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D&D General 5e, the least magic item impacted edition?

I came to love a lot of things about 4e, but baking magic items into character progression was not one of them. It always feels like a chore to make my "wish list", and takes almost all of the wonder of receiving a magic item.
IF they have been good magic items, I would have loved that. Magic should be both common and interesting rather than 'magical' IMO.
 

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TerraDave

5ever, or until 2024
I have used a few of the official conversions of past adventures. Monetary treasure is cut back drastically, and there is some trimming back for magic--though its not 100% consistent in how much is cut. I usually put some back in.

Its hard to compare across editions. 5E doesn't build them in like 3E and 4E, but items can be very important.

In 1e and 2e you basically needed items. The DM of course controlled all, but they were strongly assumed. A lot for recovery and healing, which was very hard and slow without magic. (the original Ravenloft module, for example, had wishes and equivalent scattered around for drained PCs). Some to make up for the pacity of spells that even mid-level casters could cast, and for the magic-user to learn new spells, which was not automatic. Some to make your fighter truly able to hang with the casters. And of course many just for fun.
 

amethal

Adventurer
So did the magic item economy of 3e. Anything that was weird, quirky, or useful under certain circumstances was fodder for conversion into the Big 6 that were consistently useful.
In my Pathfinder games, the vast array of magical cloaks might as well not exist - even the ones that are interesting, very useful and quirky.

Instead, everyone buys the best cloak of resistance they can afford, and upgrades it as soon as they can afford a better one, since failing saving throws can be disastrous.

I don't have a lot of experience of 5th edition, but in our last fight 3/4 of the party had to make a DC 18 Wisdom save or be paralysed (save at the end of subsequent turns to remove). Rolling a dice each round to see whether I could participate in the game was no fun at all.

If cloaks of resistance were available to buy (and if we had any money …) I'd have made obtaining one a priority after that. As it is, I have to assume there will be times when my character is unable to act and there is nothing I can do about it.
 


billd91

Hobbit on Quest (he/him)
In my Pathfinder games, the vast array of magical cloaks might as well not exist - even the ones that are interesting, very useful and quirky.

Instead, everyone buys the best cloak of resistance they can afford, and upgrades it as soon as they can afford a better one, since failing saving throws can be disastrous.

I don't have a lot of experience of 5th edition, but in our last fight 3/4 of the party had to make a DC 18 Wisdom save or be paralysed (save at the end of subsequent turns to remove). Rolling a dice each round to see whether I could participate in the game was no fun at all.

If cloaks of resistance were available to buy (and if we had any money …) I'd have made obtaining one a priority after that. As it is, I have to assume there will be times when my character is unable to act and there is nothing I can do about it.
In one campaign, I did play with the notion that all cloaks were cloaks of resistance with the other cloak properties added on - much like all magic weapons/armor having a plus on them. Same with rings all needing a plus - but for protection. I think it worked Ok, but it was a bit of a hassle to track. And it didn’t really do much to help the other slots.
 

J-H

Adventurer
Yeah, they are pretty stingy, and it's one reason I will not recommend anyone run a published module for any game I get to play in. I like the fun of finding interesting and useful magical items, and going 4 levels with nearly nothing as a poverty-stricken adventurer is boring. I run my games with more loot than that (although it's entirely possible the party will overlook some of the items).
 

AtomicPope

Adventurer
My group play tested the HELL out of 5e, and it was apparent early on the magic items were not necessary, but also unique. Gone were the 3e days where you have a bucket of +1 Longswords. Our first campaign for 5e was played with scarce magic items. I had a +1 Longsword that shed light like a torch. It was my one magic item until 3rd level when I got a holy mace that did +1d6 extra radiant against undead and fiends. The game worked great. We played until 9th level with scarce magic items. I never got rid of my two magic weapons, and even though I started as an Archery Fighter I eventually took TWF to complement my two magic weapons. It's pretty amazing, to be honest.

Our next campaign was played with high magic living through a Fiendish Apocalypse. All of us had lots of magic weapons, items, and armor, looted from corpses of dead heroes and villains. The DM wanted to see if we could play a Monty Hall game and how the system would handle it. All of had several legendary items and no room to attune more. The way the DM handled it was he increased the CR by 1 for each legendary item we had attuned as a group. To keep the Exp down but the CR up he'd sprinkle in a few extra Fiends for every encounter. The great part about 5e is low level monsters can still be effective, even against very high level PCs. That's a big departure from 3e where you can't field CR3 monsters against a 16th level party and expect anything out of them.
 

Ulfgeir

Hero
By design.

In OD&D and AD&D, adventures were crafted around 6-8 characters, it was not uncommon to equip underlings to boost those party numbers, and characters who died restarted at level 1, but could catch up in the unique XP system fairly quickly if they could stay alive...which would be due to having magical items handed down to them. Because of that, a well-geared 1st level fighter could hang with a 6th level party. Magic items and weapons were commonly found at level 1. Bounded accuracy and balanced class design were not part of the conversation. Finally, magic items could be broken and destroyed, and if a DM wanted to ensure no players returned to his or her table, see Mordenkainen's Disjunction.

3rd Edition: the "Christmas tree" effect where numerical magic items to boost stats became a necessity. Wealth by level replaced hoards of gold with hoards of "plus" items that would be sold towards the next tier of stat-boosting items. Easily my least-favorite time of magical items.

4th: skipped

5E: because of bounded accuracy and power imbued within the classes, magical items are less necessary. Because of the math, stat boosting items have more impact than before. There was/is a push to make each and every magical item you put into the game special so players don't yawn, toss it onto the heap of +1 swords, and so on.

I do recall a thread years ago about adventure design and the expectation not all encounters would be had, so if one were to scour the entirety of a prefab adventure, there would tend to be more magic than written into the DMG/Xanathar's expectations.

Summary: the TSR era handed out magical items like candy at 1st level and never stopped. Without attunement, the only thing stopping you was the 2-ring limit.

Yeah, you kind of were expected to have a golf-bag of various magical weapons and the equivalent of Batman's utility belt in terms of magical gear..
 


billd91

Hobbit on Quest (he/him)
I don't have a lot of experience of 5th edition, but in our last fight 3/4 of the party had to make a DC 18 Wisdom save or be paralysed (save at the end of subsequent turns to remove). Rolling a dice each round to see whether I could participate in the game was no fun at all.

that's a REALLY high save DC!
Yes, that is fairly high and a lot of characters will have a fairly low Wisdom save. But compared to 1e/2e, you'd have been down for the encounter with the first save if you failed and not rolling each round. Also, in 5e, that spell or effect probably requires the caster to concentrate, so finding some character to hit them and force Constitution saves to maintain concentration becomes a key tactic.
 

ad_hoc

Hero
My group play tested the HELL out of 5e, and it was apparent early on the magic items were not necessary, but also unique. Gone were the 3e days where you have a bucket of +1 Longswords. Our first campaign for 5e was played with scarce magic items. I had a +1 Longsword that shed light like a torch. It was my one magic item until 3rd level when I got a holy mace that did +1d6 extra radiant against undead and fiends. The game worked great. We played until 9th level with scarce magic items. I never got rid of my two magic weapons, and even though I started as an Archery Fighter I eventually took TWF to complement my two magic weapons. It's pretty amazing, to be honest.

Our next campaign was played with high magic living through a Fiendish Apocalypse. All of us had lots of magic weapons, items, and armor, looted from corpses of dead heroes and villains. The DM wanted to see if we could play a Monty Hall game and how the system would handle it. All of had several legendary items and no room to attune more. The way the DM handled it was he increased the CR by 1 for each legendary item we had attuned as a group. To keep the Exp down but the CR up he'd sprinkle in a few extra Fiends for every encounter. The great part about 5e is low level monsters can still be effective, even against very high level PCs. That's a big departure from 3e where you can't field CR3 monsters against a 16th level party and expect anything out of them.

Wait, that's your idea of scarce items?

In my games players can get to 5th level without any permanent items depending on how the rolls go. In my current game the party is 4th level (almost 5th) and have a single magical robe among them. That's normal for us and I think 5e in general.
 

Bolares

Hero
Yes, that is fairly high and a lot of characters will have a fairly low Wisdom save. But compared to 1e/2e, you'd have been down for the encounter with the first save if you failed and not rolling each round. Also, in 5e, that spell or effect probably requires the caster to concentrate, so finding some character to hit them and force Constitution saves to maintain concentration becomes a key tactic.
I'm saying it's a really high DC because for a PC to have a 18 on their DC they would need a +5 in their spellcasting modifier and a +5 in proficience (at least 13th level). So for an NPC to have that high of a DC it would probably be a pretty big deal.
 

amethal

Adventurer
Yes, that is fairly high and a lot of characters will have a fairly low Wisdom save. But compared to 1e/2e, you'd have been down for the encounter with the first save if you failed and not rolling each round. Also, in 5e, that spell or effect probably requires the caster to concentrate, so finding some character to hit them and force Constitution saves to maintain concentration becomes a key tactic.
It was some sort of monster special ability, and there wasn't any concentration involved - although since this is our first 5th edition campaign the DM might have missed it.
 

Bolares

Hero
It was some sort of monster special ability, and there wasn't any concentration involved - although since this is our first 5th edition campaign the DM might have missed it.
Yeah, that's what I'm felling. Comming from 3.x, 4e and pathfinder, the first few games we really missed the correct AC, Spell DC, and DCs in general for 5e. Took us some games to adjust.
 

Voadam

Legend
AD&D and Basic felt like they had a bunch from modules, the ubiquity of +1 maces became a running joke in my campaign in the 80s. Magic or magic weapons were really needed to affect a large number of monsters (all but the least powerful undead, extraplanar things, golems), so magic weapons were key for fighters.

3e had its core tree slots (ring of protection, amulet of natural armor, magic weapon, magic armor, magic shield, ring of protection, cloak of resistance, stat item), crafting, and default magic item markets with incentives to get more lower powered items, which made it common for PCs to have lots of magic. With an expected wealth per level and a decent exponential cost for the power of items the combat math expectations pretty much assumed you had increasingly powerful items for the slots as you leveled.

4e made it fairly standard to have 4 items (magic attack item (weapon or focus), magic armor, protective neck item, +something neat) which is not a ton but had the complication of expecting bonuses to go up with level so either changing the items frequently or using rituals to upgrade your existing stuff. 4e also had the excellent option in DMG 2 to go with inherent bonuses and make the assumed plusses from the three main item categories (attack, AC, other defenses) inherent to characters and did not stack with item bonuses so that magic items were not necessary for baseline math and could be rare or just allow for weird non-math abilities.
 

el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
This conversation has me thinking of this bit of the intro to the forthcoming fourth issue of my zine, HOW I RUN IT (subtitled "A Myriad of Magical Items"):


Magical items have long represented a contradiction in my approach to running D&D campaigns. On the one hand, I have had a bit of a reputation as a stingy DM who did not give out much magic but that at the same time, tends to give out magical items that are a bit involved and non-standard, perhaps slightly more powerful than the standard version they are based on, have a history connecting them to the lore of the setting, and occasionally having a drawback of some kind.
 

AtomicPope

Adventurer
Wait, that's your idea of scarce items?

In my games players can get to 5th level without any permanent items depending on how the rolls go. In my current game the party is 4th level (almost 5th) and have a single magical robe among them. That's normal for us and I think 5e in general.
If you just played the 5e Starter Set you'd have way more magic than that. You'd have magic armor, swords, mace, axe, The Glass Staff, and wands, just off the top of my head. The standard magic seems to be a 1 permanent magic item every 2 or 3 levels. I'd say getting half of that is scarce.
 

ad_hoc

Hero
If you just played the 5e Starter Set you'd have way more magic than that. You'd have magic armor, swords, mace, axe, The Glass Staff, and wands, just off the top of my head. The standard magic seems to be a 1 permanent magic item every 2 or 3 levels. I'd say getting half of that is scarce.

The treasure hoard tables have been broken down into what is average.

I haven't played the 5e starter set but I have played many other 5e adventures and it sounds like an extreme outlier.
 

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