5E No Magic Shops!

TiwazTyrsfist

Adventurer
I personally want a system with a better magic item economy.

My ideal is, YES, any decently sized settlement has a Magic shop. It sells spell components, and a few magic items. Larger cities may have specialty magic weapon and magic armor shops.

But, I want a supplement with a large number of LOW-END magic items. I'm talking, two full tiers of items BELOW "Common". Healing potions that do 1hp, or just Stabalize a dying victim. Magic swords that do things like "This sword has 3 charges, it regains 1d3 charges each dawn, spend a charge to deal +1d6 fire damage." Also weapons under the "Common" grade threshold don't count as Magic for damage resistance purposes.

So, any given magic shop will have a few low end magic items at moderate prices. They MIGHT have one Common grade item at a HIGH price.
Like a liquor store having a lot of cheap and normal booze, and one bottle of Louis the 14th behind the counter for $1500.
 

Matrix Sorcica

Adventurer
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.
Please don't give me the "you're the DM you can do what you want if you can't solve the issues arising from lacking support from WotC you're a bad DM" routine. The entire plot of ToA centers on no downtime at all. When do you build castles and run inns in OotA? When do you open an orphanage in SKT?
Look, all I'm saying is that the DMG makes treasure seem very important with tables and the whole shabanbs. But in reality, there's nothing much to spend gold on after plate mail. If WotC really wanted your to do the old "name-level" domain buildng, thay should have provided official support right out the door.
 

Matrix Sorcica

Adventurer
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.
Agreed. But it does matter, I think. The half-assed offering from WotC supports none of the playstyles. If you really want downtime, the guidelines are vague and hard to use for anyone but experienced DMs. If you want games focused on dungeon delving (or just using one of the published adventures, actually), the support is lacking as well.
 
Please don't give me the "you're the DM you can do what you want if you can't solve the issues arising from lacking support from WotC you're a bad DM" routine. The entire plot of ToA centers on no downtime at all. When do you build castles and run inns in OotA? When do you open an orphanage in SKT?
Look, all I'm saying is that the DMG makes treasure seem very important with tables and the whole shabanbs. But in reality, there's nothing much to spend gold on after plate mail. If WotC really wanted your to do the old "name-level" domain buildng, thay should have provided official support right out the door.
Sorry, that's what I'm saying. Take it or leave it. There is a camp of D&D players who have had issues with how they adhere to 'official' products since the beginning. I've never been one to see an official product as any more than a template for me as the DM to tell the story. The final structure is more mine than the product's as I trim, add and edit what I want to it based on my and my player's interests. I don't require WOTC to provide me 'complete' support because in the end I'll just mod what they give me anyway.
 

CapnZapp

Hero
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?
Yes I mean the official hardcover adventure campaigns.

If you run them as written, some nebulous world-ending threat is looming at the horizon; having players who are not in the least interested in taking a week or twelve off (for downtime) is not at all unreasonable. What hero spends a month to build a church when Tiamat is about to spawn, or Demogorgon is loose, or your employer dies a little from some curse every day??

I'm not saying you can't work downtime into your campaign.

I'm saying there should be uptime alternatives to spending your gold. I'm saying there should be official support for an utility-based magic item economy, as an optional variant for those who want it.



Sent from my C6603 using EN World mobile app
 

Mr. Wilson

Explorer
It's an interesting decision point, whether to let the narrative drive the system, or letting the system drive the narrative. I went the opposite direction as you when I transitioned from 4e to 5e. Magic items were pretty common in my 4e campaigns. As part of switching systems, I invented a major world event to account for their relative dearth using the standard assumptions of 5e.

Yep, it is an interesting question/problem each DM faces. The Realms, which I enjoy the lore of immensely but do not play in, handles this with Realm Shaking Events every edition to explain away the differences (Time of Troubles, etc). That is perfectly viable. I personally just try to keep things as close to it was prior to edition swap as possible in my own homebrew. Believe me, the magic shop thing is not nearly as difficult to explain as having additional arcane classes show up making my Dragonlance-esque Wizard's school deal with the sudden appearance of Sorcerer's at the start of 3rd Edition.

Personally, I like magic shops because they can add all sorts of neat, nifty quest hooks, but it doesn't make or break my desire to play in a game if there is no magic shop.
 

Tanin Wulf

Visitor
The Realms, which I enjoy the lore of immensely but do not play in, handles this with Realm Shaking Events every edition to explain away the differences (Time of Troubles, etc).
Or, in the case of 4 to 5... the Realms Shaking Retcon & Apology for Moving Away From 3e FRCS. ;) (He said teasingly to the Realms.)
 
Agreed. But it does matter, I think. The half-assed offering from WotC supports none of the playstyles.
I'm not sure I can agree with that. 5e's approach of gold being almost worthless and magic items being not for sale matches up pretty well with the way I played the game back in 2nd Edition days. Indeed, apart from the "gold = XP" thing, it ties up pretty well with BECMI as well.

It was only really 3e and 4e * where I saw widespread purchase of magic items.

* Caveat: I played barely any 1st Ed, so can't comment on that one.

(It is, of course, worth noting that the way I played 2nd Ed certainly wasn't the only way to play it, and may not have been at all common. And I'm not denying that there are issues with some playstyles, also - and WotC could have done better. All I'm noting here is that 5e does do well with some playstyles, so it's not quite fair to say it supports "none" of them.)

The entire plot of ToA centers on no downtime at all. When do you build castles and run inns in OotA? When do you open an orphanage in SKT?
IMO, they would have done well to omit monetary treasure from those storylines almost entirely. The motivation for tackling those adventures is something other than "gather loot", so there's no need for it. And if it's their position that treasure doesn't really matter, this would have been a prime opportunity to show it.
 

Coroc

Adventurer
It is all about context once more.
Is it a low Magic campaign, ? (Ravenloft is suited for that e.g.)/ Is it post apocalyptic like Darksun, metal weapons and armor replace the role of Magic Equipment in a way? No Magic Shops and None needed.

Is Magic a part of everyday life e.g. Eberron, partially Greyhawk (Blue box) Consider Magic Shops for low powered items and every spell scroll and a varity of potions.

Is it a high Magic campaign, every mob is asumed to have a +1 weapon on him, or many Mobs are resistant to nonmagic damage e.g. Planescape? Magic item shop heavily recommended!

For other campaign worlds: FR and DL do not really Need Magic item Shops, although for FR there might be some black market.

Your homebrew: Do as you wish but try to meet one of these categories for a start and think about balancing it out! If e.g. Magic armor/shields is a common thing in your world then you need heavy melee hitters to challenge your party, use a lot of giants minotaurs etc. everything with a high strength is suitable. Is Magic weaponry a normality in your world? Stat your Mobs with more hitpoints than the book says. Is Magic healing easy to come by because there are lots of pots? Reduce the rest break Options, increase the number of Encounters.
 
I'm not sure I can agree with that. 5e's approach of gold being almost worthless and magic items being not for sale matches up pretty well with the way I played the game back in 2nd Edition days. Indeed, apart from the "gold = XP" thing, it ties up pretty well with BECMI as well.

It was only really 3e and 4e * where I saw widespread purchase of magic items.

* Caveat: I played barely any 1st Ed, so can't comment on that one.
I started with 1st Ed AD&D and there wasn't what I consider to be a full magic item vending/creation system there, either. Some modules would mention magic shoppes in some towns and their items/prices sometimes but it was an add-on and not a full mechanic. It wasn't until 3e that magic was quantified in terms of gp and xp cost and became a direct assumed power mechanic for advancing PCs.

IMO, they would have done well to omit monetary treasure from those storylines almost entirely. The motivation for tackling those adventures is something other than "gather loot", so there's no need for it. And if it's their position that treasure doesn't really matter, this would have been a prime opportunity to show it.
Sure the main motivation isn't loot. But loot never hurts and I always like my PCs to have some cash jingling in their pockets. Depends on how things are run.
 

The Big BZ

Explorer
Yes I mean the official hardcover adventure campaigns.

If you run them as written, some nebulous world-ending threat is looming at the horizon; having players who are not in the least interested in taking a week or twelve off (for downtime) is not at all unreasonable. What hero spends a month to build a church when Tiamat is about to spawn, or Demogorgon is loose, or your employer dies a little from some curse every day??

I'm not saying you can't work downtime into your campaign.

I'm saying there should be uptime alternatives to spending your gold. I'm saying there should be official support for an utility-based magic item economy, as an optional variant for those who want it.



Sent from my C6603 using EN World mobile app
Fair enough. My group dislikes the meta plot imperative so we tend to play a slightly chopped up version. So for instance the Death Curse is more localised in its effect etc.
 

5ekyu

Adventurer
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?
one of the most unsatisfying games i was ever in (briefly - four sessions iirc) took a fairly absolute vision of magic item shoppes into the base level of campaign. Not sure if this was actually drawn from rules or just their playstyle but it went like this...

You could automatically buy or sell anything. Sometimes "once you go to town" was required but often it was just "get out of the dungeon".

This was to the point where the actual items you found did not matter a bit to the "older players." it was "expected" everybody would get their share of the gold value and then buy the specific magic items they wanted to optimize their builds. the only importance the actual item found had was how it helped anybody between find and sell.

practically every scenario ended up being more driven by economy/advancement than by characters or story. "long trek to rescue" was turned down over "quick raid." Somehow it even turned out that after scenario loot division/sell/buy was the thing that took longer and seemed more of interest.

i have zero problem with turning the management, buy/craft, sell and economy of "special/superior/magical" gear as case-by-case matters of interactions and skill as opposed to one of spreadsheets, minmaxing and profit ratios.
 

CapnZapp

Hero
i have zero problem with turning the management, buy/craft, sell and economy of "special/superior/magical" gear as case-by-case matters of interactions and skill as opposed to one of spreadsheets, minmaxing and profit ratios.
That is not in question. The only interesting question is if you want to deny that play style to those that like it.
 
The first game I recall having a magic shop in was somewhere in the early '80 somewhere in Greyhawk. The DM would roll a few dice, consult the treasure tables and determine what was available at that time at Ye Olde Magik Shoppe. There would be some amount of bantering to see what sort of prices could be gotten for items being bought and sold, things would change hands and that would be that. I also played in a campaign where the DM would allow you to state an item you were looking for and pay a 'finders fee' to locate one. There would be some random roll every increment of time (1/month game time or so as I recall) and one of those items might turn up, or sometimes something akin to it but not quite the same. Different DMs took different approaches.
 
I also played in a campaign where the DM would allow you to state an item you were looking for and pay a 'finders fee' to locate one. There would be some random roll every increment of time (1/month game time or so as I recall) and one of those items might turn up, or sometimes something akin to it but not quite the same.
That's very similar to the downtime mechanism in "Xanathar's Guide..."
 

Fauchard1520

Explorer
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.
Have you looked at the Starfinder item level system? I'd be curious about your take on that. Bottom of the page over here:

http://www.starfindersrd.com/equipment/
 

Fauchard1520

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.
It always struck me as strange that 5e is designed to be the "power to the DM" edition, but that excising support for the magic item economy implies that it's bad-wrong-fun. I mean, enough people like that style of play that the "Sane Magic Item Prices" homebrew became a thing.
 
That's very similar to the downtime mechanism in "Xanathar's Guide..."
Pretty much. Often we wound up with not-quite-the-thing we were looking for custom magic items that were flavorful enough to tempt us and usually with some sort of flaw, too. It gave the DM a chance to magic-craft and put interesting unique items into the players' hands. Some balance issues at times but our campaign was very high-challenge so it was hardly an issue. This is from an era before the internet/Facebook/etc that was far more freewheeling than today as far any idea of balance or norms expectations.
 

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