Something I've been thinking about regarding magic items in AD&D.

I sometimes wonder if the groups I played with were "doing it wrong". . .because while I had a pretty consistent experience between all the various groups I played with. . .I sometimes see people talk about AD&D with a totally different concept of creating and obtaining magic items.

So, with that in mind, this is how I always saw it played. . .

Making Magic Items: It's so hard to do, that almost all PC's don't bother to try. For example, making any kind of permanent magic item like a +1 Sword ect. requires not just casting the Enchanted Weapon, Enchant an Item and Permanency spells. . .but since the Permanency spell is 8th level, unless you can somehow get a scroll of it (which I never saw done, see the next paragraph about obtaining magic items), being at least 16th level (which, in my experience, games almost never got to, and NPC's that high level were insanely rare).

. . .then you had to deal with the permanent loss of a point of Constitution for casting Permanency, meaning no Wizard wanted to lose Constitution permanently just to make a magic sword for his party member. Also, losing a point of Constitution, because of Permanency, to make expendable magic items like a Necklace of Missiles ect. meant nobody in their right mind would make those items.

. . .and even if you did have Enchant an Item and any other spells that were needed, then you had to somehow do all the other stuff to make a magic item, that you couldn't just cast those spells on any sword and make a magic item, that you needed it to be a special sword of some kind (with all kinds of requirements laid out by the DM, for example, a +1 sword might have to be forged by a Dwarven Master Smith using metal taken from a mundane sword that killed a magical creature of some kind, with the hilt having small chamber in it housing a portion of the dust of a slain vampire or lich, the hilt wrappings being made of leather made from some specific magical creature, and the sword being quenched after being forged in Holy Water blessed by a priest of a God of War or Smithing with at least one tear of a Valkyrie mixed in.

Making even one "routine" magic item would require 3 or 4 high-level adventures, at least. . .and your "reward" would be losing a point of CON to get a +1 sword. Those requirements would start going up rapidly to make things with more plusses. . .I remember being told that making a +5 item would require virtually an entire campaign worth of adventures to assemble it as it would require a couple dozen special treasures.

Potions and Scrolls were similarly insane to make, but at least you didn't have to lose the point of CON.

Finding Magic Items: I don't know where the idea of so-called "Monty Haul" games came from, because I never saw anything like it. . .magic items were doled out with an eyedropper, it felt like. DM's used the treasure tables in the DMG, rigorously and strictly. . .and it always felt like that meant we got jack squat, especially for magical treasure. Most of the magic items were in lair treasure. . .and you never could find a lair.

We'd play campaigns that would last a year or two, get up to somewhere between 10th and 15th level. . .and typically you could count every magic item in the entire party on one hand, the party fighter would have a magic weapon of some kind they found (and if it wasn't a weapon they had spent a weapon proficiency slot on beforehand, they learned that weapon later, so the Fighter might have his +1 Guisarme or +1 Khopesh instead of a longsword or broadsword). There would be a nice little supply list of potions/oils and scrolls. . .but very few weapons and armor or other permanent items.

Bracers of Defense were never, ever found. More than one group I met called AC 10 "Armor Class Mage" or "Armor Class Magic User" ect. to refer to the fact that even high-level Wizards/Magic Users had a bog-standard 10 AC because AC boosting items were so super-rare (and in AD&D, Dex bonuses to AC were hard to get).

. . .and of course, in AD&D it was strictly forbidden to sell magic items. The DMG and other books went at length denouncing the concept. I remember the very condescending artwork in High Level Campaigns of a Wizard shopping at a "magic mart" complete with a bargain bin of wands. . .to illustrate that if you allow any selling of magic items by NPC's in a campaign, that it meant there was no difference between that and letting NPC's open up magic stores indistinguishable from modern "big box" stores complete with bargain bins, closeout sales, coupons, and customer loyalty cards. . .every DM I knew took those instructions seriously, so you could have parties with 100,000+ GP. . .but they couldn't buy a +1 Dagger for all that money, it just plain was NOT on the market for any price.

. . .yet, in talking with others, they talk about going into dungeons and coming out with cartloads of magic items, of low level parties where everyone has a magic weapon and most have magic armor or bracers, of games where it was easy to make potions and scrolls and DM's didn't enforce the CON loss requirement for Permanency in making magic items.

The changes to magic items with 3.0. . .not requiring permanent CON loss, just predictable amounts of XP and gold costs, and assuming that magic items can be bought or commissioned in big cities if you have enough money were player friendly enough, and much more like the prevalence of magic items in D&D fiction and video games that it helped speed acceptance of the transition to 3e, in my experience.

Were those things more common, did I just play with particularly hardcore/tough DM's and gaming groups? What was everyone elses experience about magic item creation and obtaining in AD&D?