I'm guessing that the DMG when it finally gets here will have an idea, but until then, for those gms crafting your own adventures, what kind of magic items are your players finding, and at what level are they finding them.
I know a +5 is overkill (To say the least) at first level, but I've been playing in Horde of the Dragon Queen, at we've reached 4th level without seeing anything more exciting than a potion of cure wounds. And I think we bought them from the locals.
I've been told Greyhawk is not nearly as magic heavy as Forgotten Realms has gotten, but if this is the new Forgotten Realms, is the elf in Greyhawk ever gonna see a +1 longsword?
And, maybe, when you give it...you can give to the famous elf not only a +1 weapon (magic weapons are tough to be rid of) but, maybe, a +1, +1(or +2) vs lizardmen (or magic users, or Kuo Toa, or [insert name of monster/class of your choice]) so the PG could have a little edge in some situations without umbalancing the game...
It's hard to know how to handle magic items (other than basic stuff like a +1 sword or what not) because it remains to be seen how the new rule set is going to address them.
For example, is a cloak of elvenkind going to give a solid bonus on stealth check, or merely grant advantage? What is the mechanic for determining an amputation with a sword of sharpness? Right now we don't know. (Or at least I don't.)
I do like losing the 'magic item economy' and going back to treating magic items as rare and valuable. I'm talking more about the 'hard' stuff here like weapons, armor, wands, and such. Potions and scrolls will always be found wherever you have folks actively practicing magic.
Under 5e, it seems that a +2 or +3 weapon is going to be a much more powerful implement than in past editions, and a +5 weapon should be darn near an artifact like Excalibur or something.
My advice (for what it's worth) is be sparing with the magic items but don't make them extinct- especially if the players will be encountering monsters requiring magic weapons to deal with.
One thing I'm thinking about implementing prior to having the DMG in hand is the notion of 'masterwork' weapons. Any masterwork weapon will not be magical in nature, but will yield a simple +1 bonus to any damage roll on account of it's quality, heft, balance, sharpness, you name it. Such an item makes for a good 'treasure' item that has value or imparts a small bonus without being magical in nature.
Now that the DMG is out I'm sure you have your answer but I wanted to touch on this because it seems that even minor magical items are pretty powerful in the new edition.
I don't mind this, but I can be sure that some players don't like the lack of rewards for the first few levels that don't have a bonus to something.
I also came to the conclusion after buying and reading Horde of the Dragon Queen that I wouldn't be using it. I was originally going to convert it to Greyhawk, but even if I didn't it just doesn't seem to be a great adventure to me and requires a lot of hand holding to get the story moving in my opinion.
Compare it to the Mines of Phandelver which is included in the Starter Set and you can tell which one is contracted out to a company that isn't WoTC.
This is one of the reasons I am converting older modules to 5E for my group.
Yeah, the DMG has all the info you need. That said, here's my thoughts on it. :)
Any item with a + is pretty rare. Currently the best of the best (re: 'artifact' level stuff is +3.
Magic Items in 5e, because they are so rare, always have some sort of defining characteristics. A "Cloak of Elvenkind" isn't ever "just" a Cloak of Elvenkind...
...It's "The Wave-Sprayed Cloak of Sheshneera. A cloak the color of the spray of the ocean. When at the correct angle to the sun, a slight pattern shows, resembling that of the scales of a fish. The bottom of the cloak has what looks like an artistic representation of ocean waves, crashing in on one another. Over the course of the day, the waves increase and decrease with the cycle of the nearest oceanic tide. Long ago, a mermaid priestess of great renown made this cloak to protect a dear land-locked friend of hers so that he may infiltrate and spy on the fire-loving worshipers of an ancient red dragon, who had waged constant war upon the preiestesses people. With this cloak, the priestesses friend saved countless merefolk from death, due to his stealthy endevours."
That's how 'magic items' generally should be in 5e. Alas, so far in practice I haven't really seen this in the published stuff. :( I'm all for making magic items "more powerful", as long as there's a good story behind it and some good game mechanical additions that add to it.
When I convert a 1e module into 5e, I pretty much just remove any and all magic items. Period. Then, depending on how integral the item was/is to the NPC/Monster/whatever at hand, I add it back in with 5e adjustments.
Oh, the one exception: Potions. Specifically, Potions of Healing. In my campaign, Potions of Healing are not "magical". They do not detect as magical; they are "natural magical ingredients distilled together in a specific way". They are available for purchase from a lot of different places...from general stores to churches, to the local barkeep at the tavern. They are the equivalent of modern day "First Aid Kits", in availability. Not every place will have them...but they aren't hard to find. Just about all other Potions are magical, but are likewise "natural magical ingredients distilled together in a specific way". Alchemists are the primary makers of Potions; e.g., you don't have to be a "user of magic" in order to make them.
Anyway, I like how the current magic item 'rarity' is shaping up in 5e. It's less prevalent than 1e, and definitely 3e, but not so much so that the idea of having a magical item isn't preposterous.
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