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What does the e.g. +1 on a magic longsword count for in Advanced Dungeons & Dragons? Is it a bonus to damage, or is it to attack?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ [Related: D&D 4e] Is the hit and damage bonus the same as the +X of a magical weapon? \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Nov 22 '15 at 5:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ Amazing thank you and sorry for the confusion especially since you took time to answer this even though you didn't have too. \$\endgroup\$ – user25930 Nov 22 '15 at 6:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ No worries! But that's just a link to a similar question about a different edition. It doesn't quite answer this question, but I'm sure we'll see some answers roll in for this before long. Welcome to the site, meanwhile! Maybe check out the tour while this is waiting for answers to be submitted. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Nov 22 '15 at 6:09
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Both!

The Dungeon Master's Guide (1979) for Advanced Dungeons and Dragons says that

All magic swords receive their stated bonus both for purposes of hitting (as a bonus to the "to hit" die) and for damage (as +1, +2, +3, etc. addition to hit points of damage scored). (165)

Thus, consider a fighter armed with a longsword +1, +2 vs. magic-using and enchanted creatures:

  • Against mundane creatures, the fighter rolls 1d20 to hit and, because of that sword, adds +1 to the result.

  • If he hits and deals damage with the same sword, he rolls the sword's damage and adds +1 point of damage (in addition to any other modifiers).

Further, if he's facing, say, an annoying unicorn, then (because of the +2 vs. magic-using and enchanted creatures) the fighter instead rolls 1d20 +2 to hit, and, if he hits, adds +2 to the damage dealt by the sword.

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