[RPG] meant by uncommon, rare, very rare listing for magic items if all magic items are rare


I've stumbled into a conundrum in my 5e game. I think solving this question will help me.

What is meant by the rarity of the magic items if all magic items are rare? Does it mean that you can find more than one +1 longsword?

Best Answer

This is explained in the Rarity section of Magic Items on page 135 of the DMG:

Common magic items, such as a potion of healing, are the most plentiful. Some legendary items, such as the Apparatus of Kwalish, are unique. [...] Rarity provides a rough measure of an item's power relative to other magic items. Each rarity corresponds to character level, as shown in the Magic Item Rarity table. A character doesn't typically find a rare magic item, for example, until around 5th level. [...] If your campaign allows for trade in magic items, rarity can also help you set prices for them.

Aside from being a rough measure of power, rarity, as somewhat stated above and by its very name, also provides a guideline for frequently characters might find a certain type of magic item.

A legendary magic item is far more powerful and likely to be far more scarce than an common or uncommon magic item. Characters might find multiple Cloaks of Protection (uncommon), for example, throughout their adventures but would probably only ever find one Robe of the Archmagi.

Depending on the type of game your DM runs, obtaining magic items may be a rare occurrence but that still doesn't necessarily mean that all magic items are rare or that there's only ever only one of a magic item in existence.