Power Creep
  • Power Creep


    I was reading about the level cap increasing from 60 to 70 in an online game, with many new possibilities/abilities. "How do people keep track of so many abilities at such high levels?" I thought. Then I realized yet another reason why I prefer simple games: "A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away." Antoine de Saint-Exupery. Another version, about Japanese gardening, is "Your garden is not complete until there is nothing else that you can remove."


    Games are sets of artificial (separated from the real world) constraints, even games as "loosey-goosey" in rules as RPGs. Players agree to use and abide by these constraints. The best players are usually those who cope best with those constraints.

    "Power Creep virtually always leads to a Broken Base, with the most ‘conservative’ players stating that the new unbalanced content is an insult to the original game (which might be true or not, depending on the case)." --TV Tropes

    Good play comes not from having lots of things you can do, many of them really “OP” (overpowered), but from making good use of what you've got. Another case of creativity benefitting from constraints.

    Power creep is a common online (video) game problem that we can see in tabletop RPGs. The cause isn't online play, it's the frequent changes and additions to rules and to "content". New "stuff" is more attractive when it's better than the old stuff (duh!), so that's what the makers produce, and over time the entire game sees an increase in power, in what the players can do. (See “The Dilemma of the Simple RPG.”) This must be matched by an increase in the power of the opposition (more dangerous monsters) or the game becomes too easy. Some games handle the escalation better than others, but if the game was well-designed to begin with, power creep is likely to hurt the design.

    Make no mistake, I like blowing things up with tac nukes - well, fireballs anyway - and megawatt lasers (lightning bolts). But when you get up into Timestops and other Immense Godlike Powers, I think the GAME suffers in favor of the POWER TRIP. And at the same time it becomes less skillful, less clever, and harder to GM.

    I’ve often said, about 1e D&D, that the “sweet spot” for play was 3rd-9th level. Early on players were too fragile (not a problem in recent editions), and later on the game couldn’t cope well with double-figure levels. It got to the point that (as in WW II armored battles) whoever fired first usually won, because the attack capabilities were so strong. This is especially obvious where surprise is involved. If a game then “power creeps” to where 9th levels are as strong as 11th used to be, the situation worsens.

    Of course, many players and GMs don't care about skill or cleverness, they care about other things (among them, power trips). What I’ve said is descriptive, not prescriptive. I don't care how you run or play your game (unless I'm involved!).

    contributed by Lewis Pulsipher
    Comments 108 Comments
    1. Aenghus's Avatar
      Aenghus -
      The simplest sort of power creep is new stuff rendering old stuff potentially obsolete.

      More complex power creep involves combining stuff for unexpected power.Some abilities combo to be more powerful than the sum of the parts. Sometimes there are otherwiise decent abilities that come with a terrible drawback that makes them all but unplayable. But a new feature that removes or mitigates the drawback suddenly can make the ability very playable. Spellcasters find this easier as many of them can change spell loadouts, and learn shiny new spells, whereas non-spellcasters tend be stuck with what they've got in most editions.
    1. Celebrim's Avatar
      Celebrim -
      Quote Originally Posted by Saelorn View Post
      Hurloon minotaur saw plenty of use at my table, because they could protect me from benalish hero and couldn't be picked off by prodigal sorcerer. I could play my red deck against any of my friends, or anyone on the playground, and I wouldn't feel like my minotaurs were holding me back. To contrast, if I take that same red deck and pit it against any random deck of modern cards, I would fail miserably, due to Power Creep.
      I don't know that a random deck of older cards would not also defeat your hurloon minotaur deck as well, simply on average quality. And certainly, any modern deck you come across would be constructed, just as older decks were and no one still in magic is playing the meta of those first few days or months after the game was introduced, when packs were hard to find and people were talking about how $20 for a black lotus was ridiculous. The first and only time I deployed Hurloon Minotaurs on purpose, was when I had but two starter decks of Revised era cards. "Power Creep" in those terms, is best defined as me simply buying more cards since, even at the time I could have replaced what I had with things that were strictly or practically better since as a point of fact, the uncommon and rare creatures of the time (much less those of some distant future) were also better than those early common cards. The truth is your hurloon minotaur decks, with your benalish heros and prodigal sorcerers would have lost in a hurry to an real deck back then as well, and the limited meta you observed on the playground and the childish strategies employed there doesn't change that.

      I am the only one that has actually quoted a textbook definition of Power Creep.
    1. Saelorn's Avatar
      Saelorn -
      Quote Originally Posted by Celebrim View Post
      I don't know that a random deck of older cards would not also defeat your hurloon minotaur deck as well, simply on average quality. And certainly, any modern deck you come across would be constructed, just as older decks were and no one still in magic is playing the meta of those first few days or months after the game was introduced, when packs were hard to find and people were talking about how $20 for a black lotus was ridiculous.
      Nobody cares about pointless meta. The theoretical metagame is not the actual game itself. The actual game that was actually played was the one based around cards that real people actually owned, and that game included hurloon minotaurs. That is the previous state of cards, to which the current state of cards are actually compared, and from which Power Creep can easily be observed.
      Quote Originally Posted by Celebrim View Post
      I am the only one that has actually quoted a textbook definition of Power Creep.
      TV Tropes is the recognized source around these parts, as has been established many times throughout this thread, and it disagrees with you.
    1. Celebrim's Avatar
      Celebrim -
      Quote Originally Posted by Saelorn View Post
      TV Tropes is the recognized source around these parts, as has been established many times throughout this thread, and it disagrees with you.
      We've already established that that is not true, and it's there for anyone to see. Moreover, as I pointed out then, you cannot even accept or affirm the import very words you quoted in your defense without conceding to me the point. Power creep would be printing a better lightning bolt, or a better ancestral recall, or a better black vice, or a better dark ritual, or (as they eventually did) a better 'Serra Angel'. It would not be printing a better Hurloon Minotaur, since they'd already printed that in the first printing.
    1. Saelorn's Avatar
      Saelorn -
      Quote Originally Posted by Celebrim View Post
      We've already established that that is not true, and it's there for anyone to see. Moreover, as I pointed out then, you cannot even accept or affirm the import very words you quoted in your defense without conceding to me the point.
      I have no idea what you're saying here. TV Tropes agrees with me, and not you. People look to TV Tropes as the reference point on such matters.
      Quote Originally Posted by Celebrim View Post
      Power creep would be printing a better lightning bolt, or a better ancestral recall, or a better black vice, or a better dark ritual, or (as they eventually did) a better 'Serra Angel'. It would not be printing a better Hurloon Minotaur, since they'd already printed that in the first printing.
      Sedge Troll and Granite Gargoyle are not strictly better than Hurloon Minotaur. First of all, they have lower base toughness, which makes them inferior in at least some situations. More importantly, neither of those are common, which makes those cards entirely a non-factor at most tables; a good reason to include Hurloon Minotaur in a deck instead of Granite Gargoyle is that you don't own Granite Gargoyle.

      To contrast, Brazen Wolves and Kenra Scrapper and Kragma Butcher are all strictly better than Hurloon Minotaur. They all have the same attack and toughness and mana cost and rarity, except those three have extra abilities that let them hit twice as hard under common circumstances. I'm sure there are better examples somewhere.
    1. Jhaelen -
      The discussion has moved on quite a bit, but I still wanted to comment this:
      Quote Originally Posted by Celebrim View Post
      D&D has always encouraged monsters to be of a predictable difficulty. The lower level of the dungeon either has more zombies, or it has ghasts, or it has hill giant zomies. It doesn't just have ordinary zombies scaled up to threaten you.
      You're mostly right about the treatment of dungeons in D&D, but not regarding the treatment of wilderness areas. Wilderness encounters used a wide range of monster levels, although often encounters with very low level or very high level mosters were less likely.

      And regarding the issue of 'scaling monsters': This is something that is a thing in D&D 3e (and thus in Pathfinder): Monsters were given hit dice ranges (often accompanied by an increase in size), could have class levels, and have templates applied to them. This allows you to e.g. create challenging goblins (or zombies) for every party level.
      But it's definitely an outlier, 4e already moved away from this and I think 5e also doesn't have this.
    1. Imaculata's Avatar
      Imaculata -
      Quote Originally Posted by Celebrim View Post
      We've already established that that is not true, and it's there for anyone to see. Moreover, as I pointed out then, you cannot even accept or affirm the import very words you quoted in your defense without conceding to me the point. Power creep would be printing a better lightning bolt, or a better ancestral recall, or a better black vice, or a better dark ritual, or (as they eventually did) a better 'Serra Angel'. It would not be printing a better Hurloon Minotaur, since they'd already printed that in the first printing.
      Celebrim is right. Power creep only occurs if the older game element was actually viable and in use before the introduction of the element that is now objectively better, thus invalidating the older content. There has to be something to invalidate... the older content has to be viable first.
    1. Celebrim's Avatar
      Celebrim -
      Quote Originally Posted by Jhaelen View Post
      The discussion has moved on quite a bit, but I still wanted to comment this: You're mostly right about the treatment of dungeons in D&D, but not regarding the treatment of wilderness areas. Wilderness encounters used a wide range of monster levels, although often encounters with very low level or very high level mosters were less likely.
      The wide range of monster levels common in encounters or wilderness maps or on random encounter tables for outdoor areas is just more evidence that D&D didn't really see itself as having 'zones' in the sense World of Warcraft has them.
    1. Jay Verkuilen's Avatar
      Jay Verkuilen -
      Quote Originally Posted by Jhaelen View Post
      And regarding the issue of 'scaling monsters': This is something that is a thing in D&D 3e (and thus in Pathfinder): Monsters were given hit dice ranges (often accompanied by an increase in size), could have class levels, and have templates applied to them. This allows you to e.g. create challenging goblins (or zombies) for every party level.
      But it's definitely an outlier, 4e already moved away from this and I think 5e also doesn't have this.
      4E had a lot of scaling of monsters by a different means. There were a number of monsters that scaled up by getting new monsters within a given type. So there were "Paragon Tier" orc foes who were scaled up. They weren't "orcs" anymore, though, they would be "orc champions" or whatever. It wasn't done in a consistent fashion, though, so some monster types had no scaling at all while others got it a lot.

      5E has very little of this... it is something that having a robust set of templates would be very helpful for.
    1. Jay Verkuilen's Avatar
      Jay Verkuilen -
      Quote Originally Posted by Imaculata View Post
      Celebrim is right. Power creep only occurs if the older game element was actually viable and in use before the introduction of the element that is now objectively better, thus invalidating the older content. There has to be something to invalidate... the older content has to be viable first.
      In some cases the content might have been marginally viable. 4E had an egregious example of this with a number of feats. For instance, there was a feat called Paragon Defenses. It gave a +1 to Fort, Reflex, and Will and was Paragon tier. It was... meh. My guess is that not that many people took it. This got totally dominated by a later feat called Improved Defenses that was +1 to those defenses per tier. You should always take Improved Defenses and indeed many characters did. Now this is an example IMO of a marginal feat being recognized as being not a good buy and making a more competitive replacement. What WotC should have done is deprecate Paragon Defenses entirely. Instead what they did was leave both of them around.
    1. Jay Verkuilen's Avatar
      Jay Verkuilen -
      Quote Originally Posted by Saelorn View Post
      More importantly, neither of those are common, which makes those cards entirely a non-factor at most tables; a good reason to include Hurloon Minotaur in a deck instead of Granite Gargoyle is that you don't own Granite Gargoyle.
      This is a very good point and a huge difference between a game like D&D and a game like Magic. Magic is very explicitly a collectible game. Buying new cards to improve your collection was part of the game from day 1. Furthermore, MtG has no pretense to a secondary reality so that kind of consistency or parity among players isn't an issue. Having some dominated, explicitly weaker cards floating around is fine. In fact, someone might decide to make a game that says "build decks from commons only" or something like that as part of the theme. Or a player might decide to self-handicap by making a clearly dominated deck. (I know someone who did that a lot back in the day. He was a good player and would routinely beat people who weren't who had objectively better decks.)

      Aspects of D&D might be "collectible" too, in game, such as equipment. However character features like feats, skills, spells, etc., should not typically be explicitly dominated or be dominant and more importantly the game has a secondary reality to respect. Situational utility is, of course, quite another matter. That's a good thing and a key part of the game. But one character type or character ability shouldn't always be better or always be worse, in general. Power creep is really just referring to when dominated options are introduced over time.

      5E has some examples of this issue floating around, such as the really cheap "bad" armor types like padded vs. leather or ring mail. Why would anyone ever have padded armor given the quite minimal price difference? Leather is better in all ways. NPCs might, or the DM might have really tight money, but realistically this isn't likely to show up. More worrisome are some feats, like the Healer's Kit one, that are markedly better than many spells or skills. IMO the feats weren't designed that well and might have been done without a firm knowledge of the way the skill system was going to work. Of course the skill system isn't all that well designed either. The roll is fine, but what you can do with the roll is highly sketchy.
    1. Jay Verkuilen's Avatar
      Jay Verkuilen -
      Quote Originally Posted by Celebrim View Post
      The wide range of monster levels common in encounters or wilderness maps or on random encounter tables for outdoor areas is just more evidence that D&D didn't really see itself as having 'zones' in the sense World of Warcraft has them.
      I think zones evolved out of the needs of an online game where the programmers are essentially the "super DM" in a very large format. 1E and OD&D definitely had a certain amount of zoning to it, though it didn't have monster scaling (except, obviously, for PC race adversaries) and it wasn't implemented in a rigid way that a computer game would be. It didn't really need to be. OD&D was quite explicit about this: The Basic set encouraged mostly dungeon play while the Expert set introduced wilderness and the Champion set assumed characters were working on things like strongholds. AD&D1E also had this, with different "dungeon levels".
    1. Celebrim's Avatar
      Celebrim -
      Quote Originally Posted by Jay Verkuilen View Post
      Furthermore, MtG has no pretense to a secondary reality so that kind of consistency or parity among players isn't an issue. Having some dominated, explicitly weaker cards floating around is fine. In fact, someone might decide to make a game that says "build decks from commons only" or something like that as part of the theme. Or a player might decide to self-handicap by making a clearly dominated deck. (I know someone who did that a lot back in the day. He was a good player and would routinely beat people who weren't who had objectively better decks.)
      There are a variety of points raised here. Magic has such a long and complicated history, and the design team uses power creep and power decay in very complex ways to create ever evolving and dynamic balance, that I really don't prefer to use it as a broad example to illustrate simple points. In magic playing with just "commons" on purpose is called "Peasant", and it has its own set of metarules (actually several sets) and its own metagame. One of the reasons that players, even those with a lot of cards, enjoy "Peasant" is that there hasn't actually been nearly as much power creep in Peasant over the course of magic history as their has been in the wider game. It's usually the rare cards that have pushed the boundaries. Cards like Dark Ritual, Lightning Bolt, Hymn to Tourach and so forth are still very viable and important Peasant cards. In fact, what's actually happened is over time is all the different strategies available to the deck builder in the larger metagame have become available to a "Peasant" deckbuilder, but with much greater constraints. The result is that there is a greater variety of viable decks and strategies compared to almost any other meta.

      But commonality isn't a real constraint on the metagame as a whole. Originally Garfield thought commonality would be a balancing feature, but of course people did put together decks with 20 black lotuses, 20 ancestral recalls, and 20 black vices. Using commonality as a constraint would be kind of like looking at rarity of magical items as a constraint on power creep. Adding a sword +10 hackmaster to the game, even if on the random treasure tables it was an unlikely result, would still be power creep. So when Unearthed Arcana added +5 Field Plate or +4 Full Plate to the game, that was straight up power creep. Conversely, if someone added a longsword +2 flametongue to the game, this wouldn't be power creep because weapons like +5 longswords, +3 frostbrands, and so forth already existed. Sure, a +2 flametongue would be straight up better than a +1 flametongue, but it would just be exploring new design space, not invalidating the already existing and arguably overpowered +4 sword of sharpness as a weapon - to say nothing of 'combo pieces' like a hammer of thunderbolts. A +2 flametongue is balanced, and therefore not powercreep. A +5 flametongue on the other hand breaks certain 'rules' about what sort of item is valid implicit in the available magic items, and would be powercreep.

      It's I think pretty silly to complain about a sword +2 defender as 'power creep', simply because the only weapon you own is a sword +1. Getting a sword +2 might be a big upgrade for your character if all you own is a sword +1, but its not "power creep".

      I think the "commonality" situation with collectible card games is equivalent to the "supplement" problem with RPGs, but the easiest way to explain that is reverse the complaint. Imagine that you can't use a rule unless you own the supplement. Two players of the game are talking, and one says, "The game is very unbalanced. There has been a lot of power creep." The other player says, "What do you mean? I find the game very balanced." After some inquiry, it comes out that the second player has never purchased the supplements that introduced the power creep because he lacks the funds to do so. Later, the second player buys a supplement, and says to the first, "Oh, I see what you mean. The Monk and the Thief are so much more powerful in this supplement. And the level cap on Dwarf fighters and Halfling fighters has been basically doubled. Look at all this power creep!" But the first player then responds, "What do you mean? That supplement is one of the few that is actually well balanced. Monk and Thief were very underpowered, and the original rules steered you away from playing Dwarfs and Halflings because they had no ability to contribute the end game. It wasn't really viable to play a Monk or a Thief until that supplement came out, and I'd be happy to allow it in my game... it's what they did with Paladins and all the broken spells they introduced for M-U's that gave them solutions to any conceivable problem that was what I was talking about when I said there had been power creep."

      There are actually conversations about D&D in other threads very similar to that (though typically not about 1e), where people fight out over whether you should use supplements or stick to core, or which supplements you need to introduce in order to balance core.

      5E has some examples of this issue floating around, such as the really cheap "bad" armor types like padded vs. leather or ring mail. Why would anyone ever have padded armor given the quite minimal price difference? Leather is better in all ways.
      There are a number of examples in the weapons table as well, where the weapon is strictly worse than a weapon in the same class (ei, both are martial weapons or both are simple weapons). I consider this bad design, but the upside of that is that it leaves design space to explore, were you can have an optional rule that gives those previously subpar weapons situational utility. As long as you were careful, that wouldn't be power creep - that'd still be balanced with other weapons with other sorts of utility. Of course, a good fraction of power creep happens when designers trying to open up new creative design place, get too generous with their supposedly situational utility.
    1. Tony Vargas -
      Quote Originally Posted by Jay Verkuilen View Post
      I think zones evolved out of the needs of an online game where the programmers are essentially the "super DM" in a very large format. 1E and OD&D definitely had a certain amount of zoning to it, ... AD&D1E also had this, with different "dungeon levels".
      When I created a homebrew world for 1e AD&D, c1983, I consciously made some areas 'low level' compared to others. One city-state had extensive catacombs that were a low-level dungeon, another area was deep forest that was comparatively dangerous 'mid level' - except around magically-protected ley-lines linking the towns and holy sites in the forest, if you stayed on those paths it was 'low level,' etc...

      Quote Originally Posted by Jay Verkuilen View Post
      What WotC should have done is deprecate Paragon Defenses entirely. Instead what they did was leave both of them around.
      That was only one of many examples. It was in service to the fiction that "Essentials" was not a 4.5 half-ed replacing 4e, but just an addition to it.
    1. Saelorn's Avatar
      Saelorn -
      Quote Originally Posted by Jay Verkuilen View Post
      Aspects of D&D might be "collectible" too, in game, such as equipment. However character features like feats, skills, spells, etc., should not typically be explicitly dominated or be dominant and more importantly the game has a secondary reality to respect. Situational utility is, of course, quite another matter. That's a good thing and a key part of the game. But one character type or character ability shouldn't always be better or always be worse, in general. Power creep is really just referring to when dominated options are introduced over time.
      One of the strengths of 5E is that magic items are not comparable. A flametongue does way more damage than a frostbrand, but since there's no price or crafting rules for magic items, you never have to choose between them. You just take what you can find, because your alternative is to not take it.

      The big problem with item crafting in 3E/Pathfinder or 4E is that everything had an explicit value, and was relatively easy to make or sell/disenchant, so ninety percent of items in the book went unused since they were obviously inferior to the superior ten percent. And of course, Power Creep eventually introduced more powerful options which rendered previously-situational items completely obsolete.

      Quote Originally Posted by Jay Verkuilen View Post
      5E has some examples of this issue floating around, such as the really cheap "bad" armor types like padded vs. leather or ring mail. Why would anyone ever have padded armor given the quite minimal price difference?
      I think those are there for poor NPCs (the difference between ~10gp and ~50gp is huge to a peasant), or in case you need to outfit an army.
    1. Jay Verkuilen's Avatar
      Jay Verkuilen -
      Quote Originally Posted by Tony Vargas View Post
      When I created a homebrew world for 1e AD&D, c1983, I consciously made some areas 'low level' compared to others. One city-state had extensive catacombs that were a low-level dungeon, another area was deep forest that was comparatively dangerous 'mid level' - except around magically-protected ley-lines linking the towns and holy sites in the forest, if you stayed on those paths it was 'low level,' etc...
      Yes, many folks did that same kind of thing. I certainly did. There were areas that were definitely "high level need only apply" type areas in my own campaign world, which I started sketching out in the early 1990s but didn't really build out much until the mid to late 1990s, and it's still running after all these years, though in a highly altered form.

      That was only one of many examples. It was in service to the fiction that "Essentials" was not a 4.5 half-ed replacing 4e, but just an addition to it.
      Yeah, 4E near the end was a blizzard of way too much poorly organized content. Of course, those online releases are their own form of 5.5. Unlike a real 5.5, they're not being revised for the various issues that 5E does have. We'll see what Xanthar's does.
    1. Jay Verkuilen's Avatar
      Jay Verkuilen -
      Quote Originally Posted by Saelorn View Post
      One of the strengths of 5E is that magic items are not comparable. A flametongue does way more damage than a frostbrand, but since there's no price or crafting rules for magic items, you never have to choose between them. You just take what you can find, because your alternative is to not take it.
      Interesting what people see as a feature is IMO one of the giant glaring weaknesses of 5E, the lack of prices or crafting rules. Combined with attunement, lots of times I find that I hand out items as DM that seem cool but the PCs have no use for and can't even sell... because there are no prices. Well they can sell them, but I have to do a lot of hemming and hawing and winging it, and looking in my 1E DMG for some guidance.

      I get that they were trying to avoid Ye Olde Magic Shoppe, but no system at all isn't really a solution, it's just pretending there isn't a problem. Of course, that's a common one for the current 5E design team, who just do a lot of things by fiat without providing any kind of in game reasoning for them. Just sticking to magic items: Why only 3 items for attunement? Why does this never change? Why are some items attunement and others not?


      The big problem with item crafting in 3E/Pathfinder or 4E is that everything had an explicit value, and was relatively easy to make or sell/disenchant, so ninety percent of items in the book went unused since they were obviously inferior to the superior ten percent. And of course, Power Creep eventually introduced more powerful options which rendered previously-situational items completely obsolete.
      4E was filled with lots and lots of marginally useful to crappy items. A guy I used to play with put it well when he said that "4E simultaneously made magic items both utterly necessary and amazingly boring."

      I think those are there for poor NPCs (the difference between ~10gp and ~50gp is huge to a peasant), or in case you need to outfit an army.
      I'm sure, but I could have just had a "low quality" option for armor which would have done the job easily without putting in dominated options. There are a number of weapons like that, too.
    1. Tony Vargas -
      Quote Originally Posted by Jay Verkuilen View Post
      Interesting what people see as a feature is IMO one of the giant glaring weaknesses of 5E, the lack of prices or crafting rules. ..I get that they were trying to avoid Ye Olde Magic Shoppe,
      It seems like every edition over-corrects for some problem or another...
      4E was filled with lots and lots of marginally useful to crappy items. A guy I used to play with put it well when he said that "4E simultaneously made magic items both utterly necessary and amazingly boring." .
      Similar case: 4e tried to get away from 'overpowered' items and put more 'build' customization in the character rather than the items, it worked, but the items stopped being exciting. Though, to be fair, they weren't necessary, at all, either - you could flip on Inherent bonuses to cover their contribution to expected scaling with level and dispense with them entirely.

      5e items are OP be design, so they're potentially exciting, but you can't afford to give out many of them, and make/buy like 4e & 3e had would be a campaign-wrecker of epic proportions.
    1. Jay Verkuilen's Avatar
      Jay Verkuilen -
      Quote Originally Posted by Tony Vargas View Post
      It seems like every edition over-corrects for some problem or another...
      Similar case: 4e tried to get away from 'overpowered' items and put more 'build' customization in the character rather than the items, it worked, but the items stopped being exciting. Though, to be fair, they weren't necessary, at all, either - you could flip on Inherent bonuses to cover their contribution to expected scaling with level and dispense with them entirely.
      Yes, it did but the static bonus was most of it, unless you shopped really well for things that were encounter powers or properties. Those Daily use items were pretty bleh most of the time and many were really lame, like spend a Daily power to get a +2 or so on a roll.


      5e items are OP be design, so they're potentially exciting, but you can't afford to give out many of them, and make/buy like 4e & 3e had would be a campaign-wrecker of epic proportions.
      I'm not sure that's necessarily true. Some items would be, sure, but many others not so much. Most potions, for instance, would be quite safe to allow PCs to manufacture and buy. Masterwork items would also help a ton to open up the gap between highly powered magic items and just "cool" but not overwhelming items. For example a masterwork weapon that has a bonus to hit and damage but which doesn't penetrate weapon resistances.

      No economy means it's hard to design an item as DM, too. I've DMed for close to 40 years now so I'm decent at deciding such things, but I know people who aren't nearly so good at it must find it hard to operate in the areas of the game that provide little or no guidance, most notably the lack of an economy and the lack of concrete guidance on skill usage.
    1. Tony Vargas -
      Quote Originally Posted by Jay Verkuilen View Post
      Yes, it did but the static bonus was most of it,
      And you could do without those if the campaign uses inherent bonuses...
      . Those Daily use items were pretty bleh most of the time and many were really lame,
      Magic item dailies didn't compare to class dailies, which players had complete control over, so items weren't that significant.
      A stark contrast to other editions, and something that mapped with player focus - items were more potent, comparable in power to PC spells in 3e, while in 5e, like the classic game, item can arbitrarily do things no character ability can match.

      I'm not sure that's necessarily true.
      There are innocuous items, of course, but the design assumption of 5e was no items, and items make you 'Just better."

      That there's the full range of inocuous, to 'Just better' to game-breaking, though....
      No economy means it's hard to design an item as DM, too.
      There is that. It also makes it easier to say 'no' to players wanting to make/buy...
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