5E No Magic Shops!

5e has been out for a while, and it's been a bit since I last wrote about the cash/power economy. Are you guys happy with the lack of magic shops in 5th?
Sure. But then, even the assumption in previous editions that you could freely buy and sell items didn't necessarily imply the existence of magic item shops.

(And it's also worth noting that the concept of magic item 'shops' goes right the way back to Appendix N. There's a reason Dragon Magazine had an article series called "Bazaar of the Bizarre". And it's also also worth noting that the 'shop' in that case wasn't exactly what it appeared to be...)

Do you find yourself itching to homebrew systems for turning gold pieces into magic items, or do you prefer to play it as written, thank-you-very-much?
The one thing I wish they'd put more thought into (and, actually, in 3e as well) is a more integrated progression of equipment upgrades (magical and mundane) - in most was, the Fighter upgrading from chain mail to splint armour is equivalent to him upgrading to chain mail +1, so the levels at which these upgrades become available should be similar if not the same.

That doesn't necessarily mean that there should be some sort of "Wealth by Level" table to be followed rigorously, or even that the DM should be advised to make sure certain items automatically become available. Indeed, there's an argument that the solution to that particular issue is actually to get rid of the useful-but-dull +X armours from the game, in favour of "armour of fire resistance", "armour of shadows", or similar.

But there's a design space there that allows for the development of weapons and armour, and indeed other types of equipment, that are more powerful than those that are available/affordable for low-level PCs, but which are still strictly-speaking mundane.
 
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NaturalZero

Adventurer
I'm generally fine with the system running without the magic christmas tree effect of 3e and 4e or the implied magic item market.

That said, I've always thought that magic in DnD was basically the physics of that fictional world. Wizards use specific formulas with exact components to produced repeatable, mathematically predictable empirical effects, and that's been the default flavor of the rules since conception. In that light, the logical conclusion I see for any DnD world is that someone, and probably a lot of someones, are going to become the magic Bill Gates, Steven Jobs, or Elon Musk of that world. Unlike the real world where visionaries and business men are bound by mundane science, in the world of DnD, scientist-wizards would be making huge leaps in tech and production in a short period of time and since the ostensible assumption of DnD is that humans still have real-world human nature, it would turn into a large scale industrial revolution pretty quickly. I can't really see too many wizards or clerics or bards or sorcerers wandering around a planet without anyone trying to turn magic into big business.
 

CapnZapp

Hero
Not using or even liking magic shoppes is entirely fine.

Actively opposing an utility-based magic item economy as an optional variant for those who prefer it, on the other hand, is reprehensible.

Acting as if gold being worthless in official campaigns where there is no time for downtime isn't a huge problem is ridiculous.

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Lanefan

Victoria Rules
I'm not a huge fan of "magic shops" as such but I see it as very logical and realistic that there's going to be some trade in magic items - often between different adventurers or groups who have found magic they have little or no use for, or who need the coin instead.

Thus, in any decent-size town there's a chance of finding things for sale if you ask around a bit...but what's for sale is almost completely random and may or may not bear any relation to what you actually want.

Commissioning items from an artificer is also OK, but they take a long time to make and most of the payment is usualy required up front.

Lanefan
 

The Big BZ

Explorer
Not using or even liking magic shoppes is entirely fine.

Actively opposing an utility-based magic item economy as an optional variant for those who prefer it, on the other hand, is reprehensible.

Acting as if gold being worthless in official campaigns where there is no time for downtime isn't a huge problem is ridiculous.

Sent from my C6603 using EN World mobile app
Never played AL. How is there no time for downtime?
 
5e has been out for a while, and it's been a bit since I last wrote about the cash/power economy. Are you guys happy with the lack of magic shops in 5th? Do you ever miss them? Do you find yourself itching to homebrew systems for turning gold pieces into magic items, or do you prefer to play it as written, thank-you-very-much?
Notes:

- it's not so that there are no magic items shops in 5e, but rather than 5e is built around the assumption that magic items are not required; whether you have zero magic items or lots of them, the system still works (which doesn't mean that an encounter difficulty doesn't change)

- the problem related to magic shops is not about magic item prices, but more about magic availability. Example: if I let the PCs buy a vorpal sword for 1gp everyone will scream "broken!", but the truth is that in a vacuum this is going to have a much smaller effect on the game compared to using reasonably higher prices but also allowing the PCs to find anything they want on sale (and letting them have treasure enough to buy multiple items)

That said, I am very happy about the first point above. It makes me totally free to set the matter differently in different campaigns, instead of having to comply with a fixed standard.
 

Matrix Sorcica

Adventurer
What the CapN is alluding to but yet not dares mention apparently, is the fact that there's very little to spend gold on if you're not interested in henchmen/keeps/domains/inns/tax collectors/etc. or any of the other money sinks that always gets touted as the solution to the worthlessness of gold. The official adventures from WotC (not AL) allows very littel if any downtime, making gold worthless in the published adventures.
 

The Big BZ

Explorer
What the CapN is alluding to but yet not dares mention apparently, is the fact that there's very little to spend gold on if you're not interested in henchmen/keeps/domains/inns/tax collectors/etc. or any of the other money sinks that always gets touted as the solution to the worthlessness of gold. The official adventures from WotC (not AL) allows very littel if any downtime, making gold worthless in the published adventures.
Fair enough but I have played in or run every released campaign so far and that hasn't been my experience.
 

Tanin Wulf

Visitor
The last time I had magic shops in a campaign (as opposed to people who you could omission for magic items - system was 3.5 for context)... the whole campaign actually revolved around currency manipulation using the magic item market (similar to Spice & Wolf, in terms of it being a fantasy campaign that was economics driven).

I am rather happy with 5e's approach to the whole thing. It's a good return to one of the few things I liked better about 2e than the systems beyond it.
 
What the CapN is alluding to but yet not dares mention apparently, is the fact that there's very little to spend gold on if you're not interested in henchmen/keeps/domains/inns/tax collectors/etc. or any of the other money sinks that always gets touted as the solution to the worthlessness of gold. The official adventures from WotC (not AL) allows very littel if any downtime, making gold worthless in the published adventures.
I suppose. But really the decision to spend money is up to the PC. "I'm not interested in investing my money in anything that doesn't increase my personal power", is a choice made by the PC. However nothing says that opportunities for that use of wealth must exist or if it does, be something akin to Walmart. It's completely up to the DM or organized play authority on what that system is.

Access to many magic items in some games can be akin to the rare art market IRL. A Staff of the Arch Mage becoming available for sale would be something like Van Gogh's Stary Night coming onto the market. It will only happen occasionally, be unbelievably expensive and have other competitors who wish to buy it as well.
 

Matrix Sorcica

Adventurer
I suppose. But really the decision to spend money is up to the PC. "I'm not interested in investing my money in anything that doesn't increase my personal power", is a choice made by the PC.
There is no choice is the point. There is only downtime. In many of the official adventures, there's no downtime to speak of. So even WotC throws treasure at the PCs with nothing to spend it on.
 

Demetrios1453

Adventurer
So by official campaigns you mean Tomb of Annihilation etc? Surely the amount of downtime in these is largely down to how the DM chooses to run them?
Well, if you have a lot of downtime during ToA, lots of people are going to die, so unless the DM alters the main plot of the campaign, downtime isn't going to work in that one at least.

Sent from my [device_name] using EN World mobile app
 
What the CapN is alluding to but yet not dares mention apparently, is the fact that there's very little to spend gold on if you're not interested in henchmen/keeps/domains/inns/tax collectors/etc. or any of the other money sinks that always gets touted as the solution to the worthlessness of gold.
Presumably, in that case, you're supposed to use it the same way as the ultra-rich in the real world: a means of keeping score.

In this instance, it's a feature not a bug - WotC have provided a bunch of suggested uses for gold. If you don't like those, you can either homebrew up your own ones, or just treat gold as worthless (and find some other motive for adventuring). Personally, I would have preferred to see magic item prices (for Eberron if no other reason), but WotC chose not to provide those, and indeed gave their reasons for doing so.
 

Matrix Sorcica

Adventurer
Presumably, in that case, you're supposed to use it the same way as the ultra-rich in the real world: a means of keeping score.

In this instance, it's a feature not a bug - WotC have provided a bunch of suggested uses for gold. If you don't like those, you can either homebrew up your own ones, or just treat gold as worthless (and find some other motive for adventuring). Personally, I would have preferred to see magic item prices (for Eberron if no other reason), but WotC chose not to provide those, and indeed gave their reasons for doing so.
You shold read this. http://theangrygm.com/nothing-here-but-worthless-gold/
It explains the problem better than I can, if you diregard the foul language and longwindedness.
 
There is no choice is the point. There is only downtime. In many of the official adventures, there's no downtime to speak of. So even WotC throws treasure at the PCs with nothing to spend it on.
As the DM you have the power to insert downtime or extend the timeline where ever you want. In a non-organized play WOTC adventure nothing prevents the DM from tacking on options for the use of treasure, too. The fact that WOTC doesn't do so is simply an omission to allow for DM world-building choices as they wish to do so.
 
You shold read this. http://theangrygm.com/nothing-here-but-worthless-gold/
It explains the problem better than I can, if you diregard the foul language and longwindedness.
Yeah, I've read that. And one of the key things he says there is "There’s nothing wrong with NOT having that. Seriously. I don’t want to sound down on it. It’s perfectly fine that D&D doesn’t really care what you do with your money."

It's not a problem that gold is worthless in the game. After all, it's not like any of us actually play to get these entirely imaginary rewards.

What's sub-optimal (and what Angry also says) is that the game pretends that gold is in some way important when it really is not. But, honestly, so what? Surely the reason you play the game isn't so you can accumulate imaginary rewards anyway - it's the adventures that are actually the fun bit, and those work just as well whether you get to buy magic items or you have to adventure for them.
 

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