Excerpts Archive | 6/19/2012
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1st Edition DMG Excerpts: Item Manufacture
Bart Carroll

In 1974, the world changed forever when Gary Gygax introduced the Dungeons & Dragons role-playing game. The legacy of his innovative ideas and the extensive reach of his powerful influence can be seen in virtually every facet of gaming today.

To help honor his work and his memory, we've created limited-edition reprints of the original 1st Edition core rulebooks: the Monster Manual, Player's Handbook, and Dungeon Master's Guide. These premium versions of the original AD&D rulebooks have been lovingly reprinted with the original art and content, but feature an attractive new cover design commemorating this re-release.

Your purchase of this monumental book helps support the Gygax Memorial Fund—established to immortalize the "Father of Roleplaying Games" with a memorial statue in Lake Geneva, WI.

In this preview of the 1st Edition re-release of the Dungeon Master's Guide, we explore a sampling of the wealth of advice offered inside. From the chapter on running campaigns, the DMG even provided the following warning:

Unlike most games, AD&D is an ongoing collection of episode adventures, each of which constitutes a session of play. You, as the Dungeon Master, are about to embark on a new career, that of universe maker. You will order the universe and direct the activities in each game, becoming one of the elite group of campaign referees referred to as DMs in the vernacular of AD&D. What lies ahead will require the use of all of your skill, put a strain on your imagination, bring your creativity to the fore, test your patience, and exhaust your free time. Being a DM is no matter to be taken lightly!

A daunting task, but the DMG sought to help by offering page after page of ways to create and improve your campaign. In today's excerpt, we look at a few pages on the manufacture of magic items (including by charmed or enslaved magic- users).

Fabrication of Magic Items, Including Potions and Scrolls

It is an obvious premise of the game that magic items are made somewhere by someone or something. A properly run campaign will be relatively stringent with respect to the number of available magic items, so your players will sooner or later express a desire to manufacture their own. Do not tell them how this is to be accomplished! In order to find out, they must consult with a sage (q.v.) or a high level character of the proper profession, the latter being detailed a bit hereafter.

Magic items are made by high level magic-users, except those items which are restricted to clerics and special racial items and books, artifacts and relics. Books (including tomes, librams and manuals), artifacts, and relics are of ancient manufacture, possibly from superior human or demi-human technology, perhaps of divine origin; thus books, artifacts, and relics cannot be made by players and come only from the Dungeon Master. Dwarven and elven manufactured items — the +3 dwarven war hammer, certain other magic axes and hammers, cloaks and boots of elvenkind, magic arrows, magic bows in some cases, and even some magic daggers and swords — are likewise beyond the ken of player characters of these races. Only very old, very intelligent and wise dwarves and elves who have attained maximum level advancement are able to properly forge, fashion, and/or make these items and have the appropriate magicks and spells to change them into special items — i.e., these items are likewise the precinct of the DM exclusively.

This still leaves an incredible range of magic items which player characters can aspire to manufacture. It is a sad fact, however, that these aspirations must be unsatisfied until the player character achieves a level of ability which is one greater than nominal highest level — high priest, druid, wizard, illusionist. That is, a player character must be at least an 11th level high priest, an archdruid, a 12th level wizard or an 11th level illusionist in order to manufacture magic items (except with respect to potions and scrolls, as will be discussed hereafter). Furthermore, a player character may manufacture only those items particular to his or her profession or items which are usable by professions not able to so make magic items only. Thus, a cleric is unable to fashion a wand usable by magic-users or illusionists, a magic-user cannot manufacture a clerical magic item, etc. There is a further prohibition upon clerics regarding the making of items which are prohibited to their profession or which are of opposite alignments; this restraint does not extend into the sphere of magic-users as a class. Thus, clerics cannot manufacture magic swords, though magic-users can.

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Bart Carroll
Bart Carroll has been a part of Wizards of the Coast since 2004, and a D&D player since 1980 (and has fond memories of coloring the illustrations in his 1st Edition Monster Manual). He currently works as producer for the D&D website. You can find him on Twitter (@bart_carroll) and at bartjcarroll.com.