20
\$\begingroup\$

This is probably a hard question that requires experience with lots of published adventures (or lots of researching), but the question itself is simple:

Both the Dungeon Master Guide (DMG) and Xanathar's Guide to Everything (XGtE) provide guidelines on how many magic items a party should have by each level.

In XGtE, a party from 1st to 4th level should get 2 Major Items and 9 Minor. The 2 Major Items should be Uncommon and the 9 Minor are divided in 6 Common, 2 Uncommon and 1 Rare.

In Lost Mine of Phandelver, though, if the characters proceed to complete all side quests, they get the following Major Items when they reach 4th level:

One +1 Longsword (Uncommon) from Redbrand Hideout, one +1 Axe (Uncommon) from Dragon's Tower, one Ring of Protection (Rare) from Old Owl Well, one Staff of Defense (no rarity described, but possibly Uncommon or even Rare), for a total of 4 Major Items, one (possibly two) being Rare.

For Minor Items

You get a total of 18 Minor Items, between scrolls and potions. I didn't check the rarity of each one, but most of them should be Common or Uncommon (the highest level spell scroll I can remember is the Fireball, which is still Uncommon). They do get a Potion of Invisibility, which is Very Rare, as well as a Potion of Flying, Very Rare too.

What the spoilers say is: In LMoP, you get considerably more Magic Items than the guideline says, and some of them are from a rarity higher than the maximum for Tier 1. That doesn't even account for the last chapter, where they should be getting 5th level.

Is LMoP an outlier in the sense that it gives too many magic items? Or do most adventures not follow the guidelines, and instead give more magic items than recommended?

As a note, I understand that (at least for organized play), a Tier 1 adventure shouldn't end without rewarding each player with 1 permanent (i.e. major) magic item, IMHO, so the rewards in LMoP actually make more sense for me than the guidelines in XGtE or DMG.

As a note, I'm mostly interested in long-term multi-tier adventures, like CoS, SKT, HodQ+RoT, ToA, etc., but full-tier adventures (e.g. levels 1-4, like LMoP, already mentioned) are also of interest. Adventures which level range is for 1 or 2 levels aren't exactly on point, since the guidances on both DMG and XGtE are for tiers, so it's hard to compare how many items should be given in that specific level.

\$\endgroup\$
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Maybe change the title of the question, sice you already provide answer to that. Possibly add words such as "most"..? Otherwise, great question, really interested in the answers. \$\endgroup\$ – J.E Aug 2 '18 at 8:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ Are you only considering hardcovers? Do official standalone modules, like DDAL07-01 A City on the Edge need to also be factored in? \$\endgroup\$ – Red Orca Aug 14 '18 at 18:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ChrisStarnes They don't need to be factored in, but if the answer has info on them as well, it is a nice plus. The core are multi-tier adventures, though, so yeap, HCs. Added that info into the last paragraph in the question. \$\endgroup\$ – HellSaint Aug 14 '18 at 18:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ "As a note, I understand that (at least for organized play), a Tier 1 adventure shouldn't end without rewarding each player with 1 permanent (i.e. major) magic item" - AL admins disagreed HARD on me here for season 8 ;P \$\endgroup\$ – HellSaint Oct 30 '18 at 16:14
2
\$\begingroup\$

Tomb of Annihilation and Storm King's Thunder are definite outliers in regards to the guidance from Xanathar's guide (both of these are excellent books, and I'm going to try to avoid giving significant spoilers).

In ToA, if you only consider items found in treasure blocks in the book, the party would have to stumble into every encounter with magic item rewards on their way through the jungles of Chult in order to come even close by the time they reach Omu (by which time they're supposed to be about 5th level). The tomb itself has a higher concentration of magic items, but 9 of them aren't supposed to be able to be removed from the tomb and most of the remainder are cursed (2 can actually kill a character who uses them with high probability).

Storm King's Thunder leans in the other direction. It's not at all uncommon for parties to be "overburdened" with magic items by the time they're done with the book (around level 10), having more magic items which require attunement than they can attune to, and several besides. For example, one quest awards a minor magic item (of their choice off a list) to every member of the party around level 5.

\$\endgroup\$
5
\$\begingroup\$

Both the Dungeon Master Guide (DMG) and Xanathar's Guide to Everything (XGtE) provide guidelines on how many magic items a party should have by each level.

...In Lost Mine of Phandelver, though, if the characters proceed to complete all side quests, they get the following Major Items when they reach 4th level:

The guidelines describe how much treasure the party should actually acquire. The adventures describe how much treasure is available to acquire, which is more than the average party will acquire. Adventures will tend to offer more than the guidelines dictate, so that the average party will obtain about the right amount of treasure on average.

One notable exception to this is Hoard of the Dragon Queen, which offers remarkably less treasure than the guidelines. This adventure was written in parallel with the launch of 5e, and these guidelines specifically had not yet been finalized.

\$\endgroup\$
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ The HoDQ fact is interesting, but the first part is kinda off: If they don't complete all side quests, they won't level to tier 2 at all, so they would run another adventure and possibly get the same amount of items. I.e., LMoP offers a high magical item per experience point ratio. \$\endgroup\$ – HellSaint Aug 15 '18 at 22:29

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.