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Old 07-10-2020, 01:33 AM   #21
Steve Plambeck
Join Date: Jun 2019
Default Re: Why Magic Items

Originally Posted by Helborn View Post
One method that I am using is a limited number of wizards. The talents and mind set to be a wizard are rare.
Hi Helborn. Just wondering if that second sentence is a generalization, or if you literally require your own "wizardry talents" as a device to regulate wizards and magic item creation?

As I rewrite my own house rules for the future, wizards (just to exist) must take the first in a series of relatively expensive wizardry talents, and those are also prerequisites for all the more advanced wizardry skills.

To permit PC wizards to create magic items (which I never even allowed in the old days) but to do so in a tightly regulated manner, I delete the existing magic item creation spells, replacing them with advanced wizardry talents that allow for the same things. I'm looking at:

IQ 17 and 10 cumulative points worth of talents before a wizard can undertake Weapon/Armor Enchantment.

IQ 20 and 12 cumulative points spent on wizardry talents before Lesser Magic Item creation.

IQ 23 and 14 cumulative points of talents before undertaking Greater Magic Item creation.

(As an offset to the cost of these expensive wizardry talents, wizards would no longer pay double for regular talents.)

Perhaps the minimum IQs are a little too high, so that's still under consideration. The goal is to make Greater Magic Item creation barely obtainable by all but the most successful and dedicated PC wizards.

I'm especially adverse to letting IQ 14 wizards churn out enchanted weapons and armor, as that's an IQ even a starting wizard could have under the RAW. In fact, I'm also going to require a collaboration with a Master Armourer to create enchanted weapons, making the process even harder, as well as more colorful and realistic.
"I'm not arguing. I'm just explaining why I'm right." - Monty Python
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Old 07-10-2020, 10:41 AM   #22
Join Date: Dec 2017
Default Re: Why Magic Items

I've taken the opposite approach in my current Legacy Edition campaign: magic items exist as found treasure (though they are pretty rare), and it is imaginable that you could try to convince someone to sell a known item owned by another (also unusual, and my players have tried that but not come to a successful deal as of yet), but if you want some specific kind of item you pretty much have to figure out how to make it, including both the formal requirements in spells, money (don't forget the cost of the laboratory!), apprentices and time, and the in-play consequences (where will you do this? who are your apprentices? what are they like and what do they do? what is happening while you work?). My players are making useful magic items, but it is not introducing imbalance to the campaign.
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Old 07-11-2020, 06:25 PM   #23
David Bofinger
Join Date: Jan 2018
Location: Sydney, Australia
Default Re: Why Magic Items

Originally Posted by JimmyPlenty View Post
I have thought out this, but I remembered that with each extra spell on an item, it is exponentially more expensive to make. An item with 5 enchantments would be incredibly rare, and solves its own problem.
Remember the Rule of Five affects not just how powerful an enchantment can be, or how many enchantments an item can have, but also the number of items a figure can simultaneously use and carry.
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Old 07-20-2020, 04:12 PM   #24
Join Date: Jul 2018
Default Re: Why Magic Items

--- Warning wall of text, just a stream of consciousness late at night ---

Magic items in stories are usually McGuffins of one sort or another. They are few and far between or single use and quite common. There are no mid level ranged swords, just the +5 ones. And it is always Chekov's gun type of items. They have a purpose that they will fulfill. A hero will never find a +3 sword and take the upgrade and store his old +2 in his back pack. It won't happen story wise.

These McGuffin kind of items doesn't fit into a party structure long term, because one such item will unbalance the group and making it all about the wielder of the +5 sword with extra bonuses on it. So usually the McGuffins will be given to the party, with the obvious understanding that once you throw the darn ring into the volcano, it is gone, but it is worth it. Or the sword will be given back to the watery tart once you have done your thang.

The other types of magic items are usually a measure of a characters progress. Just like many fictional stories leaves a hero pretty much the same as we found him, maybe with a completed story arc, but with no obvious increases in powers or new moves. Some type of stories are all about the character growth. Role playing games, especially OSR, really focus on the leveling up in character power.

There is nothing wrong with this of course, but the reason is that it is very hard to give each and every character, especially if perma death is a part of the story, some sort of gratification that isn't pure personal power. Building up a social life, having a career, saving your village and ending up being elected mayor are such goals that can replace pure personal power gratifications. But when you mostly crawl around in a dungeon and no one really knows what you have done and all characters in a party can't become mayor or save the princess and live happily ever after.

So enter the incrementally better magic items. A pure gaming construct.

It doesn't matter if you have spell slots or a rule of five. It doesn't matter if you have common colored items up to epic sets or use the rule of five again on each item with exponential cost. The idea is the same. They are mini-levels and rewards. And gold are just chose your own item reward.

In MMO you kill a boss that should be drowning in items and he drops one or two items. You kill a knight and he drops a belt and a pair of shoes, but what about his horse, armor, weapons etc? In a tabletop RPG strong enemies tends to double the party loot after each major fight, since very few items are soulbound or limited to the original wearer. All this can be problems or a lot of fun. And usually the source of strange story developments. The GM gives the party a large house or a ship as a reward, hoping they will settle down and establish themselves in the area, but the party instead sells the lot and hire a full time enchanter.

Trying to establish a balance in this with the rules is pretty much futile. Either you limit a bunch of choices for the players or you might end up with a campaign that is very hard to GM technically or the story if there ever was one goes out the window.

The only way to do it, is managing expectations. Don't say it will be impossible to get a magic sword, but it will be very hard and then list some of the reasons. Point out how you as a GM sees the campaign going forward and agree on a party goal. If the goal is to start the biggest tradeship navy in the world, they will not sell their first ship, but might sell their first house to buy another ship. If the goal of the campaign is to face off against a big baddie at the end in his dungeon, they will for sure start to stack up on personal power items. If they find out that he can only be killed with a set of four McGuffins, the party will sell what ever they find and try to find, buy or steal said items. Just make **** clear from the start, and most campaigns will work out.

It is almost never a good idea to let the rules mold the campaign, unless you actually created a world that has in game laws that are very close to the rules and a story that goes hand in hand with the rules. And that is tough in Cidri, since it is supposed to be so varied, but will it really be that varied if game rules turns into laws, regulations and physical constraints that can not be easily overcome by mere mortals?

In short, small incremental magic items are fun, but if they detract rather than enhance the story try to focus on other rewards than personal power ones. One can even connect XP gain to be closely linked to accomplishment in game. You acquired your first ship, a mile stone has been reached, you get XP. And if they get no XP for a bar fight, they might start to focus and maybe invest in better clothing, better manners, spend hard earned silver on gifts and parties for future trading partners, etc, instead of a sword +1. Incremental small magic items are usually just a substitute (a default if nothing has been explicitly decided on) for nothing better to focus on. And for some players it is really gratifying and fun, so why stop them if they like it. Give players what they want, but not as fast, easy or as much as they want. Keep them wanting more and do the two steps backwards and then three steps forward dance.
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