View Full Version : Gear with Levels

2008-01-15, 08:11 PM
Magical Equipment with Levels.

Magical gear is enchanted, and requires a certain amount of power from it's user to work fully. If the user isn't powerful enough, then it only works partially.

In order for a magical item to work fully for a character, it must also bond with that character. The process of bonding is relatively simple -- ownership, use and practice with an item for a period of a few days is sufficient. Sometimes particularly intense situations can have the bonding process take less time, if the plot calls for it.

An unbonded item only works at half of maximium power: ie, a sword with a total of +10 in enchantments that is unbonded only has a total of +5 of it's enchantments active.

A character can bond with 2 items, plus 1 for every 4 character levels, plus their charisma bonus or penalty, at a time.

Changes to this limit that persist longer than a day can change this limit -- the number of items bonded can change up or down at the rate of 1 per day towards the current limit.

Each +1 worth of enchantment is 2 levels.

Other Magic Items:
As a rough guildline, the level of a other magical items is:
under 2000 gp: L 1
2,000 gp: L 2
4,000 gp: L 3
7,500 gp: L 4
10,000 gp: L 5
15,000 gp: L 6
22,500 gp: L 7
30,000 gp: L 8
40,000 gp: L 9
50,000 gp: L 10
60,000 gp: L 11
70,000 gp: L 12
82,500 gp: L 13
95,000 gp: L 14
110,000 gp: L 15
125,000 gp: L 16
140,000 gp: L 17
160,000 gp: L 18
180,000 gp: L 19
200,000 gp: L 20

But the DM is encouraged to make a reasonable stab at the intended level of an item.

In general, the DM should rough out the powers of a magical item when used at less than full level. A L 20 item that is being used as a L 10 item (be it because it is not bonded, or because the user is only L 10) should have roughly the combat power of a L 10 item.

Magical items do not, however, lose their durability -- an overpowered magical sword will be hard to sunder, even if it doesn't help you sunder an opponent's weapon better than a level appropriate weapon.


First, it reduces the "I have a sack of swords for every occasion"itis.

Second, it gives Charisma a combat use (higher cha = more magical items).

Third, it means that the DM doesn't have to be nearly as paranoid about wealth and items entering the game. And characters can find weapons and items that grow with them as they gain levels, without a "weapons of legacy" feat-burning cludge: if you get your hands on a weapon or magic item that is too good, it grows naturally to match your own abilities.

It does, however, change the balance of the game somewhat: but I think that this can (and should) be fixed elsewhere.

Note that the table for misc. magic items was based off the table for weapons.

Gwyn chan 'r Gwyll
2008-01-15, 08:35 PM
How would one bond with a magic item?

2008-01-15, 08:49 PM
Posses it for a reasonable period of time, say a day, and have room to bond with it, or it could happen faster if the GM and Player agree and plot requires it.

It simply means you cannot swap out magical items willy nilly.

2008-01-15, 10:19 PM
Sounds a lot like legacy items from ToB. They scale with level, and have some stuff with rituals to unlock their powers.

2008-01-15, 10:49 PM

Except this is intended to be a homebrewed core mechanic -- all magic items have a level, and reduced stats when used by a wielder of insufficient power.

I'll admit that this won't do much in a game where the DM spends a bunch of effort keeping treasure in check -- but I think that with mechanics like this, the DM can be more "loosy goosy" with treasure without breaking the game: if you manage to steal the king's treasury, the game doesn't fall apart.

The "binding" mechanics are orthogonal, and exist to discourage players from having a "golf bag" of weapons and tools: you can, but the cost gets very expensive, because the un-bound weapons in your golf bag only work at half of their max power.

It also seeks to reduce the "christmas tree effect" (ie, if you can have a magical item of type X, you really should), but I'm not sure if it works as well as I hoped at that.

2008-01-15, 11:42 PM
What about non-numerical effects? Slippers of spider climbing come to mind, as do wings of flying.

2008-01-16, 01:46 AM
Slippers of Spider Climbing: L 4 magic item
L 1: 5' movement per round
L 2: 10' movement per round
L 3: 15' movement per round
L 4: 20' movement per round

Wings of Flying: L 10 magic item (table says 11, but only requires CL 10 to make, so...)
L 1: 10' per round, down angle 45 degrees only, cannot turn
L 2: 15' per round, clumsy
L 3&4: +5' per round
L 5: 30' per round, poor
L 6&7: +5' per round
L 8: 45' per round, average
L 9: 50' per round
L 10: 60' per round, good maneuverability

You can drop uses/day, duration, or most any parameter. It might take some effort for some magical items, but all you really need is a "half strength" variant and a "full strength" variant, and say that people under half the level can't use it, at worst.

2008-01-16, 02:19 AM
this is a cool idea I've worked on a little myself. Your rules are smoother than mine; I am a very on-the-fly GM, so I just do it off the top of my head usually.

This kind of mechanic can be further built up to make magic items feel a lot more special in a game with limited items. Make the upgrade process occasionally quest-based, for example; perhaps items can even have additional powers grafted onto them - anyone want a flaming sword that can behave like an Immovable Rod? Anyone besides me? (these powers can be far more tailored to the characters than the dull stuff in the DMG). Well done, this allows party members to each have only a handful of awesome items of power, instead of a party bag of gadgets and doohickeys.

Fun stuff.