House rule for magic weapons/armor

Grog

Villager
The next time I DM a campaign, I'm thinking of instituting the following house rule. Magic weapons and/or armor can only have extra abilities whose total + value is equal to or less than the base bonus of the item.

For example, if you have a +2 longsword, you can only have another +2 worth of special abilities on it. So you could have a +2 holy longsword, but not a +2 holy flaming shocking keen longsword.

This will eliminate the situation where high-level PCs will make +1 weapons with tons of abilities stacked on them and then cast GMW to make them +5, essentially giving themselves a +14 weapon for the price of a +10, and completely eliminating the disadvantage of ignoring the enchantment bonus of the weapon in favor of special abilities.

Opinions?
 

kreynolds

Villager
I think you'd be better off reducing the duration of GMW. With your limitation, sure striking isn't as great to have. The great thing about sure striking is that you can stack up minor enhancements on your +1 weapon and still be able to bypass DR.
 

Corwin

Villager
It's great, in theory. But it has a few practical problems, IMNSHO.

For example, there can never be such a thing as a +3 speed weapon. Sure this may seem minor at first, but things like that can really become more problematic over the course of a campaign.

Really, I think the problem stems from the GMW spell itself, more than anything else.

My fix: Change the spell.

Have it work similar to the Magic Vestment spell. That way, all the weapon's special abilities apply towards the total bonus gained from the spell. Thus, a +1 holy, flame burst weapon is already +5 equivalent and gains no benefit from the GMW spell. A +1 icy burst weapon could be raised to no more than a +3 enhancement bonus. Useful, but not broken. If you want a +5 enhancement bonus, cast the spell on a non-magical weapon.

If you like (and I think I do), allow the spell to exceed the +5 limit (unlike Magic Vestment) - it is supposed to be a better spell and should be, after all. Though you can still never get more than a +5 enhancement bonus. That way, an 18th level caster could get up to +6, and epic casters eventually could get to the full +10 at 30th level. I don't think that's unreasonable. Especially since epic weapons will be better by then. And an epic version of the spell even better still. :)

----------

Also, BTW, we house ruled* that GWM cannot stack with itself. This is in regards to ranged weapons specifically. So no casting it on the bow and arrows for a +10. You gotta have either the bow or arrows as a real magic weapon to get the stacking bonus.

(*Use of the term "house rule" being questionable, since the spell really shouldn't be allowed to stack with itself anyway, per the rules as the stand in the core books.)

In the future, we are also thinking about changing ranged weapons even further, so that the enhancement bonuses from the bow applies only to damage and the arrows strictly to hit.
 

Grog

Villager
Corwin said:
For example, there can never be such a thing as a +3 speed weapon. Sure this may seem minor at first, but things like that can really become more problematic over the course of a campaign.
Honestly, I don't really see the problem here.

Speed is a powerful ability, and as such I feel it should be limited to powerful weapons. Not only is there a game balance issue, but it also gives the players something to look forward to at higher levels. I don't want the party cranking out a +1 sword of speed at 10th level (or whatever level it is they can make it at), it should be a weapon for more powerful parties.

This rule will also eliminate players stacking too many enchantments on a weapon. No more vorpal keen swords (which also balances vorpal out more IMO).

The current system for creating magical weapons seems to be designed to require the players to make choices. Do they go for lots of special abilities to get a more powerful weapon, or do they go for high enhancement bonuses to combat DR? But the problem is, GMW makes that choice meaningless, because players can have weapons with lots of special abilities AND not have to worry about DR. And I don't want to change GMW, because I don't have any other problems with the spell (except for using it on arrows, but that's another topic).

I think this is a good idea, because players will have to make choices more carefully when creating weapons. With only a maximum of +5 available for extra enchantments, they won't be able to throw everything but the kitchen sink onto a weapon like they can now.
 

Corwin

Villager
Grog said:
Honestly, I don't really see the problem here.
Then why post it in the first place? ;)

Grog said:
Speed is a powerful ability, and as such I feel it should be limited to powerful weapons.
It is powerful, by default. It's a +4 ability. The soonest it can be used is on a +5 weapon (with only a +1 enhancement bonus) and that is a 50,000 gp weapon.

Grog said:
Not only is there a game balance issue, but it also gives the players something to look forward to at higher levels. I don't want the party cranking out a +1 sword of speed at 10th level (or whatever level it is they can make it at), it should be a weapon for more powerful parties.
How many 10th level characters are walking around with 50,000 gp?!? That's 1,000 gp more than a 10th level PC starts with!

Let's take that +3 speed weapon for example. That's 98,000 gp. That's roughly half the total starting money for a 15th level PC. Are you saying that's unreasonable? Shouold speed weapons be the sole property of near epic PCs? Always? I surely do not believe so. But maybe you do. [Shrug]

Grog said:
This rule will also eliminate players stacking too many enchantments on a weapon. No more vorpal keen swords (which also balances vorpal out more IMO).
Vorpal is another problem. Notice I avoided using it in my examples. Becuase I, too, feel it needs fixing. Just like with your issues with GMW, you seem to be treating the symptoms, not the ailment.

Grog said:
The current system for creating magical weapons seems to be designed to require the players to make choices. Do they go for lots of special abilities to get a more powerful weapon, or do they go for high enhancement bonuses to combat DR? But the problem is, GMW makes that choice meaningless, because players can have weapons with lots of special abilities AND not have to worry about DR. And I don't want to change GMW, because I don't have any other problems with the spell (except for using it on arrows, but that's another topic).
But it seems here that you do. All of the problems can be solved by altering GMW. Something that will also help aleviate some of your problems with aroows, no doubt.

I
Grog said:
think this is a good idea, because players will have to make choices more carefully when creating weapons. With only a maximum of +5 available for extra enchantments, they won't be able to throw everything but the kitchen sink onto a weapon like they can now.
Do what you like. But don't come around to forums like this, posting your changes, with you mind all made up, and then expect everyone just to parrot you or praise you. I feel you are doing a disservice to your game and the players' options. I will say as much as I feel that is the purpose of this medium.

Just remember that some of us didn't agree with you and feel you may be making a mistake. But in the end, you will do what you like. More power to you. Have fun.
 

Grog

Villager
Corwin said:
Let's take that +3 speed weapon for example. That's 98,000 gp. That's roughly half the total starting money for a 15th level PC. Are you saying that's unreasonable? Shouold speed weapons be the sole property of near epic PCs? Always? I surely do not believe so. But maybe you do. [Shrug]
Remember that players can create items for less than the cost given in the DMG. And that's where the problem is. As a DM, I'm not going to hand out +1 speed flaming burst holy keen weapons, but there's nothing in the rules that stops players from making them.

Do what you like. But don't come around to forums like this, posting your changes, with you mind all made up, and then expect everyone just to parrot you or praise you. I feel you are doing a disservice to your game and the players' options. I will say as much as I feel that is the purpose of this medium.
Huh? Where did I say I wanted everyone to parrot or praise me? You commented on my idea, I responded. That's all.
 

Spatzimaus

Villager
***HOUSE RULE***
One change that I make is that exotic materials each increase the DC of Craft checks by a set amount. There have been other threads on this. Then, I add the limitation that the maximum Market Price modifier for an enchantment equals the DC of the material the item is made from.
That is, Fine Steel (DC+3, the replacement for Masterwork) can't hold more than a +3 total enchantment. Mithril (DC+10) can hold any non-Epic enchantments, while Orichalcum (DC+16) can be used for a lot of Epic-level stuff.
After all, a deity-level weapon shouldn't be made out of simple iron, it should be something far rarer and more powerful. It also explains why cold iron is such an anti-magic thing; its DC modifier is negative, so it can't hold any enchantment at all. And, it helps explain the GP cost of Wondrous items; they've got more expensive materials to hold the enchantment.

Why is this important? Well, how much of an enchantment can a simple wooden arrow hold? If it's not masterwork, it's DC+0, which means... NO ENCHANTMENT! Which means no GMW, either. You could pay more for masterwork arrows, but not only would it cost more, you still couldn't get the +5 (masterwork wood is only DC+2 in my tables, as is Ironwood). You'd have to pay for Darkwood or something rarer, which'd have other bonuses as well.
***/HOUSE RULE***

Saying that the Enhancement bonus has to be larger than the rest isn't a bad idea, as such, but it'd kill the usefulness of things like Brilliant Energy, Psychic (see PsiHB), etc.; these enchantments are intended to replace high Enhancement bonuses with more specialized to-hit bonuses.
IMO you should just fix GMW directly.
 

Grog

Villager
Spatzimaus said:
Saying that the Enhancement bonus has to be larger than the rest isn't a bad idea, as such, but it'd kill the usefulness of things like Brilliant Energy, Psychic (see PsiHB), etc.; these enchantments are intended to replace high Enhancement bonuses with more specialized to-hit bonuses.
IMO you should just fix GMW directly.
I see your point, but while GMW is the main reason for my house rule, it's not the only reason. I also wanted to limit the number of enchantments it was possible to put on a weapon so the PCs would have to make choices instead of going hog-wild. Because if I changed GMW to make it not work on a weapon with +9 worth of special abilities, they could just carry backup weapons and GMW those instead for the times they ran into monsters with DR.

I like your house rule about the materials, though - maybe I'll give that some thought.
 

Corwin

Villager
Grog said:


Remember that players can create items for less than the cost given in the DMG. And that's where the problem is. As a DM, I'm not going to hand out +1 speed flaming burst holy keen weapons, but there's nothing in the rules that stops players from making them.
I never forgot. But it isn't a matter of simply getting to make stuff for half cost and effectively doubling your treasure.

Notice my examples were based on making a character at above first level (per the DMG starting gold chart). I never said anything about PC making their items.

I don't know of many spellcasters who are willing to give up 2,000 XP to make a +1 speed weapon at or before 10th level. And the +3 speed weapon is almost twice as much XP, weighing in at a hefty 3,920.

Then there is also other factors and considerations (entirely in the DMs hands) when dealing with this. Why are you handing a 10th level PC 25,000 gp in cash? Just don't. Don't let them sit around for nearly 2 months straight (50 days) for the caster to make the thing in the first place. Mix it up a bit. Make the idea of that kind of downtime less than appealing.

There are plenty of things being bantied about here that look good on paper. Theories that seem logical at first. But in practice, they don't fly. It won't be often (at least in most campaigns) for a spellcaster to have the 49,000 gp and 98 days straight to make a +3 speed weapon anyway. Then he has to be willing to do it, sacrificing the nearly 4k in XP, to boot.

Grog said:
Huh? Where did I say I wanted everyone to parrot or praise me? You commented on my idea, I responded. That's all.
It just seems by your responses that you are pretty adamant about the whole thing. You seem sure about your opinion and appear to be set to impliment it. This is somewhat different than the impression you gave at the beginning. So it felt like a bit of sandbagging. You start off wondering about it and seeking opinions, then discount all attempts to test your theory in practice. That's how I'm taking it anyway.

Of the 4 posters to respond so far, 3 have recommended you instead fix GMW. [shrug] All I'm saying is, maybe be a little more open to the possibility, is all.
 

Grog

Villager
Corwin said:
Then there is also other factors and considerations (entirely in the DMs hands) when dealing with this. Why are you handing a 10th level PC 25,000 gp in cash? Just don't. Don't let them sit around for nearly 2 months straight (50 days) for the caster to make the thing in the first place. Mix it up a bit. Make the idea of that kind of downtime less than appealing.
Well, the problem is, I don't want the PCs to not be able to create any items at all, which is what limiting their downtime would accomplish. If a PC takes some item creation feats, and the DM never gives them enough free time to make any items, then they've essentially been stuck with some useless feats - which isn't really fair to the PC.

It just seems by your responses that you are pretty adamant about the whole thing. You seem sure about your opinion and appear to be set to impliment it. This is somewhat different than the impression you gave at the beginning. So it felt like a bit of sandbagging. You start off wondering about it and seeking opinions, then discount all attempts to test your theory in practice. That's how I'm taking it anyway.

Of the 4 posters to respond so far, 3 have recommended you instead fix GMW. [shrug] All I'm saying is, maybe be a little more open to the possibility, is all.
Point taken.
 

Spatzimaus

Villager
Grog said:

I also wanted to limit the number of enchantments it was possible to put on a weapon so the PCs would have to make choices instead of going hog-wild. Because if I changed GMW to make it not work on a weapon with +9 worth of special abilities, they could just carry backup weapons and GMW those instead for the times they ran into monsters with DR.
Try this then:
> It's not possible to make a weapon with higher than +10 Market Price without the Epic rules
> GMW isn't an Epic spell
> Therefore, GMW, Keen Edge, and any other spell that gives a weapon an ability that would increase it's effective Market Price can't take it over +10. If they've got a +1 Keen Vorpal Flaming Burst weapon, it's already at +9 and the GMW can only increase its Enhancement to +2, since that'd give it an effective +10 total.
(This only applies to spells or abilities that enchant the weapon directly; casting Haste on the wielder doesn't add 3 like a weapon of speed would, since you're not enchanting the individual weapon)
> Add a new spell, Superior Magic Weapon, that lets you go over +10. Maybe it's only a level 7 spell, maybe it's Epic, your call.

Still wouldn't stop GMW on arrows, of course, but it helps stop the people who take +1 Enhancement and then layer the other stuff on.
 

DustTC

Villager
...

I'm not sure if the GMW thing is always so overpowered. At level 9, you could use it to make a weapon +3. Now this would be a 3rd level spell for most who can cast it, which you don't have *that* many of. It's a pretty important spell slot to you.

Now if you rule that you can never surpass the total (equivalent) enhancement bonus, this is a pretty bad spell (depending on the weapon you have it's either plain bad or just rather weak). Let me explain.

It's reasonable to expect that any (combat-oriented) lvl 9 character has a +2 weapon (unless you're one of those DMs who thinks player should make do with wooden clubs until they reach epic levels).

Suppose you have a +1 <+1 equivalent quality> weapon (+2 total), so now you're getting +1 attack/dmg for 9 hours. Not bad, but there's easier ways to accomplish that (Bull's Strength comes to mind, though that doesn't always stack). You *can* now use it to beat a DR 2 opponent, but those usually can be dealt with anyway. When you meet that DR 20/+3 monster however, you've just wasted a spell to turn your weapon from useless to even more useless.

Suppose you have a +2 weapon, now you're still getting that +1 attack/dmg for 9 hours. Same comments (your bonus isn't really that spectacular), but now you can actually hit the DR 3 monster.

I don't know, but it seems to me that this just encourages players to only buy +x weapons in case they run into that DR 3 monster (which will be high CR, so that's when they need their hitting power the most), which is terribly boring. Anything but straight +x weapons will be useless in the big, important fights so often it's not even funny.

Now with GMW, you're switching the situation around a little: pure +x weapons aren't that attractive anymore. I don't think that's such a bad thing however, I even suspect the designers may have made GMW to encourage people to take non straight +x qualities for their weapons. After all, the way DR works means that otherwise nobody would be seen with anything but a +<maximum they can afford> weapon.

Now as with all things, you have to use moderation when considering this semi-official endorsement of non +x weapons in the form of the GMW spell: if you overdo it (+1 keen flaming shock longswords), GMW isn't terribly balanced anymore.

To me, the main problem seems to be the fact that it's always a lvl 3 spell, which makes it too cheap to use at high level. It scales too well *and* you can make wands of it. So perhaps the original spell should be limited to +3 weapons, with a new spell available at spell lvl 6 that allows you to go all the way to +5.

In fact, I think that last one sounds really good. You couldn't make wands of it either, which is nice.
 

nookleer

Villager
I dont understand...

I'm assuming that GMW is Greater Magic Weapon (I hate it when people talk in acronyms)...

I dont understand what the problem is, though... for 2 reasons...:

• It is clearly stated that a magical weapon can never exceed a cumulative effective enhancement bonus of +10, or a literal enhancement bonus of more than +5 until epic rules are in effect. Therefore, no +14 weapons period, ever.
• Pardon me if I am wrong, but the bonuses a magical weapon possesses are an enhancement bonus. The bonus Greater Magic Weapon provides on the same object is also an enhancement bonus... I do not believe they stack my friends.
 

nookleer

Villager
also, DustTC

I dont see why one could not have wands of Greater Magic Weapon. Any spell of 4th level or lower can be made into a wand... ANY spell of 4th or lower.

There is never any distinction beyond that of what could be in a wand.
 

glass

Villager
nookleer said:
DustTC said:
So perhaps the original spell should be limited to +3 weapons, with a new spell available at spell lvl 6 that allows you to go all the way to +5.

In fact, I think that last one sounds really good. You couldn't make wands of it either, which is nice.
I don't see why one could not have wands of Greater Magic Weapon. Any spell of 4th level or lower can be made into a wand... ANY spell of 4th or lower.
DustTC was talking about introducing a new 6th level spell. As you yourself note, wands can contain spells of levels upto and including 4th. 6 > 4.


glass.
 

glass

Villager
nookleer said:
It is clearly stated that a magical weapon can never exceed a cumulative effective enhancement bonus of +10, or a literal enhancement bonus of more than +5 until epic rules are in effect. Therefore, no +14 weapons period, ever.
This is true, but has nothing to do with the point.

Pardon me if I am wrong, but the bonuses a magical weapon possesses are an enhancement bonus. The bonus Greater Magic Weapon provides on the same object is also an enhancement bonus... I do not believe they stack my friends.
GMW does not stack with existing enhancement bonuses on weapons, which is why PCs with access to GMW get +1 weapons then load up with special abilities. That is exactly the point.

BTW, why ressurect a three year old thread for this? I was wondering why nobody pointed out that under 3.5 bows and arrows don't stack anyway, until I noticed the dates!


glass.
 
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