D&D 5E Can 5E bring the wonder and mystery back to Magic Items?

I've been through alot of postings about 5E and didn't see a thread specific to what we are looking for, for Magic Items in 5E.

First, I was surprised on the announcement, as in how they approached the fans. I want to be excited but nervous.

So playing all versions 1E-4E and currently in Pathfinder, what I miss is the mystery and wonder of finding a magical item prior to 3x Crafting of magic items. I've played a few magic users since 3x and I first did love creating/crafting my own magic items but... I knew what they could do already. Other players could just pull out the DM or the Patherfinder core book and see the magic item they want and what it does.

It's like shopping the game to me, does anyone feel like I do that 5E should bring back the wonder and mystery of a magical item found?

We could also bring up all the +'s on magic items to attributes, seeing someone dump a +1 sword (like it was an old shoe) for a +2 sword always bugged me, as in the respect for magical items.

As a kid, when I read The Hobbit, Bilbo had a sword that warned of Orcs and maybe was a +1 to hit and damage. It had a name, "Sting" and glowed blue when Orcs were close, I thought that was so cool. I couldn't see Bilbo dumping it because he found a +2 sword. I just feel the respect of magic items has been lost through the last 5-6 years.

What do you guys think?

Brock
 
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Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
God, I hope so. Magic items should be as untemplated as possible. Each should be unique and different, and not forced to fit into a standard-shaped hole.
 

TwinBahamut

First Post
I really doubt it will happen. I don't think it is even possible for game mechanics and rules to create feelings like "wonder and mystery". Good storytelling might, but that's the DM's job, not the rules' job.

That said, I do hope that the mathematical necessity of magic items is completely removed, and the number of magic items slots is diminished and clarified even further than it was in 4E. A complete removal of +1 magical bonuses or other such effects would be ideal. More rules that separate the growth of wealth from direct increases to character power would also be nice.
 

Frostmarrow

First Post
I think the wonder is gone. But not because of D&D. When I was a kid I loved scifi with all the possibilities the genre promised for the future. Turns out the future was very different from predicted. But I'm more amazed with the everyday gadgets of this present day than I ever was wondered as a child. It's crazy what modern compuers can do. No space travel, though. I've grown accustomed to magic. The wonder is gone. Still amazed.
 

I really doubt it will happen. I don't think it is even possible for game mechanics and rules to create feelings like "wonder and mystery". Good storytelling might, but that's the DM's job, not the rules' job.

That said, I do hope that the mathematical necessity of magic items is completely removed, and the number of magic items slots is diminished and clarified even further than it was in 4E. A complete removal of +1 magical bonuses or other such effects would be ideal. More rules that separate the growth of wealth from direct increases to character power would also be nice.

I agree on the storying telling part being handled by the DM for the "wonder and mystery". It's the magical bonuses that took away from the "wonder" and lighting up like a Xmas tree with all the slots you can put magic items in. It's crazy!

Can't they come up with a crafting system for regular items, using better materials to improve them but not doing that with magical items? A strong steel sword can chop of heads and be in many battles but it gets dull in time and can be broken. A magic sword, looks like a god shined it and can not be broken. I'm with Morrus in making them unique again and untemplated as much as possible.

Brock
 

Mengu

First Post
I would love to see magic items disappear from the PHB, and reappear in DMG. Magic items should not be part of character design. If another layer of character design is needed, make it something else, talents, or traits, or whatever you want to call them. You can have a foot trait of +1 speed, a hand trait of +2 cold damage, and a head trait of +1 initiative. These need not be magic items.

I want magic items to be completely in the hands of the DM. When you help some dwarves with their troubles, they might gift the group an armor of fire resistance, which is sure to come in handy in the next step of the campaign, war against the salamanders. Perhaps the magic lantern gifted to them by the elves, will guide them through the dungeons of Trak'zenth. Items that affect the story in some way are much more memorable than the +2 iron armbands everyone is wearing.

I would also like to see magic items become an "optional" part of the system. So players don't feel entitled to find gear, and DM's don't feel obligated to use them. But this is all pretty radical stuff. If 5e is going to be a merging of systems, I'm afraid we will see the old ways return, where random treasure will appear in every dungeon room, and people will be fishing for +2 weapons, retraining their bastard sword proficiency for a waraxe because that's the +2 weapon they found. And enter the house rules.

It may even be wise, if they simply assumed people will use house rules for items, and simply provide a few methods that might work for the various play styles.
 

I think the wonder is gone. But not because of D&D. When I was a kid I loved scifi with all the possibilities the genre promised for the future. Turns out the future was very different from predicted. But I'm more amazed with the everyday gadgets of this present day than I ever was wondered as a child. It's crazy what modern compuers can do. No space travel, though. I've grown accustomed to magic. The wonder is gone. Still amazed.

I see your point on the wonder maybe gone do to advancements in tech but D&D was always about imagination. There has to be imagination elements to bring back to D&D, though I am speaking of magical items currently. I'm just old school and miss the "Oh wow!" the game would bring to me.

Ok so then we go back to the math of magic items, that has to be fixed, too many +s to everything. There has to be a way for magic items to be unique and not in a bin at the back of a merchant shop, buy 1 and get the second one at half price.

What ideas can be brought to 5E to make magic items unique again I guess is what I'm wondering about.

Brock
 
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Lanefan

Victoria Rules
First thing they need to do is put the magic item lists back in the DMG where they belong (this was a 4e mistake) and make the DMG DM-eyes-only again.

Then, do away with anything that allows PCs to build any item beyond a simple potion or scroll unless they want to take a year or more off from adventuring to do it. (this was a 3e mistake)

Next, shorten down the DMG item lists but include a list of possible properties a given item might have as a guideline for a DM to build her own. Kind of like the build-an-artifact stuff in the 1e DMG only expanded.

Fourth, bring back the notion that potions, wands, etc. can do things other than just replicate an existing spell.

Fifth, abandon the idea that if an item goes in slot x it automatically has property y e.g. footwear always has something to do with travel or movement. What's wrong with something like this:

Boots of Knowledge - after the wearer has worn them for a day wearer gains Comprehend Language once a day and Identify once a month provided the boots are worn each day.

And sixth - and most important - bring back the concept of field-testing. You do not and cannot know what an item does until you mess around with it a little (and, of course, trigger any inherent curses...) and often even that won't tell you anything. The 4e idea of learning an item's properties - no matter how obscure they might be - after 5 minutes study has to go. Make the Identify spell (castable only in town or controlled situations) relevant again.

These might not bring back all the mystery, but it's a start.

Lanefan
 

Alaxk's Five Steps for Restoring Magic to Magical Items

  1. Magic Items belong in the DMG, not the PHB
  2. Permenant Magic Items should never regularly be purchased or crafted by the PC (I'm okay with buying/crafting a potion or scroll, or crafting a magical item as part of a story. An MMO style crafting system should not be in the game)
  3. Don't make magic items part of the system Math. A 12th level fighter shouldn't require a +3 sword for the system math to work
  4. Encourage the use of Random Magic Item table for the placement of treasure
  5. Make sure that classic DnD Magic Items are present in the game and are Iconic Treasures: Wand of Wonder, Flametounge, Vorpal Blades, Mithril Armor, etc.
 

Thalionalfirin

First Post
I don't know if they still do it in the newer editions, but I LOVED how Earthdawn handled magic items when that game first came out.

EVERY magic item needed to be researched and properties unlocked. Characters had to weave their threads (personal energy) and bond with the threads of the item.

The search for knowledge became quests and due to the limits of how many threads a character could weave, magic items became special... not something you "trade up for" at a certain level.

If the new iteration had anything like that, I would be in heaven.
 

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