Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Are Magic Items In 5e Necessary?

I'm currently running 3 games of 5e, and at this point I've only handed out a single magic hammer... which was immediately lost to a TPK and is currently in the hands of -REDACTED- in Stonehell. That group remains at 1st level. The other two groups are 2nd and 3rd level, and thus far none of them have felt very keenly the lack of magic items.

Not that there's a big selection to pick from at the moment - officially. A mere 18 different items grace the closing pages of the DMG basic rules 0.1. Granted, these items provide a pretty clear means of adapting items from other editions to 5th (and by adapting I mean taking without much change at all), but it's still a slim selection.

So what are you doing/experiencing in your 5e games? Have you handed out magic items? Has it made much of an impact?


  1. I let my players have a choice of a +1 weapon with a minor ability or +1 armor (except full plate), also everyone got a quiver of magical ammunition, a few potions, or a few scrolls. This is for a game set on the Isle of Dread, so starting at level 4.

    Considering that I let them roll ability scores, with racial bonuses and level 4 bonuses they have pretty good combat prowess, and may not need the magic weapons/armor. I say may, because we've only had one session so far (thanks, grad school...) and they didn't encounter any dinosaurs or Pleistocene megafauna in that session. Once they meet a T-Rex or a pride of smilodons, all bets are off.

    Anyway, I agree that allowing stuff from older editions is pretty easy. For the magic weapons' minor abilities, I used the old Companion Set special weapon properties and Intelligent sword ability charts, and it works just fine.

  2. Just potions so far. Magic items have been macguffins, but most of these are either unusable, or they're outside-the-dungeon resources: reference works, magical lighting, witch's cauldrons, that sort of thing.

    It's interesting because my 5e world is actually a lot more magical-rich than most things I run, but yeah, same here; beyond some potions, the PCs have not yet picked up any magic items. Granted, they're also only 2nd level. This will change before they hit 5th, but I do plan to keep it pretty light.

  3. An evil dagger which buries itself in the wielder's wrist/arm for immediate use; three throwing daggers of return/flight; a powerful greatsword acting as a dimensional anchor; whip/scourge +1/+1 which poisons on a Critical hit; a Jo staff which doubles and triples to form two, or a 3-section staff, or a quarterstaff, and a dagger linked to a woman on another continent who can communicate with the wielder. The party has also seen a cloak of smothering/strangulation; an item which appears to act as both a dimensional anchor and a scrying point; a vampire's chalice with Black Blood of conversion in it; a cabinet which used to contain an Artifact and is bathed in and radiates powerful chronic magic..

  4. I dropped a Deck of Many Things on my 1st & 2nd level players. They just couldn't resist and things went south. The session was described as 'hilarious and fun'.

  5. I have given on average 1 magical item per session. I made my items from using the given 5e items as a template (charges and such) with the ideas coming mainly from earlier editions. I plan on my group becoming level 3 next time. we started at level1.

  6. We're at level 4 and we've bought a few potions. No magic items yet, too much intrigue going on.