D&D 5E I don't care anymore! The Magic shope is OPEN!

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
My party is 11th level, and starting to amass some serious coin. They just wrapped up a big adventure story line and finally got back to a major city loaded down with gold and not a darn thing to spend it on. I know this issue has been brought up multiple times, but 5E really does have an issue with PC's not having much to throw their riches at, and I can tell that's it's becoming a bit of a bummer for the players.

I see this all the time and I find it completely untrue. What is true is that in previous editions, part of character mechanical advancement and expected math was properly leveled magic items for their tier so there was a system to advance these mechanical aspects just as much as XP advances level.

This stopped characters from spending gold on things that didn't advance their character math. Building strongholds, bribing people, funding orphanages, hiring mistrals to chant their exploits, throwing parties, feeding the poor, donating to their church, building a library, starting a guild, outfitting a chapter of knights, hiring assassins, starting a merchant cartel, throwing a wedding, buying gifts for nobles you want to impress or make decisions your way, buying a title/peerage, etc.

There seems to be a holdover from 3.x and 4e that if it doesn't add to their character directly, it's not even seen as an option to spend money on. When I see "not a darn thing to spend it on", it sounds like your players are stuck in that rut as well - that they can only envision spending it on things to improve their character mechanically.

I'm not putting down a magic item shop. Having a shop can be a great fit for your setting. Just addressing the misconception that there is nothing to spend money on.

I will give a suggestion for a magic shop - make a limited amount available and don't tailor things to the PCs, especially in the generic "plus X" weapons and armor. 5e doesn't assume you need the right magic items to compete and that if you allow characters to always find the "right" item and become christmas trees you may end up with mathematical inflation that trivializes encounters. "Why yes, I do have +2 armor and a +2 shield" is 4 points of AC right there.
 

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iserith

Magic Wordsmith
In my current Planescape campaign which just kicked off recently, I do plan on having magic items for sale in Sigil. Magic items and a modified version of downtime activities will be where most coin is spent, I imagine. Finding magic item sellers will be something of a mission in and of itself. (It's part of the "Scour the Cage" task I wrote up, part of an ongoing exploration challenge.) We'll see how it goes!

Treasure is otherwise generated randomly except for quest rewards or the like.
 

kbrakke

First Post
I have something similar in my 5e Curse of the Crimson Throne game. Every in game month I generate a few treasure hoards and use the fairly handy Sane Magical Item Prices for 5e PDF to price what items are available in the store for the month. The party usually ends up buying a few potions then starts saving for any of the exciting items. It's worked fine. The secret of magic items in 5e is that you as the DM just need to be aware of their existence if you make encounters for the party. The only thing I don't add to the shop is +x Armor. While I could work around it, I would rather keep my party in the relatively normal band of 12 -> 21 for ACs, it's slightly less work for me and the people with high AC feel like their AC matters.
 

The main thing to do is if a monster you are using has resistance or immunity to mundane weapons' damage, then you should recalculate the CR level (monsters like that tend to have lower hit points so their defensive CR is low). For fiends and intangible undead, I would think about giving them some of the crown of or mantle of abilities from the mystic class as auras (no concentration treat 1 psi point for 2 or less CR, 2 psi points for 3-5, etc.). That will complicate the PC's actions, but if the PC gets a hit, the monster will be in serious trouble.
 

SkidAce

Legend
Supporter
Auction houses like Sotheby's, and their black market equivalent.

Plus herbalists and alchemists with extremely common items.

Thats how my world has rolled through all the editions.

Edit: I thought I should clarify. Like real high end auction houses, its hard to get in, very exclusive and secretive. Even the legitimate ones are kinda cutthroat, and the black market ones are worse.
 
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Zmajdusa

First Post
Yeah, straight up the books tell you that if you don't have some one who can cast magic weapon your party is going to be in some trouble. And they straight say that if your party doesn't have at least one full caster you are likely not going to be successful. Immunity and resistance to nonmagical damage from mundane weapons starts at a 4 Challenge rating. So if you don't have a couple of party members who can cast magic weapon, don't expect to be successful past the first 4 levels.
 


CapnZapp

Legend
I see this all the time and I find it completely untrue. What is true is that in previous editions, part of character mechanical advancement and expected math was properly leveled magic items for their tier so there was a system to advance these mechanical aspects just as much as XP advances level.

This stopped characters from spending gold on things that didn't advance their character math. Building strongholds, bribing people, funding orphanages, hiring mistrals to chant their exploits, throwing parties, feeding the poor, donating to their church, building a library, starting a guild, outfitting a chapter of knights, hiring assassins, starting a merchant cartel, throwing a wedding, buying gifts for nobles you want to impress or make decisions your way, buying a title/peerage, etc.

There seems to be a holdover from 3.x and 4e that if it doesn't add to their character directly, it's not even seen as an option to spend money on. When I see "not a darn thing to spend it on", it sounds like your players are stuck in that rut as well - that they can only envision spending it on things to improve their character mechanically.

I'm not putting down a magic item shop. Having a shop can be a great fit for your setting. Just addressing the misconception that there is nothing to spend money on.

I will give a suggestion for a magic shop - make a limited amount available and don't tailor things to the PCs, especially in the generic "plus X" weapons and armor. 5e doesn't assume you need the right magic items to compete and that if you allow characters to always find the "right" item and become christmas trees you may end up with mathematical inflation that trivializes encounters. "Why yes, I do have +2 armor and a +2 shield" is 4 points of AC right there.
Why did you stop your quote where you did?

Perhaps because if you had quoted the very next paragraph your rant would have been exposed as baseless?



They're not really interested in buying property and castles and such, and you can only live it up so many times at the best inn in town.

In other words, NOT EVERY PLAYER WANTS TO BUY CASTLES AND DO DOWNTIME STUFF.

Nothing you say changes the basic fact that these players are left out in the cold.

Sent from my C6603 using EN World mobile app
 

robus

Lowcountry Low Roller
Supporter
I have a magic shop in Waterdeep and use the prices from Sane Magic Item Prices PDF. It seems to be going OK. Perhaps the players have buffed themselves a bit too much but I've not seen anyone abuse it.

It probably helps that the casting players in my group don't have the DMG so they have to guess at an item, like "Do you have something to dispel evil" or whatnot.

Generally it's a good place for them to trade in unused magic items for gold or upgrade something if they're using all their attunements.
 

Celebrim

Legend
There is nothing wrong with a magic shop provided it doesn't become a Supermarket.

While I have never been a supporter of the idea that magic items are a freely tradable commodity and that they represent not only fungible wealth, but effectively a point buy system that is a part of character development, I do believe that a certain trade in magic items is realistic.

To wit, all of the following typically exist in my campaign:

1) Alchemists are quite common, and can be found in most towns larger than a village or hamlet. These produce small numbers of potions for the market (alongside everything from paint to medicinal cures) and have a small random stock of items on hand (typically, they know 2d6 different potions and will have 2d4 potions in stock from among the potions they know how to make). They will also brew potions on commission, provided they know how to make them.

2) Hedge wizards exist in larger towns selling simple magical items related to mercantile business and industry - things like fire resistant sail cloth, scales that detect when object placed on them is enchanted, magical bolts for the city watch's stockpile, rings that enhance craftsmanship or grant success in business dealings, or wands that cast the light spell. The vast majority of things that they make though have applications that are quite different from those normally required of an adventurer. They will also sell small numbers of scrolls, and will have a small random stock on hand (typically 2d4 random scrolls from among the spells they know). Although they are usually busy (80% of the time) with other commissioned works from regular customers, they will at times take commissions on custom items.

3) Most large temples will sell scroll containing spells/prayers for the use of pious followers. Some also practice alchemy and will sell curative potions and the like. Numbers and available quantities are similar to those of secular hedge wizards or alchemists. Generally a positive relationship is required between the temple and the customer, and they will not do business with random strangers. However, anyone who professes respect for their deity, engages in acts of worship/devotion, and who donates an appropriate sum to the temple will be accepted as a customer. Temples however generally do not work on commission unless the customer is in fact a member of the priesthood or oath sworn laity of a appropriate rank (in which cases, suitable discounts are also available).

4) In very large cities, there will generally be a small number of magical craftsman that manufacture simple magical arms and armor. They generally do this strictly on commission, and usually are legally required only to sell their goods to citizens of the city in good standing. Thus, a sword +1 or mail +1 can be purchased from legendary blacksmith, provided you pay in advance, are willing to wait, and you either have bought a citizenship or have been formally granted freedom of the city by it's ruler. If you wanted a sword +3 commissioned, you might have to journey hundreds of miles or thousands of miles to find a suitably skilled expert in such matters, and they would probably insist on the player undertaking to acquire at least some of the rare ingredients required for the enchantment as some of the items involved simply wouldn't be available as commodities.

5) In very large cities, there are antiquarians who deal in the strange and bizarre. They certainly buy items and occasionally sell them, but the sort of wares they deal in are often dangerous, illegal, or stolen. Identifying these shops is not easy, and gaining their trust is even more difficult, especially if you want to see the illegal wares. Contacts with unscrupulous elements can help. While the items that they trade in are extremely valuable, the uses they are put too are often obscure, difficult to fathom, and rather narrow and of little aid to your average adventurer.

6) At the highest level, there are a few very well equipped, very learned, very respected merchants that deal directly in magical wares. This is because magic is very dangerous, and most merchants will simply refuse to trade in it as they lack the skills to identify, use, or protect themselves from magical items. These merchants engage in and control the highly secretive international trade in magic items. Typically they travel between cities, buying items from known and trusted sellers (often temples, governments, and the aforementioned antiquarians). They then auction these items off at private auction. The time and location of these auctions are a well kept secret, and only the most respected (or at least wealthy) individuals and institutions are invited. Often, by law or custom, government officials or temples get first viewing of the offered items, and have the right of first purchase of certain items. This prevents undesirable items from getting into private hands, in the same way that most countries don't let just anyone buy a 155mm howitzer or even a 12.7mm machine gun. If the party wants to get in on this action, they generally need to obtain high noble rank and develop a positive reputation with both the merchant in question and at least one of the existing local buyers. In short, the PC's have to have a very high credit rating. At that point, 2d6 random items come onto market every few months and must be bid on. Persistent disinterest will tend to be interpreted as a sign you don't have the income to be involved in these matters and gets you uninvited in favor of buyers with more stake in the action. In the very largest markets, 1d6 merchants with slightly different personalities and areas of focus or customer bases might be active, resulting in somewhat regular auctions. One of the results of this system is unless the buyer really has a bunch of henchmen to equip and property to protect, they aren't likely to be invited even to those rare cases where a +5 Holy Avenger comes on market, and even in that case the Temple of the Shining Champion of Justice might claim first dibs and you'll never even see the item (unless you have a spy/contact in the temple or are best friends with the high priest).

It's not that 'magic shops' per se are wrong, it's just if they are not done carefully, they tend to reduce all the flavor of magic items, tend to unbalance the game, and result in situation where loot loses its mystique.
 

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