D&D 5E The Role of Magic Items in early D&D (and today!)

Also, back before 3e, if you didn't have a weapon with a high enough +, you just straight up couldn't hurt some enemies. 3e mitigated this somewhat though until 3.5 the damage reduction was generally so high that it may as well have been immunity.
i feel people have forgotten
You need a +2 or better weapon to hit
 

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yes,

but you had rituals that transferred enchantments from one item to another?

What, we got some useless club, but it's +3 flaming? 8hrs later... Look my brand new +3 flaming greatbow.
and rituals like that SHOULD be in the current game.

"our bard died and he had +3 scimitar..." magic ritual later "The hexblade now has a +3 longsword"
 

Well in the original rules, you lost residuim when you disenchanted. So you went from a +3 greataxe to +2 greatbow.

Errata gave you 100% back but only for rare items.
The residuum you’d get out of disenchanting a magic item wasn’t enough to enchant another of the same rarity. It was functionally just a more flavorful version of buying and selling magic items in 3.Xe.
your talking about 2 different things...
I can disenchant and get X amount of residuum (to make a completely different item or use as a ritual)
or
I can transfer from 1 item directly exact to another with transfer
 

Vaalingrade

Legend
and rituals like that SHOULD be in the current game.

"our bard died and he had +3 scimitar..." magic ritual later "The hexblade now has a +3 longsword"
The only response to the DM with a randomness addiction who you can NEVER get a good upgrade to your primary weapon out of because the dice are the actual DM and they say you get a +4 flaming burst dart of brilliant energy and a scroll of waterbreathing in your City of Brass campaign.
 



James Gasik

Legend
Supporter
Girdle of Many Pouches and Bucknard's Everfull Purse... man, I could use one of those today!
Well there's the Robe of Useful Items, that might have some money in it...

I miss my Paladin's Helm of Underwater Action, even though it was nothing but a diving helmet! The Wall Walkers from 4e are also a favorite, you can have a lot of fun being able to run on walls (or ceilings, with the daily power!).
 

TwoSix

Unserious gamer
Complicated, bespoke magic items fit better in earlier editions because character growth was primarily numerical, and little was gained in terms of novel abilities. Essentially, gaining new magic items was the character growth.

Nowadays, characters are primarily built to fit a certain image or concept, and magic items became another axis of character definition. And since magic items acquisition has historically been the axis of character definition most outside of the player's control (although later 3e and 4e pushed away from that somewhat), it became marginalized when 5e decided to revert to the pre-WotC version of magic item gain and distribution.

Fundamentally, if you want magic items to matter more, you need to play in a manner in which player-facing character building decisions are less of a factor in character growth. Less feats, less level-by-level multiclassing, less class and subclass features that become active at higher levels.
 

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