Anyone who has played many RPGs with me know how I despise the magic item economy of D&D and Pathfinder, especially in the recent editions. I have written pretty strongly about it here before, and so I’m happy to see that Dungeon World has taken exactly my approach to magic item creation. Magic items in Dungeon World are not needed, and they aren’t factored into the math of the game for advancement. In fact, since the game has a pretty small range of advancement (after all, target numbers never change!) from 1st through 10th level, there’s not much room in the math of the game for a bunch of math adjustment magic items to give you +1 to hit, +2 to damage, +2 Strength, + 1 armor, and +2 to your will power defense.
Dungeon World accepts the premise that magic items are there to be interesting rewards, plot devices, adventure hooks, and thematic character-defining tools. We don’t think of King Arthur having a crown of + CHA, and boots of striding and a cloak of protection. We think of Arthur wielding the iconic Excalibur.
Some examples of these interesting magic items include:
Arrows of Acheron (1 ammo, 1 weight)
Crafted in darkness by a blind fletcher, these arrows can find their target in even the deepest darkness. An archer may fire them blind, in the dark, with his eyes bound by heavy cloth and still be assured of a clean shot. If the light of the sun ever touches the arrows, however, they come apart like shadows and dust.
The Burning Wheel (2 weight)
An ancient wooden wheel, as might appear on a war-wagon, banded with steel. On a glance, it appears to be nothing special – many spokes are shattered and the thing seems mundane. Under the scrutiny of magic or the eyes of an expert, its true nature is revealed: the Burning Wheel is a gift from the God of Fire and burns with his authority.
When you hold The Burning Wheel and speak a god’s name, roll+CON. *On a 7+, the god you name take notice and grants you an audience. An audience with a god is not without a price: on a 10+, you choose one of your stats and reduce it to the next lowest modifier (for example, a 14 is +1, so it would be reduced to a 12, a +0). *On a 7-9 the GM chooses which stat to reduce.
Once used, the Burning Wheel ignites and burns with brilliant light. It does not confer any protection from those flames, nor does it provide any bonus to swimming.