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The first part of the description of the Petrified condition says (PHB, p. 291; emphasis mine):

  • A petrified creature is transformed, along with any nonmagical object it is wearing or carrying, into a solid inanimate substance (usually stone). [...]

But what happens to magical objects worn or carried by a character when it is petrified?

As a DM, I'd rule that any such magical objects are not petrified, and remain somewhat intact (inside the stone backpack, magical sword in scabbard, potion still magical in a probably non-magical glass, etc.). This fits my style, but is there somewhere something resembling an official ruling? I could not find anything about it.

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2 Answers 2

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Magic items are unaffected by petrification

Your interpretation is correct. The rules do what they say they do. There are no secret rules. The rules say that nonmagical items are turned to stone. The rules don't say that anything happens to magical items when a character is petrified, so nothing happens to magical items.

If the rules had wanted all items to turn into stone, they would have simply said "any object" and omitted "nonmagical". If the rules had wanted something special to happen to magical items when petrified, they would have said so. The specific exclusion of magic items from the effects of petrification indicates that magic items are unaffected by petrification.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ this is important to as it prevents a loophole to destroy high level magic items and artifacts. also means you might find "statues" with intact magic items on them \$\endgroup\$
    – John
    Jun 7, 2020 at 18:02
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It is correct that the Rules as Written state Non-Magical Items are turned to stone. But personally I disagree with the assessment that nothing happens to Magical Items, it is unstated for the purpose that it is up to the Dungeon-Master. Two reasons.

  1. It is not stated. Unless a rule is explicitly stated... (ie. in the positive) (eg. The rule actually reads as follows "Magical Items are unaffected by petrification.") ...it is not a rule - leaving it up to interpretation. There is no stated ruling in the DMG on what happens to Magical Items upon petrification, only a hermeneutically interpreted position on petrified Magical Items. My feeling that it's written this way on purpose and for this reason.
  2. It's your table. The Dungeon Master has unilateral control of the rules at their table. In interpreting, adding, or omitting rules, the Dungeon Master always has the final say.

That said, to your 3 year old question lol. I agree with your ruling. It would create a strange precedent for breaking magical items in my games, for a petrified object is just stone and can be easily broken. But you can always make exceptions depending on power level and how much plot armor you need added to a specific magic item. I simply wanted to address the notion that just because the DMG kind of says something, you have to do it a certain way. In my opinion, the DMG does not give a clear answer on this.

I hope your table isn't still waiting on a ruling for this. :). If so, roll!

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    \$\begingroup\$ Hello and welcome! I think your answer is overall ok but could benefit from a few improvements (and I think the ones why downvoted did it for those reasons). First, it looks a bit too much like you are simply giving your opinion (which isn't the point of this website), which is a pity because in this case you are actually providing concrete arguments for it. Secondly, joking about the age of the question doesn't help: when writing an answer you are not only answering the person who asked the question, but also everybody with the same issue who will fall onto this question. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 22, 2023 at 23:28

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