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Alternatives to XP costs


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Herzog

Adventurer
in older versions, creating magic items often required rare ingredients, instead of or in addition to the gold and XP required to create the item.

One possibility is to replace the XP cost with a quest for a specific ingredient. You, as the DM, can then make sure the XP that was to be gained from that quest would be equivalent to the XP normally required in constructing the item. (NB: maybe superfluous, but the idea is NOT to award the XP for the quest, but instead to have that XP 'translated' into the component aquired, which will be used to create the item)

This requires some additional metagaming on your and the player's part: it should not be allowed to aquire these ingredients for other people, nor should it be allowed to buy them or hire other people to do this for you, otherwise the whole structure collapses....

XP cost for spells is an in-built safeguard against abuse. You could use the same principle (requiring quests to obtain the necessary 'XP' ingredient) although there are spells with a minimal XP cost that players would probably rather just pay instead of going on quests all the time....
 

bellman

First Post
I once heard someone mention using "essentia", which was pure magic. as you quested,you could gain this in stores of treasure, or buy it. Unfortunately i don't remember where I heard it.
 

Hawken

First Post
in older versions, creating magic items often required rare ingredients, instead of or in addition to the gold and XP required to create the item.
Yes, and in older editions, you actually EARNED xp for creating magic items--you didn't lose it! The idea of XP cost for a spell or magic item is boneheaded at best!

And going out on an adventure to earn XP for a magic item component only is silly. How exactly do you do that? The Fighter promises not to remember any battles or tactics used in the quest? The Rogue promises to forget about the different traps and sneaky stuff? Not only is that penalizing the people NOT involved in the making of the item, but its setting everyone back just to make something.

Herzog, its nothing against you, its the entire concept of spending XP that I've never agreed with.

If you want to do something, create something to spend, then use 'phantom' XP. If a character has earned 30,000xp from adventuring, etc., then they have 30,000xp they can use for spells and magic items and can't use more than that until they gain more xp.

That way, you don't suddenly become stupid and forget skills, feats, how to fight, spells you knew the day before, etc., just from casting a spell or creating a magic item.

You can also create magic items that supply "xp" to be used in the casting of a spell or creation of a magic item. If you don't want your guys turning into magic item factories, then just limit what they can do between adventures because they definitely won't have time for that stuff during an adventure unless you're stretching it out over days and weeks.

Jacking up the cost is a poor idea too. The cost for spell components and making magic items is so far beyond screwed up already that you shouldn't want to make it worse.
 

Sylrae

First Post
Item creation has been boneheaded for the entirety of 3.0/3.5. That's just how it works.

I agree that the xp costs are ridiculous. I also think the way they set up feats for item creation are ridiculous.

I haven't seen a better alternative though, and off the top of my head, I dont have one.

I shall ponder and see what I come up with.
 

Wolf72

Explorer
create a separate pool of magic xp to draw from? ... it's more paperwork, but if every level you gain more magic xp (magic points?) you'll be able to spend it on different things.

disenchanting items might give you more magic xp (4e ish or WoWish).

what would you do with this magic xp? ... use it to create scrolls, wands, items, weapons, recharges, etc ... each magic item or whatever would use up this second xp pool.

you'd have to make it usable at first level for anyone writing scrolls and such

you'd be able to dispose of those pesky extra +1 daggers and shields by bartering with the local mage would in turn provide you with a future ability to enchant something.

you'd still have to provide all the other raw/processed materials and meet the level requirement
 


Ahnehnois

First Post
For magic items, I used a variant of the Craft skill: Craft (artificing). For spells, I use ability burn.

I like the ability burn idea for some spells. How did you convert the XP cost into an ability cost?

Yes, and in older editions, you actually EARNED xp for creating magic items--you didn't lose it! The idea of XP cost for a spell or magic item is boneheaded at best!
I think I agree with this sentiment. I may just eliminate XP costs for magic items.
 

In the games that I run, I don't use experience points at all, instead, I use action points...

Characters gain a number of action points at the beginning of each 'adventure' based on their level. Also, they can gain occasionally them through heroics or in recompense for being badly treated by the vagaries of fortune.

Action points can be spent to improve rolls or defenses or whatever. They are also spent in place of experience points for magic item creation and for spells that have an xp cost. An action point spent in this way is worth experience equal to 100 times the character's level.

Action points not spent at the end of the adventure (including the wrap-up and recuperation parts of the adventure) are lost.
 

dontpunkme

First Post
I tried a separate XP pool for magic items in a game once (basically that's where roleplaying XP went and non-casters could pay XP costs on behalf of the caster). Bad, bad, bad idea. Because it was basically free, the cleric would just craft tons of scrolls and single-use wondrous items (heal). It got to the point where the cleric and mage both had 50+ scrolls each at any given moment.

I'd advise against anything to remove the XP cost. It helps keep more control of magic items in the DMs hand, especially if you don't allow for magic item wal-marts.

I still require special items for powerful magic items (a cloak of charisma +6 for example would require a feather from the king of the giant eagles given freely, but not for a +2). Be creative and it'll make your players interested. You can probably check unearthed arcana for more suggestions (take a look at the section on superior spell components and borrow).
 

Wolf72

Explorer
... Bad, bad, bad idea. Because it was basically free, the cleric would just craft tons of scrolls and single-use wondrous items (heal). It got to the point where the cleric and mage both had 50+ scrolls each at any given moment.

limit supplies or availability? limit amount of gold ... limit using realistic economies of scale (town, village vs city, urban area).

Be my brother as a DM (I'm 37 .. he's 40, so I'm talking back in the early and mid 80's) ..."50 scrolls?! wow that is cool ... where do you keep them all, how do you know which one is which?"

when he asked us to describe our character and what items we had, he listened to make sure we were reasonable ... when the 9 str magic-user had over 70 lbs of gear he questioned.
 

Dyson Logos

Adventurer
Der Kluge wrote a book published by Mystic Eye Games called The Artificer's Handbook (or something like that). I believe it's still being offered by Phil Reed's company in PDF. It's a complete overhaul of the magic item creation system so it doesn't use XP.
 

Try the Spell Slot Item Creation System. It's an updated version of the system presented originally in the Artificer's Handbook and can be downloaded for free from post #3 here:
http://www.enworld.org/forum/general-rpg-rules-discussion/240200-artificer-handbook-update.html

If you want the actual Artificer's Handbook, you can still buy the pdf here:
http://www.yourgamesnow.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=2_18_8&products_id=630

Getting hold of a print copy of the book is probably going to be more difficult.
 

Ahnehnois

First Post
I tried a separate XP pool for magic items in a game once (basically that's where roleplaying XP went and non-casters could pay XP costs on behalf of the caster). Bad, bad, bad idea. Because it was basically free, the cleric would just craft tons of scrolls and single-use wondrous items (heal). It got to the point where the cleric and mage both had 50+ scrolls each at any given moment.

I'd advise against anything to remove the XP cost. It helps keep more control of magic items in the DMs hand, especially if you don't allow for magic item wal-marts.
The main point of XP costs is to prevent abuse; which is why I am looking for other rules that prevent abuse. I am puzzled as to how magic item creation gets that out of hand, though. How much free time do these characters have? To craft 50 items takes at minimum 50 days under the core rules, days with access to the supplies and where you can't do very much. In my games at least, even the most epic campaign takes less than a year (in-game time) from start to finish. It is also of note that the core rules do not describe such items (Heal single use); for this particular situation the DM might want to put a premium on the price or add other restrictions (the magic item creation guidelines aren't hard and fast rules and advise one to do such things). In any case, scrolls at minimum caster level (and spell-using items in general with weak CL and save DCs) aren't usually overpowering, as they increase a character's endurance but not his potency.

I still require special items for powerful magic items (a cloak of charisma +6 for example would require a feather from the king of the giant eagles given freely, but not for a +2). Be creative and it'll make your players interested. You can probably check unearthed arcana for more suggestions (take a look at the section on superior spell components and borrow).
The other point of XP costs is stylistic, attaching something in-game to magic item creation that says its different from non-magic item creation. I like the rare components to this end; it's just a lot of work/thinking, depending on how many items require such components and how you decide what component is appropriate.

Honestly, taking out XP costs for spells is far more concerning to me-Wish, now that's abusable.

Try the Spell Slot Item Creation System. It's an updated version of the system presented originally in the Artificer's Handbook and can be downloaded for free from post #3 here:
http://www.enworld.org/forum/general...ok-update.html
I find the idea interesting, particularly the calculation of in-game creation times.
 

der_kluge

Adventurer
Try the Spell Slot Item Creation System. It's an updated version of the system presented originally in the Artificer's Handbook and can be downloaded for free from post #3 here:
http://www.enworld.org/forum/general-rpg-rules-discussion/240200-artificer-handbook-update.html

If you want the actual Artificer's Handbook, you can still buy the pdf here:
MEG: Artificer's Handbook [PJR291] - $9.95 : Your Games Now, Publisher Co-Op

Getting hold of a print copy of the book is probably going to be more difficult.

I read that link, and remember that post! Wow, that was out of left field.

It amazes me that this topic continues to come up all the time. I'm glad to know that I have a few followers that can spread the word for me since I don't spend very much time here anymore.

I've probably spent more time thinking about magic item creation than a rational person should. I really like the Artificer's Handbook method, but embarking down that path, one should understand that it really does muck around with the core economics QUITE a bit. GMs utilizing it, really probably do need to be prepared for how much cheaper some things are going to be. Optionally, they can modify the formula's GP constant from 10 to something like 15 or 20 if they feel like it's too low. But that's kind of self-defeating, since one of the side goals of the system is to tone down the economics. It always bothered me that high level characters were expected to carry around a bank's vault worth of coins. It's kind of ridiculous if you really stop and think about it.

Also, the system really tends to lend itself extremely well to a more grim/low magic game. Since a big focus of a lot of the chapters from the complete book were devoted to components. Idea being that one of the easiest and most logical ways to eliminate the artificial XP burden on item creation was to just require "tongue of newt" and "eye of frog". Of course, GM's can easily handwave that for "mundane" magic items by just saying "Ok, you spend 1,000gp on all the crap you need at the market square for you item." It gets difficult to come up with fancy, expensive ingredients for a magic item, especially if the thing is a damned stick - like a staff of the woodlands, for example. Good luck with that one.

To this end, I started working on an E6/E8 specific adaptation to those rules last year. Here is that document. It has a few new things in it, like alchemical variations for potions, and some wand charts near the back.

Lastly, and more on-topic, I've NEVER used XP in any game I've ever ran. Even in 2nd edition. Admittedly, it's harder in 3rd. This isn't because I'm some avante garde rebel, it's simply because I'm lazy. I always handwave it "Congratulations! You're now 4th level". Easy. Plus, I tend to be kind of cavalier with treasure nowadays - I actually award things like ability score increases, skill points, and action points nowadays.

For magic items, the documents linked and attached should suffice.

For spells, it's a little harder, but fortunately, there aren't that many spells that require XP. At one time, I had a list of them, and I'd gone through each of them and decided how to replace XP in them. I can't find it to save my life, though.

But basically, I removed permanency - I found it too unworkable. For any spell that summons a creature, I require a favor. Something like Planar Ally, et al. When summoned, the creature demands a magic item, cash, or a favor (GM's discretion). For things like wish/limited wish, I'd actually worked them in a similar way as Planar Ally - if you use wish/lw to just replicate a lower level spell, it doesn't require anything (which if you think about it, is not all that unlike just leaving a spell slot blank). But if you use it to actually "wish" for something, then it actually summons an Efreeti or Noble Djinni who then "grants" the wish for you on your behalf. So, get the wording right!! And then, of course, they're going to want something in return...
 

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Nonlethal Force

First Post
Well, this suggestion isn't for everyone for flavor reasons. In practice, though, it works out pretty well.

My latest product, Complete Gear, gives an alternate to Item Creation (and Item purchasing, as well). Players are given a pool of influence points through which they can influence the mundane items that they buy. This has an upside of making disjunction and anti-magic fields a fun tactic in game that isn't crippling to the party. It also has the positive effect of making NPCs able to be equipped with anything theDM wants without fear of the treasure falling into the hands of the party and unbalancing the game. It has the downside of some people not liking the flavor of the unmagical fighter being able to "influence" their own potions/swords/etc. From a power perspective, though, power balance is maintained. It isn't a form of power creep.

For less than $3, I would say that it is worth reading for ideas, if nothing else. You can find the link below in my sig. Effectively what it could do for your game is to turn 3.x into a game where Item Creation (for profit) is removed completely while Item Creation (for personal use) is made much more full and flexible. Perhaps best, it completely removes all the XP/ Item Creation mess completely from the game.

Oh, and just ot be on the up-and-up, this will only help reduce the issue with XP and item creation. Complete Gear will not help you with the XP expenditure and spells issue at all. Sorry!
 
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Ahnehnois

First Post
Lastly, and more on-topic, I've NEVER used XP in any game I've ever ran. Even in 2nd edition. Admittedly, it's harder in 3rd. This isn't because I'm some avante garde rebel, it's simply because I'm lazy. I always handwave it "Congratulations! You're now 4th level". Easy. Plus, I tend to be kind of cavalier with treasure nowadays - I actually award things like ability score increases, skill points, and action points nowadays.
I used to keep track of XP separately for 10 players, awarding ad hoc for combat, plot, and non-combat achievements. This time around, I figured I'd try XP free. So much easier, so much more time and brainpower to devote to other aspects of the game. Of course I end up with a party of three spellcasters and one who takes item creation feats.
Thus my dilemma.
 

Rleonardh

First Post
I just house rule:
Cost gp and exp as normal, however if you drop in exp that lowers your level, you don't lose the level. If the party levels up and you don't, you now get more exp from encounters.
 


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