In one of my other questions, there appears to be a popular opinion in the comments that the general absence of a Magic Items section in the D&D 5e PHB (and their restriction to the DMG) infers that they are intended to be optional.

I seek to challenge this idea by discovering whether this consensus contrasts with other games. Alas, I have no other rulebooks, so I must ask for assistance: Do the 'Players Handbooks' of earlier D&D editions (or Pathfinder) contain detailed Magic Item lists? If so, which ones?

  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ Why not go ahead and ask whether magic items are intended to be optional? \$\endgroup\$
    – Tim Grant
    May 19, 2016 at 11:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ @timster because I know the DMG doesn't just go out and say it like that. \$\endgroup\$
    – Robert
    May 19, 2016 at 14:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ @timster We pretty much have that question already: Does the DM have to give me magical weapons? \$\endgroup\$ May 19, 2016 at 20:44

1 Answer 1


Only one puts magic items in the PHB: D&D 4e. All other editions, including D&D 5e, put magic items in the DMG.

In nearly every edition, magic items are not only just in the DMG, but are even reserved exclusively for the DM to introduce at their sole discretion. The one exception (other than 4e) is D&D 3.x, where magic items are the province of the DM, but player characters are given relatively free access to magic items via crafting.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. \$\endgroup\$ May 20, 2016 at 1:29

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