Magic Items... do I have this straight?


Rules Questions

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Bill Dunn wrote:
Abbasax wrote:


Just to get this back to somewhat on topic, what in-game explanation do you guys use for why bonuses don't stack? Do you even need an explanation, or has it just never become an issue (until now)?
If you think about magic effects of the same type competing with each other rather than acting in concert, it's easy. Magic effects compete to improve some aspect of your character and only one, the highest value one, gets through.

Never had to justify it other than pointing to the rulebook and saying 'See, says right there, it's a balance thing'. But then, my players are pretty reasonable about the rules. If they really don't like a rule, we hash it out after a game, and if we all agree it stinks, we change it. Honestly, we rarely make house rules.

If I had to justify it, I'd use something like this.

When multiple magics are present, they are either interacting or they are non-interacting. Each spell operates at a different frequency, harmonic, and strength. The Frequency is basically what type of magic it is (Divine, Arcane, Psionic). The Harmonic is what it is doing (Granting Enhancement Bonus to STR, or Luck Bonus to AC, etc). The Strength is how powerful the magic is (level 1 vs level 9 spells or manifestations, for example). While frequency only matters as to where the magic originates, the Harmonic is the overriding influence when it comes to the effects of the spell. If you have the same harmonic affecting the same object, only the most powerful harmonic works, it destabilizes the weaker harmonic.

Think of someone tossing a granite pebble into a calm lake, you have ripples. Someone else tosses a marble pebble into a calm lake, you have ripples. The effect is the same, even though you had two different sources for the ripple (granite vs marble, arcane vs psionic for example). The ripples are the harmonic. If the two pebbles are the same size, you get the same size ripples, and the ripples don't really combine to make bigger ripples. The ripples are still the same height. The ripples are the Harmonic. Now, imagine if, instead of a marble pebble and a granite pebble, someone tossed in a granite pebble, and a granite boulder. The size of the pebble is the strength. The ripples from the boulder are much stronger than the ripples from the pebble. The harmonic of the boulder utterly wipes out the harmonic of the pebble, destroying it's effects.

Or something like that.


Abbasax wrote:
Just to get this back to somewhat on topic, what in-game explanation do you guys use for why bonuses don't stack? Do you even need an explanation, or has it just never become an issue (until now)?

I've never had a problem explaining it before.

I just tell the players that, when two or more magical enhancements are applied to one thing, and they're both the same kind of enhancement, then the strongest one applies at full power and it eclipses all the rest. They are still there, but they're effectively doing nothing since the strongest one is the one getting all the effect. If that one goes away, the next strongest that remains will immediately resume being effective, since it has always been there, but now it's no longer eclipsed.

Nobody has ever questioned it.

I think once I equated it being like noise.

If you shout at me from only a few feet away, I'll defintely hear you, but if we're standing under a jet engine, I'm quite sure the engine will be so loud that I won't hear you shouting at all - but if you keep shouting while someone turns off that engine, I'll be able to hear you again.

(yeah, yeah, I would be deaf, or my ears would be ringing, so it's an imperfect analogy, but aside from that, the imagery seems sound - no pun intended).


Abbasax wrote:
nexusphere wrote:
riatin wrote:
Has seemed fairly obvious from the start, at least there was a bit of interesting discussion that sprang from it.
Clearly he's taking a nap. My money is on his return and reply to seven posts all in a row.

Heh, probably.

Just to get this back to somewhat on topic, what in-game explanation do you guys use for why bonuses don't stack? Do you even need an explanation, or has it just never become an issue (until now)?

I just treat it as they both can only modify what you have to start with. You can only boost a person dex, or int or whatever so much.

It takes STRONGER magic to boost it beyond a certain point, not just a lot of little magic.

Lack of stacking is not really new to the game. Even in first addition if you had a Belt of Storm giant strength and gauntlets of ogre pwoer, they did not stack (with one exception).

You usually were at +6 to hit, +12 damage for the Belt, not +9 to hit, +18 damage for the combination.

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