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Magic Item Creation Guide (5e)
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Magic Item Creation Guide (5e)


The idea for this product came about from my desire to have a mechanically sound way to measure the power, and thus rarity, of a magic item. Perusal of the existing items in the DMG can be a somewhat frustrating affair, as items will demonstrate different rarities even if they perform the exact same function.

This product contains a system of guidelines for producing magic items that are balanced for a particular rarity.

The system was created by breaking down the mechanical effects of magic items presented in the Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition Dungeon Master's Guide. The individual properties were classified into several categories, and then tested to see if items could be recreated from those categorized properties. Many items in the DMG can be recreated using these guidelines, but some items don't conform to the system, usually being rated at a lower rarity than their properties suggest.

Despite some inconsistencies, I feel this is a useful tool for all Dungeon Masters who wish to create new and unique items without producing ones that are underpowered or overpowered.

Recent Updates

  • Added a section on attunement.
  • Added a section on minor/major items.
  • Added returning thrown weapons.
  • Added attribution for the cover art.
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Reviews (1)
Discussions (3)
Customer avatar
Gage R February 21, 2018 10:08 am UTC
How many property slots do you think it would cost to have a thrown magic item return to your hand after being thrown. Both the "Instantly returns" and the "Can use X action to call it back" variety.
Customer avatar
Mark S February 21, 2018 5:35 pm UTC
"Spend a bonus action to return a thrown weapon to your hand after you attack with it." would be a Minor property, because it limits you to one ranged attack with that weapon regardless of how many attacks you can take per action.

"After making a ranged attack, the weapon returns to your hand." would be 1 Major property, since it allows you to make your full allotment of attacks per action, just like an ammunition-based ranged weapon.

This is being added to the guide (can't believe I missed this one). Thanks Gage!
Customer avatar
Gage R March 01, 2018 11:59 pm UTC
Would the bonus action recall all instances with that property? or just one instance per bonus action?
Customer avatar
Mark S April 01, 2018 6:10 am UTC
Just one instance per bonus action, so return the weapon after one attack, then any further attack would not return it. The Major Property version returns the weapon to your hand after each attack with it, without the need to spend a bonus action.
Customer avatar
Sky S February 18, 2018 9:25 pm UTC
Have you thought to update this for use with Xanathars new Major/Minor split on the magic items?
Customer avatar
Mark S February 19, 2018 6:31 am UTC

Good question Sky. Here's my take on it.

If you look at the minor magic item tables by rarity (XGE 140-142), you'll see that all the magic items that fall into the minor category (with the exception of several Common items) are all items that do not require attunement. These items are mostly consumable or expendable items, or permanent items that don't have a direct combat usage (storage, transport, non-flying movement).

The only thing I would do to update about the Minor/Major division is to suggest using the list in Xanathar's as a guide, with the particulars I listed above.
Customer avatar
Mark S February 21, 2018 5:43 pm UTC
Updating the guide to include the above information about Minor/Major magical items.
Customer avatar
Matthew P February 13, 2018 8:40 pm UTC
I like this guide quite a bit! This clearly took a lot of work and thought! I do believe that atunement contributes to rarity. Is there a reference to that that I’m missing? If not, what are your thoughts on the matter?
Customer avatar
Mark S February 14, 2018 12:42 am UTC
I did consider attunement at first, but the more I looked it, the more it looked like attunement was reserved for items that have a direct effect on the character, where the effects are fairly powerful. It's there to keep characters from loading up with mass amounts of magic items. Attunement is pretty hit or miss though. Look at the boots and cloak of elvenkind. The boots have no attunement, but the cloak does.
In the end, I believe you should use attunement for items that confer direct, continuous benefits, like advantage, ability score boosts, AC, saves, or let you cast multiple spells. The magic items in the DMG are a good guide for attunement, if not always for rarity.
Customer avatar
Mark S February 14, 2018 5:15 am UTC
Thanks for your feedback and your points about attunement. After I do a bit more reading, I'm going to write up a section in the guide about it.
Customer avatar
Matthew P February 14, 2018 6:47 am UTC
No worries! Even a small but logical blurb on the matter would be enoigh to show that it wasn't overlooked. Anyway, thank you for putting this together! My players will be enjoying some exotic campaign themed items!
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File Last Updated:
February 21, 2018
This title was added to our catalog on February 13, 2018.