Steve Jackson Games - Site Navigation
Home General Info Follow Us Search Illuminator Store Forums What's New Other Games Ogre GURPS Munchkin Our Games: Home

Go Back   Steve Jackson Games Forums > Roleplaying > The Fantasy Trip

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 07-06-2020, 01:56 AM   #11
Steve Plambeck
 
Join Date: Jun 2019
Default Re: Why Magic Items

Only once have I ever seen an outright revolt by all the players against a GM. And I was one of the players revolting.

It was a long, long journey we were on, and each of four players had brought two of their oldest and most advanced PCs. We basically carried all our worldly possessions as we were going to be away from home base nearly a year. We had pack mules and a couple carts, backpacks, chests, camping gear, the works. There were fine weapons, silver weapons, and fine armor all around, and a spare of each packed away. All our treasure from almost a decade of play, hard won to be sure. I can't tell you how hard my senior PC had worked and saved for his arms and other gear.

And at one point near the end, the climax to the whole quest, our party is captured, having been put to sleep by gas or spell (I don't recall which). We all wake up naked in a cell.

By a plot twist too complicated to go into, an old companion gets us out of the cell and leads us to a secret door out of this underworld.

Story over, congrats, lucky the ones who survived. You're in walking distance of your hometown.

And we said, wait, what about our stuff? The GM said it was all lost, there was no way back for it, be glad you're alive.

Oh the outcry! It got nasty. We were ready to lynch the GM. After a heated argument he relented, backtracked, and had us pass a side-room during the escape where we at least found what we'd been wearing at the moment of capture, which for my guy included his extra fine saber, crossbow, and fine plate armor that had cost a bloody fortune amassed over years of play. But there had been a backup of each in the mule train, and no one got any of that gear back.
__________________
"I'm not arguing. I'm just explaining why I'm right." - Monty Python
Steve Plambeck is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-06-2020, 08:49 AM   #12
larsdangly
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Default Re: Why Magic Items

Was that situation a railroad or something that emerged naturally from an encounter gone bad? I could see how you might lose a bunch of gear (people do get robbed after all), but if the GM basically made you walk the plank then I understand why the players would be ******.
larsdangly is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-06-2020, 02:17 PM   #13
CeeDub
 
Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: UK
Default Re: Why Magic Items

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kromm View Post
The people who like their item-centric "builds" tend to use the language of digital games, not the tongue of the tribe I joined when I started gaming in 1979.
Interesting. Could you (or anyone else) give examples of how the language of the CRPGers differs from that of the "moldy oldies", please?
CeeDub is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-06-2020, 03:34 PM   #14
Chris Rice
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: London Uk, but originally from Scotland
Default Re: Why Magic Items

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Plambeck View Post
Only once have I ever seen an outright revolt by all the players against a GM. And I was one of the players revolting.

It was a long, long journey we were on, and each of four players had brought two of their oldest and most advanced PCs. We basically carried all our worldly possessions as we were going to be away from home base nearly a year. We had pack mules and a couple carts, backpacks, chests, camping gear, the works. There were fine weapons, silver weapons, and fine armor all around, and a spare of each packed away. All our treasure from almost a decade of play, hard won to be sure. I can't tell you how hard my senior PC had worked and saved for his arms and other gear.

And at one point near the end, the climax to the whole quest, our party is captured, having been put to sleep by gas or spell (I don't recall which). We all wake up naked in a cell.

By a plot twist too complicated to go into, an old companion gets us out of the cell and leads us to a secret door out of this underworld.

Story over, congrats, lucky the ones who survived. You're in walking distance of your hometown.

And we said, wait, what about our stuff? The GM said it was all lost, there was no way back for it, be glad you're alive.

Oh the outcry! It got nasty. We were ready to lynch the GM. After a heated argument he relented, backtracked, and had us pass a side-room during the escape where we at least found what we'd been wearing at the moment of capture, which for my guy included his extra fine saber, crossbow, and fine plate armor that had cost a bloody fortune amassed over years of play. But there had been a backup of each in the mule train, and no one got any of that gear back.
Assuming I'd done that to my players as GM, and they'd been so attached to their gear, I'd have offered them a chance between life without their gear, and the (almost) certainty of death if they go back for it. Then they have a clear and simple choice and shouldn't complain about the outcome.
Chris Rice is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-06-2020, 03:49 PM   #15
CeeDub
 
Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: UK
Default Re: Why Magic Items

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Rice View Post
Assuming I'd done that to my players as GM, and they'd been so attached to their gear, I'd have offered them a chance between life without their gear, and the (almost) certainty of death if they go back for it. Then they have a clear and simple choice and shouldn't complain about the outcome.
I understand your point of view, but both as a player and as a GM, I consider it bad form to unrecoverably deprive characters of hard-earned, rare items, if it's not somehow the characters' own fault. Otherwise, it's basically a diabolus ex machina.
CeeDub is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-06-2020, 04:47 PM   #16
malloyd
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Default Re: Why Magic Items

Quote:
Originally Posted by David Bofinger View Post
Magic items are in games mostly because they are in fiction, particularly fairy tales. But the role they play in fiction is often just, "She blew in the magic leprechaun's ear like the magic mentor had told her to and the leprechaun solved all her problems." It's not great RPG. It's usually not even great fiction.
The named item with exceptional performance that plays a recurring part in the hero's story is a narrative element that goes all the way back to mythology, and doesn't seem to work like that very often.

Remember not everybody is looking for the most efficient build, some people may really want a few bits of magical gear that become part of their characters because they want to play that sort of story. If King Arthur shows up in a story, there's usually has some version of Excaliber around somewhere, and some players will want that.

The problem with magic items in games is mostly the same as for any other sort of gear. The whole point of gear is to allow you to do stuff you can't without it, but the more of it you allow, and the better it is, the more the characters effectiveness is determined by their stuff, and hence the less the character themselves seems to matter. Bronze Age warriors can be distinguished by their human traits like strength or toughness, put those same guys in ultra-tech battlesuits, and they play the "same" despite their supposed differences. As a dramatic element you combat that by making gear scarce (arranging for it not to be on stage when the drama is happening) or keeping it only modestly useful (which isn't *that* hard for low TL games, but is a problem in ultra-tech ones, and often with magic items). There's also the problem of accumulating plusses - if you insist every bit of gear must do something game mechanically, then if there is a lot of diversity of gear, you can get into a situation where small bonuses from a lot of different pieces add up to a big bonus even when realistically that doesn't happen, which definitely does tend to happen with magical stuff too.
__________________
--
MA Lloyd
malloyd is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-06-2020, 07:09 PM   #17
Steve Plambeck
 
Join Date: Jun 2019
Default Re: Why Magic Items

Quote:
Originally Posted by larsdangly View Post
Was that situation a railroad or something that emerged naturally from an encounter gone bad?
No, it was a long-planned multi-part underground adventure, beautiful in every way, with a huge twist. It was our "Journey To The Center of the Earth" campaign, with an eccentric NPC wizard leading us on a search for our world's equivalent of Hades, following clues by an Arne Saknussemm type character that had preceded us. Most of what occurred in Jules Verne's novel came up in play, with entering our game world's after-life at the end being the main difference. And much like the Greek underworld, our god of death ran the place, an army of demons under him, and visitors (whether they be the souls of the dead, or living adventurers) were not allowed to leave. Ever.

How we were rescued is a long story, but suffice to say we had one chance to escape literal Hell, we took it, returned to the land of the living, and ungrateful wretches that we were we then complained we'd lost all our stuff, even though technically we'd all been brought back from the dead -- LOL.
__________________
"I'm not arguing. I'm just explaining why I'm right." - Monty Python
Steve Plambeck is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-06-2020, 10:12 PM   #18
Axly Suregrip
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
Default Re: Why Magic Items

I don't object to magic items, they just need to be appropriately priced. Some creatures can only be harmed with magic or magical weapons (elementals, etc). If you are expecting your players to encounter these, then you will need to give them access to some additional magic, beyond just the team's wizard.

So, consumable magic (potions and scrolls) should be commonly available. The price of both of these given the fail are restart chance vs the income a wizard can make hired out, makes the costs higher than the given. And healing potions with the new rules seem essential for survival. In another post I will outline the cost vs profit in more detail.

For game utility and fun I would break down the need for magic items as follows:

COMMON:
Potions, Chemical potions, gas bombs, gun powder and scrolls. Common but more expensive than the given price. See your local magic shop (not every town has one).

UNCOMMON:
+1 weapons and armor. Given a wizard of IQ 14 can create these (and really a minimum of DX 13, given profit, but I will go into that later) but the wizard only needs apprentices. The +2 and higher enchantment require additional wizards. I take this to mean "additional wizards with weapon/armor enchantment spell" or how else would wizards be different than apprentices? This raises the question of how common is it for a wizard of these attributes and spell would exist. A small town may have one or none.

RARE:
+2 (and more) weapons/armor. A medium town maybe two wizards capable of creating weapon/armor enchantments but they may be rivals. Really anything beyond a +1 would require a city and large wizards' guild. Even so the +2 (and higher) enchantments would be made to order, given the expense to do so. Really it is when armor starts getting +2 or more that the game feels unbalanced.

VERY RARE:
Lesser magic items would be very rare and very expensive since they require a wizard with IQ 18 (and again, to be profitable at least DX 13, so at least a 39 pt human wizard). Again, since a wizard this powerful would be himself rare these items even more so. Not something that is sold openly and owning one would make you a target of many. Also note, "no cost per turn" items are either changed to 1 ST/turn or at 100 times the price or handled in one of the many discussed lately.

ONLY OF LEGEND:
Greater magic items need a IQ 20 wizard with a DX of 13 or more (DX 15 would be better). So a 41 to 43 point wizard, that is so inclined to create such items. He is definitely not doing so to just stock a shelf. There needs to be someone of power and wealth to have commissioned it. Such an item would be a plot item and not just a random find, and never just found for sale.


And whatever you decide to make available for your players to get, so should the NPCs of similar experience have similar items.
Axly Suregrip is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-09-2020, 07:37 AM   #19
Helborn
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Default Re: Why Magic Items

One method that I am using is a limited number of wizards. The talents and mind set to be a wizard are rare.



There are no guilds with more than 4 members except in capitol cities and they are busy with orders from aristocrats. Any items with more than 3 enchantments are products from the past. Also, enchantments that take more than a few weeks are simply not undertaken. Wizards have lives and they require each request to be accompanied by all necessary ingredients. They're not willing to accept orders that require them to do the work of acquiring dangerous ingredients.


This allows some enchantments which make the adventurer safer and more effective, without creating total immunity and immediate death dealing damage.
__________________
Helborn
Helborn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-09-2020, 07:42 AM   #20
hcobb
 
hcobb's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Pacheco, California
Default Re: Why Magic Items

So what is the price list at your shop of magic items?

By ITL 170 a village of a few hundred has "a couple of small enchanted items for sale at any given time"

Also note that it is easier to quickly create a single high level magic item than several smaller items of the same total "wizard weeks" because you only need one smart and nimble goblin, halfling, or elf making the roll for your +5 sword while a bunch of clumsy (but smart) human wizards just follow along as per ITL 156.

If you want to shut down Industrial Light items and other magics then toss the enchantment rules, use Alchemy and scale the explosion by the power of the item. There used to be a major city here, but then the king ordered his alchemist to make him a crown of great power. Now strange beasts are seen at night near the crater.
__________________
-HJC

Last edited by hcobb; 07-09-2020 at 07:57 AM.
hcobb is online now   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Fnords are Off
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 11:23 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.9
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.