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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default (3.5) Fixing magic weapons and armor.

    Looking at all the threads about the Christmas Tree Effect and how just +x bonuses are boring wastes of space, I've decided to do something about it. First all magical weapons, ammunition included, have special abilities. But magical items base their special abilities off of their enhancement bonus. For example, a +5 flaming burst returning warhammer under the old rules would have an effective weapon bonus of +10, +5 for the attack and damage bonus and +5 for all the special abilities. Under this system the +5 covers both the attack and damage as well as the special abilities. The same of course is true of magic armor. As a little bonus, ghost touch no longer exists as a seperate enhancement. Instead all magic weapons and armor are treated as ghost touch items. Now this only covers weapons and armor, I'll have to tackle other magical item later.
    Last edited by Agrippa; 2012-09-30 at 09:40 PM.
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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: (3.5) Fixing magic weapons and armor.

    What, no comments? Not even to mock me for my foolishness and insanity?

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    Default Re: (3.5) Fixing magic weapons and armor.

    Quote Originally Posted by Agrippa View Post
    What, no comments? Not even to mock me for my foolishness and insanity?
    1. Patience is a virtue. Give it some time.
    2. If you mitigate WBL, this might just work fine.

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    Default Re: (3.5) Fixing magic weapons and armor.

    might make more sense to make the enhancment bonus a masterwork bonus, and the enhancments the part mages can add. I am also partial to the Frank and K idea of making magic item scale, so you snag a shiny magic sword and it levels with you. then the special abilaties are the intresting part you get added to them.

    this method is also cool, but dosn't fix quite a few problems.
    1. the wealth is still like diablo II, a game mechanic not a roleplay tool. If you play a level 3 rogue gangster, you have to have the same wealth as the player of the kings first born son(a third level knight)
    2. to be a good weapon using charicter, you have to find a magic weapon and etcetera.
    3. to be an effective charicter, you need to stop by magic mart or bribe the DM.
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    Default Re: (3.5) Fixing magic weapons and armor.

    Quote Originally Posted by bobthe6th View Post
    this method is also cool, but dosn't fix quite a few problems.
    1. the wealth is still like diablo II, a game mechanic not a roleplay tool. If you play a level 3 rogue gangster, you have to have the same wealth as the player of the kings first born son(a third level knight)
    2. to be a good weapon using charicter, you have to find a magic weapon and etcetera.
    3. to be an effective charicter, you need to stop by magic mart or bribe the DM.
    The thing is, wealth is *meant* to be a game mechanic, not a story telling tool. It's also not meant to have anything to do with loose cash. WBL is a measure of the things you've managed to acquire, one way or another, in your travels thus far. A royal heir will almost certainly have more... stuff, and/or cash, than your average gangster, but PCs are by definition extraordinary at whatever they do, or just in their lives in general. So the Rogue above hasn't purchased his magic items, but any thief worth PC class levels (particularly more than one PC level) has easily acquired the equivalent of the "alright, go and have an adventure, then come back when you tire of it and we'll make you Duke of something..." inheritance of the second or third son of a king of a small country*. Any thief who can't manage that (i.e., the vast majority of thieves in the world...) probably just have a level in Expert, with Bluff, Disable Device, Escape Artist, Gather Information, Hide, Listen, Move Silently, Open Lock, Slight of Hand, and Spot as his class skills.

    The only class I personally have a hard time feeling like it's justified for is Barbarians from genuinely primitive cultures. Even then, however, Druids and Spirit Shaman can take item creation feats the same as any other caster, so as long as the magic items are flavored correctly for more primitive construction, then I feel it could be justified with the Barbarian being the chosen champion of his people, or the sole remaining survivor of his tribe, either scenario leaving him laden with the heirloom weapons, armor, and other useful treasures of his people. I'm sure a more creative soul than I could come up with many other at least as interesting scenarios.

    Anyway, this has become something of a rant, I feel, and a bit of an off-topic one at that... Which are two things I had not really intended it to be. So, returning to the original topic...

    I really rather like the idea. I agree completely that the +x bonuses are unflavorful, boring, but highly necessary aspects of magic weapons/armor, and so I think having them added in a fringe benefits to the special abilities is a fairly elegant fix. In terms of how this effects character wealth, I would personally let PCs keep the freed-up gold this fix generates, as it is rather burdensome having to invest such a substantial portion of your character wealth into weapons and armor, as opposed to more interesting, odd, and/or flavorful magic items for other slots (or slotless - how I love you, Tools...). I'm not sure that the other item categories Need the same level of attentions... but if you do go there, I look forward to seeing what you'll come up with. :-)


    *I would argue that playing as the first son - and thus heir - of any king, particularly the king of a middle-to-large country, would be inappropriate, and/or very difficult, without some back story element explain how the heir is able to be away from court, out adventuring. And such a story could easily also explain why that heir no longer has access to the full resources they would otherwise have at their disposal.

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    Default Re: (3.5) Fixing magic weapons and armor.

    But it isn't made like a game mechanic. it is easy to lose, and depending on the campain it is hard to keep stable. If you have the PCs fighting a pack of wolves it is hard to toss in a sack of gold as loot...

    Wealth is very much a story tool, and treating it otherwise leads to magic mart with racks of every weapon or expendable under the sun. or the artificer breaking it like a dry stick.

    When you slay a dragon, you want to be sitting on a ludicrous amount of money, and deal with the problems and benefits there of.

    When a story tool(Wealth) becomes a measure of power, you have problems. What I could see was a mechanic that made wealth a game mechanic by giving a semi incarnum like ability to let PCs have their magical affects at level.
    Avatar by Szilard, thank you sir for the fine work!

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    Default Re: (3.5) Fixing magic weapons and armor.

    Fixing WBL and Magic Items is simple:

    Each character always has his WBL worth of equipment. He can freely choose what that equipment looks like, as long as he obeys the slot-restrictions. He can also freely choose what items he owns with that WBL, and can swap out old pieces of equipment for new ones without loosing WBL.
    Only a certain percentage (say, 10%) of WBL can be spent on expendable items, but in exchange you can refill those expendables - so if you use a potion this adventure, you can also use it on your next.

    Players can only exchange or refill items at certain, GM-determined opportunities - such as visiting a major city or finding a dragon hoard.
    Their WBL can only be expressed via equipment, not in coin, trade goods, houses or other such possessions. Bought magical items count normally against a characters WBL, but non-equipment does not (owning a house does not reduce your WBL).
    There. No more christmas trees - your equipment looks like it's a reasonable ensemble of items, instead of covering in rainbow-clashing colors or a ludicrous ensemble of accesoires and clothes.

    This can easily be fluffed in various ways - perhaps the PCs have a wealthy benefactor who equips them, or know a Master-Artificer who crafts them their gear. Perhaps their own powers infuse their gear, or their gear represents the favor of a higher power. The enhancement bonus of a sword could represent your mastery with it, or maybe you have learned to channel your spells trough a ring so that you can cast more of them.

    Now obviously this mostly removes the treasure-hunting aspect from the game. Why hunt for money when you don't need it?
    Well, you can still use money to buy yourself a house, to donate to the orphanage your adopted brother grew up in or to further your political cause. Legendary items still need retrieving as well.
    And of course there are many more ways you can motivate an adventurer other than shiny things.

    The only class that is really negatively affected by this is the Artificer, and other characters who want to specialize in item-crafting. Certainly item-creating feats are less attractive when you can gain any item you can afford anyway.
    Item-creation feats need a bit of re-working under such a system. First they simply let any of your (or your groups) items of their assosciated type only count with 50% of it's value against WBL. Second, if you can craft expendables you can either recover them on your own with some work (such as ever rest, or ever three rests) and you can increase the percentage of WBL spent on them.
    This also neatly fixes the problem with XP-loss from crafting.

    Losing your +5 flaming keen greatsword still impacts you - because you now can't use it until you fulfil certain GM-determined conditions. But losing it won't mean that you'll be weaker for a long time until you have recovered your WBL.


    This system works much better in some settings than in others. It works less well in settings with lots of magic items, such as Eberron. It works much better in settings where the players aren't supposed to be super-rich - this way you can play a 16th-level rogue who still cares about robbing the barons treasury, despite having a WBL four times higher - because it gives him lots of cash to spend. Or you can play a traveling Bard who still earns her meals by singing in tavers, despite having a giant WBL. Or you can play a Fighter who is a member of the nobility and thus owns a castle, without that detracting from his combat gear by taking up some of his WBL.
    Last edited by Serafina; 2012-07-25 at 05:24 AM.

  8. - Top - End - #8
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    Default Re: (3.5) Fixing magic weapons and armor.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Serafina View Post
    Fixing WBL and Magic Items is simple:



    There. No more christmas trees - your equipment looks like it's a reasonable ensemble of items, instead of covering in rainbow-clashing colors or a ludicrous ensemble of accesoires and clothes.

    This can easily be fluffed in various ways - perhaps the PCs have a wealthy benefactor who equips them, or know a Master-Artificer who crafts them their gear. Perhaps their own powers infuse their gear, or their gear represents the favor of a higher power. The enhancement bonus of a sword could represent your mastery with it, or maybe you have learned to channel your spells trough a ring so that you can cast more of them.

    Now obviously this mostly removes the treasure-hunting aspect from the game. Why hunt for money when you don't need it?
    Well, you can still use money to buy yourself a house, to donate to the orphanage your adopted brother grew up in or to further your political cause. Legendary items still need retrieving as well.
    And of course there are many more ways you can motivate an adventurer other than shiny things.

    The only class that is really negatively affected by this is the Artificer, and other characters who want to specialize in item-crafting. Certainly item-creating feats are less attractive when you can gain any item you can afford anyway.
    Item-creation feats need a bit of re-working under such a system. First they simply let any of your (or your groups) items of their assosciated type only count with 50% of it's value against WBL. Second, if you can craft expendables you can either recover them on your own with some work (such as ever rest, or ever three rests) and you can increase the percentage of WBL spent on them.
    This also neatly fixes the problem with XP-loss from crafting.

    Losing your +5 flaming keen greatsword still impacts you - because you now can't use it until you fulfil certain GM-determined conditions. But losing it won't mean that you'll be weaker for a long time until you have recovered your WBL.


    This system works much better in some settings than in others. It works less well in settings with lots of magic items, such as Eberron. It works much better in settings where the players aren't supposed to be super-rich - this way you can play a 16th-level rogue who still cares about robbing the barons treasury, despite having a WBL four times higher - because it gives him lots of cash to spend. Or you can play a traveling Bard who still earns her meals by singing in tavers, despite having a giant WBL. Or you can play a Fighter who is a member of the nobility and thus owns a castle, without that detracting from his combat gear by taking up some of his WBL.


    I am bobthe6th, and I abrove this message.
    Avatar by Szilard, thank you sir for the fine work!

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    SamuraiGuy

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    Default Re: (3.5) Fixing magic weapons and armor.

    Quote Originally Posted by Agrippa View Post
    Looking at all the threads about the Christmas Tree Effect and how just +x bonuses are boring wastes of space, I've decided to do something about it. First all magical weapons, ammunition included, have special abilities. But magical items base their special abilities off of their enhancement bonus. For example, a +5 flaming burst returning warhammer under the old rules would have an effective weapon bonus of +10, +5 for the attack and damage bonus and +5 for all the special abilities. Under this system the +5 covers both the attack and damage as well as the special abilities. The same of course is true of magic armor. As a little bonus, ghost touch no longer exists as a seperate enhancement. Instead all magic weapons and armor treated as ghost touch items. Now this only covers weapons and armor, I'll have to tackle other magical item later.
    dispel magic (or better) on players that get their plusses via spells. enhancement bonuses start to look better.

    I actually like the idea of seperating the 2 or combining them, but free ghost touch is an aweful idea. Incorporeal critters are useless of a sudden. Bad idea/design.

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    Default Re: (3.5) Fixing magic weapons and armor.

    incorporeal creatures are bad design... as in "TPK if the party isn't armed right, speed bump if they are"
    Avatar by Szilard, thank you sir for the fine work!

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    Default Re: (3.5) Fixing magic weapons and armor.

    Quote Originally Posted by bobthe6th View Post
    incorporeal creatures are bad design... as in "TPK if the party isn't armed right, speed bump if they are"
    A better idea might be to say that they aren't affected by even magical weapons (except for some artifacts), but each type has its own vulnerabilities. For instance, a shadow is destroyed by bright light, wraiths are particularly vulnerable to turning, and casting Dispel Magic on a ghost (with a caster level check DC equal to the ghosts HD+9) prevents it from manifesting for 1d4 days (giving you time to deal with whatever's keeping it from moving on.)

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    RedKnightGirl

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    Default Re: (3.5) Fixing magic weapons and armor.

    That will be somehow even worse, now it is "if you are attacked in the wrong situation, you're totally screwed. If you attack when you must, speed bump". A win or lose situation without any influence of the players is bad design.
    I just moved with my gf, and might need some time to find the perfect spot for my cpu. Still trying to keep up with my games.


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    Default Re: (3.5) Fixing magic weapons and armor.

    If you object to incorporeal creatures because they are essentially DR 9000/ghost touch, why not also object to everything that is DR x/magic? Because that's functionally the same thing.

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    RedKnightGirl

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    Default Re: (3.5) Fixing magic weapons and armor.

    The thing is, without something magical, you can't hurt them at all. Against something with DR x/something, you can hurt them... They simply are more resistant. Furthermore, even with something magical, they only suffer half damage (either half the attacks for 3.5 or half damage of each attack in 3.P)
    I just moved with my gf, and might need some time to find the perfect spot for my cpu. Still trying to keep up with my games.


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    Default Re: (3.5) Fixing magic weapons and armor.

    Quote Originally Posted by silphael View Post
    The thing is, without something magical, you can't hurt them at all. Against something with DR x/something, you can hurt them... They simply are more resistant. Furthermore, even with something magical, they only suffer half damage (either half the attacks for 3.5 or half damage of each attack in 3.P)
    Where did you get this half damage from?

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    Default Re: (3.5) Fixing magic weapons and armor.

    Quote Originally Posted by silphael View Post
    That will be somehow even worse, now it is "if you are attacked in the wrong situation, you're totally screwed. If you attack when you must, speed bump". A win or lose situation without any influence of the players is bad design.
    Perhaps I wasn't clear; obviously even if there's some alternate way to beat incorporeal creatures it has to be something that's primarily up to the players.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ashtagon View Post
    Where did you get this half damage from?
    A non-ghost-touch magic weapon has only a 50% chance of affecting an incorporeal creature.

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    RedKnightGirl

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    Default Re: (3.5) Fixing magic weapons and armor.

    In 3.5, that's 50% miss chance. In pathfinder, that's half damage.
    I just moved with my gf, and might need some time to find the perfect spot for my cpu. Still trying to keep up with my games.


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    Default Re: (3.5) Fixing magic weapons and armor.

    Quote Originally Posted by silphael View Post
    In 3.5, that's 50% miss chance. In pathfinder, that's half damage.
    And that's still better than a non-magic-weapon-using low-level party facing DR 10/magic. And either way, it still makes it a "you must be this tall to win the encounter".

    The only real solution is to either remove all these barriers evenly, or to own the issue, and say "yes, you do need to be this tall to fight this monster. That's why they are monsters and not creatures from the petting zoo."
    Last edited by Ashtagon; 2012-07-26 at 10:13 AM.

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