A Weapon of Warning is a unique uncommon magical item that can take many forms. It is something that can give parties an instant power boost no matter who wields it.
Weapon of Warning Explained
A Weapon of Warning is an uncommon magical item that requires attunement. That being said, it is not itself an item but rather a template that can be applied to any weapon in the game. For example, you could have a Longsword of Warning, a Dagger of Warning, or a Bow of Warning.
When an item on your person has the warning property you gain the following benefits:
- You have advantage on initiative rolls.
- You, and any companions within 30 feet of you, can’t be surprised except when incapacitated by something other than non-magical sleep.
- The weapon will wake you and your companions (within range) if you are naturally sleeping when combat begins.
In addition to these additional bonuses, the template uses the base weapon stats. A Longsword of Warning is a melee weapon that does 1d8 damage. A Dagger of Warning is a melee weapon dealing 1d4 damage and so on.
Weapon of Warning on Roll20 (VTT)
Playing on a virtual tabletop (VTT) like Roll 20 can pose some complications for using Weapons of Warning in game. The issues are easy enough to remedy but require the player to do a bit of extra work. In Roll 20 specifically, the Weapon of Warning is a drag and drop item, but it is similar to other multifunction items in that the actual details need to be filled in by the player on the character sheet. This can be done by manually changing the name of the item to Dagger (weapon type) of Warning. Then changing the damage amount and type in the settings to the appropriate amount and type for the weapon. The text display for the item properties should be in the description box from the drag and drop action. Similar steps should be available for other VTTs.
How Much Does a Weapon of Warning Cost?
The in-game cost for a Weapon of Warning, like all magic items in 5e, can vary dramatically. The price should reflect the impact the item has on the game. Even though it has game changing potential it is classified as an uncommon item. Generally, this means the base cost would start somewhere between 1000-5000 GP. From there it is adjusted for game impact. For example, a Wand of Web is uncommon and costs in the neighborhood of 6000 GP.
A Weapon of Warning, on the other hand, lists in the neighborhood of 50,000-60,000 GP. This reflects the influence it will have on the game. By granting advantage on initiative and making its owner and party members effectively immune to surprise, even when sleeping, the item significantly impacts the game for the players. Chances are, if this magic item comes up on a random roll for fifth level characters as treasure, a DM might want to find something else.
Is a Weapon of Warning Overpowered?
The variation in cost reflects the availability of the item and its effect on the game. This has led to numerous discussions of any Weapon of Warning being too overpowered. Ultimately, whether or not an item is considered overpowered is subjective, and the use of these types of items comes down to what the DM wants the players to experience. DM’s should use discretion anytime magic items are made available.
Overall, a Weapon of Warning is a fantastic item for players to find in those mid-range (10-15) levels. It can help them feel strong enough to avoid a goblin ambush without giving out a massive damage weapon. The fact that Weapon of Warning is a template, allowing it to be applied to any weapon, allows for it to be tailored to a specific player’s preferred weapon type. Don’t be afraid of giving the players an edge with this item but always balance that with the type of scenario desired.