10 More Ways for Niantic to Improve Pokemon Go (Part II)

See also my previous post titled:

10 Ways for Niantic to Improve Pokemon Go (Part I)

#11. Ways to Increase Search Radius.

When searching for Pokemon circles radiate around your avatar, showing your Search Radius. But what if there were ways to temporarily increase your search radius?

This topic came up when I was outside a hospital looking for Pokemon and there was a young patient in a wheelchair outside looking for Pokemon. His usual method was to find a Pokestop and drop a Lure Module, as the game is not "wheel chair friendly" in any way or form.

Seeing the Lure I decided to hang out with him and we got to talking about ways to improve the game.

For him the Search Radius was a major hindrance because of his lack of mobility. He could go places in his wheelchair, but the woods, any place with lots of stairs, and other locations where it is difficult to maneuver in his wheel chair were super tricky.

At times he would see Pokemon in his Sightings box, and move to get closer to them, but often would be just out of range to get near them in his wheelchair. We speculated that it would be an improvement to the game if there was an option to boost the search radius (by 50% or even double it) so that people can search for Pokemon for a boosted radius. Even a temporary boost that lasts 30 minutes might be worth it to players.

#12. The Inequality of the Prices in the Pokemon Shop.

Each Pokecoin is basically worth 1 penny. Buying Pokecoins have varying prices, but 1 penny per coin is roughly accurate. Any extra cost of buying Pokecoins I basically consider to be a transaction fee.

The problem however is what items are actually worth. Let me elaborate:

1 Egg Incubator will hatch 3 eggs and costs 150 Pokecoins. That means it costs 50 cents per Pokemon hatched. It also requires you to walk 6, 15 or 30 km to hatch the eggs, depending on the size of eggs you are hatching. Thus egg incubators are really expensive and not worth buying presently.

But in contrast if you buy Incense it costs 80 cents and will garner you 6 Pokemon, assuming you catch them, which you likely will. That is 13.33 cents per Pokemon caught. It will also cause you to lose 6 or more Pokeballs to catch them all. However, considering the price difference between Egg Incubators and Incense, then Incense is definitely a cost savings.

Lure Modules cost $1 (100 Pokecoins). They will also get you 6 Pokemon the same way Incense does, but the difference is that other people nearby also benefit. Thus Lure modules are even better as a cost savings if you make a habit of playing the game with friends all the time. But if you are a Lone Wolf style player then Lure Modules are not worth it when you consider Incense is cheaper.

Pokeballs cost 5 cents each. 20 balls for 100 Pokecoins. Or 4 cents each if you buy 200 balls for 800 Pokecoins. But at 4 or 5 cents per ball it would make more logical sense to just go for a walk and hit a few Pokestops instead. 10 Pokestops should garner 33+ items, which will be about 60% balls. Paying for Pokeballs is for lazy suckers.

The only things really worth paying for are the following:
  • Bag Upgrades - Because it is the gift that keeps on giving. Cap out your storage too often and later run out of balls, and you realize more storage is the key to having more balls and catching more Pokemon.
  • Pokemon Storage Upgrades - Because extra storage for more Pokemon is also handy.
  • Lucky Eggs - Used for Powerleveling by evolving 65+ Pokemon all at once.
Going back to Egg Incubators they should properly be priced at 50 cents each, making them 16.66 cents per Pokemon hatched. That makes way more sense price wise, and at least makes it comparable to Incense.

#13. The Evolution of Pokemon Sightings and Distance.

In the graphic below it shows how Pokemon Sightings originally worked, showing the approximate distance using footsteps. Then it was changed so people couldn't tell how far away they were. And then changed again so that it made it look like they were hiding in the tall grass.

In the previous 10 Ways for Niantic to Improve Pokemon Go I mentioned how they should add directional arrows for North, South, East and West. In this one I would also recommend bringing back the footprints.

Bringing back the footprints plus adding the directional arrows would suffice to make 3rd party radar apps obsolete. People would have a rough idea of the direction and possible distance to the Pokemon they are looking for, but they would still need to search for them and make the effort of walking / searching. The vagueness of the distance / direction ensures that players still have to wander around to attempt to find Pokemon.

#14. Disappearing Acts? Three Strikes System.

You find a Pokemon, you begin the process of tossing balls at it to catch it and... Poof! It disappears. Really annoying. In my opinion you should always get at least 3 tosses at a Pokemon BEFORE it disappears.

Getting only 1 or 2 balls at it and both failing and then the Pokemon goes Poof makes the game really annoying and frustrating.

Having a 3 throw minimum would allow people to have a better chance of actually catch a Pokemon before it pulls its disappearing act. Unfortunately this means the disappearing act would still happen, but having the 3 throw minimum at least gives players a better chance of success with less annoyances.

#15. Winter is Coming. Winter events?

One of the downfalls of this game is that eventually it is going to start snowing. Here in Toronto, Canada, we can expect the first snowfall sometime in November. So how will Canadians play Pokemon Go during the winter?

Well, for me, I have snowshoes and I happen to like snowshoeing, skiing and various winter activities. But not everyone is into those activities and will likely end up hibernating during the winter... Which means they might stop playing Pokemon Go during the winter. And people who stop playing might never play again when Spring comes.

Unless they can be coaxed outside by some form of Winter Pokemon Go Event...

Releasing new Ice Pokemon, or having a horde of Ice based Pokemon across the landscape might encourage people to go outside and play more. Or both. A virtual ice-storm of Ice Pokemon might be enough to coax players outside and keep playing. Plus a storm of them implies that people might be able to just sit at home and collect Ice Pokemon regardless of where they are, but would need to go outside if they want to get more items (or end up having to buy balls, which is wasteful for them, but really profitable for Niantic).

#16. Spyglass.

Similar to the Camera in the game, this is effectively a telescope that would allow players to search for Pokegyms and Pokestops that are much further away. It does not show the locations of Pokemon at all, all it does is allow players to search nearby regions to see how many Pokestops and Pokegyms are in that direction. This way players can look, see what is there, and then decide whether they want to go for a 1 or 2 hour walk and explore a new region they have never explored before.

This would be both useful and encourage people to go for longer walks and explore.

#17. Rewards and Medals, Upper Limits.

Take Collector for example. Once you capture 2000 Pokemon you have got the 30, 500 and 2000 Rewards. There is nothing beyond that. Nothing for capture 10,000 Pokemon.

Kanto at least makes some sense currently, as there are only 142 Pokemon available in a geographic region. You would have to explore around the world or hatch eggs to get more than that. But eventually when they release more types of Pokemon, 200 Kanto should be a reward.

Scientist stops at 200 Evolves. Backpacker at 2000 Pokestops. Jogger 1000 km. Breeder 500 eggs hatched. Etc.

But what if they changed the Upper Limits on these so people could catch 10,000, 50,000, 100,000 if they so wanted to? And keep getting the rewards and medals for each stage?

#18. Exploration Bonuses?

If you go to a new place and get Pokestops that you've never been to before, perhaps there should be a bonus for that?

Yes, you could just find a park that has 10 or more Pokestops and then walk around in circles, getting all of them. And then go to the same park all the time whenever you need more items. That is convenient.

But maybe there should be bonuses and rewards for how many UNIQUE Pokestops you visit. Wherein each individual one counts. This would encourage people to travel more, visit places they have never been to before (or revisit places they have never played Pokemon Go before).

So for example if you go on a trip to Montreal or Boston or San Diego, maybe there should be bonuses for visiting new places. And maybe an extra bonus for visiting other continents.

#19. Raising the Level Limit of 40 to 50.

Currently there is a level limit of 40. But at some point in the games future they should raise the cap to 50... or... allow people to "Reincarnate" and start over at level 1. At present I have met a few people who have reached the cap and have simply started a 2nd account, working on getting the 2nd account up to 40 as well. So clearly some people are ready for a higher level cap.

#20. Other Things You Can Do In the Game...

This is a blank option really. There are many other things that could be added this game. Here are a few ideas.

  • Pokemon Quests - Specific quests people can do, gaining new types of unusual items.
  • Pokemon Home - Build a home for your Pokemon to live in and customize it, by collecting items during quests.
  • Pokemon Marathons - Rewards for how many km you walk in a single day. Most people would probably accomplish this on a bicycle, but hey, more power to them. Nobody is going to bother trying to do this in a car however, at 10.5 kmph, that would be pretty slow and boring.
  • Pokemon Stadiums - Where players can compete in Battle Royales against other players. (For logistical reasons it would make sense to only have 1 or 2 stadiums in a whole city, and have them located in parks which can accommodate large numbers of players.)

Still to come... Part III of 10 Ways for Niantic to Improve Pokemon Go. Subscribe to Nerdovore to find out what other ways the game could be improved.

Got ideas on how to improve Pokemon Go? Post your comments below.


Did you know that Pokemon Go is actually boosting the economy? It is getting people outside exercising and the increased foot traffic is putting them next to mom n pop style businesses and the increase in random customers boosts the local economy for restaurants, stores, etc. It isn't very good for personal trainers or books about fad diets, as it basically proves that people don't need a personal trainer or a fad diet to lose weight, but it is certainly benefiting everyone else.

Pokestop Item Drop Rates

This is a wee bit of useful data for Pokemon Go players. The following was determined by a Reddit user who visited 3,200 Pokestops and recorded the results. They assembled this data after unlocking all of the available items.

Types of Drops
  • Poke Ball – 57.6%
  • Great Ball – 11.1%
  • Potion – 7.6%
  • Razz Berry – 7.5%
  • Revive – 7.4%
  • Super Potion – 3.1%
  • Ultra Ball – 2.9%
  • Hyper Potion – 1.5%
  • Max Potion – 0.8%
  • Max Revive – 0.08%
  • At lower levels the drop rates are different, depending on what items are available to be dropped.
  • Presumably the numbers above are not completely accurate. They are probably reasonably close however thanks to that 3,200 Pokestop sample size.

According to a different source the drop rates are more precise numbers:
  • Balls 65% (with an internal ratio of 80% regular, 15% great, 5% ultra)
  • Potions 22% (59% regular, 23.5% super, 11.75% ultra, 5.75% max)
  • Berries 7.5%
  • Revives 5.5% (99% regular, 1% max)
It is unclear what the sample size of this secondary source is, but their numbers are pretty close to the ones further above. It also appears they may have rounded numbers up/down, or maybe this info was leaked from Niantic itself? Unclear.

What is the average number of items dropped?

We know 3 is the minimum, and I have seen Pokestops drop as many as 10 items at once. But what is the average? 3.5? 3.75? Inquiring minds would like to know. (According to one Reddit user the maximum is 9, but I have personally seen 10 items dropped on multiple occasions so the upper limit is definitely 10. Unless someone out there has seen 11 or 12...)

Before you ask, no, there was no egg in that drop of 10 items. It was 10 regular items, just balls and potions. (Eggs often drop as a bonus after a player has recently finished hatching an egg.)

I have a hunch the average number of items dropped from Pokestops might actually depend on the player's level. Meaning higher level players are more likely to get 4+ items dropped. I have no proof of this thus far, as it would require creating a new account and recording the results of every Pokestop visited while leveling all the way to 40, and then comparing drop rates according to level... and frankly I cannot be bothered. But if someone out there has no life and wants to attempt this, please feel free to do so and share your results.

Useful Tip: The 10th Pokestop goes Critical

If you hit 10 different unique Pokestops in a row, the 10th Pokestop will drop 6 or more items, and give 100 XP instead of 50 XP. Effectively they get double items, minimum 6 and maximum 10.

Thus if a person is hitting the same 9 Pokestops all the time, they will never get that unique bonus. This in turn would skew their average number of drops to be lower. A different person who is farming 10 different Pokestops would be getting the bonus every 10 Pokestops, and this would give them a higher average number (approx. 10% higher comparatively).

So what is all this useful for?

Well when it comes to farming items from nearby Pokestops it is useful to know what things you can expect to drop and how many Pokestops you will probably have to hit on average to fill up your inventory with Pokeballs and other items.

It also gives you an idea that if you are filling up your inventory and you want more balls, and consequently want to dump potions in favour of having more balls, that you will have a better idea of how many potions will accidentally get when trying to get balls.

The Future!

According to Niantic they are planning to add things to Pokestops in the future so that players can use Pokestops for more than just farming items. Some of the ideas being tossed out include:
  • Players may be able to customize their local Pokestop.
  • Some Pokestops might be more valuable / useful than others.
Niantic is also planning to introduce PokeCenters, where players will be able to heal their Pokemon without having to use a potion. These apparently will be rare. PokeCenters may also be used for:
  • Trading Pokemon.
  • Breeding Pokemon. (Niantic has currently stated they are not currently working on breeding, but this may be something added in the future.)
  • Unknown other options.
The future of Pokemon Go is bright, but with all things concerning this game it will likely involve a lot of walking.

Pokemon Go Walking Distances for Evolving Buddy Pokemon

If you are like me then you really only use the Buddy system on Pokemon Go for evolving your Pokemon at a faster rate, especially if it means filling in a blank on your Pokedex.

I currently have 117 Pokemon in my Pokedex out of the 142 that are available locally. But I have the necessary Pokemon that I can evolve 18 more if I am willing and have the time to put in the kilometers walking and cycling. That would eventually bring my total to 135, thus I would only need 7 more rare Pokemon to complete my collection of 142.

Note - It is also possible to get some more hatching eggs. But that is a topic for another post.

The chart below is mostly for my own usage. But feel free to use it.


Evolving rare Pokemon takes a long time since they take 5 km to get a candy, and often require large numbers of candy. Instead I have been focused on common and uncommon Pokemon that are close to evolving and I only need to do 50 km or less to finish the job.

Not sure which Pokemon to Evolve? Determine their stats first and use a labeling system so you know which ones are the best. Then evolve your best Pokemon which are close to being ready to evolve.

Wait before you evolve! For two reasons:

1. Get a better quality Pokemon that has better stats. That way you are not wasting candy evolving a Pokemon that doesn't deserve it. Patience is better than "Evolving Regret".
2. Wait until you have 60 to 70 Pokemon that are ready to evolve. Then use a Lucky Egg to get double XP for all those Pokemon. You are looking at 60,000 to 70,000 XP instead of 30,000 to 35,000 XP.

Double your chances when walking. Don't just pick a Pokemon you want to evolve, go visit places where that type of Pokemon is likely to appear. For example if you are trying to evolve a Magikarp then you should be taking long walks near a river or a lake, to increase your chances of finding more Magikarp.

When at home try to keep the app on with the "Sightings" box open while doing other activities (such as blogging, chatting on facebook, etc) and if one of the Pokemon you are looking for appears in the Sightings box, run outside and catch it. This way you walk more km, but you also catch those Pokemon more often when they randomly appear near your home.

If you are just looking to use your Buddy to get more XP, then consider the following: Any pokemon you evolve gives you 500 xp, regardless of the type. Thus if you are just trying to get more XP, then focus on the really easy to evolve Pokemons: Pidgeys, Weedles and Caterpies.

If your focus is more on gym combat, then evolve the Pokemon with the best stats that you feel will be best in combat. Once evolved, then keep walking to train your Pokemon until it is capped out. This way you get a really awesome combatant with the best possible stats you can find.

Do not evolve your buddy if you are still collecting candy using it. All current progress will be lost if you evolve it. That means if you were 0.3 km away from getting another candy, you should go walk 300 meters, get your candy and THEN evolve your buddy.


I only list Pokemon that can be evolved here. Pokemon that cannot be evolved or have been fully evolved are not included in this chart.

I have organized the chart by rarity (common, uncommon, rare), types and tiers, and then alphabetically last.

kmpC = kilometers per Candy

#C = Number of Candy required to Evolve

#km~#C = The number of kilometers needed to get the full amount of Candy needed to evolve.


Pokemon Go XP Chart, XP for Actions, Leveling XP + Level Rewards

Since people might be looking for two different things I have decided to split this post into two parts. Part 1 is how much XP you gain for specific actions. Part 2 is how much XP you need to level up and what rewards you gain for leveling up.

Part 1

Want to know how much XP you gain for completing actions while playing Pokemon Go? Use the chart below.

Capture Pokémon100Capture any Pokémon.
Capture 100th Pokémon100Awarded for capturing 100 of a single species of Pokémon.
Capture a New Pokémon500Capture any Pokémon you have not caught before.
Defeat Pokémon at Gym100XP is gained for each Pokémon defeated at enemy Gym.
Defeat Every Pokémon at a Gym50Awarded for defeating every defending Pokémon at a Gym.
Defeat Pokémon Training10-100Awarded for each Pokémon defeated while training. Formula for XP is 50 x Enemy CP / Your CP. Caps at 100, minimum 10.
Evolve a Pokémon500Evolve any Pokémon.
Hatch a 2 km Egg200Hatch an Egg (2 km).
Hatch a 5 km Egg500Hatch an Egg (5 km).
Hatch a 10 km Egg1000Hatch an Egg (10 km).
Pokéstop Collection50Awarded for Collecting gear at a Pokéstop.
Throw Bonus, Curveball10Awarded for capturing a Pokémon with a curve ball.
Throw Bonus, Nice10Awarded for capturing a Pokémon with a nice throw.
Throw Bonus, Great50Awarded for capturing a Pokémon with a great throw.
Throw Bonus, Excellent100Awarded for capturing a Pokémon with an excellent throw.

Part 2

Want to know how much XP you need to level up at various levels while playing Pokemon Go? Use the charts below. The chart below also shows when you unlock items and what item rewards you get when you go up levels.

Levels 1 to 20

Levels 21 to 40

10 Ways for Niantic to Improve Pokemon Go (Part I)

It is the game almost everyone is playing, but there are some things which could be improved. This is just the first 10 things we could think of. I will be posting more ways the game could be improved in the future, so please subscribe if you want to see Parts 2 or more.

#1. Allow people to have their Pokemon PVP fights against their Friends.

A Peer Vs Peer (PVP) is something that is hugely lacking currently in the game, which would allow players to play against their friends and even gain a small amount of XP while doing it. Even if it was only worth 5 XP per combat, players would still enjoy the challenge of playing against their friends.

#2. A Sorting / Organizing Button.

Sometimes you can spend hours going through all your Pokemon and the current system of ranking Pokemon by CP is a bit dull. What would be nice is if you could sort all your Pokemon quickly and easily by the touch of a button into categories:

Type: Bug, Dark, Dragon, Electric, Fairy, Fighting, Fire, Flying, Grass, Ground, Ice, Normal, Poison, Psychic, Rock, Steel, Water. eg. If you only wanted to look at your Fire Pokemon and compare them, you could.
HP: Sort your Pokemon by how many hit points they have.
Size: XL, Normal Size, or XS.

Currently you can really only sort your Pokemon by clicking "Favorite". Being able to sort your Pokemon using a button in one of the corners would be handy.


You can now sort your Pokemon! In the bottom right corner when viewing your Pokemon there is an icon that used to be only a Glossary of what means what. CP = Combat Power, etc. With this update you can now sort Pokemon according to:

Recently Viewed
Favorites (the old standard)
Hit Points
Combat Power

There still is no options for organizing by Size or Type, but this is still useful.

#3. Sight Filter.

If you are running low on Pokeballs you might not want to be throwing them at Zubats and other common Pokemon every time you see them. Or maybe they just despise Drowzees (which I consider to be the Donald Trump of Pokemon...). Having a filter so you can decide "Hey, maybe I don't want to even see Zubats and Drowzees!" would be handy to the people for a variety of reasons.

#4. Directional Sighting.

Note - I am not talking about those 3rd party apps that allow people to see what Pokemon are nearby on a map. I consider those to be cheating.

Directional Radar would be a tiny adjustment to the Sightings box which would allow players to have a vague idea of what direction a particular Pokemon is in. Simple directions like North, South, East, West by adding an arrow below the Pokemon that was sighted.

This simple adjustment would make those 3rd party apps obsolete. It would also come with the added benefit of people learning what directions North, South, East, West are, and it would not tell people every detail like Northwest, Southeast, etc.

#5. Transfer Queue Option.

You know when you are playing the game a lot and you start running low on space for more Pokemon? You spot a Pokemon, want to capture it, but your backpack is full? A Transfer Queue would allow Pokemon Go to automatically transfer the lowest CP Pokemon who is not favourited.

You can turn the option on and you can turn it off. But basically it would allow people to end automatically dumping what would usually be drowzees, zubat, caterpies, etc whenever their backpack is too full.

I would even be willing to PAY to have this option. 200 Pokecoins sounds reasonable just to have the option of being to do this.

Or alternatively a question that pops up which asks "Would you like to transfer your lowest CP Pokemon?" whenever your backpack is full. That would also be handy.

#6. Other Teams.

More teams are coming in the future, that much I am certain. A simple look at the different Eevee evolutions makes me confident that the next team introduced to the game will be a Dark team, coinciding with the release of 50 more Pokemon and Umbreon.

The existing 3 teams: Mystic, Valor and Instinct are all designed to match the colours of the Eeveelutions. So it makes sense that the next stage would be Dark and involve Umbreon.

 I am guessing that won't happen until June 2017 however. My prediction at present is that Niantic will release 50 new Pokemon per year, often coinciding with various updates to the game and more Teams for players to choose from.

The question however is, will people have to make a new account to join the Dark team? Or will players be given the option to switch teams when the Dark team appears? I am guessing it will be something different entirely...

For example they might decide to make the Dark team only available as an option to players who have captured a certain number of Dark Pokemon. This would mean that only the people who catch a large number of Dark Pokemon will be given the option of joining the Dark team. The timespan for joining the team might even be limited, meaning players have a time limit during which they have to catch X number of Dark Pokemon or else they will not be given the option of joining the team. Which brings me to the following...

#7. Dark Pokemon.

If you have been paying attention, you will have noticed that there currently are no Dark Pokemon at all in the game. None. Zero. Zip. Nada.

There are some Pokemon which have Dark type attacks, but there are currently no Dark Pokemon in the game. I expect, in combination with #6 above, that Dark Pokemon may end up being part of an event that will have players outside getting a lot of exercise trying to catch as many Dark Pokemon they can in an effort to become part of an "elite" Dark team.

Such an event will also draw new players to the game, and get old players re-interested in the game.

#8. Add more things and options to the Shop.

For example you can buy 1 Egg Incubator for 150 Pokecoins. But what if you could buy 8 Egg Incubators for 950 Pokecoins (instead of 1,200 for buying 8 currently). Or 25 Egg Incubators for 2,350 Pokecoins (normally 3,750 for buying 25 currently).

For reference I am using the current price ratios for Lucky Eggs to give me an idea of roughly how much this should cost players.

Thus players could, if they wanted to, buy 8 Egg Incubators and then have 9 of them (including the unlimited one) all hatching eggs at the same time.

It would be incredibly expensive to be hatching eggs that way all the time. Cheaper in my opinion to just buy a bicycle and go for long rides.

Other things the Shop should sell:
  • Great Balls
  • Ultra Balls
  • Razz Berries
  • 25 Lure Modules (at present you can only buy a max of 8 at once).
  • Revives
  • Potions, Healing
  • Potions, Buffs*
#9. Buff Potions.

Think of this as an energy drink for your Pokemon. It allows you to temporarily boost the CP of your Pokemon for 30 minutes. Each potion boosts a Pokemon's CP and improves their HP the appropriate amount. I am thinking there should be 4 kinds of Buff Potions.

Buff Potion - Boosts your Pokemon's CP by 20%.
Super Potion - Boosts your Pokemon's CP by 50%.
Hyper Potion - Boosts your Pokemon's CP by 200%.
Max Buff Potion - Boosts your Pokemon's CP by 500%.

Imagine for example a lowly Pidgey drinking a Hyper Potion and then beating up Pokemon that are twice its size.

Buff potions should be able to be found at Pokestops, but they should also be purchasable from the Shop too.

#10. Pokemon Combat Tricks Quests.

At present the combat system in Pokemon Go is extremely simple. Most of the time you just tap the screen repeatedly and hope you win. If you are smart, you also press down for a special attack or swipe to the side when you see a big attack coming and you manage to dodge it.

But what if you could add a 4th option by swiping up or down? The 4th option might be a special type of attack which might stun or trip their enemy, or maybe a special dodge that triggers automatically when the enemy next tries to use their big attack, or it might even be a special attack which does a huge amount of damage but can only be used once per combat.

And what if this 4th option was something you had to teach your Pokemon by completing a series of tasks / quests?

For example:
  • Having the Pokemon fight in 100 gym battles.
  • Having the Pokemon train 100 times.
  • Having the Pokemon protect 25 gyms (not all at once, but this might take a month to accomplish).
  • Walk 100 km while the Pokemon is in Teaching Mode.
  • All of the above.
This particular Pokemon would obviously be your favourite (or one of several favourites) and you would evolve it, upgrade it regularly, etc.

Going on Quests to teach your Pokemon a new combat trick would be a whole new challenge and level of gameplay. It should still involve walking around from place to place, which is part of the whole Pokemon Go experience. Players should not be able to just buy the trick. They have to earn it.

Want to see more of these possible improvements in the future?

Subscribe to Nerdovore!

And while you are at it, share this page with your friends on Facebook and Twitter. If the folks at Niantic have a look maybe they will implement several ideas.

Map of Earthos / Game of Thrones

Map of Earthos, the world of Game of Thrones / A Song of Ice and Fire

Map of Castle Black and the Wall / Game of Thrones

Map of Castle Black and the Wall

Maps of the Cities of Westeros / Game of Thrones

Above and Below, Two maps of King's Landing

Below, Map of Winterfell

Not every map shown here is from Westeros. The ones below are from Essos.

Below, Map of Astapor

Below, Map of Meereen

Below, 3 Maps of Braavos

20 Magical Items for a Low Magic D&D Campaign

I am currently in a transitional stage between my old Dungeons and Dragons campaign and my new D&D game. Amongst the changes are in a change in edition (1st edition to 2nd edition), a change in timeline (bronze age to iron age), and a change of campaign scale (large epic to small sandbox).

In addition to those changes, my goals are to make the new campaign more based on skills, heavier roleplaying (80% RP / 20% hack n slash), and to make it a low magic campaign with more details about the magical crafting process (ingredients et al).

Magical items thus become a matter of game balance, as there will still be magical items, but they will be comparatively low powered and rare. My old game wasn't "high magic", but more moderate in the context of "whatever the book says it is and we roll randomly as per the book".

To further this goal of a low magic game, combined with the heavier emphasis on making a skill-based campaign, I have decided to make a list of 20 magical items that work with various skills that add to the flavour of a low magic game.

Note - I should also mention that there is a difference between a "Low Magic Campaign", a "Very Low Magic Campaign", a "Rare Magic Campaign" and a "Zero Magic Campaign". It is a sliding scale obviously. Zero Magic means magic doesn't exist. Zip, Zero, Nada. Rare Magic means that magic exists, but is so rare that very few people ever see magic at all. In a world with dragons, demons and beholders, making magic so rare is unbalanced however and thus you have to balance the availability of magic with the availability of magical creatures. Very low magic means that magic is very uncommon - not impossible to see, but few and far between. A Low Magic Campaign thus means any campaign in which magic exists, but it is held in check demographically and is uncommon - equally as uncommon as magical creatures. This allows the DM some leg room in my opinion to have geographical regions where magic is rare and other regions where magic is more common, with regions where magic is varying degrees between there. A small village for example might only have 1 person who knows anything about magic. Two if they are lucky. Magical items therefore will also be remarkably rare, and when found possibly under-powered in order to limit their usefulness.

The magical items below are designed for a 2nd edition game, but could be adapted to other editions.

Arrow of the Explorer
When tossed in the air and allowed to land randomly, this magical arrow falls and *may* point the direction the user wishes to go. It provides either +5 bonus to Direction Sense or Navigation, or it can provide the reverse, a -5 penalty to either skill, in the event that the user actually wants to go a different way (due to cowardice, greed, hunger, lust, etc). Thus while the arrow can sometimes be very helpful, it will other times point back the way the user came from to indicate that what the user really wants is a hot bath and a cold ale. (The DM is encouraged to roll percentile dice once in awhile to see if the arrow points in the direction of something the user wasn't consciously thinking of.) The Arrow of the Explorer can be easily broken like any normal arrow and it is not recommended that it is used for hunting, fighting, etc.

Boots of the Bowhunter
When making stalking attempts while Hunting, the user gains a +2 bonus to their attempt. Furthermore the reduced distance to their prey is doubled when making consecutive stalking attempts (eg. instead of reducing the distance by 20 yards it is reduced by 40 yards). The wearer also gains a +5% bonus to Move Silently attempts in any wilderness area. The boots work equally well for bowhunters, spearhunters, etc, despite the name.

Bracer of Falconry
This large magical bracer and glove are designed for someone with Animal Training: Falconry and can be used for training falcons, hawks, eagles and owls. Training times are cut in half and the user gains a +2 bonus on their check. (Note - The large bracer-glove uses both the glove and bracer slots for magical items on one arm, which means other wrist and hand items cannot be used at the same time. It does not effect rings worn on either hand.)

Chisel of the Stonemason
This large heavy steel chisel remains sharp regardless of how many times it is used. When used for cutting stone, whether for Stonemasonry or for carving a stone statue, it provides a +2 bonus to the attempt. If used for carpentry it provides only a +1 bonus as it is not meant for that kind of work.

Choker of the Chanteuse
Worn by women, this decorative neck choker makes the wearer's vocal cords more powerful/dynamic and gives them a +2 bonus on Singing attempts. It also provides a +1 bonus to any Charisma check involving using one's voice. eg. Attempting to disguise their voice to sound like a particular person.

Dancing Shoes
These flat footed shoes provide a +3 bonus to dancing attempts, but they also provide a bonus to balance checks when using Tightrope Walking.

Draw Knife of Bow Making
A draw knife is a tool with a blade with two handles at opposite ends and is used for scraping wood. This magical version provides a +2 bonus to any bow making attempt. If used for carpentry or weaponsmithing it provides only a +1 bonus to making things like axe handles, quarterstaffs or spear shafts.

Gloves of the Juggler
These plain looking brown leather gloves are surprisingly easy to grip things with. They provide a +3 bonus to Juggling attempts. They also provide a +5% bonus to Climb Walls.

Gold Pan of the Prospector
Used for sifting through river sands to find gold dust, this magical pan lights up whenever gold dust is present. The light is equal to a candle, thus users sometimes just toss a gold coin within and use the pan as a light source. When used for prospecting for gold, the pan provides a +2 bonus on attempts to locate potential gold mines. It is only useful for gold however and is useless for attempting to mine for other minerals or gems.

Monocle of Gemstones
This glass monocle is designed for appraising gemstones and jewelry. It isn't useful anything else, only jewels and objects of jewelry that contain gemstones. When used to appraise the value of any gemstone or jewelry containing a gemstone, the user gains a +3 bonus on their check.

Paintbrush of the Forger
When used to make any forgery involving painting, this magical paintbrush provides a +3 to the attempt. It also provides +2 to any Artistic Ability involving painting.

Ring of the Gambler
This gold ring provides a +1 bonus to any Gaming check, but also a +2 bonus to any attempt to cheat at gambling. It also provides a +5% chance at Pick Pocketing or anything involving sleight of hand.

Rope of the Mountaineer
When attempting to climb any rough terrain surface the user of this rope gains a +10% bonus to their attempt to Climb Walls. Used on other surfaces (trees, architecture, etc) the rope provides only a +5% bonus to their attempt. Rope Use and Tightrope Walking checks using the rope also gain a +1 bonus.

Saddle of the Lancer
This well made saddle provides the user with a +2 bonus to any horsemanship riding checks and also a +1 bonus to hit with any lances, spears, horseman's flails or horseman's maces. The saddle does not provide any benefits to training horses or animal handling checks involving horses.

Shoes of Running and Jumping
These comfortable and well-made shoes provide a +2 bonus to Running and Jumping checks. When used for a running long jump, a running high jump or a running pole vault attempt the user gains a +4 bonus to their attempt. (When found these shoes are sometimes accompanied by a 17 to 18 foot long semi-flexible pole.)

Silver Anvil of Blacksmithing
This large silver anvil can be used in one of two ways: Blacksmithing or silversmithing. It provides a +3 bonus to any blacksmithing attempt or to any attempt to make something out of silver. For any weaponsmithing or armouring checks it provides only a +1 check. Thus if the user wishes to make horseshoes, a silver longsword or a silver shield they get a +3 bonus. If they want to make a steel longsword or a steel shield, they get only a +1 bonus to the attempt.

Tome of Skill +1
These magical tomes take 1 week to read fully and permanently raise the reader's skill in one generic skill (eg. Carpentry). After the book has been fully read the person reading the book is imbued with the magic of the tome and the book fades into nothingness while simultaneously a magical tattoo appears on a random body part usually used as part of the skill (eg. On the arms for swimming). The skill bonus cannot be permanently removed via Dispel Magic, but it can be temporarily suppressed. Reading multiple copies of the same tome has no additional effect on the reader. Reading it aloud only benefits the reader as they are the one who absorbs the magic of the book and receives the tattoo. A person who does not possess the skill in question does not gain a new skill, but in the future they can try to do the skill with a -4 to their attempt; If they later gain the skill in question, they will gain the +1 bonus to their attempts when using the skill.

Waterskin of Endurance
One long sip from this magical waterskin temporarily bestows the drinker with 1 hour of the skill Endurance. To someone who already has the skill, it boosts their Endurance skill by +5 for 1 hour. The waterskin contains only 20 long sips worth of water. Once used up however, the waterskin becomes a normal non-magical waterskin.

Whip of the Charioteer
A long horsewhip, this item provides anyone commanding horses on a wagon or chariot with a +2 bonus to any attempts. It also provides a +1 bonus to Animal Handling or Animal Training attempts involving horses.

Wig of Disguise
This non-descript black wig can change its shape and colour at mental command of the user, providing a +2 bonus to Disguise attempts. It cannot mimic the appearance of any person who is bald however.


Now obviously if you gave PCs all of the magical items listed above it would start to feel more like a high magic campaign. But spaced out, sprinkled gently, and with a dose of rarity - such magical items give a totally different tone to the "feel" of a campaign. A campaign that is based more on skills and roleplaying than it is on combat. Combat still happens, obviously, players will make sure of that, but the tone and feel of the campaign can be made very different with the use of unique magical objects that boost skills.

Having seen the examples above, doubtlessly you have your own ideas for how to make magical items that boost various skills. I recommend sticking to +1 or +2 to skills that are used more often, and a range of +3 to +5 for skills that are rarely used.

I also recommend creating magical items that have some sort of limitation. eg. "Reins of Horse Training" can only be used for training horses, donkeys, and mules. They are useless when attempting to train falcons, dogs, dolphins, etc. And possibly also useless on magical equines like pegasi and unicorns.


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