Lately, I have been rethinking the mechanics behind magic weapons in Dungeons and Dragons.
Take the ubiquitous Sword +1. Certain monsters can only be wounded by magic swords, so having a magic sword, even of the +1 variety, is important once you get past first level.
But the extra damage that accompanies the Sword +1 is relatively insignificant. Particularly if you are using the variable weapon damage rules.
For example, your typical d6 shortsword will have a boost of 16% if it is of the magical +1 variety. But you can get the same average damage from a d8 longsword.
Even with a +2 or +3 weapon, the additional damage only makes a minor difference, once you start facing monsters with 6, 8, 10 or more hit dice. At that level, the magic user is taking out those monsters long before the fighter even begins making a dent in its armor.
Of course, that is part of the implicit design of 0e: magic users start out as "glass cannons" but ultimately surpass the fighters (if they can survive long enough to obtain those high-level spells).
One of the criticisms, though, of 0e is that the combats become slogfests, and that the game becomes unbalanced between the fighting and magic-using classes, at higher levels.
I played 3e, a couple of times before I lost interest in that version of D&D. I understood that late in 3.5's life, attempts were made to balance out the fighting and magic-using classes, by "powering up" the magic swords available to the fighters.
I wonder whether it would be valuable to mine that particular vein? Thoughts?