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I made the following magic weapons specifically for dual-wielding. They are intended to be given out at 5th level.

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Magic weapon (pair of shortswords), uncommon (requires attunement)

Both swords are attuned to simultaneously which counts as attuning to a single magic item. To benefit from the swords' magic properties, both need to be wielded simultaneously.

Whenever you hit a target with a weapon attack using one of the swords, if you use your bonus action to make a weapon attack using the rules for two-weapon fighting against the same target on the same turn, that attack has advantage.

Whenever you hit a giant with a weapon attack using one of the swords, that attack deals an additional 1d6 damage. For the purpose of this feature, giant refers to the monster type of that name, including monsters such as ogres.

My question is, if this item is a) abusable, b) wildly inappropriate for level 5 or uncommon rarity, c) ambiguous.

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It is likely balanced unless you are planning on making giants a common feature of your game. A comparable magic item would be just a +1 sword, which grants a +1 to attack and damage rolls.

The Two-Weapon Fighting section of the PHB (p. 195) states that:

You don't add your ability modifier to the damage of the bonus attack, unless that modifier is negative.

That means that the most they would get out of the primary feature is a greater likelihood of dealing an extra 1d6+0 (assuming a positive modifier of course) per turn.

For comparison, the rare weapon Dragon Slayer in the DMG (p. 166) is a +1 weapon with the feature

When you hit a dragon with this weapon, the dragon takes an extra 3d6 damage of the weapon's type. For the purpos of thes weapon, "dragon" refers to any creature with the dragon type, including dragon turtles and wyverns.

So, the damage is better when fighting the intended type, but the +1 bonus is technically worse (but affects every attack) - seems about right for a comparison between a rare and uncommon item to me.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ What about the advantage? \$\endgroup\$ – kviiri Jul 15 '20 at 6:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ @kviiri I'm not sure what you mean by that. As I said in my answer, advantage is better than a +1 bonus to attack for the attack that it affects. \$\endgroup\$ – Greenguh Jul 15 '20 at 6:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ I don't see that in your answer, can you elaborate? \$\endgroup\$ – kviiri Jul 15 '20 at 7:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ I don't find this answer very clear. "Greater likelihood" might not be wrong but it is a useful analysis. Also, are you saying in the end, that the swords should be rare? And did you consider that the two effects are independent? \$\endgroup\$ – Anagkai Jul 15 '20 at 7:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ Advantage is better than a +1 since it shifts up the likelihood of rolling higher numbers - a 9.75% chance of getting a natural 20, and so on. Apologies for the poor formatting (I'm pretty new here), but the last sentence of my answer is where I addressed advantage being better than a +1 bonus (granted I didn't back this up in my answer). Ultimately, the question is fairly subjective since there isn't an exact comparison to be drawn as far as I know, but I think that the weapon would be balanced and is clear enough to be understood easily. \$\endgroup\$ – Greenguh Jul 15 '20 at 7:31

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