Even though you could use magic items like the wand of magic missiles without attunement, you would benefit from attunement by knowing the number of charges in it (emphasis mine):


Some magic items have charges that you expend to activate its properties. The number of charges an item has remaining is revealed when an identify spell is cast on the item, or when a creature attunes to the item. Additionally, when an item regains charges, the creature attuned to that item learns how many charges it regained.


2 Answers 2



Many parts of the text on attunement specify that they only apply to items that require attunement. Surprisingly, actually attuning isn't one of those parts. The DMG ( p. 138) states:

Attuning to an item requires a creature to spend a short rest focused on only that item while being in physical contact with it (this can't be the same short rest used to learn the item's properties)..., at the end of the short rest, the creature gains an intuitive understanding of how to activate any magical properties of the item, including any necessary command words.

None of this demands that the item in question requires attunement.

Also note that you must spend a different short rest (ie, another hour) to identify what the properties of this magic item are (attunement does not reveal that). And yet another hour to drop attunement to this item, since you can only be attuned to up to three magic items at a time. Still, you will be able to learn the number of charges an item has without the Identify spell.

NOTE: Spending a short rest to Identify the item (DMG p. 136) will not reveal how many charges the item has left, by rules as written (RAW). Your DM may permit it to do so, but RAW states that the Identify spell reveals charges remaining (both stated on DMG p. 141, and PHB p. 252, in the text of the spell), while the description of mundanely identifying the item (with a short rest) (DMG p. 136) does not.


RAW: yes

Attuning to an item requires a creature to spend a short rest focused on only that item (DMG 138)

It is not mentioned that the item must need attunement for you to do this, only that some require it to function properly. Technically it does not even need to be a magic item.

By intent: no

The intent seems to be that you can only attune to magic items that require it. I base this on the place of these rules: in the magic items chapter, after describing the rules for items that require attunement. (DMG 136-138)


I would not say that ruling that all magic items can be attuned to would break anything in a game. Attunement "slots" a precious resource and if someone wants to spend them this way, a DM could let them.

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    \$\begingroup\$ You should quote where in the text you base your RAI ruling. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 12, 2018 at 19:30
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    \$\begingroup\$ @DavidCoffron I have added the page numbers. I did not provide an exact quote, because I am referencing the structure of the text here and not given sentences. \$\endgroup\$
    – Szega
    Mar 12, 2018 at 19:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ Mearls agrees with your statement of the intent, though he's not the official rules arbiter for 5e. \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Jun 6, 2018 at 20:56

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