Steal This D&D 5e Magic Item: Eye Scream Edition
People get squicked out by eyes. It’s just a fact of life. You can talk about the Hand of Vecna without getting too many weird looks, but the moment you ask a player to pluck an eye out for unspeakable power, suddenly you’ve gone “too far.” Sure, lop a hand off, fine. But cackle when they ask if there’s some way to attune to that mummified lich eyeball without a lurid description of digging out their own peeper, and now you’re the “bad guy.”
Look, I’m just saying that eyes are windows to the soul. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and when we see it, our eyes are glued to it. Some of us have eyes in the back of our head, evil eyes, eyes on stalks, the evil eye, eyes like two burnt holes in a blanket, or even eyes only for someone else. We all started as a twinkle in someone’s eyes. Since then, we’ve been up to our eyeballs in trouble. Nothing for it, though. An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind.
There’s a reason that eyes are so shot through our poetic and idiomatic language. Our experience of the world is pretty firmly pinned to sight. Our eyes are often enough how we first interact with new experiences. Isn’t it only right and proper to take that kind of magic and screw with it?
Today, we’ve got two magic items that are sure to make your PCs wriggle a little: The Oculus Cage and the pretty aptly named Bad Eye.
The Oculus Cage
Wonderous Item, Very Rare (Requires Attunement)
This cage of twisted brass and copper wire is faceted like an insect’s compound eye. A nest of fishhooks glisten inside the cage, rising like the bristles from a boars back. The metal of the cage is scuffed, marred, and bent in places, as though it’s taken some abuse over the years. Within the scuff marks, there are the ghosts of strange runes, words of power that speak of preservation and far-seeing.
When the Oculus Cage is raised to eye level, the cage painlessly extracts the user’s left eye. It looks absolutely horrifying, though. The eye is held by the hooks in the center of the cage. While a creature’s eye is removed and it is attuned to the Oculus Cage, it can elect to see through its remaining eye or the eye held in the cage, but not both simultaneously. While a creature is attuned, it may control the Oculus Cage telepathically out to a mile. While controlling the Oculus Cage in this manner, the creature counts as blinded. The eye may be returned to the socket unharmed as an action, though it might be a little sore for a while.
The Oculus Cage may travel at 60 ft per action, a decent clip that makes it ideal for scouting. The Oculus Cage is also difficult to spot, add the character’s proficiency bonus to its Stealth rolls even if the character is not proficient in Stealth. Whatever strange magics suffuse the Oculus Cage also grant the user Darkvision even if their ancestry does not grant them the natural ability to peer through nonmagical darkness.
This power does not come without consequence, however. The cage is remarkably hardy, but the eye within is not immune to harm. The Oculus Cage has an AC of 17, and any damage is transferred to the eye’s owner, but any attack that deals more than 5 hit points of damage destroys the eye inside the cage such that it cannot be returned to the socket.
Wonderous Item, Rare (Requires Attunement)
This flat grey stone is curiously warm to the touch, and worn smooth. Etched on one side is a crude, runic interpretation of an eye. It’s grubby, worn, and just a little larger than a real eye. But no matter where you put it, the pupil seems to be following you.
This false eye, carved by the shamanistic monstrous humanoids of your choice, is not only a fantastic trinket to creep your characters out but also a fully functional false eye. That is to say, when placed into an empty socket, a creature may see out of the Bad Eye as though it were their natural eye. This eye may also be invoked to cast the following spells with Charisma as the relevant casting stat.
- Detect Magic
- Ray of Sickness (Charisma based)
- Witchbolt (Does not require Concentration)
- Hypnotic Pattern
A Bad Eye may be found with up to five charges, and it regains 1d4 charges each night at midnight. If the charges are fully expended, the Bad Eye has a 20% chance of becoming an inert piece of stone as the enchantments worked into the artifact unravel. If the Bad Eye has maximum charges (5) for longer than 24 hours without an expenditure, then there is a 20% chance that the Bad Eye will grant the ability to see through magical darkness until a charge is spent.
Happy eye-gouging, guys. Let me know how they work for you!