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The 15 Most Powerful Artifacts in D&D 5e [Ranked]

The 15 Most Powerful Artifacts in D&D 5e [Ranked]

As you travel through the world of D&D, eventually, you’ll come face to face with items holding incredible power. 

Whether that be accidental, destiny, or dumb-founded luck remains a mystery, but come across one, you will.

Magic Item Rarity 5e D&D

In D&D, you’ll come across many different items that will each have their own rarity.

The following list shows item rarity from least rare to most rare: Common, Uncommon, Rare, Very Rare, Legendary, and Artifact.

In other words, you can guess just how rare Artifacts are!

Note: DMs will sometimes hide Artifacts in a campaign, hinting at their existence or giving your party the option to go on a “quest” only to come across an Artifact. However, this is only one possibility out of hundreds.

Best Artifacts in 5e D&D

15. Demonomicon of Iggwilv

Item Type: Wondrous item

Attunement: Required

Lore: The Demonomicon of Iggwilv is known as the most thorough and blasphemous tome regarding demonology in all the multiverse, listing the infinite layers and inhabitants of the Abyss. It holds such sensitive demonic secrets that even the demonic races have tried to censor the text.

Similar to the Book of Vile Darkness, the Demonomicon of Iggwilv functions both as a way to understand the fell nature of the Abyss and gives ways to destroy those who lurk there.

An adventurer with the knowledge and power of the Demonomicon can choose to destroy those of the Abyss or become a feared leader of their forces.

Its best features are the Fiendish Scourging and Ensnarement, which give the attuned creature extreme power over fiends.

14. Iggwilv’s Cauldron

Item Type: Wondrous item

Attunement: Required by a spellcaster

Lore: Iggwilv’s Cauldron was crafted by Iggwilv with the help of her adoptive mother, Baba Yaga, the archfrey. The cauldron has two forms, The Gold Cauldron and The Iron Cauldron, which can only be changed by Baba Yaga or Iggwilv, no other.

The two forms of Iggwilv’s Cauldron are both powerful; the Gold Cauldron can transform water into stew or wine into a fortifying elixir; it can even transform a broom into a Broom of Flying.

However, the Iron Cauldron is much more nefarious, being able to summon swarms of bats, making creatures fall unconscious or freezing unattuned creatures perpetually.

Iggwilv’s Cauldron is mostly likely located at the side of its creator in the Feywild.

13. Orb of Dragonkind

Item Type: Wondrous item

Attunement: Required

Lore: The Orb of Dragonkind is a relic of a war waged by Elves and Humans against evil dragons on the planet of Krynn. It was created by the wizards of the Towers of High Sorcery to help the Elves and Humans defeat the evil dragons, significantly speeding up their long-fought victory.

Being attuned to the Orb of Dragonkind allows the casting of various spells like Scrying, Death Ward, Daylight, and Cure Wounds.

However, its most powerful feature is Call Dragons, where all evil-aligned dragons within a 40-mile radius are compelled to fly towards the orb.

Even though it doesn’t work on deities like Tiamat, the various ways this spell can be used give a party so much power over evil dragons that it feels a bit like cheating.

12. Staff of the Forgotten One

Item Type: Staff

Attunement: Required by a Sorcerer, Warlock, or Wizard

Lore: Carved from bone and topped with the skull of a long-forgotten archmage, the Staff of the Forgotten One belonged to Acererak, otherwise known as The Devourer or the Lord of Unlife. The words “Acererak’s Rune” are etched into the skull, and many worlds associate those words with a sign of death.

A Sorcerer, Warlock, or Wizard attuned to the Staff of the Forgotten One gains benefits such as a bonus (double) to Intelligence (Arcana) and (History) checks. It also can’t be Blinded, Charmed, Deafened, Frightened, Petrified or Stunned.

The staff also makes undead of CR 2 or lower neither threaten nor attack you, and the Invoke Curse feature allows you to curse a creature, making it so they can’t regain HP and are vulnerable to Necrotic damage.

Just be warned, the archmage within the staff seeks to possess anyone who uses the staff, having a 50% chance to try and possess the staff wielder whenever he uses the staff’s charges.

11. The Bloody End

Item Type: Weapon (Morningstar)

Attunement: Required

Lore: The Bloody End carries the power of Bane, taking the form of an adamantine morningstar sporting foot-long spikes and a jagged blade attached to its pommel.

The Bloody End has three stages, Dormant, Awakened, and Exalted, each providing benefits like gaining bonuses in attack and damage rolls and being able to cast spells like Charm Person, Dominate Person, Fear, or Dominate Monster.

While it also provides many other bonuses, they come at a cost, as the personality of The Bloody End will try to compel you to subjugate others and never back down from a challenge.

Note: The Blood End is the perfect weapon for evil Death Domain Clerics or Oathbreaker Paladins who’ve sworn to serve a dark god.

10. Blade of Broken Mirrors

Item Type: Weapon (Dagger)

Attunement: Required by a humanoid

Lore: The Blade of Broken Mirrors is a weapon of Tharizdun, taking the forming of a jagged stone scribed with a maze-like pattern that has no beginning nor end.

The Blade of Broken Mirrors has three stages, Dormant, Awakened, and Exalted, each providing benefits like gaining bonuses in attack and damage rolls and having the ability to cast spells like Fabricate, Hallucinatory, Terrain, Major Image, or Phantasmal Killer.

Attuning to the sentient Blade of Broken Mirrors provides many other bonuses as well, but the personality of the blade whispers scenes of chaos to the wielder, encouraging reckless action.

Note: Evil adventurers such as Assassin Rogues, Mastermind Rogues, Trickery Domain Clerics, or the College of Whispers Bard do well with the Blade of Broken Mirrors at their side.

9. Baba Yaga’s Mortar and Pestle

Item Type: Wondrous Item

Attunement: Required

Lore: Baba Yaga Mortal and Pestle was created by the immortal archfey herself, defying the laws of mortal magic. It is impossible to separate the artifact, as the pestle will always appear next to the mortar at the next break of dawn.

Baba Yaga’s Mortar and Pestle have a wide array of features, as both the pestle and mortar have separate properties and are bound to one another by Baba Yaga’s powerful magic imbued into the items.

An adventurer holding the mortar and pestle is capable of teleportation (up to 1000 miles away), grinding whatever is in the mortar (dealing 4d10 Force damage), or filling the mortar with certain materials worth 10 GP or less.

Note: The mortar and pestle are a blessing to those practicing alchemy.

8. Axe of the Dwarvish Lords

Item Type: Weapon (Battleaxe)

Attunement: Required

Lore: A dwarf prince, with the aid of Moradin, forged four great tools, the Axe of the Dwarvish Lords being one. It has been lost to the ages after it was lost in the last civil war, awaiting the return of the one who would bring peace to the Dwarfs…or so they say.

The Axe of the Dwarvish Lords gives unique benefits to Dwarfs attuned to it, and if the creature attuned to it isn’t a Dwarf, they start to resemble (only physically) one because of the weapon’s curse.

Otherwise, it provides major benefits and allows the casting of Conjure Elemental and the ability to teleport when touching a piece of Dwarfen stonework.

Another great bonus is that the axe acts as a Belt of Dwarvenkind, a Dwarven Thrower, and a Sword of Sharpness.

7. Sword of Kas

Item Type: Weapon (Longsword)

Attunement: Required)

Lore: The Sword of Kas is a sentient sword created by Vecna and handed to his lieutenant, Kas the Bloody Handed. The sentience of the sword seeks to supplant Vecna’s authority, bearing hatred and a lust for power that Kas could not give the sword in its time.

Created by Vecna, the Sword of Kas provides major benefits, adding d10 to initiative rolls at the start of every combat, allowing the wielder to cast Call Lightning, Divine Word, and Finger of Death, and constantly communicating with its wielder.

Those who possess the Sword of Kas must be very careful of the sword, as it obsessed over the followers of Vecna and the Eye and Hand of Vecna. Before long, this fixation will take a toll on the wielder as well.

6. Ring of Winter

Item Type: Ring

Attunement: Required

Lore: The true origin of the Ring of Winter is unknown, but the legend goes that a powerful mage called Azuth forged it before he became a god and was kissed by Auril. Some ice giants believe the ring is so powerful that it can coat the world in frost, and so they constantly search for its whereabouts.

The Ring of Winter is my favorite artifact in D&D, an artifact craving destruction and reveling in inflicting pain upon others. While wearing the ring, it communicates to you through emotions, and you cannot age.

It also gives immunity to Cold damage and the ill effects of extreme cold. Spells like Bigby’s Hand, Cone of Cold, Flesh to Stone, Ice Storm, Otiluke’s Freezing Sphere, Sleet Storm, Spike Growth, and Wall of Ice can all be cast with the ring.

Some also say that there is an ability so powerful that it can only be accessed by an evil being whose will the Ring of Winter cannot break. The frost giants also rumored that the ring could freeze entire worlds, while certain djinns believed it could control white dragons and the primordial known as Cryonax.

Note: If the Ring of Winter were to fall into the wrong hands, it could spell the end of the entire world. Luckily, it has been lost throughout the ages and cannot be traced by Divination magic.

5. Wand of Orcus

Item Type: Wand

Attunement: Required

Lore: The Wand of Orcus is wielded by Orcus and rarely leaves his side, but when Orcus allows the wand to slip from his side, understand that it is because Orcus sees an opportunity to achieve some fell goal. The wand changes size and destroys all good-aligned nature in its presence.

Wielding the Wand of Orcus provides a bonus to AC, grants access to spells (Animate Dead, Blight, Circle of Death, Finger of Death, Power Word: Kill, and Speak with Dead), and can even summon an army of skeletons and zombies.

Note: If attuned to the Wand of Orcus, any kind of undead can be summoned.

The wand is the very essence of Orcus, and while it might compel you to believe that it yearns to overthrow Orcus, the havoc you’ll spread with it to get to Orcus has been orchestrated by the Demon Lord of Undeath.

4. Sword of Zariel

Item Type: Weapon (Longsword)

Attunement: Required by a creature the sword deems worthy

Lore: The Sword of Zariel belonged to the angel Zariel before she became the Archduchess of Avernus. The sword is made from celestial steel and desires a wielder who is the embodiment of heroism and bravery.

Wielding the Sword of Zariel provides you with different languages, resistances, increased Charisma, angelic wings, truesight, and a new personality.

The sword also shines with holy light, deals extra Radiant damage, and gives advantage on all Wisdom (Insight) checks.

The Sword of Zariel not only provides its wielder with unimaginable power but also causes the rebirth of the current wielder, in a sense.

3. Eye and Hand of Vecna

Item Type: Wondrous item

Attunement: Required

Lore: After becoming a lich, Vecna’s evil dominion lasted until Kas was seduced by his sword, dying in the process but ultimately ending Vecna’s rule. After the battle, only one hand and one eye belonging to Vecna were left. They say these items still work the will of Vecna, spreading it to the rest of the world.

The Eye and Hand of Vecna are two of the most unholy and corrupt artifacts to be discovered, imbuing their wielder with unparalleled power.

A few bonuses are: gaining access to eleven spells (including Wish), a Strength increase (becomes 20), X-ray vision, regaining HP per turn (1d10), and becoming immune to disease and poison.

Even though you become neutral evil after attuning to these items, the benefits they provide and the fact that alignment doesn’t play too big of a role make these items some of the best in D&D.

2. Book of Vile Darkness

Item Type: Wondrous item

Attunement: Required

Lore: The Book of Vile Darkness was rumored to be written by Vecna himself, yet none know its true creator. However, it is known that the manuscripts within its leathery cover hold an ineffable wickedness no mortal is meant to perceive, as one glimpse of its pages is enough to invite madness.

A few bonuses the Book of Vile Darkness provides are: 

  • Increasing one ability score by 2 (maximum 24) and decreasing one by 2 (minimum 3) 
  • Being able to cast Dominate Monster
  • Double on proficiency with Intelligence checks to recall information
  • Deal 3d6 Psychic damage to non-evil creatures 15 feet from you

Reading the Book of Vile Darkness also physically transforms you, as you resemble the fell darkness you’ve brought into your heart.

1. Book of Exalted Deeds

Item Type: Wondrous item

Attunement: Required by a creature of good alignment

Lore: It is unknown who wrote the Book of Exalted Deeds, but those who read it gain immeasurable power and knowledge, guiding how to defeat evil. It has a will of its own and never stays long in one place, constantly traveling to different corners of the multiverse.

The Book of Exalted Deeds is the exact opposite of the Book of Vile Darkness, blessing those who read it with unfathomable power to destroy evil.

Some properties of the Book of Exalted Deeds are: 

  • Receiving 2 minor and major beneficial properties
  • Increasing your Wisdom to 2 (maximum of 24)
  • One level higher spell slot for Cleric and Paladin spells
  • Gain a protective halo, shedding bright light and giving advantage on Charisma (Persuasion) with good creatures and Charisma (Intimidation) with evil creatures

The Book of Exalted Deeds is extremely difficult to find, but read it if you’re a good-aligned creature and you come across it.

FAQs About Artifacts in 5e D&D

What Are Artifacts in 5e?

Artifacts, unlike other magical items, are unique in nature. It boasts tremendous power and has its own origin and a detailed history.

Each Artifact has fixed properties – minor and major benefits and drawbacks – detailed by whatever book you’re using or described by the DM to fit the scenario.

Simply put, think of Artifacts of an item rarity category that rises beyond Legendary!

Can You Make an Artifact in 5e?

Put simply, no. There’s no way for a player to create or construct any Artifact, as the powers one obtains from an Artifact are too powerful to simply hand over the schematic.

That said, it is possible for the weapon, armor, spellbook, personalized, or some other object that the player once used to be turned into an Artifact, but only if that player makes a big enough name for themselves and a long time passes (1000+ years at least).

Final Thoughts

Artifacts might not be available in every Campaign as they are some of the most powerful items any adventurer can obtain, so don’t stress too much about it.

However, if your DM gives any hints to an Artifact or knows a Campaign contains a hidden Artifact, it would be a fantastically difficult quest to take on and absolutely worth it.

So, if you want to walk through the worlds of D&D without worry, obtain an Artifact, as few items can match such mythical power.