D&D 5e: The Stones of Power: Ioun Stone 5e Guide

Magic items are usually some of the best tools your characters can get, but Dungeon Masters have to be careful about which ones they let their players use.

Once a player has reached a high enough level, Ioun Stones are some of the best magic items they should look for.

The different effects of these magical stones make them useful for any party, but if you’re a DM, you should be careful not to give them to your party too soon.

Here’s everything you need to know about these powerful artefacts once you’re ready to drop one or two.

Welcome to an Ioun Stone 5e Guide.

What is an Ioun Stone?

The Stones of Power: Ioun Stone 5e Guide

Ioun Stones are magical items that can be made to float around the head of the person who uses them and give them passive bonuses.

They’ve been in DnD since the first edition, which makes them a mainstay of the tabletop RPG that has grown and changed with each new edition.

At first, they were called either Congenio’s pebbles or Ioun Stones, but their name was changed to something more catchy to help them sell better.

They were made by Congenio Ioun, a powerful magician. After making them, he worked to make them as easy to sell as possible by giving them catchy names and making sure that what they did and how they looked were always the same.

Congenio ended up living for 1,000 years, but after he died, other magicians kept up with his work and made the Ioun Stones, which were very popular at the time.

But over time, no one has been able to figure out where the Ioun Stones came from, so only the most powerful spellcasters in the world know how to make them.

Once an adventurer gets their hands on an Ioun Stone, they have to attune themselves to it. Once they do that, the stone will float around their head and give them its benefits.

This has made them instantly recognisable all over the realm, and it has become a sign of status for the most powerful magic users in the Forgotten Realms.

Ioun Stones also look different depending on what stones are used to make them. This is part of their status symbol role, since some gemstones are better at being enchanted than others.

Now, 5e has a total of 21 Ioun Stones, including the original ones in the Dungeon Master’s Guide and the ones added by the Lost Laboratory of Kwalish official online adventure module.

Dungeon Master’s Guide Ioun Stones

Absorption

  • Rarity: Very Rare
  • Appearance: An elongated ellipsoid that is a dull lavender in color.
  • Effect: This stone allows the player to cancel any spell cast by an enemy that is level four or lower. To be able to do so, however, you have to be able to see the target casting the spell and the spell has to target you. However, once the Absorption stone has been used to cancel 20 levels of spells, it burns out and is no longer helpful.

When it runs out of power, it starts to look faded and stops circling your character’s head. If your stone is almost out of levels to absorb, it can’t take in a spell that is higher than that level.

This means that if your stone only has two levels left, you can’t use it to stop a level 3 or 4 spell from hurting you.

Best Characters for this Stone: Since cancelling out enemy spells is always helpful, this stone can be used by any character. It doesn’t focus on any particular attributes. But let’s say you’re a player and your party gets this stone.

In that case, I’d suggest giving it to a party member who is especially weak against spell attacks or saving throws, like a Barbarian or Fighter, since it will probably save them more often than characters with higher mental ability scores.

Agility

  • Rarity: Very Rare
  • Appearance: This Ioun Stone is a perfect sphere with a deep and rich red coloring.
  • Effect: While a character is attuned to this stone, their Dexterity score is increased by two points. However, it does not increase their maximum, so it cannot take your score higher than 20.

Best Characters for this Stone: By the time your party starts getting rare magical items, any characters who focus on Dexterity more than other skills should have already reached 20 and can find a Manual of Quickness of Action to raise it to 22 instead of getting the Agility Ioun Stone.

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Because of this, I think it would be better to give this stone to a character whose armour class would be improved by a higher Dexterity than to a Rogue who would use it to do damage.

Even if your Dexterity-based party member hasn’t found the Manual of Quickness of Action yet, it’s still a good idea to have them use this stone until they do.

Awareness

  • Rarity: Rare
  • Appearance: This stone is a rhomboid that has a dark blue coloring that borders on being completely black.
  • Effect: As long as your character has this Ioun Stone attuned, you are unable to be surprised or caught off guard.

Best Characters for this Stone: The scout of the group is the best person to use this stone. A Ranger or Rogue who is used to going ahead of the rest of the group to find enemies will get the most out of this stone.

It will help them avoid being surprised by an enemy and becoming vulnerable without the rest of the group around.

Fortitude

  • Rarity: Very Rare
  • Appearance: The Fortitude stone is a spinning rhomboid with a soft pink coloring.
  • Effect: While your character is attuned to this stone, their Constitution ability score is increased by two but cannot go over the maximum of 20.

Best Characters for this Stone: By the time your party starts getting Very Rare magical items, your Defender probably already has a Constitution of 20.

So, you should give the Fortitude stone to another martial character who might get hit but whose main goal is to do damage and whose Constitution score probably isn’t at its maximum yet.

Greater Absorption

  • Rarity: Legendary
  • Appearance: Greater Absorption Ioun Stones are usually ellipsoids with marbled lavender and green patterns running through them.
  • Effect: This superior version of the Absorption Stone allows you to cancel spells that are targeting you and cast by an enemy that you can see. It can cancel spells up to level eight, and this stone can absorb 50 levels of spells before it burns out and becomes mundane.

Best Characters for this Stone: Like the normal Absorption Stone, I recommend giving this stone to a character who doesn’t have the skills, scores, or resources to regularly avoid damage from spells and magical effects.

Insight

  • Rarity: Very Rare
  • Appearance: The Insight Ioun Stone is a sphere that softly glows with rich blue color.
  • Effect: The Insight stone increases the Wisdom score of whoever wears it by two, up to the player’s maximum.

Best Characters for this Stone: By the time you get the chance to claim this stone, any spellcasters in your party should already have a Wisdom of 20.

If they don’t, they can still get a Tome of Understanding, which gives them a permanent +2 buff and raises their maximum.

So, I think it would be better to give this to a Ranger or another class that benefits from perception but doesn’t need it for important actions.

Intellect

  • Rarity: Very Rare
  • Appearance: This stone is another blue sphere but is defined by being marbled with a delicate scarlet pattern as well.
  • Effect: Intellect Ioun Stones increase your character’s Intelligence by two, up to the player’s maximum.

Best Characters for this Stone: Again, by the time you find an Intellect Ioun Stone, characters in your party who need Intelligence, like a Wizard, should already have their Intelligence at 20.

So, while they look for a Tome of Clear Thought to make it even better, this stone should go to the Librarian in your group who is in charge of making checks for the Knowledge skill.

They probably haven’t been working hard to get better at History checks, so a two-point increase should help them out.

Leadership

  • Rarity: Very Rare
  • Appearance: Another spherical Ioun Stone, this one can be identified by its mixed pattern of pink and green elements.
  • Effect: The Leadership stone will increase the Charisma ability score of anyone who attunes to it by two without passing the character’s maximum value, likely 20.

Best Characters for this Stone: It can be hard to find the right character for this stone. If you have any Warlocks or Bards in your group, their Charisma is probably already maxed out, so they should be more than ready to be the Face of the group.

Charisma, on the other hand, isn’t very useful outside of social situations or spells if your class lets you, so you’ll probably have to give this one to anyone in your party who wants it.

Mastery

  • Rarity: Legendary
  • Appearance: The Mastery Stone is a thin prism with a pale green coloring.
  • Effect: As one of the most universally appealing Ioun Stones in 5e, the Mastery Stone increases your character’s proficiency bonus by one.

Best Characters for this Stone: This stone can be used by anyone. The proficiency score is one of the most important parts of 5e, and it affects every class.

But if your group wants to get the most out of it, give it to a Rogue with Expertise so that their already crazy skill check modifiers can get even better.

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Protection

  • Rarity: Rare
  • Appearance: Protection Ioun Stones are usually prisms with washed-out rose coloring.
  • Effect: As long as your character is attuned to the Protection Ioun Stone, their armor class is increased by one.

Best Characters for this Stone: This is another stone that can help any character, but the best way to use it depends a lot on the people in your party.

If your party relies a lot on a Defender, this stone will help them avoid more damage, since even a one-point boost to their armour class can make a big difference.

Your group may also want to give this stone to a weaker party member who could use the boost, like a Monk or Hexblade Warlock who constantly puts themselves in danger but doesn’t have the best ways to protect themselves.

Regeneration

  • Rarity: Legendary
  • Appearance: Regeneration Ioun Stones are gemstones carved into spindles that have a pearly white color to them.
  • Effect: While this Ioun Stone is attuned to a character, they will regenerate 15 hit points every hour. However, you can only benefit from this effect as long as you have at least one hit point already.

Best Characters for this Stone: Getting an hour’s worth of hit points for free sounds great, but it doesn’t happen often enough to be very useful in battle.

Most fights last less than a minute in-game, so your characters won’t be safe if they only fight 15 times an hour.

So, when choosing a character for the Regeneration Ioun Stone, I suggest a spellcaster or a ranged attacker who takes some damage in battle but doesn’t need to be healed often.

So, they won’t have to ask support party members for healing spells because they’ll be able to heal the small amount of damage they take while not in combat.

You could also give this to a Defender or martial character so that when they take short rests, they don’t have to use as many hit dice.

Reserve

  • Rarity: Rare
  • Appearance: A prism-shaped stone that has a vibrant purple hue.
  • Effect: Reserve Ioun Stones are one of the most adaptable Ioun Stones in 5e. They can be used to store up to three levels worth of spells which can then be cast later. Any spellcaster can store spells in the stone by grabbing onto it while casting the spell, which means that if the character attuned to the stone can’t cast spells can use the spells stored in the stone. The spells then use the attributes of the original caster, and once it is used, the slots it took up in the stone are left open.

The best people for this Stone are: The Bank of Ioun Stone can help any character in some way. It really depends on what spells your party’s spellcasters know and which ones the party uses the most.

A Rogue could store Misty Step on the stone so they could use it to get out of trouble. A Wizard can protect themselves by using stored Shield spells.

After wading into a large group of enemies, a Barbarian can use a stored Thunderwave to do a lot of damage.

Strength

  • Rarity: Very Rare
  • Appearance: The Strength Ioun Stone is a rhomboid with pale blue coloring.
  • Effect: While a character is attuned to this stone, their Strength is increased by two but cannot exceed their maximum.

Best Characters for this Stone: Like all the other ability score-focused Ioun Stones, any characters in your party that likely focus on Strength above all other abilities should be at 20 already and be keeping an eye out for a Manual of Gainful Exercise.

So, a Strength Ioun Stone should probably go to a Defender character that can benefit from the increase to their damage numbers but are likely focused on Constitution instead.

Sustenance

  • Rarity: Rare
  • Appearance: The Sustenance stone is completely clear and carved to look like a spindle.
  • Effect: This stone prevents a character from ever having to eat or drink to stay alive or be comfortable.

Best Characters for this Stone: This stone can help any character, but it’s most likely to help characters who aren’t Rangers or Druids and don’t have strong Survival skills. But if your game doesn’t pay much attention to your character’s physical needs, you might not get much out of this one.

Ioun Stones in Other Editions

There have been a lot of Ioun Stones across D&D’s history. I won’t list every single iteration of this magic item from the last 50 years, but I will break down what types of stones have been published.

Hopefully, with all of this information you can come up with some fun Ioun Stones for your own campaign. 

To make your life easier, I’m going to give you a list of categories. Then you can scroll to whichever one strikes your fancy. 

I should mention that there can be some overlap between these categories. The main purpose is for ease of access and a clear guide on how to make your own homebrewed or 5e updated stones.

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Lost Laboratories of Kwalish Ioun Stones

Supreme Intellect

  • Rarity: Rare
  • Appearance: A sphere covered in consistent facets that can be any color of the creator’s choosing.
  • Effect: The Supreme Intellect stone grants a +1 bonus to the wearer’s Intelligence checks.

Best Characters for this Stone: This stone is best for characters who play the Librarian role in your party and are in charge of making knowledge checks to get information.

Wizard spells do not count as Intelligence checks, so they won’t get much out of this Ioun Stone even though they have high Intelligence.

Historical Knowledge

  • Rarity: Rare
  • Appearance: Historical Knowledge stones are interesting in that they are made of smooth spheres of steel rather than gemstones.
  • Effect: The Historical Knowledge Ioun Stone gives the wearer proficiency in the History skill. If the character already has proficiency in the History skill, they instead have it increased by one.

Best Characters for this Stone: This Ioun Stone isn’t as useful as some of the others on this list, but it’s an easy choice for any character who makes a lot of History checks.

This also means that you’ll get the most out of this if your Dungeon Master runs a campaign where History checks are useful.

Natural Knowledge

  • Rarity: Rare
  • Appearance: These Ioun Stones are polished spheres made of Brass.
  • Effect: This Ioun Stone gives the equipping character proficiency in the Nature skill. If they are already proficient in it, they can instead enjoy a +1 increase.

Best Characters for this Stone: Druids or Rangers who use the Nature skill a lot are good candidates for these Ioun Stones. Not only does this fit with their style, but it also gives it to a character who is likely to use it a lot.

Religious Knowledge

  • Rarity: Rare
  • Appearance: Religious Knowledge Stones are small gemstones of a golden color.
  • Effect: As you can probably guess by now, the Religious Knowledge stone gives anyone attuned to it proficiency in the Religion skill, and if they are already proficient, they instead get +1 to the skill.

Best Characters for this Stone: A Paladin or Cleric will get the most out of this stone for their party. It’s hard to think of a better character for this stone.

Best Characters for this Stone: A Paladin or Cleric will get the most out of this stone for their party. It’s hard to think of a better character for this stone.

Language Knowledge

  • Rarity: Rare
  • Appearance: These stones are red crystals that shine like jewels.
  • Effect: While a character is attuned to this stone, they gain fluency in a language chosen by the Dungeon Master.

Best Characters for this Stone: The Face in your party will probably get the most out of this stone, since your Dungeon master should choose a stone that will be useful at some point in the campaign.

Let’s say that Face in your party already knows the language. In that case, you can give it to someone else in your party so they can talk to the Face in a language that no one else can understand.

Self-Preservation

  • Rarity: Rare
  • Appearance: These Ioun Stones are usually created with silver gemstones.
  • Effect: The Self-Preservation Ioun Stone gives the wearer +1 to their Intelligence saving throws.

Best Characters for this Stone: Give this stone to a player who is usually weak at Intelligence saving throws, like a Barbarian. This will help make up for one of their biggest flaws.

Vitality

  • Rarity: Very Rare
  • Appearance: Vitality Ioun Stones are identified by their spherical shape and mix of green and blue colors.
  • Effect: This stone gives its wearer a +1 to all of their death saving throws.

Best Characters for this Stone: Anyone can benefit from a boost to their death saving throws.

But I think it’s best to give it to characters who are in the front lines and get hurt a lot, or to characters who are especially weak, like Wizards or other casters who have a hard time defending themselves when they get hurt.

FAQs

How many Ioun Stones are there in 5e? 

There are 21 Ioun Stones in 5e so far, with most of them being in the Dungeon Master’s Guide and some being included in the online official adventure, Lost Laboratories of Kwalish.

Can Ioun Stones be destroyed in 5e?

Yes, Ioun Stones can be attacked, and it only takes ten damage to destroy them if they are hit.

Is there any limit to how many Ioun Stones one character can have at a time in 5e?

In 5e, the rules say that one character can use as many Ioun Stones as they want at the same time. But they can only be used by characters who are attuned to them. This means that your character can only equip as many as the number of open attunement slots.