"Common" magical items.

For the Magical Engineering proficiency, what constitutes a common item or an uncommon item?

Also, is it assumed that magic swords are visually distinct from nonmagical ones? I’ve been under the assumption that they are, and if players find 30 swords and one +1 sword, they don’t have to conduct extensive testing on the lot to find the one worth keeping.

I think they (magical swords) are supposed to be of a ‘masterwork’ quality, so it’s likely someone can at least get a good idea of which may be exceptional in a pile of swords; alternatively, perhaps a Craft proficiency throw?

Or perhaps a (hidden) attack throw against some AC (based on bonus of sword?), after spending a turn swinging it around to see if it’s exceptionally well-balanced or the like.

While I’d imagine there’s some compelling reason to cloak a magical sword as a mundane one, in the fiction the name of the sword sometimes precedes the name of the wielder, so I’d be surprised if it’s all that common.

Here you go.


Personally, I do have ‘swords worth looting’ be visually distinct from ‘common swords’. Swords worth looting might be valuable or magical, but they are in some way different from a normal sword. (And I’m using sword as a generic ‘item’ here.)

In this vein, how do you know which swords/items require command words? Also if you find a random magic sword that uses a command word in the middle of nowhere how is it possible to determine what that word is?

I’m assuming that command words are only where specified or obvious- So a sword of +2 vs lycanthropes would just always stab werewolves better, because why would you ever need to disable werewolf murdering, while a sword of flame tongue explicitly says that there’s a command to turn the fire/on-off.

Command words should probably have some hint on the item itself, so that if the player has encountered similar items he might be able to work it out, but I’m assuming that only magical research can 100% know what the command word is.


This is exactly how I run it.

  1. Examination of the item and player deduction may guess the command word.
  2. Interrogation of captured enemies who used the item may reveal the command word.
  3. Loremastery rolls might provide clues or reveal the command word of famous items.
  4. Magical Research, if successful, will reveal the command word.