When to Give Magic Items DnD 5e


Magic Items in DnD 5e are a nice little addition that can help spice up any adventure. They add that little extra element that players can strive forwards to.

In a previous article we looked at how to be a Dungeon Master. This article can be considered a continuation of that one – but not necessarily.

In that article we touched up a bit on Magic Items while talking about how to be a DM. In it we mentioned that magical items are entirely up the DM’s and player’s choice. As they add an extra element that can be used, but also has to be considered in calculations.
So the question of “Should you use Magic items in DnD 5e?” again remains as. “If you want to”.

So instead. Today we will be looking at magic items, and most importantly – when to give and include magic items in your story.

What are Magic Items in DnD 5e?

Magic Items are any sort of item that is imbued with magical properties. What these properties are, and what these effects are vary from item to item. Although, some of the most common effects given by magic weapons especially are an increase to your attach rolls. Or alternatively, an increase to an ability score.

As you can see. Magical items are not limited in what they can be. Yes, there are rules that govern how they come to be and are created; but that is a question for another article.

In reality, the only thing prohibiting from having a certain magical item is your creativity – and the Dungeon Master of course.

Let’s also answer this question in another way.
Magical items are an extra set of tools that you have at your disposal. This is why they are such an important question to be posed at the start of any campaign. As they can sometimes outright decide the outcome of your story.

Furthermore, they can be a tool that your DM can use to further flesh out the story and the adventure. Which leads us into the next question.

When to Give Magic Items ?

Now, the question you’ve come here for.

The question of when to give magic items to players entirely lies on the DM.
Some DMs like to be more liberal with how they hand out magical items – sometimes, quite literally there’s a magic item behind every bush.
Other DMs on the other are more sparse in how often they hand out magical items. Often only at the end of a dungeon or at the end of a session. And more often than not it’s only one item, which the group has to decide who gets it.

That basically answers the gist behind the question. There really is no one correct answer, as it varies from person to person.
So instead, let’s list some typical situations in which it’s appropriate.

Situations Where Magic Items are Applicable

  • As a reward: Everybody likes to be rewarded for their hard work. And this is one of the most common and appreciated reasons for handing out magical items. A shiny new sword at the end of the dungeon, or a root of a tree with magical properties which conveniently can be used as a staff.
  • For lore reasons: You want your players to be engaged constantly right? Excite them from time to time with random encounters that offer them a chance to obtain a magical item. Something as silly as one of your characters going to relieve themselves behind a bush and finding a magical trinket in it can really enhance a story.
  • Purchasable from vendors: Of course, there’s always the option of letting your players have the ability to purchase a magical item from a vendor any time they find an appropriate shop for the item.
  • Include variations with your magical items: This one is more of a recommendation rather than a situation. The reason for this is that, quite often. Dungeon Masters will only include magical weapons into their campaigns – while entirely omitting items that give utility. This is obviously one of the biggest mistakes you can do while designing and preparing your campaign, as certain items and the effects they give are just too useful not to have.

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