View Full Version : [4E] help with custom made unique items.

Kol Korran
2009-06-18, 04:20 PM
Edit: changed the items due to recommendation

first of all, if your character make be called Vip, Grey, Andrea, Riardis or Matt, then close this thread. it will only ruin thigns for you guys.

ok, so the story is this- the party have gone through some hardships, and is reaching a unique settlement where they will be given unique items. the items purpose is:
1) i wanted to add something more special than just the random items. these items are supposed to be with the characters through most (if not all) their career. the item will gain powers- the bonuses will increase, the existing powers will become more powerfull, and they may gain more powers.
2) they are a part of the chacater, and reflect on it. depending on the choices the characters make, and what adventures they go thorugh, the items will evolve differently.
3) not sure yet, but they might even develop intelligence and partial personalities of their own. still unsure about that.
4) of course there are plot and campaign issues tied to the items, but i won't get into that here.

so. i've talked with the players (and i know them myself), and each one has given me the major points of importence for their character. i've tried to shape the items on that basis, with my aim is an item equeling power level 6-7 approximatly. all items daily powers require a healing surge to activate. this is part of the "blood magic" that was needed to create them, so that stays, unless someone can give me another idea. i'm realy unsure they are balanced well, so here we go:

the first character is a highly religious dragonborn paladin. he is the unofficial leader of the party. a very able combatant, his roleplay focuses on him as a holy warrior against the specific evils in this campaing world. he also focuses on his dragon heritage (cold subtype dragons), and assisting his allies as much as possible. so i present to you. so i made a sort of a "sword of light"

Vip's Sword
Enhancement: +1 to Attack rolls and damage rolls
Critical: +1d6 damage per plus.
Property: This weapon can shed bright or dim light up to 20 squares. You control the brightness and range of the light.
Property: You can use this weapon as a holy symbol. It adds its enhancement bonus to attack rolls and damage rolls when used in this manner.
Power (At-Will ✦ Radiant): Free Action. All damage dealt by this weapon is radiant damage. Another free action returns the damage to normal.
Power (Daily): Minor Action. spend a healing surge to activate this ability. Allies (and yourself) in a close burst gain a power bonus to attack and damage rolls equal to the enhancement bonus of the weapon. Sustain minor up to 3 rounds.

i think that i may have added to many at will powers. too much? not enough? what do you say?

the second guy is a drow rogue. a bastard of a character, aiming to kill, and make fun of his enemies as he does so (think Belkar, just a team player)

Grey's dagger
Enhancement: +1 to Attack rolls and damage rolls
Critical: +1d6 necrotic damage per plus, and 5 ongoing necrotic damage (with a -2 for the ongoing saving throws)
Property: if you make an attack while hidden and miss you stay hidden.
Property: the range of the dagger increases to 10. long range increases to 15
Power (Daily ✦ Necrotic): Free Action. When you hit an opponent, spend a healing surge to activate this ability. If you do so, you can immediately change the hit into a critical hit (including the effects of this weapon)

i realy think i haven't done enough for him. sure, he gets one bombastic hit per day, but still... feels lacking.

the third is a drow bard, playing heavily on the role of the bitch seductress. she wanted some sort of jewellery, instead of an implemenet. i thoought some sort of exotic head band, perhaps with a veil, i'm unsure. was a bit stuck about this item as well. added some entirely custom power which i think she would like, the item is a sort of a headband of telepathy.

Andrea's head band
Property: +1 to charisma skill checks and insight.
Property: the bearer can has telepathy with allies. They must be up to 5 squars away.
Power (daily ✦Psychic): minor action. spend a healing surge to activate this ability. Cha vs will, area blast 1 range 10. Hit: targets are dazed (save ends)B]

this item too feels a bit... empty. thoughts? also, can anyone think of a suitable name for this piece of jewelery?

the fourth guy i didn't get much input from. he plays a human fighter with an odd build, focusing fire on himself but being mostly effective in opportunity attacks. the player likes to help others, and avoid the spot light, but is realy, realy defense focused. this item was hashed up from properties of different other items.

Matt's armor
Enhancement: +1 AC
Property: Whenever a critical hit is scored against you, roll1d20. On a result of 1620, the critical hit becomes a normal hit.
Power (At-Will): Minor Action. Use this power when you are adjacent to an ally who is subject to an effect that a save can end. The ally is no longer affected, and you now have the effect. You cannot make a saving throw against this effect until the end of your next
[B]Power (Daily): Minor Action. spend a healing surge to activate this ability. Until the end of the encounter, you gain resistance 3 to untyped damage (normal damage).

um, i feel quite ok with this item. a bit bland, but very befitting the them. ideas for improvment?

the last player is the most problematic of all. playing an eladrin wizard, he is the joker of the party, with a very lapsing memory, always forgetting his powers and so on. the character itself is, of course, an amnesia case... i tried to build the item focusing on memory themes, and adding a bit of protection since he got hit alot. added properties from stuff of defense and mnemonic stuff, plus an daily power i thought people might enjoy, and that might lead to interesting situations

Riadris staff
Implement (Staff )
Enhancement: Attack rolls and damage rolls
Critical: +1d6 damage per plus
Property: +1 to all defenses
Property: when preparing spells for the day, you can choose to remember both spells from one daily or utility level. This way you can use either, but when you use one of them you immediately have expanded the other as well.
Power (Daily): minor. spend a healing surge to activate this ability. Intelligence vs. will. range 10. Hit: the target can only use it's at will powers (save ends, -2 for the saves).

what do you say folks? fitting our absentminded wizard?

so good people of the forum, since this is the first time i'm doing this, and the first time i'm DMing 4E, do you think this items are balanced with each other? if not, what should i change? are they too powerfull? or are they just ill built?
all advice is welcomed.

EDIT: changed the items due to recommendations.

Kurald Galain
2009-06-18, 05:09 PM
Okay, I see where you're going from here. Normally a level-7 item would be +2 with one property, and in this case it's +1 with four or so properties. That sounds like a decent tradeoff.

Thematically, I'm afraid, these things are all over the place. There is a sword of light, that makes sense, but so why does it do cold damage? The dagger is solid, but then the veil has illusion powers and completely unrelated telepathy powers. The armor protects yourself, then protects others, then retaliates. In other words, the combination of abilities chosen seems rather haphazard and lacking in synergy.

Mechanically for the sword, +1 to religion is not something that'll make much of a difference, and "all allies gain +1 to damage for one turn" is actually weak if it costs you a Magic Item Daily and a healing surge. On the other hand, Radiant is probably the best damage type around, and that alone makes the sword mostly worth it. Imho, it should not do cold damage nor boost religion, and the daily ally bonus should improve both to-hit and damage, and include the owner as well.

The dagger is a solid item, although I'd drop the saving throw penalty simply because it's clunky. Note, however, that doing an automatic critical is extremely powerful, and rogues have numerous feats to take advantage to that (not to mention sneak attack). Although if it's a daily on a weapon with a low damage die, it doesn't look overpowered. If you think it's not enough, then perhaps instead of a tiny stealth bonus, it could do something like "if you are hidden and miss with this weapon, you remain hidden".

The head band. In case of receiving messages, who spends the minor? Telepathy needn't cost an action, really. What you've got here is essentially a Hat of Disguise (normally level 10) with telepathy and bluff/insight as added bonuses, but this works only once per day. Then again, the Hat is normally a really weak item and is only that high level because 4E needs to spread out its utility powers. I think it's a fun item, but in terms of power it's surely below the other two.

The armor is good although not overpowered. At-will taking conditions from your allies is very nice and will come up a lot, making this actually a very visibly cool item to have. The daily (everyone who hits you takes 2 damage) is actually not all that interesting, and given monster HP needs to be quite a bit more to be worth it. On the other hand, to fit with the protection theme, it could give you resist/5/all for one encounter, or something like that.

The staff is essentially a Mnemonic Staff, which is nice but not all that great. +1 defense is okay, but wizards have pretty good defenses already and should not be frontliners. And the encounter power just isn't worth it, as written. Wizards have so many better things to do with their encounter power that this shouldn't come up. I'd change it to "encounter / minor: attack one target; on a hit, he can only use at-will powers (save ends)". That makes it useful but still quirky.

Kol Korran
2009-06-19, 06:07 AM
Thanks Kurald Galain, just the sort of advice i was looking for. i've thought about things some more, and made changes. i edited the main post to reflect the new items, with additions made in bold (ommitions of course are missing).

but to make a short list of the changes:
- removed all the skill bonuses, except for the head band, will get to that.
- daily powers that entail a save all have a -2 to them. yes i know it's a bit clanky, but that way it has a reasonable chance to effect solos as well for more than 1 round.
- Vip's sword: removed the cold damage, and strengthened a bit the daily power- now it adds to both damage and attack, and can be sustained up to 3 rounds. i think that is a nice and not overpowered power.

- Grey's dagger: as to your suggestion, he can now remain hidden if he misses. i know crits are a big thing for rogues, but i thought the guy would realy love one uber strike.

- Andrea's headband: the most changed item. it's now a sort of a headband of telepathy. i added skill bonuses to everything requiring charisma, and also insight. telepathy has been simplified, and i added a power of "offensive telepathy" sort to speak. i hope it is not too strong.

- Matt's armor: only changed the "cause 2 damage to attackers" power into resist 3/ normal damage. i think it's a fair enough power. it will scale when he scale in level.

-Riardis staff: changed the spell selection into a property that is more easely handled (also thought that was a poor daily), and i changed the "memory loss" attack to a daily. i think it is nicely balanced.

would love your thoughts, (or anyone elses) on the changes.

Galdor Miriel
2009-06-19, 07:52 AM
What you are trying to do looks a lot like artifacts. Why not make these guys artifacts, have powers that scale with concordance, so they g up for a few levels, and then have them disapear so you can give them something completely new.

I made a few for my current campaign, made up a back story, made up a few powers and setup a concordance scheme, it was fun and easy and I just used the ones in the dms guide as a template.

Just an idea. And remember, you might invest a lot in an item the pcs do not like that much, so be prepared for complaints, some players are crazy...

Kol Korran
2009-06-19, 08:08 AM
i thought about artifacts, but didn't want any this time in the campaign. (the players are fairly new to it). perhaps later. these items are to be fashioned after the characters personalities themselves. no concordance is needed (or desired) at this point.

these items are supposed to be a solution to constantly exchanging and replacing items, i wanted something more long lasting, that the players might get more attached to. right now the items are strong to their level, but not uber strong (i think), but as they gain levels the items are going to gain abilities... abilities which would have been otherwise provided by several other items. (so a sword for example might get protective, untaliterian and offensive qualities together, but all in all would be of the same theme.)

i am worried of whether they would like them or not. (part of the reason i'm asking the forum, and also why i asked them in advance about critical aspects to them. i prefered to leave it as a total surprise, but was more worried of designing an item that doesn't realy appeal to a player). i don't know exactly how to ensure that, but hopefully i can avoid simple mistakes.
hence, i posted this thread.