The Book of Artifacts is a sourcebook for the 2nd-edition ruleset of Dungeons & Dragons. This book details 50 different artifacts across several Dungeons & Dragons campaign settings, including the Forgotten Realms.
New and valuable information is also included for characters who want to create magical items or recharge existing ones. Making that special magical sword or finding ingredients for that powerful potion can be the basis for whole adventures!Whether the characters find the Machine of Lum the Mad or the Jacinth of Inestimable Beauty, the Book of Artifacts packs enough adventure between its covers to be an invaluable addition to every AD&D game!
The book's 8-page introduction on pages 3–10 provides an overview of the contents and the significance of artifacts within the game. One page is spent in an attempt to clear up some misconceptions regarding artifacts. The next four pages of the introduction provide an explanation of the book's contents by chapter, defines what makes an artifact different from other magic items (an artifact is unique, has a special history, and provides an impetus for a story to be centered on it) and includes a set of guidelines on how a Dungeon Master can create a new artifact for the campaign.
The remaining three pages of the introduction serve to explain how the specific artifacts described within the book operate. It explains the common elements of how all artifacts function within a game, and details two common types of special curses an artifact might cause: artifact possession, where an artifact's will can possess a character using the item, and artifact transformation, where the artifact literally transforms a character physically and mentally over time into something else entirely. The format for the artifact descriptions found in the next section is also explained. Each artifact is given a detailed in-game history consisting of one or more paragraphs, and each one provides a section of advice on how the Dungeon Master may use the item within a campaign.
Fifty individual artifacts are described on pages 11–106. Most descriptions take up one full page, but a few require more than one page, and all are illustrated. Many of these artifacts have existed since the game's early days. Each artifact has its most significant powers detailed, each of which falls into one of five categories: constant (always in effect), invoked (activated intentionally by the character), random (determined by the Dungeon Master or by random roll), resonating (only functioning when two or more pieces of a matched set are joined), and curse (such as artifact possession, artifact transformation, or something else). Lastly, the introduction describes how each artifact has a suggested means of destruction, none of which should be easy for a character to accomplish.
Of the fifty artifacts described in this book, the following are used in the Forgotten Realms campaign setting:
- Acorn of Wo-Mai
- All-Knowing Eye of Yasmin Sira
- Coin of Jisan the Bountiful
- Death Rock
- Hammer of Gesen
- Herald of Mei Lung
- Iron Bow of Gesen
- Ivory Chain of Pao
- Monocle of Bagthalos
- Scepter of the Sorcerer-Kings
- Seal of Jafar al-Samal
- David Cook. Book of Artifacts (2e). Dungeon Masters Guild. Retrieved on 2013-06-09.