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I’m writing a homebrew class for 3.x, based on empowering items with magic powers (think an OGL-friendly riff on the concept of the artificer), so I’ve decided on using “imbue” for a verb for those powers, but what to call the actual magic put on the items?

The requirement here is that I do not want any name conflicts with either 3.5 or Pathfinder. Thus, I don’t want to use “enchantments” (used by the school of magic), “enhancements” (used by regular magic items), “infusions” (used by the official artificer), or anything else already used.

Can anyone think of anything for this? It’s acceptable to suggest alternate verbs if it works better, just so long as there is no name conflict.

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Is this primarily to say "a +X [word] bonus" and thus avoid stacking issues or is this just semantic? – CatLord Feb 24 '14 at 0:08
@CatLord Primarily, it’s to avoid confusion. Imagine something like “I imbue the sword with the combustion (blank), which gives it a +1 enhancement bonus and the flaming property,” or something. The (blank) is not the enhancement bonus or the property, it’s the thing that’s placing those on the weapon. This system’s version of the word “spell.” – KRyan Feb 24 '14 at 0:57
For the time being I'll stick to my answer as-is then. – CatLord Feb 24 '14 at 1:58

4 Answers 4

up vote 6 down vote accepted


This is another word for magical effect that was used a great deal in 1e AD&D.

"My class imbues a dweomer on an item."

Example usage. (1e DMG page 52)

Carpet of flying: Carpets are the most stable of flying devices, and thus the most valuable. ...snip... While hovering or moving slowly they are ideal platforms for spell- or missile-casting ... snip... They are not so easily adapted to aerial melee, as passengers will tend to get knocked off the carpet and fall to the ground. Attempts to weave straps or seat belts into a flying carpet will generally destroy its dweomer.

Wikitionary entry:

dweomer ‎Alternative spelling of dwimmer. (fantasy, games) The magical aura on an enchanted item; or more broadly, the aura of a magic spell having been cast while active.

'Tis from an auld wyrd ...

dwimmer From Old English ġedwimor, dwimor dwimmer Noun (plural dwimmers) •(obsolete) Magic, sorcery, spell, occult art.

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Oh, hey. This one I actually like. Nice. I’m going to accept this, since it’s by far my preference here. – KRyan Nov 12 at 16:20
@KRyan Semi-grognards have their occasional uses :-) – KorvinStarmast Nov 12 at 16:21

Well, the word "Imbuement" would be the most applicable for what it sounds like you're asking for. An item has an imbuement or is imbued. Perhaps this is too simplistic but it sounds like that's the direct response to your question.

You could also consider "Endow" as the operative verb (endowment/endowed), and "Suffuse" sounds fancy enough without being too out there.

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Imbuement sounds weird (and Chrome’s spell-checker dictionary, for one, doesn’t recognize it as a real word), but endowment is a bit better. – KRyan Feb 24 '14 at 0:59
Added a link to the entry for "imbue", it's in the related forms. – CatLord Feb 24 '14 at 1:57

I think you could use the word empower quite well, or maybe ensorcell (which, despite being underlined in red by Google Chrome's spell-checker is a real word), although it might cause confusion with regards to the sorcerer class. Bewitch might be problematic for much the same reason - players might conflate it with Witches.

To change these to nouns, you could go with empowerment and bewitchment, both of which are spell-check proof, and ensorcell could become either ensorcellation or ensorceration - I'm not sure if either of those two are real words, but they convey the intended meaning well enough.

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KRyan's asking for a noun, not alternate verbs - he already has a verb. My understanding is he's open to verbs, but only if they actually lead him to a noun. What nouns are you suggesting? – doppelgreener Feb 24 '14 at 11:41
@JonathanHobbs is correct. – KRyan Feb 24 '14 at 12:52
@KRyan I didn't see that, sorry. I've updated my answer now. – Dakeyras Feb 24 '14 at 16:19
ensorcellment sounds valid too, given the ensorcell verb. – Ryno Feb 24 '14 at 19:12

You could take a leaf out of Earthdawn's book and use Threads and Weaving.

Magic in Earthdawn is woven into magical items as well as into spells; so in order to cast a particularly powerful spell a wizard would weave threads to gather magical power and then cast the spell, similarly for items.

So your new class:

"I imbue the sword with the combustion thread."


"I weave the sword with the combustion thread."

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