CChamp: Complete Champion
CMage: Complete Mage
CScou: Complete Scoundrel
CotSQ: City of the Spider Queen
DComp: Dragon Magazine Compendium Volume I
DMagic: Dragon Magic
DMG: Dungeon Master’s Guide
DMG2: Dungeon Master’s Guide II
DotU: Drow of the Underdark
DotF: Defenders of the Faith
ECS: Eberron Campaign Setting
EbEx: Eberron Explorer’s Handbook
FF: Fiend Folio
FoE: Faiths of Eberron
LoD: Lords of Darkness
LoM: Lords of Madness
MIC: Magic Item Compedium
MoE: Magic of Eberron
MoF: Magic of Faerûn
OA: Oriental Adventures
PGtF: Player’s Guide to Faerûn
PHB: Player’s Handbook
PLH: Planar Handbook
RotD: Races of the Dragon
SpC: Spell Compendium
SS: Savage Species
ToB: The Book of Nine Swords: Tome of Battle
ToM: Tome of Magic
UE: Unapproachable East
XPH: Expanded Psionics Handbook
Why you need it: Two reasons. One, the tactical advantage of not being constrained to two dimensions is… invaluable. Really, if two people are fighting, and only one of them can fly, the earthbound one is going to die unless the relative power difference between them is massive. Second, it’s useful for getting around, for everything from crossing a chasm to making sure you’re attacking the Wizard’s tower from the top down, not the ground up.
Amber Amulet of Vermin: Giant Wasp (MIC). 800GP, throat slot. Once per day, get a flying bug thing to carry you around for one minute.
Wand of Swift Fly (SpC). 4500GP, held. Swift action activation, flight (as Fly spell) for one round. Requires the ability to activate Sorcerer/Wizard Wands or a DC 20 Use Magic Device check. If you prefer a permanent but less versatile solution, use an eternal Wand (MIC/ECS) instead, which changes the price to 4420GP and limits the use to 2/day.
Owlfeather Armor (MIC). 8160GP, body slot. Fly three times per day (40′, good maneuverability) for five rounds. Swift action activation, has some secondary benefits.
Cloak of the Dragon (CChamp). 6000GP, shoulders slot. Fly speed equal to your land speed, maneuverability not specified, for 10 minutes once per day.
Reins of Ascension (MIC). 3300GP, throat slot. Allows your mount (nothing preventing you from using it yourself, I suppose, but you’ll look kinky as hell) to briefly fly by expending 2 or 3 of the 3-per-day charges.
Dragonscale Cloak (MIC). 5000GP, shoulders slot. Winged flight (60′, good maneuverability) for 2 hours per day. Swift action activation. Unfortunately, it’s a relic.
Feathered Wings graft (FF). 10000GP, slotless. Demon wings are grafted onto your body, yummy! All-day flight, average maneuverability, twice your land speed. Drives you bonkers if you’re not Evil.
Winged Mask (MoF). 13000GP, face slot. Can cast Fly at will, which means you’re recasting it every 5 minutes for all-day flight. Also makes you glow for some reason. Be wary of Dispel Magic, as the CL on this thing is only 5.
Phylactery of Change (AEG). 11200GP, head slot. All-day Polymorph up to 7HD, with some limitations. Not particularly good for in-combat flight (unless you build around Polymorph somehow), but a great item for general utility.
Winged West (MIC). 12000GP, torso slot. Allows you to fly for 5 rounds at 60′, good maneuverability. This is not an all-day flight item, but it is better than most such due to the swift action activation time. Good to bring up once you or your DM has become disgusted by permaflight items from semi-obscure 3.0 books.
Broom of Flying. 17000GP, ridden rather than worn. It’s not all-day (only 9 hours), it’s not very fast, and you can get knocked off. Still possibly your best bet in a core-only game.
5×5 Carpet of Flying. 20000GP, ridden rather than worn. The all-day, more comfortable version of the Broom.
Phoenix Cloak (MIC). 50000GP, shoulders slot. All-day flight at your land speed, with perfect maneuverability, no bells or whistles.
Horseshoes of Flame (SS). 30240GP, feet slot (presumably). Not for you, but your horse, which turns into a smart magic nightmare thing that flies at a speed of 90′, with good maneuverability, for 21 hours/day total. Use Magic Device it to cheese it onto yourself.
Wings of Flying (DMG). 54000GP, shoulders slot. The core go-to for true personal permaflight. More expensive than the Phoenix Cloak, and only good maneuverability. But this one’s flight speed is fixed at 60′, which can be an advantage over the Phoenix Cloak if you are slow as a halfling wearing full plate.
Ring of Solar Wings (BoED). 118000GP, ring slot. All-day flight at 150′, with good maneuverability. As expensive as it gets, but it’s really fast.
Buffeting Wings (RotD), Wand of Winged Watcher (CScou), Hawkfeather Armor (MIC), Skin of Celestial/Fiendish Embrace (MIC), Figurine of Wondrous Power -Bronze Griffon or Ebony Fly (DMG), Wild Shape Amulet (MoF), Horseshoes of a Zephyr (DMG), Winged Boots (DMG), custom item of continuous Swift Fly (DMG, SpC), Boots of Gravity (PLH), Celestial Armor (DMG), Feathered armor enhancement (DotF), Winged Shield (DMG).
Why you need it: Mind Blank protects you from two things – divinations and [Mind-affecting] spells. Being the victim of those means you’re getting stabbed in your sleep, and made useless (or worse, hostile to your allies) in battle.
Continuous custom item of Protection from Evil/Good/Law or Chaos. 4000GP, head or shoulders slot? Following the magic item creation guidelines, this would cost 1 (Spell level) x 1 (Caster level) * 2000 (continuous multiplier) * 2 (Duration multiplier) = 4000 GP. This doesn’t provide the full protection Mind Blank does, but it can effectively prevent you from being turned into a liability in combat. Worth mentioning due to being an order of magnitude cheaper than even the cheapest full Mind Blank item.
Command-activated custom item of Mind Blank (DMG). 43200GP, head or shoulders slot? Following the magic item creation guidelines, this would cost 8 (Spell level) x 15 (Caster level) * 1800 (Command word multiplier) * 1/5 (Once per day) = 43200 GP. The price is so low that I’d not allow the item myself, but you can use this as a starting point for your haggling with the DM.
Third Eye Conceal (MIC, XPH). 120000GP, face slot. More or less what it says on the tin – Mind Blank, all day.
Ring of Mental Fortitude (DMG2). 110000GP, ring slot. Gets you the mind-affecting immunity aspect, but not the anti-divination aspect.
Cortical Armor (Und). 146650GP, body slot. Mind Blank while worn, and a few side benefits that may be useful to some.
Cowl of Warding (MoF). 200800GP, head slot. Mind Blank, along with Freedom of Movement and Spell Turning. If you don’t need the Spell Turning, it would be cheaper to get a ring for the other two effects.
Eyes of the Spider (CotSQ)
Why you need it: Stun is one of those conditions that makes you unable to act. Which means that when you’re stunned, your character is a sitting duck, and you’re sitting at the table counting cheetos.
Third Eye Clarity (MIC). 3000GP, face slot. Once per day, negate the Stun as an immediate action. Can negate other nasty stuff too. Great pick.
Talisman of Undying Fortitude (MIC). 8000GP, held. Swift action activation, gives you lots of undead immunities for 3 rounds, including stun.
Banner of the Storm’s Eye (MIC). 15000GP, held or shoulders slot. Negates stunning and other nasty stuff for you *and* your allies. Top pick.
Wakeful Mind graft (FoE). 14000GP, slotless. Other minor benefits, including no longer needing to sleep. Also makes you slightly less healthy and less knowledgeable, but that’s the price you pay for having robot components embedded in your head.
Why you need it: Daze is like stun, only you don’t lose your dexterity bonus and everything you are holding – and it is much more difficult to become immune to. The latter part is what leads optimizers everywhere to look at this condition as one of “the” conditions to inflict on their enemies (probably right after the condition of “death” in its popularity).
Third Eye Clarity (MIC). 3000GP, face slot. Daze is another of the conditions it can negate. See the Stun negation list.
Minor Schema of Favor of the Martyr (MoE, SpC). 11200GP, held. The Favor of the Martyr Paladin spell grants immunity to the condition, a Minor Schema allows you to get it 1/day if you can activate it.
Custom item of continuous Favor of the Martyr (SpC). 128000GP, shoulders slot? Following the magic item creation guidelines, this would cost 4 (Spell level) x 8 (Caster level) * 2000 (Continuous item multiplier) * 2 (1 minute/level multiplier) = 128000 GP. “HOLY CRAP, that’s expensive!”, you’re thinking? Well, take a look at the immunities you’re getting.
Drakehelms (EbEx) and the Ring of Theurgy (CArc) offer access to the spells of other classes with few limitations. It may be possible for you to nab Favor of the Martyr from the Paladin list this way. Also, see this list.
Why you need it: Fear effects include stuff that make you cower, be panicked, or even kill you. What’s worse, the DCs can be based on a skill check, which means they can be sky-high.
Brash weapon enhancement (MIC). +1 weapon enhancement cost. Immunity to fear while raging.
Banner of the Storm’s Eye (MIC). 15000GP, held or shoulders slot. Suppresses fear in a radius round the bearer, along with other nice benefits.
Prayer of anger (MoF). 14350GP, held. A +2 greatsword that renders the wielder immune to fear (and extends the duration of his Rage ability by 1 round, if he has it).
Horn of Plenty (MIC). 12000GP, held. Creates a Heroes’ Feast once per day as a standard action.
Any item that grants Mind Blank (see above). Immunity to mind-affecting constitutes immunity to Fear as well.
Continuous custom item of Lionheart (DMG, SpC), Minor Schema of Heroes’ Feast (MoE)
Why you need it: Illusions tend to be “no save, you just don’t know what’s going on” effects. Also, miss chances can make you pull your hair out if you rely on attack rolls. True Seeing is the hard counter.
Scout’s Headband (MIC). 3400GP, head slot. Allows you to flush out all of the item’s daily charges to gain True Seeing for one minute. Standard action activation. Can spend fewer charges to gain lesser vision-based benefits.
Eyes of Truth (MIC). 5500GP, face slot. Once per day, True Seeing for one round. Swift action activation.
Runestaff of Divination or Vision (MIC). 21000GP or 16000GP, respectively, held. As runestaffs, these are only useful for those who have arcane spell slots, but if you’re a Sorcerer or such, they will do just fine.
Chalice of True Seeing (DComp). 21600GP, held. Standard action activation, True Seeing once per day.
Truelight Lantern (MIC). 36000GP, held. Standard action activation, and only 10 minutes per day, which looks limited for the price, but is rather unique in working within a radius rather than just showing everything to you, which means your party gains its benefits as well.
Rod of Revealing (DComp). 60000GP, held. Not real True Seeing, but the rod creates an effective antimagic field for 110 min/day that suppresses illusion spells only. Specialized, but makes Illusionists cry.
Hathran Mask of True Seeing (UE). 75000GP, face slot. Continuous True Seeing, off you go. Occupies the face slot.
Gem of Seeing. 75000GP, held? Offers True Seeing for up to 30 minutes per day, divided up as you wish. The reason this isn’t completely inferior to the Hathran Mask is that this one doesn’t explicitly take up a body slot. Try Sovereign Glue-ing it to your eyeball.
Helm of Vision (DotF), Continuous custom item of True Seeing (DMG), Eyes of the Spider (CotSQ).
Why you need it: Some things you fight have attack bonuses that are too high to be effectively mitigated by AC. Miss chances are flat percentage rolls, and care not how good your opponent is. In addition, miss chances resulting from Concealment mean you can not be Sneak Attacked. Beware, though – relying on miss chances alone to keep you alive means you’ll be toast if your opponent has a way of countering them (usually True Seeing, see above).
Shadowy Diadem (DMagic). 4400GP, head slot. Grants concealment for one minute as a swift action, and immunity to energy drain to boot. It doesn’t like being caught in high level light spells, but that’s not exactly an everyday occurrence.
Smoking weapon enhancement (LoD). +1 weapon enhancement cost. This 3.0 enhancement grants you concealment, with some limitations. Usually considered woefully underpriced.
Shadow Sibling (MoE). 8000GP, symbiont. 50% concealment as an immediate action, constitution modifier times per day. It’s as awesome as it sounds, only problem is that it requires sharing your body with some kind of usually-lawful-evil incorporeal aberration thing. May not be available at the local Magic Mart.
Shadow Cloak (DotU). 5500GP, shoulders slot. Grants concealment for 1 round as an immediate action three times per day, along with (good) secondary benefits.
Torc of Displacement (MIC). 2000GP, throat slot. As an immediate action, spend charges to gain varying degrees of concealment for one round.
Blurring armor enhancement (MIC). +1 armor enhancement cost. Three times per day, blur effect (as the spell) for 5 rounds. Swift action activation.
Displacement armor enhancement (MIC). +1 armor enhancement. Once per day, displacement effect (as the spell) for 5 rounds. Swift action activation.
Mithralmist Shirt (MIC). 3400GP, body slot. Gain concealment as a swift action seven times per day, but it is due to a cloud that doesn’t follow you if you move.
Eversmoking Bottle (DMG). 5400GP, slotless. Creates a huge cloud of nasty fog without daily limits. This hampers vision (creates total concealment) for everyone involved, but the clever player can work around that.
Minor Cloak of Displacement (DMG). 24000GP, shoulders slot. Continuous 20% miss chance, thank you, come again.
Ring of Blinking (DMG). 27000GP, ring slot. Blinking at will, which is handy for more reasons than the (rather involved) miss chance it grants. An often-overlooked problem with this ring is that being at will is not the same as being continuous – you’re going to be spending one standard action out of seven reactivating your Blink if you want it on all the time.
Greater Blurring armor enhancement (MIC). +3 total armor enhancement cost. Blur effect (as the spell) for 10 minutes per activation, and there is no limit on the number of activations per day. The same “problem” as the Ring of Blinking has in not being truly continuous, but with a duration this long, I can’t imagine it becoming an issue. If you don’t have any other enhancements on your armor, this is cheaper than the minor cloak of displacement.
Gleaming armor enhancement (XPH). +3 armor enhancement cost. Continuous concealment. Very similar to Greater Blurring (above), but can not be bought in steps, and does crazy flashes, which a DM might rule to interfere with your hide checks.
Burnoose of Moonless Nights (Sand). 33000GP, body slot?. Standard action activation, grants total concealment for 10 rounds. It’s slightly better than the Greater Cloak of Displacement, as it grants real total concealment. Only works in dark or shadowy conditions.
Obi of Protection (DComp). 48000GP, waist slot. Continuous 20% miss chance if you have the Improved Unarmed Strike feat (or the unarmed strike ability). The only reason this item is worth mentioning despite the price tag is that this is a true miss chance – True Seeing or anything that helps see through concealment doesn’t help.
Blinking armor enhancement (MIC), Shroud of Night (ToM), Continuous custom item of Veil of Shadow (SpC), Major Cloak of Displacement (DMG).
Why you need it: As the name of the list suggests – for purposes of tactics, sometimes tumbling just won’t cut it. Also has great utility potential out of combat.
Anklet of Translocation (MIC). 1400GP, feet slot. Range 10′, swift action activation. Works twice per day (buy a few!). Requires line of sight and line of effect. Requires line of sight and line of effect.
Wand of Benign Transposition (SpC). 750GP, held. Standard action, switch the locations of two willing creatures.
Boots of Swift Passage (MIC). 5000GP, feet slot. Range 20′. Move action activation. Works five timesper day. Requires line of sight and line of effect.
Shadow Cloak (DotU). 5500GP, shoulders slot. Teleport 10′ as an immediate action three times per day, along with (good) secondary benefits. Requires line of sight, but apparently not line of effect.
Dimension Stride Boots (MIC). 2000GP, feet slot. Range 20′ to 60′ depending on charges spent, 5 charges per day. Standard action activation. Requires line of sight and line of effect.
Bolt Shirt (MIC). 5000GP, torso slot. Range 60′. Move action activation. Works once per day. Explicitly useless for escaping undetected. Requires line of sight and line of effect.
Boots of Big Stepping (MIC). 6000GP, feet slot. Range 60, standard action activation. Works three times per day. Teleports as Greater Teleport.
Novice Shadow Hands of Shadow Jaunt (ToB). 3000GP, hands slot. Range 50′, standard action activation. No daily limitation, but effectively once per encounter unless you have a recovery method. Requires line of sight and line of effect.
Belt of the Wide Earth (MIC). 8000GP, waist slot. Only useful for spellcasters, but for those that are so blessed, this effectively allows you spontaneously cast Teleport twice per day if you have the 5th level slots to burn.
Cloak of Mysterious Emergence (DMagic). 13000GP, shoulders slot. Dimension Door with a 120′ range 3/day, or 1/day 120 mile teleport. Slightly more expensive than the DMG Cape of the Mountebank, but much better.
Aporter armor enhancement (MIC). +20000 GP. Dimension door twice per day, standard action activation. The reason this isn’t in the “not recommended” category is that this one doesn’t burn a body slot.
Cape of the Mountebank (DMG), Vanishing weapon enhancement (MIC), Dislocator weapon enhancement (MIC) (but it is hilarious), War Wizard Cloak (MIC), Runestaff of Transportation (MIC), Cli Lyre (MIC), Boots of Teleportation (DMG), Runestaff of Passage (MIC), Helm of Teleportation (DMG), Humillianthir (DComp).
Immunity to Death effects and/or energy drain and/or negative energy effects.
(Lumped together because most things that protect against one of them protect against them all.)
Why you need it: Death effects kill you. Negative levels/energy drain are a very common, very wide-spanning debuff, which stack with themselves. Also, some of them cause you to permanently lose levels, which means you have to back-edit your character sheet, and no one wants to bother with that. All sorts of nasty things are caused by “negative energy”.
Talisman of Undying Fortitude (MIC). 8000GP, held. Swift action activation, gives you lots of undead immunities for 3 rounds, including those that are relevant here.
Death Ward armor enhancement (MIC). +1 armor enhancement. Once per day, ignore Death effects, energy drain and negative energy effects as an immediate action.
Crystal of Adaptation armor crystal (MIC). 3000GP, armor crystal. Protects from the negative levels bestowed by visiting major negative-dominant planes.
Soulfire Armor Enhancement (BoED). +4 armor enhancement. Total immunity to Death effects, energy drain, and negative energy.
Choker of Life Protection (MIC). 14000GP, throat slot. The cheaper version of the Bone Ring (below), requires immediate action activation, and can’t handle ability drain, but is significantly cheaper.
Bone Ring (MIC). 20000GP, ring slot. Protects against three negative levels (or points of ability drain) per day, but not against Death effects or general “negative energy” effects.
Ring of Negative Protection (MIC). 36000GP, ring slot. Immunity to negative levels and negative-dominant planar traits, but not Death effects or negative energy effects in general.
Absorbing Armor Enhancement (DotF). +3 armor enhancement. Weird enhancement that allows partial protection against ability drain and “level drain”. I’d hold out for Soulfire, but this is cheaper.
Phylactery of Virtue (MIC), Scarab of Protection (DMG), Cornucopia of the Needful (MIC), Runestaff of the Undead Slayer (MIC), Cloak of Blackflame (MoF), Bone Bracers of the Death Deity (MoF)
Freedom of Movement
Why you need it: Because of Solid Fog, because you can be insta-killed if you are paralyzed, and because monsters have ginormous grapple checks.
Third Eye Freedom (MIC). 2600GP, face slot. Once per day, as an immediate action, gain Freedom of Movement for one round. Excellent panic button.
Periapt of the Sullen Sea (MIC). 6000GP, throat slot. Allows you to spend a 4th level spell slot to cast Freedom of Movement. Useless if you don’t have 4th level spell slots to spread around, but a nice backup otherwise.
Vest of Free Movement (MIC). 12000GP, torso slot. Freedom of Movement for 3 rounds, three times per day. What is good about the activation is that it’s a swift action, what’s bad is that it’s a command activation, which means it won’t work if you have already been paralyzed.
Ring of Freedom of Movement (DMG). 40000GP, ring slot. Continuous Freedom of Movement. One of the more expensive and powerful rings in 3.5, can be well worth it at very high levels.
Freedom armor enhancement (MIC). +5 armor enhancement. Continuous Freedom of Movement, just like the ring provides. This one is cheaper if you don’t have any other armor enhancements, otherwise the ring is cheaper.
Cowl of Warding (MoF). 200800GP, head slot. Comprehensive, powerful protective item that includes FoM. See the Mind Blank entry.
(Extradimensional) storage space
Why you need it: Because the ancient copper dragon doesn’t sleep on a triple-standard pile of easily transported diamonds, and because when you are locked in a melee with some berserker, you don’t have an inteterminable number of rounds to look for your scroll of Dimension Door in the disorganized pile that is your backpack.
Mule (PHB). 8 GP, plus 4 GP for saddlebags, no slot (it’s an animal, not an item). I’m not kidding. It can carry almost twice as much as a Haversack without breaking a sweat (and over five times as much by getting into the heavy load). It’s cheap enough to be bought at level 1, and is often all you need in order to move your loot around.
(Heward’s) Handy Haversack (DMG). 2000GP, no slot (it’s a backpack). Extra space, move action to retrieve any item stored in it, which doesn’t provoke attacks of opportunity. In my games, I usually let people get away with accessing any small item they have on their sheets as an AoO-free move action once they have gotten one of these – because that’s approximately what it does. Usually considered a “must have” for a reason.
Glove of the Master Strategist (Ghost). 3600P, hands slot. Works as a Glove of Storing, only cheaper and also lets you use True Strike 1/day. How can this be cheaper, then? Because the Glove of the Master Strategist is based on the 3.0 version of the Glove of Storing, but never got updated. I’d call this cheesy if I weren’t busy calling the 3.5 Glove of Storing overpriced. In any case, this allows you to retrieve or store one item as a free action.
Enveloping Pit (MIC). 3600GP, no slot. It’s a relic that, if you’re lawful evil, lawful neutral, or neutral evil, works pretty much like a Portable Hole (see below), only cheaper and deeper (over 1000 cubic feet!), making this a clear replacement if you can activate it. It can also serve as an OK-ish trap, but I’m more interested in using it to haul around ludicrous amounts of stuff.
Quiver of Ehlonna 1800GP, no slot (it’s a quiver). Not a general-purpose storage device, but a way to keep your golf bag of weapons handy without looking as if you’re on your way to kit out an army. The real advantage it has over other kinds of storage spaces is that retrieving an weapon from it works just like drawing a weapon normally, which should mean that your Quick Draw feat and least Crystals of Return allow you to get them as a free action. Also, there’s that slightly ambiguous clause about ruptured bags some DMs might use to screw you over if you try loading your weapons gallery into Bag of Holding based storages.
Bag of Holding I to V (DMG). 2500GP to 10000GP, no slot. A very traditional way to carry around your enormous list of loot. Unless your DM is very good at keeping track of how much your stuff weighs, I’d take the Haversack instead, as these don’t have the nice “no AoOs” clause the Haversack does. But if the DM is a stickler about bag capacity, this should be your go-to. They are pretty damned big.
Belt of Many Pockets (CArc). 11000GP, waist slot. Like the Handy Haversack, only bigger and divided up into multiple smaller pockets. Potential upgrade.
Infinite Scrollcase (MIC). 2800GP, slotless. Actually only holds 50 scrolls, but whatever. It has secondary benefits as well.
Quiver of Plenty (DComp). 18000GP, slotless. Not a true storage item, but mentioned here for those whose true intent was to never having to worry about having to visit the market for ammo.
Ring of Arming (MIC). 5000GP, ring slot. A standard action, and now you’re armed and armored. Niche item, but can be handy if you really need to wear armor, but also really need to take it off from time to time.
Portable Hole (DMG). 20000GP, slotless. Volume limitation (as far as I can tell, it is pi*((6/2)^2)*10 = approximately 282.74 cubic feet = approximately 8 cubic metres), no weight limitation. Has a defined amount of air available in it. No good for retreiving items in-battle, but the storage space is immense.
Wand Bracelet (MIC), Glove of Storing (DMG), Casting Glove (MIC), Belt of Hidden Pouches (MIC).
Dispel Magic and its counters
Why you need it: Buffstacks (that is, many beneficial spells affecting the same target) are a big part of high level gameplay. As such, you need a way to protect your own buffs and remove those others have up.
Ring of Counterspells (DMG). 4000GP, ring slot. Load it with a Dispel Magic, and you’re protected from the next Dispel Magic. Simple, and can be loaded with Greater Dispel Magic once that time comes. Of course, you can load this with other spells too, if you know you’ll be up against something specific.
Spellblade (PGtF). 6000GP (fixed cost) weapon enhancement. This keys your weapon to a certain spell (read: Dispel Magic).
Ring of Enduring Arcana (CMage). 6000GP. This is for your friendly neighbourhood buff-providing spellcaster (which, of course, might be yourself). Adding +4 to the dispel DC is a very significant increase on when the roll is as “hard” to boost as a CL check.
Dispelling Chord (MIC). 1000GP, torso slot. Another for the spellcasters. If you know how to cast Dispel Magic, there’s little reason not to get this, to give your dispel checks that slight edge.
Ring of Spell-Battle (MIC). 12000GP, ring slot. You can use this ring to use Dispel Magic to counterspell as an immediate action. But that’s the least it can do, really. If you’re not familiar with the item, look it up.
Dispelling, Greater (MIC). +2 total weapon enhancement cost. Unlike its lesser counterpart, Dispelling, this one actually has a decent (but still eventually obsolete) caster level. Requires you to strike someone with a weapon, which is a problem if the spells you want to dispel happen to provice miss chances or AC boosts. Note that this works on ranged weapons too.
Magic Siphon (MIC). 25000GP, held. A rod that uses a CL 20 Greater Dispel Magic on all creatures adjacent to you. Seriously expensive for what it does, but the bonus isn’t trivial.
Dagger of Denial (MIC), Ring of Greater Counterspells (MIC), Third Eye Repudiate (MIC, XPH version overridden), Canaith Mandolin (MIC), Dispelling enhancement (MIC), Wand of Dispel Magic (DMG).
Why you need it: Because losing the initiative roll means the other guy has a chance to kill you before you get a chance to kill him. Giving the enemy “free” shots at you is generally a bad thing, especially at high (or very low) levels, when the stakes are high. Also, initiative is the one roll you are (almost) guaranteed to have to make in every single combat of your carreer, and it is very often the most important roll of any given encounter.
Wand of Sign (SpC). 750GP, held. Similar to Nerveskitter (see below), but less ambiguous, is for Clerics, and requires a bit more planning. Gets better as you level, and acquire more control over when encounters take place. Note that the version in the Miniatures Handbook is overridden by the SpC version, and is both different and potentially better. Requires the ability to activate Cleric Wands or a DC 20 Use Magic Device check.
Ring of Anticipation (DoTU). 6000GP, ring slot. Roll all initiative checks twice. This is the favorite initiative item of Claudius Maximus (who provided most of this list, by the way), and now it’s my favorite one too.
Helm of Righteous War (CChamp) 5000 gp, head slot. +2 insight bonus to initiative, and secondary bonuses.
Sandals of the Vagabond (CChamp) 4000 gp, feet slot. +2 luck bonus to initiative, and secondary bonuses.
Bracers of Blinding Strike (MIC) 5000 gp. Arms slot. +2 competence bonus, which means it doesn’t stack with the Belt of Battle, but it’s cheaper and less likely to be struck by your DM’s nerfbat.
Warning (MIC). +1 weapon enhancement cost, held. +5 insight bonus to initiative (doesn’t stack with the Helm of Righteous War) Don’t put this on your primary weapon, put this on something like your armor spikes. If you can somehow get away with it, put it on a shuriken and use the ammunition pricing rules to get it at a 98% discount. Then try getting away with holding the shuriken in your teeth, because it makes you look like a badass and leaves your hands free.
Eager (MIC). +1 weapon enhancement cost, held. +2 untyped bonus to initiative, and a secondary benefit. The bonus is smaller than on the Warning enhancement (see above), so get that one first.
Wand of Nerveskitter (SpC). 750GP, held. Grants a +5 untyped bonus on initiative. Note that although the Rules Compendium made the activation time of wands equal to the spell’s normal casting time (in this case, an immediate action), it might not be enough to allow the use of a spell trigger items under the special circumstances that Nerveskitter requires. If your DM says it works, it’s a perfect fit for a Wand Chamber (DSc) in a weapon you hold at all times. Requires the ability to activate Sorcerer/Wizard Wands or a DC 20 Use Magic Device check.
Belt of Battle (MIC). 12000GP, waist slot. +2 competence bonus to initiative. At 12k it doesn’t really fit in the bargain bin, but it’s going to be one of the first items on your wish list anyway, because the secondary benefit is granting EXTRA ACTIONS.
Phylactery of Change. (AEG). 11200GP, head slot. All-day Polymorph up to 7HD, with some limitations. You can use that to assume a form with a higher dexterity score than your own.
Roaring Armor (MIC). +3 armor enhancement cost. Grants a +4 competence bonus. Expensive, but it’s a +4 (that doesn’t stack with the Belt of Battle). You decide if you want it enough. The reverse-arrows secondary effect isn’t likely to be useful at the level you get it, but potentially hilarious.
Dragonfly Medallion (AEG). 29760GP, throat slot (probably). Grants Improved Initiative or a +1 competence bonus if you already have that feat. Definitely not worth it if you have the feat, and only maybe if you don’t.
Burning (ECS). +2 weapon enhancement cost, held. +2 untyped bonus to initiative. Too expensive for that benefit, but I think I should mention it for those who were actually thinking about taking the Fiery Burst enhancement (urgh).
Fire elemental grafts (MoE). Cost varies, slotless. Every fire graft beyond the first grants a +2 untyped bonus to initiative as a secondary benefit. These tend to be expensive, however.
Bracers of the Blinding Strike (MoF, not the same as the MIC item), Flexible Spine graft (LoM), Stone of Good Luck (DMG), Ioun Stone, Pale Green (DMG), Initiative weapon enhancement (OA), Rod of Alertness (DMG).
Why you need it: Not knowing where your enemies are is deadly.
Gem of the Glitterdepth (MIC). 4500GP, throat slot. Blindsense 30′, the cheapest you can get – but it’s a relic.
Glaring Eye (RotD). 10000GP, slotless (graft). Grants Blindsense 30′, all day.
Blindfold of True Darkness (MIC). 9000GP, face slot. Grants Blindsight 30′ – but you can’t see while wearing it. You decide if it’s worth it.
Tremor Graft (MoE). 6000GP, slotless (graft). Not quite Tremorsense, but as a move action, you can learn of the presence and locations of all creatures within 20′.
Blindsighted weapon enhancement (Und). +30000GP weapon enhancement cost. Grants 30′ blindsight while wielded.
Dragon’s-Eye Amulet (MIC). 55000GP, throat slot. Blindsense 30′. Similar to the (much) cheaper Glaring Eye, but listed due to grafts not always being available (or desirable).
Sandform Ring (Sand). 24000GP, ring slot. For up to 10 minutes per day, you can assume a (otherwise blind) form that has Blindsight 60′.
Continuous custom item of Blindsight (SpC), Goggles of Draconic Vision (MIC), Scorpion Carapace (Sand), Platinum Helm (MIC)