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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Default Purpose of magical items (+1/+2/+3) in a bounded system with proficiency bonuses?

    Here is one aspect of 5e I never understood - why even have +1, +2, +3 magical weapons and Armor?

    The whole system is supposed to have bounded accuracy, and we already have a proficiency bonus system in place that raises with your total character level -

    so why do we have +1, +2, +3 items at all?

    Can't we just say that people get a +1 to armor and weapon/spell attacks at level 6, 11, and 16? and couldn't we just build this into the proficiency bonus system that literally already exists?

    If we are just doing it for the purpose of overcoming magical resistances, then couldn't we just have base magical items and call it a day?

    This seems like its just a relic from past systems that was ported over.

    And as a side note and a separate topic, I'm surprised that proficiency bonus isn't built into armor calculation.

    i.e (and I am completely making this up on the fly, don't get caught up in the exact numbers)

    leather = 9 + dex + PB
    hide = 10 + dex (2 max) + PB
    half plate = 13 + dex (+2 max) + PB
    Ringmail = 15 + PB
    Plate is = 16 + PB

    Essentially, the higher level you are, the better you are at dodging attacks in the same armor as a level 1 mook.

    So a level 1 fighter in plate has 18 AC and a level 20 fighter in the same plate is 22 AC - to me it makes perfect sense that someone with 20 levels of fighter should be more proficient at wearing that plate armor - and, as a bonus, you completely get rid of the +1, +2, +3 items.

    Thoughts?
    Last edited by Nefariis; 2021-04-22 at 03:08 PM.

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    Default Re: Purpose of magical items (+1/+2/+3) in a bounded system with proficiency bonuses?

    Outside of AL magical items aren't guaranteed and are considered outside the normal PC progression on purpose. Even magical weapon damage isn't something the game expects nor is it universally required and there are plenty of opportunities to pick it up via class options or spells.
    Last edited by stoutstien; 2021-04-22 at 03:15 PM.

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    Default Re: Purpose of magical items (+1/+2/+3) in a bounded system with proficiency bonuses?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nefariis View Post
    Here is one aspect of 5e I never understood - why even have +1, +2, +3 magical weapons and Armor? Thoughts?
    It's a legacy thing. Magic items are part of the DnD 11th commandment (we've always done it this way).

    Playstyle in the first three editions (ADnD, 2nd Ed, 3rd Ed) included the party that walked around with magic items aplenty. It was part of their powers. Attunement wasn't a thing yet. Having items was expected at most tables, but DMs were not required to give them out. This meant monsters who could not be harmed by nonmagic weapons were very dangerous.

    We wanted to be cool, so we handed out things like the +5 Holy Avenger and the ring of many wishes...and it was fun.

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    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Default Re: Purpose of magical items (+1/+2/+3) in a bounded system with proficiency bonuses?

    I should clarify, I'm not advocating against magical items at all - just against +1, +2, +3 prefix on magical armor and weapons - and I am completely fine with the magical riders that exist on weapons, like "Flame Tongue" etc.

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    Default Re: Purpose of magical items (+1/+2/+3) in a bounded system with proficiency bonuses?

    You can replace flat bonus by a single kind of magic weapon,
    give advantage to attack rolls and damage rolls.
    strong but donít produce a stack bonus escalation.

    better state that the advantage on damage rolls only apply to weapon dice and note extra damage like smite or sneak.

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    Default Re: Purpose of magical items (+1/+2/+3) in a bounded system with proficiency bonuses?

    Quote Originally Posted by fbelanger View Post
    You can replace flat bonus by a single kind of magic weapon,
    give advantage to attack rolls and damage rolls.
    strong but donít produce a stack bonus escalation.

    better state that the advantage on damage rolls only apply to weapon dice and note extra damage like smite or sneak.
    Sorry, I don't quite follow - do you have an example?

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    Default Re: Purpose of magical items (+1/+2/+3) in a bounded system with proficiency bonuses?

    And as a separate note (again) - why have the proficiency bonus from 2-6? why not 0-4 and then add proficiency bonus to damage as well?

    Rapier Attack: STR + PB
    Rapier Damage: 1d8 + STR + PB

    with a PB from 0-4 it would be roughly the exact same as having a +1, +2, +3 magic weapon at their respective tiers.
    Last edited by Nefariis; 2021-04-22 at 03:44 PM.

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    Default Re: Purpose of magical items (+1/+2/+3) in a bounded system with proficiency bonuses?

    A proficiency bonus of 0 means first level characters have very low numbers. A very low number means you're more dependent on dice for success. Rolling d20+1 means you're basically just rolling a d20 to see what happens. Rolling d20+5 means you're rolling a d20, but your +5 is a substantial portion of the end result.

    +1/2/3 weapons:
    1) Are tradition
    2) Numerical power-ups that mean your character hits more often and slightly harder than everyone else
    3) Allow variability within the party and within enemies that doesn't exist if they are just baked in to the base stats.

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    Default Re: Purpose of magical items (+1/+2/+3) in a bounded system with proficiency bonuses?

    Also a proficiency bonus of 0 at first level means no difference between being proficient or not, which sorta puts the lie to the name.

    There's some thematic utility to +X items as well, since it lets you have swords that are simply very good at being swords, rather than requiring your enchanted cutlery to also be a portable bonfire. Like I don't recall Excalibur catching fire, and that's kinda the granddaddy of the magical weapon family in western mythology.
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    Default Re: Purpose of magical items (+1/+2/+3) in a bounded system with proficiency bonuses?

    Quote Originally Posted by J-H View Post
    A proficiency bonus of 0 means first level characters have very low numbers. A very low number means you're more dependent on dice for success. Rolling d20+1 means you're basically just rolling a d20 to see what happens. Rolling d20+5 means you're rolling a d20, but your +5 is a substantial portion of the end result.
    0-4 or 2-6 is a difference of 10% on a d20 - so I think, "basically just rolling a d20 to see what happens" is a slight exaggeration.

    You could also have AC lowered by 2 or even make PB apart of the Armor Calculation (like said above) and then AC is bounded as well.

    Quote Originally Posted by J-H View Post
    +1/2/3 weapons:
    1) Are tradition
    2) Numerical power-ups that mean your character hits more often and slightly harder than everyone else
    3) Allow variability within the party and within enemies that doesn't exist if they are just baked in to the base stats.
    Tradition is a poor excuse for anything and why would someone holding a +1 sword and someone holding a +0 sword suddenly give the party variability?

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    Default Re: Purpose of magical items (+1/+2/+3) in a bounded system with proficiency bonuses?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nefariis View Post
    Here is one aspect of 5e I never understood - why even have +1, +2, +3 magical weapons and Armor?

    The whole system is supposed to have bounded accuracy, and we already have a proficiency bonus system in place that raises with your total character level -

    so why do we have +1, +2, +3 items at all?

    Can't we just say that people get a +1 to armor and weapon/spell attacks at level 6, 11, and 16? and couldn't we just build this into the proficiency bonus system that literally already exists?

    If we are just doing it for the purpose of overcoming magical resistances, then couldn't we just have base magical items and call it a day?

    This seems like its just a relic from past systems that was ported over.

    And as a side note and a separate topic, I'm surprised that proficiency bonus isn't built into armor calculation.

    i.e (and I am completely making this up on the fly, don't get caught up in the exact numbers)

    leather = 9 + dex + PB
    hide = 10 + dex (2 max) + PB
    half plate = 13 + dex (+2 max) + PB
    Ringmail = 15 + PB
    Plate is = 16 + PB

    Essentially, the higher level you are, the better you are at dodging attacks in the same armor as a level 1 mook.

    So a level 1 fighter in plate has 18 AC and a level 20 fighter in the same plate is 22 AC - to me it makes perfect sense that someone with 20 levels of fighter should be more proficient at wearing that plate armor - and, as a bonus, you completely get rid of the +1, +2, +3 items.

    Thoughts?
    5E decided to keep the long-standing dnd tradition that as you level, armor becomes more and more meaningless, because everything under the sun can hit you. Just look at the table on p274 of the DMG - the hit bonuses on everything scale way faster than the ACs, so, as is dnd tradition, by end-game what you need to do is kill the enemy first, because everyone's a glass cannon. This is also reflected in saves, actually, because all spellcasters are proficient in their spells and can cherry pick them to hit a suite of saves, but it's incredibly difficult for the target to be resistant in all saves (which is why paladins and yuan-ti are considered so excellent).

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    Default Re: Purpose of magical items (+1/+2/+3) in a bounded system with proficiency bonuses?

    Sorry, I reread my last message and I'm not trying to attack anyone or get defensive

    I think 5e is great system and easily the best system that I've played so far.

    I just think that this aspect of it could of been simplified and it would of made the game better.

    Using PB for everything including Armor Calculation & Damage, changing 2-6 to 0-4 or 1-5, and removing +1, +2, +3 items would have simplified things

    And I just don't understand, in a system with bounded accuracy and PBs, why they chose to carry on the tradition of +1, +2, +3 items - it seems like Pb's are the exact solution for this
    Last edited by Nefariis; 2021-04-22 at 04:33 PM.

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    Default Re: Purpose of magical items (+1/+2/+3) in a bounded system with proficiency bonuses?

    the hit bonuses on everything scale way faster than the ACs,
    This exactly the point I am trying to make, the to hit bonuses are already scaling with PB's - why do you need +1, +2, +3? why can't they be baked in?
    Last edited by Nefariis; 2021-04-22 at 04:32 PM.

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    Default Re: Purpose of magical items (+1/+2/+3) in a bounded system with proficiency bonuses?

    Magic items were originally meant to be unnecessary to the core game math, a mistake they made in 4e and to a lesser extent 3e. Any magic items you got were a bonus and not assumed.

    That and +X gear is a holdover from the old days.

    If AC becoming less relevant over time bothers you then yes you can leverage Prof bonus into it to keep some scaling.
    Last edited by Kane0; 2021-04-22 at 04:45 PM.

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    Default Re: Purpose of magical items (+1/+2/+3) in a bounded system with proficiency bonuses?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nefariis View Post
    so why do we have +1, +2, +3 items at all?
    The situation is quite simple:
    (1) This is D&D, you absolutely need magic weapons / armour / etc, and high level PCs to have a full magical gear.
    (2) 5e focus on simplicity, so you want to reduce the number of complex magical items. For that there is the attunement system, and attunement-free items should be basic and bland.
    (3) What very simple mechanical effect can you put on an (attunement-free) magical weapon/armour? +1/+2/+3 are a perfect answer to this, and keeping those kind of weapons in D&D is one less sacred cow to kill when changing of edition (so less peoples complaining).

    Note that to not break bounded accuracy too much, the progression +1/+2/+3 is very slow, and only goes up to +3 at high level (compared to +5 for D&D3.5).

    Do they make bounded accuracy less effective than intended? Yes, but they're not the only culprit here. I'm still not sure to understand why the Tomes actually increase the cap of the corresponding abilities (even if they didn't, they would still be strictly better than the Ioun stones as they don't require attunement).

    => You could bake the +N weapons in the proficiency bonus without problems (and find another solution for shield and armours), but the counter-cost would be that you would need a new idea for a "basic" magical weapons.
    Last edited by MoiMagnus; 2021-04-22 at 04:54 PM.

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    Default Re: Purpose of magical items (+1/+2/+3) in a bounded system with proficiency bonuses?

    Because resistance to non magic damage exists on monsters which appears as early as CR 2, which is also a dumb left over legacy thing.
    Quote Originally Posted by Psyren View Post
    Wait, you mean 3.0 was playtested?

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    Default Re: Purpose of magical items (+1/+2/+3) in a bounded system with proficiency bonuses?

    1) Just because it's a legacy doesn't make it a bad thing. D&D has gone through a lot of changes over its history, but not everything needs to change. Being old fashioned or how it's always done is not inherently wrong to be discarded nor evidence that it needs to be changed.
    2) Not everyone thinks they're boring.
    3) Precisely because of Bounded Accuracy +1 to anything means something, so a +1 weapon is a big deal, should be a big deal, and there's absolutely nothing wrong with it being a big deal. Succeeding more is what makes the item special. There is value to a +1 when AC ranges are from 15 to 20 more than when AC values are 15 to 30. You don't need multiple sources of accumulating many +1s to reach high numbers, but having the one source that gives you that bonus extra +1 is a treasure. +2 and +3 items are for campaigns at high level where the DM will use BBEGS who have higher than normal for 5E ACs, those in the 25 to 30 range, on a somewhat regular basis. Some people enjoy such high powered games. They are entitled to enjoy them. They are not playing the game wrong for doing so.
    4) It is aesthetically pleasing to think about having a plus number to something. Having +8 to hit instead of +7 looks and feels better.
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    Default Re: Purpose of magical items (+1/+2/+3) in a bounded system with proficiency bonuses?

    I think you guys are still missing the point - I am not advocating "killing" magical items or the attunement system - all magical items will still exist with all their normal riders and requirements - it's literally just the prefixes that would be removed.

    And the reason is - it is already baked into the current PB system and is completely unnecessary to 5e
    Last edited by Nefariis; 2021-04-22 at 05:47 PM.

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    Default Re: Purpose of magical items (+1/+2/+3) in a bounded system with proficiency bonuses?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nefariis View Post
    I think you guys are still missing the point - I am not advocating "killing" magical items or the attunement system - all magical items will still exist with all their normal riders and requirements - it's literally just the prefixes that would be removed.

    And the reason is - it is already baked into the current PB system and is completely unnecessary to 5e
    Its a reward and probably the simplest reward to give a player.

    Rewards need to not be baked into the system because if its baked in, its just something given similar to a feature. You wouldn't consider a health potion the same as a casting of Cure Wounds because it requires no spellcasting class or spell slot to use the potion. That makes it a reward.

    The +# modifiers are placed on the character sheet and you need nothing else added onto it. But its still a reward. You see what I mean? Simple and easy to use but still outside what you were guaranteed through the system.

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    Default Re: Purpose of magical items (+1/+2/+3) in a bounded system with proficiency bonuses?

    Quote Originally Posted by Asisreo1 View Post
    Its a reward and probably the simplest reward to give a player.
    huh, I like this answer, and it's probably correct - thank you.

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    Default Re: Purpose of magical items (+1/+2/+3) in a bounded system with proficiency bonuses?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nefariis View Post
    it's literally just the prefixes that would be removed.

    And the reason is - it is already baked into the current PB system and is completely unnecessary to 5e
    It's not a question of being necessary. But power is power, and there is nothing bad about simple, direct power.

    They're not the most exciting items, sure, but sometime the *very good* sword and *very good* armor are nice.

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    Default Re: Purpose of magical items (+1/+2/+3) in a bounded system with proficiency bonuses?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nefariis View Post
    Sorry, I don't quite follow - do you have an example?
    Simply replace flat bonus of a magic weapon, instead the weapon give advantage to attack rolls.
    Itís strong but donít stack on other tactics that give advantage.
    Advantage is also more useful when you have 50% hit chance, against too high AC better have flat bonus.

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    Default Re: Purpose of magical items (+1/+2/+3) in a bounded system with proficiency bonuses?

    Quote Originally Posted by Asisreo1 View Post
    Its a reward and probably the simplest reward to give a player.

    Rewards need to not be baked into the system because if its baked in, its just something given similar to a feature. You wouldn't consider a health potion the same as a casting of Cure Wounds because it requires no spellcasting class or spell slot to use the potion. That makes it a reward.

    The +# modifiers are placed on the character sheet and you need nothing else added onto it. But its still a reward. You see what I mean? Simple and easy to use but still outside what you were guaranteed through the system.
    I'm genuinely surprised it took this long for "its a reward, duh" to be brought up. This is the only answer necessary
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    Default Re: Purpose of magical items (+1/+2/+3) in a bounded system with proficiency bonuses?

    Quote Originally Posted by fbelanger View Post
    Simply replace flat bonus of a magic weapon, instead the weapon give advantage to attack rolls.
    Itís strong but donít stack on other tactics that give advantage.
    Advantage is also more useful when you have 50% hit chance, against too high AC better have flat bonus.
    It also increases crit chance, and completely devalues any other method of gaining advantage.

    I'm all for more interesting magic items than just +X to Y, but that solution seems much worse than what exists.
    I have a LOT of Homebrew!

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    Default Re: Purpose of magical items (+1/+2/+3) in a bounded system with proficiency bonuses?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nefariis View Post
    Tradition is a poor excuse for anything
    In your opinion. Try not to make unsupported claims.

    magical weapons are a part of the entire genre: Excalibur, Anduril, Thor's Hammer, and hell, Captain America's Shield and Wonder Woman's golden lassoo if we want to broaden the genre a bit.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nefariis View Post
    Sorry, I reread my last message and I'm not trying to attack anyone or get defensive
    You are making unfounded claims, that's all.

    I think you all are missing the point

    I think it is you who were missing the point. Here is the point you are missing:
    The game is about a hell of a lot more than the math. Bounded accuracy is a tool to serve the game, and the game's rules over all are a tool kit that are used to undertake fun and exciting - and dangerous! - make believe adventures.
    I think 5e is great system and easily the best system that I've played so far.
    It's pretty good.

    If you don't like the headache that the plusses give to the tool that is math and Bounded accuracy, provide less mathy weapons

    Example:

    My 9th level lore bard has a magical rapier. It has +0 to hit and +0 to damage. You can look up what it is in Xanathar's Guide to Everything: Moon Touched. It's magical, and casts moonlight for a certain radius when drawn. And it overcomes magical immunity/resistance. Common item. Her sick magic item is a harp (uncommon) that casts a few concentration spells (the Mac-Fuirmidh Cittern) and gives disadvantage on charm spells like hypnotic pattern.

    It isn't a plus anything weapon, but that disad on saves is pretty strong.

    For a magical weapon, you could make a Singing Sword: it's magical, but it sings when {something happens, like saying a command word} which allows the character to {do something neat, like add temp HP to allies or give allies advantage on saves against fear}

    I could give a hundred other examples, but space and time do not permit.

    The point on "award/reward to players for adventuring and finding magical loot" is also a core genre feature. (Already addressed by others).
    Last edited by KorvinStarmast; 2021-04-22 at 08:44 PM.
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    Default Re: Purpose of magical items (+1/+2/+3) in a bounded system with proficiency bonuses?

    Quote Originally Posted by fbelanger View Post
    Simply replace flat bonus of a magic weapon, instead the weapon give advantage to attack rolls.
    Itís strong but donít stack on other tactics that give advantage.
    Advantage is also more useful when you have 50% hit chance, against too high AC better have flat bonus.
    The advantage should be conditional but not too niche. To have it always on takes away the fun of using tactics to gain advantage. Advantage against a creature type the DM will have a significant amount exist in the campaign. Advantage of positioning, such as flanking when not using the optional flanking rules.
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    Default Re: Purpose of magical items (+1/+2/+3) in a bounded system with proficiency bonuses?

    Bounded accuracy is about the DM's or other designers assumptions.

    They can assume that the standard boundaries are monster AC 31 (vs player +11 to hit), monster ability 30, player ability 20, proficiency +6, weapon +3, armor AC 18, shield +2, armor +3, and DC 30 (vs +11 to roll). There are other circumstantial or limited modifiers but those are in theory limited.

    Most importantly, from the DM perspective, TNs shouldn't exceed something that can be rolled on a d20 with just ability score and proficiency, ie 1d20+11. That's why the absolute top AC for monster is 31 and the near impossible is DC 30. That's the boundary in bounded accuracy. The upper point at which Magic items or Spells are not required to succeed.

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    furious Re: Purpose of magical items (+1/+2/+3) in a bounded system with proficiency bonuses?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nefariis View Post
    Here is one aspect of 5e I never understood - why even have +1, +2, +3 magical weapons and Armor?

    The whole system is supposed to have bounded accuracy, and we already have a proficiency bonus system in place that raises with your total character level -

    so why do we have +1, +2, +3 items at all?

    Can't we just say that people get a +1 to armor and weapon/spell attacks at level 6, 11, and 16? and couldn't we just build this into the proficiency bonus system that literally already exists?

    If we are just doing it for the purpose of overcoming magical resistances, then couldn't we just have base magical items and call it a day?

    This seems like its just a relic from past systems that was ported over.

    And as a side note and a separate topic, I'm surprised that proficiency bonus isn't built into armor calculation.

    i.e (and I am completely making this up on the fly, don't get caught up in the exact numbers)

    leather = 9 + dex + PB
    hide = 10 + dex (2 max) + PB
    half plate = 13 + dex (+2 max) + PB
    Ringmail = 15 + PB
    Plate is = 16 + PB

    Essentially, the higher level you are, the better you are at dodging attacks in the same armor as a level 1 mook.

    So a level 1 fighter in plate has 18 AC and a level 20 fighter in the same plate is 22 AC - to me it makes perfect sense that someone with 20 levels of fighter should be more proficient at wearing that plate armor - and, as a bonus, you completely get rid of the +1, +2, +3 items.

    Thoughts?

    Level ups should be different rewards, plus scarcity of armours can play a huge role in some games. Losing armour may be devastating, especially if its a +2 or +3. Its done in order to give a different award that can be lost, as well as to have something more personalised.
    In your version, Plate would be it. Thats boring IMHO and that will make it so there is even less incentive to get money, as these things can, in most worlds, be bought for exorbitant prices. Because of their universality of usefulness, this makes money still worth getting after tier 2 or 3.

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    Default Re: Purpose of magical items (+1/+2/+3) in a bounded system with proficiency bonuses?

    On the side of armor there is utility in not having to recalculate your AC every time your prof goes up. If magic armor is how your AC increases then it is both infrequent and predictable, since you recalculate when your armor changes and only when your armor changes.

    As for weapons +X is an easy way to improve a weapon and can lead to interesting game play decisions if weapon X does not match build Y (Do you use that +1 shortsword or your spear with Pam, it may depend on the situation). Things like unique effects can do that but they can also be more complex to evaluate, depends on the target player/party.

    It is also much harder to take away prof in an edition that ran screaming from level drain effects.
    Last edited by Witty Username; 2021-04-23 at 12:11 AM.
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    Default Re: Purpose of magical items (+1/+2/+3) in a bounded system with proficiency bonuses?

    While the tiered bonuses are potentially questionable the +1/2/3 weapons and armor also represent the generically magical equipment in myth, folktales, and fiction. A lot of magical weapons in stories just have the quality of "being really good", so how do we represent that mechanically? A flat bonus to hit and damage makes not-Excalibur clearly superior to a mundane blade of even the finest craftsmanship, without loading it with extra powers and fictional implications that would come along with making it, say, a Flametongue.
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