Creatures and Magical Items

Like other treasures, magical items may be found in the lairs of unintelligent and intelligent monsters. Random encounters with unintelligent monsters shouldn't yield magical items (except in rare cases where the beast has swallowed them). After all, why (let alone how) would a giant snake carry around a sword +1?

Unintelligent creatures may have a few items in or near their lairs, the former possessions of their victims. Even this will be rare, however. Such monsters don't recognize the worth of magical items and seldom make a special effort to collect them. The comments relating to treasure and unintelligent creatures can be applied here.

Intelligent creatures, on the other hand, tend to value magical items above other items of treasure. They recognize such items for what they are (unless the item is very well disguised or unique) and take them. Knowing such items can be used to their benefit, they will attempt to learn the function of the item. A creature that can use an item will use it. Useful magical items that are part of treasure will therefore be in the creature's hands, not hidden away.

For example, take the treasure of the hobgoblin chieftain. Over the years he has come into possession of a number of minor magical items. Currently the tribe's treasure includes three potions of healing, a scroll of wizard spells, a sword +1, and two suits of chain mail +1. This is not a horde the crafty, old chieftain is going to ignore.

He wears one suit of armor at all times, carries the sword at his side, and has the three potions hidden away but close at hand should he need them. The other suit of armor he gives to the most faithful of his bodyguards.

As for the scroll, since nobody in the tribe can use it, it is rather carelessly tossed in with the rest of the treasure in the chieftain's strongroom. He figures to trade it for something useful the next time a renegade merchant comes around. Player characters who hope to get the tribe's magical items will have to wrest them, literally, from the fingers of the hobgoblins. That's something to make the earning of magic more of a challenge.

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