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Mordenkainen's Magnificent Emporium (4e)


A wondrous collection of magical treasures for any campaign.

Few wizards know more about magic than the mighty Mordenkainen, whose arcane achievements are without peer. He’s the Archmage of Adventure . . . and no stranger to unearthing hidden lore. Stand aside, Tenser! Back to the books, Otiluke! Few can match Mordenkainen’s collection of magic items. Still, he hardly seems the type to settle down and open a magic shop. And yet . . .

Welcome to Mordenkainen’s Magnificent Emporium, a wondrous collection of magic items—each one with a story to tell. This tome provides Dungeon Masters with a ready assortment of treasures to tempt greedy players, along with historical nuggets and alluring adventure hooks that set these items apart from your run-of-the-mill flaming sword or bag of holding. This book adds rich flavor to the treasures and trinkets presented within, and a dash of inspiration for Dungeon Masters looking to liven up a monster’s trove. Hold on to your magic hats—everything must go!

Product History

Mordenkainen's Magnificent Emporium (2011), by Jeremy Crawford with Stephen Schubert and Matthew Sernett, is an updated magic item book for D&D 4e. It was published in September 2011.

About the Title. Mordenkainen was Gary Gygax's character back in the earliest days of D&D. He appeared once previously in the title of an adventure, WG5: "Mordenkainen's Fantastic Adventure" (1984), which detailed an adventure that Rob Kuntz had run for Gygax back in the primordial days of the game.

The Middle of the End of 4e. Mordenkainen's Magnificent Emporium was first announced late in 2010 with a release date of April 19, 2011. Unfortunately, that put it right in the crosshairs of a series of cancellations that would eventually lead to the death of D&D 4e (2011-2012). Mordenkainen's Magnificent Emporium was thus cancelled on January 12, 2011, as part of the same announcement that moved Heroes of Shadow (2011) back a month and killed "Class Compendium: Heroes of Sword and Spell" and "Hero Builder's Handbook" entirely.

That was it for those other books (though some of the material appeared online), but Mordenkainen's Magnificent Emporium was lucky enough to make it back onto Wizards' production schedule. In August, Wizards announced that it was returning as a September release. However, there was one big twist: Mordenkainen's Magnificent Emporium would now be offered exclusively to game stores, keeping it out of the hands of deep discounters like Though this was probably intended as a nice benefit for game retailers, it wasn't as well appreciated by fans, some of whom complained that it dramatically increased the price of the book (because they usually bought from said deep discounters).

The Essentials Facts. Though the Essentials line officially ended in 2010, Mordenkainen's Magnificent Emporium was clearly an Essentials-like reboot. Just as Monster Vault (2010) had replaced the previous Monster Manuals (2008-2010) by offered a different sort of book, Mordenkainen's Magnificent Emporium in turn replaced the Adventurer's Vaults (2008-2009) that had previously been the main caches of 4e magic items.

Because it's a revamp, Mordenkainen's Magnificent Emporium features some reprinted material. About a quarter of the magic items in the book were originally published (in a somewhat different form) in Adventurer's Vault 1 (2008) or Adventurer's Vault 2. The Emporium also contains an article on henchmen and hirelings that had previously appeared in Dragon #397 (March 2011). Finally, the idea of implements originated with Player's Handbook 3 (2010).

What a Difference an Edition Makes. So how do you revamp a book of magic items? Mordenkainen's Magnificent Emporium made three major changes.

Equipment returns to the classics. Lots of classic equipment previously missing from D&D 4e returned with Mordenkainen's Magnificent Emporium. Some of it is standard equipment including armor like studded leather, ring mail, banded mail, and splint mail and weaponry like broadswords and pikes. However, plenty of classic magic items return too, including flame tongues, frost brands, prayer beads, rings of x-ray vision and much more.

Magic items have stories. Descriptions of magic items in Player's Handbook (2008) and Adventurer's Vault 1 (2008) were quite spare, though some of the items in Adventurer's Vault 2 (2009) included scant backstory. Mordenkainen's Magnificent Emporium dramatically escalates that trend by not only providing history (or other evocative details) for every single item, but also supplementing that with sidebars from Mordenkainen himself.

Magic items are built around constant effects. The early 4e items were largely built around the model of plusses + powers (most of them daily). Mordenkainen's Magnificent Emporium features some magic items like this, but it also includes many items with Encounter powers and constant properties.

All three of these changes probably had the same intent: to make magic items more evocative and interesting, as they had been in previous editions of D&D.

Artifacts of Note. Of the seven artifacts in Mordenkainen's Magnificent Emporium, three are new: the Shadowstaff, the Shield of Prator, and Zax, Cloak of Kings.

The other four all have long histories in the D&D game:

  • Book of Infinite Spells originated in Supplement I: Greyhawk (1975), though it wasn't an artifact at the time.
  • Codex of Infinite Planes was one of the earliest artifacts, found in Supplement III: Eldritch Wizardry (1976), where it contained a little bit of backstory concerning the otherwise unknown demon lord Nql.
  • Hammer of Thunderbolts was probably derived from Mjolnir as it appeared in Supplement IV: Gods, Demi-Gods, and Heroes (1976). It appeared on its own for the first time in the AD&D Dungeon Masters Guide (1979).
  • Jacinth of Inestimable Beauty was another original from Supplement III: Eldritch Wizardry (1976), where it was said to have once belonged to Shah Cham' Ponee, another unknown personage.

About the Creators. Crawford got his start designing the Blue Rose (2005) RPG and would soon become one of the designers of D&D 5e (2014). In between, he edited Dragon magazine, and designed and developed a few books, one of which was Mordenkainen's Magnificent Emporium.

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

We (Wizards) recognize that some of the legacy content available on this website does not reflect the values of the Dungeons & Dragons franchise today. Some older content may reflect ethnic, racial, and gender prejudice that were commonplace in American society at that time. These depictions were wrong then and are wrong today. This content is presented as it was originally created, because to do otherwise would be the same as claiming these prejudices never existed. Dungeons & Dragons teaches that diversity is a strength, and we strive to make our D&D products as welcoming and inclusive as possible. This part of our work will never end.

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Momo M November 13, 2022 5:33 pm UTC
POD please.
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Vincent G June 14, 2022 1:44 am UTC
POD please!
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D. R June 03, 2021 1:24 pm UTC
I would love for this to be available Print on Demand! The second-hand market is crazy right now, I'd rather not pay $60 or more for a used book in questionable condition.
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Nicholas P January 28, 2021 10:45 pm UTC
POD please
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