Last Updated on January 22, 2023
Gloves and gauntlets are rarer types of magic items in D&D 5e, but there are enough to be a little confusing.
What are the best magic gauntlets? What items work for what kinds of characters, and when should they be handed out to players?
This article will provide a precise breakdown of the standout magic gauntlets in D&D 5e along with an assortment of homebrew items and ideas for designing your own magic fists.
Gauntlets in D&D 5e
While not quite as famous as magical rings, magic gauntlets are still iconic pieces of equipment for an adventurer.
Below, the standout options for magic gauntlets have been organized according to the tier of play for which they are best suited. In many cases, this follows rarity, but occasionally a magic item will be an all-around good fit.
The categories below should be used as a guide to when a magic item will be most effective for a player as well as when it won’t over or under balance the game.
A character given a legendary item at level 2 can be just as damaging to the gameplay as a character receiving a common item for climbing walls at level 15.
Don’t worry: each magic gauntlet comes with its own analysis for how it can be best utilized so players know how to get the most out of their items and DMs know how to balance their game.
Finally, it’s worth noting that magic gauntlets are highly symbolic pieces of equipment.
For those of you who love to keep a high level of flavor in your game, I recommend considering the way a magic gauntlet clads some of our most iconic tools for interacting with the world in magical energy.
Whether your fists have become deadly weapons or your fingers have become more agile than they have any right to be, magic gauntlets and gloves are the premier way of representing your character’s ability to touch the world with their power.
- Gloves and Gauntlets are rare but iconic magical equipment.
- Items are classified by their relevance to the early, mid, and late game.
- Each item comes with dedicated analysis.
- The symbiology of hands makes magical gauntlets excellent for flavor, so homebrewing can be very effective!
Early-Game Magic Gauntlets in D&D 5e
These early game (~levels 1-5) items are usually simple ways to get a much-needed bonus or advantage.
They will shine the most when given to very low-level parties as critical tools or high-quality bonuses to help solve particular campaign problems, and they therefore work well as rewards for going out of your way to help someone, finding a secret room, or doing a side quest that might help with the main plot.
Gloves of Swimming and Climbing (Uncommon)
These gloves grant their wearer the ability to ignore the extra movement cost while swimming or climbing as well as a +5 bonus to Strength (athletics) checks made to swim or climb. They do require attunement.
These will be best used by parties lower than level 4. These gloves can provide a helpful bonus to solve environmental puzzles like raging rivers and tall cliffs.
They may not be essential to proceeding along a path or recovering a crucial item from the bottom of a pond, but for low-level parties, they can make the task a lot safer.
I do not recommend giving these out at higher levels, however, as by level 5 the vast majority of parties will have better ways of getting around such obstacles (such as the spell Fly), and the attunement slot will be better spent elsewhere.
Gloves of Thievery (Uncommon)
These gloves are invisible when worn, and they grant a +5 bonus to Dexterity (sleight of hand) checks and Dexterity checks made to pick locks. They do not require attunement.
I recommend these gloves for a similar purpose as the Gloves of Swimming and Climbing — a way for parties to more easily approach low-level challenges.
However, since they do not use attunement, any character build that makes use of sleight of hand will find these valuable.
Living Gloves (Uncommon)
These symbiotic gloves meld with your flesh on attunement and can only be removed with a casting of Remove Curse. Far from being cursed, however, they provide only benefits.
When attuning to them, you gain proficiency and expertise in either sleight of hand, thieves’ tools, one kind of artisans’ tools, or one kind of musical instrument. You get to choose the proficiency.
These are pretty neat gloves for gaining expertise, and their versatility can make them useful.
With a spellcaster, regular uses of Remove Curse and re-attunement can make these gloves a Swiss army knife of proficiencies if you have the time to swap them out.
Gloves of Missile Snaring (Uncommon)
By far the best gloves for this tier, the Gloves of Missile Snaring allow you to use your reaction to reduce the damage of a ranged-weapon attack by 1d10 + your Dexterity modifier.
If you reduce the damage to 0, you can catch the missile if it’s small enough. These gloves require attunement.
Reducing damage is useful to everyone, and many characters often don’t have a consistent use for their reaction. Plus, you could potentially catch a bullet with these gloves, which is just pretty cool.
Mid-Game Magic Gauntlets in D&D 5e
These items are likely to be most used by players as most players play in the mid-game of D&D (~levels 6-13). There are some good damage dealers here.
Gauntlets of Ogre Power (Uncommon)
These gauntlets require attunement and solve one of the quintessential problems of D&D players: low ability scores. While wearing them, your strength is set to 19.
These gauntlets are very useful for players who want to focus their ability scores in a multitude of areas but still rely on a decent Strength score.
I recommend these, if you can get them, for players making characters at around level 6-7 who need high ability scores in multiple areas.
For those players, these gauntlets can make things a lot easier.
Gauntlets of Flaming Fury (Rare)
These gauntlets make any weapon you hold while wearing them a magic weapon, assuming you’re attuned to them of course.
You can also, as a bonus action, cause any melee weapons you’re holding to ignite with magical fire, dealing an extra 1d6 fire damage on hit. The effect can only be used once per day but lasts until you drop the weapon or sheathe it.
These are excellent items, especially for martial characters who like to use a variety of weapons or dual-wielders who might have trouble acquiring two magical weapons.
Although the additional damage is limited, I recommend simply never dropping or sheathing your weapons until the end of the adventuring day, though that might not always work.
I make no promises about what will happen if you walk casually through the town square holding two flaming swords you refuse to drop.
Gauntlets of Elemental Fury (Rare, Homebrew)
These homebrew items require attunement but even so should probably be rated as Very Rare instead of Rare. They make your unarmed strikes count as magical damage and do an extra 1d8 damage on hit.
The extra damage is determined randomly by the gauntlets’ element, either fire, lightning, bludgeoning, or acid.
Also, depending on the gauntlets’ element, you can cast one of the following cantrips at will: Fire Bolt, Gust, Mold Earth, or Shape Water.
These gauntlets do a significant amount of bonus damage, and in the hands of a monk, they can be deadly. I recommend giving these out toward the end of the mid game.
The high damage as well as the cantrip ability that can serve as utility make these an excellent combo item.
Late-Game Magic Gauntlets in D&D 5e
These are the high-powered magic gauntlets of the D&D world. At this level, I recommend really leaning into homebrew, since a lot of the really powerful stuff will be pretty character or plot specific. That said, here are some interesting items to get you started.
Gloves of Shaping (Homebrew/Pathfinder)
The Gloves of Shaping are actually a Pathfinder weapon, but they can be ported over to D&D 5e without too much trouble.
They allow the user to manipulate hard items like leather, wood, stone, etc. as if it was as soft as clay. Harder materials, such as steel, can be shaped with woodworking tools as if it was much softer.
You can shape roughly a cubic foot per round, and fine forms require additional skill checks.
These gloves are not rated as very powerful by Pathfinder standard, but honestly I think that’s a mistake. As is, they should be at least Rare. They offer a level of versatility and utility difficult to find elsewhere.
Faced with a stone wall? Simply carve out a door. Facing a wooden door? You can tear it apart with your bare hands, regardless of thickness. Trying to get into a steel vault? All you need is a simple saw.
These gloves make the world into clay for you to mold, and they can be very easy to boost in power. DMs might make these Very Rare or Legendary and allow you to mold any material, including steel, with your bare hands.
For interesting interactions, I recommend spells that turn people into stone statues that you can then mold before turning them back and using the gloves against enemies like golems, skeletons, and tree monsters.
Gloves of Soul Catching (Legendary)
These gloves are relatively straightforward but powerful combat items. Requiring attunement, they grant a constitution score of 20.
You can also use the gloves to deal an extra 2d10 force damage on every successful hit, and you regain health equal to the force damage dealt.
Instead of regaining health, you can also gain advantage on one attack roll, ability check, or saving throw before your next turn.
Needless to say, this weapon is deadly in the hands of monks or other characters with the ability to attack multiple times in a single round.
Even if you put aside the constant health gain you could get with these gloves, you could use them to gain advantage on almost every attack you make. Simply make an attack, gain advantage on the next attack if you hit, and repeat!
Gauntlets of Niflheim (Legendary, Homebrew)
Our last entry is the Gauntlets of Niflheim. On attunement they grant +3 to hit and +1 to AC. Additionally, they grant resistance to fire damage and can change their damage type to piercing, slashing, bludgeoning, or cold.
The damage type is determined by the shapeshifting ice that coats the gauntlets. Lastly, monks gain an extra 2 damage die with this weapon.
These gauntlets are primarily damage dealers, and they’re pretty good ones at that. More importantly, they are an excellent example of the way homebrewed gauntlets can take on a particular theme.
If homebrew is your method of choice for high-level magic gauntlets (or other items), I highly recommend building them on a theme with supplementary abilities rather than simply including a bunch of effects or having them do high damage.
Magic gauntlets and gloves are an excellent choice for either damage or utility.
They can provide a boost to damage that stacks nicely with standard sources, like a magic weapon, but the effects, such as those provided by the Gloves of Shaping, are unmatched in their problem-solving ability.
Hopefully, this guide to magical gloves and gauntlets has demonstrated not only the best gear at each tier of play but what kinds of gloves are best used at each tier.
Whether you’re a DM or player, with this information in hand, you’ll be best poised to pick your ideal magic gauntlets for any situation.
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Growing up I spent most of my time reading, so when I first started playing RPGs in middle school and got a copy of DnD 3.5’s rules I loved their collaborative take on storytelling. These days I like to use RPGs to develop my creative problem-solving skills as well.