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Concerned about lack of magical treasure in RotRL AP


Rise of the Runelords

Osirion

I have read several posts here and there mentioning that if the DMs doesnt add extra magic items and/or treasure and the players don't make their own magic items, there was a shortage either for firepower or problem solving at certain places in the AP.

My party looks like this atm:

dwarf warrior 2 - working towards battlesmith with armor and weaponsmithing maxed.
dwarf ranger 2 - also has maxed armor and weaponsmithing
half-elf bard 2
half-elf rogue 2
human cleric 2 - working towards possibly being a specialist cleric of sarenrae. (forget the name from the LoF AP series)
half-orc druid 2
half-orc sorcerer 1 / barbarian 1(draconic bloodline)-working towards dragon disciple

The druid, cleric, and sorcerer have zero interest in making a potion or scroll, much less anything stronger. So other than weapons and armor, anything they might need, I probably have to add to the AP or stick in a side adventure. I guess my real question is this:

What items would be useful for the party to have and what items should I NOT give them party (if any) that might make the AP too easy at points. Any suggestions would be appreciated. One final note is that due to the large number of players in the party, I have amped up the encounters to be a fair challenge to them, mostly use Joey's 6 party RotRL info plus my own add ons, since I have more than 6 even.


redcelt32 wrote:

I have read several posts here and there mentioning that if the DMs doesnt add extra magic items and/or treasure and the players don't make their own magic items, there was a shortage either for firepower or problem solving at certain places in the AP.

My party looks like this atm:

dwarf warrior 2 - working towards battlesmith with armor and weaponsmithing maxed.
dwarf ranger 2 - also has maxed armor and weaponsmithing
half-elf bard 2
half-elf rogue 2
human cleric 2 - working towards possibly being a specialist cleric of sarenrae. (forget the name from the LoF AP series)
half-orc druid 2
half-orc sorcerer 1 / barbarian 1(draconic bloodline)-working towards dragon disciple

Well, when you have a party twice the size of the recommended party, you're going to run into treasure shortages.

When I ran it for a party of 4, there was enough treasure that they beat the AP with me only adding one additional source of loot (a dragon's lair inbetween Skinsaw Murders and Hook Mountain). They could probably have done just fine without the additional loot, since they missed a couple big sources of loot elsewhere.

Osirion

So basically, you are saying that for a party of 4, everything is balanced magic-wise within the AP? The reason I am asking is that I have seen several posts in various threads here mention that they had to pad the treasure and magic for their groups to be equipped well enough to beat some of the BBEG. Obviously Paizo felt they were balanced or they would have added in more, I just wanted to get some input from other GMs.

My group is not damage output optimized nor particularly good strategists or tacticians in combat. They are also twice as big as the recommended party, and they are fighting harder challenges that keep the CR level of encounters fair in comparison to the party size. I already have planned some additional magic item and treasure additions, I just wanted to find out if there were items that other groups felt were extremely useful, perhaps ones the characters made, etc, and if there were items that made things too easy that I should avoid adding to treasure hordes.

Some of the suggestions I have seen were:

a wand of cure light/serious wounds for the rogue/bard in a party to UMD with
Items which cast Dispel magic

Mostly I was hoping to get this sort of feedback from some other GMs (or players for that matter):

1 - Was there enough magic in the AP already for a party of 4
2 - Were there items that your party made or you (the GM) placed in treasure hordes that were not in the original AP that were extremely helpful to the party.


What I'm saying is that the AP is perfectly winnable with the treasure listed in the books. It's no Savage Tide or Age of Worms, where your party needs to be at or above their expected wealth at all times or you risk multiple TPKs.

Hell, I had to seriously buff Karzoug to make him any kind of threat.

Spoiler:

I moved him up to low Epic-level with Epic feats, gestalted him with Archivist, gave him full 5 levels of Archmage, gave him full 10 levels of Master Specialist, gave him a custom spell list, made him take only 50% damage, gave him maximum hit points, and gave him a lot of free environmental transmutation effects to change the terrain of his demiplane at will.

My PCs still beat the stuffing out of him. I don't even think any of them died. If I had played him as written, he'd have died in one turn. No joke.

My party was pretty well-rounded, with no exceptional strengths in any area except that all of them could handle a little melee combat.


Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
redcelt32 wrote:
The druid, cleric, and sorcerer have zero interest in making a potion or scroll, much less anything stronger.

"We can't be bothered, let the DM do it for us?" Hmph. Let 'em die and have the players roll up more industrious characters.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Pawns Subscriber

My party of 4 had enough treasure through the AP for the most part and they had no real problems (though we didn't make it all the way through, we stopped at book 4 since we wanted to switch to beta and it rather than convert characters we just started a new campaign)

I would even go so far as to say that unless your converting the adventure to pathfinder and your using pathfinder characters you might have the opposite problem and it being too easy. Your milage may vary, give it a shot and see what happens, you can always compensate later.

I DO throw out slightly more treasure in my pathfinder game i'm running now (running CotCT currently) but then I rebuild all the monsters and NPCs to pathfinder stats and add in a few more mooks to challenge the PCs.


Damon Griffin wrote:
redcelt32 wrote:
The druid, cleric, and sorcerer have zero interest in making a potion or scroll, much less anything stronger.
"We can't be bothered, let the DM do it for us?" Hmph. Let 'em die and have the players roll up more industrious characters.

My players didn't craft any items (well, not for the AP... one character crafted a tin golem army of laborers, but that was all for pure greed) and did fine. Crafting feats and the use thereof aren't requirements for any of Paizo's APs, in any sense.

Taldor

Same here, my campaign went fine with the items and money given in the adventure. We had 4 PC's, none of which did any type of crafting.

Osirion

Damon Griffon wrote:
"We can't be bothered, let the DM do it for us?" Hmph. Let 'em die and have the players roll up more industrious characters.

I hear you Damon, except that the sorcerer and cleric are very new players who haven't gone past about 6th level in DnD yet. They played to almost 7th in my 3.5 FR campaign before we switched over to RotRL and Pathfinder. I don't think they really get the whole crafting thing or its too intidimdating, not sure. The druid is a very experienced player, but he is playing his 6 int atm. I had to create a special trait for him, instinctive knowledge, which allowed him to use his 17 wisdom in place of int for his knowledge nature rolls :)

For the rest of you all, thank you very much for your feedback. It's good to know the magic in the AP is sufficient. I know they will be crafting arms and armor for at least some of them, so whatever else they get should be enough then. I do have a few side encounters set up along the way to sort of smooth the flow between AP2-AP3-AP4 from my game, and they have the opportunity to acquire a little bit of magic from them in addition, to sort of compensate for 8 players worth of magic.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Every campaign and every GM/Party has a different taste on how much treasure is too much or too little. We don't know your group's tastes, and we can't customize adventures to your group as a result; and if we did, then we'd not be able to customize to every other group. As a result, we put in, as a general rule, an amount of treasure into any particular Pathfinder volume something like 1.5 to 3 times the amount of treasure that should be available to a party of four.

We do this because we assume that not all treasure is going to be found. Not all treasure is going to be kept. Not all treasure is going to be noticed that it's actually treasure. And there's gonna be costs along the way that leech treasure funds; resurrections, writing spells into wizard spellbooks, etc.

In fact, in "Council of Thieves" there's a few locations that give out an INCREDIBLE amount of treasure. Part of this reasoning is that we're testing the waters on how folks will react, and also because the character levels in that AP are lower than we normally do but the challenges in the adventures aren't any less hard, so we're sort of making up for a slower XP advancement by powering PCs up with extra magic.

ALL of this assumes only four PCs. So if you have 5 or 6 or 8 or 10 PCs, they're going to get proportionally a lot less treasure.

So in the end, it's still the GM's duty to monitor PC wealth. If they get to be too rich, don't hand out all the treasure in a module. If they're starving for gold and magic, turn things up a notch (and in so doing, make sure to customize the treasure you give out so that it's stuff your particular party can use!).


James should be the final word on the subject, but I have run Runelords 1.5 times.. (Just finishing Chapter 3 for the second time tomorrow).

To add to what James was saying, let me tell you some of the common issues with treasure in Runelords. Because I've heard all the unfounded complaints as well.

1.) Treasure is treasure, and PCs often dismiss magic gear because it's the wrong size. If they want their fair share of treasure they're going to have to pick up a few Masterwork Dogslicers, and +1 Ogre Hooks, and large sized +1 Hide shirts. I will concede that (in my mind) there is a questionable market for such things.. but I don't think about it too hard. I just let them sell it in Magnimar for the appropriate value. If the do that, they'll have enough money.

2.) You have don't have to let them craft, but you do have to let them shop in between Chapters. They might not find gear that is approriate to their needs in the course of the adventure. So the AP is written with a mind that they sell what they find, and buy what they need. If they're not allowed to do that, then you need to let them craft.

It's as simple as that.


I believe James said this a while ago, like when the AP first came out, but one thing to let the players know early on is that evil or cursed magic items could easily have a "bounty" on them, which a lot of temples might be willing to pay out for to keep the item off the market for those that would use them for ill purposes.

Also, as Watcher pointed out, when strange, exotic, or alternatively sized items show up in the campaign, players often don't know what to do with them. Another "common knowledge" thing that I introduced was that some magic item crafters will purchase magic items to break them down and reuse their essence and thus are willing to pay the normal half price for them.

If you want to show mechanics for this, there are actually even some feats in Green Ronin's Advanced Gamemaster's Guide that allow a caster to break down a magic item to use its "levin" to create other magic items. Its not something a lot of PCs will want to invest it, but it might be worth explaining to help set up the reasoning behind NPC wizards and clerics being willing to purchase odd items.

Edit: One more thing that I was going to point out is that, if you want to take the time to do this, you can always audit the PC's wealth every few levels, and if they seem to be behind a bit, you can always create a fairly simple mission that yields high rewards to bring them back online for wealth without derailing the story too much.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

I am in Ch3 at the moment, and have no problem so far. I have let them sell/buy magic in Magnimar using the PRPG rules.

Taldor

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Working on Skinsaw right now and the players have been muttering about needing to head down to Magnimar to sell off some of the magic items no one can use (or no one wants). I don't see any issue with the PCs shopping, after all, they aren't the only group of adventurers out there (and with a 40k GP limit, Magnimar should be fairly agreeable for the shopping aspect). However, the party cleric did take Brew Potion and has been trying to crank out Lesser Restoration potions after one particularly awful revelation in Burnt Offerings.

Taldor

zylphryx wrote:
Working on Skinsaw right now and the players have been muttering about needing to head down to Magnimar to sell off some of the magic items no one can use (or no one wants). I don't see any issue with the PCs shopping, after all, they aren't the only group of adventurers out there (and with a 40k GP limit, Magnimar should be fairly agreeable for the shopping aspect). However, the party cleric did take Brew Potion and has been trying to crank out Lesser Restoration potions after one particularly awful revelation in Burnt Offerings.

What's funny is because of the generation rules I wound up with as many magic items in Sandpoint as I did in magnimar, but because sandpoint is all minor and medium magic, and magnimar I rolled mostly for major magic items (I think I had 4 minor, 2 medium and 4 major but in sandpoint I had 6 minor and 7 medium) sandpoint had more items the PCs could actually afford. I love the new magic item buying rules in the PRPG they much better reflect my style of playing.

Taldor

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
lastknightleft wrote:
zylphryx wrote:
Working on Skinsaw right now and the players have been muttering about needing to head down to Magnimar to sell off some of the magic items no one can use (or no one wants). I don't see any issue with the PCs shopping, after all, they aren't the only group of adventurers out there (and with a 40k GP limit, Magnimar should be fairly agreeable for the shopping aspect). However, the party cleric did take Brew Potion and has been trying to crank out Lesser Restoration potions after one particularly awful revelation in Burnt Offerings.
What's funny is because of the generation rules I wound up with as many magic items in Sandpoint as I did in magnimar, but because sandpoint is all minor and medium magic, and magnimar I rolled mostly for major magic items (I think I had 4 minor, 2 medium and 4 major but in sandpoint I had 6 minor and 7 medium) sandpoint had more items the PCs could actually afford. I love the new magic item buying rules in the PRPG they much better reflect my style of playing.

Indeed. The party has hit up the local "alchemist" and the church for potions regularly in Sandpoint, also masterwork weaponry, etc. However, folks are wanting bigger, badder, and more bodacious, so Magnimar it is. ;)


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Card Game, Companion, Modules, Tales Subscriber

Alas my game actually wound up dying because of a rift between the group over the magic items. We eventually gave it up when one of our older gamers went on a rant about the Fortress of the Stone Giants not making any sense and being ridiculous. I think the mummy-monk was what tipped him over the edge, especially seeing as the art showed his hands and feet as being bound, and the fact that there was a mummy monk and nothing where that particular encounter took place was worth anything of any real value (they were quite insulted by the scroll case).

No, Rise of the Runelords was not exactly the best AP as far as magic items went. Many of the ones they had were useless to the PC's and unless the DM altered things so that there were some rather eccentric collectors of +1 Ogre Hooks in Magnimar selling a lot of the loot the PC's found required a little more suspension of disbelief than most D&D games when it comes to the buying and selling of magic items (i.e. how a PC can get a fully charged wand in a loot pile and still only sell it for half the market value per the rules).

The AP was good (though I found myself loathing FotSG, likely more due to events surrounding the module than the module it self, I usually love Wolfgang Bauers work) but if the PC's are fond of their loot the DM should do some homework and drop a few items here and there as well as a couple eccentric collectors of giant magic equipment or my personal favorite: a Rod of Resize. Which would readjust an item to the size of the wielder of the Rod. Unlimited charges because anything less was a pain in the arse :P


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Maps, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
Devil of Roses wrote:

Alas my game actually wound up dying because of a rift between the group over the magic items. We eventually gave it up when one of our older gamers went on a rant about the Fortress of the Stone Giants not making any sense and being ridiculous. I think the mummy-monk was what tipped him over the edge, especially seeing as the art showed his hands and feet as being bound, and the fact that there was a mummy monk and nothing where that particular encounter took place was worth anything of any real value (they were quite insulted by the scroll case).

No, Rise of the Runelords was not exactly the best AP as far as magic items went. Many of the ones they had were useless to the PC's and unless the DM altered things so that there were some rather eccentric collectors of +1 Ogre Hooks in Magnimar selling a lot of the loot the PC's found required a little more suspension of disbelief than most D&D games when it comes to the buying and selling of magic items (i.e. how a PC can get a fully charged wand in a loot pile and still only sell it for half the market value per the rules).

The AP was good (though I found myself loathing FotSG, likely more due to events surrounding the module than the module it self, I usually love Wolfgang Bauers work) but if the PC's are fond of their loot the DM should do some homework and drop a few items here and there as well as a couple eccentric collectors of giant magic equipment or my personal favorite: a Rod of Resize. Which would readjust an item to the size of the wielder of the Rod. Unlimited charges because anything less was a pain in the arse :P

1) I like the Wand of Resize. (though I'm going to give it charges and make it a found item.)

My party is going to be 6 or 7 strong, and we're playing the slow progression XP so that we can stick in some other adventures (I started them on "Into the Haunted Woods" so they were already ay level 1.5 when they started Burnt Offerings).

I agree that you sometimes have to audit the treasure in any campaign. I like to have extra healing potions and herbs for sale.

And if you have players like mine who always go off the beaten track, there is plenty of room for additional treasure if you need it.

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