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Old 10-12-2019, 12:34 AM   #1
hcobb
 
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Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Pacheco, California
Default Refactoring magic item costs

If you are dissatisfied with the magic item costs (which are much less WRT the overall economy in TFT than AD&D), how would you refactor them?

Use the XP to Gold conversion to balance items against learned abilities?

Which is the better deal?

400 XP = 400 Gold = A Stone Flesh item that is always on.

or

500 XP to learn the Stone Flesh spell (nobody plays muggles so non-wizard cost doesn't matter) that takes an action and a DX roll to cast and 1 ST/turn to maintain.
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Last edited by hcobb; 10-12-2019 at 12:44 AM.
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Old 10-12-2019, 08:30 AM   #2
Shostak
 
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Default Re: Refactoring magic item costs

Don't allow characters to buy magic items. Or, if you insist on letting them do so, add a few zeroes to the price.
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Old 10-12-2019, 10:24 AM   #3
larsdangly
 
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Default Re: Refactoring magic item costs

Magic items are a wonderful part of any fantasy setting, but their value comes from their specialness and the hurdles that must be overcome to achieve them. There is no amount of cash that doesn't cheapen their meaning in the game if you let them be purchased. The important thing in my view is that they have to be made, or found, or earned, or stolen.
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Old 10-12-2019, 10:47 AM   #4
Chris Rice
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
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Default Re: Refactoring magic item costs

The problem with using the RAW for magic items is that, if you take the rules entirely at face value, in a TFT world Wizards are relatively common and magic items relatively cheap and therefore all reasonably successful characters will have several magic items each.

As someone has already pointed out, a stoneflesh ring only costs a few thousand coins but massively increases a character's power, so everyone will have one of those. And they'll have other cheap and no ST requirement items too like Mage Sight, Detect Enemies, etc.

Now, if that's the sort of FRP game you want then fine, but at least be aware of the logical consequences of using the rules exactly as they stand.

That's not the sort of game I want to play, so there'll be no "Olde Magicke, Shoppe" in my towns.
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Old 10-12-2019, 11:07 AM   #5
hcobb
 
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Default Re: Refactoring magic item costs

If you don't have the magic shops and you make it difficult for the players to make magic items (I've pointed out before that it costs more to make potions than you get by selling them, and most of this applies to magic items) then you increase the value to the players of casting spells themselves, especially Staff.

An alternative to generally available magical items would be to have crafter wizards who determine how to adapt unique things into magical items. (How do you turn the horn of the last unicorn into a spearpoint?)
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Old 10-12-2019, 11:01 PM   #6
Skarg
 
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Default Re: Refactoring magic item costs

Quote:
Originally Posted by hcobb View Post
Use the XP to Gold conversion to balance items against learned abilities?
No, I'm not sure I would ever use XP to gold conversion. Too meta-gamey for my tastes.


For Stone Flesh, I think it's clearly under-priced compared to the other items, even if you give it a ST cost to use. I would both give it (and Iron Flesh) a ST cost of 1/turn, and increase its cost/time to create.

I also use the list costs as the minimum costs for magic items on the market, since in my worlds demand tends to exceed supply unless it's something of not much use to many people. As you and I have both done the math to see, the listed costs tend to be pretty close to what it would cost on average to successfully make a magic item, with not a lot of profit margin. But since in my worlds, any item available for sale tends to have multiple rich and powerful people who would like to buy it, there tends to be more of an auction situation where the power and influence of the other NPC customers is part of their attraction that the PCs would have to overcome to be sold a magic item. Not to mention the potential for drawing attention of those powerful people if they do buy a magic item that a powerful person wanted to buy.

Wizards' Guild Chapter Head to The Black Duke: "I'm sorry Your Grace, but Krumbah the Orc offered thirty thousand silver for the Stone Flesh ring... which was more than your proxy was authorized to offer, and we were not able to reach you before today. Krumbah and his party of er... adventurers... then purchased a gate passage to Proomtown. They said they had plans to participate in the tournament there. Perhaps you might send an emissary there to make them an alternative offer."


(I also use magic item breakdown house rules...)
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Old 10-13-2019, 03:24 AM   #7
Steve Plambeck
 
Join Date: Jun 2019
Default Re: Refactoring magic item costs

Magic items were the rarest and most priceless items in the world where my group set our adventures. They could only be introduced by the GM in the context of the story, and the few PCs that found or won one kept them 'til the day they died unless stolen -- there weren't any for sale, nowhere to buy them, and we had no Wizards Guild. And certainly no PC (or even NPC) had the means to make one. That's how we played from the start. When Advanced Wizard came out, we read it in horror and said oh no, this will never do, it'll ruin everything, and promptly crossed out the magic item creation spells.

That said, we had a number of interesting ones -- maybe one turned up every other adventure. And there were famous ones with their own backstories, heirlooms known to be kept by the rich and powerful, or rumored to be hidden away in ancient wizard's labyrinths -- always justification for underground exploration or trying a high-risk bit of burglary :)

Of course every one of these items was an antique, thousands of years old, dating back to the times before the skills of enchantment were lost -- how that happened was another big part of our backstory.

I honestly can't imagine the game as being interesting with magic items available on demand, or by custom order from a guild even at ten times the prices listed in LEITL. Or worse yet with PCs showing up with their own home-made ones!

Were I to start a new campaign world and players group, I'd house rule the Magic Item Creation spells not to be spells at all, but extremely expensive Wizard's talents well out of reach of any starting figures, and I'd look long and hard at the items available in ITL and tweak them individually where any seem to unbalance things.

My opinion is Magic Items are best left to the imagination of the GM, and introduced on a cautious case by case basis.
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Old 10-13-2019, 12:33 PM   #8
hcobb
 
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Default Re: Refactoring magic item costs

Another way to do things is that wizards and alchemists produce nothing themselves, they refine the natural magic of the world.

So to activate that Stone Flesh ring for a minute you need to spend one fatigue, concentrate for a turn, and win a contest of wills against the bound Stone elemental. (Wizards also can't create elementals, but when they find them they'll control them into a binding.)

Healing potions are the distilled essence of dried Healing Mushrooms. (The fresh ones can be eaten for the same effect, but they rapidly lose potency once picked.)

And so on.
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