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    Default +3.5+ Materia you say?!

    Backstory:

    I (for those of you who haven't been keeping up) am running an Oriental Adventures campaign. Because I'm a horrible, horrible person, I had the thought "Hey...everything's better with Materia, right? Yeah!" And lo, materia was introdiced into my campaign.

    The problem:

    How does materia work in D&D, exactly? And what are the power-balance implications?

    I've looked around on the boards, and I found the Final Fantasy d20 system, and specifically its Materia PDF. I kinda like this, but it's kinda hit and miss.

    On the one hand, it has listings for armor/weapon enhancements. But the one problem with it is that materia grants spellcasting ability, which those listed in the PDF do not.

    My current ideas for materia are basically like combining a Knowstone and an Augment Crystal, with higher character levels granting higher access to higher bonuses/spells.

    An example would be:

    Fire Materia
    At Character Level 3 (my party's level, currently):
    -If applied to armor, functions as a Clasp of Energy Protection, Least
    -If applied to a weapon, functions as a Crystal of Energy Assault, Least
    -Universal Effect: Grants access to the spell Burning Hands.

    With scaling bonuses as they gain levels.


    How does this look to you guys? Good? Bad? Game-breaking? It should be noted that materia aren't going to be as available as they were in, say, FFVII, but that 2/5 partymembers posess one currently (though they don't really know what to do with it.
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    Default Re: +3.5+ Materia you say?!

    In order to off set the advantages provided to the materia, there should be a cost of 10,000 GP and a limit to how many a person can carry. You could also introduce an NPC who steals materia. Apparently materia could function like a wand that has infinite charges.
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    Default Re: +3.5+ Materia you say?!

    Materia in Final Fantasy VII allowed the player to customize their character's abilities; without them, the character's only had two options: Attack and Item. They gained spellcasting, thief abilities, and other special abilities based on that. Each materia would modifier a series of stats (that, in my play-through, never mattered).

    You can port the concept over to D&D: Specific spheres that bind with an equipment that is designed with "slots." I haven't looked at the Final Fantasy d20 set (I do think it's rather difficult to capture the feel from every game into one concise system).

    However, I agree with your interpretation: Each slot has a type--armor resistance add for elemental, weapon damage type add for elemental, and universal adds something else.

    Though here's where I'd draw the line: Each materia should have a threshold that, if any character finds one and a slotted item, and puts the two together, the effect should be minimal. There should be either be a class or a feat that allows you to get more from the materia, because you are in-tune with it. This would level the powerfield. The reason suggest is this is that Final Fantasy combat is ability-driven--your characters' potential power is based on what abilities they have access to, the flexibility of the system alters the flexibility of the characters throughout. D&D combat is character and level driven; both the innovation of the player and what abilities they have access to, accumulated through class and feat selection, is the driving force--items fall under this. A cloak of elvenkind is only useful to a character who can effectively utilize hide checks. A fighter with full plate is less likely to use it because it doesn't present an adequate option, and then might be kept for a character who can utilize it, or sold at the nearest vendor. Likewise, a Full Plate +2 is useless to a rogue or a ranger, but not a fighter or a paladin.

    By bringing up a power source independent of a character's abilities, you give them a plethora of options that easily customize tactics independent of their innate abilities. It's not broken, it's just not in-line with what you can do with D&D--if it's what you and your playing group want, go for it.

    By providing a power source that scales with the characters' power... well, how do you explain that in such a way that it makes sense? There are no items that are purely level-dependent. A DM controls the power of his group, with regards to items, by simply not giving out items that would let them overpower an equivalent CR encounter (1st level fighter with a +5 Vorpal Greatsword, for example)--even if a scroll is found too high of your level, it's dangerous for a spellcaster to use it because utilizing what is in it is determined by the character's own innate power.

    I'd therefore rule that materia as a power source should have feats and classes available to utilize the full extent of that power.

    That's all.
    Last edited by Neek; 2008-12-14 at 11:31 PM.
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    Default Re: +3.5+ Materia you say?!

    Might I suggest you look at Magic of Incarnum for something very similar to what you want that works very well once you get the hang of it?

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    Default Re: +3.5+ Materia you say?!

    Materia? You mean Weapon/Armor Crystals?

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    Default Re: +3.5+ Materia you say?!

    @ KKL: Yeah, basically. Except those don't give you spells to make people fall down, just effects.


    @ Vortling: You might.

    @ Neek/Assasin 89 (since I just realized part of this answers your post too): I don't really want to introduce classes or feats only because it would then require my characters being required to take them in order to use these items. These items, by the way, are not purchasable (at least for now), much in the way of Artifacts. As for slots, there's rules for how many slots DnD items have in the MiC, I think. And as for justifying it, I think it's an interesting concept to have a power-scaling item. And also, I plan on having them either be like Eternal Wands in the fact of having /day uses of spells, or having them cost two spell slots of whatever spell level it is if it isn't a class spell for you: i.e. if a Sorceror had a materia which granted him Cure Light Wounds, it would cost two level 1 slots. (Or is CLW an orision? I can never remember.)
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    Default Re: +3.5+ Materia you say?!

    Magicite would be more fun. Okay, honestly, gameplay wise, not really.

    Anyway, what I think is that they act like Weapon Crystals of some kind, except they also allow you to cast a spell, say 3 times per day, or access to a feat (Command materia). While you could use them effectively infinitely in FFVII, remember that D&D does not have MP, it works on a spells-per-day system. So, they can only use a certain number of spells from each materia per day. And this would apply to all Materia-based spells, so they can't just swap out the individual crystals.

    Not sure how to handle Support materia, but this should cover the red, green, and yellow kinds.
    Last edited by Nerd-o-rama; 2008-12-15 at 12:41 AM.
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    Default Re: +3.5+ Materia you say?!

    Quote Originally Posted by Nerd-o-rama View Post
    Magicite would be more fun.
    There aren't any green-haired half-esper women in my campaign, unfortunately.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xyk View Post
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    Quote Originally Posted by tyckspoon View Post
    ..thank you, Deth Muncher. My life is richer for being aware of this. And weirder. ("You destroyed my friends! I will have my vengeance! Face the fury of my pelvic thrusts!" "Oh yeah? LAZOR!")
    Quote Originally Posted by golentan View Post
    You all are a terrible species. I'm going back to my fortress of misanthropy now.

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    Default Re: +3.5+ Materia you say?!

    Edited useful advice into my post. And why not?
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    Default Re: +3.5+ Materia you say?!

    Quote Originally Posted by Vortling View Post
    Might I suggest you look at Magic of Incarnum for something very similar to what you want that works very well once you get the hang of it?
    I second this
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    Default Re: +3.5+ Materia you say?!

    Quote Originally Posted by Innis Cabal View Post
    I second this
    Y'know, come to think of it...I don't think I've ever seen the Magic of Incarnum book, ever. Unless...wait, is it in Tome of Magic?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xyk View Post
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    Quote Originally Posted by tyckspoon View Post
    ..thank you, Deth Muncher. My life is richer for being aware of this. And weirder. ("You destroyed my friends! I will have my vengeance! Face the fury of my pelvic thrusts!" "Oh yeah? LAZOR!")
    Quote Originally Posted by golentan View Post
    You all are a terrible species. I'm going back to my fortress of misanthropy now.

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    Default Re: +3.5+ Materia you say?!

    Quote Originally Posted by Deth Muncher View Post
    There aren't any green-haired half-esper women in my campaign, unfortunately.
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    Default Re: +3.5+ Materia you say?!

    Quote Originally Posted by Nerd-o-rama View Post
    Edited useful advice into my post. And why not?
    Because people obviously fail at making characters. Who wouldn't want ot make a character who could morph into part of a godlike race at will /encounter?

    ...

    Actually, 4e probably handled that. Damn you /encounter powers.

    Anyway! Back to the rest of your revised post. I think the 3/day use of a spell would work pretty well. Actually, even with Support Spells, since, y'know, there are Support-Effects as Augment Crystals: Blurring, Blinking, etc. But this raises the question, should each materia have multiple spells, or just one? Or, even, have the Lesser/Normal/Greater versions of a single spell? That might work...
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xyk View Post
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    Quote Originally Posted by tyckspoon View Post
    ..thank you, Deth Muncher. My life is richer for being aware of this. And weirder. ("You destroyed my friends! I will have my vengeance! Face the fury of my pelvic thrusts!" "Oh yeah? LAZOR!")
    Quote Originally Posted by golentan View Post
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    Default Re: +3.5+ Materia you say?!

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldariel View Post
    Add. Everything is 100% better with Terra.
    I lol'd, by the way.


    Well, more of a chuckle, but that still counts as lol'ing.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xyk View Post
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    Quote Originally Posted by tyckspoon View Post
    ..thank you, Deth Muncher. My life is richer for being aware of this. And weirder. ("You destroyed my friends! I will have my vengeance! Face the fury of my pelvic thrusts!" "Oh yeah? LAZOR!")
    Quote Originally Posted by golentan View Post
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    Default Re: +3.5+ Materia you say?!

    Magic of Incarnum is a very love it or hate it book. The few people who talk about it love it, but you'll find few people talking about it since few bought it. Then there are some people who are just squicked out by the whole concept of forging equipment with soulstuff and won't touch the book with a ten-foot-pole.

    I recommend you take this thread to homebrew first, get some examples made so that people can pass judgment rather than merely guess at the power level of these items.
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    Default Re: +3.5+ Materia you say?!

    Quote Originally Posted by UglyPanda View Post
    I recommend you take this thread to homebrew first, get some examples made so that people can pass judgment rather than merely guess at the power level of these items.
    No need to guess: the internet says all power levels are over 9000.

    But I think I might need to take this to homebrew, yes.

    In the meantime, however, what sort if interesting things should be rewarded with materia? I'm thinking such fun things as:

    -Deafeating Spellcasters
    -Defeating Nature Spirits
    -Defeating Uber-Baddies (Summons, anyone?)
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    Quote Originally Posted by golentan View Post
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    Default Re: +3.5+ Materia you say?!

    Quote Originally Posted by Neek View Post
    By providing a power source that scales with the characters' power... well, how do you explain that in such a way that it makes sense? There are no items that are purely level-dependent. A DM controls the power of his group, with regards to items, by simply not giving out items that would let them overpower an equivalent CR encounter (1st level fighter with a +5 Vorpal Greatsword, for example)--even if a scroll is found too high of your level, it's dangerous for a spellcaster to use it because utilizing what is in it is determined by the character's own innate power.
    Well, in Final Fantasy VII materia worked by helping you get more in tune with the planet in order to bolster your abilities or call up magic. Perhaps in D&D they help you tune in more to arcane/divine energies, and higher level characters are more able to tune into the energies in this way.

    Due to the fact that materia have a form of sentience, and call upon these energies differently than mortals do, arcane and divine casters aren't at any kind of advantage when using materia, since it's a completely foreign way of using magic. Similar in a sense to the way a multiclass wizard/sorcerer can't mix and match arcane magic.

    Also, for a workable system of limiting materia, if you want to do it the simple way, just have them be a certain number of uses/day. If you're willing to get into some math, use a magic point system, such as spells with materia cost spell level squared in magic points to cast, with level 0 spells also costing one magic point to cast. Then give characters an appropriate number of magic points each level, based on how much of a role you want materia to play in the game. BESM uses 1d2 + lowest mental stat modifier, minimum 1, unless a character has special training. You might need to modify that to make it work for your game though, assuming you even want to deal with that in the first place.

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    Default Re: +3.5+ Materia you say?!

    Hi Deth Muncher.

    I have a really simple way of looking at this.

    If you allow materia, each character can essentially become a sorcerer in addition to whatevwer they already are. Characters who are already sorcerers can become double-sorcerers.

    Esentially, you are allowing your character to go gestalt. So to balance it, throw monsters at them that are +1 CR higher than you would normally use.

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    If you read the rules for balancing CR for gestalt characters, at the link above, ignore the part about monsters with save-or-die type effects. Your characters aren't truly gestalt and having extra spellcasting doesn't increase their base saving throws. On the other hand, realise that any monsters who are highly susceptible to magic are extra weak against your materia-packin' players, so if you use such monsters you should aim for a CR +2 higher than you would normally use, instead of +1. If you give your monsters materia, aim or the same CR you would normally use.

    Remember that since your players will typically face higher-CR creatures, they will gain XP and level faster unless you use the gestalt rules for fixing XP, also given at the link above.


    So, just make sure you allow sufficient materia for your characters to cast spells like a sorcerer of their same level, and nothing higher than that (or very little), then use the gestalt rules as if they were all sorceror-whatever hybrids.

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    Last edited by Another_Poet; 2008-12-15 at 10:32 AM.
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    Default Re: +3.5+ Materia you say?!

    Quote Originally Posted by Eclipse View Post
    Well, in Final Fantasy VII materia worked by helping you get more in tune with the planet in order to bolster your abilities or call up magic. Perhaps in D&D they help you tune in more to arcane/divine energies, and higher level characters are more able to tune into the energies in this way.
    Then one could use the Magic Rating. I'm not saying it can't be done. I just wouldn't do it that way. :P I did ignore one main point: Materia leveled up by use. Perhaps you could charge it with XP to build its power to get higher-level abilities out of it?
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    Default Re: +3.5+ Materia you say?!

    If one considers the mechanics of the materia in Final Fantasy VII , in the D&D world, it would equate to having a level in the sorcerer class because no spell book would be needed. the use of materia should have a limit per day to prevent situations such as the torturous knight of the round x4.
    Last edited by Assassin89; 2008-12-15 at 12:58 PM.
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    Default Re: +3.5+ Materia you say?!

    Quote Originally Posted by Neek View Post
    Then one could use the Magic Rating. I'm not saying it can't be done. I just wouldn't do it that way. :P I did ignore one main point: Materia leveled up by use. Perhaps you could charge it with XP to build its power to get higher-level abilities out of it?
    I wouldn't use the magic rating; this gives an inherent bonus to spellcasters, which I tried to avoid with the rest of the fluff provided in the second part of my post. The reason I don't like giving spellcasters an advantage with materia is that they're already powerful enough, and giving them a higher net magic gain than the other classes seems like a recipe for more trouble.

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    Default Re: +3.5+ Materia you say?!

    I never suggested using them in conjunction with spellcasting (Magic Rating only boosts multiclass casters). You could use just one column to determine "materia-user level" as a whole.
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    Default Re: +3.5+ Materia you say?!

    Quote Originally Posted by Nerd-o-rama View Post
    Magicite would be more fun. Okay, honestly, gameplay wise, not really.
    Nah, the Deifacted Nethecite from FFXII; now that's fun.

    "Let's experiment on the mysterious, plot-critical glowing crystal by exposing it to the radiation from the main lift/drive reactor of our airship. What could possibly go wrong?"
    (IANMTU)

    Anyway, what I think is that they act like Weapon Crystals of some kind, except they also allow you to cast a spell, say 3 times per day, or access to a feat (Command materia). While you could use them effectively infinitely in FFVII, remember that D&D does not have MP, it works on a spells-per-day system. So, they can only use a certain number of spells from each materia per day. And this would apply to all Materia-based spells, so they can't just swap out the individual crystals.
    Beaten to it by a country mile.

    Not sure how to handle Support materia, but this should cover the red, green, and yellow kinds.
    Support materia = Ioun stones, perchance?

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    Default Re: +3.5+ Materia you say?!

    Quote Originally Posted by Eclipse View Post
    Well, in Final Fantasy VII materia worked by helping you get more in tune with the planet in order to bolster your abilities or call up magic. Perhaps in D&D they help you tune in more to arcane/divine energies, and higher level characters are more able to tune into the energies in this way.

    Due to the fact that materia have a form of sentience, and call upon these energies differently than mortals do, arcane and divine casters aren't at any kind of advantage when using materia, since it's a completely foreign way of using magic. Similar in a sense to the way a multiclass wizard/sorcerer can't mix and match arcane magic.

    Also, for a workable system of limiting materia, if you want to do it the simple way, just have them be a certain number of uses/day. If you're willing to get into some math, use a magic point system, such as spells with materia cost spell level squared in magic points to cast, with level 0 spells also costing one magic point to cast. Then give characters an appropriate number of magic points each level, based on how much of a role you want materia to play in the game. BESM uses 1d2 + lowest mental stat modifier, minimum 1, unless a character has special training. You might need to modify that to make it work for your game though, assuming you even want to deal with that in the first place.
    My understanding was that materia was crystalised mako which is basically liquid spiritual energy. This spiritual energy comes from everyone who has lived and died on the planet. When you equip materia you are gaining the knowledge of those who have lived previously. So you can cast spells for example even though you've never studied magic because someone in the past worked out how to cast spells.

    Casting was limited in the game by MP (mind points). Casting spells came with an MP cost depending on what you were trying to do.

    I'm not sure how you'd handle this in D&D. Materia lets anyone use magic, even the fighter types. Then you have to add in MP or some equivalent.

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    Default Re: +3.5+ Materia you say?!

    Quote Originally Posted by UglyPanda View Post
    Magic of Incarnum is a very love it or hate it book. The few people who talk about it love it, but you'll find few people talking about it since few bought it. Then there are some people who are just squicked out by the whole concept of forging equipment with soulstuff and won't touch the book with a ten-foot-pole.

    I recommend you take this thread to homebrew first, get some examples made so that people can pass judgment rather than merely guess at the power level of these items.
    Well, I hunted the book down, and I do like Incarnum, but I'm not quite sure how to use it to be materia. Any ideas?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xyk View Post
    I've always considered breakfast to be evil. Looking at me with it's bacon-smile, and it's sunny-side-up eyes. I know it's plotting something.
    Quote Originally Posted by tyckspoon View Post
    ..thank you, Deth Muncher. My life is richer for being aware of this. And weirder. ("You destroyed my friends! I will have my vengeance! Face the fury of my pelvic thrusts!" "Oh yeah? LAZOR!")
    Quote Originally Posted by golentan View Post
    You all are a terrible species. I'm going back to my fortress of misanthropy now.

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    Default Re: +3.5+ Materia you say?!

    Quote Originally Posted by holywhippet View Post
    My understanding was that materia was crystalised mako which is basically liquid spiritual energy. This spiritual energy comes from everyone who has lived and died on the planet. When you equip materia you are gaining the knowledge of those who have lived previously. So you can cast spells for example even though you've never studied magic because someone in the past worked out how to cast spells.

    Casting was limited in the game by MP (mind points). Casting spells came with an MP cost depending on what you were trying to do.

    I'm not sure how you'd handle this in D&D. Materia lets anyone use magic, even the fighter types. Then you have to add in MP or some equivalent.
    Protip: Fighters can use wands too. (Oh, and I'm just saying, if anyone takes that and makes a Giamonk reference, I'm hunting them down and finding something unpleasant to do to them.) I'm thinking if someone without casting gets a Materia, they automatically get the effects to the weapons, and make a UMD check to use one of the attatched spells.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xyk View Post
    I've always considered breakfast to be evil. Looking at me with it's bacon-smile, and it's sunny-side-up eyes. I know it's plotting something.
    Quote Originally Posted by tyckspoon View Post
    ..thank you, Deth Muncher. My life is richer for being aware of this. And weirder. ("You destroyed my friends! I will have my vengeance! Face the fury of my pelvic thrusts!" "Oh yeah? LAZOR!")
    Quote Originally Posted by golentan View Post
    You all are a terrible species. I'm going back to my fortress of misanthropy now.

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    Default Re: +3.5+ Materia you say?!

    Seriously, it was said before. The exact things you're looking for are in the Magic Item Compendium, at the very beginning of the book. Snap on enhancements. Balanced and fun, and allows players to customize cheaply.
    Check out a bunch of stuff I wrote for my campaign world of Oz.

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    Default Re: +3.5+ Materia you say?!

    Quote Originally Posted by Burley Warlock View Post
    Seriously, it was said before. The exact things you're looking for are in the Magic Item Compendium, at the very beginning of the book. Snap on enhancements. Balanced and fun, and allows players to customize cheaply.
    Right. I know this. And acknowledged this. In the OP. But Augment Crystals don't grant spells, which materia do, thusly being the problem.

    But, I think what I'm going to do is just pick one spell/level to be added to the materia, and if the person using the materia has the ability to cast spells of that level, he can cast with no issue. If he can't, then it follow UMD rules.

    EDIT: I did not mention it in the OP, although I meant to, since I was using those as a base.
    Last edited by Deth Muncher; 2008-12-16 at 09:02 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xyk View Post
    I've always considered breakfast to be evil. Looking at me with it's bacon-smile, and it's sunny-side-up eyes. I know it's plotting something.
    Quote Originally Posted by tyckspoon View Post
    ..thank you, Deth Muncher. My life is richer for being aware of this. And weirder. ("You destroyed my friends! I will have my vengeance! Face the fury of my pelvic thrusts!" "Oh yeah? LAZOR!")
    Quote Originally Posted by golentan View Post
    You all are a terrible species. I'm going back to my fortress of misanthropy now.

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    Default Re: +3.5+ Materia you say?!

    Quote Originally Posted by Deth Muncher View Post
    Protip: Fighters can use wands too.
    No they can't. You can only use a wand if the spell it triggers is on the spell list of a class you have a level in. A pure fighter has no spell lists.

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    Default Re: +3.5+ Materia you say?!

    Quote Originally Posted by Deth Muncher View Post
    Right. I know this. And acknowledged this. In the OP. But Augment Crystals don't grant spells, which materia do, thusly being the problem.

    But, I think what I'm going to do is just pick one spell/level to be added to the materia, and if the person using the materia has the ability to cast spells of that level, he can cast with no issue. If he can't, then it follow UMD rules.

    EDIT: I did not mention it in the OP, although I meant to, since I was using those as a base.
    What I would do, so as not to give casters another unfair advantage, is make the spellcasting like a Wondrous Item that can cast a spell X times per day no matter who uses it (effectively, it works like a Command Word-activated item). Making it work like a wand seems against the original intent of the thing.

    Quote Originally Posted by holywhippet View Post
    No they can't. You can only use a wand if the spell it triggers is on the spell list of a class you have a level in. A pure fighter has no spell lists.
    He's talking about the Use Magic Device skill. It's not an efficient way to use wands, but it does make it possible.
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