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Thread: Where Has All the Magic Gone?
Friday, 12th December, 2008, 03:53 PM #41
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Friday, 12th December, 2008, 03:56 PM #42
Lama (Lvl 13)
Granted, although magic items in 2e did seem more "magical" it might be nostaligia tainting my opinion.
The Bag of Tricks in the AV really bothered me and some of my players when we first read it. That was our favorite magic item from 2nd edition (along with the Deck of Many Things). The 4e BoT is so bland and balanced that none of them would actually enjoy using it. So i made up my own with my own rules and my own animals. After some playtesting i'll post it here eventually if anyone wants to use it. It does not follow the 4e magic item paradigm at all and should probably be considered a Minor Artifact, OR, just take up multiple parcels because anyone in the group can use it.
Friday, 12th December, 2008, 04:05 PM #43
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along with the Deck of Many Things
I never played 2E, but the Deck of Many Things was the geschnizzle-snazzle.
Now there was magic, opportunity, and danger, all rolled into one.
Friday, 12th December, 2008, 04:09 PM #44
Acolyte (Lvl 2)
Once you start making magic items creatable and/or available for purchase, they start crying out for balance and predictability.
It's the kind that players can't (easily) make for themselves or purchase anywhere that need, and can have, "wacky" functionality. These are the things that should be added to taste by an experienced DM.
Friday, 12th December, 2008, 04:14 PM #45
Lama (Lvl 13)
Anyway, the bag of tricks i made uses the same check and balance system: every time you pull is a gamble, get a rabbit or get a lion, and there's a healing surge cost associated with it. Making this thing too me forever, but hopefully it's an item the group will cherish.
In past editions, pulling a bear from the Bag of Tricks to save your butt in a fight was a definitive game moment that no one ever forgot. That "gamble" is lost in 4e with every animal you pull being a (mostly) identical minion. And you only do it once per day. I can't see how the Bag of Tricks in an 8th level item as good as a +2 sword.
Friday, 12th December, 2008, 04:18 PM #46
I think the solution for me will be to amend or ignore most of the intricacy of the various abilities that the magical items will give you, like how often they can be used, and some of the secondary effects.
Friday, 12th December, 2008, 04:20 PM #47
The Great Druid (Lvl 17)
As someone who never found a whole lot of magic in the D&D magic item lists --though I am partial to the Decanter of Endless Water Cannons and things with borderline brilliant/stupid names like the Sword of Wounding-- I find that the magic is exactly where it always was; in the fertile --or is that febrile?-- imaginations of the people playing the game.
I can't be alone in having friends who pawed through the 1e DMG magic item section treating it like a proto-Amazon Wish List, can I? Players have been busy robbing the game of "wonder" since 1974. And it's hard to blame them. Their characters have problems to solve, frequently problems that are trying to eat them. It's no wonder that the wondrous items of their fantasylands get treated like the tools the players need them to be.
If you're shooting for "real wonder" in your game, especially of the item/consumer goods variety, it's been my experience that you have to add that to the campaign yourself. It's hard to impress your players with off-the-rack items of magical mystery (seeing as they probably have the same rule books you do). You pretty much have to custom-tailor. All of the most memorable items I remember from gaming-days past were custom DM creations.
edit: except for Daern's Instant Fortress. That was just too damn cool.
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Friday, 12th December, 2008, 04:26 PM #48
Minor Trickster (Lvl 4)
Lots of good comments here - I'm still playing 3.5 and I think that 4E did some nifty things with magic items. I'm surprised that not everyone loved the Magic Item Compendium, 'cause everyone in my gaming groups thinks its the best thing ever. It reintroduced a lot of items that could do lots of little things, and made them inexpensive enough to buy a few of them.
As Plane Sailing and El-Remmen have also noted, the wealth guidelines changed the character of games - at least mine. I'm planning on junking the guidelines and going back to the way I did things in 2E and 1E for my next campaign. Fewer items overall, but more interesting ones when you get them. I also want to reintroduce magic with the occasional drawback into my games. This has been something I've noted since the early 3E days, and its always been one of my (relatively few) complaints about the 3E philosophy.
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Friday, 12th December, 2008, 04:33 PM #49
I found that the Weapons of Legacy book in 3.5 was the most interesting book of the bunch, and I used that often to improve the coolness of most magical items. I'm not completely satisfied how those concepts have been carried out into 4th edition, but I still think it's really good.
I feel like what's missing from 4th edition are magical backfire from use or perhaps more importantly overuse of an magical weapon, item, or whatever. It's probably how most of the intelligent magical items come into being.
Friday, 12th December, 2008, 04:40 PM #50
Lama (Lvl 13)
I'm hoping that the "group magic item" will be something i can continue using, i just don't know who to balance it within the existing magic infrastructre. As much as i love adding new stuff, there's always the potential to give them too much of a good thing.