Magic Items (General)

From OSE SRD

Magic items are usually classified according to one of the categories listed below. General information about each category of magic item is provided in the following pages. Specific details on individual magic items are found in the genre-specific treasures book that is in use.

  • Armour and shields: Grant protective benefits to the user.
  • Miscellaneous items: Enchanted items that do not fit into any other category.
  • Potions: Magical liquids stored in glass vials.
  • Rings: Plain or bejewelled rings that place an enchantment about the wearer.
  • Rods / staves / wands: Magical lengths of wood, metal, crystal, etc. Used by spell casters to unleash magical effects.
  • Scrolls and maps: Aged sheets of parchment or paper inscribed with either magical script or instructions leading to a treasure hoard. Note that treasure maps are rolled on the magic items table, although they are not usually magical.
  • Swords: Grant bonuses to hit and damage in combat. May also be enchanted with additional powers.
  • Weapons: All enchanted weapons other than swords. Grant bonuses to hit and damage in combat. May also be enchanted with additional powers.

Alternative Magic Item Categories

The referee may decide that a certain category of magic items does not exist in the campaign or may wish to create additional magic item categories. In some settings, magic items may actually be artefacts of high technology. In such cases, the table of magic item types (see below) should be adapted.

Rolling Magic Items

When a treasure type indicates that a magic item is present, the following procedure is used to determine its nature:

  • Specific type of item: If the treasure type indicates a specific type of magic item (e.g. 3 potions), roll on the table for that type of item (found in the genre-specific treasure book).
  • Type of item not specified: Otherwise, first roll on the table below to determine the type of the item, then roll on the table for that type (found in the genre-specific treasure book).

Basic and Expert Magic Items

Separate probabilities are listed in the table for Basic and Expert level characters (i.e. characters of 1st to 3rd level and characters of 4th level or higher). The Basic probabilities are listed in the B column, and the Expert probabilities in the X column.

It is recommended that the probabilities appropriate to the group’s experience level be used. Alternatively, if the referee prefers to have an even distribution of magic items, irrespective of player character level, the Expert probabilities may always be used.

Magic Item Type

B: d% X: d% Type of Item
1–10 1–10 Armour or Shield
11–15 11–15 Miscellaneous Item
16–40 16–35 Potion
41–45 36–40 Ring
46–50 41–45 Rod / Staff / Wand
51–70 46–75 Scroll or Map
71–90 76–95 Sword
91–00 96–00 Weapon

Identifying Magic Items

Testing: The most common way of identifying magic items is by trial and error—sipping a potion, donning a suit of armour, using a weapon in battle, etc.

Retainers: Players may wish to use retainers as “guinea pigs” to test magic items of unknown properties. Retainers may agree to do this, but only if allowed to keep the item in question.

By magic: High-level NPC magic-users may also be able to identify magic items. They will always require payment or a service in kind. The process takes time: possibly several weeks.

Using Magic Items

Appropriate use: In order to be effective, a magic item must be used, held, or worn after the normal fashion for that type of object.

Concentration: To activate an item’s magic, the user must concentrate on its effect. When using a magic item in this way, the character cannot take any other actions.

Items that are always active: The following items do not require concentration, and are always active: magic swords, weapons, armour, and protective items (e.g. rings of protection).

Actions per round: A magic item’s effect can normally be used only once per round, unless its description notes otherwise.

Wishes

Some magic items grant wishes, the powerful ability for a character to change the nature of reality in any conceivable way that they desire. Wishes are generally regarded as the most powerful magic in the game and have the potential to greatly upset the balance of play if not handled carefully by the referee.

Adjudication Guidelines

Wording: The player and referee must pay great attention to the precise wording of a wish.

Fundamental changes: A wish that would alter some fundamental aspect of the game or the campaign world will have no effect. For example, a wish that altered the abilities of all monsters of a particular type would fail.

Greedy wishes: A wish that the referee judges to be unreasonable or overly greedy may come to pass, but with its intent twisted in some way. For example, a wish for a very powerful magic item may cause the item to appear, but in the possession of a dangerous enemy.

Wishing for more wishes: This will result in an infinite time loop, putting the character out of play.

Example Wishes

Some examples of reasonable wishes:

  • Wishing for a weapon to help fight magical monsters. The wish may grant a +1 sword that vanishes when the combat ends.
  • Wishing that a monster had not attacked. The wish may place the characters back in time and change the reaction of the monster.
  • Wishing that a deadly blow had not occurred. The affected character may return to life, wounded but not dead.