About The Pipes Of Haunting In D&D 5e
In the 5th and current edition of Dungeons & Dragons, there are a plethora of magical and enchanted items for players of the game to enjoy. Dungeons and Dragons is a fantasy-based Table Top Roleplaying Game or TTRPG, so the worlds presented within the game are filled with wicked wands, swords of burning fire, and even little enchanted figurines that can be activated to transform into a living version of the figurine – so essentially high fantasy Pokémon (you’re welcome, now go catch ‘em all).
Magical items in Dungeons and Dragons 5e run the spectrum, from the mundane to items that possess the very power of the Gods. However, our article today focuses on a lesser-known and perhaps often-overlooked item, The Pipes of Haunting.
What are The Pipes of Haunting?
This magical item bears the classification of being a Wondrous Item, meaning that it in fact has magical properties. The Pipes of Haunting have a rarity classification of Uncommon, meaning that they are not likely to be found in every shop the Player Characters frequent but rather this item or something similar to it, is somewhat recognizable, especially in a fantasy setting. This is important, as 5e is often considered slightly less magical than the earlier version of the game.
What this means for the Players, is that they could potentially find this item after searching for it specifically or perhaps even craft the item themselves should they learn how. The image of the Pipes presented in the Dungeons and Dragons game appears to have a macabre aesthetic, constructed from bird skulls and perhaps humanoid femur bones. This lends to the theme of the item but in your own games, you can describe them however you’d like.
How Do The Pipes Of Haunting Function?
In order to use The Pipes of Haunting, the Player Character must be Proficient with Wind Instruments, so either the character would need to have this skill already – such as a Bard would likely be skilled in several types of instruments or the character would need to acquire this skill in their Downtime. These enchanted pipes have 3 consumable Charges that can be expended to activate the item and the instrument regains 1D3 Expended Charges daily at Dawn.
The Player Character may use an Action to expend a Charge, playing the instrument and creating a frightening and chilling sound. It is important to note that even though being skilled in wind instruments is a requirement to use this item, an actual Performance check is not needed and will not expressly change the effects of the magical item. It could be argued that the Dungeon Master could provide an opportunity for Advantage or grant a small bonus dice to their check for rolling a high-scoring Performance check but it is not expressly written into the mechanics of the Pipes of Haunting.
All creatures within 30 feet of the performing character that are capable of hearing the haunting tune must succeed on a Difficulty Check or DC 15 Wisdom Saving Throw or they become magically Frightened of the user for 1 Minute (10 Rounds). Affected Creatures that fail their Wisdom Saving Throw may attempt to succeed the check at the end of each of their turns. Should they succeed in this check, the effects of the Frightened condition will end. It should also be noted that creatures who succeed in their Wisdom Saving Throw become immune to the effects of The Pipes of Haunting for the next 24 hours.
This helps limit the usage of the Pipes and keeps them from being overpowered. Another added bonus to this item is that should the user choose, all creatures in the area of effect that are allies can pass the DC 15 Wisdom Save automatically. In essence, this is a great item to potentially cause havoc in the enemy ranks and gain some much-needed space for your party. Consider a group of adventurers encircled by droves of Goblins in a system of caves.
The party Bard, Jabari Dirge, sees the situation clearly and knows that his allies cannot hope to fight their way out. Jabari decides to use The Pipes of Haunting while there is still time to do so. The chilling and eerie sound causes a panic amongst the Goblins and a number of them decide to abandon the attack. These retreating Goblins, those that failed the Wisdom Save and are now considered Frightened, have Disadvantage on Ability Checks and Attack rolls.
In addition, the Frightened creatures can no longer move closer to the source of their fear willingly while afflicted. Additionally, the retreating Goblins who were previously attacking can create Attacks of Opportunity for those characters who were engaged in combat with them. So after Jabari uses the Pipes of Haunting and the Goblins begin to break ranks, the Barbarian Gunkk and the Fighter Ser Castus take advantage of the situation and take their Attacks of Opportunity, resulting in several Goblin losses.
This item has high situational value and of course, not every encounter will have a foe that is susceptible to The Pipes of Haunting but for a Magical Item that doesn’t even require Attunement, it has a lot of bang for the buck. The user of the Pipes should be mindful of the application in order to receive the maximum benefits; would it be useful against an incredibly powerful Arch Druid? Likely no but it could definitely be a game changer against hordes of squishy monsters.
It should also be noted that at 6th Level, the Artificer gains the ability to craft this item, so make a few, pass ‘em around, and toot ‘em together! Spread the wealth and more importantly, spread terror to those with low Wisdom scores!
Have You Used The Pipes Of Haunting?
We hope you enjoyed our breakdown of The Pipes Of Haunting in Dungeons & Dragons 5e. Have you used The Pipes of Haunting before? Let us know your thoughts on social media!