Earlier this week, Logan gave you the skinny on Resonance and how it interacts with some iconic and all-new magic items. If you missed out on Logan's explanation of Resonance, you might want to take a look here before reading on, because we're going to come back to it at the end of the blog. You got how Resonance works? Good. Now forget about it, we're going to talk about weapons instead.
Potency and Properties
Unlike items with the invested trait or ones that you activate, weapons typically require no Resonance to use. You just pick one up and swing (or shoot, or sling, or thrust, or throw), and the magic weapon unleashes its punch, often with potency. Think as a weapon's potency as its "plus" and more. Potency still grants an item bonus to your attack rolls with the weapon, but now it also increases the damage dealt by an additional weapon die for each point of potency bonus. For example, let's say you find a +1 longsword buried in an otyugh's dung heap. Regardless of its current soiling, that weapon grants not only a +1 item bonus to attack rolls, but on a successful hit it deals 2d8 + Strength modifier damage, instead of the standard 1d8 + Strength modifier. A +2 longsword would instead grant a +2 item bonus to attacks and deal 3d8 + Strength modifier damage, and so on.
Of course, potency is only a part of the story. Magic weapons can also have properties. The maximum potency and the number of properties a weapon can have are based on that weapon's quality. Standard weapons can't have potency or properties, while expert-quality weapons can have up to +2 potency and one property. Master-quality weapons can have up to +4 potency and two properties, and legendary weapons can be +5 weapons and have three properties. Sometimes, special materials can affect the number of properties a magic weapon can possess. Since cold iron resists magic, weapons made of cold iron have one fewer property. Conversely, weapons made of highly magical orichalcum can have one additional property, but because the metal is so rare and difficult to work, these weapons must be legendary.
Both potency and property are imbued within a suitable weapon by etching magical runes upon it. Runes can be fairly easily removed or added (assuming the quality of the weapon allows it), and can even be found etched on a runestone, allowing them to be transferred separately from a weapon. Say you just found a handful of weapon property runestones in your adventure. What properties might they be? Well, let's take a look at one of the favorites of good and undead-hating clerics.
Disrupting Rune 5+
Method of Use etched, melee weapon
A disrupting weapon deals extra damage to undead. Undead hit by an attack with a disrupting weapon takes extra positive damage and additional effects on a critical hit.
Type standard; Level 5; Price 150 gp
The weapon deals 1d6 extra positive damage. On a critical hit, the undead is enfeebled 1 until the end of your next turn.
Type greater; Level 15 (Uncommon), Price 6,200 gp
The weapon deals 2d6 extra positive damage. On a critical hit, the undead creature must attempt a DC 32 Fortitude save with the following effects.
Success The target is enfeebled 2 until the end of your next turn.
Critical Success The target is enfeebled 1 until the end of your next turn.
Failure The target is enfeebled 3 until the end of your next turn.
Critical Failure The target is destroyed.
The disrupting property comes in two varieties. The standard disrupting property deals some positive damage and can enfeeble undead. The greater version deals more positive damage, and can force undead to attempt a save—if they critically fail that save, they're destroyed outright!
Of course, other types of properties can do even more incredible things. Sometimes, these properties can require an expenditure of resonance.
Vorpal Rune 17
Price 15,000 gp
Method of Use etched, melee weapon that deals slashing damage
Activation [[R]] Focus Activation; Trigger You roll a natural 20 and critically succeed at a Strike with the weapon targeting a creature with at least one head.
When you activate a vorpal weapon, the triggering creature must succeed at a DC 35 Fortitude save, or it is decapitated. This kills any creature except ones that don't require a head to live (such as constructs, oozes, and some aberrations and undead). For creatures with multiple heads (such as ettins or hydras), this usually kills the creature only if you sever its lasthead.
If, like the vorpal property, a weapon property has an activation, you have to spend Resonance to activate it; however, unlike worn items, you don't have to already be attuned to a weapon to activate it. So roll those 20s and snicker-snack your opponents for as long as you've got the resonance to spare.
Armor Potency and Properties
Magic armor also features potency and may have properties. Like weapons, armor can hold a maximum amount of potency and properties based on its quality and special materials, and you can add, remove, or transfer potency and properties between armor via runes. The maximum potency and number of properties for armor is the same as for weapons, though it's worth noting that rather than granting an additional property, orichalcum armor instead grants a +1 circumstance bonus to initiative rolls and automatically repairs itself over time.
Armor potency grants an item bonus to AC (including Touch Armor Class) and to your saving throws. Magic and high-quality armors are also easier to use. Armors of expert quality have their armor check penalty reduced by one, while master-quality armors have their penalty reduced by two, and legendary armor by three.
Like other worn items, you must invest armor; that is, you have to spend resonance to gain its magical effects. If your armor has an activated property, you must have invested the armor before you can use that ability. Let's look at an example of such a property.
Invisibility Rune 8+
Method of Use etched, light armor
Activation [[A]] Command Activation
Once per day, you can whisper the command word to become invisible for 1 minute, gaining the effects of a 2nd-level invisibilityspell.
Type standard; Level 8; Price 500 gp
Type greater; Level 10; Price 1,000 gp
You can activate the armor up to 3 times per day.
Craft Requirements You must supply a casting of invisibility.
This favored property of many rangers and rogues (and maybe a sneaky alchemist or two) allows the attuned creature to gain the benefit of an invisibility spell at the cost of an action and 1 RP. The greater version enables you to activate the armor three times a day instead of just once.
But not all properties feature activations or require expending Resonance beyond that spent for initial attunement. Here's a classic example of one—fortification.
Fortification Rune 12+
Method of Use etched, medium or heavy armor
Each time you're hit by a critical hit while wearing fortification armor, attempt a flat check with the listed DC. If you succeed, that critical hit becomes a normal hit. This property thickens the armor, increasing its Bulk by 1.
Type standard; Level 12; Price 2,000 gp; DC 17
Type greater; Level 18; Price 24,000 gp; DC 14
Granting medium and heavy armor users the possibility to transform a critical hit to a normal hit, fortification provides an excellent constant effect for fighters, paladins, and more martial-focused clerics.
Now that you know how magic weapons and armor work, let's talk a look at something much less permanent, but often useful in a pinch—potions! While in First Edition, potions were spells of 3rd level or lower in a bottle; we wanted to go a slightly different route this time. Potions not only can have effects that reach into higher levels, but they also don't need to be tied to particular spell effects. All of that said, there are just some potions that are so iconic and necessary, you can't mess with them too much. Who doesn't need a healing potion every now and then?
Healing Potion Item 1+
Consumable, Healing, Magical, Necromancy, Potion
Method of Use held, 1 hand; Bulk L
Activation [[A]] Operate Activation
When you drink a healing potion, you regain the listed number of Hit Points.
Type minor; Level 1; Price 3 gp
The potion restores 1d8 Hit Points.
Type lesser; Level 3; Price 8 gp
The potion restores 2d8+4 Hit Points.
Type moderate; Level 5; Price 20 gp
The potion restores 3d8+8 Hit Points.
Type greater; Level 8; Price 60 gp
The potion restores 5d8+12 Hit Points.
Type major; Level 12; Price 250 gp
The potion restores 7d8+20 Hit Points.
Type true; Level 16; Price 1,200 gp
The potion restores 9d8+30 Hit Points.
The first thing you'll notice is that there are six varieties of this point, ranging from level 1 (restoring 1d8 Hit Points) to level 16 (restoring 9d8+20 Hit Points) You'll also notice that this potion (and all potions) has an activation. Which, you guessed it, means you have to spend Resonance to gain its effect.
Of course, sometimes a healing potion does its best work when you're down for the punch and can't activate it yourself. No worries. The time-honored tradition of pouring a potion down your wounded friend's gullet is still in the game. Your companion spends an Interact basic action to administer the potion to you, but you still need to spend Resonance to gain the potion's effect (thankfully, you don't have to be conscious to do so).
Of course, this new flexibility for potions allows us to keep some items that in First Edition were called elixirs (a term that in the Playtest, we now use for alchemical concoctions). Here's one of my favorites:
Dragon's Breath Potion Item 7+
Consumable, Evocation, Magical, Potion
Method of Use held, 1 hand; Bulk L
Activation [[A]] Operate Activation
This liquid contains blood from a certain breed of dragon. For 1 hour after you imbibe the acrid concoction, you can unleash a breath weapon used by that breed of dragon. The potion's level and Price, as well as the amount of damage and the DC of the saving throw, all depend on the age of the dragon whose blood you used. This item has the trait matching the damage type of the breath weapon.
You can spend another Operate Activation action with no RP cost immediately after drinking the potion to exhale dragon breath. At any point during the potion's duration, you can use the breath weapon by spending 1 RP and 2 Operate Activation actions (one to inhale the necessary air and the other to breathe out). After you use the breath weapon, you can't do so again for 1d4 rounds.
Each creature in the area of the breath weapon attempts a save against your breath weapon.
Success Half damage.
Critical Success No damage.
Failure Full damage.
Critical Failure Double damage.
Type young; Level 7; Price 45 gp; Damage 4d6; DC 21
Type adult; Level 12;
Price 250 gp; Damage 7d6; DC 28
Type wyrm; Level 17; Price 2,000 gp; Damage 10d6; DC 35
Dragon Breath Weapon (Save)Black or copper 30-foot line of acid (Reflex)
Blue or bronze 30-foot line of electricity (Reflex)
Brass 30-foot line of fire (Reflex)
Green 15-foot cone of poison (Fortitude)
Gold or red 15-foot cone of fire (Reflex)
Silver or white 15-foot cone of cold (Reflex)
This one is interesting because you spend Resonance when you first drink the potion and spew some draconic hate on your foes, and can then continue to do so for an hour after imbibing whenever you spend actions and RP. Pick the right kind of dragon, and you'll be the life of whatever party you join.
Very closely related to potions are oils. Like potions, you activate these consumable items, but you do so by applying the oil to an object or person. While it usually takes one hand to drink or administer a potion, applying oil takes two hands. This particular oil may be of interest to shield users.
Oil of Mending Item 3
Consumable, Magical, Oil, Transmutation
Price 6 gp
Method of Use held, 2 hands; Bulk L
Activation [[A]] Operate Activation
Applying this oil to an item casts a 2nd-level mending spell that repairs the item. If the item was broken, it is no longer broken. If the item has Dents, it loses those Dents. This restoration doesn't restore lost pieces. For instance, if used on a text with missing pages, it wouldn't recreate the lost pages.
A perfect backup when you fail your Crafting check to Repair an Item, or when you need to repair that dented shield in a hurry, the oil of mending has plenty of other uses.
Well, that's it for this week! Join us next week as we take a little walk in the woods.