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Problems with Loot breakdowns and unfair loot *Spoilers*


Jade Regent

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One possible solution which might explode if your players do not like being pushed too much in a corner

Spoiler:

If I remember rightly Suishen is the intelligent item which gave all of the PCs the right to belong to clan Ameiko . Next time they bicker about spoils of war have Suishen remove them from clan ameiko as they proved unworthy of it...
After that , the only way for any of them to regain their place in the clan is to wield Shuishen for one week time during which it will judge if they act towards their teammates as clan brothers or not


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
robin wrote:

One possible solution which might explode if your players do not like being pushed too much in a corner

** spoiler omitted **

Actually, it was another item that did that, not Suishen.


Mistwalker wrote:
hustonj wrote:

Below quote selected as it demonstrates a viewpoint, not because of the person who posted it.

Mistwalker wrote:
I suspect that . . . will ensure that no one PC is overly penalized or rewarded for wielding Suishen.

You are a dedicated group on a long-term mission that requires you all work together towards a single end.

Exactly how is one person going to benefit more than everybody else if they are using Suishen?

The group succeeds or fails.

Those focusing on individual benefits and balancing out the rewards across the party are demanding that working together as a group isn't important until I get mine!

You don't understand the basic concepts of what it means to be a long-term group working towards a single goal. Not even close.

Not everyone/group is focused only on the greater good and/or the greater good of the group. Not everyone is willing to sacrifice what they consider their fair share for the greater good, especially if they see that sacrifice rewarding someone else simply because they became the lucky one to wield Suishen.

While everyone is trying to put Ameiko on the throne (or doing so until they can replace her), they don't believe that one individual should get a lot more of the rewards for the same amount of danger.

That is where the problem lies, determining the value of Suishen, or finding a way to ensure that the perceived value of Suishen does not overly penalize (or reward) the weilder.

I don't expect to have any issues with Suishen and my group, but I like to be prepared, and I believe that my changes will engage my players more, with all of them forming bonds with Suishen and Ameiko.

Indeed, and I could see this dispute getting really out of hand, say between a spellcaster pc that didn't want to decline in power and see a melee gain in power, and a fighter swordsman pc that would really want it. So staying in character...

Spellcaster: you shouldn't have the sword, it is too powerful, and its value is too high. It is too large a reward for one player to have at this stage.
Swordsman: value? Do you use swords? Can you use it properly? If I have it, I can use it to its fullest, for the whole group. It also makes sense.
Spellcaster: no, you shouldn't have it, its value is too high!
Swordsman: as if man. My swordsman takes it.
Spellcaster: waaaaa!

It could be a real problem, but some may just have to deal. Lately my groups have not been having trouble with magic items, but then again I more spread it out, creating a variety of items, with some clearly for one character over another.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Tales Subscriber

This entire thing seems alien to me. My groups are always happy to hand items to whoever gets use out of them because if your ally kills the badguys faster you win. Every time your ally does something awesome you win. If you are on a hockey team and someone gets the puck passed to them you don't start whining because you didn't get to shoot. You just pat your team mate on the back and then do your best to keep the team going.
There's some bad sportsmanship going on there and that ain't cool.


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As long as one person doesn't have such awesome stuff that other people feel like they can't contribute even half as much as the guy with the realy cool sword, then playing the 'but you already have a lot of GP value' game should never come up.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:

This entire thing seems alien to me. My groups are always happy to hand items to whoever gets use out of them because if your ally kills the badguys faster you win. Every time your ally does something awesome you win. If you are on a hockey team and someone gets the puck passed to them you don't start whining because you didn't get to shoot. You just pat your team mate on the back and then do your best to keep the team going.

There's some bad sportsmanship going on there and that ain't cool.

It's the perception of the thing, more than the reality. As long as no one feels that they are being overly penalized, or that someone else is being overly rewarded, loot seperation usually isn't a big issue.

To use your example, if two hockey players are often free near their opponent's goal, and the puck is always passed to the same player, who as a result has a high number of goals, do you think that the player who is never given the pass will feel happy/comfortable/appreciated/etc? If they had received the pass, they would have scored the goal - team wins either way, but in this case, they never get the chance because the pass and goal always goes to the other player.


DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:

This entire thing seems alien to me. My groups are always happy to hand items to whoever gets use out of them because if your ally kills the badguys faster you win. Every time your ally does something awesome you win. If you are on a hockey team and someone gets the puck passed to them you don't start whining because you didn't get to shoot. You just pat your team mate on the back and then do your best to keep the team going.

There's some bad sportsmanship going on there and that ain't cool.

Exactly. Alien to me too buddy.

But as a dm and player, I have also looked into the eyes of the truly greedy bean counters.


Mistwalker wrote:
DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:

This entire thing seems alien to me. My groups are always happy to hand items to whoever gets use out of them because if your ally kills the badguys faster you win. Every time your ally does something awesome you win. If you are on a hockey team and someone gets the puck passed to them you don't start whining because you didn't get to shoot. You just pat your team mate on the back and then do your best to keep the team going.

There's some bad sportsmanship going on there and that ain't cool.

It's the perception of the thing, more than the reality. As long as no one feels that they are being overly penalized, or that someone else is being overly rewarded, loot seperation usually isn't a big issue.

To use your example, if two hockey players are often free near their opponent's goal, and the puck is always passed to the same player, who as a result has a high number of goals, do you think that the player who is never given the pass will feel happy/comfortable/appreciated/etc? If they had received the pass, they would have scored the goal - team wins either way, but in this case, they never get the chance because the pass and goal always goes to the other player.

It is a powerful sword, but its presence in another character's hand does not make your character weak. There are better things than magic swords (magic reach weapons come to mind), but this is mainly about perceptions of weakness, fears of inferiority, greed and fixation upon another's power. Which cause a lot of problems in games and out.


Have to agree with dudemeister. The item should go to a pc who is best at the melee. Come on, its not like the rest of the party isn't going to be able to contribute to encounters as much as the one who gets a particular magic item, powerful as it is. I remember in a game I ran, the party dread necromancer got an item which boosted strength. He was good at disarming but his real strength lay mainly in the spellcasting. Despite the fact there was a party barb and berserker. In one encounter with nasty orcs, the berserker beat a orc leader but copped so much damage in the process. I remember on the numbers, if he had that item, he could have ended the encounter one round earlier and avoided the possibility of dying after his berserk ended.


He wanted it to be better at one of his areas of focus, and prevented another being better at their main area of focus.


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My group actually had a character wig out because he got the 'hand me down' items. He was playing a back ranker, and wanted the +2 amulet of natural armor, when the front-line fighter only had a +1. The rest of the group felt that the person taking twice as many attacks should get the upgrade, and he could get the old item, and a tantrum ensued.

Eventually we refused to let him have any loot, since it was obviously 'used' by the enemies we had just defeated.


Rofl. Good one.

Tantrums should not be rewarded.

Taldor

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Modules, Tales Subscriber

My players and I are the kind of players who use 'loot' as a verb, not a noun.

Their response to someone getting an item like Suishen would be along the lines of: "Awesome, that's such a cool weapon for you. High-five!"

I count myself lucky.

The OP needs to sit his players down and talk to them about what kind of relationships they want to have, as players, around the table. If they choose to be adverserial and competitive then he should think long and hard about whether it is worth is while GMing for them. Chances are good that the game will becoming increasingly fractuous and petty as increasing levels combine with specialism to make competitive mindsets ruin the game.
"Hey, once we hit level 7 your Animal Companion is too good: the GM should take away your Boon Companion feat."
"GM, the wizard is ending encounters before I do anything, that's not fair."

Etc. etc.

I would actually recommend showing them this thread.


Yeah, I'd second that.

You can run for an adversarial group though, as long as they aren't hyper serious--which I have seen.


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our group nvr had a problem like this, we just gave out weapons and such too those who could use them, and just split the proceeds of all the mundane/unwanted items gold after we sell it all. No one ever felt out of place when someone got a kick ass weapon like Suishen.


Another thing for the tit-for-tat loot groups to consider is:

Awesome swords are awesome at being swords

There are going to be (or at least I dearly hope) situations that the characters won't be able to solve with a sword. Even one that has a name, a smart mouth, shoots fire, slays evil oriental monsters and dispenses warm pajamas on command.

Oh no a swarm get it off me get it off me! Stand aside katana-boy/girl...*area of effect spell*...continue on the journey.

Jade Regent is a campaign on the move, so you are going to have less of the magic-mart -or- make-everything-custom-to-depants-the-campaign issues that can crop up in other types of adventure paths. That being said, how would a gp -for- gp group handle a character that made a bunch of their own fantabulous gear? Do they get denied a chance to yank a magic ring off the big bad's finger because they made a wicked Rod of Metamagic, or an upper end Wand?

I think there are a lot of suggestions in this thread that would work to remedy the situation for groups that are going to have heartache over Suishen for one reason or another. Hopefully cooler heads prevail and everyone can generally look at things from the group-wins-so-I-win standpoint.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

My issue with Suishen is that it is absurdly powerful for the party at this level. its worth about 108,000 gp when the party gets it, which is equivalent to the TOTAL wealth of a 12th level PC. An item like this would have been more appropriate to find at the end of book 3.

And basically thats an issue with Jade Regent now til the end of the campaign, is the amount of help they get.
4 NPCs that will be journeying with the party and leveling up with them
new allies gained that can journey with them (3 so far through book 2).
Treasure like Suishen above WBL.

The Box and Seal from book 1 are expensive as well, but they're really not everyday items, so I ignore the wealth contributions of those items, not worried about them.

How do you balance encounters for a party of 6 PCs and 7 NPCs? I had to ban the leadership feat (most broken feat in the game) so the group didn't start a crafting mill.


Kill off some of the npcs dramatically, so it is only the heroes and Ameiko that remain atop a mountain of oni corpses.

Taldor

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Modules, Tales Subscriber
Chernobyl wrote:

My issue with Suishen is that it is absurdly powerful for the party at this level. its worth about 108,000 gp when the party gets it, which is equivalent to the TOTAL wealth of a 12th level PC. An item like this would have been more appropriate to find at the end of book 3.

And basically thats an issue with Jade Regent now til the end of the campaign, is the amount of help they get.
4 NPCs that will be journeying with the party and leveling up with them
new allies gained that can journey with them (3 so far through book 2).
Treasure like Suishen above WBL.

The Box and Seal from book 1 are expensive as well, but they're really not everyday items, so I ignore the wealth contributions of those items, not worried about them.

How do you balance encounters for a party of 6 PCs and 7 NPCs? I had to ban the leadership feat (most broken feat in the game) so the group didn't start a crafting mill.

The named NPCs all go off to do something-else-which-is-also-vital while you run the adventure.


The named npcs die horribly for being so bland, and unthinking bots that follow Ameiko no matter what.

Pardon me, got a bit carried away there.


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Chernobyl wrote:

My issue with Suishen is that it is absurdly powerful for the party at this level. its worth about 108,000 gp when the party gets it, which is equivalent to the TOTAL wealth of a 12th level PC. An item like this would have been more appropriate to find at the end of book 3.

And basically thats an issue with Jade Regent now til the end of the campaign, is the amount of help they get.
4 NPCs that will be journeying with the party and leveling up with them
new allies gained that can journey with them (3 so far through book 2).
Treasure like Suishen above WBL.

The Box and Seal from book 1 are expensive as well, but they're really not everyday items, so I ignore the wealth contributions of those items, not worried about them.

How do you balance encounters for a party of 6 PCs and 7 NPCs? I had to ban the leadership feat (most broken feat in the game) so the group didn't start a crafting mill.

Start by ignoring those unhelpful suggestions by that other dude with the post above mine. He is not playing the campaign and just seems to want to destroy other peoples fun.

As written, all the NPCs mostly do bupkiss and stay with the caravan. Only the last module assumes that they get off their behinds and actually do something with the group.

Now, that seems very unlikely, given the general personality of those NPCs and was, IMHO, sloppily written by the designers. That being said, managing four ( and more ) friendly NPCs together with your own OPFOR NPCs is a nightmare. But you still should take at least one with you at all times, because that way they grow closer with the group, more roleplaying opportunities open themselves, etc..

What that means is that you need to find some excuses why not all the NPCs are with the group.

Luckily, the caravan provides an ideal excuse to leave most NPCs there. The caravan has to be protected and thusly the NPCs are ideal for that. You can think out some "off the grid" small adventures the NPCs were having while the rest of the group was away, so that you can reasonably give them some levels for later in the campaign.

As for Suishen, it is an artifact. Its price cannot really be measured in terms of money, but more as a plot device. In this case it is a really, really powerful plot device, but a very helpful one. Its combat powers are actually quite measured in terms of damage output ( yawn, a +2 flaming ( later flaming burst ) Katana ), but its combat utility is much more interesting and helpful. It is really hard to get See Invisibility on most melee classes and Air Walk is a fine feature. It is an asset to all of the group, because it makes them more likely to survive.
Sure, it will help make its wielder shine a bit more, but given that it most likely will be a martial class, they can need it over the casters, anyway. But as I said upthread, it's a group game.

Third point, RAW item crafting is a problem in this campaign. RAW item crafting is a problem in the whole game, since Craft Wondrous Item is the best feat in the game. My solution was to change the mechanics of item crafting: Creation cost is 95% of the market price, you can sell items for full price after creating them. I also added another "+5 to the DC of Spellcraft to half item creation time" to give players in short-term campaigns a chance to build something worthwhile, making it a quarter of normal creation time for the price of a total +10 to the Spellcraft check.
That way item crafting still is worthwhile as a customization tool and giving a small profit, but won't completely break WBL, which was its major problem before.


Glad we can agree.

Good rule ideas. Another one is that they have to actually go off, research interview and learn how to craft all the various wondrous items. The feat never says the crafter knows all magic items and how to craft them, that would be a series of checks and may need more intel. Gets a bit micro, but can slow down the "and I take some time to make all the wondrous items I ever need" type characters.


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Herbo wrote:

Another thing for the tit-for-tat loot groups to consider is:

Awesome swords are awesome at being swords

There are going to be (or at least I dearly hope) situations that the characters won't be able to solve with a sword. Even one that has a name, a smart mouth, shoots fire, slays evil oriental monsters and dispenses warm pajamas on command.

Oh no a swarm get it off me get it off me! Stand aside katana-boy/girl...*area of effect spell*...continue on the journey.

Jade Regent is a campaign on the move, so you are going to have less of the magic-mart -or- make-everything-custom-to-depants-the-campaign issues that can crop up in other types of adventure paths. That being said, how would a gp -for- gp group handle a character that made a bunch of their own fantabulous gear? Do they get denied a chance to yank a magic ring off the big bad's finger because they made a wicked Rod of Metamagic, or an upper end Wand?

I think there are a lot of suggestions in this thread that would work to remedy the situation for groups that are going to have heartache over Suishen for one reason or another. Hopefully cooler heads prevail and everyone can generally look at things from the group-wins-so-I-win standpoint.

A good example of when the sword wielder can't use it. Other examples include opponents with high base speed, shot-on-the-run and utilise plenty of cover. Flying opponents who keep range superiority etc. The problem is that there may be only one cool head while the rest are hot-headed and high on equal loot distribution (probably playing petty calistrian clerics perceiving whoever gets the blade as personal slights directed onto them). "We channel the power of pettiness, greed and low wisdom. Waaaaaaa!"


Lets try looking at this from a character's perspective, not a player's. There is talk of it being powerful and all that. The special abilities of such an item can be eventually discerned through mystical or non0mystical means. Thats cool. On the other hand, what about its market price? Anyone make appraise checks? There are discussions about suishen constituting too much loot to go to a single pc. Have they made any relevant skill checks? Inquired about it with passers-by, extraplanar forces etc. Character knowledge is not player knowledge. Your character doesn't know he is a level 8 fighter with 20 strength. What he knows is that he is good at his area of expertise and is quite physically strong compared to many others. The same way your party has to make some sort effort to gain information on almost anything, let alone something as specific as a powerful ancestral item. A bit too much meta-gaming. Not enough in-character role-playing.


It's a sword, how does the angry character opposed to someone using it, know how much it is worth? Hmm meta-gamey with a touch of jealous sauce.

If a player knows so much about it, it is time to ask has that player read the adventure? And to remind them, their character doesn't know, but the melee char that wants it, sure knows that they could use it well, whatever its actual worth. A flawless magical sword will split heads.


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3.5 Loyalist wrote:
It's a sword, how does the angry character opposed to someone using it, know how much it is worth? Hmm meta-gamey with a touch of jealous sauce.

Actually, I think the jealousy is the prime ingredient here, with a touch of meta-gamey sauce.


Lol. Jealous steak with a side of greedy chips dipped in meta-gamey sauce.

Osirion

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magnuskn wrote:
As for Suishen, it is an artifact. Its price cannot really be measured in terms of money, but more as a plot device. In this case it is a really, really powerful plot device, but a very helpful one. Its combat powers are actually quite measured in terms of damage output ( yawn, a +2 flaming ( later flaming burst ) Katana ), but its combat utility is much more interesting and helpful. It is really hard to get See Invisibility on most melee classes and Air Walk is a fine feature. It is an asset to all of the group, because it makes them more likely to survive.

For those players who don't get the 'group wins, I win' mentality, wanting more personal power, this is a great counter.

"You know, you're upset that I get to see invisible attackers, and can get at flying enemies, and can protect you from them? O..kay.
You want more power? Well, how about, for the last week, you've not had to cast See Invisibility or Air Walk on me?
You just got given two extra spells per day!"


Indeed, someone just got a bandana of see invisibility last game. Their capacity to fight invisible creatures as a party, just went up. No one should be angry about this!


I remember the few times we got an insane magical item that was typically plot sensitive as a player. Now it may also have been due to the design of the games by the DM, but in my cases I and most if not all my fellow players only ever felt negativity to the player when the item was not of the intelligent variety.

Once again it is an odd lil coincidence I noticed that may be more then a coincidence. I think when the item was non intelligent it was JUST a powerful insane weapon to the rest of us, but when it had intelligence, we could refer to the sword as an entity, another NPC. Maybe that alone helped to make it's storyline import known to us every time we thought about it.

Maybe behaving like an NPC makes feel less like an object owned solely by the weilder and more like a member of the party as a whole, unlike when it has no intelligence and it's just loot that one guy has over the rest of the party.

Of course this is all conjecture but I would very much like to hear other thoughts on this observation of mine.

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