This is something that I have been wondering for a long time. Now obviously the DM could just have it have its own name such as Bonecutter and everyone just calls it that but is there any term that PCs and NPCs would call these things?

As a side note some items whose main purpose in life is to grant a bonus but still have a name examples include Wand of the War Mage and Luckstone.

I'm playing in the Forgotten Realms.


3 Answers 3


They Would Be Called "Magic"

A +1/+2/+3 weapon, shield, armor, ammunition, etc. have historically been referred to as a "magic" version of that item: magic weapon, magic shield, magic arrow, etc. (though, Volo preferred the term "magical").

In 5e specifically

The Magic Weapon spell (PHB p.257) itself is an example of this nomenclature still being used, both in its name and its description: "Until the spell ends, that weapon becomes a magic weapon" (and in-world characters could be expected use the same name for the spell by default).

DMG p.136 provides another example of this conversational usage with: "Plenty of people might like to have a magic sword, but few of them can afford it".

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Is there any in-universe way to differentiate a +1 from a +2 and a +3, etc.? \$\endgroup\$
    – Behacad
    Commented Jul 8, 2019 at 13:48
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    \$\begingroup\$ D&D uses the terms "rare" and "very rare" for +2 and +3 weapons, ammo and shields, but it'd be subjective for in-world characters (maybe "powerful" and "very powerful"?) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 8, 2019 at 14:03
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    \$\begingroup\$ Our current DM likes to use "enchanted" or "singly-enchanted" for +1, and "twice-enchanted"/"thrice-enchanted" for +2/+3. It has worked well at our table, after a quick explanation the first time he used it. \$\endgroup\$
    – Phlarx
    Commented Jul 8, 2019 at 15:56
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    \$\begingroup\$ I'd also go for a description of the strength of the enchantment-- powerfully enchanted, slightly magical, etc. Most people using magic weapons in-setting would likely lack either the knowledge to differentiate between +1/+2/+3 very precisely, and those with such knowledge might plausibly use the same numbering to describe them as players do. After all, +1/+2/+3 are exact mechanical descriptions of that part of the enchantment. It may not seem romantic to us mundanes, but this stuff is literally the day job of wizards, etc. \$\endgroup\$
    – Upper_Case
    Commented Jul 8, 2019 at 19:44
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    \$\begingroup\$ I don't think the average character would have the ability to statistically model the exact strengths of a sword, in general. I mean, how many variables would have to be accounted for for a person to know if they hit because of the plus being 2 vs 3 over hitting because they're a good fighter or the target was an easy target? \$\endgroup\$
    – CaM
    Commented Jul 8, 2019 at 19:58

In-world, weapons tend to be described in terms of their unique features rather than numbers.

Other than "magic", "magical", "enchanted" or words of similar meaning, there is no strict in-world term for +1 or better weapons or items, nor for describing the exact gradiations of magical bonuses.

What you find, particularly in novels, is that characters almost never refer to their weapon in terms of its game statistics (plus one, plus two, etc), but rather in terms of how they perceive it. For example, take this section from the novel Cormyr:

Symylazarr, the Font of Honor, upon which the treacherous nobles had sworn fealty, was as broad as the Blade of Memory and etched along its blade with archaic runes. Orblyn, King Duar's mage-forged sword, with which he rallied the kingdom during the Pirate Exile, was a thinner, more modern blade. ...

Orblyn was covered with fine runes lightly etched into the blade. Salember had to hold the blade up to the light to see them clearly. The magical inscriptions seemed to twist and write as he watched. After all these years, Orblyn had held its edge and sharpness.

And later, when a magical weapon is used in battle:

The young prince reached the dragon and struck. His blade bit deep. The sword, supposedly crafted long ago by Amedahast herself, parted a scale as if it were jelly and slide into the creature's haunch, striking to the bone.

In The Two Swords, two magic weapons clash:

The greatsword burst into flame, but the startled Drizzt reacted perfectly, slapping Icingdeath across it.

The magic of the scimitar overruled the fires of the great-sword, extinguishing them in a puff of angry gray smoke, and it was Obould, suddenly, who was caught by surprise, just as he had started forward to overwhelm the drow.

Several other items in the same book are simply described as "enchanted", without reference to their precise power level. For example:

Drizzt motioned that he did not know. He pulled off his cloak, then loosened his enchanted, armored shirt so that he could pull one sleeve down over his hand.


There is no canonical term for +1 weapons in D&D-5e's Forgotten Realms, it is merely "magic".

There are things like Blessing's of Weapon Enhancment (DMG 228), and descriptive abstractions like +1 weapon (DMG 129) which all form the broad category of Magic in the Forgotten Realms (DMG 23). Some people live in places that are so isolated that they may not even recognise that there is magic.

You may establish a term that is canonical in your mirrored version of the Forgotten Realms (DMG 4):

Even if you're using an established world such as the Forgotten Realms, your campaign takes place in a sort of mirror universe of the official setting where Forgotten Realms novels, game products, and digital games are assumed to take place.

Raw magic is called the Weave in the forgotten Realms. All magic, including that of magical items, depends on the Weave (PHB 205).

All magic depends on the Weave, though different kinds of magic access it in a variety of ways. The spells of wizards, warlocks, sorcerers, and bards are commonly called arcane magic.

Shaping the Realms and changing details (such as canonical terms) is further encouraged (SCAG 44)

You're encouraged to take what's presented here and make it, and the Forgotten Realms, your own.


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