Clothes Make the Man

A frequent habit in classic flavours of D&D that is experiencing a resurgence is collecting treasure from fallen enemies and claiming it for yourself. The orc king’s magical sword becomes your new favourite weapon. Which is odd since, if it was the weapon of a villain, it probably has an evil motif.

This practice faded away for a time as it was easier to throw all the loot in a pile and wave it at a merchant until it condensed into a pile of gold coins that was then turned into a build-specific magical item newly crafted or purchased to be perfect for your character. The orc king’s magic flaming sword became your returning frost dagger. The world should have been awash in low level magic items and merchants that provided the goods needed to enchant items should have been the wealthiest people alive. 4th Edition skipped the merchant step, with items being reducible to magical dust used to enchant or increase the enchantment of an existing favoured item. This means after a campaign, there should have been a shortage of weaker magical items in the world as they were all converted into their component parts to empower a new demigod’s +6 wand of awesome.

Maybe that’s why magical items are rarer in 5th Edition. All the cheap and easily found wondrous items were stripped of their enchantment and the magic now resides in the gear of a level 30 retired hero sitting around a tavern in Valhalla.