Inherent bonuses


Homebrew and House Rules


I'm thinking of running my next campaign using Pathfinder. However, I would prefer to run it in a more low magic item mode or at least a magic items seem special mode. I want the PCs to be able to keep up in terms of AC and Saving Throws without needing cloaks of resistance, amulets of natural armour, rings of protection etc... I'm wondering if anyone has plotted out a set of inherent bonus house rules, so that these things can advance as expected without the need for the magic items. I'm thinking in the vein of 4E, which has such a set of rules.


Take the 3.5 VoP feat and give it's bonuses for free, without any requirements.


ImperatorK

I'm lazy, do you have a link to that?

Also looking into more low-magic play...

Thanks


P.H. Dungeon wrote:
I'm thinking of running my next campaign using Pathfinder. However, I would prefer to run it in a more low magic item mode or at least a magic items seem special mode. I want the PCs to be able to keep up in terms of AC and Saving Throws without needing cloaks of resistance, amulets of natural armour, rings of protection etc... I'm wondering if anyone has plotted out a set of inherent bonus house rules, so that these things can advance as expected without the need for the magic items. I'm thinking in the vein of 4E, which has such a set of rules.

The easiest and least system obtrusive way I know of to do this is with the "Baldur's Gate Method" (named by me, yay!). If you've ever played Baldur's Gate (and by golly you should if you haven't!), it's not uncommon to find really nice magic items; but not a whole lot of them. For example, there's a sword that bestows continuous freedom of movement on the wielder, or a shield that provides energy resistance vs all major elements. These treasures are generally few and far between, but the ones you find are very nice.

In short, I'd suggest doing what I do sometimes. Build some custom items that give noteworthy or flavorful abilities. Feel free to let these sorts of items cover multiple things at once. Don't worry so much about the WBL of the adventurers because they're going to have so few items anyway.

For example, a magic cloak that gives a +3 resistance bonus and allows the wearer to turn into a bird at will. Or an axe that can make the wearer grow in size. A suit of armor that provides wide ranging energy resistances. A shield that encases the wearer in protective flames. Items are more fun if you give them usable powers and daily charges.

Finally, give each magic item some lore. It's nice to know when the item was originally created, if this is a replica or the real mackoy, how the item came to be where it is, and so forth. The end result is that each of your PCs may end up with maybe 5 magic items a piece, but should be strong enough to deal with most common threats because these few magic items are significantly stronger than usual magic items; or provide significant ways to avoid death (resistances, immunities, etc).

If you are wanting to keep magic items not only rare but also weak, then I wouldn't really bother; but that's a personal opinion. As a player, I have no desire to play in a game where you're expected to be Mr. McMundane who fights supernatural creatures without any supernatural stuff himself. Might as well cap the level around 6, maybe 8, and call it a day. High level D&D is about magic. It is epic fantasy. It's not Conaan the Barbarian where people can run around naked and slap wizards with swords and axes. That's back at 3rd level.


Alitan wrote:

ImperatorK

I'm lazy, do you have a link to that?

Nope.


Sigh.

My archetype replaces search-fu with prodigious memory...


Vow Of Poverty was 3.0 and not Open Content.

In short it replaced wealth by level with a list of bonuses at certain levels. It would have to be rewritten from scratch for PF using the expected wealth by level table and pricing of magic items as a guideline.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, PF Special Edition Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Superscriber
P.H. Dungeon wrote:
I'm thinking of running my next campaign using Pathfinder. However, I would prefer to run it in a more low magic item mode or at least a magic items seem special mode. I want the PCs to be able to keep up in terms of AC and Saving Throws without needing cloaks of resistance, amulets of natural armour, rings of protection etc... I'm wondering if anyone has plotted out a set of inherent bonus house rules, so that these things can advance as expected without the need for the magic items. I'm thinking in the vein of 4E, which has such a set of rules.

I'm not particularly adept at game balance, so take that as fair warning.

What we use is a gradual across-the-board increase in stats - three stats go up by one every level (so by fifth level, each stat bonus has gone up by one). Then we have no "+x" items at all (characters penetrate DR based on heroicness - from memory it's the equivalent of +1 every three levels gained).


here's what i am using for a low magic world, the bonus are effects from house clasps the adventuring party is wearing. the bonuses seem to balance out really well and the players love it cause they get something new every level.

1 +1 TO HIT
2 +1 ALL SAVES
3 +1 DAMAGE
4 DR 1
5 +2 HIT
6 +2 ALL SAVES
7 +2 DAMAGE
8 DR 2
9 +3 HIT
10 +3 ALL SAVES
11 +3 DAMAGE
12 DR 3
13 +4 HIT
14 +4 ALL SAVES
15 +4 DAMAGE
16 DR 4
17 +5 HIT
18 +5 ALL SAVES
19 +5 DAMAGE
20 DR 5

ARMOR BONUS = LEVEL /2


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soulofwolf wrote:

here's what i am using for a low magic world, the bonus are effects from house clasps the adventuring party is wearing. the bonuses seem to balance out really well and the players love it cause they get something new every level.

1 +1 TO HIT
2 +1 ALL SAVES
3 +1 DAMAGE
4 DR 1
5 +2 HIT
6 +2 ALL SAVES
7 +2 DAMAGE
8 DR 2
9 +3 HIT
10 +3 ALL SAVES
11 +3 DAMAGE
12 DR 3
13 +4 HIT
14 +4 ALL SAVES
15 +4 DAMAGE
16 DR 4
17 +5 HIT
18 +5 ALL SAVES
19 +5 DAMAGE
20 DR 5

ARMOR BONUS = LEVEL /2

That's nice and simple.


yeah i like keeping things for my game that way :)


What I've been wanting to try as a quick fix is to turn the wealth by level into something that is actually partially "advancement points" by level, and allow players to "purchase" +1 weapons, pearls of power, belt of stat boost +2, etc. by spending advancement points instead of gold.

The points would be non-tradeable, gained in a similar manner to experience (if you are playing a game where leveling up is handwaved, you could even call it experience) and be basically one for one on a par with gold pieces so conversion is simple.

Any magic item that it seems could be explained as a mundane ability can be bought as an ability using the points. +2 weapons cost the same in adv points as they do gold, but when you buy it with adv points it is inherent to you. So instead of a +2 greatsword, you gain a +2 enhancement bonus to attack and damage rolls when wielding one masterwork greatsword.

I think you would basically end up with the same game, and you wouldn't even need to change most enemy npc statblocks, just make the items not there but leave them with the item's bonuses.

You can adjust the ratio of adv points to gold depending on how low you want magic to be. You could even switch it up between levels.

Some items would still need to be magic though. Flaming swords and the such seem to require that. A keen longword or a dueling rapier might not though. But maybe you could say a tiefling fighter could buy a flaming longsword with advancement and flavor it is his demonic heritage coming out. Up to you honestly.

Also, as far as crafting goes, just give everyone the crafting feats for free, but make crafting cost the same gold as buying. The upside to crafting would then be the ability to choose what you get. Or, you could allow the spending of up to 50% of the gold as the spending of adv points instead, to get the flavor of making magic items cheaper without actually making them cheaper. It'd be like the spending of exp on crafting in 3.5, except it wouldn't be debilitating to the character.

As with any christmas tree fixing system, it could be used to let monks make more sense too.

Problems would be with DR and stuff like incorporeal creatures, but if you just play it as normal and flavor it differently (i.e. a truly skillful strike can even hit the incorporeal for some damage) I think it wouldn't cause too many problems.


cas while i like the general idea of that it gives the players a way to get stuff too easily. if they can use these points to purchase any magic item that could feasibly be an inherent bonus instead of an item it will open up room to way too many debates. ("why can't i have my feet with a perma haste like boots of haste?") if you're goign outside of giving them just straight bonuses you should still be in control of magic items, such as availabilities of different things based on city's and what not, so if players really want a certain item there could be an entire side quest just to get to a city that sells it or to get it back from the tomb it was lost in.. just being able to flat out get stuff is too easy in my opinion.
As i said though, "in my opinion" doesn't make your idea wrong, just throwing in my 2 cents.

summary: straight stat boost = ok to me, magic effects = shouldn't be handed out.


side note with my leveling system, in our game players get ability score boosts every even level instead of every four levels, ends up being 5 extra ability points by level 20 (so one shy of a +6 ability increase item.)


soulofwolf wrote:

cas while i like the general idea of that it gives the players a way to get stuff too easily. if they can use these points to purchase any magic item that could feasibly be an inherent bonus instead of an item it will open up room to way too many debates. ("why can't i have my feet with a perma haste like boots of haste?") if you're goign outside of giving them just straight bonuses you should still be in control of magic items, such as availabilities of different things based on city's and what not, so if players really want a certain item there could be an entire side quest just to get to a city that sells it or to get it back from the tomb it was lost in.. just being able to flat out get stuff is too easy in my opinion.

As i said though, "in my opinion" doesn't make your idea wrong, just throwing in my 2 cents.

summary: straight stat boost = ok to me, magic effects = shouldn't be handed out.

I only meant it as a GM discretion thing. If you really wanted, you could say that the purchasing is limited to +x weapons, +x armor, +x shield, +x natural armor bonus, +x stat bonus, +x to all saves, +1 y level spell from your spell list usable once or addable to spell book with appropriate checks, fill one empty wand with 50 castings of y<5 level spell that you know, +1 prepared spell slot for y level spells, and thats it without GM approval. Each of those has an obvious, directly corresponding item. If you don't like certain items on there, take them off. The whole things a house rule so it's assumed that the GM has control of the game. It's only meant to be a quick fix so that players and GMs can play a flexible and familiar low magic, and even if a player did try to get the GM to break it they would just end up with their wealth by level in items, with perhaps a few extra body slots open (but low magic setting counteracts that aspect anyway).

Spoiler:

I forgot to mention that the interaction with magic items ends with the magic bonus taking precedence, no stacking.

Alternatively magic items could have a maximum +bonus with which they could be used, similar to composite bows. The gold cost of such items, say a weapon, would be the same as the cost of upgrading a weapon of the maximum allowed enhancement bonus to a weapon of whatever the magical bonus is, + weapon base cost. This is a little more complicated, but would preserve the flavor and usefulness of magic items if one were to want to go just medium level magic.

I've been planning to write this stuff out in a more clear and concise format, but haven't gotten the time.


i think i'd have to see it clear and concise i kinda get what you mean but without the clarifications I'm not 100% on it. Alternately if you wanted to give actual effects instead of bonuses something i've been thinking of doing with my system is at levels 6, 11, 16, and 20 giving a magic style feat where you select abilities from the items in the game and make them available at that level. I was thinking of just basing it off the wonderous items, making magic style feats for minor (lvl 6) medium (lvl 11) and major wonderous items (lvl 16) and then at lvl 20 something between major and artifact. as an example at lvl 6 i select the magic style feat "Elven Kind" which gives my charactor a +5 circumstance bonus on stealth checks as per a cloak of elven kind. I'd have to go through and write up all the feats available, which would not include any AC or stat bonuses items, but i think that's close to what you were saying?


soulofwolf wrote:
i think i'd have to see it clear and concise i kinda get what you mean but without the clarifications I'm not 100% on it. Alternately if you wanted to give actual effects instead of bonuses something i've been thinking of doing with my system is at levels 6, 11, 16, and 20 giving a magic style feat where you select abilities from the items in the game and make them available at that level. I was thinking of just basing it off the wonderous items, making magic style feats for minor (lvl 6) medium (lvl 11) and major wonderous items (lvl 16) and then at lvl 20 something between major and artifact. as an example at lvl 6 i select the magic style feat "Elven Kind" which gives my charactor a +5 circumstance bonus on stealth checks as per a cloak of elven kind. I'd have to go through and write up all the feats available, which would not include any AC or stat bonuses items, but i think that's close to what you were saying?

Yeah basically, I'm just too lazy to try to figure out at which level certain items should be available for purchase ability, and also too lazy to rewrite a bunch of items as feats or boons or what have you. I'd rather just say "pick what you want out of the book. If I think it makes sense I'll let you buy it inherently with the advancement points. Otherwise you'll have to find it in a shop or on someone's corpse." Despite my needing to write a whole lot to explain it, I feel like it would be easy to use in practice; it mostly just relies on the DM checking the wealth of the party every once in a while and using the WBL chart to allocate adv points in addition to/instead of gold. Also making judgment calls on what makes sense as a non-magic item enhancement, but any low magic house rule has the DM doing that anyway.

I do feel like your system would be easier to explain and work well too, I just like the versatility of magic items, and wouldn't want to lose stuff like bashing shields, or a monk's robe, or a lot of the good things magic users can get, or abilities that even make sense for certain characters to have.

Like, I might be cool with a sylph purchasing an inherent wings of flying (for the appropriate cost) at high level, flavored as getting in tune with her air elemental heritage, or an exceptionally good character getting a mantle of faith, flavored as just being so pure that evil can not harm him.

If a character could have such items at that level, and it could be flavored without the item, then it seems perfectly fine to me. Mechanically, magic item crafters could be crafting those items at half price, so the increased availability of such magic items doesn't even really distress me. It might even technically decrease their availability by making crafting technically non-profitable.

That said, there's a lot to address in describing it, so it's not particularly elegant on the surface.

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