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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    RedSorcererGirl

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    Default Balancing a Bag of Holding

    My Big Bad's main power comes from having a Bag of Holding full of magical items she has purloined over the centuries.

    How do I keep it threatening while not giving myself carte blanche to just make up crap to be in there to get her out of a situation?

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    Orc in the Playground
     
    ClockShock's Avatar

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    Default Re: Balancing a Bag of Holding

    Write down a list of what's in it.
    Seal list in an envelope.
    Wave the envelope about when players question the smacking they just got handed.

    Those things still have holding capacities, right?
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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Balancing a Bag of Holding

    Quote Originally Posted by ClockShock View Post
    Write down a list of what's in it.
    Seal list in an envelope.
    Wave the envelope about when players question the smacking they just got handed.

    Those things still have holding capacities, right?
    Yup, Type IV has 250 sq ft. of storage space and can hold up to 1500 lbs.
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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    RedSorcererGirl

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    Default Re: Balancing a Bag of Holding

    Right, so that's room for a crapton of rings...scrolls...potions...swords, whatever.

    Problem is, I don't actually know much D&D, I just incorporate a bit of it to break up the whole Rifts atmosphere we're having.

    So, even if I wanted to risk limiting myself unduly by giving her too few items to rely on, I don't really know much about D&D magic items lately anyway.

    And yes, she has stuff from other games too, including and especially Rifts.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Balancing a Bag of Holding

    Quote Originally Posted by Paseo H View Post
    My Big Bad's main power comes from having a Bag of Holding full of magical items she has purloined over the centuries.

    How do I keep it threatening while not giving myself carte blanche to just make up crap to be in there to get her out of a situation?
    Solution: there's a percentage chance that she has exactly the right tool needed for the job in the bag of holding, and roll it.

    Refluff if desired - as a special bag of holding that actually has that descriptor.

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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    RedSorcererGirl

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    Default Re: Balancing a Bag of Holding

    Hmm...almost sounds like a Wand of Wonder, in bag form.
    I do, however, wonder what the poor strawman ever did to you. - Kish

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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Balancing a Bag of Holding

    Quote Originally Posted by Paseo H View Post
    Hmm...almost sounds like a Wand of Wonder, in bag form.
    Except it's more controlled and based on what you need at the time.

    It's an easy solution. Decide how powerful the item is and assign percentage chances.

    Something as simple as "exactly the tool needed for the job", "a mundane tool that can be used to do the job", and "nothing at all".

    Though if you like complexity, you could add in bigger bonuses and penalties within the chances.

  8. - Top - End - #8
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    AssassinGuy

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    Default Re: Balancing a Bag of Holding

    Grab every book listing magical items you have and go through it. Note down everything interesting that the character might like and the price. Use the wealth by level table to limit your selections to a reasonable amount for the character.

    Isn't there a particular magical bag that contains a certain gold amount worth of mundane objects? ie. it can produce any mundane object on demand but has a total gold limit on how much you can take out of it before it becomes an ordinary bag.

  9. - Top - End - #9
    Titan in the Playground
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    Default Re: Balancing a Bag of Holding

    I can't help but think that having a villain powered by a magic-bag-of-loot is kind of asking for it, really.

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    Troll in the Playground
     
    Flumph

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    Default Re: Balancing a Bag of Holding

    The "chance to have exact the right item" idea is a good one, but if you also want a list of frequently used items, this thread has quite a few.
    Last edited by icefractal; 2011-03-30 at 01:12 AM.

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    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    OldWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Balancing a Bag of Holding

    What class is your villain? This makes a huge difference in what they'd keep in the bag.

    Although personally, no matter what class it is, any magic bag villain I play would keep a bottle of air in there. Just in case they wanted to hide in the bag and pop out later.

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    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Balancing a Bag of Holding

    The danger with giving the villain a magic bag that can give them any item that they need is that the players will kill them and take it.

    And then keep trying to pull things out of it until they all have Epic-level loot, because everyone needs Epic-level loot.
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    Ogre in the Playground
     
    SolithKnightGuy

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    Default Re: Balancing a Bag of Holding

    Yeah, that's what I was thinking, too... Villains are there to be overcome by the PCs, and you have to be willing to accept that all the villain's toys end up in the hands of the PCs.

    And no, "I'll make it so the players never kill him / don't get hold of the Bag" is not a good contingency. Simply for the fact that no plan survives first contact with the players. They will surprise you, and before you know they will have the bag.

    That said, if you go through with it, keep in mind that Retrieving a specific item from a bag of holding is a move action—unless the bag contains more than an ordinary backpack would hold, in which case retrieving a specific item is a full-round action.

    Also, you can't keep sharp or pointy things in it (although I guess there are scabbards or sheates available for pretty much any weapon).

    (Personally, I much prefer the Handy Haversack to the BoH.)
    Let me give you a brief rundown of an average Post-3E Era fight: You attack an enemy and start kicking his shins. He then starts kicking your shins, then you take it in turns kicking until one of you falls over. It basically comes down to who started the battle with the biggest boot, and the only strategy involved is realizing when things have gone tits up and legging it.

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    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Default Re: Balancing a Bag of Holding

    Quote Originally Posted by holywhippet View Post
    Grab every book listing magical items you have and go through it. Note down everything interesting that the character might like and the price. Use the wealth by level table to limit your selections to a reasonable amount for the character.
    I support this approach. Books of magical items are usually a fun read.

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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    RedSorcererGirl

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    Default Re: Balancing a Bag of Holding

    Well...

    She is a former archmage, who sacrificed her power in a pact with an eldritch abomination and now is an epic level assassin or something.

    Bad contingencies or not, I think she's not going to be caught off guard by the good guys trying to yoink her bag.

    Plus, she does plan ahead and is going to pull stuff out of the bag before something happens.
    I do, however, wonder what the poor strawman ever did to you. - Kish

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    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: Balancing a Bag of Holding

    Quote Originally Posted by Paseo H View Post
    Bad contingencies or not, I think she's not going to be caught off guard by the good guys trying to yoink her bag
    I forsee some PC's equipped with some very powerful items in the near future (barring DM fiat ofc)

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    Ogre in the Playground
     
    BlueKnightGuy

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    Default Re: Balancing a Bag of Holding

    I like the idea. Even with the fact that the players will get the bag, I like the idea.

    Even if the players get the bag, who's to say that the bag is entirely filled with super awesome stuff? Sure, there's going to be some good items in there, and depending on the level of the party, some of it will be world-shatteringly good.

    But think about it this way: if your big bad has an item for every contingency, some of those items will be useless to the party. The majority of it they are going to sell, simply because sometimes you just don't need an Apparatus of Kwalish. But a truly well prepped BBEG will have one, because you just never know.

    My approach to this would be to have one item that benefits each party member equally, and the rest be "vendor trash", or useless stuff you sell. If you want to simplify it even more, have one item for each party member, and the rest be straight GP, PP, and gems, assuming that they have a place to sell all of it.
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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    RedSorcererGirl

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    Default Re: Balancing a Bag of Holding

    Okay, let's put it another way:

    She's over 1000 years old, and has knowledge of magic, as well as having gained many favors from archmages.

    I'm sure she has some non "dm fiat" way of getting around the yoinking problem.

    For instance, some sort of enchantment to 1. Not let the bag open without the command word, and 2. Teleport it to the user if it's stolen.
    Last edited by Paseo H; 2011-03-30 at 07:38 AM.
    I do, however, wonder what the poor strawman ever did to you. - Kish

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    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: Balancing a Bag of Holding

    Quote Originally Posted by Paseo H View Post
    Okay, let's put it another way:

    She's over 1000 years old, and has knowledge of magic, as well as having gained many favors from archmages.

    I'm sure she has some non "dm fiat" way of getting around the yoinking problem.

    For instance, some sort of enchantment to 1. Not let the bag open without the command word, and 2. Teleport it to the user if it's stolen.
    lets put it this way then: PC's they will find a way

    Wont open without a command word? use magic device.
    Teleport to BBEG if stolen? carry dead BBEG around with you

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    Ogre in the Playground
     
    BlueKnightGuy

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    Default Re: Balancing a Bag of Holding

    I've actually seen both of these get used in game before.
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    Ettin in the Playground
     
    druid91's Avatar

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    Default Re: Balancing a Bag of Holding

    If it can be interacted with in any way it exists. If it exists expect the players to loot it.


    Up to and including the rocks that fell and killed everyone.
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    Quote Originally Posted by AvatarZero View Post
    I like the "hobo" in there.
    "Hey, you just got 10000gp! You going to buy a fully staffed mansion or something?"
    "Nah, I'll upgrade my +2 sword to a +3 sword and sleep in my cloak."

    Non est salvatori salvator, neque defensori dominus, nec pater nec mater, nihil supernum.

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    Ogre in the Playground
     
    SolithKnightGuy

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    Default Re: Balancing a Bag of Holding

    Paseo: see, there's the problem: it doesn't matter if your NPC is an epic archmage, demigod, or whatnot and has an Int score of 45. YOU still have to do the thinking. That NPC sheet ain't gonna do that for you.
    By all means go ahead, but if your players are worth their salt they _will_ surprise you. And end up with a bag chock-full of magic trinkets.

    P.S.: and then it's bad form (to say the least) to say stuff like "Yeah, well, umm, being an epic archmage and all, she would have thought of that. So, er, it doesn't work."
    Last edited by Firechanter; 2011-03-30 at 09:16 AM.
    Let me give you a brief rundown of an average Post-3E Era fight: You attack an enemy and start kicking his shins. He then starts kicking your shins, then you take it in turns kicking until one of you falls over. It basically comes down to who started the battle with the biggest boot, and the only strategy involved is realizing when things have gone tits up and legging it.

  23. - Top - End - #23
    Titan in the Playground
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    Default Re: Balancing a Bag of Holding

    Use NPC wealth by level to decide how much stuff the big bad has, including his normal gear. Put some of that wealth into the bag. WBL is of course a guideline and your big bad may have more, but it gives you a starting point.

    Otherwise the new PC strategy might be to loot the bag and run, then use the money to defeat the BBEG.
    So you never have to interrupt a game to look up a rule again:
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    Titan in the Playground
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    Default Re: Balancing a Bag of Holding

    Looting isn't the only problem. If a sizeable portion of her power comes from it and it's contents, they might settle for just destroying the bag outright. It's a minefield, really it is.

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    Titan in the Playground
     
    Yuki Akuma's Avatar

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    Default Re: Balancing a Bag of Holding

    A bag of holding isn't a great idea, really. It takes a lot of time to root around in those things, if they have a lot of stuff in them. The only magic they have is being bigger on the inside than the outside - doesn't help you find that one Ring of Three Wishes under your pile of copper coins, mithril plate armour and scrolls of grease.
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    Titan in the Playground
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    Default Re: Balancing a Bag of Holding

    Good point. Give the BBEG a handy haversack instead. There are a lot of near weightless and tiny trinkets he could have, like rings, scrolls, potions, etc. So the haversack may be enough.
    So you never have to interrupt a game to look up a rule again:
    My 3.5e Rules Cheat Sheets: Normal, With Consolidated Skill System
    TOGC's 3.5e Spell/etc Cards: rpgnow / drivethru rpg
    Utilities: Magic Item Shop Generator (Req. MS Excel), Balanced Low Magic Item System
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    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    Mewtarthio's Avatar

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    Default Re: Balancing a Bag of Holding

    Perhaps the bag also contains an Ancient Prismatic Dracolich.

    (Or, more seriously, some traps just in case anyone gets around her contingencies, and/or a number of Evil Artifacts with horrible side effects that she has either for any last-ditch desperate measures or uses or because she doesn't mind the side effects.)
    Quote Originally Posted by Winterwind View Post
    Mewtarthio, you have scared my brain into hiding, a trembling, broken shadow of a thing, cowering somewhere in the soothing darkness and singing nursery rhymes in the hope of obscuring the Lovecraftian facts you so boldly brought into daylight.

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    GnomePirate

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    Default Re: Balancing a Bag of Holding

    Quote Originally Posted by Paseo H View Post
    Okay, let's put it another way:

    She's over 1000 years old, and has knowledge of magic, as well as having gained many favors from archmages.

    I'm sure she has some non "dm fiat" way of getting around the yoinking problem.
    The moment you assume the players will NEVER get the bag normally is the moment you just planned to DM fiat the bag out of player hands.

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    Tyndmyr's Avatar

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    Default Re: Balancing a Bag of Holding

    Quote Originally Posted by Tiki Snakes View Post
    I can't help but think that having a villain powered by a magic-bag-of-loot is kind of asking for it, really.
    It's called "the players are gonna steal the hell outta that".

    Quote Originally Posted by Paseo H View Post
    Well...

    She is a former archmage, who sacrificed her power in a pact with an eldritch abomination...
    And we've already shown a prior history of bad judgement.
    Last edited by Tyndmyr; 2011-03-30 at 10:35 AM.

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    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    ClericGuy

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    Default Re: Balancing a Bag of Holding

    Just fill the bag with a couple scrolls of EVERYTHING, and rig it with a trap: when somebody other than the BBEG sticks their hand in, everything catches fire.

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