Magic-Rare or Common?
One of the things the DM decides is just how common magic is in his campaign.
Is the world rich in magical items such that every lowly fighter has access to
at least a sword +1? Players enjoy having a wide variety of interesting magical items, but there's
the risk of creating an out-of-control Monty Haul situation. And a magic-rich
world has consequences unforeseen by most DMs.
If magic is common, then normal people will begin to build inventions around
it. There may be djinni-powered steam engines, crystal ball telecommunications
networks, and other very un-medieval results. This can be entertaining, but it
does drastically change the shape of the campaign world.
The charm of discovering a magical item is lost if everyone has one, but too
few magical items can also ruin a game. This is especially true at higher levels
where magic is so important to character survival. You don't want to kill half
the party just so the survivors can be excited at discovering a sword +1.
The DM wants each magical treasure, no matter how small, to feel special, but
at the same time he must be able to balance the pain of its acquisition against
the reward. This is not a thing the DM can learn through formulae or tables.
It takes time and judgment.
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