Magic items in OSR+ are written in a simplistic fashion like spells so that each one takes no more than a paragraph to describe. This is because magic items rely on a concept of magical strength and rarity to determine their utility.
- When a magic item is found, you roll a d6 to determine its magical strength (1-2: 1 strength; 3-4: 2 strength; 5-6: 3 strength). Strength is a mechanical indication of its power, and determines the number of times the item can be used per day (consumable items have a single use unless otherwise indicated), and how long its effects last.
- Each item specifies its rarity. Rarity, like magical strength, ranges from 1 to 6 and indicates how unique the magic item is in the game world and therefore how powerful the abilities it grants. The higher the rarity, the more priceless a magic item is.
For example, an Amulet of Soul Preservation has a rarity of 6, because the ability it confers to its wearer is very powerful. Its magical strength is irrelevant, since it provides a couple passive abilities that are always in effect:
On the other hand, a Bag of Bones has a rarity of 2, because not only is it consumable, but its effects are temporary. The value you roll for magical strength when you discover the bag would determine how many bones it contains:
Magic Items & the Fiction
You want to portray magic items and their impact on the setting in a way that aligns with its genre.
For example, a low-magic sword and sorcery campaign might not feature any magic items at all, or if it does, they're probably extremely rare and extremely powerful. Magic items in this world can't be bought in shops and knowledge about them would be extremely limited.
On the flipside, a campaign set in a magical school (such as in Magic University) where the PCs play apprentice mages and magic is commonplace might factor magic items into the world's economy in a way that makes them into a commodity no different than a well-sharpened sword.