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The Dungeon Master's Guide for AD&D says magic items are created using instructions devised by the DM. However, it presents only a handful of examples. Here's one:

An example of a formula for the ink required to scribe a protection from petrification spell is shown below:

  • 1 oz. giant squid sepia
  • 1 basilisk eye
  • 3 cockatrice feathers
  • 1 scruple of venom from a medusa's snakes
  • 1 large peridot, powdered
  • 1 medium topaz, powdered
  • 2 drams holy water
  • 6 pumpkin seeds

Harvest the pumpkin in the dark of the moon and dry the seeds over a slow fire of sandalwood and horse dung. Select three perfect ones and grind them into a coarse meal, husks and all. Boil the basilisk eye and cockatrice feathers for exactly 5 minutes in a saline solution, drain, and place in a jar. Add the medusa’s snake venom and gem powders. Allow to stand for 24 hours, stirring occasionally. Pour off liquid into bottle, add sepia and holy water, mixing contents with a silver rod, stirring widdershins. Makes ink sufficient for one scroll. (117)

Was an official collection of instructions in this vein ever assembled, or are instructions like these for specific items tucked away in several different sources? Or are such instructions really unique to each DM?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ A 2005 Dragonsfoot thread says Len Lakofka in his Diplomacy board game zine (available here) reciped the DMG magic items ; I couldn't find those recipes nor, as the thread mentions, evidence these recipes were later republished. Maybe someone else can. \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Feb 25 '16 at 14:34
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Was an official collection of instructions in this vein ever assembled, or are instructions like these for specific items tucked away in several different sources? Or are such instructions really unique to each DM?

To my knowledge, there was never a "master" collection of crafting instructions for magic items; in general, all we had to work with were the guidelines that each DM had to play with on their own.

As you know, that section of the 1E DMG has a pretty explicit list of ingredients for potion-making, but not for other types of items. Also, there was an article in Dragon #101 (Sep-1985), "Charging isn’t cheap: How to make and fix rods, staves, and wands" by Peter Johnson, which goes into equivalent detail on making all the different wands named in the DMG, which I think was very well done.

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