Thieves & Kings
Magic items are gleaned from the hoards of conquered monsters or discovered in long-lost vaults. Such items grant capabilities that adventurers and others could rarely have otherwise, or complement their owners in wondrous ways.
pg 82 of Xanathars
Magic has a rarity; Common, Uncommon, Rare, Very Rare or Legendary. Common items, such as a Potion of Healing, are the most plentiful. Legendary items, such as the Apparatus of Kwalish, are unique in creation, purpose and origin. It is assumed that the creation of these most rare magic have been lost centuries ago; under cataclysm, genocide or other means that has wiped their creators and origins from modern memory. Even common items, such as the aforementioned Potions of Healing cannot be easily created, requiring rare ingredients or materials that are difficult to obtain, or simply secret recipes held dear by their owners. Thus, the more powerful magic items are often family relics and heirlooms.
Rarity can be assumed to be a rough gauge to its power in comparison with others. It should be noted that this gauge is not a guarantee of worth, as however useful a Potion of Invisibility might be, its sale is often limited to people who will likely use it in a nefarious manner, meaning its acquisition might be illegal. Consumables like potions and scrolls are worth only half their rarity gauge.
Buying and Selling
Most magic is exceedingly rare, and is not offered on the open market. Common items, such as the popular Potion of Healing are available in select locations; shrines and apothecaries make them on occasion, but their market value of 500 sp (roughly a working family’s income for a year) is generally beyond the ability of most to afford, so these items are usually only catered to the wealthy and the desperate. Many merchants are willing to trade such potions for other valuables than coin; services and favors are a common exchange for such items.
Large cities, such as the City of Bright Sails have an academy of magic ( the Mage’s Guild of Mornhaven ), or a temple offering magic services to the public (Morningmist Hall – Temple to Korg ), typically common potions or minor wondrous items. Adventurers are often a source of lost relics, and these items sometimes pass from their grasp when seeking wealth for their own projects, onto the open market. Organizations that trade in such goods are few and far between; partly because of the costs to acquire the goods, and transport them, and as such are often sold through private auctions or shipped to distant markets where their exact sources can be kept quiet. Green Feather Trade Coster is one such organization, though their agents tend to keep quiet the sources of most of their items, as well as their client base, who are often powerful adventurers.
The true difficulty then, is in the challenge of finding a buyer for such items. While there might be handfuls of magic blades in the world, few save the wealthy or other adventurers can afford them. Those who could afford them, often have other more practical things to spend their coins on. Thus they can be bought and sold, but it requires time and effort, and there is no guarantee of ever finding a buyer. The method of selling items is listed under Downtime! elsewhere.
Identifying a Magic Item
Some magical items remain indistinguishable from their non-magical counterparts, while others declare their nature through conspicuous grandeur. Whatever its status, handling a known magic item is usually enough to inform the character that it is extraordinary in some fashion. Discovering its properties, however, is never automatic, unless it tells you, sometimes literally.
The Identify (1st Level Divination) spell is the fastest means of identifying the nature of an item’s properties. Alternatively, a character can study an item over the period of a short rest (wear the item, test the blade of a sword in mock combat, or otherwise investigate its nature), keeping the item in close personal contact. It is assumed that at the end of this short rest, the character becomes familiar with the item, or otherwise learns of its properties, as well as how to use them. Potions are the exception; as a consumable item, simple taste allows the properties of a potion to be immediately known.
Sometimes, magic items carry a clue as to what powers the item possesses. Command words might be etched on the surface of a wand, or its design might hint at its properties, such as a Ring of Feather Falling being engraved in the shape of a single, curved feather. Wearing or experimenting with a magic item might also grant an immediate idea of its properties, such as wearing Boots of Elvenkind and discovering their silent nature.
Some magic items require a bond be formed with them before they will allow their magical properties to be revealed. This bond is called “attunement”, and these items have prerequisite for it. If the prerequisite is a class, a creature must be a member of the assigned class before they can employ the item’s properties (if a spell-casting class, the monster or other creature qualifies, if that being has spell slots that use the class spell list).
Without attunement, the creature only gains a general knowledge of its non-magical benefits, such as a magical ShielD that requires attunement provides only the benefits of a normal shield to a creature not attuned to it, but none of its magical properties.
Attunement requires spending a short rest focused only on the magic item while being in physical contact with it, and this must be a separate short rest from any spent attempting to learn the item’s properties. This focus can be assumed to include practicing with a magical blade, or meditation for a wondrous item, or other appropriate activity, such as wearing a ring or a cloak. If the short rest is interrupted, the attunement attempt fails. Otherwise, at the end of the short rest the creature gains an intuitive understanding of the properties and abilities of a magic item, including any unknown command words.
An item can be attuned to only one creature at a time, and a creature can be attuned to no more than three (3) magic items at a time. Any attempt to attune to a fourth item automatically fails; the creature must end an attunement to one of the other items first. Additionally, one cannot attune to more than one of a similar item at a time. For example, only one Ring of Protection can be worn and used at a time.
A creature’s attunement to an item ends if the creature no longer satisfies the prerequisites for the item, if the item has been more than 100’-away from the creature for more than 24 hours, if the creature dies, or if another creature attunes to the item. A creature can also voluntarily end attunement by spending a short rest focused on the item, unless the item is cursed.
There are two types of magic scrolls; Protection Scrolls and Spell Scrolls. Remember in D&D, specific overrides general, so Spell Scroll requirements of being on a known spell list overrides Protection Scroll abilities to be read by anyone. Rogues can get around this, but only at higher levels, with the “Use Magic Device” ability.
Protection Scrolls : A Protection Scroll bears a magical cipher that any creature capable of understanding a written language can read the arcane script, and attempt to activate it through an action.
Each Protection Scroll works against a specific type of creature. Using the scroll, encloses you in an invisible barrier that extends from you to form a 5-foot-radius, 10-foot-high cylinder. For 5 minutes, this barrier prevents creatures of the specified type from either entering or affecting anything within the cylinder. The cylinder moves with you and remains centered on you. However, if you move in such a way that a creature of the specified type would be inside the cylinder, the effect ends. A creature can attempt to overcome the barrier by using an action to make a DC 15 Charisma check. On a success, the creature ceases to be affected by the barrier.
Spell Scrolls : A Spell Scroll bears the words of a single spell, written in a mystical cipher. If the spell is on your class’s spell list, you can read the scroll and cast its spell without providing any material components. Otherwise, the scroll is unintelligible. Casting the spell by reading the scroll requires an action. Once the spell is cast, the words on the scroll fade, and it crumbles to dust. If the Spell Scroll is above your level to cast normally, you must make an Intelligence (Arcana) check to see if you can successfully cast it. The DC equals 10 plus the spell’s level. On a failed check, reading the scroll only consumes its magic, removing the spell with no other effect.
The level of the spell on the scroll determines the spell’s saving throw DC and Attack bonus, as well as the scroll’s rarity, as shown in the Spell Scroll table.
Spell Level : Rarity (Value gp) : Save DC : Attack Bonus
Cantrip : Common (25 gp) : 13 : +5
1st : Common (75 gp) : 13 : +5
2nd : Uncommon (150 gp) : 13 : +5
3rd : Uncommon (300 gp) : 15 : +7
4th : Rare (500 gp) : 15 : +7
5th : Rare (1000 gp) : 17 : +9
6th : Very rare (- gp) : 17 : +9
7th : Very rare (- gp) : 18 : +10
8th : Very rare (- gp) : 18 : +10
9th : Legendary (- gp) : 19 : +11
A Wizard Spell Scroll can be copied, just as spells in spellbooks can be copied. When a spell is copied from a Spell Scroll, the copier must succeed on an Intelligence (Arcana) check with a DC equal to 10 plus the spell’s level. If the check succeeds, the spell is successfully copied. Whether the check succeeds or fails, the Spell Scroll is destroyed.
Some items bear curses that can bedevil their users, sometimes long after the creature has stopped using them. Most methods of identifying the items, including the Identify spell, fail to reveal a Curse, although lore about an item might hint at it. A Curse is always a surprise to the user when it is revealed. Attunement to a cursed item cannot be voluntarily revoked, unless the curse is broken first, such as with a Remove Curse (3rd Level Abjuration) spell. Afterwords, regular means of ending the attunement can apply.