+1 Wondrous Items


Rules Questions


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Is there a reason there are no items that grant a +1 to ability scores, such as a "Belt of Lesser Giant Strength +1"?


New2PF wrote:
Is there a reason there are no items that grant a +1 to ability scores, such as a "Belt of Lesser Giant Strength +1"?

There have been discussion about whether a DM should allow +1 attribute items on these boards before.

Those against it don't like the fact that a +1 attribute item is essentially useless to someone with an even attribute but as good as a +2 attribute item (which costs 4x as much) for characters with an odd attribute.

Personally, anything that makes having an odd attribute more useful is a move in the right direction.


Pathfinder Companion, Maps Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Because they're equivalent to a +2 item to those with odd ability scores and thus shouldn't have a lesser cost, but mechanically useless to those with even ability scores.

The devs wanted every wondrous item to have the same effect on anyone who put it on.


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Because Pathfinder isn't very interested in even pretending that odd scores matter.


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Pathfinder Companion, Maps Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Here is the previous thread on this topic.

And here is Sean K Reynolds' response:

Sean K Reynolds wrote:
Mosaic wrote:
Just wanted to point out that many feats also have odd stats like 13, 15 or 17 as pre-reqs.

Technically, ALL feats with ability score prereqs should have odd numbers rather than even numbers.

And that was done deliberately in 3e (and carried over to Pathfinder), because (other than the minor benefit to Str about carrying capacity) there is ZERO benefit to increasing a stat from an even number to an odd number. Feats were given odd numbers prereqs to encourage players to not simply target the even-numbered "sweet spots" for ability scores Or, to exactly quote the How to Design a Feat article by Jonathan Tweet and myself, "Note that if you have an ability score as a prerequisite, it should always be an odd number to encourage characters to develop their scores beyond the even-numbered 'break points' where the modifier changes."

In-game, odd-numbered stat bonus items don't make sense. Let's say Agar and Bron are, to all measurable ways in-game, exactly as agile, tough, wise, smart, or personable. Crug says he has a magic item that makes you little more agile/tough/wise/smart/or personable. Agar puts on the item and finds this to be true. Bron puts on this item and finds it has no effect. Why? Because the item is a +1 item, because Agar's ability score is odd, and because Bron's ability score is even. Thus, the +1 item works for Agar and doesn't work for Bron... and the characters will never be able to tell why. In fact, for 50% of the world's population, that item has zero effect. It seems random and arbitrary. Sure, you can say, "it's magic, we can't understand it," but that's a cheesy answer.

It's the same reason you don't give races odd ability scores: that would allow a player to hide an ability score penalty and still gain a bonus (if zorgs have +1 Str and -1 Cha, most zorg PCs will have odd+1 Str scores and odd-1 Cha scores, with a net racial ability score modifier of +2 Str, -2 Cha). It's cheesy.

Smart games give you hard choices. If your fighter just turned 4th level and you have the choice of bumping your Con from 15 to 16 and getting that nice bump to hp and Fort or bumping your Str from 16 to 17 and gaining no combat benefit for it (except that at level 8 you can bump it to 18) is a hard choice. Adding odd-numbered ability score magic items takes away that hard choice. Your every-4-levels ability score bump no longer is a question of "do I get a benefit now or plan for a benefit later," it's "do I need to buy a +1 item at this level, or not?" That's not a hard choice, it's a lame choice.

What these odd-numbered items really amount to is metagaming.


My latest homebrew campaign has everyone with a ring of +1 to a single attribute scores. However, they also scale as the characters level up. What the PC's don't know is it also putting them under a compulsion spell. :)

The Exchange

Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

in a home game, with a crafter in the party, its a great thing.
crafter makes a belt of strength +1, and then when the fighter goes up in strength, he adds on to the belt and makes it +2. with the unique item pricing formulas we can guess what that should cost.

so in a home game, you can do it. since the item wouldn't be worth it if it applied an odd bonus to everyone, its simpler to keep them at +2, +4 and +6 so that everyone has a use for it.


SKR makes a great argument against having odd ability scores not do anything. Yes, it is stupid that the difference between 14 and 15 is far less than the difference between 13 and 14 or the difference between 15 and 16.

Pity that's not the argument he's trying to make.

Dark Archive

Denim N Leather wrote:
My latest homebrew campaign has everyone with a ring of +1 to a single attribute scores. However, they also scale as the characters level up. What the PC's don't know is it also putting them under a compulsion spell. :)

Spoiler:
Would you kindly?

I wonder if there is some aspect of patfinder that roberta likes.


I'd have to disagree there is no difference between the odd and even break points.

I'd much rather have a 15 CON than a 14 CON. Similarly, I'd much rather have any odd ability score and lose 1 point from an ability drain than be at an even break point and thus lose an ability bonus.

But that's just me.

And I actually agree with no +1 ability score magic items.

Unless they were like the old stat boosting spells, aka Bull Strength that increased it 1d4+1 for a certain period of time. That I found to be fun thanks to the randomness.

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

+1 is a pure metagame item. They would only effect characters with an odd ability score. the +2 items are essentially +1 to related abilities, working the same for all characters.


I'm a bit of a fan of the +1 ability option, just maybe have an issue with it's pricing.

A 15 strength person is stronger than a person with 14 strength, no? While it isn't reflected in the game (aside from carrying capacity), that's the game's mechanical faults due to dealing with low numbers and no decimals. That's why I think Sean's argument is junk— why should in-game measurable" things be the only thing that matters, as opposed to intentions. It kinda sounds like he's saying people should ignore intended functionality and instead follow Rules As Written, and potentially even ignore the most important rule in Pathfinder (I know it's a stretch to claim this).

I think it's reasonable for a person to pay less for ability buff benefits if they already invested in half of the necessary things to get that benefit.

I don't see/understand the point about lack of options/interesting-choice. If anything I think the lack of odd-valued ability bonuses makes things more dull because people will usually/always aim for the even breakpoints (how's that good?)

I think the biggest issue is mostly about cost. Bonus squared does seem rather poor for +1 ability mod, so perhaps diving the cost of +2 by 2 (or doubling the cost of a +1 mod — same result either way) would be more fair. That way +1 would cost 2000g, half the amount of +2. For +3 and others, it would just remain at bonus squared.

IDK, that's my opinion; maybe I don't see the issue properly.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

I agree with SKR. Having a +1 item just allows for more cheesy min-maxing.

Dark Archive

Shar Tahl wrote:
+1 is a pure metagame item. They would only effect characters with an odd ability score. the +2 items are essentially +1 to related abilities, working the same for all characters.

This. Having all ability score enhancing items provide even numbered bonuses ensures all characters using them receive the same benefit, rather than some receiving more than others. The metagaming element of odd values for ability score is just putting too much thought into a simple mechanic.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

There are +1 stat items in the game.... they're called tomes.


But guys I need to carry a light load of 66 lbs instead of 58 lbs, help!


LazarX wrote:
There are +1 stat items in the game.... they're called tomes.

and it is much more expensie than 2000 gp


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This is quite frankly a design flaw in the game going back to the very start of the system and the decision to grant bonuses every two attribute points.

It makes no sense that for most attribute scores you gain no benefits unless you advance by two points. It's just poor game design, pure and simple. And it results in crazy meta-game things like "no, you can't have a +1 attribute item because... um... well... because shut up."


Lamontius wrote:

But guys I need to carry a light load of 66 lbs instead of 58 lbs, help!

Muleback cords.


Adamantine Dragon wrote:
Lamontius wrote:

But guys I need to carry a light load of 66 lbs instead of 58 lbs, help!

Muleback cords.

But now I need to carry 200 lbs instead of 173 lbs. :(

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Adamantine Dragon wrote:

This is quite frankly a design flaw in the game going back to the very start of the system and the decision to grant bonuses every two attribute points.

It makes no sense that for most attribute scores you gain no benefits unless you advance by two points. It's just poor game design, pure and simple. And it results in crazy meta-game things like "no, you can't have a +1 attribute item because... um... well... because shut up."

In the very start of the system, you got no bonuses for any score lower than 15. and then Strength had it's own wonky rules of it's own with the math getting rather strange between 18 and 19.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

1st edition (and maybe 2nd, can't recall) had it good with it changing every point, but only 15 and higher were exceptional enough to grant a bonus. As stated above, the percentile system got a little weird, especially with the racial limitations of elves having 18(75) max, half-elves having 18(90), not to mention females and males having different max strength.

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16

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Exactly. Ability scores on the current scale are legacy from 1st Ed., where you rolled 3d6 for your attributes. The design decision to tie modifiers more directly to ability scores was a step forward from 2nd Ed., in which you got a bunch of modifiers to random things, but only if you had very high or very low ability scores. That design decision was an improvement, but it resulted in the odd ability score problem. It also resulted in a system that was very different, but still grounded, in the ability score mechanics of previous editions.

The next logical step in the progression of design would be to do away with ability scores altogether and just use ability modifiers instead. So instead of having ability score arrays like:

STR 15
DEX 14
CON 13
INT 12
WIS 10
CHA 8

You have instead:

STR +2
DEX +2
CON +1
INT +1
WIS 0
CHA -1

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Charlie Bell wrote:


The next logical step in the progression of design would be to do away with ability scores altogether and just use ability modifiers instead. So instead of having ability score arrays like:

STR 15
DEX 14
CON 13
INT 12
WIS 10
CHA 8

You have instead:

STR +2
DEX +2
CON +1
INT +1
WIS 0
CHA -1

In other words, we'd make Talislanta Edition 7 :)? Of if you want, we'd just use the old Marvel rp terms.


Charlie Bell wrote:

Exactly. Ability scores on the current scale are legacy from 1st Ed., where you rolled 3d6 for your attributes. The design decision to tie modifiers more directly to ability scores was a step forward from 2nd Ed., in which you got a bunch of modifiers to random things, but only if you had very high or very low ability scores. That design decision was an improvement, but it resulted in the odd ability score problem. It also resulted in a system that was very different, but still grounded, in the ability score mechanics of previous editions.

The next logical step in the progression of design would be to do away with ability scores altogether and just use ability modifiers instead. So instead of having ability score arrays like:

STR 15
DEX 14
CON 13
INT 12
WIS 10
CHA 8

You have instead:

STR +2
DEX +2
CON +1
INT +1
WIS 0
CHA -1

Whoa...

Reading this post was my Keanu Reeves moment for the day.

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16

Meh, I'm not saying that I'm ready this instant for the next logical design progression. There are very good reasons they've kept ability scores as they are. One is continuity. Another is catering to those who prefer to roll stats. Yet another is that it would change the mechanics of point buy. Yet another is that it would change NPC stat arrays and everything that keys off them. Yet another is that the 4/8/12/16/20 ability score bonuses would have to change.


And what, exactly, happens to ability damage/drain with this system?

(Besides, no one wants a -X stat. -X stat modifier is ok, but -X stat, no way!)


having number based ability scores, in a math based game is metagaming.


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Shar Tahl wrote:
+1 is a pure metagame item. They would only effect characters with an odd ability score. the +2 items are essentially +1 to related abilities, working the same for all characters.

No, just the opposite. In world a 15 STR is greater than a 14 just as 16 is greater than 15. Anyone who puts on a +1 STR belt is making themselves stronger. That we only make even ability score boosters because only even ability scores have a heavy impact on combat is purely metagaming.


Ninja in the Rye wrote:
Shar Tahl wrote:
+1 is a pure metagame item. They would only effect characters with an odd ability score. the +2 items are essentially +1 to related abilities, working the same for all characters.
No, just the opposite. In world a 15 STR is greater than a 14 just as 16 is greater than 15. Anyone who puts on a +1 STR belt is making themselves stronger. That we only make even ability score boosters because only even ability scores have a heavy impact on combat is purely metagaming.

+1


Honestly not having +1 items just means that 17/19 is the optimal point for your SAD characters attributes rather than 18/20 (assuming 3 attribute rises at level 12 or 5 at level 20).


TwoWolves wrote:
And what, exactly, happens to ability damage/drain with this system?

Have you looked at the ability damage rules in the current system anytime recently?

Ninja in the Rye wrote:
No, just the opposite. In world a 15 STR is greater than a 14 just as 16 is greater than 15. Anyone who puts on a +1 STR belt is making themselves stronger. That we only make even ability score boosters because only even ability scores have a heavy impact on combat is purely metagaming.

Are you implying that characters don't think in terms of game mechanics and Order of the Stick might not represent a typical campaign? Shocking!


Wind Chime wrote:
Honestly not having +1 items just means that 17/19 is the optimal point for your SAD characters attributes rather than 18/20 (assuming 3 attribute rises at level 12 or 5 at level 20).

It is still 18/20 as optimal for SAD.

20 starting +6 item +5 book +5 level = 36


Whale_Cancer wrote:
New2PF wrote:
Is there a reason there are no items that grant a +1 to ability scores, such as a "Belt of Lesser Giant Strength +1"?

There have been discussion about whether a DM should allow +1 attribute items on these boards before.

Those against it don't like the fact that a +1 attribute item is essentially useless to someone with an even attribute but as good as a +2 attribute item (which costs 4x as much) for characters with an odd attribute.

Personally, anything that makes having an odd attribute more useful is a move in the right direction.

Those who think wondrous items with odd bonuses shouldn't be made should explain to me the circlet of persuasion http://www.d20pfsrd.com/magic-items/wondrous-items/wondrous-items/c-d/circl et-of-persuasion/

This delicately engraved silver headband grants its wearer a +3 competence bonus on Charisma-based checks.


Rowlie Falconforge wrote:
Whale_Cancer wrote:
New2PF wrote:
Is there a reason there are no items that grant a +1 to ability scores, such as a "Belt of Lesser Giant Strength +1"?

There have been discussion about whether a DM should allow +1 attribute items on these boards before.

Those against it don't like the fact that a +1 attribute item is essentially useless to someone with an even attribute but as good as a +2 attribute item (which costs 4x as much) for characters with an odd attribute.

Personally, anything that makes having an odd attribute more useful is a move in the right direction.

Those who think wondrous items with odd bonuses shouldn't be made should explain to me the circlet of persuasion http://www.d20pfsrd.com/magic-items/wondrous-items/wondrous-items/c-d/circl et-of-persuasion/

This delicately engraved silver headband grants its wearer a +3 competence bonus on Charisma-based checks.

There is a difference between modifying abilities and modifying ability checks.


Nearly five years. Not a bad sale of black onyx if I do say so myself. :)


Quote:

Those who think wondrous items with odd bonuses shouldn't be made should explain to me the circlet of persuasion http://www.d20pfsrd.com/magic-items/wondrous-items/wondrous-items/c-d/circl et-of-persuasion/

This delicately engraved silver headband grants its wearer a +3 competence bonus on Charisma-based checks.

Not even remotely the same thing. Ability scores only grant a bonus every 2 points. A 12 gives a +1 bonus, but so does a 13. A 14 gives a +2 bonus, but so does a 15. Items that boost an ability score give an even numbered bonus because of that.

For literally everything else, even a +1 bonus is an improvement. Odd bonuses are fine for everything but ability score boosts. And odd bonuses can be found in many items, like cloaks and boots of elvenkind (or mot other items that boost a skill), +1/+3/+5 armor and weapons, or +1/+3/+5 cloaks of resistance. With all of those items, it doesn't matter if the bonus is odd or not, as it is always an improvement.

When people say they are against odd-numbered bonuses, they are only talking about odd-numbered bonuses for ability score enhancing items.

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