This is probably my favorite chart in the Arduin Grimoire Volume 1. I’m sure I spent a few hours rolling up magical weapons in 7th and 8th grade. At the time it looked like this was how it was done. You would roll up a magical weapon just like rolling up a charter, and just like every character, each magical weapons would be unique.
Magic items should be unique. Magic items should be interesting. magic items should have the same variety as the people and places in your world.
Now, with a lot more perspective, I see the chart as disjointed, and vague, with not much reason to it’s rhymes. All practical failings aside, this chart is a great idea. The idea of being able to roll up a: Flaming Dancing Morning star, or a Halberd that grants you all Efreeti Powers, or a Vorpal bolo! beats the pants off rolling up a +2 Sword, or the regular old Sword of Sharpness, or any of the other weapons from Greyhawk.
In my opinion where Dave Hargrave went wrong was writing the chart as if he was running the game! There is so much left out here, the DM would really need to fill in a lot of details. What exactly is Speed? What are Effreeti Powers? (you get them all!) I feel what this chart needs is to associate all of the powers with spells and abilities defined in the game. Fifth edition, like third edition before it, does this well. (I know there was a Fourth Edition but, I choose not to mention it here) Where Fifth edition fails (in magic weapons generation table at least, the game itself is very good) is the anemic options provided for magical weapons. Dave’s chart could generate 30,000 different unique and interesting items.
Okay so my math is bad, the actual answer is not the point. I just calculated 31 types x 31 Normal Powers x 31 Special Abilities (31*31*31=29791). This doesn’t include the Int, Ego, and bonuses. The point is variety. This chart provides a lot of variety. The charts provided with Fifth Edition lacks this kind of Variety.
And for the players that say “but, I don’t want a Vorpal bolo.” Tell them they can’t just sell for gold, and convert it into the item of their dreams at the next city. This what the Assassin of the Sofixtrion emissary was carrying, it’s what they use, take it or leave it. From this point on your games and the characters in them will be more interesting.
I also understand that the rules work against you here. Not being trained imposes some big penalties. All of the OSR games don’t have this limitation. You can treat this how you like. waive the penalties. If it makes the game more interesting, I doubt anyone will notice. Impose the penalties, Limitation breeds creativity.
The Magic Sword Generation Tables in Dungeon Crawl Classics has a really cool range of powers and abilities. The problem with chart is it’s only Swords! Where’s my Mattock of the Storm Giant King, or my Dwarven Battle Axes?
Here is a google doc of the Arduin Magical Weapon generation chart. Do with it what you will. While the chart is not great in practical terms, feel free to fudge the dice rolls, and make any changes that make a more interesting magical items. Many rolls will generate mundane things with little intelligence and no powers. Also note that the alignment options at the bottom include: Amoral (which was an alignment in Arduin), and Average? Not sure what to do with these? Roll again, or make it up you’re the DM!
Here is a link to web page that will generate 100 Magical weapons using the chart above: