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Encyclopedia Magica Tables

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Every item from the exhaustive Encyclopedia Magica series (all 4 volumes) compiled into random tables by Uncommon, Rare, Very Rare, Legendary, and Minor Artifact status, plus some tables to make each item unique. Enjoy!

BACKGROUND

This project has been sitting on my hard drive for almost 8 years. It started out after the release of the playtest documents for D&D Next (which would eventually become D&D 5th Edition). Personally, I had drifted away from the larger D&D community in the years prior to the playtest, dabbling with a number of other fun systems and settings, but when the Next playtest was announced I jumped in.

The game was fun but I waited to get a full game going until it was largely complete. Eventually, I got a regular game group together to run through the Caves of Chaos, but the playtest documents really got me thinking about my older products. How easy would they be to convert and run in the new game? My eyes fell upon the gorgeous faux leather-bound books consisting of the four volumes in the Encyclopedia Magica series.

These four volumes were created to compile EVERY SINGLE MAGICAL ITEM published by TSR up to the books’ release in 1994. They are the ultimate magical item reference, containing everything from artifacts to jokes, and I have always loved perusing them for ideas.

Why, I thought, wouldn’t I use these for magical items in my playtest? How compatible were they with the D&D Next playtest? Unlike D&D 3rd Edition, a lot of the magical items in 1st and 2nd Editions had any special mechanics right in their description, and the ones that referenced spells were generally straightforward enough to adapt on the fly. I really liked the idea of having this wealth of magical items available at my table.

And then I looked it over. Eek. It was alphabetical in the volumes, and Volume 4 contained an index with random tables – but those tables were irrespective of power or ability, so you were just as likely to get a staff of the magi as a staff of stunning when rolling for magical staves. Not great for giving even lip service to balance!

So I needed to break them down by power level, which in the early editions roughly translated to gold piece value. I say roughly because there weren’t a lot of good public resources for developing them, or at least any that I was aware of, but it was starting point.

I then proceeded to go page by page through all four volumes and entered in every single item into a spreadsheet along with its gold piece value. Time consuming? Yes. Absolutely bonkers? Also yes.

By the time I had finished the full D&D 5th Edition rules came out, and I was able to leverage a lot of that to bring the table together. I used the Magic Item Rarity table in the Dungeon Master’s Guide to divide the items by Uncommon, Rare, Very Rare, and Legendary items, and then threw Minor Artifacts in for the fun of it.

The result is 55 pages of random tables which is contained herein. My biggest regret is that I didn’t include the page number for each item in the spreadsheet, so your best bet to find the item is to use the index from Volume 4 (or guesstimate based on the type of item).

USING THESE TABLES & ITEMS

These tables can be used to add quite a bit of randomness to your treasure tables. You’ll need access to the Encyclopedia Magica series, available on the DMsGuild in PDF form (recommended for easy searching).

The items themselves were built for previous editions of D&D, but many of the mechanics should translate with little problems. Saving throw types are going to have to change – no more rod/staff/wand saving throw for example! The guidelines in the Dungeon Master’s Guide under Chapter 8: Running the Game can be very helpful, especially the section on “Using Ability Scores” which has a table of for typical DCs and a good overview of saving throws.

Ultimately, these tables are meant to be fun and to provide a (somewhat) practical use for what is otherwise an incredible resource. The contents within the Encyclopedia Magica series are simple mind-boggling, so it would be a shame to have it collect dust on a shelf, digital or otherwise.

APPENDIX TABLES

The last playtest document for D&D Next included some random tables for customizing magical items. These tables helped make each item unique, even if it was just a suit of +1 chain mail or a +1 long sword. The appendix at the end of the document includes these tables as a single page, but here is the contents of that playtest section for ease of reference.

 
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61
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ENCTBLS
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File Last Updated:
June 26, 2020
This title was added to our catalog on June 26, 2020.