Today is National Hat Day! Here at d20 Diaries we’re celebrating by putting on our favourite toques and counting down our favourite magical headgear in d20 gaming. Some of our choices are classics, reused through many versions of the game, while others are new, unique, or quirky. All of our choices are sorted by cost, from lowest to highest.
Curious what made the cut?
10 – Hat of Disguise
A classic magical hat that’s been in many d20 games, from Dungeons and Dragons (in various incarnations), to Pathfinder, and so on. The hat of disguise allows you to alter your appearance as often as you like. Although the difficulty to see the through the illusory disguise isn’t amazing, it’s a quick and simple way to allow your characters to blend in, and get up to all kinds of shenanigans. This affordable hat is a ton of fun and, in the right hands, is incredibly useful. In the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game a hat of disguise costs 1,800 gold pieces and is available in the Core Rulebook and Ultimate Equipment. In Dungeons & Dragons (5e) you can find it in the Dungeon Master’s Guide.
9 – Circlet of Persuasion
Another classic staple, the circlet of persuasion grants you a +3 competence bonus on all Charisma-based checks. Yup! All of them. Now, that’s not something useful to all characters, but if you’re the kind of character it would be useful for, it’s really useful. In the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game this will set you back 4,500 gp and is available in the Core Rulebook and Ultimate Equipment.
8 – Helm of Comprehend Languages and Read Magic
Pretty self explanatory, I know. This helmet lets you understand any language you see written or hear spoken, including magical writing. It also grants you a bonus on linguistics checks to decipher incomplete and extinct languages, and so on. A steal of a deal at 5,200 gp! In the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game this helmet is available in the Pathfinder Core Rulebook and Ultimate Equipment. In the most recent version of D&D (5e) its known as the Helm of Comprehending Languages, and is slightly different. It can be found in the Dungeon Master’s Guide.
7 – Crown of Swords
Personally, I love the crown of swords. It looks like a steel crown covered in tiny mithral swords. It’s fun, has a flavourful and dynamic effect, and doesn’t use up a lot of time to activate. So what’s it do? Up to ten rounds a day when you’re injured in combat you can cause a spiritual weapon (shaped like one of those snazzy little longswords on your crown) to appear and immediately begin attacking whoever wounded you. It can stick around as long as the enemy is within range and you have the rounds to keep using it. Get injured again? You can make another appear if you want to. This nifty little crown can be a lot of fun! You can find it in Ultimate Equipment, or the Advanced Race Guide for 6,000 gp.
6 – Helm of the Mammoth Lord
This helmet looks awesome, lets you gore enemies with your helm’s tusks, protects you from the cold, and makes you better at interacting (handle animal, ride, wild empathy) with elephant-like creatures. Finally, it lets you magically communicate with elephant-like creatures. Super cool! It’s available in the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game for 8,500 gp, from Ultimate Equipment and Pathfinder Player Companion: People of the North.
5 – Mitre of the Hierophant
This ostentatious hat is the go-to headpiece for divine casters who worship a deity. It grants you a solid bonus on diplomacy and knowledge (religion) skills checks, and lets you communicate with your god (via the commune spell) once a day. Once a week you can also help another creature atone for their sins. This hat is from Ultimate Equipment and costs 18,000 gp.
4 – Howling Helm
This helmet is made from a wolf’s skull and lets you communicate with any canines (from foxes up to dire wolves). It also gives you a bonus to influence magical beasts that are canine-like, such as blink dogs and worgs. Finally, three times a day you can let out a badass howl that summons a pack of magical wolves to fight for you for five rounds, and can demoralize your enemies! This super-cool helmet costs 22,600 gp and can be found in Ultimate Equipment.
3 – Batrachian Helm
This one’s a little weird, I know, but I like it! The batrachian helm looks like a frog’s head and lets you use a magical force tongue attack! This tongue can be used as a swift action to move objects and enemies closer to you. However, if you use it against an object or creature particularly heavy or immovable, you’re pulled towards it instead (which doesn’t provoke)! It’s really adaptable, and can let you manipulate the battlefield and environment in some creative ways. I highly recommend this helmet if you’ve never used it before! It costs 26,000 gp and can be found in Ultimate Equipment.
2 – Helm of Telepathy
A helmet that’s survived through many editions of d20 games, the helm of telepathy lets you detect the thoughts of those around you and send them telepathic messages in turn. And if they think of a response? You hear it and can respond again, of course! Once a day you can also cast suggestion on someone when you give them a telepathic message (although the DC to resist isn’t very high). This telepathic communication can be a boon in all sorts of situations, including for rumourmongering, spying, and communicating secretly among your teammates. In the pathfinder Roleplaying Game it costs 27,000 gp and can be found in the Core Rulebook and Ultimate Equipment. In 5th edition D&D you can find it in the Dungeon Master’s Guide.
1 – Helm of Brilliance
This over-the-top helmet has been around since the original Dungeons and Dragons, and is still kicking around today. The rules have changed a bit throughout the years, but at its heart it’s still the same. The helm of brilliance is covered with magical gemstones that can cast spells. Each gemstone can be used to cast a spell once before it’s magic fades, but don’t worry! There’s a lot of gems on this pricy helmet. Ten diamonds that cast prismatic spray, twenty rubies that create walls of fire, thirty fire opals that cast fireball, and forty opals that cast daylight. As long as you’ve got a gem left with magic still in it the helmet also grants you fire resistance, can make any weapon you’re wielding flaming, glows when undead are nearby, and damages any such undead. Crazy, right? The downside? If you’re harmed by a fire spell and fail a Will save the gems all overcharge, sending prismatic sprays around at random, making walls of fire all over the place, and causing fireballs explode all over you. Classic. A helm of brilliance in Pathfinder will cost you a whopping 125,000 gp and can be found in the Core Rulebook and Ultimate Equipment. In D&D (5e) you can find it in the Dungeon Master’s Guide.
Don’t want your helmet to explode while its on your head? I recommend picking up a Helm of Reclamation instead. This undead-destroying helmet functions in much the same way, with ten diamonds casting sunburst, thirty bloodstones casting searing light, and forty opals casting daylight. It glows near undead and harms such enemies, and can give your weapons the flaming ability. It does not, however, grant you fire resistance. Know what else it doesn’t do? Explode. Fair trade. The helm of reclamation can be found in Pathfinder’s Classic Treasures Revisited.
And that’s our ten favourite magical headgear from d20 games! Got a favourite we didn’t include? Think I’m crazy? Let me know in the comments! Wearing a crazy hat today? I want to hear that, too!
Until next time,