I’m new at D&D and just trying to DM my first game with some friends. I don’t know which dice should I roll if, for example, I use the magic sword dragon slayer.

All it says is it adds a bonus to your attack and damage. Ok, but which dice should I roll?

  • The dice which I use with my regular sword (let’s say I have a longsword, so 1d8)?
  • Or should I decide which type of sword this magic weapon is (since it says it’s any kind of sword), and then, the damage the weapon can deal is decided by the DM once he gives a concrete type to the magical weapon (let’s say I say this dragon slayer is a shortsword, so it’s a 1d6)?
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    – V2Blast
    Aug 18, 2022 at 22:37

2 Answers 2


The description either tells you the weapon type, or leaves it up to the DM.

We see in the Dungeon Master's Guide, chapter 7, the section "Magic Item Categories", subheading "Weapons", pg. 140:

Some magic weapons specify the type of weapon they are in their descriptions, such as a longsword or longbow. If a magic weapon doesn’t specify its weapon type, you may choose the type or determine it randomly.

So we see in the description of the Dragon Slayer:

Weapon (any sword)

So you decide what type of sword this is when you give it to a player character. In contrast, some items are more specific, such as the Dagger of Venom, which says in its description:

Weapon (dagger)

And some weapons don't specify at all, such as the description of the Hellfire Weapon in Baldur's Gate: Descent into Avernus:

Weapon (any)

Once you have have decided what type of weapon a particular magic weapon is, it uses the usual damage dice stated in the Weapons table in chapter of 5 of the Player's Handbook.

That said, it should be noted that some magic weapons add additional damage dice to the weapon's attacks, such as the Flame Tongue:

While the sword is ablaze, it deals an extra 2d6 fire damage to any target it hits.

So a blazing Flame Tongue Longsword would deal 1d8 slashing + 2d6 fire damage on a hit (plus relevant modifiers).

Finally, though the rules do assign specific weapon types to many magic weapons, you probably aren’t going to break anything if you go off-script and change the weapon types to whatever you want.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Not sure if your edit was related to me comment, but +1. I think the last paragraph is really important for new people to understand. \$\endgroup\$
    – SeriousBri
    Aug 18, 2022 at 23:08
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    \$\begingroup\$ Woah, I totally missed that part in the DMG book. I’ll mark this answer as correct since it refers the original rules and clarify the question completely. Thank you! \$\endgroup\$
    – Neodragon
    Aug 19, 2022 at 7:12
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Neodragon: For magic item types where the book leaves a choice of what kind of sword, think of "dragon slayer" as an enchantment that some wizard could have placed on any type of sword. Every magic item had to get created by someone; for weapons, normally starting with a high quality mundane sword or other weapon. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 21, 2022 at 6:01

Each magic weapon is a specific type of weapon with additional properties. The type is chosen by the DM (you) when you hand it out to someone--a longsword, a shortsword, a greatsword, or even (although not by default), a glaive, mace, or something else.

So make a choice, and then it's fixed for that item. What you choose depends on your characters and what the game is like.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I’m surprised the books don’t mention this! Thank you! :) \$\endgroup\$
    – Neodragon
    Aug 18, 2022 at 20:51
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Neodragon They actually do you just have to be sure to read the preamble to the sections because a LOT of information is there, especially for Magic Items. \$\endgroup\$
    – Slagmoth
    Aug 18, 2022 at 20:55
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    \$\begingroup\$ To give some feedback on my downvote, this answer is not quite correct. You write: "The type is chosen by the DM (you) when you hand it out to someone", however, many magic item descriptions specify what type of weapon the item is. This is also explicitly explained in the Weapons section of the Magic Items chapter in the DMG. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 18, 2022 at 21:03

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