Reading Dark Matter 3.1: Gadgets

Gadgets for the Gadgeteer is somewhere between invocations and spells for the warlock. They get 1 at 1st level and amass more, up to 10, at higher levels. They are items that they carry about and use. They can be taken away or destroyed but can be recreated easily and freely.

So let’s see what we got here.

Adaptable Omnitool

This is another multi-choice questionnaire. It says “can be configured” but not when and how. So I’m going to assume over a long rest. It can be an Auto-Entry Device, basically a lockpicking gun. Because of that, I would add something about it damaging the lock and leaving obvious signs of entry. It can be a Rebreather, a device to allow you to survive environments with no breathable atmosphere, even in space. Also cool but I would put a limit on use time and a need to refill it, like over a long rest. It can be a Scanner, which allows you to scan for energy signatures and even residuals. Also, very neat in a science fantasy game. Finally, it can be a Taser, which is like Shocking Grasp in everything but name. I expected more. Overall, I think that’s too many options for one gadget. I would model something like that after the Mass Effect omni-tool or something like that and allow it to do a lot of things at the same time, not as competently as the real deal, and not have it be a weapon at all.

Blink Button

A miniature Misty Step to get you out of tight situations. But since it has no limit, I would still put a 3rd, or maybe 5th level prerequisite on it.

Bubble Projector

It’s a single use per long rest (again, long rest for an item is wierd) spellcasting item that makes a little dome, not unlike Tiny Hut, that protects from harmful environments. It’s not as powerful and definitely not as impregnable as a Tiny Hut and as is more of a survival/exploration tool than a little fortress. I still think a 2nd level spell should come with more of a prerequisite.


It’s a once a day Time Stop (Except they say Long Rest 馃檮) at 17th level. I’m not sure how much I like having a powerful 9th level spell as a small item. I don’t think it’s something that should exist in this way.

Death Ray

Gives you a Death Ray magic item. Now, what is that? Well, I have to go look for that. That is a… +2 repeater with twice a day Disintegrate (at a decent DC) which recharges 1d2 a day. That’s quite powerful but more in line with what I would expect a 17th level gadget to be.


Is a flight upgrade for your construct prototype. Thus, it requires to be at 5th level. Decent, understandable. 馃憤

Feedback Electrodes

An upgradable thorns mechanism for the Utility Matrix at 5th level. It deals damage back when hit and more damage when you gain levels. Also decent if a bit uninteresting.

Flux Cannon

An amplified and more useful heat/chill effect from Prestidigitation. More useful because it allows you to go to extremes and not just “Tea, Earl Grey, Hot”. I would also allow it on organic matter as a sort of open-cased microwave magnometer and allow it cause some damage over time, especially if you manage to keep it trained on the same target over several rounds.

Focus Aperture

Doubles the blasters’ range. That’s it. Kind of basic but I see it becoming useful.

Gavity Manipulator

Available at 5th level, this gadget roughly replicates the effects of Levitate and Gust of Wind. Decent, I think but do consider that Warlocks can get just Levitate at will only at 9th level so having that and another ability at 5th level might be too much.

Hologram Projector

It’s an at-will, bonus action, but reduced Mirror Image, producing only one duplicate, at 13th level. And it can be upgraded at 17th to create another. I like this. I like options that give you something standard but giving and taking something for it. Though I think I would still require an action for it. Even reduced, at will and as a bonus action is quite the thing.

Hypnosis Ray

This is a single target, guessing an action to use, Hypnotic Pattern, at 13th level. With all the riders tacked on, I totally accept this as on par for power and it’s still very useful in and out of combat.


Renders a 60 foot radius sphere of creatures invisible for a few rounds at 5th level. Even if it’s for a few rounds, I think it’s a very powerful effect, once per rest, at 5th level. But it seems like it’s straddling a line and I need to see it in action.


Gives you a Jetpack which is… [checking the magic items listing]… kind of like Winged Boots for 1 minute and recharges overnight. At 13th level it upgrades to unlimited time. Considering you can get it at any time, I’m ok with this. Flying it not a huge issue as some people make it out to be. Might limit it to 3rd or 5th level if it’s uncomfortable, but it’s completely fine and even cool.

Jump Pad

What it says on the tin: a square pad that launches creatures into the air. I see a lot of cool ways to use this in and out of combat and it’s just quite cool.

Magnet Boots

Kind of like Slippers of Spider Climbing except there’s no prerequisites so you can have it whenever. I would at least put a 5th level requirement on it.


This is a high level Utility Matrix gadget that allows you to activate two features of it with one bonus action. I think this is what I expect from something at this level as this could be quite powerful.


Thematically, it’s something between a magic missile and Iron Man’s arm mounted missile launcher. Mechanically, it’s like an upgraded Magic Stone. Totally good. Though, considering the thematics, I would have it be a 5th level gadget and a variation on Minute Meteorites.


Very similar to the Artillerist’s contraptions, this is a simple companion turret. It runs for a minute then needs to recharge for a minute but not other limitations. It can also be upgraded later. I think’s in on par for power and decent. Just wish it had a bit more uses than just “Shoot that thing”.

Molecular Destabilizer

This completely disintegrates and disappears one small non-living, non-metallic, non-magical object. It’s a cute concept but I’m not sure of its use, especially under these limitations..

Motion Tracker

At 9th level, you can get something akin to the motion tracker from Aliens. It detects creatures that move within its range, regardless of invisibility or cover, requiring a stealth check to avoid. At 9th level, I don’t think it’s really overpowered, especially as creatures at that range who need to be stealthy can probably pass the check more often then not. It’s also a really cool gadget with a very specific theme I like.


Basically, an elemental grenade that does damage and some extra effects. It comes at 5th level so its damage output is on par with what I would expect and it gains with class levels so it makes sense mechanically but rubs me wrong thematically. Also, with only Fire, Ice, and Lightning, I expected more from something called an Omni-Grenade.

Orbital Superweapon

Prerequisite: 17th level
You have pieced together a massive doomsday device, an orbital cannon, which you store in a pocket dimension for convenience. By throwing out a beacon, you can summon the weapon and fire it, as per the spell orbital hardlight cannon. You don’t need to concentrate on this spell. Once you use this gadget, you can鈥檛 use it again until you finish a long rest.

Overheat Beacon

A rechargeable gadget that disables nearby blasters. Since it can only be used about once per combat, and only lasts one round, I wouldn’t call it overpowered, especially because it effects friendlies as well. It’s only when you choose this again that you can single friendlies out and then it becomes quite powerful.


Reinforces your Mechanised Autonomous Construct with some more durable armor making it resist non-magical physical damage. As this comes at 17th level, I would actually argue it’s very late. I would totally except this at 13th or even 11th.

Remote Gloves

Kind of like an upgraded Mage Hand which I quite like. Mage Hand always feels like something about it isn’t quite enough for the cool thing you want to do. My only problem with it is the thematic explanation which I wish was better.

Ricochet Aperture

Kind of like half of the Sharpshooter feat but you can also ricochet the shot off a surface and hit behind total cover if you want. It’s a really cool effect and I like it. Don’t know if I’ll allow it at 1st level, though. Maybe at 3rd or 5th.

Rocket Fists

Just classic Baymax-style rocket fists for your Experimental Frame. They’re a ranged weapon that uses Intelligence and you can use them as a bonus action too after a rocket fist or a melee attack. At 5th level, it’s totally cool and on par for the level.

Self-Destruct Sequence

This is a neat sacrifice move for your Experimental Frame you get at 17th level. It allows you to set a timer and then it will self destruct doing a lot of damage in a large area. Considering the damage output, I think 17th level is appropriate but because of the sacrifice of something that is probably very integral to your character and the required rebuild time, I would lower the level to 15th.

Shrink Ray

Basically casting Reduce from Enlarge/Reduce at will at 9th level without concentration. The removal of concentration is a bit too powerful in my opinion but this spell is more often used for utility than combat so that’s not so bad. I would, however, allow to choose an effect instead of waiting for another gadget selection to upgrade this.

Sonic Amplifier

On the one hand, it generates a silence sphere or it deals AOE thunder damage. This mostly bothers me thematically because it’s not just a sound amplifier and the range of the AOE is pretty far considering it’s doing cantrip damage..

Spectrum Visor

It’s a nice gadget but I would expand on it instead of having just a simple item. It allows you to detect magic, see in the dark, or see heat. For example, I would allow Thermalsight to pierce invisibility unless it specifies it hides heat signatures and not just the visual spectrum, and that dead or undead creatures can barely be detected because they don’t produce their own heat.

Spell Cube

Kind of like a Rod of Absorption, if it could only absorb one spell of, at most, 5th level at a time, and if it could store the spell and unleash it back at selected time in the future. At 13th level, I would call that quite cool but a bit out of theme for the Gadgeteer.

Stasis Field Generator

It’s a kind of life saving device that keeps you from damage and dying for one round and also pops you up as if from a nat 20 death save the following turn. So, it functions like a delayed, single use, Death Ward but you can take it at 1st level and you can also upgrade it but the description for the upgrade makes no sense to me whatsoever so this is all kinds of wierd.

Tesla Mines

First off, I think we need to get off the idea of putting “Tesla” on anything related to electricity It’s boring by now. Secondly, this gadget is three electricity mines that each function like a triggered Shocking Grasp and it can be upgraded to target a bigger area. It’s nice even at 1st level but I think it should be a constitution save instead of dexterity.

Transmat Deck

A copy of the magic item, a space-themed Bag of Holding. Pretty much consistent with what the Artificer can get.

Universal Translator

The Universal Translator magic item is like a Babel Fish, or like the Monk’s Tongue of Sun and Moon feature, if you have to stick to D&D terms. But this special one is also an always on Comprehend Languages. It bypasses a lot of would-be obstacles and would-be fun (If you’re an original Stargate fan), but if a player goes all in on this, I say give it to them.

Version 1812 Multirocket Launcher

A single use Fireball-like thing, centered on yourself that you can pick up at 5th level. It is, technically, bigger but weaker than a fireball so it’s fine at 5th level, but the thematics of it rub me the wrong way in several places.


A zipgun in real life is an improvised weapon built into an innocuous item. A zipgun here is a small blaster that requires two actions to activate. It also burns out if you don’t use it at that time. When it functions, though, it’s like a radiant Lightning Bolt. That’s a cool thing, except it takes two actions which is stupid, it’s actually less powerful than a lightning bolt you might be able to pick up at this (5th) level, and it’s also completely entirely unlike an actual zipgun.

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