How many magic items should a typical 5e campaign have per PC?

DMG, bottom of page 133:

Over the course of a typical campaign, a party finds treasure hoards amounting to seven rolls on the Challenge 0-4 table, eighteen rolls on the Challenge 5-10 table, twelve rolls on the Challenge 11-16 table, and eight rolls on the Challenge 17+ table

DMG, left column page 83:

Party Size. The preceding guidelines assume you have a party consisting of three to five adventurers.

i.e. the average party size for purposes of everything in DMG is 4.

There are 9 Magic Item tables, A-I and we can examine them for permanent items that change resource allocation:

Magic Item Table A has a 2% chance of some minor items. 0-2nd level scrolls.

Magic Item Table B has a 16% chance of permanent items and about a 6% of a meaningful permanent item. 2nd-3rd level scrolls, consumables that can influence a combat such as Potion of Hill Giant Strength or Elemental gem. Goggles of Night stand out here as do a cloak, suit of armor, useful ring, etc...+1 ammo.

Magic Item Table C has a 8% and a 1% of a meaningful permanent item. 4th-5th level scrolls, potion of stone giant strength, Necklace of Fireballs, Periapt of Health. +2 ammo.

Magic Item Table D has a 5% and a 3% 6th-8th level scrolls, +3 ammo

Magic Item Table E has 0%. 8th-9th level scrolls, storm giant strength potions, arrow of slaying.

Magic Item Table F is where +1 items live. About a 3% chance of a relative dud/not typically permanent item. About a 23% chance of a magic weapon in effect. About 11% chance of an implement.

Magic Item Table G is where +2 items live. About a 14% chance of a relative dud/not typically permanent item. About 24% chance of at least a +1 magic weapon in effect. About 22% chance of an implement.

Magic Item Table H is where +3 items live. About a 12% chance of a relative dud/not typically permanent item. About 25% chance of at least a +2 magic weapon in effect. About 22% chance of an implement

Magic Item Table I is where the crazy stuff is. Though no artifacts or sentinent items. About 25% chance of a relative dud/not typically permanent item. 18% chance of an implement.

If, as an example, we have a 4% chance of 1-4 items, that's an average of 2.5 items 4% of the time or essentially an average of 1 item 10% of the time. So what does that mean given what the DMG says is a typical campaign of an average of 4 PCs...

7 rolls = 5.88 items from Table A, 2.63 items from Table B, 1.75 items from Table C, 2.1 items from Table F and 0.21 items from Table G.

18 rolls = 13.23 items from Table A, 8.55 items from Table B, 4.95 items from Table C, 1.08 items from Table D, 6.3 items from Table F, 1.8 items from Table G, and 0.36 items from Table H.

12 rolls = 4.2 items from Table A, 5.88 items from Table B, 8.82 items from Table C, 4.8 items from Table D, 0.96 items from Table E, 0.96 items from Table F, 2.4 items from table G, 3 items from Table H, and 0.96 items from Table I.

8 rolls = 4.32 items from Table C, 8.96 items from Table D, 6.6 items from Table E, 0.8 items from Table G, 1.6 items from Table H, and 4 items from Table I

4th = 5.88 items from Table A, 2.625 items from Table B, 1.75 items from Table C, 2.1 items from Table F and 0.21 items from Table G

10th = 19.11 items from Table A, 11.18 items from Table B, 6.7 items from Table C, 1.08 items from Table D , 8.4 items from Table F, 2.01 items from Table G, 0.36 items from Table H

16th = 23.31 items from Table A, 17.06 items from Table B, 15.52 items from Table C, 5.88 items from Table D, 0.96 items from Table E, 9.36 items from Table F, 4.41 items from Table G, 3.36 items from Table H, and 0.96 items from Table I

20th = 23.31 items from Table A, 17.06 items from Table B, 19.84 items from Table C, 14.84 items from Table D, 7.54 items from Table E, 9.36 items from Table F, 5.21 items from Table G, 4.96 items from Table H, and 4.96 items from Table I

4th = 1.47 items from Table A, 0.66 items from Table B, 0.44 items from Table C, 0.53 items from Table F and 0.05 items from Table G.

10th = 4.78 items from Table A, 2.8 items from Table B, 1.68 items from Table C, 0.27 items from Table D, 2.1 items from Table F, 0.5 items from Table G, 0.09 items from Table H.

16th = 5.83 items from Table A, 4.27 items from Table B, 3.88 items from Table C, 1.47 items from Table D, 0.24 items from Table E, 2.34 items from Table F, 1.1 items from Table G, 0.84 items from Table H, and 0.24 items from Table I.

20th = 5.83 items from Table A, 4.27 items from Table B, 4.96 items from Table C, 3.71 items from Table D, 1.89 items from Table E, 2.34 items from Table F, 1.3 items from Table G, 0.99 items from Table H, and 0.99 items from Table I.

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PCs typically ought to be finding about 1 consumable each per level.

Note how close the number of useful items per level at 10th, 16th, and 20th per PC is 0.25. i.e. a party should end up finding about 1 useful item each level, with each PC getting 1 useful item every 4 levels.

Levels 1-4 are a little off the curve, representing how fast they ought to happen. Levels 5-10 play catchup.

The idea that magic items aren't taken into account by game mechanics ought to be a false one - there's no assumption that you will have a specific magic item, but a 20th level PC ought to have 5 useful magic items according to what R&D considers a typical campaign.

DMG, bottom of page 133:

Over the course of a typical campaign, a party finds treasure hoards amounting to seven rolls on the Challenge 0-4 table, eighteen rolls on the Challenge 5-10 table, twelve rolls on the Challenge 11-16 table, and eight rolls on the Challenge 17+ table

DMG, left column page 83:

Party Size. The preceding guidelines assume you have a party consisting of three to five adventurers.

i.e. the average party size for purposes of everything in DMG is 4.

There are 9 Magic Item tables, A-I and we can examine them for permanent items that change resource allocation:

Magic Item Table A has a 2% chance of some minor items. 0-2nd level scrolls.

Magic Item Table B has a 16% chance of permanent items and about a 6% of a meaningful permanent item. 2nd-3rd level scrolls, consumables that can influence a combat such as Potion of Hill Giant Strength or Elemental gem. Goggles of Night stand out here as do a cloak, suit of armor, useful ring, etc...+1 ammo.

Magic Item Table C has a 8% and a 1% of a meaningful permanent item. 4th-5th level scrolls, potion of stone giant strength, Necklace of Fireballs, Periapt of Health. +2 ammo.

Magic Item Table D has a 5% and a 3% 6th-8th level scrolls, +3 ammo

Magic Item Table E has 0%. 8th-9th level scrolls, storm giant strength potions, arrow of slaying.

Magic Item Table F is where +1 items live. About a 3% chance of a relative dud/not typically permanent item. About a 23% chance of a magic weapon in effect. About 11% chance of an implement.

Magic Item Table G is where +2 items live. About a 14% chance of a relative dud/not typically permanent item. About 24% chance of at least a +1 magic weapon in effect. About 22% chance of an implement.

Magic Item Table H is where +3 items live. About a 12% chance of a relative dud/not typically permanent item. About 25% chance of at least a +2 magic weapon in effect. About 22% chance of an implement

Magic Item Table I is where the crazy stuff is. Though no artifacts or sentinent items. About 25% chance of a relative dud/not typically permanent item. 18% chance of an implement.

If, as an example, we have a 4% chance of 1-4 items, that's an average of 2.5 items 4% of the time or essentially an average of 1 item 10% of the time. So what does that mean given what the DMG says is a typical campaign of an average of 4 PCs...

**Challenge 0-4**: Has a 36% of no magic items, 24% of 3.5 items from Table A(84%), 15% of 2.5 items from Table B(37.5%), 10% of 2.5 items from Table C(25%), a 12% chance of 2.5 items from Table F(30%), and a 3% chance from Table G.7 rolls = 5.88 items from Table A, 2.63 items from Table B, 1.75 items from Table C, 2.1 items from Table F and 0.21 items from Table G.

**Challenge 5-10:**Has an 28% of no magic items, 21% of 3.5 items from Table A(73.5%), 19% of 2.5 items from Table B(47.5%), 11% of 2.5 items from Table C(27.5%), 6% chance of 1 item from Table D(6%), a 14% chance of 2.5 items from Table F(35%), a 4% chance of 2.5 items from Table G(10%), and a 2% chance of Table H.18 rolls = 13.23 items from Table A, 8.55 items from Table B, 4.95 items from Table C, 1.08 items from Table D, 6.3 items from Table F, 1.8 items from Table G, and 0.36 items from Table H.

**Challenge 11-16:**Has a 15% of no magic items, 14% chance of 2.5 items from Table A(35%), 14% chance of 3.5 items from Table B(49%), 21% chance of 3.5 items from Table C(73.5%), 16% chance of 2.5 items from Table D(40%), 8% chance of 1 item from Table E, an 8% chance of 1 item from Table F, an 8% chance of 2.5 items from Table G(20%), a 10% chance of 2.5 items from Table H(25%), and an 8% chance of 1 item from Table I.12 rolls = 4.2 items from Table A, 5.88 items from Table B, 8.82 items from Table C, 4.8 items from Table D, 0.96 items from Table E, 0.96 items from Table F, 2.4 items from table G, 3 items from Table H, and 0.96 items from Table I.

**Challenge 17-20:**Has a 2% chance of no magic items, 12% chance of 4.5 items from Table C(54%), 32% of 3.5 items from Table D(112%), 22% of 3.5 items from Table E(77%), a 4% chance of 2.5 items from Table G(10%), an 8% chance of 2.5 items from Table H(20%), and a 20% chance of 2.5 items from Table I(50% - wow!).8 rolls = 4.32 items from Table C, 8.96 items from Table D, 6.6 items from Table E, 0.8 items from Table G, 1.6 items from Table H, and 4 items from Table I

**How Many Items Per Party?**4th = 5.88 items from Table A, 2.625 items from Table B, 1.75 items from Table C, 2.1 items from Table F and 0.21 items from Table G

10th = 19.11 items from Table A, 11.18 items from Table B, 6.7 items from Table C, 1.08 items from Table D , 8.4 items from Table F, 2.01 items from Table G, 0.36 items from Table H

16th = 23.31 items from Table A, 17.06 items from Table B, 15.52 items from Table C, 5.88 items from Table D, 0.96 items from Table E, 9.36 items from Table F, 4.41 items from Table G, 3.36 items from Table H, and 0.96 items from Table I

20th = 23.31 items from Table A, 17.06 items from Table B, 19.84 items from Table C, 14.84 items from Table D, 7.54 items from Table E, 9.36 items from Table F, 5.21 items from Table G, 4.96 items from Table H, and 4.96 items from Table I

**Expected Magic Items per PC?**4th = 1.47 items from Table A, 0.66 items from Table B, 0.44 items from Table C, 0.53 items from Table F and 0.05 items from Table G.

**2.53 consumables, 0.62 permanent(0.56 useful, 0.02 duds, 0.04 Table B-D)**10th = 4.78 items from Table A, 2.8 items from Table B, 1.68 items from Table C, 0.27 items from Table D, 2.1 items from Table F, 0.5 items from Table G, 0.09 items from Table H.

**9.34 consumables, 2.88 permanent(2.55 useful, 0.14 duds, 0.19 Table B-D)**16th = 5.83 items from Table A, 4.27 items from Table B, 3.88 items from Table C, 1.47 items from Table D, 0.24 items from Table E, 2.34 items from Table F, 1.1 items from Table G, 0.84 items from Table H, and 0.24 items from Table I.

**15.36 consumables, 4.85 permanent(4.13 useful, 0.39 duds, 0.33 Table B-D)**20th = 5.83 items from Table A, 4.27 items from Table B, 4.96 items from Table C, 3.71 items from Table D, 1.89 items from Table E, 2.34 items from Table F, 1.3 items from Table G, 0.99 items from Table H, and 0.99 items from Table I.

**20.24 consumables, 6.04 permanent(5.01 useful, 0.61 duds, 0.42 Table B-D)****Useful**: Items that are good items from the tables F-I. They potentially might be rendered into a dud with additional levels. The guy who finds a +1 Greatsword and then a +2 Greatsword in a party where he's the only Greatsword user. This does not include items from Table B-D**Duds**: Usually represent either cursed items, items that might be very difficult to use, items that are better thought of as being consumables, or even items that aren't necessarily strictly better than non-magical items. +1 Scale Mail on Table I, I'm looking at you. The exact number of duds isn't really precise. Quick judgment calls.**Table B-D:**Are items from the tables that are mostly consumable items. Usually rather weak, but could help out some builds such as Humans unable to see in the dark or a Paladin who rides a mount.-----------

**Conclusions**PCs typically ought to be finding about 1 consumable each per level.

Note how close the number of useful items per level at 10th, 16th, and 20th per PC is 0.25. i.e. a party should end up finding about 1 useful item each level, with each PC getting 1 useful item every 4 levels.

Levels 1-4 are a little off the curve, representing how fast they ought to happen. Levels 5-10 play catchup.

The idea that magic items aren't taken into account by game mechanics ought to be a false one - there's no assumption that you will have a specific magic item, but a 20th level PC ought to have 5 useful magic items according to what R&D considers a typical campaign.

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