D&D General Making magic items have a buff that puts them at risk of destruction

GMMichael

Guide of Modos
Brainstorm: On a natural 20 critical hit, roll a d20. If you roll a 1, the sword instead explodes into a 10d6 fireball centered on the wielder. The wielder is immune to this damage, but the sword is destroyed and will reform randomly on some other plane in 1 year.
Lazybrain: On a natural 1 the sword has (previously) spent the last of its energy. Sure, maybe it goes nova. If you created it or saw it created, you can ignore the first 1 result. Magic is finite and a gift from the gods.
 

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Casimir Liber

Adventurer
Brainstorm: On a natural 20 critical hit, roll a d20. If you roll a 1, the sword instead explodes into a 10d6 fireball centered on the wielder. The wielder is immune to this damage, but the sword is destroyed and will reform randomly on some other plane in 1 year.

It's 1 in 400, but since weapons are constantly used versus wands/staves, more likely to see a chance at it proccing.
interesting idea!
 



overgeeked

B/X Known World
I like the idea, but as shown already, you’ll have gamers with a wide range of maths and tactical skills looking at this. To make it “worthwhile” for the gamers you’ll need to go for something truly epic. Likely disconnected from the mechanics and be story-focused. Like stab someone with the flame-tongue sword and it engulfs them in flame. The target and the sword are then transported to the plane of fire.
 

MuhVerisimilitude

Adventurer
I like the idea, but as shown already, you’ll have gamers with a wide range of maths and tactical skills looking at this. To make it “worthwhile” for the gamers you’ll need to go for something truly epic. Likely disconnected from the mechanics and be story-focused. Like stab someone with the flame-tongue sword and it engulfs them in flame. The target and the sword are then transported to the plane of fire.
Ok that was honestly very creative. I love it. I want more weird stuff like that.
 


So is this going to add fun for the players? I don't think so. It adds complexity and record keeping for what I see as little gain.

If you are concerned with an over-abundance of magic items, use plot devices or non-combat ways for magic items to be used up or destroyed. A cult of anti-magic'ers. Gods that feed off the power of sacrificed magic items. More rust monsters. Rituals that repurpose the power of magic items for transitory purposes. Or just that magic items lose potency over time, but at a scale not relevant to PCs.

You could even work this into your campaign. A legendary magic item that has been on display of the king/queen's power and no longer has any magic and the party is asked to quest to a way to find re-power it before the king/queen's foe discover the lack of power.
 


overgeeked

B/X Known World
So is this going to add fun for the players? I don't think so. It adds complexity and record keeping for what I see as little gain.

If you are concerned with an over-abundance of magic items, use plot devices or non-combat ways for magic items to be used up or destroyed. A cult of anti-magic'ers. Gods that feed off the power of sacrificed magic items. More rust monsters. Rituals that repurpose the power of magic items for transitory purposes. Or just that magic items lose potency over time, but at a scale not relevant to PCs.

You could even work this into your campaign. A legendary magic item that has been on display of the king/queen's power and no longer has any magic and the party is asked to quest to a way to find re-power it before the king/queen's foe discover the lack of power.
This is one reason why I prefer weird magic items and consumable magic items more than bog-standard +1 this or that.

You can also pull in the idea of residuum from 4E and Critical Role. Disenchanting a magic item produces residuum, which is a catchall magic component and necessary to enchant items. It pushes some semblance of a "magic item economy" in the world.

Mostly those basic magic items are boring. But also because you don't have to worry about balance. Numenera calls these kinds of things cyphers. But single-use magic items have been a thing for a long time. It's game breaking to give a 1st-level party a ring of infinite wishes. It's far more interesting to secretly give one person in the party a single wish. That makes it a real choice, and hopefully a damned hard one. Which is inherently interesting. Getting a +1 to hit or AC is just boring. Likewise why a portable hole is more interesting than a bag of holding. You can do more...interesting stuff...with the portable hole.
 

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