Enhanced Items

Enhanced items include alien computers and energy shields, super-science shrink rays, and magical weapons. They may be discovered among the equipment of a defeated enemy, a gift from a benefactor, discovered in ancient treasure hordes, an inheritance from a legendary hero, or might even be created by your character.

These items often grant capabilities that a character couldn't have otherwise, or they complement their owner’s abilities in incredible ways.

Comprehension


Some enhanced items require a creature to study and understand them before their enhanced properties can be used. This process is called comprehension, and certain items have a prerequisite for it. If the prerequisite is a class, race or endowment, a creature must be a member of that class, race, or endowment to comprehend the item.

Without first comprehending an item that requires comprehension, a creature gains only its non-enhanced benefits, unless its description states otherwise. For example, an enhanced throwing shield that requires comprehension provides the benefits of a normal shield to a creature who hasn't comprehended it, but none of its enhanced properties.

Comprehending an item requires a creature to spend a short rest studying that item while remaining in physical contact with it (this can’t be the same short rest used to learn the item’s properties). This study can take the form of weapon practice (for a weapon), looking under the hood (for a vehicle), checking the interface (for a computer), or some other appropriate activity. If the short rest is interrupted, the comprehension attempt fails. Otherwise, at the end of the short rest, the creature gains an understanding of how to activate any enhanced properties of the item, including any necessary command prompts.

An item that is locked must first be unlocked before it can be comprehended.

There is no limit to the number of items a creature can comprehend or the number of creatures that can comprehend an item.

Attunement


Some enhanced items require a creature to form a bond with them before their enhanced properties can be used. This bond is called attunement, and certain items have a prerequisite for it. If the prerequisite is a class, a creature must be a member of that class to attune to the item.

Without becoming attuned to an item that requires attunement, a creature gains only its non-enhanced benefits, unless its description states otherwise. For example, a magic sword that requires attunement provides the benefits of a normal sword to a creature not attuned to it, but none of its enhanced properties.

Attuning to an item requires a creature to spend a short rest focused on only that item while being in physical contact with it (this can’t be the same short rest used to learn the item’s properties). This focus can take the form of weapon practice (for a weapon), meditation (for a wondrous item), petting and admiring it (for a ring), or some other appropriate activity. If the short rest is interrupted, the attunement attempt fails. Otherwise, at the end of the short rest, the creature gains an intuitive understanding of how to activate any enhanced properties of the item, including any necessary command prompts.

An item can be attuned to only one creature at a time, and a creature can be attuned to no more than three enhanced items at a time. Any attempt to attune to a fourth item fails; the creature must end its attunement to an item first. Additionally, a creature can’t attune to more than one copy of an item. For example, a creature can’t attune to more than one ring of the elements at a time.

A creature’s attunement to an item ends if the creature no longer satisfies the prerequisites for attunement, if the item has been more than 100 feet away for at least 24 hours, if the creature dies, or if another creature attunes to the item. A creature can also voluntarily end attunement by spending another short rest focused on the item, unless the item is cursed.

Wearing and Wielding Items


Using an enhanced item’s properties might mean wearing or wielding it. An enhanced item meant to be worn must be donned in the intended fashion: boots go on the feet, gloves on the hands, hats and helmets on the head, and rings on the finger. Enhanced armor must be donned, a shield strapped to the arm, a cloak fastened about the shoulders. A weapon must be held.

In most cases, an enhanced item that’s meant to be worn can fit a creature regardless of size or build. Many enhanced garments are made to be easily adjustable, or they magically adjust themselves to the wearer. Rare exceptions exist. If the story suggests a good reason for an item to fit only creatures of a certain size or shape, you can rule that it doesn’t adjust. For example, ogre-made armor might fit ogres only. A race of Small aliens might make items usable only by Small folk shaped like them.

When a nonhumanoid tries to wear an item, use your discretion as to whether the item functions as intended. A ring placed on an aberration's tentacle might work, but a mermaid can’t wear boots.

Multiple Items of the Same Kind. Use common sense to determine whether more than one of a given kind of enhanced item can be worn. A character can’t normally wear more than one pair of footwear, one pair of gloves or gauntlets, one pair of bracers, one suit of armor, one item of headwear, and one cloak. You can make exceptions; a character might be able to wear a circlet under or over a helmet, for example, or to layer two cloaks.

Paired Items. Items that come in pairs—such as boots, bracers, gauntlets, and gloves—impart their benefits only if both items of the pair are worn. For example, a character wearing a rocket boot on one foot and a boot of the ninja on the other foot gains no benefit from either.

The GM may determine that, in some cases, these lone items may have a use, but they certainly can't be used as described.

Activating an Item


Activating some enhanced items requires a user to do something special, such as drinking it or typing in a command prompt. The description of each item category or individual item details how an item is activated. Certain items use the following rules for their activation.

If an item requires an action to activate, that action isn’t a function of the Use an Item action, so a power such as speedy skill can’t be used to activate the item.

Command Prompt. A command prompt is a word or phrase that must be typed or spoken, determined in the description, for an item to work. A command prompt that requires typing can't be used unless you have at least one hand free. An enhanced item that requires a verbal command prompt can’t be activated in an area where sound is prevented, as in the area of the deathly quiet power.

Consumables. Some items are used up when they are activated. A potion or an elixir must be swallowed, or an oil applied to the body. The writing vanishes from a scroll when it is read. Once used, a consumable item loses its magic.

Powers. Some enhanced items allow the user to activate a power from the item. The power is activated at the lowest possible power level, doesn’t expend any of the user’s power slots, and requires no materials, unless the item’s description says otherwise. The power uses its normal activation time, range, and duration, and the user of the item must concentrate if the power requires concentration. Many items, such as potions, bypass the activation of a power and confer the power’s effects, with their usual duration. Certain items make exceptions to these rules, changing the activation time, duration, or other parts of a power.

An enhanced item, such as certain staffs, may require you to use your own power ability when you activate a power from the item. If you have more than one power ability, you choose which one to use with the item. If you don’t have a power ability—perhaps you’re a human—your power ability modifier is +0 for the item, and your proficiency bonus does apply.

Charges. Some enhanced items have charges that must be expended to activate their properties. The number of charges an item has remaining is revealed when an analyze power is used on it, as well as when a creature comprehends or attunes to it. Additionally, when an item regains charges, the creature attuned to it learns how many charges it regained. A creature who has comprehended an object must handle the object to know how many charges it has regained.

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