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View Full Version : Risk vs reward (or getting the phat lewt)



TheThan
2008-09-05, 05:49 PM
In my honest opinion one of the biggest mistakes the designers of 3.x did was force a wealth by level. What this does is force the DM to give out weapons, armor and other magical gear every x number of levels, if he doesnít, his players are going to get stomped (and probably killed) by an appropriate encounter. You can tell this by simply reading though some of the monster entries, look how many things have damage reduction; some are high enough to render a non geared out melee class useless. (Example: Babau: CR6 demon, damage reduction 10/cold iron or good). The hardest hitting weapon in the core game (once again barring magic gear) can barley hurt the dang thing. If that example doesnít convince you, well take a look inside the DMG and see what I mean.

So you end up with the heroes finding treasure and a lot of gear during unimportant, mundane and relatively easy encounters. Imagine finding a +2 flaming greatsword off a band of kobold highwaymen (err highwaykobolds?). Gaining a potent item in such a way is not what I would call grand or noble. Now if the same band of adventures raided a dragonís horde and found that +2 flaming greatsword. Thatís much better because the rewards are worth the risk.

This has the added potential effect of players feeling they are entitled to magic gear, sort of like a spoiled child, they want it and will whine and cry until they get what they want. I know that not everyone gets like this, heck I really doubt that very many are that immature. However the potential is there, and that rubs me the wrong way.

Its not that Iím a stingy Dm, on the contrary, Iím happy to give out gear the PCs will use. Iíll even look over their character sheets and award them with gear theyíll want to use (like say a magical axe for the axe-wielding barbarian and so forth). But thatís the difference, Iíll award players with gear for being a good player (whether its role-playing or roll-playing), I donít like giving it out because theyíre entitled to it, or because the rules call for it. I simply want my players to feel like they have earned the gear they are running around with.

Thatís my thought on the subject of magic gear, what does the rest of the playground think?

Jade_Tarem
2008-09-05, 05:56 PM
Honestly, the only time my group ever used WBL was during character creation. I tend to follow your thoughts on this - powerful weapons are not found on [Goblin 1] from the roadside ambush encounter. If they want to raid a dragon's lair or a kingdom's treasury, then they might find weapons of value, or even homebrew magical items not listed in the DMG. It keeps them on the lookout for locales where they may find treasure rather than expectant of gear at the time of level up.

On a slightly related note, World of Warcraft is also guilty of the same problem. It's rare, but there are very small drop rates for extremely powerful items on random critters. I don't play any more, but I remember that I once pulled an epic-class longsword off the dead body of random owl half the size of said sword. :smalltongue:

Frosty
2008-09-05, 05:57 PM
So make them earn it. Make them go through difficult encounters to get magic loot. Kobolds can be deadly.

BRC
2008-09-05, 06:00 PM
Iv'e personally never liked the whole "You kill the bad things, and they happen to have a large pile of shinies for you to take" Concept, and so I like to work around it when possible.

For example, in my current campaign the PC's are part of an inquisition, and rather than giving them Treasure, they get a budget. Every time they uncover the next step of the conspiracy, the inquisition re-evaluates the threat level and increases their budget, either by giving them money or nifty items, to compensate.

Jayabalard
2008-09-05, 06:03 PM
Agreed; the WBL rules imply a sense of entitlement that I find quite distasteful.

Creatures should have magic items that make sense for them, not ones that make sense for the player.

DarknessLord
2008-09-05, 06:09 PM
Well, I suppose one way of making it more realistic is to go Monty Haul, rather then say, finding a +2 flaming long sword with a bunch of Kobolds, their mundane gear, hides, and maybe a bounty on their heads, are worth some money that can be used to BUY a +2 flaming long sword if that's what they want.

You probably should let the PCs know this is what you're doing first though.

Although, this does nothing to solve the base problem. The WBL table was done because without it, they would have to assume no wealth (or about the same as starting) when doing the CR system, meaning parties with magic items would not be balanced against an appropriate CR encounter, or it could have gone the other way, where if they assumed a certain amount of magic gear then there would be parties on both sides of the balance. The WBL gives their assumption for the purpose of balance, if you want to go off it, go for it, but wizards is saying you're on your own for balancing encounters if you do (cause they do such a great job on their own....)

Lycar
2008-09-05, 07:28 PM
In my honest opinion one of the biggest mistakes the designers of 3.x did was force a wealth by level. ... You can tell this by simply reading though some of the monster entries, look how many things have damage reduction; some are high enough to render a non geared out melee class useless. (Example: Babau: CR6 demon, damage reduction 10/cold iron or good). The hardest hitting weapon in the core game (once again barring magic gear) can barley hurt the dang thing. ...

Well, they don't exactly force you to shell out magic gear. Just because there are 1000+ monsters in the various Monster Manuals doesn't mean the players have to fight all of them (while you travel to the Lost Temple of Whatchacallit, you encounter Monster Manual II, pages 80 thru 96, roll for init...).

If your party is not equipped to take on monsters with high damage reduction then you, as the DM, either should avoid sending those monsters at your players, or should have a good idea if they can overcome the challenge anyway. Maybe the wizard/sorceror is a blaster type and has just enough damage potential on his spell list to have a good chance of offing the monster with some help from the melee types.

In that case, the encounter would be a lot tougher then the challenge rating suggests, but it would be a nice opportunity for the party to practise some teamwork. Think of it that way: The monster, if intelligent, will know that the only real threat is the caster(s), so it will try to take them out.

Enter the fighter who took Improved Trip. Finally he has a chance to use it to good effect for stopping the monster from getting at the casters.

Okay, not on a Babau maybe but the idea is that the fighter types have to get creative at delaying the monster long enough for the caster types to do enough damage.

If this works out, the melee guys might actually learn to appreciate their casters. And the casters to appreciate their meat shields. :smallwink:




So you end up with the heroes finding treasure and a lot of gear during unimportant, mundane and relatively easy encounters. Imagine finding a +2 flaming greatsword off a band of kobold highwaymen (err highwaykobolds?).


You decide what monsters do or do not have. If you don't want your heroes to find high powered gear on trivial enemies, then don't let these enemies have that sort of gear.



Gaining a potent item in such a way is not what I would call grand or noble. Now if the same band of adventures raided a dragon’s horde and found that +2 flaming greatsword. That’s much better because the rewards are worth the risk.

There is also the possibility that what usually would be a throwaway encounter becomes a bit more challenging, precisely because some opponent had some special piece of gear. Maybe the bandit leader is a bit harder to hit then his chain shirt suggests because he got lucky one day and pried that
Ring of Protection +2 from some unfortunate merchant's cold finger...



This has the added potential effect of players feeling they are entitled to magic gear, sort of like a spoiled child, they want it and will whine and cry until they get what they want. I know that not everyone gets like this, heck I really doubt that very many are that immature. However the potential is there, and that rubs me the wrong way.

This entirely depends on the type of campaign you play. If you want to toss in as many different monsters as possible, with more and more special and exotic abilities, then i dare say the players should expect you to give them a chance to aquire defenses against these abilities.

Being swallowed whole sucks. A fighter type might have enough HP and damage potential to cut himself out before the digestive juices really start flowing. A caster type hopes to find something that grants Freedom of Movement.

Of course, once he gets such an item, he'll be forevermore immune to grappling too.

Maybe just don't use Purple Worms then? Saves you that headache.



I simply want my players to feel like they have earned the gear they are running around with.

Another suggestion was to allow them to earn cold, hard cash, which they can use to buy stuff.

Of course, to get the items they really could make the most of, they may have to commission them from some crafter.

Now to get the Master Artisan to make that Greatsword +2 for you may be a challenge in his own right. Money is one thing, but if you want magic, you need special components ('You want me to go where to fetch those special crystals?!').

Or maybe the guy is not making stuff for just everybody. Now if the party would be so good as to take care of a tiny little problem however...

Nice way to throw the party a non-standard quest too. Maybe the Artisan just needs a neutral party to convince his future mother-in-law that yes, he IS the right choice for her daughter...



That’s my thought on the subject of magic gear, what does the rest of the playground think?

If CR gives you trouble.... well... entire campaigns can be played where most of the enemies the party faces are human(oid)s. Makes Improved Disarm worthwhile too. And you have a much easier time to evaluate the threat a party of NPC types poses then that of some obscure monster with even more obscure (and hard to figure out) mechanics.

IMHO, the problems with magical gear come mostly from the need to protect against such a vastly diverse array of ways for the PCs to die.

Unfortuantely, the ways players have to protect themsleves, that is, magic items, are permanent and therefore negate the threat once and for all.

However, if the heroes need to overcome a special attack or defense on a certain monster, it is also possible to have an interested party loan the PCs some gear, for that specific encounter.

Also makes for nice subplots where the party may have to earn the trust of said party first ('If you want to have the Sowrd of Babau-Slaying, first prove that you are worthy!')

And sometimes, foes are challenging because they have nifty stuff. If the PCs can beat them, they can plunder the corpse.

Or throw them a curve ball and make it their task to take someone alive.

Maybe the wizard apprentice turned evil because that magic ring that makes him so powerful also cursed him...

Seriously, if 90% of the monsters give more problems then they are worth, simply don't use them. Just because they happen to be printed in some rulesbook doesn't mean they exist in your world.

Human(oid) opponents do fine for many campaigns. They are easier to adjucate threat-wise and they offer additional opportunities for RP.

And it is much more likely to find a magic sword on the leader of the enemy kingdom's scout unit then in the stomach of an owlbear. :smallamused:

Lycar

TheThan
2008-09-05, 07:54 PM
Yeah, there are lots of way to use it to your advantage. But that doesnít really solve the underlining problem that an awful lot of the monsters represented in the 3 monster manuals that I have require some sort of magic. In addition to that several of them have spell resistance, which is another problem with relying on casters.

Really if you do nothing but throw orcs and goblins after them, theyíre going to get rather board of it (save for the ranger, but thatís another problem altogether). Sure the quest and plot may call for it, but thatís not always going to be the case. People also like finding shinny bits of awesome in the loot they gather, if the Dm just gives nothing but cash, theyíre going to get tired of that too.

I recall one time I was going to run my players through a short dungeon, at the end of this dungeon was going to be a single gargoyle, a fairly common monster to fight at 4th level. So I though it would be appropriate and not too tough. Then I saw the big fat DR 10/magic. Well the mage was a controller type mage (grease, sleep, color spray etc) so he really wasnít going to be able to kill it. No one else had magic weapons yet so I decided to simply not use it and put a bugbear with a couple of class levels (barbarian bugbears can get mean fast). It worked, but this probably wouldnít have made since if I hadnít had already put a lot of orcs in it anyway (the bugbear suddenly became their leader).

Thrawn183
2008-09-05, 08:05 PM
At level 4, a cleric can easily afford a scroll of magic weapon (the first level one).

Actually, if you really want to, you can go an entire campaign with completely normal weapons. 1 Coldiron and 1 adamantine (though types of damage might become problematic). When you throw in classes with spellcasting Magic Weapon, GMW, Align Weapon, Disrupting Weapon, Holy Sword, these are all core spells. Just keep some silversheen around if you ever need a silver weapon. Boom, your done.

Now, this wouldn't be possible for a party of fighters.... but who adventures as a group of 4 fighters?

Frosty
2008-09-05, 08:10 PM
At level 4, a cleric can easily afford a scroll of magic weapon (the first level one).

Actually, if you really want to, you can go an entire campaign with completely normal weapons. 1 Coldiron and 1 adamantine (though types of damage might become problematic). When you throw in classes with spellcasting Magic Weapon, GMW, Align Weapon, Disrupting Weapon, Holy Sword, these are all core spells. Just keep some silversheen around if you ever need a silver weapon. Boom, your done.

Now, this wouldn't be possible for a party of fighters.... but who adventures as a group of 4 fighters?

A party that wants a challenge? Granted, they'd need a LOT of magic items. I can totlaly see it too. You'd probably want two archer types. One ubercharger/dungeoncrasher, and one Lockdown.

chiasaur11
2008-09-05, 08:19 PM
Or maybe the guy is not making stuff for just everybody. Now if the party would be so good as to take care of a tiny little problem however...

Nice way to throw the party a non-standard quest too. Maybe the Artisan just needs a neutral party to convince his future mother-in-law that yes, he IS the right choice for her daughter...

That one's extra fun if they take Standard Adventuring Party Solutions as the method to solve the problem:
"Sure, fine. Can I have my legs back?"

Prometheus
2008-09-05, 08:19 PM
Yeah WBL is for rolling new characters not railroading.

Don't forget that if you plant the +2 flaming greatsword on the kobolds, to have one of them wielding it. It takes the forethought to roll the treasure beforehand, but makes encounters a lot more interesting if you literally have to take it from the monsters.

I think this is one of the issues that a DM can overcome with careful consideration. Don't like DR? Choose a different monster (yes, there are enough of them out there). Don't like monster treasure? Give it as a reward. Want the treasure to make sense with the source? Pick out the treasure of appropriate value.

As much as it breaks the verisimilitude, one of the things I really like about 4e is the "get fat lewt"-"keep it or sell it cheaply" dynamic. That was, it forces them to improvise and attach memories to the various pieces of shiny they picked up rather than immediately change it out for the equivalent in gold and buy their chosen item.

arguskos
2008-09-05, 08:29 PM
For me, I tend to "try" and stick to a rough estimate of WBL when giving out rewards/loots.

Like, recently, my party conquered a fairly tough encounter (EL 2-3 for a level 1 party of four), so I gave them pretty nice loot (half-plate, mwk greataxe/longbow, some cash), and then later they got a nice cash reward from their employer. I looked it up later, and found that they still didn't have anywhere near WBL! Even after beating down a fairly tough encounter! I was sorta stunned, since I gave them nice gear/money for defeating that encounter.

WBL is a rough guideline I think, not a "do this or else" rule. I've seen games that were miles below WBL, and some that were miles above. It works either way.

-argus

monty
2008-09-05, 08:30 PM
That one's extra fun if they take Standard Adventuring Party Solutions as the method to solve the problem:
"Sure, fine. Can I have my legs back?"

That's where the bard comes in. Compose an epic ballad to win the mother's trust...one that just happens to cause suggestion when played.

Lycar
2008-09-05, 08:39 PM
Really if you do nothing but throw orcs and goblins after them, they’re going to get rather board of it (save for the ranger, but that’s another problem altogether).

Sure. That's why there are bandits, pirates, troops from the opposing side in a war, crime lords and their thugs... and they could be human, elf, dwarf, gnome, halfling, gnoll, were-something-or-other or any of the 2 dozen or so humanoid sapient humanoid species in the various MMs.

Sometimes the people you fight aren't monsters.

Imagine a very Lawful organization (Lawful with a capital L!) that gets infiltrated by some evil elements. Using their power of persuasion, they turn the organisation more and more to evil ends.

Now the players will find themsleves fighting people. Maybe they want some magic that subdues rather then kills now...

Seriously, you don't need some 'monstrous' humanoids to send off to oppose your party. There are enough foes to be found in their very neighbourhood.

Usually heroes aren't supposed to kill of members of their own species (unless they are properly designated evildoers of course), but things might change...

And they still can encounter random stuff while travelling from A to B.

But if you want to introduce some monster with odd abilities, play it safe, take a young, inexperienced specimen and watch closely how your party deals.

Then have them brag about their victory in the nearest inn.

Then have them hired to find out what the hell one of 'those' is doing in these parts.

Then have them meet mommy and daddy. And extended family.

That way, your players get a chance to learn how to deal with the new threat. They shouldn't get overwhelmed but if they realize that they are outmatched, they should also consider finding something to defend themselves.

How about the scholars they report their findings to send the heroes off to test out various mean of fighting the monsters? Some more efficient then the others ('Okay, cold iron doesn't work, now LEG IT!').

It is a possible way for introducing new creatures to the game, that also has potential to be milked for much more then just a throwaway encounter.

A small arc where the heroes have to wipe out the pack/horde/herde of the monsters before they become a permanent fixture of the area.

And you can do this with a lot of creatures.

Just make them special in a way that forces the players to actually think about how to defeat them. And don't hesistate to change or outright make up new immunities or abilities for critters either. Some players might be a bit too knowledgeable about monster lore OOCly and be annoyed if the NPCs send them off to test something 'he knows doesn't work' ... and watch them panic when the 'official' panacea doesn't turn out so well in reality. :smallamused:

Maybe you want to give them the stuff that is 'supposed' to work first and then let them work their way through special materials... or maybe they just need to find the right tactics. Animals are supposed to be afraid of fire, maybe the fur is even flammable.

Maybe some creatures have natural enemies and warding the area with the scent of these predators will drive the monsters off.

Now just how to get about to aquire a means to produce that scent... monster hunting? Find the right ingredients for an alchemist to cook up something? Study the scent and use appropriate illusion magic?

There are more ways to challenge players then just throwing them things that are hard to kill. :smallcool:

Lycar

TheThan
2008-09-05, 09:38 PM
Actually Iím in the planning stages of an Oriental adventures game where the vast majority of the playerís enemies are going to be humans, with a few Asian flavored monsters thrown in for good measure. (I thoroughly intend to scare the crap out of my players when they fight their first Oni).


But thatís going to be a while, as I have a whole lot more work to do on it before its ready to be played.

Hairb
2008-09-05, 09:57 PM
Agreed; the WBL rules imply a sense of entitlement that I find quite distasteful.

Creatures should have magic items that make sense for them, not ones that make sense for the player.

Ayn Rand would be turning in her grave.

Lochar
2008-09-05, 10:09 PM
Wrap her in copper, swap her tombstone out for a magnet. If she's going to be spontaneously turning, we might as well get some use out of her.

Jayabalard
2008-09-05, 10:11 PM
Ayn Rand would be turning in her grave.I'm not really sure what you mean.

monty
2008-09-05, 10:14 PM
Wrap her in copper, swap her tombstone out for a magnet. If she's going to be spontaneously turning, we might as well get some use out of her.

DMM? That's a good use for turning, right?

Hairb
2008-09-05, 10:24 PM
I'm not really sure what you mean.

To put it another way, if Ayn Rand DM'd a campaign, she wouldn't give treasure WBL. "The players have a right to evaluate monsters objectively, and earn the treasure they feel ready to earn" she would say. Gal was way down on entitlement. [/humanities joke]

TheThan
2008-09-06, 12:12 PM
spoilered quote to save space


Sure. That's why there are bandits, pirates, troops from the opposing side in a war, crime lords and their thugs... and they could be human, elf, dwarf, gnome, halfling, gnoll, were-something-or-other or any of the 2 dozen or so humanoid sapient humanoid species in the various MMs.

Sometimes the people you fight aren't monsters.

Imagine a very Lawful organization (Lawful with a capital L!) that gets infiltrated by some evil elements. Using their power of persuasion, they turn the organisation more and more to evil ends.

Now the players will find themsleves fighting people. Maybe they want some magic that subdues rather then kills now...

Seriously, you don't need some 'monstrous' humanoids to send off to oppose your party. There are enough foes to be found in their very neighbourhood.

Usually heroes aren't supposed to kill of members of their own species (unless they are properly designated evildoers of course), but things might change...

And they still can encounter random stuff while travelling from A to B.

But if you want to introduce some monster with odd abilities, play it safe, take a young, inexperienced specimen and watch closely how your party deals.

Then have them brag about their victory in the nearest inn.

Then have them hired to find out what the hell one of 'those' is doing in these parts.

Then have them meet mommy and daddy. And extended family.

That way, your players get a chance to learn how to deal with the new threat. They shouldn't get overwhelmed but if they realize that they are outmatched, they should also consider finding something to defend themselves.

How about the scholars they report their findings to send the heroes off to test out various mean of fighting the monsters? Some more efficient then the others ('Okay, cold iron doesn't work, now LEG IT!').

It is a possible way for introducing new creatures to the game, that also has potential to be milked for much more then just a throwaway encounter.

A small arc where the heroes have to wipe out the pack/horde/herde of the monsters before they become a permanent fixture of the area.

And you can do this with a lot of creatures.

Just make them special in a way that forces the players to actually think about how to defeat them. And don't hesistate to change or outright make up new immunities or abilities for critters either. Some players might be a bit too knowledgeable about monster lore OOCly and be annoyed if the NPCs send them off to test something 'he knows doesn't work' ... and watch them panic when the 'official' panacea doesn't turn out so well in reality. :smallamused:

Maybe you want to give them the stuff that is 'supposed' to work first and then let them work their way through special materials... or maybe they just need to find the right tactics. Animals are supposed to be afraid of fire, maybe the fur is even flammable.

Maybe some creatures have natural enemies and warding the area with the scent of these predators will drive the monsters off.

Now just how to get about to aquire a means to produce that scent... monster hunting? Find the right ingredients for an alchemist to cook up something? Study the scent and use appropriate illusion magic?

There are more ways to challenge players then just throwing them things that are hard to kill. :smallcool:

Lycar


Yes I know there are plenty of ways around the issue. But that doesnít solve the problem that the issue exists in the first place.


I shouldnít have to ignore 70% of the material out there just to run a game my way.
I shouldnít have to circumvent a built in ideology or rule just to run a game my way.
I shouldnít have to bog my players down with unnecessary side quests just to be able to give them the gear theyíd need to continue on their main quest(s).
I shouldnít have to sit there and devote hours of my precious prep time just to stat out and equip sapient humanoid enemies that are just going to die in a few moments of combat anyway.
I shouldnít have to force my players down paths that might not interest them.


I should be able to pick up the game, and play it the way I wish to play it, without spending months or even years rewriting the parts in the game that donít fit in with my chosen play style.( Which exactly what Iím being forced to do anyway. but i shouldn't have to be doing it).

Gralamin
2008-09-06, 12:50 PM
I have the same feeling, and I honestly prefer how they arranged it 4E (Treasure packets, Items main bonuses scale by level, etc.) It is quite easy to change the system so a character gains the appropriate bonus at the appropriate level, instead of an item. (Eg: Say when +5 items come out, Party may have say a +3 bonus to hit, requiring a +2 weapon to be equivalent. Thus you have lower level equipment but you can keep the math behind the game mostly the same.). If you do this, simply take the selling cost of all items and put it in the Treasure packets instead of the items, and limit the ability to buy magic items, as well as limiting the possibility of getting ritual components for creating items.
(Spoilered due to technically being off topic.)

But back to 3.X. One of the Funnest Campaigns I've played I was poor throughout most of it. We started at around level 6 I think, played till about 17 or 18, and only in the last few levels did we get very much gold, and we had to defeat a Gold Great Wyrm Dragon to do so! Then we just had to find someone to make us magic items in a world quickly starting to die. It was quite fun surviving more by wits then by loot.

Xyk
2008-09-06, 01:21 PM
On most of my encounters (people encounters mostly) I take ten minutes to make a character like a bandit or something and give him whatever gear I would give him if I played him. These things are often useful items. I usually forget to use WBL on the players after they make their characters, but do give it to appropriately leveled NPC baddies.

Curmudgeon
2008-09-06, 02:58 PM
Don't follow Wealth by Level too slavishly. Do allow variations based on character actions. Rogues should probably be acquiring wealth considerably faster than other characters -- but then they need all the magical tools they can get to remain comparable in effectiveness to other characters.

While you may want to keep track of WbL, you shouldn't go out of your way to give PCs what they want. Instead equip the enemies with what they want to be effective. When the PCs divvy up the spoils of combat they'll be faced with making accommodations for different gear (like having to take a feat to use a new weapon), or selling it for a reduced price. Those players who are picky and sell to buy exactly what they want will find their characters lag behind in WbL -- but that's their choice to make.

Similarly if characters give (or fritter) away big chunks of their fortunes, that's the PCs' choice. Don't reward them for building an orphanage by easily replenishing their wealth. Also don't make encounters easier. A character who dies because they bought an orphanage instead of armor has set themselves up to fail. Let them be famous martyrs, and move on with a new character.

Tsotha-lanti
2008-09-06, 03:06 PM
Funnily enough, this problem was much worse in AD&D, where there were no guidelines for how much wealth or magic the PCs should have. Enemies didn't just have Damage Reduction - they were immune to weapons with fewer than X plusses. "You must be this magical to fight the monster." Oh, joy.


I liked running low-magic D&D 3.5, personally. I don't think my PCs got any magic items (by level 3-4 or so) in our Dragonlance game, and my Dark Sun game was never going to include much magic. (Really, magic weapon and greater magic weapon - and metaphysical weapon, obviously - mean they have no excuse if they can't hurt that ghost or somesuch.)

You need to make magic items available to the PCs. Sometimes, you can hand it to them - as rewards and whatnot - but there's nothing that says you have to. Indeed, they're supposed to have to fight for every piece of treasure, by the books. Plenty of modules hide the treasure, too - they'll have to be smart enough to get their hands on it.

Personally, though, I found it less of a hassle to worry constantly over whether they'd suddenly find themselves completely unable to handle an encounter I thought was just fine because they lacked some gear. (I preferred challenging them with proper X+2 to X+4 encounters, in general.)

Crow
2008-09-06, 07:56 PM
This could be a good place to post my graded weaponry houserule (spoilered). I started using this because I got tired of handing out +1 swords and such. It was for a low-er magic campaign. Basically, I like the magical loot to be special.

Inferior : -1 to hit and -1 damage
Normal : (normal)
Fine : +1 to hit
Superior : +1 to hit and +1 to damage
Masterwork : +2 to hit and +1 to damage

Optional rule for Inferior weapons : Breaks on an attack roll of "1". So a 5% chance.

Optional rule for all weapons : If a blade is commissioned as a custom piece (rather than picked up from a treasure hoard or something), it gets an additional +1 to hit (on top of all other bonuses). This is because the piece can be specifically sized and balanced for the intended wielder. This bonus only applies to the intended wielder, but can apply to another person if they are of close to the same height/build as the original owner.

The damage bonuses are small because it is hard to make a weapon actually do more damage (that is up to the wielder). It is possible however to make a weapon easier to use, which is why the highest grade gets the +2 to hit.

Crafting modifiers (add to base DC for weapon):

Inferior : -3
Normal : +0
Fine : +4
Superior : +8
Masterwork : +12

Costs:

Inferior : -50%
Normal : (normal)
Fine : +300gp
Superior : +1000gp
Masterwork : +2000gp

I use the same grades for armor as well.

Inferior : -1 AC
Normal : (normal)
Fine : -1 armor check penalty
Superior : +1 AC and -1 armor check penalty
Masterwork : +2 AC and -1 armor check penalty

Optional rule for all armor : If a suit of armor is commissioned as a custom piece (rather than picked up from a treasure hoard or something), it gets an additional -1 armor check penalty (on top of all other bonuses). This bonus only applies to the intended wearer, but can apply to another person if they are of close to the same height/build as the original owner.

Crafting modifiers (add to base DC for armor):

Inferior : -3
Normal : +0
Fine : +4
Superior : +8
Masterwork : +12

Costs:

Inferior : -50%
Normal : (normal)
Fine : +150gp
Superior : +1000gp
Masterwork : +2000gp

Lycar
2008-09-06, 08:18 PM
Hmm. Yes gear... has anyone experience with Weapons of Legacy ?

Maybe that is something worth considering. The characters have a signature weapon that grows with them. They have to pay a price for it though. You need to invest part of yourself into that weapon.

But then the hero could select to imbue his weapon (or armour as the case may be) with magical effects. They ought to be appropriate to the adventures they have of course.

But maybe they just barely manage to defeat a foe with a special attack/defense and the heroe's weapon/armour develpes an ability to cope with that effect...

Lycar

Hal
2008-09-06, 08:27 PM
On a slightly related note, World of Warcraft is also guilty of the same problem. It's rare, but there are very small drop rates for extremely powerful items on random critters. I don't play any more, but I remember that I once pulled an epic-class longsword off the dead body of random owl half the size of said sword. :smalltongue:

I find this to be entirely relevant. (http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/comics/stolen-pixels/5086-Stolen-Pixels-7-Vulture-Milk)

In the meantime, I honestly have no problem giving my players too much in terms of personal wealth. It's more fun to play a character with neat gear and plenty of options. You can always pull it back if they're way overpowered, but most weapon and armor enhancements aren't going to completely destroy things.

I played in a campaign where our GM gave out almost zero treasure. By 5th level, the only magical item we'd found was a +1 handaxe he rolled randomly for. He even made us roll profession/craft/perform checks to earn a living when we weren't adventuring so we could pay for living expenses. Yes, we were so poor that the few silver that would earn made a difference. That is not a fun game. Fun is carrying a bag of gold the size of a couch into the market place and leaving with gear that people write epics about.

monty
2008-09-06, 09:12 PM
Hmm. Yes gear... has anyone experience with Weapons of Legacy ?

Maybe that is something worth considering. The characters have a signature weapon that grows with them. They have to pay a price for it though. You need to invest part of yourself into that weapon.

But then the hero could select to imbue his weapon (or armour as the case may be) with magical effects. They ought to be appropriate to the adventures they have of course.

But maybe they just barely manage to defeat a foe with a special attack/defense and the heroe's weapon/armour develpes an ability to cope with that effect...

Lycar

Legacy weapons are terrible. If you like the concept, I suggest homebrewing, using the book as vague guidelines.

Zeful
2008-09-06, 09:33 PM
I've found that most of the time, it's best to never give PC's exactly what they want. If they want a flaming weapon and they can't wait to have the NPC crafter to make it (or they haven't found him yet) they could look around for legendary weapons like The Hoardmelter. +3 Flaming Construct Bane Greatsword surrounded by 20 ft of liquid gold.

TheThan
2008-09-06, 09:43 PM
I find this to be entirely relevant. (http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/comics/stolen-pixels/5086-Stolen-Pixels-7-Vulture-Milk)




alright that comic got a LOLZ out of me.

Jayabalard
2008-09-08, 08:24 AM
I played in a campaign where our GM gave out almost zero treasure. By 5th level, the only magical item we'd found was a +1 handaxe he rolled randomly for. He even made us roll profession/craft/perform checks to earn a living when we weren't adventuring so we could pay for living expenses. Yes, we were so poor that the few silver that would earn made a difference. That is not a fun game. Fun is carrying a bag of gold the size of a couch into the market place and leaving with gear that people write epics about.I find the idea of the former game (the one you said was not fun) much more fun than the latter style of game.

Hal
2008-09-08, 12:37 PM
I find the idea of the former game (the one you said was not fun) much more fun than the latter style of game.

The thing is, it COULD be. However, we spent most of the game dead broke. Our profession rolls were the ONLY income we had, which was never enough for upkeep. Our DM didn't tell us about this during character creation, so I had no idea I needed to take those skills. There's something very humiliating about a Paladin, this bastion of valor and purity, being forced to do menial labor because his employers can't see fit to give him a stipend to survive on.

On top of that, your starting gear starts to wear a little thin as time goes on. By level 5, the paladin's scale mail just isn't cutting it anymore. Spellcasters are already making mincemeat of the meleeists who can't properly fight back, and races with LA are still dominating melee battles. Our party make-up was a paladin, two rogues, and an NPC cleric who couldn't be bothered to do more than heal and turn undead.

I started playing D&D because of the potential for heroic exploits. I want to do great deeds and stop great evils. That goal is completely stymied when your game is spent trying not to anger all of the high level NPCs surrounding you and figuring out how you're going to EAT from day to day much less buy tools for fighting evil. That's just too mundane and normal for a fantasy game in my opinion.

Frosty
2008-09-08, 01:27 PM
1) Start at least from level 3.
2) Make sure you have full WBL for a level 3
3) Buy Everful Mugs and Everlasting Rations
4) Buy a Tent and some bedrolls
5) Never worry about where your next meal or place to sleep will come from EVER again. These magic items are CHEAP.