Will Pathfinder fix 3.5e PC's excessive dependance on magical items?


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Disciple of Sakura wrote:


I think that one thing Pathfinder may want to consider is adopting SAGA/4.0's 2 stat bumps every 4 levels method - it allows people to...

Truthfully that isn't bad. for some classes, only getting one stat to boost is a serious handicap. For others it provides role playing ops. How often do you see a half-orc fighter with a decent charisma? Though I am sure the extra boost would go to STR and CON or DEX most likely *sigh* or you could require one physical stat and one mental stat to boost... I like that.


Reference the general discussion about Stat Boost magic items. It might help frame this to remember how 3.5 vs 4.0 handle 'bonuses'. 3.5 has a built in assumption (whether through design or play) that you get Stat Boost magic items as you move up in levels. 4.0 reduces the magic item impact but instead gives you more ability increases as you go up in level. So if you want to keep 3.5 players 'up to snuff' with monsters, take away their Stat Boosters and give them ability increases. Or likewise, by limiting the Stat Boosters it might help you realize how much you have to tone down the monsters.

Weapon bonus are similar. 3.5 assumes plentiful magic weapon bonus including ones that give extra damage. 4.0 gives the player the abilty to do this with weapon proficiency bonuses and powers. They have a very similar effect. But once again, it might help you understand how it affects the 3.5 people when they can not hit monsters (since the system assumes they have a +4 sword and the monster will have a corresponding high AC).

So will PfRPG fix the christmas tree effect? No. They can make it better, but they can not fix it without changing all the monsters. Since that is not reverse compatible, the most PfRPG can do is down play it a little bit. I guess they could make ability increases more plentiful, but that would go over like 1-1-1 movement.

P.S. I have a theory that 3.5 monsters and 4.0 monsters are not that different. If you give each 3.5 character a HP bonus equal to their CON can they fight 4.0 monsters? Or at least there might be a range of ECL's that are equal to 4.0 monsters. I need to test this theory on players I don't care about!


Krome wrote:

For Example, let's look at Fellowship of the Ring, the Movie. The party is being pursued by a Balrog. You have one epic wizard, a high lvl ranger, a mid lvl fighter and archer-fighter, and three low level rogues. No cleric. And the Balrog is closing in. What do you do?

Well, if you are PCs you stand and fight! Then when everyone dies you try and figure out why. You blame the adventure writer for being too stupid, you blame the rules for not letting 3rd lvl rogues do damage to the Balrog, you blame the DM for not handing out enough magic items before you tried to kill the Balrog...

Let's not compare to LotR, because it's anything BUT D&D. Party consistency is: one epic level DMPC, one epic level character who's the DM's best buddy, a regular, mid level human fighter, a regular, mid level dwarf warrior, a mid level elf ranger, and four commoners or experts at or around level 2. And they didn't have a magic item between them except an epic artifact with an Evil alignment and ridiculously high Ego.

LotR is a bad example of D&D. D&D follows almost none of the actual traits of the Rings trilogy. They're alright books, but they don't really support the fantasy feel that D&D is meant to replicate, whether or not they provided some of the inspiration.

However, you do make a good point about players knowing when to retreat. Unfortunately, it's pretty common for games to encourage the kind of thinking that gets players in over their heads. When most challenges are designed to be overcome, the rare encounter their supposed to retreat from is often considered to be meant to be attempted, with dangerous results.


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Disciple of Sakura wrote:
Though I do like taking a page from Vow of Poverty - the enhancement bonuses to stats and deflection bonuses are a decent metric that could be used well with little change. I'd be leery of giving out the enhancement bonuses to attacks or actual AC - I prefer the idea of magic swords and armor providing those instead, but make it easier for a PC to transfer abilities from other items, or just for their items to be enhanced as appropriate.

My thought is giving them attribute enhancement bonuses, deflection bonuses, natural armor bonuses and resistance bonuses. Then, in return, abolish the items which provide those in the normal game, plus the books which give innate bonuses to attributes. That´s also why the attribute enhancement bonuses would go up to +8 for one or two attributes at level 20, to compensate for the loss of the books.

Disciple of Sakura wrote:
I think that one thing Pathfinder may want to consider is adopting SAGA/4.0's 2 stat bumps every 4 levels method - it allows people to...

Ah, that idea was part of the post which the board ate yesterday. I concur! :)


It's never been a problem in my games. I have never been into being a "Santa DM", unless its for a specific game or reason. I've just always seen the idea of a bunch of wizards sitting around pooping out magic items all over the place as weird. I mean with the costs involved it seems crazy that you'd run into magic items laying around everywhere. I'm not saying I don't have them in my games, just they aren't a huge focus. I don't mind playing in games with lots of them, I just mean in my games I run i don't over do them.


I'm with Swirler on this one. We run a fairly low magic campaign and it works fine. There are a few ways you can handle it if you are running a premade dungeon. In general the party is capable of handling a slightly weaker critter than they would otherwise. Just make sure the creatures they are going up against reflects that. Further, the magic I put in tends to be slightly more meaningful than the run of the mill stuff with more focus on flavor and character tie ins than on raw power. They are allowed to shop for magic but its fairly rare and the items available are quite limited.

In other words, the perceived "reliance" on magic items is in the eyes of the players and the DM and not inherent in the system. Maybe for a 10th level party to fight a ECL 13 they need a certain amount of gear... so throw them up against an ECL 10 encounter instead. Problem fixed.


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Dennis da Ogre wrote:
In other words, the perceived "reliance" on magic items is in the eyes of the players and the DM and not inherent in the system. Maybe for a 10th level party to fight a ECL 13 they need a certain amount of gear... so throw them up against an ECL 10 encounter instead. Problem fixed.

For high levels, I want them to face the appropiately gruesome beasts awaiting them there eagerly.


Alright all you "I've run low magic campaigns before!" What is the magic formula?

ECL Low Magic = ECL Regular - ECL Regular/5 [Rounded Down] or something. How much do you ramp back the monsters?

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I've always been amused by the "low magic campaign" people when more then half the PHB is devoted to magic and ALL of the high level monsters require magic of some kind to fight.

It's like they play a different game.

I won't even get into what I think of people that expect game designers to cater to their off beat play style when the game isn't designed for that style of play.

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I'd love to see more magic items that only function for specific users or under particular circumstances. This would allow PCs to accummulate lots of cool trinkets, but keep them from using them all simultaneously. These limits might involve bloodlines..."Only the heirs of Coronus may draw upon his magic", classes... "One trained in the mystic arts can feel the cloak's power enveloping them", or deeds... "Blessed among mortals, your might finished the line of Gorvanithar: Now claim your reward!"[/i] Other items might function only under specific circumstances, such as underwater or during storms.

If magic was normally limited, many items could be given out without their abilities "stacking" so badly.


Duncan & Dragons wrote:
Alright all you "I've run low magic campaigns before!" What is the magic formula?

There is none. I generally tune things on the fly. If the group has it too easy I up the challenge a bit next time around, if someone gets killed then maybe I tone it back a bit. I generally buy pre-printed modules then rebuild the encounters for my party as I go.

someone wrote:

I've always been amused by the "low magic campaign" people when more then half the PHB is devoted to magic and ALL of the high level monsters require magic of some kind to fight.

It's like they play a different game.

It's funny that you say this because I am always amused that people say huge amounts of magic is somehow required to play D&D. I've found that the more magic and treasure you put in the game the more people focus on that rather than whatever mission your player is supposed to be doing.

When most people say 'low magic' they generally mean their players are not walking Christmas trees and that they don't have access to a Wal-Mart of magic at every stop. This does not mean their players don't use spells, nor does it mean they don't get ANY magic items. What high level monsters require something beyond a +1 magic sword to fight?


SirUrza wrote:

I've always been amused by the "low magic campaign" people when more then half the PHB is devoted to magic and ALL of the high level monsters require magic of some kind to fight.

It's like they play a different game.

I won't even get into what I think of people that expect game designers to cater to their off beat play style when the game isn't designed for that style of play.

Most people I have ever played with (with a few exceptions) play/run/expect the same things I do. I have never had a problem with pre-writtens when I use them. My game isn't low magic, magic is all over the place. I just don't see a need for an excessive amount of items. I generally don't worry too much about formula for stuff either. I just let them get things that make sense for them when they need it. I haven't heard any complaints yet.

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I think some of the magic item dependence can be worked around by providing more GM advice, rather than pure rules. The section in the alpha about using lower CRs in a low-magic game, for example, is a good step. Most of my games are low magic item games, and I usually get by through using lower CR creatures. I'm not sure this bit needs a rules workaround, but rather better advice for GMs. One of the big problem with 3.5's expected wealth tables, in my opinion, was that they did very little to advice newer GMs who didn't want to run the game according to expected wealth.


I've been playing D&D for over 20 years now as well and a HUGE multitue of other RPG's and the one thing I soon leared after Dming is the only time players have to depend on magic items is in I as a DM make them. Monsters can be modified to suit the challenge of the players. if the player are getting mowed over to no falt of their own the its my fualt for doing that to them. The same is true that if my players are cake wlking trough my villans thats my fault as well. While game rules set the frame work of a balenced system its the DM's job to to balance the Human factor in the game the players thier items and his own handling of them 8).

Dark Archive

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If it is desirable to reduce the number of stat-boosting items in the game, would it be a good idea to compensate for this by increasing the number of stat increases that characters receive as they go up levels?


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Prime Evil wrote:
If it is desirable to reduce the number of stat-boosting items in the game, would it be a good idea to compensate for this by increasing the number of stat increases that characters receive as they go up levels?

That was one of the ideas thrown around, going the Star Wars: Saga route of 2 different attributes go up +1 every four levels.

Also, to adapt a "Vow of Poverty" benefit for everyone ( without being under that Vow, of course. :P ), to replace certain boost items which everyone has to have, sooner or later. Like attribute enhancers, deflection and natural armor items and resistance items.

I´ve worked a bit on how I want to implement this for my next campaign.

Remember, this will completely replace deflection items, natural armor items, resistance bonus items, attribute enhancers and innate bonus books, which is why the enhancement bonuses go up so much at the highest levels.

Ability enhancements: 4th lvl +2 ; 6th lvl +2/+2 ; 8th lvl +2/+2/+2 ; 10th lvl +4/+2/+2 ; 12th lvl +4/+4/+2 ; 14th lvl +6/+4/+4/+2 ; 16th lvl +6/+6/+4/+2 ; 18th lvl +8/+6/+4/+4 ; 20th lvl +8/+8/+6/+4

Resistance bonus: 3rd lvl +1 ; 6th lvl +2 ; 9th lvl +3 ; 12th lvl +4 ; 15th lvl +5

Deflection bonus: 4th lvl +1 ; 8th lvl +2 ; 12th lvl +3 ; 16th lvl +4 ; 20th lvl +5

Natural Armor bonus: 5th lvl +1 ; 9th lvl +2 ; 13th lvl +3 ; 17th lvl +4

Sorry for the formatting, but the board eats any blank spaces beyond one, so making a table is kinda impossible. :(

Of course if all these stat boosts happen to everybody, gold per level should be reduced a good deal, so that the PC´s don´t put it into aquiring magic weapons faster. Or maybe not, if you can convince your players to aquire the more diverse magic items available nowadays out of the Magic Item Compendium or elsewhere.


Tycho, Lord of Karran-Kural wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
More flavorful and interesting items like the cloak of arachnidia end up being sold or ignored in favor of the items that are "necessary" in order to keep up with the game.

Still wearing mine!

13 levels, 2 prestige classes and one reincarnation later!

And you still haven't paid for it, thief!

</threadjack>

Choices of magical items often end up looking stupid on the character in question as well - just to get the 'right combination' you end up with a character wearing a turban, a girdle, lace gloves, hard riding boots, a vest, glasses, fur cloak, rings, plate armour, spiked buckler, and she's a halfling fighter/thief.

Does that look coherent to anyone?

Personally, I've had gauntlets of ogre strength up to level 18 so I've not felt too bad. But my CHA is through the roof so maybe I shouldn't comment.

Anyway, I think it all depends on the DM. They give out the magic and the money. They control the prices and availability. They put in the opponents and the obstacles. They just need experience!

Which is exactly what the anti-Monty Haul thing is all about (unlimited power does not mean unlimited excitement, and there is such a thing as tense boredom).


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A few things I feel important on the subject:

Make sure to use the 50% sale value of items as specified in the PHB. At first I felt it didn’t make sense for magical items but then I thought that the buyer NPC not only had to make a profit but more important survive all the risks of dealing in such dangerous and expensive wears. If you’ve ever seen and understood the overheads a real-life diamond dealer has to with to handle such merchandise you can understand that a magic item is taking notable risks buying the items from adventurers who can’t give any insurance that the item is risk-free.

Using that system makes found item are more interesting, sure you can sell that special item and get another but it’ll be half as good. If, as a DM, you don’t like to make sure the players find the item they “want” (as the specialisation weapon of the fighter), include a few specific high level spells (around 5th) that allow them to be polymorphed (or even “redeemed” for evilish items) into more desirable form at a certain component cost (10% item base value).

Second, for changing the magic level of a campaign I find that using Virtual-Items and Virtual-Money can actually go a long way. It’s meta-gaming at the rescue of role-playing, take away booster-item and other vanilla flavoured items from the treasures but tally their value and give them as virtual-cash to the player to get virtual-items for is character. So the character gets the needed bonuses without actually having items.

You can apply a “tax” for these virtual-items not being “stealable” or damageable as the regular ones (ex.: -25% cash) and another tax if they don’t use up the place of regular item (ex.: Total virtual cash = ½ non-given item total value). You essentially give bonuses as the character level up based on the expected wealth.

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Kaile Stormfall of Heironeous wrote:

...just to get the 'right combination' you end up with a character wearing a turban, a girdle, lace gloves, hard riding boots, a vest, glasses, fur cloak, rings, plate armour, spiked buckler, and she's a halfling fighter/thief.

Does that look coherent to anyone?

Sounds like a wild night in at Trixie's Cathouse!

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Kaile Stormfall of Heironeous wrote:

...just to get the 'right combination' you end up with a character wearing a turban, a girdle, lace gloves, hard riding boots, a vest, glasses, fur cloak, rings, plate armour, spiked buckler, and she's a halfling fighter/thief.

Does that look coherent to anyone?

Yea, assuming you really put yourself in the world, and consider the 'culture' of an adventurer (fighting to retrieve tremendously powerful objects which were made by extremely religious, eccentric, or simply insane spellcasters).

Many of people's issues with the "flavor" in D&D stem from having Generic Fantasy expectations for what is actually a very quirky and unique game/world.

As for D&D not implying magic item dependancy, a 20th level fighter with gear has, just as a guess, +5 to all saves, +10-15 to AC, +8 to attacks, +20 or so to damage (being modest), and 60 more HP than one without.

That's several levels worth of power, your naked level 20 dude is CR 16 if he's lucky.

They may come naturally to you or not take much effort, but if you're running high level with low magic you're making some big adjustments.


Well I plan to mitigate this problem somewhat by giving players Hero Defense bonus. It is +1 for each 2 character levels then attain. So by lvl 20 this gives them +10. Half of this bonus is considered as dodge and half as natural armor and gives bonuses against effects like touch attacks or bonus armor class while flat-footed.
This way I have removed all deflection and natural ac items and spells from the game.

Also I have given players +1 to two abilities at level 4, 8, 12, 16 and 20 so have removed all +6 ability booster items from the game (+4 is now max) and such items are now much more rare.

Then I have ruled that ranged weapons and light melee weapons now use Dexterity for both attack and damage (yes, Weapon Finesse feat does not exist anymore) so characters like archers and Rogues will not need to get Str boosters (so will depend even less on magic items).

I am also thinking of giving them Hero resistance: +1 resistance bonus to all saves for each 4 characters levels they attain (so +5 by lvl 20).


magnuskn wrote:

[To maintain power level with low magic campaign ] adapt a "Vow of Poverty" benefit for everyone ( without being under that Vow, of course. :P ), to replace certain boost items which everyone has to have, sooner or later. Like attribute enhancers, deflection and natural armor items and resistance items.

Ability enhancements: 4th lvl +2 ; 6th lvl +2/+2 ; 8th lvl +2/+2/+2 ; 10th lvl +4/+2/+2 ; 12th lvl +4/+4/+2 ; 14th lvl +6/+4/+4/+2 ; 16th lvl +6/+6/+4/+2 ; 18th lvl +8/+6/+4/+4 ; 20th lvl +8/+8/+6/+4

etc.

Now this I what I am talking about! I can use this table. The ability enhancements shocked me. Is it that bad at 20th level? Maybe I am not a Monte Hall DM after all.


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Duncan & Dragons wrote:
Now this I what I am talking about! I can use this table. The ability enhancements shocked me. Is it that bad at 20th level? Maybe I am not a Monte Hall DM after all.

Well, consider the money PCs are supposed to have at level 20... 760.000 gold. Then look at what the ability enhancers I replace would cost.

3x +6 enhancement bonus = 108.000 gp
1x +4 enhancement bonus = 16.000 gp
2x +2 inherent bonus = 110.000 gp

Total = 234.000 gp

Now, add the deflection, natural armor and resistance bonuses, you get 349.000, which is not even half of the money supposed at level 20.


Rather than giving the PC's Vow of Poverty-like bonuses to compensate, another approach is to figure out a scaling ECL for lacking these items. For example, a 10th level fighter with mwk full plate, a heavy shield, and no magic items other than a +1 sword is missing about 44,000 gp worth of boosts. Crafting that many items would take 1760 xp, but their usefulness is maybe 10x that. A 10th level character minus 17,600 xp worth of items is effectively an 8th level character; the fighter has a -2 LA, and is an ECL 8 character. You can run him as-is in 8th level adventures.

Why all the trouble? Well, a blanket statement of "it's not a problem if you refuse to give out those items as DM, and then just downgrade the monsters" pre-supposes that the DM in question has all the time he needs to write or edit his own adventures to taste. If you're travelling on business in the desert all week, clean up and do laundry and spend some time with the wife on Saturday, and then want to run a game on Sunday... well, you've got to grab something and play it more or less as written. And if you're playing Age of Worms, for example, the NPCs have attribute-boost, deflection, and resistance items, and the monsters are scaled with the assumption that the PC's have them. There needs to be a quick way to scale things, or people like our example DM are up a creek unless they "give up" and go back to handing out stat-boost items.


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Kirth Gersen wrote:

Why all the trouble? Well, a blanket statement of "it's not a problem if you refuse to give out those items as DM, and then just downgrade the monsters" pre-supposes that the DM in question has all the time he needs to write or edit his own adventures to taste.
[...] There needs to be a quick way to scale things, or people like our example DM are up a creek unless they "give up" and go back to handing out stat-boost items.

To some extent, you can just use higher-level PCs and leave the module creatures alone. This has a problem with treasure--there is too much of it, if the PCs aren't going to be studded in items, and some of the NPCs will be using stuff you'd rather the PCs weren't using. But it's workable, for a while.

In my hands, this approach breaks down somewhere around 12th. A 16th level scenario is not likely to work unmodified for ill-equipped PCs of any reasonable level. Either it will become trivial because of spellcasting (solvable by Wish, for example) or it will fall apart because of saving throw, armor class and DR mismatches between the expected well-equipped PCs and what you actually have.

The other problem with going this route is that it hurts non-casters significantly more than casters. By the middle of SCAP an unequipped core fighter would have very little ability to contribute (not enough damage to overcome DR, not enough AC to survive combat). Wizards can *always* contribute. The classes are balanced, to the extent that they are, on the assumption of massive item use; deleting the items makes a significant difference. (Using non-core classes and feats may help; I don't know; I'm a core diehard.)

Mary


Mary Yamato wrote:
The other problem with going this route is that it hurts non-casters significantly more than casters. By the middle of SCAP an unequipped core fighter would have very little ability to contribute (not enough damage to overcome DR, not enough AC to survive combat). Wizards can *always* contribute. The classes are balanced, to the extent that they are, on the assumption of massive item use; deleting the items makes a significant difference. (Using non-core classes and feats may help; I don't know; I'm a core diehard.)

Yeah, I've noticed that as well. One aid is the use of action points, which I've noticed tend to really disproportionately aid fighting-types over spellcasters (the casters use them maybe to beat SR once in a while, or make sure they make a save, but the fighters make rolls all day long). Even still, you're right, the spells make a discrepancy; I've still had to give the fighting-types better weapons.

Use of non-core stuff seems to help spellcasters just as much as non-casters, so I wouln't fret on that account! :)


Y'know, the more I think about it, the more I'm inclined to allow PCs to get the VoP style enahncement bonuses to armor, shield, and weapon as well. Especially weapon. There's been complaints bandied around that a +5 weapon just doesn't cut it compared to a +1 Flaming, Frosting, Holy weapon, and it's more or less true. Rather than ruining 3.5's DR by getting rid of the unique materials requirement, perhaps instead we could just make something of an "upfront" magic item cost to enhance it (the old minimum of +1 weapon to add specials), cap the specials enchantments to an effective +5, and then let the PC be the arbiter of their enhancement bonus to attack and damage rolls based on their level. So, a fighter at 20th level has a Magic (+1) Flaming, Frosting, Holy Greatsword, but he still gets a +5 enhancement on attack and damage rolls due to his level dependent bonuses. This (sort of) fixes the complaints that it's not worth it to pay for the +5 enhancement because you're not having to, and if you decrease expected wealth appropriately, you can deal with the potential for increased cash flow. It also brings characters who rely upon weapons (melee characters) up more than it does casters (since they rely upon spells, rather than items), which might marginally lessen the disparity between the two types.

I think I like this idea, but what do others think?


Another potential side-effect of giving characters the bonuses of a Vow of Poverty is you can give additional saving throw bonuses if you think there is a disparity betweeen good and bad savings throws. I don't know if this is 'real' but I have heard people state the difference between good and bad savings throws at high level makes you very vulnerable to the right attack.

Thanks for the thougths. By the way, has anyone else noticed that this is essentially what they did with 4e?

EDIT: So to add Magnuskn, Mary and Disciples ideas together a solution is to create a new Experience and level Dependent Benefits chart with more ability enhancements, resistant bonuses, armor bonuses, and BAB bonuses.


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Kirth Gersen wrote:

Rather than giving the PC's Vow of Poverty-like bonuses to compensate, another approach is to figure out a scaling ECL for lacking these items. For example, a 10th level fighter with mwk full plate, a heavy shield, and no magic items other than a +1 sword is missing about 44,000 gp worth of boosts. Crafting that many items would take 1760 xp, but their usefulness is maybe 10x that. A 10th level character minus 17,600 xp worth of items is effectively an 8th level character; the fighter has a -2 LA, and is an ECL 8 character. You can run him as-is in 8th level adventures.

Why all the trouble? Well, a blanket statement of "it's not a problem if you refuse to give out those items as DM, and then just downgrade the monsters" pre-supposes that the DM in question has all the time he needs to write or edit his own adventures to taste. If you're travelling on business in the desert all week, clean up and do laundry and spend some time with the wife on Saturday, and then want to run a game on Sunday... well, you've got to grab something and play it more or less as written. And if you're playing Age of Worms, for example, the NPCs have attribute-boost, deflection, and resistance items, and the monsters are scaled with the assumption that the PC's have them. There needs to be a quick way to scale things, or people like our example DM are up a creek unless they "give up" and go back to handing out stat-boost items.

Well, uh, you did answer your question basically all by yourself. ^^ I don´t want to figure out how to "downgrade" my players characters, I want to have them play them as if they are on the level they are supposed to be, without having to put half their money into those enhancers.

Also, if every character of a level has those bonuses, I don´t have to fear that the players will get overloaded with those enhancers by killing their opponents, but I can give them interesting items.


Would it work to do away with a few magic item slots, and slide previous magic items into other slots? The new PathfinderRPG states that new characters are slightly better in combat so it should be a push. Do we really need profane/sacred or insight bonuses? Page 21 of the 3.5 DMG lists bonuses which ones could we do without?

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Duncan & Dragons wrote:
So to add Magnuskn, Mary and Disciples ideas together a solution is to create a new Experience and level Dependent Benefits chart with more ability enhancements, resistant bonuses, armor bonuses, and BAB bonuses.

Right.

Now suppose that not every chart is the same (much like class tables), and that some grant unique powers instead of flat bonuses (much like classes do), and you'll see where I'm going with the whole "secondary classes" idea.


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Duncan & Dragons wrote:
I don't know if this is 'real' but I have heard people state the difference between good and bad savings throws at high level makes you very vulnerable to the right attack.

To an extent, this is true. However, it's very easy to mitigate with feats (Great Fortitude, Iron Will, Lightning Reflexes), attribute bonuses (give the fighter a headband of inspired wisdom if the cleric or druid already has one, etc.), and other strategies (dwarves get a +2 bonus vs. all spells and spell-like abilities, elves get a +2 bonus vs. all enchantment spells and effects, etc.). Then there are the protection spells that can either prevent or minimize the effect of the attack. Basically, at high-level you need to reduce weaknesses as well as improve strengths.

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If the saves "lined up" better at high levels, it would be just about right.

If you have a 50% success rate targeting a level 20 fighter's fortitude, then you'll have around an 80% rate targeting his will. I believe that's what the system intended.


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Hydro wrote:
If you have a 50% success rate targeting a level 20 fighter's fortitude, then you'll have around an 80% rate targeting his will. I believe that's what the system intended.

Fighter 20; Elite array, all advancements in Str; 20 (26) Str, 13 (17) Dex, 14 (18) Con, 10 Int, 12 Wis, 8 Cha; +6 Str item, +4 Dex item, +4 Con item; Fort +16, Ref +9, Will +7

A Fort save with a 27 DC gives a 50% chance of success; a Ref save with a 27 DC gives a 15% chance of success; a Will save with a 27 DC gives a 5% chance of success.

Fighter 20; Elite array, all advancements in Str; 20 (26) Str, 13 (17) Dex, 14 (18) Con, 10 Int, 12 (16) Wis, 8 Cha; +6 Str item, +4 Dex item, +4 Con item, +4 Wis item; Iron Will, Lightning Reflexes; Fort +16, Ref +11, Will +11

A fort save with a 27 DC gives a 50% chance of success; a Ref or Will save with a 27 DC gives a 25% chance of success.

Is this a system problem or a player problem? For 2 feats (out of 18 for a 3.5 fighter 20) and a 16,000 gp item, you get the success rate of your two poor saves within 25% of your good save, instead of a 35% and 45% difference.

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Dragonchess Player wrote:
Hydro wrote:
If you have a 50% success rate targeting a level 20 fighter's fortitude, then you'll have around an 80% rate targeting his will. I believe that's what the system intended.

Fighter 20; Elite array, all advancements in Str; 20 (26) Str, 13 (17) Dex, 14 (18) Con, 10 Int, 12 Wis, 8 Cha; +6 Str item, +4 Dex item, +4 Con item; Fort +16, Ref +9, Will +7

A Fort save with a 27 DC gives a 50% chance of success; a Ref save with a 27 DC gives a 15% chance of success; a Will save with a 27 DC gives a 5% chance of success.

Fighter 20; Elite array, all advancements in Str; 20 (26) Str, 13 (17) Dex, 14 (18) Con, 10 Int, 12 (16) Wis, 8 Cha; +6 Str item, +4 Dex item, +4 Con item, +4 Wis item; Iron Will, Lightning Reflexes; Fort +16, Ref +11, Will +11

A fort save with a 27 DC gives a 50% chance of success; a Ref or Will save with a 27 DC gives a 25% chance of success.

Is this a system problem or a player problem? For 2 feats (out of 18 for a 3.5 fighter 20) and a 16,000 gp item, you get the success rate of your two poor saves within 25% of your good save, instead of a 35% and 45% difference.

I assumed all stats were the same.

They never are, of course, but if a fighter has a lower or higher wisdom than normal he gets what he deserves here.


Going back to the OP and earlier posts on the thread..

My group is playing in a WoTC-made campaign (the Forgotten Realms Weave campaign). At one point we had 2 8.5x11 pages with 2 columns each of magical items. In those 4 columns, only 4 items were considered any good, and many items that might be interested were sold because the people that could use it were already wearing stat-boosting items and other 'crucial' items.

This is definately a problem.. But it -is- fun to get all that wonderful gold!.. But it's still a problem..

I've also seen a flaw where characters who are built at later levels tend to have better items that are more suited for their character than those who have been adventuring to reach the same level. They are given a set gp amount in the DMG and can cherry-pick items, while when a GM rolls for treasure randomly, the PCs may not find the items they want/need for their character. Couple that with the adventuring PCs being in towns with a lower-then-adequate gp limit for their needs, means that they will often be sub-par compared to characters made at that level.

Has anyone else seen or experienced this? Am I missing a step in the RAW?


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Dragonbait wrote:
Has anyone else seen or experienced this? Am I missing a step in the RAW?

1) Allow PCs some down-time and a chance to travel to the big city for shopping trips. This is a great change of pace and also an opportunity for adding some side-stories, building on character-specific hooks, interweaving some supporting plot threads, etc.

2) Allow PCs to commission custom items/enhancements to existing items from NPC spellcasters. This gives them a chance to interact with NPCs and organizations outside of combat and lets the DM add depth to the campaign.

3) Item Creation feats. If all else fails, the PCs can enchant their own items.


Ow, reviving this old post may seem irritating to some, but I just wanted to post here what I could find.

This post and the ideas of the posters helped me crated a way to make the characters less dependent on magic items. On the past weeks I introduced the system and it worked quite well, the players like it, and finally the player can consider their characters better than their items.

In the end, it's quite simple!

First, I use a mechanic of defense bonus / armor as DR / wound points.
-Each character class has a defense bonus, based on wich kind of armor it learns to use.
-Your levels in class that grant equivalent defense bonuses stack to determine your defense bonus, thus, a fighter 6, paladin 4 uses the level 10 of heavy armor.
-If you multiclass into a class with other table, you receive the bonus this class gains, but with a -4 -the downside of using two styles.

-When a character uses an armor that he's proficient, he receives half that value (round up) as DR/-. it applies against all physical attacks. Armor does not give bonuses to AC anymore.
-The other half, the character receives in "damage conversion", that apllies to the Wound damage system.
-Shields still give Ac bonuses.

-Wound and vitality points. No need to explain how I use them on this thread about magic item, but makes the game realistic.

Now, it's very simple: Each level, each character is alloted an ammount of "Evolution Points" (lame name, but is sounds good on my mother language), that he uses to buy "enhancments" to himself. This ammount is equal to half of the expected wealth a character of this level is supposed to gain. For example, a character of 2º level is expected to have around 1000 gp of items. At first level he gained no evolution point. At second level, he gains 500 evolution points. A 3º level character is supposed to have around 2600 gp of itens. When he attains 3º level, he gains 800 points, giving him a total of 1300 evolution points.

At the heart, the characters should have evolution points equal to half of what is expected from the by the D&D magic item system.

Now, whenever the character advances a level, he can buy enhancments for himself with these points. There are many ways to RP this, but basically, these bonuses are not magical in any way.
-A character can buy the bonus (enhancement bonus) to: Saving throws, Nat Armor (goes to ac), Deflection Bonus (goes to ac), Atributes, DR/- bonus (in the normal system of AC, this would be buying armor enchancement to AC), and Attack and Damage.

All these bonuses are bought with the cost equivalent for an item to be enchanted with it (by Magic Item Compendium), except the bonus to attack and damage -you pay the price equivalent to an amulet of mighty fists (Note: This is rather arbitrary, but proves to be the best option).

Players may buy what they want, or may save for the next level and the big buy they will make, or anything they want. By level 18 characters should MORE OR LESS have +5 to Saves, nat armor, deflection, +6 to an attribute (and other with +2), and +4 to attack and damage.

The system is complete with a little change on money: EVERYTHING on the world that is supposed to be a treasure to players gives only half of it's riches. So, if they were to find 5000 gp, they find only 2500. Wish makes an item worth only half, the king gives only half, etcetera. This too is arbitrary, but makes the players only have half of the money they would have.

Now, with that money they can buy magical items. There are no know items in the world that give bonus to Atributtes, Natural Armor, Deflection, Armor Enhancement, Weapon Enhancement or Saves (weapons and armor can still be enchanted to give properties as flaming or defending, but not plain ac or atack and damage (Note: The first ability, the one that makes the item be magical, costs an extra +1, to balance things (A vorpal sword still is, at minimum, a "+6" weapon, with this fix) ). These bonuses the player buys with the Evolution Points. All his gp can go into "nice" items, like a ring of shooting stars, of a cloak of arachna, without fear of being left behind the power level of the world.

Then, since these enhancements bought with evolution points are not magical (many rp excuses are possible), the character seems less dependent on magical items. Since he will still have +4 to strenght and +3 to attack and damage no matter what weapon he picks up, he does not cry if comeone sunders his magic weapon or necklace. Using this, without any kind of magical items, characters can hold aproximately 3 encounters of their EL, in my testing. Some may be harder, but they can win.

(A note here: NPCs also have evolution points, about half the gear they would normally fight with. The other half becomes actual gear)

This solved many problems to me: Characters can put a fight on a antimagic field, they can fight without the items, they don't seem a cristmas tree, and they don't prefer to have their heads chopped and being brought back with True Ressurrection than to have their 50k gp sword sundered. I hope that it's clear enought (I doubt it is) to at least understand. As far as we are playing, there are no bugs that break the enjoyment.

I found that with this, players are less likely to run after magical items with their money. Since the items they can get are mostly the flavorful ones (AND you don't really need to invest so much on your sword), like a carpet of flying, or a flaming or keen sword (instead of another +1 sword), players tend to expend they g on other things. This was not the idea of this system, but it was a nice side effect.

This system probably won't work for everyone, if someone try to use it, but it works for my group, and it would never been possible to exist without the great ideas of the community.

Then, I thank the community very much.

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