This foul-smelling blue ointment, brewed by barbarian hill tribes, doesn’t immediately have its normal effect of curing one disease or poison effect or granting one healing surge when applied; its effects are delayed until the recipient spends a free action to activate them. The effect ends when used or at the end of the day.
While some items may get mechanically better (for instance, a +1 sword becomes a +2 sword), it’s more challenging to improve items that don’t have numeric bonuses. I thought I’d go through the Wondrous Items in the 4e Player’s Handbook and give examples of how each could gain powers that reflect their history.
Also, until the end of the day, the user has a +2 item bonus to Intimidate checks and a -4 penalty to Stealth checks, due to being bright blue and stinky.
A pot of Keoghtom’s Ointment “levels up” to Keoghtom’s Woad by being tinkered with by a barbarian shaman.
Keoghtom’s Ointment for the Eyes
If this ointment is smeared on the eyes, the user gains darkvision and has +2 item bonus to perception checks for five minutes. Also, all skill checks, defenses and saving throws vs. illusion have a +5 item bonus during this period.
The process of leveling up this ointment involves collecting “Corellon’s tears,” whatever they are. The fairies are said to know, but they’re so frustrating to talk to.
Prismaticus’s Keoghtom’s patented bracing all-purpose ointment, pick me up, and healthy dessert
This ointment can restore two healing surges instead of one. It can grant a character temporary healing surges above his or her normal maximum. Bonus surges above the normal maximum expire after five minutes.
While recipients of this ointment are above their normal healing surge limit, they experience buzzing in the ears, arcane tingling, and a feeling of frantic excitement. Basic attacks are made with a +1 bonus to hit. Athletics gets a +2 item bonus. All other skills are at -2.
The mountebank Prismaticus the Magnificent knows how to turn an ordinary pot of Keoghtom’s Ointment into his patent medicine, but he won’t share his recipe, although he does admit that the ingredients might be highly illegal.
Next week: three versions of Dust of Appearance! If I can think of three.