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Thread: PCs Making Their Own Magic Items
Wednesday, 10th October, 2012, 02:19 AM #1
Lama (Lvl 13)
PCs Making Their Own Magic Items
One of the things that I liked about both 3rd and 4th edition is that PCs could make their own magic items. Even in 2e, there was the enchant magic item spell. While I didn't like the specific implementations of those rules, I was at least happy that my wizard could create his own signature staff or other items.
In Next, they seem to be taking a "mother may I" approach to magic items, where the only way players can get them is if the DM decides to hand them out. That approach may be fine for some groups, but I would like to see item creation rules for PCs, even if they are optional rules. After all, if other people in the world know how to make magic items, why shouldn't the PCs ever be able to do it?
There could even be variations on those rules. You could have a 3rd/4th editon style item creation where the player pays a certain amount of gold and time, and perhaps experience points, and can reliably make the item. In the case of 3.x, the player saved money by making the item himself, but he had to sacrifice some experience points. In 4e, there was no cost of experience points, but making an item yourself cost the same as buying it from a vendor.
There could also be optional rules that require the PCs to quest for exotic components and perform special rituals that are quests unto themselves, for DMs that want magic items to be more special and difficult to create, and still ultimately under the DM's control.
What kind of item creation rules (if any) would you like to see?
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Wednesday, 10th October, 2012, 02:25 AM #2
Grandmaster of Flowers (Lvl 18)
I'd like to see optional rules for creation that:
- Provide something mechanically simple for one use items (scrolls, potions)
- Provide for simple, multi-use charged items (wands)
- Provide for recharging items
- Provide suggestions for in-game stories or quests associated with making permanent items. Collecting adamantite ore, forging it in the fire of an active volcano, and quenching it in the heart of a red dragon to make a flametongue, that sort of thing.
- Does not rely on metagame resources (e.g. XP) to execute.
- Is not so simple or lucrative that every wizard worth hos salt becomes a wall of iron-casting magic item factory. See also: optional.
"The Soul of D&D? It's rolling a natural 20 when you're down to 3 hit points and the cleric's on the floor and you're staring that sunnavabitch bugbear right in his bloodshot eye and holding the line just long enough to let the wizard unleash a fireball at the guards who are on their way, because they're all that stands between you, the Foozle and Glory." - WizarDru
Wednesday, 10th October, 2012, 02:57 AM #3
It should be pretty common to make scrolls, possible to learn to make +1 weapons and armor eventually, and almost impossible to make anything else except through lots of questing.
Wednesday, 10th October, 2012, 03:09 AM #4
Thaumaturgist (Lvl 9)
This is an area that I have no real "how to" suggestions at this time. I only have "how not to" suggestions based on dissatisfaction with prior editions.
So whatever it is I really hope:
1) XP is not a resource spent in the process.
2) Expendible items like healing potions, scrolls, and wand charges are within the means of characters between adventures.
3) Creation of permanent items is cost-prohibitive and requires a serious investment of time and wealth.
4) No magic item shops, at least not as they came to be in 3e. Maybe its okay for hedge wizards who peddle potions, charms, and might help you idenitfy an item you bring in, but an archwizard that could craft a wondrous item doesn't hang out a shingle. You want his help to get a specific type of item crafted, you gotta know a guy who knows a guy who can tell the wizard you're cool and not to turn you into a pile of ashes when you knock on his door.
Wednesday, 10th October, 2012, 03:15 AM #5
Grandfather of Assassins (Lvl 19)
While I don't think this is something that would be high on WotC's list of priorities, I would like to see adventure modules built around the idea of creating a magic item. DMs don't really need much support if they take the approach of "The PCs can't create magic items" or "The PCs just spend money to get a magic item". However, if a DM wants to play through the process of gathering exotic materials, learning the proper techniques and rituals, and performing them, it would be good if there is something he can reference.
Wednesday, 10th October, 2012, 03:17 AM #6
Myrmidon (Lvl 10)
I favor a combination of 3.x style rules and special quests. Simple magic items should require only time and money; more powerful magic items should require special ingredients/components/materials that can't just be purchased.
Wednesday, 10th October, 2012, 04:20 AM #7
I'd like for PCs to be able to create minor magic items with some basic investiture (the proper character options, money, a little bit of time.)
anything past a +1 sword with basic properties should be basically out of reach when it comes to crafting.
Wednesday, 10th October, 2012, 04:21 AM #8
Grandmaster of Flowers (Lvl 18)
Common and simpler magic items for your world should be craftable 4E style. But rarer items require finding special craftsmen, doing special quests, or locating special items.
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Wednesday, 10th October, 2012, 04:30 AM #9
Orcus on an Off-Day (Lvl 22)
It really depends on how magic items are factored into the game.
If items are 'standard equipment' - if there's an expectation that PCs will have items, and, as the game progresses, encounter balance and the type and scope of adventures reflect that, then PCs should be able to make or buy such items, or specifically seek them out in quests or otherwise exercise some control over what items they acquire.
If items are potential 'game breakers,' they need to be kept strictly to the DM - PCs can't make or buy them.
If the design allows a clear line to be drawn between the two, then making/buy for the former, and DM-largess-only for the latter would be workable. However, that would require a lot of care, as a fairly 'minor' item that PCs can make in quantity can greatly impact the game (see WoCLW in discussions of 3.x, for instance).
The current philosophy seems to be (once again) "let the DM sort it out." Magic items are not going to be factored in to game balance. Instead, they're simply going to be designed to be cool and desirable to players things that 'feel magical' and are 'something to get excited about.' That makes design fun & easy. It's exciting for the players.
It's a minor nightmare for the DM. Each time you give out an item, you may be wrecking your game. If you avoid individually-broken items, the sum of what you give out could still skew or break things. You don't know for sure until the players have used the item for a bit, and, as happy as they likely are with an item that turns out to be a game-changer, taking it back is an unpleasant option. Enter rust monsters, disenchanters, steel predators, Mordenkainen's Disjunction, Rods of Cancellation, anti-magic zones, etc...
That should sound familiar to anyone who played classic D&D, because 5e's approach to magic items is cribbed directly from it. I'm sure some of you loved that approach. Others of us were acutely aware of its shortcomings and were glad to see it go.
This is probably, yet again, something that needs to be presented as options... quite a large range of very carefully thought-out options...
Last edited by Tony Vargas; Wednesday, 10th October, 2012 at 04:41 AM.
Wednesday, 10th October, 2012, 05:10 AM #10
Grandmaster of Flowers (Lvl 18)
When I played 1e & 2e I saw the inability for PCs to capably make magic items at less-than-ridiculous cost & difficulty as a flaw in the system.
After playing 3e & 4e for years, I can comfortably say that I've found the opposite is true.