Either a +44 or a +30, depending on the type of bonus.
Magic Item Basics
- Grants an enhancement bonus on a skill check greater than +30.
- Has a market price above 200,000 gp, not including material costs for armor or weapons, material component- or experience point-based costs, or additional value for intelligent items.
Creating Magic Items with Competence Bonuses
There is a formula for computing the price to create a magic item. Since non-epic magic items have a price below 200,000, use the following formula:
44 x 44 x 100 gp = 193,600 gp.
There are no maximums specifically mentioned for a competence bonus, as there are for enhancement bonuses. The maximum would be limited by gold costs to create. In the realm of enhancement bonuses, there is a maximum stated.
- Competence Maximum: +44
- Enhancement Maximum: +30
Competence Bonuses Stack with Enhancement Bonuses. So, a +44 Ring of Lies (Bluff), a +30 Ring of False Truths (Bluff), and a casting of the spell Glibness (+30 untyped), would give you, with no other factors involved, a +104 to Bluff. You can trust Bards... right?
Officially the only events in 5e's storyline with the Thay have involved some necromantic debacles...
Two sundering related adventures happened between 4e's official end of publication and the release of the PHB. Ghosts of Dragonspear Castle kicked off the Sundering event which is a reboot of the Forgotten Realms lore and the Red Wizards were the antagonists in the Dead in Thay adventure which operated on the Playtest rules and not the official rules released later. In it, there were a fair bit of magic items, but everything hinged around a location of immense power, the doom vault which also served as sort of a magical creature menagerie and no wider look at teh Thay was given. As a result of the events of this adventure the Thay have essentially been displaced from their lands an while they still have enclaves around the world, their powerbase has been severely diminished.
5e's reduced magic item economy makes magic items out of the reach of individuals (usually), but they remain in the reach of organizations
As you state (and as I have interpreted from everything WOTC has said so far) you can't just buy and sell magic items in a shop, but they are still usable, desirable items. Naturally the five factions (and antagonistic NPC factions like the Cult of the Dragon) want these powerful objects to help further their goals. PCs may be rewarded or loaned these items when they rise in the ranks of the factions and/or be able to try to sell these to factions.
Treat the Red Wizards as a necessary evil that the factions allow to a degree because they desire the power and utility of the objects they can provide
Thayvian society is basically an oppressive mageocracy and the Thayvians themselves should be looking to trade rare magic items for large sums of money, rare luxuries, treaties, land, and most of all influence. A small group of adventurers is probably far below their notice as possible customers unless they can generate interest with something to offer Thay that can rival what the Lords Alliance or Zhentarim might.
It's one in-joke among many.
You may also have noticed the Fiasco Codex, the Violation Glaive, the Carcosan Spire, and the Sartar Duck. Dungeon World's magic item section is half credits page, and the Burning Wheel is no different.
In the Burning Wheel RPG, despite it having an intricate skill and career system - there are skills for Ratiquette, Field Dressing, Plumbing, both Sewing and Embroidery, and an entire subsetting dedicated to the seafaring life, with careers like Sailor, Pirate, Marine, and Bosun - there is no Swimming skill.
The creator believes it should be handled at a general level of character capacity, with e.g. a Speed test, and that you can just say whether you can swim or not. (He's "luke" in this thread:
and when the forums were up it was a bit of a running gag that someone read the book, perceived the gap, and came on the forums to ask.)
It's like how one of the earliest Fate Worlds of Adventure was about fighting the aspect On Fire:
In addition to its functionality as a game, it's a joke about a topic that had come up again and again in private discussion.
The reason why the DW magic item connects you to the gods is, among other things, because of the ancient symbology of the wheel as portal:
In the Burning Wheel creator's game, the Burning Wheel itself is one of many elemental wheels wrought to contain gods.