I suppose the question could be restated: Has Keen always been a +1 enhancement in 3e and 3.5e?

I've been playing this game for some years now, as has another player who also frequently runs the game in a very by-the-book manner.

Yet, we were both surprised to see Keen as a +1 enhancement in my July 2003 printing of the DMG. We have been playing it as a +2 for so long, but cannot possibly fathom why.

I suppose it's more likely that two people are simply remembering wrong - but I also have no access to D&D 3e material, and perhaps some features of the older system crept into our games, so . . . At some point during the life of D&D 3e and its revision, did Keen's cost change?


1 Answer 1


Even in my Dungeon Master's Guide (2000) for , page 187 has magic weapon special ability keen listed as +1 equivalent. (That can be confirmed with the 3e SRD that's probably at its most accessible here.) I am unaware of any change to the expense of the magic weapon special ability keen for D&D 3.5e.

However, I can imagine a group balking at the inexpensive nature of the magic weapon special ability keen in 3e. Prior to the 3.5 revision, adjustments to critical threat multipliers from, for example, the ability keen and the feat Improved Critical were cumulative, making it trivial, for example, to apply both and a few other tricks so that a scimitar threatened a critical hit on almost every strike… if the target's AC was also met or exceeded, of course. Combine this with the pre-revision version of the weapon special ability vorpal that triggered on any critical hit (rather than the post-revision's natural-20s-only vorpal), and it's a pretty potent recipe. Perhaps your group made such a house rule early, and it became so much a rule for your table that it persisted even post-revision when it was no longer needed?

  • \$\begingroup\$ It is becoming much more apparent that it is likely my friends and myself have simply been playing the game wrong for years, with not a single reason for doing it. I'm going to leave the question open for a day or two longer, in the very off chance that someone is aware of some kind of pricing change - after that, though, it seems appropriate to accept this answer. \$\endgroup\$
    – NFeutz
    Oct 15, 2017 at 18:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ While it’s pretty clear, I think ending the answer with an explicit statement that 3.5 makes such a houserule no longer necessary or desirable would improve the answer. In 3.5, keen is often underpowered at +1, and it’s hard to imagine it ever being worth +2 except to truly degenerate tricks (e.g. Lightning Maces). (+1 either way, though.) \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Oct 15, 2017 at 22:17
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @KRyan It already says, "Perhaps your group made such a house rule early, and it became so much a rule for your table that it persisted even post-revision when it was no longer needed?" Is that insufficient? \$\endgroup\$ Oct 15, 2017 at 22:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan It probably is, but it is also in the middle of the paragraph. I think reiterating it as the conclusion is worthwhile. But as said, the answer has my +1 either way. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Oct 15, 2017 at 23:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KRyan That's literally the answer's last sentence. I can make it its own paragraph, though, if that's what you're after. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 16, 2017 at 7:58

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