I love my gaming group, I love my gaming group, I love my gaming group, well sometimes not so much. Life, loves (or at least lusts), work, play, family, all seem to plague this group of people that constitute my gaming group. We barely maintain an every-other week game after trying for about a year to have a weekly game - 2 hours a week just doesn't cut it for me, but I understand the demands of other's work requirements, so I try not to complain when they had to end or leave a gaming session at 8. Perhaps I'm just a little spoiled in previously having a gaming group that played for 5-ish hours at a time, every week. But this is mostly off-topic, what brings me to my point is that we are shifting game systems, likely to one that isn't as "highly magical" or "magically active" and the Pathfinder/D&D default worlds (yes, I know that the various D&D worlds vary in their magic-isity) in that magic items (weapons, wands, staves, rods, etc.) are going to actually be defined by their make-up. If you want a magic wand, unless you find it, you aren't going to go to the store and "buy" a wand of magic missiles, so you have to make it, finding a special (perfect) tree branch or bone or having a craftsman make one.
Well, what makes up a magic item? That varies from item to item:
sword is likely going to require:
metal for the blade and guard - iron, steel, etc.
leather for the grip - cow, deer, displacer beast
"something" for the pommel - gemstone, metal, bone
To add to the creativity, a different metal or gemstone might be inlaid along the blade. Wood from a certain type of tree might be used for the grip. A certain design (snake, vines, holy symbol) might be used for the guard.
What about an axe you might ask, well:
metal for the head - mithril, star metal
leather for the grip - umber hulk, drow skin
metal or wood for the haft - oak, trent
-C over at Hack&Slash has 3 good posts of random materials for item creation and that's a fine place to start.
But ultimately this information is only a side issue of where I'm headed with this series of posts. What I'm really striving for is what "things" you might need to craft a flaming burst great axe +3 or a dancing long sword. So, over the next few entries, yes they are already written and scheduled to post automatically, I'm going to talk about what *I think* would allow for special ability to manifest in weapons and yes, there will be some discussion and elaboration on the actual crafting process as a means of adding abilities (hint: get ready to shed some blood).