Socketed Gems


  • PC

    A starting document to be shaped around the future of magical socketed gem technology. Still needs a little polishing, but at a place to get a discussion going.

    Socketed Gems.docx

    Kargin found a glowing green gem in the dragon’s hoard. When he touched the gem to his dwarven hammer’s haft, it attached to the weapon’s base. Kargin’s hammer now glowed with the same green energy, acid dripping along its length. When he removed the gem and affixed it to his dagger, the hammer lost this ability, but the dagger dripped with acid instead.

    A socketed gem is a small gem that has been enchanted to provide a magical effect when affixed to a weapon, shield, or suit of armor (or any other magic item that grants an armor bonus to AC). Each item can hold a single socketed gem, but an attached gem can be swapped for another one at any time.

    Attaching a socketed gem to (or removing it from) an item requires a move action that doesn’t provoke attacks of opportunity. Effectively, each eligible item has a single “slot” that can be filled by any appropriate gem. Socketed Gems are ranked. Each level or rank describes the relative power level of the gem’s effect, but also the minimum required quality of enhancement bonus to the armor, shield, or weapon for the gem to function.

    Only the item’s actual bonus applies, not its “effective” bonus; for example, a +1 keen holy flaming burst longsword won’t allow a socketed gem to function, since its actual bonus is only +1.

    Socketed Gems offer characters a cheap method of improving weapons and armor. Unlike adding a normal armor or weapon property, buying and using a socketed gem doesn’t require making a permanent decision about the item—if it later proves uninteresting, it can be sold or traded to help pay for a more
    powerful gem or item.

    The “swappable” nature of socketed gems also allows a character to be prepared for more eventualities. Paying for the ghost touch weapon property is not only a significant investment in gold, but also feels like wasted space whenever the characters aren’t fighting shadows and wraiths. On the other hand, a Tier 1
    Radiant Gem provides the same effect but can be swapped for another gem when you don’t face incorporeal
    creatures. Even low-level characters can afford to carry a couple of the Tier 1 gems, and high-level characters can easily afford to keep a few extras in a bag of holding for special situations.

    Crafting Sockets Prerequisites

    Skill: Craft Skill (Gemcutting) – INT based; Profession (Jeweler) – INT based
    Feat: Craft Gem Enchantments
    Tiers: There are ten tiers to the Socketed Gems;

    Gem Tier Equivalent Bonus Base Price Craft Price XP Cost Days to Craft
    Tier 1 1 2000 1000 80 1
    Tier 2 2 8000 4000 320 4
    Tier 3 3 16000 8000 640 8
    Tier 4 4 32000 16000 1280 16
    Tier 5 5 64000 32000 2560 32

    Note: A talented Jewel Crafter can combine several lower Tier gems, to create a higher Tier Gem, typically it takes as many lower tier gems to of the same type to equal the value of the higher tier gem your looking to create. An example of this would be a character has 4 Tier 1 +1 gems, 4 +1 gems equal the exact value of a single +2 gem. A jewel crafter with a high enough skill can craft them together consolidating them into the higher tier gem. The DC check the jewel crafter needs to make is at the discretion of the DM.


  • DM

    What was your source for this?


  • DM

    Since I briefly introduced a Diablo dungeon back in the day, I have no issues with socketed items in general.

    But I want more about where you pulled this from.


  • PC

    It wasn’t specifically pulled from any single source, its loosly based upon my memory of the diablo video games, some of the text was pulled from the Diablerie d20 supplement. The tiers, and costs, were fabricated by me, based upon the existing craft system, as a starting point, trying to wedge the socket structure into the “+1”, “+2”, etc… “+10” enhancement system for armor, weapons, and shields so we could piggy back off the current magical affects already provided in the boat load of existing 3.5/d20 content.

    There were a couple of terrible community attempts at it, none of which were all that inspiring.

    Here is something Kobold Press put out, but I didn’t think it scaled very well: https://koboldpress.com/from-diablo-3-to-dd-socketed-items/


  • PC

    Here is a homebrew i found, also wasn’t to crazy about it either.

    The Homebrewery - NaturalCrit.pdf


  • PC


  • DM

    I will think more about this, and dig out my old diablo d20 book.

    I do recall that the original socketed items are items that have no other enhancements. Only the +1 to +5.

    But then I believe they also had multiple sockets.

    If we restrict to a single socket I can see that not being a required restriction.


  • DM

    I just reread the Diablo 2 d20 book section on magic items. There was nothing there at all on socketed gear. Just the randomized prefix and suffix stuff.

    So I’ll spend some time on your other links and thinking about this stuff.


  • DM

    Read that stuff on my flight. Yup, not a fan. A couple nuggets but that is it.

    Going to start working on your proposal.


  • DM

    @halfgiant said in Socketed Gems:

    Paying for the ghost touch weapon property is not only a significant investment in gold, but also feels like wasted space whenever the characters aren’t fighting shadows and wraiths. On the other hand, a Tier 1 Radiant Gem provides the same effect but can be swapped for another gem when you don’t face incorporeal creatures.

    Okay, on this. What is the cost to make a longsword +1 versus a longsword +1 with ghost touch?

    You are saying a radiant Tier 1 gem can have that affect. So does that mean the cost difference above compares to the 2,000 GP cost of a gem?


  • PC

    You know it may be worth a look at Ioun Stones as the baseline for the gem anyway, or even using them as the gem for socketing into items. Since its already well established. We can fairly easily create a feat, with a cost breakdown, for creating the socket in a new or existing item to drop a ioun stone into.

    Was just something to think about.


  • PC

    back in the old, old days you had found a master-list of Ioun Stones compiled from dragon mags and other sources. did you ever re-find it ?


  • PC


  • PC

    Interesting take on Gem Magic

    Book of Magic Gemhancements.pdf


  • DM

    @dwarf said in Socketed Gems:

    back in the old, old days you had found a master-list of Ioun Stones compiled from dragon mags and other sources. did you ever re-find it ?

    Dragon Magazine 174


  • PC


  • PC

    2E Gems - Reference: Encyclopedia Magic Volume 2, Page 513

    2E Gems.pdf


  • PC

    Magical Gems and Gear Socketing references 5th edition, so probably takes some changes/tweeks, but not a bad approach.

    Magical Gems and Gear Socketing v1.1.pdf


  • DM

    @halfgiant said in Socketed Gems:

    Magical Gems and Gear Socketing references 5th edition, so probably takes some changes/tweeks, but not a bad approach.

    Magical Gems and Gear Socketing v1.1.pdf

    That is actually not a horrible system. So much of 5e is so close to something I would like to play more.


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