[RPG] What determines whether a magic item requires attunement


As many of my players are into flavorful, unique magic items, I've been attempting to create some custom magic items. Most of them are fairly simple, a sword with an extra 1d4 shock dmg, a broach that gives advantage to constitution saving throws, a staff that can be used as an everburning torch; stuff like that. One thing I've been having trouble figuring out though is which items should require attunement.

Is there some quality that determines if a magic item requires attunement?

Best Answer

DMG p136 defines attunement but doesn't put forth anything concrete about what would require attunement. The closest I can come to an answer on this is mostly metagame thinking on the part of the designers.

Either to limit an item to a specific class/race or to thwart the passing around of items that can be problematic if they were allowed to be easily passed around from character to character. Example: if the Wizard tossed the Rogue her Ring of Fire Resistance in preparation of that fire trap, just in case the Rogue missed his roll to disarm (used to see stuff like this all the time). Although it is still possible it now takes 3 hours according to the rules.

The "Creating A New Magic Item" section p285 (referenced by Nitsua60)

  • If having all the characters in a party pass an item around to gain its lasting benefits would be disruptive, the item should require attunement.
  • If the item grants a bonus that other items also grant, it's a good idea to require attunement so that characters don't try to collect too many of those items.
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