Gear Guide: DnD 5e Magic Cloaks for Every Tier of Play

Last Updated on January 22, 2023

You’d be hard pressed to name a fantasy IP that doesn’t include some form of a cloak.

Cloaks, capes, robes, mantles, etc. — whatever you call them, these large pieces of fabric add a bit of drama to any character walking around, especially if there’s a hood involved. 

But we’re not here to talk about fashion; we’re here to talk about utility. In D&D, a billowing cloak or robe is far more than just a pretty piece of cloth. I mean, come on, magic exists. 

That’s right, today we’re talking about every sort of magical outerwear you can think of.

Whether it’s an elven cloak used for camouflage or an ornate robe that lets you cast some of the most powerful spells in the game, it belongs in this list.

Of course, we’re going a bit further than just a list. We’ll be breaking down which of these items are the best options in each tier of play, which classes work best with each item, and how to get the most out of your magical finery.

What Is a Cloak?

Before we jump into discussing each magical item in detail, I want to clear up any confusion on the category as a whole.

Just because I’m saying “cloak” doesn’t mean every item necessarily fits that description. Instead, we’re really talking about a more general category of magical overwear.

Capes, cloaks, and mantles are all basically the same, although they do have slight differences. We don’t need to turn this into Fashion 101 though.

Basically, cloaks and mantles are large billowing pieces of fabric with hoods, while a cape typically lacks a hood and is only large enough to hang down one’s backside.

A robe is probably the biggest stretch to fit into this article, but it follows the same basic design concept as the others. The only real difference is that a robe has sleeves sewn into it, making it a bit more restricting.

A common question many players and DMs ask about these items is in regard to armor…

Can You Wear a Cloak and a Suit of Armor at the Same Time? 

According to 5e, yes. Fifth edition doesn’t have any formal reference to “slots,” so there aren’t formal restrictions telling you what you can or can’t throw on.

There is, however, a rule that prevents you from benefiting from the same source twice. This just means that two cloaks provide no more benefit than one. 

Now, it’s perfectly reasonable for someone in heavy armor to throw a cape over themselves, but a sleeved robe would likely be much more difficult to don. Because of this, robes are the only real distinction I make at my table. 

Other than that, feel free to get all gussied up in whatever cloak/armor combo you want.

Early-Game Magical Cloaks

In the early game, magic items are less about making you the most powerful character in the game and more about leveling the playing field. Items that fit in the first tier of play (1st-4th level) range from silly to useful. 

Below is a list of all uncommon and common cloak items. We’ve also highlighted our favorites from this category to talk about a bit more in depth.

Common (50-100 gp)

  • Cloak of Billowing
  • Cloak of Many Fashions

Uncommon (101-500 gp)

  • Piwafwi (Cloak of Elvenkind)
  • Cloak of Protection
  • Cloak of the Manta Ray
  • Robe of Useful Items
  • Robe of Serpents
  • Nature’s Mantle

Cloak of Protection

Wondrous item, uncommon (requires attunement)

You gain a +1 bonus to AC and saving throws while you wear this cloak.

This is an extremely straightforward cloak, but that doesn’t mean it’s not useful. Especially at lower levels, taking even one nasty hit can be a fatal experience. Even a single point boost to our AC can make all the difference. 

Now, I know a +1 seems small, but let’s think about it for a second.

Attack rolls are made with a d20. If we change the number a creature has to roll by 1, we’re lowering their chances of success by 5%. That much can make all the difference.

The same concept goes for saving throws, except instead of lowering another creature’s chance of success, we’re increasing our chance of making the save and protecting ourselves from some harmful effect.

An item like this is excellent for any character. We might have the instinct to put it on the weakest member of our party, but there’s actually a way we can be a bit more strategic

Since this impacts saving throws, we want to put this on the character who’s going to be making the most saving throws. In a balanced party, that’s a caster who uses concentration spells.

That’s right, concentration saves still get the bonus because this item says nothing about “caused by an enemy” or anything like that. 

Throw this on a squishy caster with a lot of concentration spells, and they’ll be able to avoid a decent bit of damage, make fewer concentration saves, and succeed on those saves more often.

Robe of Serpents

Wondrous item, uncommon (requires attunement)

A Robe of Serpents is a stylish silk garment that is popular among wealthy nobles and retired assassins. The robe is emblazoned with 1d4 + 3 stylized serpents, all brightly colored.

As a bonus action on your turn, you can transform one of the robe’s serpents into a giant poisonous snake.

The snake instantly falls from the robe, slithers into an unoccupied space next to you, and acts on your initiative count. The snake can tell friendly creatures from hostile ones and attacks the latter.

The snake disappears in a harmless puff of smoke after 1 hour when it drops to 0 hit points or when you dismiss it (no action required).

Once detached, a snake can’t return to the robe. When all of the robe’s snakes have detached, the robe becomes a nonmagical garment.

This is a great item for a couple of reasons. First, it’s insanely cool, and everyone should have some sort of snake-making item at some point in a campaign.

Second, it allows you to increase your party’s efficiency in a few particularly awful combats.

Now, we’re not dealing with an evergreen item here. That is, this item has a few uses, and after that, it’s done. You won’t have some long-lasting effect like most of the items in this list.

That doesn’t make this useless though; it just means we need to treat it as a resource. Once we can do that though, this is such an easy item to operate.

If you’re dealing with a lot of enemies or a too-powerful threat, just use a quick bonus action, and let loose a giant snake (which, btw, is decently strong for a CR ¼ beast).

To me, the best part of this is that the snakes act on their own. One of the most annoying parts of items, abilities, and spells that conjure creatures is that we end up having to use part of our turn to command them.

Not so for a big snake. It simply attacks hostile creatures until an hour passes, it gets dismissed, or it dies.

When deciding whom to hand the item out to, it’s going to be easiest to just give it to someone with the least bonus-action abilities. After that, it really doesn’t matter, which is great.

This is an item that lets us spend a lot less time worrying about optimization and a lot more time killing bad guys.

Piwafwi (Cloak of Elvenkind)

Wondrous item, uncommon (requires attunement)

While you wear this cloak with its hood up, Wisdom (Perception) checks made to see you have disadvantage, and you have advantage on Dexterity (Stealth) checks made to hide, as the cloak’s color shifts to camouflage you.

Pulling the hood up or down requires an action.

Cloaks are probably known for two things: magic and stealth. We’ve got some magic with the protection and snakes, so let’s talk about a good old-fashioned stealthy cloak, the piwafwi.

A cloak of elvenkind is one of those items that is going to be useful throughout the entire game, regardless of how common it is.

Since this deals with advantage and disadvantage instead of specific numerical bonuses, its benefit is really going to scale up as you start facing more difficult threats.

Additionally, this item provides a huge bonus. There are two main ways that we determine a stealth check’s success. 

If a creature isn’t actively searching for us, we make a stealth check against their passive perception.

In this instance, their passive perception will take a -5 (following the rules of passive scores and disadvantage), and we’ll get to roll with disadvantage.

In the other instance, a creature actively searching us out will make a perception check with disadvantage while we roll our stealth check with advantage.

It would’ve been more than enough to give us advantage on stealth checks, but this item goes the extra mile by also putting the creature we’re rolling against at a disadvantage.

With a cloak of elvenkind on, it’s almost impossible to fail a stealth check.

Mid-Game Magical Cloaks

The mid game is a huge stretch of gameplay, but the items we see here will all be around the same power level.

Specifically, we’re looking at the second and third tiers of play (5th-16th level), which is going to bring us rare and very rare items.

There are a decent amount of powerful options in here, and I mean powerful. Since this is the piece of the game where most campaigns take place, most groups don’t often get into legendary and artifact items.

That means that these items have to do more than just evening the playing field; they have to make us feel like the powerful adventures we want to play.

Below is a list of all rare and very rare cloak items. We’ve also highlighted our favorites from this category to talk about in a bit more depth.

Rare (501-5000 gp)

  • Piwafwi of Fire Resistance
  • Cape of the Mountebank
  • Mantle of Spell Resistance
  • Robe of Eyes
  • Robe of Summer
  • Cloak of Displacement
  • Cloak of the Bat
  • Hell Hound Cloak

Very Rare (5001-50,000 gp)

  • Cloak of Arachnida
  • Robe of Scintillating Colors
  • Robe of Stars

Cloak of the Bat

Wondrous item, rare (requires attunement)

While wearing this cloak, you have advantage on Dexterity (Stealth) checks. In an area of dim light or darkness, you can grip the edges of the cloak with both hands and use it to fly at a speed of 40 feet.

If you ever fail to grip the cloak’s edges while flying in this way or if you are no longer in dim light or darkness, you lose this flying speed.

While wearing the cloak in an area of dim light or darkness, you can use your action to cast Polymorph on yourself, transforming into a bat.

While you are in the form of the bat, you retain your Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma scores. The cloak can’t be used this way again until the next dawn.

Did you like the piwafwi? Are you the stealthiest member of the party? This is probably the cloak for you.

Let’s be honest. This is the Batman cloak, whether you like it or not. Big dark cloak that helps you be sneaky and gives you flight in darkness? Sounds like a Bruce Wayne specialty to me.

On top of those two amazing features, you can also just polymorph yourself into a bat, which is pretty much the peak of stealth in my book.

Throw a telepathy ability in the mix with this, and you’re set for the best infiltration mission you could imagine. 

You might be tempted to avoid this because of its heavy night theme, but if we’re looking at this and considering how good it is, let’s consider just how often we’re in darkness.

I’ll save you the long list of dark or dimly lit areas; it’s a lot. You’ll have access to all of the abilities noted in this item for a decent majority of the time.

Plus, you can always just wait until nighttime if a plan really needs you to infiltrate something as a bat.

The best possible choice for this, in my opinion, is a soulknife rogue. They have a built-in telepathy ability and are one of the best rogue classes for infiltration; it’s the perfect storm.

More generally though, this is good for any character who prides themselves on their ability to slip in and out of sticky situations. 

Cloak of Displacement

Wondrous item, rare (requires attunement)

While you wear this cloak, it projects an illusion that makes you appear to be standing in a place near your actual location, causing any creature to have disadvantage on attack rolls against you.

If you take damage, the property ceases to function until the start of your next turn. This property is suppressed while you are incapacitated, restrained, or otherwise unable to move.

Whether this is made from the pelt of a displacer beast or simply inspired by the same magic, this is an incredible concept for an item that carries through in its mechanical impact. 

As we’ve discussed already, advantage/disadvantage is one of the best influences an item can have because it’s useful no matter what level you are.

This time though, instead of dealing with semi-frequent stealth checks, we’re dealing with attacks.

I just love the description of this item and the fact that it works so well.

Sure, if you get hit, you’re more likely to be hit until you start moving around again, but that makes a lot of sense if we have illusions involved. 

This is also a reason why I really love cloaks. Again, we have an item that is universally useful. Any character could benefit from throwing it on.

Should the tank wear it to become just that much harder to hit? Should a squishy character wear it to stay safe? It really depends on the party dynamic (and who already has some good items attuned). 

Robe of Stars

Wondrous item, very rare (requires attunement)

This black or dark blue robe is embroidered with small white or silver stars. You gain a +1 bonus to saving throws while you wear it.

Six stars, located on the robe’s upper front portion, are particularly large.

While wearing this robe, you can use an action to pull off one of the stars and use it to cast Magic Missile as a 5th-level spell. Daily at dusk, 1d6 removed stars reappear on the robe.

While you wear the robe, you can use an action to enter the Astral Plane along with everything you are wearing and carrying.

You remain there until you use an action to return to the plane you were on. You reappear in the last space you occupied, or if that space is occupied, the nearest unoccupied space.

The robe of stars is a fantastic item that should definitely go on a spellcaster. While it isn’t a requirement, it makes a lot of sense to give a caster access to more spells.

This works both as a way to eliminate any learning curves and as a way to give them a bit more resources. Essentially, this is six extra 5th-level spell slots per day, which is pretty incredible.

For perspective, that’s 30d4 + 30 damage loaded into this magic robe. It’s certainly nothing to shake a stick at.

As a bonus, you can just poof off into the astral plane as many times as you want. Combat getting difficult? Poof. Need to take a short rest unimpeded? Poof. Need to travel via the astral plane? Poof. 

The spells that this gives you are great, but the ability to easily zip off into the astral plane is borderline game-breaking. This is a must-have item.

Late-Game Cloaks

Now, there are only two legendary cloaks and not a single artifact. While I am tempted to create an artifact, I’ve decided to leave homebrew out of this article because the options presented really are some amazing options.

Sure, you can easily introduce more late-game cloaks if you want to. It would probably be really fun to come up with some form of sentient cloak akin to Dr. Strange’s. We’ll save that for another time though. 

Right now, it’s time to talk about the Cloak of Invisibility and the Robe of the Archmagi, two highly sought-after items in any campaign.

Cloak of Invisibility

Wondrous item, legendary (requires attunement)

While wearing this cloak, you can pull its hood over your head to cause yourself to become invisible. While you are invisible, anything you are carrying or wearing is invisible with you.

You become visible when you cease wearing the hood. Pulling the hood up or down requires an action.

Deduct the time you are invisible, in increments of 1 minute, from the cloak’s maximum duration of 2 hours.

After 2 hours of use, the cloak ceases to function. For every uninterrupted period of 12 hours that the cloak goes unused, it regains 1 hour of duration.

Simple and straight to the point. A cloak of invisibility lets you become invisible. More than that though, it has 2 hours of use, which you only spend in 1-minute increments.

Unless you’re going on a 2-hour stealth mission, you’ll really never have to worry about running out of charge on this bad boy.

Robe of the Archmagi

Wondrous item, legendary (requires attunement by a sorcerer, warlock, or wizard)

This elegant garment is made from exquisite cloth of white, gray, or black and adorned with silvery runes. The robe’s color corresponds to the alignment for which the item was created.

A white robe was made for good, gray for neutral, and black for evil. You can’t attune to a robe of the archmagi that doesn’t correspond to your alignment.

You gain these benefits while wearing the robe:

  • If you aren’t wearing armor, your base Armor Class is 15 + your Dexterity modifier.
  • You have advantage on saving throws against spells and other magical effects.
  • Your spell-save DC and spell-attack bonus each increase by 2.

This beautiful robe is everything a high-leveled caster needs. You can already cast more spells than you’ll know what to do with, so we don’t need any more of that. Instead, this picks you up in the places you’ve been lacking.

Compared to your normal AC and resistances, the combo of a 15+ AC and advantage on saving throws against magical effects is basically making you invulnerable.

Add to that a more-than-healthy bonus to your spells, and you’re golden.

If this item feels lackluster, don’t forget, you probably have a badass wand or staff at this point in the game. This is just adding on to whatever you already have and making you look like a boss in the meantime.

Final Thoughts

Cloaks are an item that anyone can throw on, but that doesn’t mean that everyone can use them to the highest potential. Throw one of these on your rogue or caster, and you’re dressed for success.

As always, happy adventuring.

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