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Magic Item Compendium (3.5)

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More Magic Items Than You Can Fit in a Bag of Holding.

Within this tome you'll find over 1,000 of the best magic items created for the Dungeons & Dragons game, including hundreds of new low-cost items. In addition, this supplement contains rules for augment crystals, which grant new abilities to existing magic items, and item sets, which provide collection benefits when you have all the items in a set.

This tome also presents new and improved rules for item creation, an updated treasure generation system, and more!

For use with these Dungeons & Dragons core books:

Player's Handbook, Dungeon Master's Guide, and Monster Manual.

Product History

Magic Item Compendium (2007) by Andy Collins with Eytan Bernstein, Frank Brunner, Owen K.C. Stephens, and John Snead, is the second of three capstone Compendiums for D&D 3.5e. It was published in March 2007.

Another Hint of 3e's End. When the first 3.5e capstone, Spell Compendium (2005), came out a year and a quarter earlier, it wasn't necessarily a sign of 3e's end. Though the 4e team had already begun work, the new game was still three years off. That wasn't the case when Magic Item Compendium appeared. By now, Wizards was producing nostalgic products like the Expeditions series (2006-2007) and 4e-leaning rulebooks like Tome of Battle: The Book of Nine Swords (2006). The end was more obviously nigh, and Magic Item Compendium was another sign of that … as would be affirmed in the coming months by the announcement of D&D 4e at Gen Con Indy 2007, then the production of the final capstone book, the Rules Compendium (2007).

The Premium Reprints Continue. As a capstone book, Magic Item Compendium was another obvious book to include in the 3.5e premium reprint series (2012-2013). In fact it would be the fifth and final 3.5e reprint, appearing in July 2013.

About the Book. Similar to the Spell Compendium before it, the Magic Item Compendium reprints, updates, organizes, and regularizes numerous 3e magic items. The designers found these items by delving through all of Wizards' 3e and 3.5e books — even Diablo II: Diablerie (2000). After looking through about 2000 magic items, they looted the best 1000 or so. The items they left behind were "a massive collection of ineffective trinkets, uninspiring spell replications, or just flat-out boring junk".

The reprinted items primarily came from: Book of Exalted Deeds (2003), Complete Adventurer (2005), Complete Arcane (2004), Complete Divine (2004), Complete Psionic (2006), Complete Warrior (2003), Eberron Campaign Setting (2004), Epic Level Handbook (2002), Expanded Psionics Handbook (2004), Libris Mortis: The Book of Undead (2004), Miniatures Handbook (2003), Magic of Incarnum (2005), Player’s Handbook II (2006), Sandstorm (2005), Spell Compendium (2005), and Tome of Magic (2006).

A Philosophy of Magic Items. While updating and revising magic items, the designers did their best to make them the sort of things that characters would want. Andy Collins started this process by identifying the "big six" magic items that took up the majority of characters' item slots: magic weapons; magic armor & shields; rings of protection; cloaks of resistance; amulets of natural armor; and ability-score boosters. He then identified the reasons that these items were particularly well-loved:

  • They were cost effective.
  • They could be improved.
  • There was nothing else as good in their slots.
  • They were simple.
  • They didn't take time to activate.
  • They provided effects that were required for characters to stay competitive.

With this philosophy in hand, the designers were able to start revising old items and creating new ones that might be competitive with the big six.

Expanding D&D. Though Magic Item Compendium is primarily a collection of reprinted items, it looks at some of that old material in new ways and incorporates new material as well. Many of these innovations and upgrades would point the way to the larger-scale changes that were already being designed into D&D 4e (2008).

  • Updated Organization. Items are organized in a new way, dividing them up into: armor, weapons, clothing (which takes up slots), tools, and magic items. It was an attempt to do away with the minute differentiation between things like rods, staves, and wands, but was one of the few innovations in the Magic Item Compendium that didn't carry forward to D&D 4e.
  • Item Levels. Items are all marked with levels, and some items even appear at multiple strengths. These would both be hallmarks of D&D 4e magic item design.
  • Item Sets. Some items are now grouped together and improve as more parts of the group are collected. This idea would return in 4e's Adventurer's Vault 2 (2009).
  • Upgradeable Items. New "augment crystals" offer an example of an item that could level up with characters. The crystals are attached to weapons and armors to grant special effects (like energy damage or slaying), but can then moved to a new weapon (or armor) when the character gets a better one.


Magic Item Compendium also standardizes rules on body slots, the identification of items, and other magic-item-related tasks and unsurprisingly includes the ever-present bonus action types for 3.5e: swift and immediate actions.

About the Creators. Lead Designer Andy Collins had been working with Wizards since 1996, when he started in their Organized Play division. He was now a member of the D&D 4e core team — which is probably why some D&D 4e ideas premiered here.

About the Product Historian

The history of this product was researched and written by Shannon Appelcline, the editor-in-chief of RPGnet and the author of Designers & Dragons - a history of the roleplaying industry told one company at a time. Please feel free to mail corrections, comments, and additions to shannon.appelcline@gmail.com.

 
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File Last Updated:
February 29, 2016
This title was added to our catalog on March 01, 2016.