One of the core rules of storytelling is that power should always come with a price. The greater the power the more you have to pay for it, and few things demonstrate this better than the Potion of Blazing Luck.
This is an item custom-designed to give the party a tough choice and virtually guarantee an emotional scene charged with drama of the highest order. After drinking the potion a creature will enjoy one minute of virtual invincibility, but once their time is up… well, their time is up for good.
Potion of Blazing Luck
The liquid contained in this crystal bottle sparkles with countless motes of golden dust, but when it’s shaken glows with the flickering red light of an open fire. When you drink the potion you become incredibly lucky for one minute. For the duration, every time you need to roll a d20 as part of an attack, saving throw or ability/skill check it counts as a 20. Once the minute ends, however, you are killed and your body reduced to fine ash. You may not be resurrected by anything other than the Wish spell.
While this feels like an item that you would hand out to the party just before they face some incredible challenge, I prefer to provide game-changing things like this relatively early on in a campaign. Most parties will be loathe to use it in anything but the most dire of circumstances, so you can be fairly confident the Fighter won’t chug it down the next time they encounter a nest of Goblins.
Over the course of a campaign, however, most parties are virtually guaranteed to find themselves in a situation where they simply can’t win. Maybe they annoyed the wrong noble, got caught in a Dragon’s Hoard or just decided that they couldn’t abandon a wagon of refugees in the face on an oncoming army of undead.
And when this happens, you just know that the players will be combing their character sheets for anything that may help. This is the moment when they’ll remember that potion they picked up seven levels ago…
Ultimately, this can be a risky item to include in your game, but it’s one that I love the idea of tossing out there like a narrative timebomb.