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I think some people are missing the point. I’m not saying build a low magic campaign, but more of a ‘ use what you find’ campaign. I’m not trying to adjust the power curve so much as say. . Like. . . let me give a scenario.
Let’s take a party of a standard melee champion, wizard, cleric, and rogue. They go on an adventure in the middle of the Stolen Lands where there aren’t a whole lot of villages around, and the ones that are around aren’t big enough to buy/sell magic armor.
Over the course of level 2, the champion finds a +1 battle axe. Not quite the long sword he was using but perfectly serviceable and it works for him. The rogue finds a +1 rapier, basically an upgrade to his +1 short sword. The cleric finds a +1 Longspear essentially an even trade with their quarter staff, and the wizard finds a +1 club, which is a bit different than their wizard’s staff, but works just fine.
That’s the kinda stuff I’m talking about. Obviously my example is JUST AN EXAMPLE and shouldn’t be taken too literally.
I ran 1e so I remember. Now granted, even 1e had the “well crap I can’t use that +1 axe because I’m double specialized with the longsword.” as of UA anyway.That said there are many ways of doing this. Probably the easiest (if maintaining efficiency is a concern) is recall that PF has retraining. So that axe-wielding barbarian can switch his specialization to that magical greatclub.
Or you could retcon.
Or you as the DM simply state the ground rules for the game before you begin so players know what will happen with regards to rewards.
Alternatively you can change nothing. Even if Joe’s build is better with a kukri...when Joe as you said, runs into that ghost he will use that ghost touch dagger instead.
A bit of this IMO has to do with mindset. And so choose the path of most fun. :)