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Sunday, 14th December, 2008, 09:35 AM #21
Lama (Lvl 13)
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Sunday, 14th December, 2008, 02:33 PM #22
The Great Druid (Lvl 17)
I voted "other" as I believe it is an interesting combination of the factors you listed, rather than any single factor, that makes a magic item interesting.
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Monday, 15th December, 2008, 02:53 PM #23
Uniqueness: If the item allows you to do something you couldn't do any other way, then it's interesting.
Wednesday, 17th December, 2008, 01:15 AM #24
If it has a single use then it needs to do it better than anything else. If it has a function that can be used for many various things, then it will often outshine single function items in terms of interest.
Wednesday, 17th December, 2008, 03:58 AM #25
I voted history/background. But that really isn't it. Making an item intersting involves a combination of factors in my mind.
First off, a magic item needs a name to be interesting. As long as a magic item is called a +2 Flaming Longsword, it will never transcend its stats. Once the sword is given a name, such as "Pyre" or "Flametongue" or "The Torch of Mars" or something like that, it begins to have an identity. From there, it is a matter of building on that identity, until the magic item is memorable and interesting.
In my opinion, a good magic item is an NPC into itself, even if it isn't intelligent. Like a memorable NPC, a good magic item may have a back-story, memorable personality quirks, distinctive features, and so on. An interesting physical description for the weapon helps a lot. A magic sword that quivers if it is covered in blood for too long is also interesting.
Also like an NPC, a magic item can be made more memorable and interesting depending on how it is introduced and how it works into the story. A magic item that is given to a PC as a symbol of the princess's undying love has more sentimental value to a player than the same item found in a dragon hoard. The famous magic sword that can only be wielded by someone of a certain bloodline (which serves as proof that a PC is a member of that bloodline) has an indispensable story role.
In summation, it takes a similar kind of effort to make a +2 Longsword into an interesting and memorable item as it does making a Level 5 Lawful Neutral Human Fighter into an interesting and memorable character. As an alternative analogy, making a magic item interesting is like making a dungeon or city memorable or interesting.
I guess that my final answer is that a magic item needs personality, charm, and character in order to be memorable.
Wednesday, 17th December, 2008, 08:51 PM #26
Grandfather of Assassins (Lvl 19)
Wednesday, 17th December, 2008, 11:19 PM #27
I voted "unique." Magic items rarely inspire me. They're just not what I play the game for. I prefer items to either be generic bonuses I can forget about, or, to be unique and plot relevant.
I also like iconic items that players keep for their entire careers, and which can be repositories for iconic player abilities.
Thursday, 18th December, 2008, 03:43 AM #28
Spellbinder (Lvl 16)
For me, it is the story behind the magic item that makes it interesting. Even a simple ring of invisibility can be epic if it has a proper backstory and purpose.
Wednesday, 3rd June, 2009, 03:29 AM #29
Grandfather of Assassins (Lvl 19)
Since the thread that spawned this one got bumped, and the discussion there has turned to magic items, I thought I'd give this one a re-airing as well.
If you've posted in this thread already, has anything happened in the last six months to make you change your mind?
Wednesday, 3rd June, 2009, 04:14 AM #30
Myrmidon (Lvl 10)
I seem to have missed this the first time around. Voted useful, because, as someone said upthread, if it isn't than its just a 4000 GP paperweight. However, I quite agree with everyone who said it needs more than just one aspect. I love me some Wands of Wonder, but if they couldn't be useful as often as not, I would never bother with them.
Scrag 'em all and let the gods sort 'em out!