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D&D 5E Sane Magic Item Prices


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S'mon

Legend
Maybe it's just a problem with my group, but I think it's actually the DMG advice (don't give out treasure)

The 5e DMG doesn't say not to give out treasure. It does say the game will work without treasure. But the default suggested number of treasure hoards is fairly substantial.
 

tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
But, by the same token, because magic items aren't fungible, it's easy to just not give those items.

I will never, ever give a flaming sword in my games. They are just too powerful. But, if I allow the PC's to buy magic items, I can guarantee that every single campaign I ran for my last group will feature every single fighter type carrying a flaming sword. Five campaigns in a row. Every fighter type had IDENTICAL magic item loadouts.

No thanks.
And? I don't like to run forgotten realms games for an equally useful datapoint.

Nobody is telling you that you are engaging in badwrong fun if you don't give out magic items by saying that 5e's lack of supporting rules & structures needed for GMs who do want magic items to be present in previously acceptable ways is a problem that should be fixed. If WotC finished those areas of the rules tomorrow & stealth published them you would still be free to not use those rules.
 

Nobody is telling you that you are engaging in badwrong fun if you don't give out magic items by saying that 5e's lack of supporting rules & structures needed for GMs who do want magic items to be present in previously acceptable ways is a problem that should be fixed.
Hmmm.... I'd say that unless you have players who have never played anything but a magic item less 5e game, they will probably (and rightly so IMO) expect a steady steam of loot.
 

Stattick

Explorer
Hmmm.... I'd say that unless you have players who have never played anything but a magic item less 5e game, they will probably (and rightly so IMO) expect a steady steam of loot.

It can be done. But that needs to be part of the initial game pitch, so the prospective players can decide whether or not they want to actually play in your game. "The game I want to run is about a group of enslaved gladiators, fighting for glory in Rome's Coliseum during the decadent days of a crumbling empire. There will be glory, and a system in play that lets you leverage glory for things you want. But there will be no gold, no magic items, just the testosterone fueled soap opera involving people who fight, kill, and die for the amusement of those who think themselves better than you. Are you guys interested, or would you rather I run the same old thing in Forgotten Realms again?"
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
It can be done. But that needs to be part of the initial game pitch, so the prospective players can decide whether or not they want to actually play in your game. "The game I want to run is about a group of enslaved gladiators, fighting for glory in Rome's Coliseum during the decadent days of a crumbling empire. There will be glory, and a system in play that lets you leverage glory for things you want. But there will be no gold, no magic items, just the testosterone fueled soap opera involving people who fight, kill, and die for the amusement of those who think themselves better than you. Are you guys interested, or would you rather I run the same old thing in Forgotten Realms again?"
Sounds like a cool game idea, but you just know that within a few sessions they'll find a way to go all Spartacus on it and escape, after which you'll be running a game of battles against the Romans (which would also be cool!) and they'll be picking up non-magical loot as they roam about the countryside.
 

Stattick

Explorer
Sounds like a cool game idea, but you just know that within a few sessions they'll find a way to go all Spartacus on it and escape, after which you'll be running a game of battles against the Romans (which would also be cool!) and they'll be picking up non-magical loot as they roam about the countryside.
"Wait, Hannibal is out wrecking the Italian Peninsula right now!? Ok, we gotta bust out of this damn arena, and throw open the gates to let the war elephants into Rome, proper!"
 

Hussar

Legend
I like randomly rolling my items, it can lead to fun :D
In my current campaign, I roll treasure 100% randomly at the time, and completely in the open for the players. They kill something that should have a treasure hoard, I just click the button on Fantasy Grounds and I let the chips fall where they may. Recently resulted in the party gaining a Hammer of Thunderbolts. :wow: It's worked absolutely fantastically. Magic items are what they are supposed to be in 5e, an actual power up, not a base assumption.
 

S'mon

Legend
It can be done. But that needs to be part of the initial game pitch, so the prospective players can decide whether or not they want to actually play in your game. "The game I want to run is about a group of enslaved gladiators, fighting for glory in Rome's Coliseum during the decadent days of a crumbling empire. There will be glory, and a system in play that lets you leverage glory for things you want. But there will be no gold, no magic items, just the testosterone fueled soap opera involving people who fight, kill, and die for the amusement of those who think themselves better than you. Are you guys interested, or would you rather I run the same old thing in Forgotten Realms again?"

Sounds cool. Doesn't sound like a good fit for most D&D editions; might work great with 4e D&D and the Martial Power book, though!
 

Hussar

Legend
And? I don't like to run forgotten realms games for an equally useful datapoint.

Nobody is telling you that you are engaging in badwrong fun if you don't give out magic items by saying that 5e's lack of supporting rules & structures needed for GMs who do want magic items to be present in previously acceptable ways is a problem that should be fixed. If WotC finished those areas of the rules tomorrow & stealth published them you would still be free to not use those rules.
Actually, I had two players very recently tell me, pretty much word for word, that I was engaging in badwrongfun because I wasn't making magic items fungible. The second that anything remotely resembling an official price list comes out for magic items, there is going to be a non-zero number of players who will straight up demand to be able to buy magic items.
 

Stattick

Explorer
In the game I'm prepping, I'll have a magic item shop. The players won't know this at first, but it's just the one shop in the geographic region, but can be accessed in multiple locations. The shop is it's own demi-plane, and can open portals to various places. There's a sign on the wall that reads, "All shoplifters will be sold as merchandise."

The owner appears to be a powerful fey noble, but in truth, he's a devil that tired of the Blood War, slipped his hellish bonds, and struck out on his own. And that sign on his wall isn't an idle threat.
 


I've been in a long running 5e game. There's only one original character from that game still being played, and the character has made it to 17th or 18th level. At some point, the GM switched over to using Sane Magic Item Prices. It's kind of a pain, since the longer the game runs, the more out of date the Sane Magic Item Prices gets, as more magical items get added, while Sane doesn't get updated.

The bigger problem is that at some point, the GM started cutting back on the amount of treasure we get. I haven't talked to him about that, but I'm guessing that switched over to DMG recommendations or something.

Now, we can't stay afloat. There's not enough gold coming in, and the magic items are just too expensive. My present character (Changling Bard) started at 4th level and is now 8th level. She started play with Glamoured Studded Leather as her magic item. Since then, the only additional magic item I've acquired has been Goggles of Night, because another character took pity on me.

Maybe it's just a problem with my group, but I think it's actually the DMG advice (don't give out treasure) coupled with the Sane Magic Item Prices (overcharge for everything). But I'm very interested in what others have to say about this, and what solutions you've come up with at your own tables. I'm planning on GMing my own game soon, and would rather not have my players endlessly frustrated by not being able to afford magical items... or looking down at their character sheet and having to sheepishly say, "I can't afford <basic expense>... I'm broke."

I recently downloaded the Magic Item Management supplement that Matrix Sorcica posted. The prices there, for the most part, are quite a bit lower than the prices listed in Sane. Plus it's a more complete list, with items up through Tasha's being listed. The list isn't perfect, I've ran across a few missing items already, and have seen a few typos. But it's probably going to be what I'll be using when I start my own game.

If you are confident enough to try it, one of my solutions has been to hand out customized items. I've even toyed with items that grow in power and capability alongside the players.

I'm not sure exactly why, but this seems to help them a lot, perhaps because the players feel like I am handing out something unique and specific to their character, so they don't feel like they are needing to search for something generic.

Also, if they know that they might get something cooler and more custom if they, say, slay a powerful demon with their magical sword rather than going and trying to buy a better sword, then they are less likely to be disappointed.

Also, seriously, let them make a wishlist. I know people are going to groan and moan about how unfair that is and yadda yadda, but seriously, it makes sense. Not for the PCs to know, but for the players to know on a meta level that you have some idea of what they want. Again, it just helps them feel more at ease about what they have, if they feel like they have some reliability in eventually getting what they want (within reason)
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Hmmm.... I'd say that unless you have players who have never played anything but a magic item less 5e game, they will probably (and rightly so IMO) expect a steady steam of loot.
During 1e and 2e, magic items tended to be more powerful and do more things, but didn't appear as often. When we found something, we really got happy and excited that a magic item was found. 3e changed that. Magic items were a dime a dozen and often didn't do much more than one minor thing. As a result, finding magic became a case of, "Well, here are 7 more minor items. We might as well sell the 6 we don't need. Followed by some bored yawning."

Eventually I stopped handing them out in that steady stream. Instead of a PC finding a +1 sword, a ring of feather falling, a wand of light and a cloak of levitation by 3rd level, the PC would only find Lightbringer, a Longsword +1 that could make light at will, levitate 3x day and cast feather fall at will on it's owner. Suddenly that spark that had been lost came roaring back and the players started to really want to find magic items again.

I'm not saying that you need to do it that way or that it's better than the steady stream. You should do what's best for your players. I'm just pointing out that there is a middle ground between no magic items and the steady stream that can be very good.
 


Since I've now seen four people advocate for, I'm going to reiterate my position on the opposite. I fairly well despise rolling randomly for magical items, especially in a game where buying and selling magical items isn't allowed.

Actually, that was a different thread, so I haven't told this story here.

We were playing a game that had gotten to rather high level, and we had completed an adventure where we had saved one of the heaven's from some terrible plot. As a reward, we were invited into a celestial forge run by powerful dwarven immortals who had forged some of the most powerful items in the multiverse. We were each given a magical item by them as a reward, and the DM decided to roll for them. And this is how those dice fell.

Player 1 -> Oathbow, legendary or very rare item. Couldn't use it.
Player 2 -> Vorpal Sword, legendary item
Player 3 -> Dancing Sword, Very Rare Item
Player 4 -> Defender, Legendary item
Me -> Shield of Expression, Common item. Worse than the magical shield I had had since 5th level.


I get many groups could have had fun with that. Some DMs might have tried to make it a plot point. But, in this instance... no, that wasn't what was going to happen. I was going to be the only player who essentially got NOTHING, all because of a random quirk of the dice and the DM had been rolling on the entire magic item table, instead of a curated list.

I loathe rolling for magical items. Getting something worthless as a "reward" isn't fun, and yes there are things that van be gotten that are basically worthless. If the first thought someone has after getting their reward is "maybe we can sell this to get something of value" that is a problem. And, on the extreme end, like above... there isn't any value to be had.
 

Oh, right. You don't care about gold or gold balance, so you hand out large hoards at low level. My bad.

I'm sorry, there are hoard rules for play 1 thru 4. By level 5 you get a new chart that can earn you an average of 3,500 gp of value across the various items.

But, more importantly, you are forgetting bounded accuracy. Even at level 13, if you hire 30 scouts with bows, you can make 60 attacks in a single round of combat (see any math talking about skeleton archers). Very few things are going to trivially walk through that kind of hailstorm (what is that, 60d8+90, an average of 360 damage?)
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Since I've now seen four people advocate for, I'm going to reiterate my position on the opposite. I fairly well despise rolling randomly for magical items, especially in a game where buying and selling magical items isn't allowed.

Actually, that was a different thread, so I haven't told this story here.

We were playing a game that had gotten to rather high level, and we had completed an adventure where we had saved one of the heaven's from some terrible plot. As a reward, we were invited into a celestial forge run by powerful dwarven immortals who had forged some of the most powerful items in the multiverse. We were each given a magical item by them as a reward, and the DM decided to roll for them. And this is how those dice fell.

Player 1 -> Oathbow, legendary or very rare item. Couldn't use it.
Player 2 -> Vorpal Sword, legendary item
Player 3 -> Dancing Sword, Very Rare Item
Player 4 -> Defender, Legendary item
Me -> Shield of Expression, Common item. Worse than the magical shield I had had since 5th level.


I get many groups could have had fun with that. Some DMs might have tried to make it a plot point. But, in this instance... no, that wasn't what was going to happen. I was going to be the only player who essentially got NOTHING, all because of a random quirk of the dice and the DM had been rolling on the entire magic item table, instead of a curated list.

I loathe rolling for magical items. Getting something worthless as a "reward" isn't fun, and yes there are things that van be gotten that are basically worthless. If the first thought someone has after getting their reward is "maybe we can sell this to get something of value" that is a problem. And, on the extreme end, like above... there isn't any value to be had.
Yeah. I don't like pure rolling, either, and for much the same reasons you lay out. I also don't like having every item be useful and/or an upgrade. What I've settled on is choosing about half and randomly rolling the other half. That way the players still get useful items, but they also get items that can be useful, somewhat useful, or not useful and it keeps things feeling realistic(like not everything is planned for the PCs).

I also wouldn't have gone with a purely random roll for a situation where dwarven immortals were going to hand out items. Dwarven immortals would be handing out things they know are useful to the PC. Usually I'll roll 3 times and if I don't get something good for the PC, I'll just pick.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
I'm sorry, there are hoard rules for play 1 thru 4. By level 5 you get a new chart that can earn you an average of 3,500 gp of value across the various items.

But, more importantly, you are forgetting bounded accuracy. Even at level 13, if you hire 30 scouts with bows, you can make 60 attacks in a single round of combat (see any math talking about skeleton archers). Very few things are going to trivially walk through that kind of hailstorm (what is that, 60d8+90, an average of 360 damage?)
Sorry, I thought you were talking about large hoards. Page 38 of the DMG doesn't agree with you on gold by the way. Nor do these players who worked out math based on the books.


Also, your bounded accuracy statement is off. It 1) fails to take into account resistance, 2) fails to take into account special abilities which will wipe out swathes of little guys in seconds, 3) assumes for some reason that they all hit, 4) assumes that NPC putzes all have nice damage bonuses, and 4) assumes that all of them will be able to attack in the first place. The reality is that most of those attacks are going to miss. Those that hit will do half damage. Most of the attacks probably won't even have a damage bonus. And it's unlikely that many situations will even allow half of them to get in attacks, let alone all 60.
 

tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
Since I've now seen four people advocate for, I'm going to reiterate my position on the opposite. I fairly well despise rolling randomly for magical items, especially in a game where buying and selling magical items isn't allowed.

Actually, that was a different thread, so I haven't told this story here.

We were playing a game that had gotten to rather high level, and we had completed an adventure where we had saved one of the heaven's from some terrible plot. As a reward, we were invited into a celestial forge run by powerful dwarven immortals who had forged some of the most powerful items in the multiverse. We were each given a magical item by them as a reward, and the DM decided to roll for them. And this is how those dice fell.

Player 1 -> Oathbow, legendary or very rare item. Couldn't use it.
Player 2 -> Vorpal Sword, legendary item
Player 3 -> Dancing Sword, Very Rare Item
Player 4 -> Defender, Legendary item
Me -> Shield of Expression, Common item. Worse than the magical shield I had had since 5th level.


I get many groups could have had fun with that. Some DMs might have tried to make it a plot point. But, in this instance... no, that wasn't what was going to happen. I was going to be the only player who essentially got NOTHING, all because of a random quirk of the dice and the DM had been rolling on the entire magic item table, instead of a curated list.

I loathe rolling for magical items. Getting something worthless as a "reward" isn't fun, and yes there are things that van be gotten that are basically worthless. If the first thought someone has after getting their reward is "maybe we can sell this to get something of value" that is a problem. And, on the extreme end, like above... there isn't any value to be had.

I also think rolling for random magic items does more harm than good on the long run. Worse it gets elevated as some kind of "a real man(gm) would" gold standard of quality decision making for a gm to misguide inexperienced GM's still trying to grow their wings into making damaging decisions for their game time after time.

Rolling is great to fill some random clutter you expect to get sold/unpurchased once you pick stuff reasonably equitable & targeted for the needs of the party itself but exclusively relying on it can easily give players a bad taste in their mouth and creat frustration over getting the poo end of the stick too many times or having their class needs not met even slightly(monks &wizards tend to get shafted hard here).

Over time that creates a situation where the individual characters are on wildly different power levels. Wotc trying so hard to dress up unsupported feats & magic items as "optional" only makes matters worse since it's less likely there will be times the players getting left behind are the ones getting something cool.
 

Awfully Cheerful Engine!

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