5E How do you handle magic item churn in 5E?

TwoSix

The hero you deserve
It's a common practice to use generic names that start with A B C D E etc. Alice & bob are the names I've been using the whole discussion. People love to point at 5e's oversimplifications as being designed to help get newer less experienced people like alice & bob into playing faster & easier with less things to worry about. That argument works against 5e when it's a case of rules that would have helped protect them from mistakes & recover from them if they were made.

5e's magic item economy flatly does not work because they are all too powerful & there are no longer any subjective dials that can be used.
So what are you proposing instead? That 5e needs a wholesale revamp of its magic item system to look like 3E? I don't know if Xavier, Yolanda, and Zoe are going to be down with that.
 

tetrasodium

Adventurer
So what are you proposing instead? That 5e needs a wholesale revamp of its magic item system to look like 3E? I don't know if Xavier, Yolanda, and Zoe are going to be down with that.
that's the problem with so many of 5e's oversimplifications, fixing the problem is a huge mess. 4e also had slots & affinities as well. 5e simply said "these are complex so
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without giving much if any consideration to why they existed & what benefits they offered by that complex in too many cases like this. As to "what are you proposing", I already commented on page1 about how 5e makes it difficult unless you either don't give them or give very few because already very powerful magic items need to be objectively better without the subjective dials present for a GM to use in past editions for churn to happen. Given the number of people who said they do things similar to one of those there is merit to it.

If you want a revamping proposal, that would probably need a different thread & would be far too complicated to fix IMO
 

Weiley31

Adventurer
Who's Alice, and how is she churning out magic items again?

Honestly, I think I need to know what your ideals are for how the magic item economy should look to get a sense as to what your argument is. I mean, I get the point that item slots prevent stacking (I played a lot of 3.5/PF/4e), but I'm not sure what's particularly problematic about 5e.
She's a magic user who stole secrets from the red Wizards of Thay, so now she has the Zhentarim on her back now.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
Who's Alice, and how is she churning out magic items again?

Honestly, I think I need to know what your ideals are for how the magic item economy should look to get a sense as to what your argument is. I mean, I get the point that item slots prevent stacking (I played a lot of 3.5/PF/4e), but I'm not sure what's particularly problematic about 5e.
This is really only an issue if you allow PCs to crank out magic items or have a magic mart along with enough gold to buy whatever you want.

Even then it's only a problem if you decide it is. Gonzo campaigns can be fun, just accept that the PCs may be well ahead of the curve when it comes to determining difficulty for encounters.

In our first 5E campaign, we still had the "hand out magic like candy" philosophy we had gotten used to from 3.5 and 4E. In some ways it was fun, but there's no reason in 5E for PCs to be glowing like Christmas trees with magic. There is no expectation of magic item churn.

If you want there to be a lot of magic, just have a magic item mart but take a look at Xanathar's suggestions for buying and selling magic items. It's a process, you can't just go down to the Quick-E-Mart and get that shiny new +2 vorpal cheese grinder.

If I were doing a high PC magic campaign, I'd also consider minor tweaks to monsters - even something as giving them a cross-the-board +2 to +4 bonus to hit and defenses helps balance things out a lot without adding a lot of overhead.
 

Cap'n Kobold

Adventurer
Who's Alice, and how is she churning out magic items again?

Honestly, I think I need to know what your ideals are for how the magic item economy should look to get a sense as to what your argument is. I mean, I get the point that item slots prevent stacking (I played a lot of 3.5/PF/4e), but I'm not sure what's particularly problematic about 5e.
If I'm understanding the post correctly, Alice is the DM I think.
that's the problem with so many of 5e's oversimplifications, fixing the problem is a huge mess. 4e also had slots & affinities as well. 5e simply said "these are complex soView attachment 120067 without giving much if any consideration to why they existed & what benefits they offered by that complex in too many cases like this. As to "what are you proposing", I already commented on page1 about how 5e makes it difficult unless you either don't give them or give very few because already very powerful magic items need to be objectively better without the subjective dials present for a GM to use in past editions for churn to happen. Given the number of people who said they do things similar to one of those there is merit to it.

If you want a revamping proposal, that would probably need a different thread & would be far too complicated to fix IMO
Is magic item churn required, or even something to be chased after?
If an item given to the party turns out to be a bit more powerful than the DM expected for that level, it is unlikely to overshadow things for long, and the DM isn't required to hand out better items just for the sae of handing out better items.

Other than letting PCs have lots more items, I'm not sure of how body slots are better than attunement slots. They let you have three rings instead of two for example, but I doubt DMs would allow characters to wear two suits of armour simultaneously.
 

tetrasodium

Adventurer
If I'm understanding the post correctly, Alice is the DM I think.

Is magic item churn required, or even something to be chased after?
If an item given to the party turns out to be a bit more powerful than the DM expected for that level, it is unlikely to overshadow things for long, and the DM isn't required to hand out better items just for the sae of handing out better items.

Other than letting PCs have lots more items, I'm not sure of how body slots are better than attunement slots. They let you have three rings instead of two for example, but I doubt DMs would allow characters to wear two suits of armour simultaneously.
Yes alice is the gm, that seemed pretty clear the first time and second time I mentioned her now needing to remembering things she gave the party (a task usually exclusively in the gm's hands). I didn't restate that instead of explaining the generic names because it seemed like such an obvious role I felt @TwoSix was asking if alice was someone specific in this thread or whatever.

The three rings example is another thing that highlights the problems with 5e's style. If your talking about a ring of swimming, ring of jumping, ring of warmth, or some other trio of very minor items you don't have much to worry about. If you are talking about some combination of 3 from Ring of evasion, ring of spell storing, ring of free action, ring of regeneration, ring of resistance, ring of shooting stars, ring of invisibility, ring of spell turning... things get different.

item churn is neither good nor bad. A game like Andy's that wants fewer magic items or faster progression can just give out fewer more powerful ones, but a game like Alice's that wants more less powerful magic items & slower progression is lacking the foundational elements within 5e to do so effectively. Alice needs to not only build custom magic items without guidance or safety nets, she needs to create the foundational rule elements that allow it to work because the system is overly simplified for Andy's game. Andy by comparison would not be hindered by simply having to choose more powerful items that fit his desires if the system were setup in reverse to meet the needs of both games... He could even ignore all the guidance if he wanted to.
 
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TwoSix

The hero you deserve
item churn is neither good nor bad. A game like Andy's that wants fewer magic items or faster progression can just give out fewer more powerful ones, but a game like Alice's that wants more less powerful magic items & slower progression is lacking the foundational elements within 5e to do so effectively. Alice needs to not only build custom magic items without guidance or safety nets, she needs to create the foundational rule elements that allow it to work because the system is overly simplified for Andy's game. Andy by comparison would not be hindered by simply having to choose more powerful items that fit his desires if the system were setup in reverse to meet the needs of both games... He could even ignore all the guidance if he wanted to.
Sure, this makes sense. I disagree that Alice's "more frequent but less powerful items" magic items paradigm needs to be supported (It's almost explicitly in opposition to 5e's design goals with magic items), but I do agree that support is not present.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
Yes alice is the gm, that seemed pretty clear the first time and second time I mentioned her now needing to remembering things she gave the party (a task usually exclusively in the gm's hands). I didn't restate that instead of explaining the generic names because it seemed like such an obvious role I felt @TwoSix was asking if alice was someone specific in this thread or whatever.

The three rings example is another thing that highlights the problems with 5e's style. If your talking about a ring of swimming, ring of jumping, ring of warmth, or some other trio of very minor items you don't have much to worry about. If you are talking about some combination of 3 from Ring of evasion, ring of spell storing, ring of free action, ring of regeneration, ring of resistance, ring of shooting stars, ring of invisibility, ring of spell turning... things get different.

item churn is neither good nor bad. A game like Andy's that wants fewer magic items or faster progression can just give out fewer more powerful ones, but a game like Alice's that wants more less powerful magic items & slower progression is lacking the foundational elements within 5e to do so effectively. Alice needs to not only build custom magic items without guidance or safety nets, she needs to create the foundational rule elements that allow it to work because the system is overly simplified for Andy's game. Andy by comparison would not be hindered by simply having to choose more powerful items that fit his desires if the system were setup in reverse to meet the needs of both games... He could even ignore all the guidance if he wanted to.

So ... the system is broken because it expects DMs to make decisions for themselves? There is a "safety net", it's called attunement. There is guidance in the DMG, for example rare items aren't generally available until 5th level.

What we don't have is the explicit expectation of having a +X weapon and armor by level N which was just a treadmill of weapon and armor upgrades you had to maintain to meet system expectations. I think that's a good thing.
 

tetrasodium

Adventurer
Sure, this makes sense. I disagree that Alice's "more frequent but less powerful items" magic items paradigm needs to be supported (It's almost explicitly in opposition to 5e's design goals with magic items), but I do agree that support is not present.
You are ignoring the UA from not too long ago designed to add features that could be used in games that deliberately progress at a much slower rate than expected first. Wotc said they made it because they discovered all these slower than expected progressing games. Second "should Alice's desired style be supported" is irrelevant to the fact that If it was Andy's desired style would work fine simply by ignoring some rules & guidance while Alice has to fight against 5e.
 

TwoSix

The hero you deserve
You are ignoring the UA from not too long ago designed to add features that could be used in games that deliberately progress at a much slower rate than expected first. Wotc said they made it because they discovered all these slower than expected progressing games. Second "should Alice's desired style be supported" is irrelevant to the fact that If it was Andy's desired style would work fine simply by ignoring some rules & guidance while Alice has to fight against 5e.
1) Which UA was that, the class variant features one?

2) "We should have more detailed rules because you can always ignore them if you want" is a slippery slope that leads to hundreds of pages of extra rules. I mean, I understand you think they should have gone more detailed with magic items, but they also had a ton of feedback that people wanted less detailed magic item rules than were present in 3.5/PF/4e. That magic item system was very much a "love it or hate it" deal.
 

tetrasodium

Adventurer
1) Which UA was that, the class variant features one?

2) "We should have more detailed rules because you can always ignore them if you want" is a slippery slope that leads to hundreds of pages of extra rules. I mean, I understand you think they should have gone more detailed with magic items, but they also had a ton of feedback that people wanted less detailed magic item rules than were present in 3.5/PF/4e. That magic item system was very much a "love it or hate it" deal.
The class feature variants. They did say it was intended to help accomidate slower leveling games.

A slippery slope is how we got 5e's "someone once thought that was complex so
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" without thought to the role that complexity played & gameplay styles it enabled is how we got 5e. You can simplify complex, but you need to design the complex first rather than just doing simple & calling it a day or you wind up with 5e's problematic over simplification. A variant rule of "you may choose to ignore item slots & instead require magic items to be attuned during a long rest but limit characters to 3 attuned items rather than using slots but should use more powerful magic items." and "If you would rather magic items to have more permanance, you could choose to have them regain 1d6+1 charges each day at a particular time such as dawn rather than having a set number of charges that never replenishes" the 3.5/pf/4e magic item system you disparage as being "love it or hate it" could absolutely handle 5e style magic items like that but not in reverse.

It's also an absurd diversion to suggest this kind of thing would add hundreds of pages
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Cap'n Kobold

Adventurer
I believe its probably easier to start with simple base rules, and then allow adding complexity to them. 5e is designed to be pretty modular like that. Trying to add additional complexity to the system wherever someone thinks that the current rules are too simple is, as TwoSix pointed out, a slippery slope leading a much larger book. Better to keep to the original design goals and let people who want more complex rules to create or pick additions that suit their preferences from supplementary materials I feel.
 

Bitbrain

Praise Beebo, the god of War!
Reply to the Opening Post.

At my table, I make it clear that magic items are extremely rare. Each PC will never obtain more than 3 in any given campaign, 4 if you are a Fighter.

Also, magic weapons in my games deal one extra dice of damage at minimum.
 

Todd Roybark

Adventurer
1) Expendables.....high churn is to expected for these, to allow for novelty, for all involved.

2) Story based reasons...Theft, Torts, Force etc....I use the film, The Maltese Falcon as inspiration; getting involved with historical objects often leads to headaches.
‘Ownership’ of art is a fraught question in our own world, same can be true for magical items.

3) Magic. Artifacts, like the One Ring often have a tendency to disappear, move on, or cause fellows to murder each other over it, etc.

4) Human inattentiveness—- if the character never uses the Silvered Magical Dagger that adds no numerical enhancement, I don’t really care that item card is sitting with the player.

5) Disenchanters, caryatid columns, modified Beholder eye rays, etc....my rat bastardness is unbounded. I don’t need no stinking Monster Manual entry, to create some bedevilment.😈
 

the Jester

Legend
The problem with attunement without slots is that you can objectively pick the three best items & the gm can no longer have a powerful thing that conflicts with some other powerful thing so only one can be used. Now you unattune the weakest thing & attune to both powerful things
I have puzzling over this for a couple of days, and still can't figure out what it has to do with my post.

But what you posit as a problem to me is actually the exact opposite. It's a feature designed to tamp down on the "magic item Christmas tree" effect from the last couple of editions. I think it's an excellent move.
 

the Jester

Legend
5e's magic item economy flatly does not work because they are all too powerful & there are no longer any subjective dials that can be used.
That's a nice assertion, but I strongly disagree- 5e's magic item economy (if you want to call it that) works fine, not all magic items are too powerful, and I'm not sure what you even mean by 'subjective dials'. The 3e "body slot" system was okay, but nothing stopped you from (for instance) making some kind of mind control item as a pair of boots and paying the upcharge. Very few dms that I saw would care enough to stop that sort of thing.
 

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