D&D 5E Magic item complexity


Has anyone done a comprehensive guide as to magic item complexity and how it all meshes together?

For any item:
There are basic powers.
There are powers when attuned.
There are powers which depend on the target (e.g. Bane)
There are powers which depend upon achievement (e.g. Elemental Command depends upon slaying)
There are powers which depend on compatible class or alignment or both (Holy Avenger)
There are powers which depend upon spellcasting.
There are powers which depend upon level.
There are powers which depend upon race.

What else?

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There are some basic guidelines, such as simple +1 weapons are uncommon, armor with pluses are rare or higher. The more powerful the item, the higher the rarity.

However it's not a "this + that = rarity", it's more of a judgement call which is the pattern of 5E.


Bourbon and Dice
It's for the better IMO. Say, for example, that the book listed a ring of water walking at 2k gp. Is it the same in a desert campaign? What about a pirate campaign set in a world of islands? Are a +1 sword, dagger, bow, or axe all worth the same amount? If the book says all +1 items are 1k gold then the DM has no flexibility for his campaign. Would a horn of plenty cost exactly the same amount in a wasteland style campaign?

There are so many ways where pricing could vary based on a campaign that the current system works better by giving the DM a price range and letting him set the individual prices. +1 weapons 500 to 5k gp? Well a +1 dagger could sell for around 600, a +1 bow could sell for 2k to a group of elves, and maybe you could even get 3k for a +1 sword when selling it to a young noble.


I wasn't really thinking about monetary value but in terms of what other elements I've missed, design fit, and so on.


I might separate them into combat- offensive and defensive, and non-combat utility.

magic weapons are offensive and armor is defensive. These should be worth more since they are more valuable in most cases and games. A utility item such as a hat of disguise self may be cool, but is limited in its uses and doesn't go to the math of the system.

These can be broken down further with several points outlined above.


Yes, though I'd call them active and passive powers.

There's also periodic - do X to gain or impose Y for Z rounds. E.g. "If you kill an elemental with this weapon you gain Resistance to that element for the next minute."

Voidrunner's Codex

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