Magic Weapons

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I am still pretty new to RPGs and I am a little confused about magic weapons and armor.

The Players Handbook lists magic weapons in the format of 'Flaming Weapon' and 'Thundering Weapon'.  It does not say specifically what the weapon is.  Does this mean it is actually an enhancement to a physical weapon rather than a weapon in itself?

So a character might have a Battleaxe and when they get the Thundering Weapon, their Battleaxe becomes a Thundering Battleaxe or something like that?  Or I suppose they could find a +2 Lightening Longsword at the end of an encounter?

Also, with the different levels of magic weapons, am I limited to what I can give my characters.  Does the level of the magic weapon mean characters less than that level cannot use it or does it just mean that is the level of the weapon itself?


Thanks

 
It can be added to whatever the enhancement says it can be added to. Some can only be added to swords, others axes, some can be added to anything. The description will say what it applies to where it says Weapon.

The levels on the magic item only shows a relative level of power. It is not a restriction of when you can use it.
The magic items modify a weapon. The magic item says what type of weapons it works with - ex blood iron works with any but thunder burst is only ranged weapons.
The levels are the levels of the item not the character levels
Hope this helps
Corbie
Sounds like I was making the correct assumptions.

Thank you 
The item's level dose limit if a PC can create one himself.
The item's level should be used as a guide to see if it is too strong or too weak for a PC.
A weapon that can be thrown ca be enchanted as it's catagory name or as "any melee" or as "any range"  
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