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Old 11-20-2019, 08:05 PM   #11
larsdangly
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Default Re: Trying to understand self powered items

True. More relevant to PC's is the fact that adventures pile up 10's of thousands of $ pretty quickly.
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Old 11-20-2019, 11:20 PM   #12
Skarg
 
Join Date: May 2015
Default Re: Trying to understand self powered items

My original campaign experienced magic item bloat. At first, I made magic items fairly available as suggested in ITL. Players who could would buy up and commission items and enjoy them. It seemed pretty fun at first, and as GM although I steadily made them less easily and affordably available for sale, my game world got established as a place where it was at least not too uncommon for there to be some experienced adventurer types who may have some magic items. So some PC-allied and enemy and neutral NPCs also had some items.

Well, but what happened was, naturally, that as adventures happened and characters died, the surviving PCs would tend to acquire the magic items of the dead... at first, cool, interesting, fun loot, right? Well, yes... but... what do players who get more and more magic items do? Naturally they use all the ones they can, as most fits their characters, and never part from those items, and the things that don't make sense for them to use... they sell, and then shop for more magic items that will work with what they have, and/or equip their comrades, commission more gear, etc.

And that tends to accumulate pretty quickly if you assume even a very few magic items may be looted on each serious adventure.

And so whatever they cost, that leads to the surviving PCs have a fair number of items. Which sooner or later makes them rather better than people without magic items.

And once some PCs have enough magic items that they're superior to most normal fighters without magic, then the nice tactical combat game TFT offers starts to fade away. And what determines who wins fights starts to be more about who has and uses what magic first.

And... TFT does have several rather deadly and effective ways to deal even with people with powerful magic items... but then it starts to come down to which of those the NPC enemies choose to use on a party that has really powerful magic items. And unless the PCs manage to avoid being identified as such and located, they may naturally be targets for smart people wanting to take all those very valuable magic items.

And that may or may not be all that fun and interesting. I mean, it can be pretty fantastic, but it's a different sort of game.

Some of our players ended up trying to be much more subtle about their magic use to avoid attention, and to make the game more interesting. +5 swords and invisibility rings were left hidden at home. It was still a bit dull being even someone with "just" armor 9 who can usually attack first and kill anyone they face who doesn't have magic.

That's when we started really limiting things and adding house rules, and eventually switching to GURPS.

But we did have a LOT of fun with TFT with RAW magic (and some quite powerful characters) at first, for some years of heavy play, until we realized what was happening to gameplay and thought we'd prefer something more about people and less about the magic they have.
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Old 11-21-2019, 12:12 AM   #13
larsdangly
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Default Re: Trying to understand self powered items

I think there is a place for a magic-item-heavy mode of play in TFT, but that it is much better suited to something like an extended one-shot, where your goal is to 'finish' a big dungeon, and not well suited to campaign play. If you want to play a few sessions of competitive dungeon crawling, where the way to win is to find and take advantage of powerful items (a sort of proto video game approach), then I think this could be great. But if you want the character to be more central than the item, then you need to pull wayyyyy back on the distribution. My rule of thumb in campaign play is the same rule that applies to managing small children who want to climb things: 'You can do it if you YOU CAN DO IT' (i.e., I'm not going to help you up into that tree, but if you can climb it yourself, god bless). So, other than the occasional +1 sword or something, most major magic items are things PC's have created. That might sound doable in a white-room sort of way, but not many players are willing to make that investmet.
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Old 11-21-2019, 04:30 AM   #14
Chris Rice
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
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Default Re: Trying to understand self powered items

"The most important question anyone has to ask about their TFT campaign is whether magic items and potions are available for sale at the suggested rates. There is no right or wrong answer to this, but it will dictate the power balance in your game."

I don't use the magic item rules from the game as anything other than a reference; one of the reasons I ditched D&D back in the day was the over abundance of magical items which I felt spoiled the game. As a result, I ran TFT as very low in magic item availability. Although we had plenty of potions and other "one-shot" items, the number of permanently enchanted items I made available was extremely low, and nobody every just bought one at Ye Olde Magike Shoppe.

Stone Flesh/Iron Flesh rings are classic example of items that change the game in a big way yet are cheap to buy if you use the rules as is.

I would recommend extreme caution in using the rules as they are or you'll end up with everyone marching around like magic fuelled superheroes. If you want that sort of game that's fine, but at least understand that at the outset.
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Old 11-21-2019, 09:10 AM   #15
Shadekeep
 
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Default Re: Trying to understand self powered items

One way of tamping down the overpowered-ness of some self-powered items is to give them a battery charge level. Self-powered items are described as drawing power from ambient mana. It makes sense that this is a low-level power field, otherwise wizards would call on it all the time instead of using their own ST. So self-powered items might need to build up a charge, similar to a battery charging from an inductive power source.

Therefore a magic item might have a 10 ST capacitance, or 20 ST, or whatever, and this charge is used when the item is active. Once it runs down, then it might recharge at about 1 ST per hour or so.

Naturally, this comes with more bookkeeping, and you'd need some kind of rule about how much it costs to give an item X ST capacitance. It also takes away some of the high fantasy element of a magic item that is perpetually "on". But it's once way to stop self-powered items from being too powerful.
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Old 11-21-2019, 09:50 AM   #16
larsdangly
 
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Default Re: Trying to understand self powered items

A fun variant idea: magic weapons and armor are in the mix, up to high bonuses, but require fatigue expenditure, just like non-self-powered magic items. I.e., your +5 sword can definitely cleave someone in half, but you have to summon your mojo when you want it to do that.
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Old 11-21-2019, 12:06 PM   #17
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Default Re: Trying to understand self powered items

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Originally Posted by larsdangly View Post
A fun variant idea: magic weapons and armor are in the mix, up to high bonuses, but require fatigue expenditure, just like non-self-powered magic items. I.e., your +5 sword can definitely cleave someone in half, but you have to summon your mojo when you want it to do that.
That could be neat for weapons. You could also portray the magic damage as leeching life from the target. So the +X magic damage on a sword might be inflicted as fatigue damage.

Probably wouldn't work as well for armor. Taking fatigue damage as the cost of stopping "real" damage is technically cheaper (easier to recover from), but can still lead to death in a combat situation. So statistically that kind of magical armor wouldn't make you less likely to be killed, it would just make recovery from survivable encounters quicker.
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Old 11-21-2019, 06:12 PM   #18
Skarg
 
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Default Re: Trying to understand self powered items

Our house rule fix, which I've continued to use in most campaigns since, adds a chance for magic items to break down and wear out when you use them, so people only use them when they need to, not just keeping them on all the time in every fight.
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Old 11-22-2019, 10:26 AM   #19
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Default Re: Trying to understand self powered items

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Originally Posted by Skarg View Post
Our house rule fix, which I've continued to use in most campaigns since, adds a chance for magic items to break down and wear out when you use them, so people only use them when they need to, not just keeping them on all the time in every fight.
That works too, and could be tied to critical rolls. For example, a critical success hit of 3 against magic armor might have a chance of damaging the armor in such a way that it breaks the enchantment. And critical failure of 18 with a magic weapon might do likewise.

A bit of an odd idea that just struck me is that there might be microbes or ethereal creatures that are drawn to magic, and wearing/carrying self-powered items might attract these to oneself. I'm thinking of effects along similar lines to the Tillinghast resonator in the Lovecraft story "From Beyond".
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Old 11-22-2019, 11:26 AM   #20
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Default Re: Trying to understand self powered items

Rolling a break weapon result breaks your magic sword because the only way to get immunity to break weapon is to cast Staff II or higher.

Your +5 Fine plate stops 440 total damage and is then destroyed.

A 3d wizard's wraith lightning bolt has a 26% chance of destroying a Stone Flesh ring.

An excellent way to hand the players a temporary boost that they will soon lose is to have them find a steel magic weapon that isn't Very Fine. One non-fine weapon per fifty potions or scrolls found is about the right balance.
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Last edited by hcobb; 11-22-2019 at 11:33 AM.
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