An engram is an encoded physical object. Engrams can be dropped by defeated enemy species, completing Strikes, Crucible matches or purchased from Master Rahool or Master Ives in the Tower and the Vestian Outpost respectively. Each engram is of a particular weapon or armor type and stored in the Guardian's corresponding inventory slot until decoded. When decoded, engrams become a particular weapon or armor piece, scaling with the player's level at the time it is decoded. Engrams can sometimes decoded into a different type of item, such as a Strange Coin or Artifact.
Engrams come in five tiers of rarity:
|Engram||Color||Possible rarities of contents|
|Coded/Encrypted||Green||Uncommon or rare|
|Decoherent/Encrypted||Blue||Rare or legendary|
|Legendary||Purple||Legendary or exotic|
Encoded Engrams can be decoded immediately by players in the field. Coded Engrams must be decoded by Master Rahool or Master Ives until the Guardian reaches Reputation 1 and level 15, at which point coded engrams will be decoded immediately in the field. Encrypted and rarer engrams must always be decoded by Master Rahool or Master Ives.
Engrams can sometimes contain an item of different rarity. Coded engrams may contain an uncommon or rare item. Encrypted engrams may contain a rare item, or a legendary item. Legendary engrams may contain a legendary item, or an exotic item. Exotic engrams contain an exotic item for a random player class.
A deceptive engram was given to all Veteran Destiny players as part of the Veteran's Tour quest. Despite its green appearance, it always decrypts into a primary weapon of exotic rarity.
Sublime engrams are purple and contain PlayStation exclusive items of Legendary rarity. They only appear in the PlayStation versions of Destiny.
Legacy engrams are gold exotic tier engrams that can be purchased from Xûr. They can be decoded into Year 1 exotic gear, usually an item that the player has yet to obtain.