Magic weapons are always a fun thing to throw into a game. The problem is that there aren’t enough in the books! Like all good things in DnD, when it’s not in the book you can always make your own.
This guide will take you step by step through how to make your own magic weapons quickly and easily.
How To Create a Magic Weapon in 4 Steps
The following steps have been created and adapted for 5e from early 3.5 and 4th edition rules where making custom magical weapons was more common.
1. Pick a Basic Weapon or Make Your Own
The basis of any magic weapon is the mundane version of itself. You can choose an existing basic weapon, or you can make your own custom starting point.
The basic weapon brings in all the properties you’ll be layering your magical elements on top of, so make sure you pick an appropriate item for what you’re trying to make. Take note of the weapon’s value, damage, and types as all of these basic properties carry over to your magical weapon.
2. Choose a Magical Property to Add to the Weapon
To make your weapon magical, add one or more properties from the list below:
- Radiant – The weapon sheds light ranging from a faint glow to bright light.
- Unbreakable – The weapon cannot be broken by non-magical means.
- Vicious – On a 20 the weapon deals 7 additional points of damage.
- Brutal – Re-roll ones on damage rolls.
- Expanded critical range – Increase the weapon’s critical range by 1.
- Lucky – Re-roll ones on attack rolls.
- Magical Damage – On a successful attack add an additional 1d4 damage of either acid, bludgeoning, cold, fire, force, lightning, necrotic, piercing, poison, psychic, radiant, slashing, or thunder.
- Weapon Bonus – Add a +1 to attack and damage rolls. This may be stacked up to three times.
- Burning – The weapon has a chance to light flammable objects on fire on a successful hit.
- Freezing – The weapon has a chance to freeze objects on a successful hit, halving a creatures movement speed.
- Sapping – On a successful attack, the target must succeed a DC 12 Wisdom save or take 1 point of stat damage to either strength, wisdom, intelligence, charisma, dexterity, or constitution.
- Bane – The weapon deals an additional 2d6 damage to creatures of a specific type.
- Disruption – On a successful attack against an undead creature or construct the target must make a DC 14 will save or be destroyed.
- Ghost Touch – The weapon can hit incorporeal creatures as if they were corporeal.
- Aligned – The weapon can only be wielded by creatures of a specific alignment.
- Merciful – Attacks that would render a creature dead or initiate death saving throws instead render the creature unconscious.
- Returning – An attuned creature can summon the weapon to fly to their hand as a free action.
- Illuminating – Creatures struck by this weapon are illuminated as if hit by the Faerie Fire spell.
- Quick – The wielder of the weapon may make an additional attack or attack of opportunity with it each round.
- Vorpal – On a roll of a 20 the weapon beheads the target.
- Draining – A creature struck with this weapon must make DC 14 Constitution save. On a failure the wielder will regain 1d6 hp.
- Beguiling – A creature struck with this weapon has disadvantage on attack rolls made against the wielder. Only one creature may be affected by this ability at a time.
- Guiding – Subsequent attack rolls on a creature struck with this weapon have advantage.
- Ensouled – The weapon has a will that the wielder can sense while using the weapon.
- Talking – The weapon can emit sound, phrases, or simple messages.
- Spell Charged – The weapon has number of charges of spell stored in it. The wielder may activate the weapon, casting the spell, as an action on their turn. Weapons that store spells may further be enhanced by adding recharging (the weapon gains charges back on a condition), or quick casting (the weapon may be activated as a bonus action instead of an action).
These properties can be added to both melee and ranged weapons. If you add them to ranged weapons however, properties may apply themselves to fired ammunition. Additionally these properties may be applied directly to ammunition that can be used with mundane ranged weapons also.
3. Attunement and Conditions
Now that you have a powerful magical weapon, you need to decide if the item needs attunment to gain the use of its magical properties. As a rule of thumb, if an item has more than one magical property applied to it, it needs attunement.
Magical ammunition never requires attunement and Returning always requires attunement.
To make your weapons more balanced and fun consider adding more conditions for the item’s use. Some conditions may include:
- Jealous – The wielder of the weapon only gains its magic abilities if they use no other weapons that day.
- Day/Night – The weapon only has its magical properties during the day/night.
- Worthy – The weapon chooses only a “worthy” wielder and grants its magical properties only to them.
There are all sorts of other fun conditions you can apply to weapons. Just be sure the magical properties and conditions are balanced or you may end up with a cursed item instead.
4. Evaluate the Weapon’s Value
Be sure to balance your item values around your world and its economy.
For each magical attribute applied to the weapon increase its class by 1. The magic weapon’s value is equal to its base cost, plus the costs from the list below:
- Class 1: 2000 gp
- Class 2: 8000 gp
- Class 3: 18000 gp
- Class 4: 32000 gp
- Class 5: 50000 gp
- Class 6: 72000 gp
- Class 7: 98000 gp
- Class 8: 128000 gp
All magical weapons are assumed to be rare, so no rarity system has been applied here. When using these items decide what makes sense in your world and be careful not to give your players anything too powerful.
Simple Magic Weapons When You Need Them
Making magical weapons for your game doesn’t have to be hard. The steps provided can have you dropping a magical item into game in seconds! Remember, simple is better, so don’t over do it on additional properties.
Let us know how your players use these weapons in your game by tweeting us @masterdadungeon and as always, Happy DMing!