In older editions of Dungeons & Dragons, your character became a walking-talking magic item storage system. You’d typically have up to 10-15 magic items on you in the late game, all doing different things. And a lot of them were just boring stat bonuses! 5E changed that quite a bit with their Attunement system. This allowed Wizards to make strong magic items without their players having to shuffle through PDFs for their 7th magic item’s effects. Learn more with our How to Attune 5E Guide.
How to Attune 5E
If an item requires attunement, then you treat it as non-magical until you spend the time to attune to it. In order to attune to it, you take a short rest focused only on that object. No regaining Ki points, no spending hit dice, no learning what the item actually does. After you attune to it, you gain access to all of it’s magical abilities, and have a basic understanding of any command words it needs to activate.
Attunement has a lot of rules attached to it. There’s a few important things to know.
- An item only requires attunement if it says it does. This might sound obvious, but a good selection of 5E’s items don’t require attunement. For example, a +1 War Pick doesn’t require attunement. However, the Will of the Talon artifact does. Make sure you and your DM both know what items require attunement before wasting a short rest on something… Well, that is, if you’ve correctly identified it.
- You must meet all prerequisites to attune. Again, obvious. But you can’t use a +1 Wand of the War Mage if you’re not a Spellcaster. Usually, these prerequisites are class-based, but they can be racial or level-bound too.
- You can only* attune to 3 items at once. After you’ve attuned to three things, you must end one of your original attunements to get a new one.
Can You Attune to More?
There is exactly one way to attune to more than three magic items; become an Artificer. The Artificer gains attunement slots at level 10, 14, and 18 (up to a maximum of six). This is obviously a lot of levels if you want to multiclass, and it’s probably not worth it in most situations. But, if your goal is to be attuned to as many magic items as possible, Artificer is the easiest way to do it.
Artificers also get the ability to ignore attunement prerequisites, but thankfully, that isn’t artificer specific. The Thief Rogue’s Use Magic Device ability also allows it to ignore those restrictions, and it ignores them one level earlier! Take that, Artificer!
See Also: How to Calculate Proficiency Bonus in 5E
Wrapping Up Attunement
Attunement is a system designed to lower the amount of craziness that 3.5 characters got to. Even for seasoned players, it could become a lot to deal with. Now, we replace the ability to have as many magic items and become as powerful as we want, for something more balanced and easy to read… though perhaps not necessarily better.
One last note: Make sure you have someone with decent Arcana checks in your party! You want to ensure that your attunement doesn’t end up cursing you.