D&D 5E Renaming +1, +2, +3

steeldragons

Steeliest of the dragons
Epic
Back in 1e (and forever since) someone in my old group came up with named "off screen spells", as it were, to describe the use of the Identify spell.

So, when we would find items and identify them, pcs or npcs, we could be told "in-setting terms" for what they could do. I continue to use the bulk of these today, with a few alterations and additions added over the years.

Off the top of my head, here are the most common. To begin, you start with:
"Enchanted" is a weapon that is +1 to hit and damage, shields/armor +1, and necessary to outfit a given weapon or armor/make it receptive to applying additional spells/powers.

"Mystic" is a weapon that is +2 to hit and damage, shields & armor +2.

"Bullseye"
is used exclusively to create missiles, arrows of slaying or similar highly magical ammunition, that gives a +3 to hit and damage.

Those are the bases enchantments to be found on any magic weapon/armor. To those can be added any of the following:
Piercing: additional +1 to hit only, mostly found on missiles or thrown weapons. But not exclusively.
Accuracy: additional +2 to hit only.

Force: additional +1 to damage only, most commonly found on bludgeoning weapons.
Smiting: additional +2 to damage only.

Striking: additional +1 to hit and damage
[EDIT: this "Deflecting: additional +1 to shields or armor" is wrong. I was mistaken.]
Protection is additional +1 to defensive items (shields, armor, cloaks, bracers, etc...).
Deflecting is additional +2 to defensive items [/edit]

Specified Smiting [against X]: (originally, "Chosen Smiting") additional +2 to a specific being/type of creature). So, those old school weapons of "+1 [to hit and damage all of the time], +3 vs. X" were a weapons layered with "Enchanted + Specified Smiting against [whatever]."

Returning: self-explanatory, applied to weapons that would be thrown.

Repeating: a somewhat sci-fi kind of over-the-top addition, used mostly on crossbows, but possible on other missile weapons, that allowed conjured ammo or energy bolts each round without reloading. Yeah, we went there on occasion. Dwarf culture in my homebrew world have a mechanical variation that can do 6 mini-quarrel/bolts before needing to reload the clip. 1 round is required to change a pre-loaded clip. 3 rounds to reload an empty clip with 6 bolts. Most dwarven guards/patrols (in dwarven lands) are armed with these, with each crossbowman having at least 1 backup pre-loaded clip. But that's really another thread.

Elemental [fire, frost, lightning]: the appropriate variation creates flame tongues and/or frost brands, obviously.

Retraction: a common property of elvin made weapons [on Orea] allowing the weapon to shrink to the size of palm grip and extend fully. In the great tradition of things like Diana the Acrobat or Cheetara's quarterstaves and many other cartoon weapons. :) elf-made bows that could be worn strapped on the hip, with an attached quiver that would shrink to about the size of a belt pouch/small hip satchel. When activated, the bow extended (to short or long bow length, short bows significantly more common to find than long ones) and the quiver expanded out to its full usable size.

Extension: another elvin innovation/property, mostly on reach weapons such as spears or staves, that allows the weapon to stretch extra length (usually no more than double its original length).

Suiting: was the explanation for the old trope that a magical weapon or, moreso, armor and worn items altered in size and shape to fit its owner, regardless of the creature's size/race or that of its previous user.

Permanency: of course, was essential in the crafting and the final spell on all magic items to "seal" the item, make the applied enchantments "stick".

From there, pretty much everything else was extrapolated. I recall a thief PC [waaay back in the day] with/find a short sword with shadow-stuff related powers. When we got around to figuring out all of what it did/identifying it, we discovered it had been fitted with the basic "Enchanted" (that was pretty much the base layer of any magical weapon or armor) and then a variation of "Elemental" that accessed the [then] plane of shadow. Plus things like Darkness and Dimension Door to account for other of its properties.

Whenever possible, actual spells were used to explain additional powers of weapons/armor, e.g., a suit of ethereal plate, for example, was a "enchanted" plate with a Plane Shift or Etherealness spell added on top...sealed with a Permanency.
 
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El Mahdi

Muad'Dib of the Anauroch
It's not, though. The fact that...

Not really...

It really depends on how abstract you take combat to be...

But again, a human being doesn't know that he inflicted exactly the maximum damage the weapon's capable of...


I agree with Mouseferatu.

And adding on to what he said, I'd point out that +1 to hit (or +2, +3) are all graduations that mean nothing except in relation to a reference; that reference being randomized Attack and Damage rolls, Proficiency Bonuses, arbitrary one-size-fits-all (unscientific) advantage/disadvantage bonuses, any other "bonuses", and ultimately, Bounded Accuracy. ALL of which are Metagame concepts and mechanics.

On top of which, "+1", "+2", "+3", etc. all come off as essentially "scientific" graduations and notations; something quite inconsistent and anachronistic with typical fantasy settings.

Now, if you've introduced a pseudo-scientific aspect or culture into your game, or you're playing a modern/future game, and using advanced alloys, advanced manufacturing techniques, or future technology (like vibroblades, for instance), then I could buy it. You could have "Class 1 Gravity Maces", "Class 2 Vibroblades" (or "Sonic" weapons), "Class 3 Plasma Sword", etc. In a medieval/renaissance pseudo-scientific setting, you could have a weapon with a "Level 1 Evocation", or "Grade 3 Enchantment", etc.

But in my opinion, without such accommodations and in general play, it's Metagaming; and as DM, I'd point out such instances and ask my players to avoid it.
 



BryonD

Hero
I agree with Mouseferatu.

And adding on to what he said, I'd point out that +1 to hit (or +2, +3) are all graduations that mean nothing except in relation to a reference; that reference being randomized Attack and Damage rolls, Proficiency Bonuses, arbitrary one-size-fits-all (unscientific) advantage/disadvantage bonuses, any other "bonuses", and ultimately, Bounded Accuracy. ALL of which are Metagame concepts and mechanics.

On top of which, "+1", "+2", "+3", etc. all come off as essentially "scientific" graduations and notations; something quite inconsistent and anachronistic with typical fantasy settings.

Now, if you've introduced a pseudo-scientific aspect or culture into your game, or you're playing a modern/future game, and using advanced alloys, advanced manufacturing techniques, or future technology (like vibroblades, for instance), then I could buy it. You could have "Class 1 Gravity Maces", "Class 2 Vibroblades" (or "Sonic" weapons), "Class 3 Plasma Sword", etc. In a medieval/renaissance pseudo-scientific setting, you could have a weapon with a "Level 1 Evocation", or "Grade 3 Enchantment", etc.

But in my opinion, without such accommodations and in general play, it's Metagaming; and as DM, I'd point out such instances and ask my players to avoid it.

I strongly agree with this.

BUT...

There is room for both. In a world with a lot of common magic, you could have schools which classify levels of magic power.
Though even then I think there would be more exceptions than consistencies. The school may recognize "classically arcane forged" weapons of various potency. But Ser Mark's sword which is magic by right of having been forged from a meteorite that fell during an eclipse can not be classified. (despite it being "+2" in game) Same with St. Fred's holy mace that was blessed by the Archangel Karl last week.

So, as I type I'm talking myself out of most of my counter-point. And I started out agreeing with you anyway. ahem. anyway..


It is cool as an inspiration for naming stuff, so long as you don't get hung up using the same names over and over.
 

But in my opinion, without such accommodations and in general play, it's Metagaming; and as DM, I'd point out such instances and ask my players to avoid it.
Naming conventions are part of world design, and as such, entirely within DM purview. If you want to give fun names to the different levels of enchantment, then you're free to do so. I'm just pointing out that, if you don't, the standard naming convention works pretty well and does not rely on meta-game information in any way.

Remember, the concept of science is not new. It might have really taken off since the Enlightenment, but there are a lot of ancient civilizations with strong mathematical traditions.
 

Riley37

First Post
Don't forget the engraved image of a naked, shivering sheep on the handguard.

In the Greyhawk setting, it is a blade held in high regard in the East and West Flannels.

...where men are men, orcs are orcs, and sheep are scared?


Meanwhile, on the topic of testing a sword to determine its relative effectiveness:

When you can test axes on trees and usefully categorize them as +1, +2 and +3, *then* I might *consider* taking this idea seriously as something that people can do *without* modern measurement devices.
Here's an axe which looks way better than anything I've used at a campsite, or my uncle's rural cabin (where no axe would mean no kindling which would mean no winter survival).
Is it +1, +2 or +3?
http://www.firefighteraxe.com/pickhead_axe.php

Have you seen how closely fire-arm enthusiasts study the relationship between muzzle velocity, momentum vs. kinetic energy, penetration and damage? Tons of ballistic gel later, there *still* isn't consensus on the relative merits of 9mm Parabellum vs. .45 ACP. (Though that's mainly because some enthusiasts are too stubborn to recognize the objective facts of the matter. Just sayin'. You know who you are.)

*If* the process of ENCHANTING a weapon had three different, categorizable, clearly-mutually-exclusive levels, then weapon-enchanters *might* have a standard vocabulary for what process they had applied to a weapon. But that's a big "if".
 

Tell them the weapon is called Squirrelsmiter and that it's a +1 sword. The players should say they draw Squirrelsmiter instead of Badgerblight (the +2 dagger), but mechanically they know the plusses when they roll but they use their game name. I mean, they don't say "I go and untie the half orc eldrith knight, they say "I rescue Sebastian".
 



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