AD&D’s Magic Items are Fiddly

In going through the descriptions for magic items in Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, I am struck by just how complex and fiddly many of the items are. So many of them have numerous enumerated powers; doing this costs so many charges, doing that costs none or three depending on the circumstances…

Honestly, before I sat down and actually read each and every one (required because I’m restating many of them for the Adventures Dark and Deep™ game), I hadn’t realized just how complex, situationally dependent, and downright fiddly many of them are.

Don’t believe me? Check out the ring of shooting stars, ring of elemental command, crystal ball, trident of fish command, or wand of illumination. All of those were items I had, for some reason, thought were pretty straightforward. In actually reading them, they’re all fiddly. I’m pretty sure that this is not the case in 0E. But now I need to go back and check.

Written by 

Wargamer and RPG'er since the 1970's, author of Adventures Dark and Deep, Castle of the Mad Archmage, and other things, and proprietor of the Greyhawk Grognard blog.

1 thought on “AD&D’s Magic Items are Fiddly

  1. Comment:
    Yes some of them are. But i think it would play-better to have a character with 1 or 2 very fiddly but very fun items than 6 or 8 kind of fiddly but usefule ones or a christmas tree of nothing but plusses.

    Barlely connected rant:
    There's nothing more boring than a Sword+2.

    The first sword+1 means you can finally hurt gargoyles and such.

    The final holy avenger+5 or vorpal sword or axe of the dwarvish lords means you've finally made it and are ready to throw down with thor or orcus or whatever.

    I don't see much utility in having anything in-between.

    Which is a sentiment I stole from Jeff:

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