Creating Magic Items

There's been a few really nice complements on the magic items I've been crafting for the show, and some requests to explain my process, too. I figured I'd write up a little synopsis for everyone.

Magic items can be a powerful tool for both storytelling and engaging/distracting your players with "oooh, shinies..."

Where was I? Right! The drive of individual characters can vary as much as the dialects of your world. Like those dialects, sometimes there is no rhyme or reason, even to the most perceptive mind. However, whatever their motivations, almost every player, and thus their character, can appreciate a new item to increase their power, potential, or favor with others. 

Here are a few notes to consider when creating magic items for your game.


Order of Operations. With simple magic items, the initial paragraph consists of a sentence or two outlining the basic magical information related to the power of the item.  For weapons, armors, and shields, this is typically a numerical bonus for attack, damage, or armor class.

Additional properties are outlined in the paragraphs that follow and are formatted in the same way class features would appear. Typically, this is where a standard magical item description would end. 

If your magic items comes with that extra little sheen, any information related to the lore, creation, or location the item once called home, will supersede the initial properties paragraph. This is especially true of sentient objects.

Sentient Items.  As you can see in the DMG, there are a variety of features and abilities to consider when dreaming up sentient magic items. Things like, ability scores (typically Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma), communication (its languages and speech), senses (vision and hearing), as well as its alignment, and all of these ideas are usually contained under the items Sentience.

Further, in exchange for its incredible powers, there is usually a list of demands that the item may require of its wielder, and these can range in quirk from charming to cursed and may present themselves as a special goal or purpose the item desires to pursue during its time in your world.  These properties typically find their way into the Personality text in the items description.

Questions? Comments? Qualifiers? Concerns? Leave them below.