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    Titan in the Playground
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Gender
    Male

    Default Balanced and Simple Low Magic Item System

    Low magic item systems are the bane of high level mundanes who get screwed over by them. At the same time people hate that high level characters are dependent on such a huge number of magical items to be effective. DM's try to step away from them and then obliterate whatever system balance there once was (I know that's a relative term).

    I have an old complicated way in my sig but I'm going to break it down into something much easier to implement:

    • You get full WBL in ability points (AP). You can spend these points on Su and SLA abilities that are basically the same as magic items, subject to the DM's discretion on what makes sense. The DM may likewise custom Su and SLA abilities too. A simple custom ability that should almost always be allowed is X/day (not unlimited) cast a spell as an SLA. Cost is 400 AP * spell level * caster level * uses per day. +X abilities should almost always be allowed as Sus. Abilities that permanently affect the user in general should be allowed. Expendable abilities (similar to potions) should not be allowed, because it's too weird. Magic weapon and armor special abilities should not be allowed. But flat AC bonuses and other +X bonuses that only apply when wearing the appropriate armor or weapon or etc. is ok. In the end it's up to the DM but hopefully you get the idea: whatever makes sense. High level casters may get a discount of 1200 AP *spell level to cast a specific spell at their own caster level and save DC usable 1/day (somewhat similar to an X/day staff rather than a charged staff). Or any other such custom ability approved by the DM. As with the custom magic item rules everything that doesn't already exist as an item goes by the DM. As does what does and doesn't make sense as an innate ability. As with custom magic items anything unlimited use, at-will, etc. should get special attention from the DM before being allowed.
    • Unused ability points may be saved for up to 1 level without penalty. After that only 1/2 of what's unspent carries over. But generally you wouldn't leave any points unspent for more than a level. Spending them every 2 levels gives plenty of options because that's a big jump in points. Your WBL nearly doubles every 2 levels.
    • You also get 1/4 WBL/treasure the regular way to cover everything else. Treasure similar to the above should be excluded from treasure piles. Expendables, magic weapons, items that make no sense as an innate ability (e.g., bag of tricks, handy haversack, etc.) and so on should be included. At levels 1-2 you get full treasure/WBL because there isn't really anything to spend ability points on yet.
    • Yeup this adds up to 1-1/4 WBL. That's to make up for the inherent disadvantages of having your wealth split like this since not everything you want may be available as an innate ability. Especially basic mundane goods, especially at low level. It takes that much longer to get full plate or alchemical items. 1x WBL to ability points and dividing treasure piles by 4 also makes the math easy.


    Ability points are spent at level up rather than going through massive bookkeeping and divvying every time you hit a treasure pile. Also keeps the boring static stuff as innate level up abilities, and the cool special effect toys in the treasure pile.

    I tried to see if there were any other custom abilities that should be commonly allowed besides SLAs and didn't find anything. At least not unless it already exists as an item.

    Aaaaaand DONE.
    Last edited by ericgrau; 2017-07-22 at 11:33 AM.
    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
    Printable Cardstock Dungeon Tiles and other terrain stuff (100 MB)

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