Good ways to handle the "Magic Shop" problem.


Advice

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The Exchange

Depends on the degree of curse, of course. Some of the drawback and conditional stuff might not hurt the item enough to justify removing it from the shelf. (Armor that indelibly stains your skin emerald green might aggravate a PC, but probably not to the point where arson and assault seem like a proportionate response.)

Oracle: Oracle smash!


Plus some items have, as part of the curse, the wielder LIKES the item and doesn't want to get rid of it. They are quite happy with it like the helm of opposite alignment. You don't want someone to take it away and you like what it does.


I usually limit what a party can purchase at a "magic shop" to things that use up charge like rods, wands, staves, potions, scrolls. I seldom allow such things as any magic weapon higher than +2, and none with special addtional abilities. I really don't care to use "magic shops" in my worlds.

Often I'll consider what the PCs want in specific items by next level up, and then I put them in the adventure as found treasure, of course instead of giving them these items free (without cost) the cost of those items aren't accumulated (so their expenditures per level aren't skewed, they balance out.)

Also for my Kaidan setting of Japanese horror (PFRPG), I have an alternative to Weapons of Legacy, called Ancestral Relics that include more than just weapons, but all these items level up with the users, after PCs meet specific criteria.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

My old DM and I came across an idea, when brainstorming a campaign.

The idea was to have a NPC who was capable of crafting magic items, but required certain materials, tools, etc.

Placed amongst enemy loot, would be things that this NPC could use to create certain items.
"Hmm, I could use this to create a magic sword, or helmet. Both, if I had (x), and a little time."

So, you place ingredients, tools, and what not.

The PCs find it, and think "whoa, I wonder what we could make with that".

The Exchange

That's one reason I was glad to see the Power Components option in Ultimate Campaign: I'm not fond of the utter blandness of PF item creation, in which you pour gold into the big machine labeled "Item Creation Feat" until you hear a "ding" indicating that your fries are done.

AD&D and 'Basic' D&D both had takes on magic item creation that were much more action-adventure-oriented. And I've seen even more intriguing ones elsewhere. Whereas it's an open question now why any sane character would go adventuring instead of investing his starting gold (rules for that now too!) for about 12 years and then buying a bunch of stuff to make his 1st-level days a breeze. (The player has a reason to do interesting stuff instead, but not necessarily the character.)

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Sane characters don't go adventuring.

Really, think about it.


In the old AD&D the Permanence spell cost a permanent point of Constitution loss (to the best of my recollection) - make all items charged and therefore non-permanent unless someone has made a major sacrifice to create it and it these items are usually rare (and probably evil).

Allow the most minor and temporary items at the magic mart only.


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strayshift wrote:

In the old AD&D the Permanence spell cost a permanent point of Constitution loss (to the best of my recollection) - make all items charged and therefore non-permanent unless someone has made a major sacrifice to create it and it these items are usually rare (and probably evil).

Allow the most minor and temporary items at the magic mart only.

So... stop playing past level 6? Cause that's effectively what your saying. The best way to deal with the "magic shop" issue is to realize that Pathfinder is a magic item heavy system and realistically there's going to be tons of magic items lying around. That fallen civilization you wrote into the background of the campaign? All their magic items are fine. Those planar cities? Tripping magic items. Seriously, just let people buy stuff out of the book at cost once they can go plane/city hopping and describe it as a montage. Magic Shop problem solved. (Also this way faster on the prep time.)


Alternatively, just accept our Magic Shop Overlords and have fun roleplaying Magic Mart, owner and proprietor of the Magic Mart, home for all your magical needs.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

The Magical Marketplace book gives more flavor for the "common" Magic Item Shop.


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Arachnofiend wrote:
Alternatively, just accept our Magic Shop Overlords and have fun roleplaying Magic Mart, owner and proprietor of the Magic Mart, home for all your magical needs.

That's it. Now I have to write a campaign about how, despite the friendly veneer at the franchise level, the corporate overlords at Magic Mart get most of their inventory from looting the corpses of fallen adventurers brought down by any of many local dungeons (also supplied by Magic Mart.)

Or maybe there's Magic Mart, and Dungeon Mart (which supplies all the BBEGs at wholesale prices), and it turns out they are subsidiaries of the same sinister megacorporation.


I'm with Anzyr, this is a 3.x game, so you get quite a bit of cool stuff that you want. Not everything, but enough to feel like you've found some nice magic item rewards and are improving you PC's lot in the game.

If you want Gygaxian magic item distribution, you probably should crank down the CR in encounters beyond 5th level or accept a fairly high body count. For Christ's sakes, have y'all even looked at the Iconics? It's not like their running around with utter chode. If you run the RAW, the PCs are only going to ever find anything over 13000gp for sale in a metropolis and only then through shear luck or DM agency.


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I don't use the magic shop concept. There's no magic item economy in every single city and town. The majority of the items my players have they've found on adventures. A few have created some items; mainly a couple of wands, lots of potions and a some scrolls. There are a few places in the world where it's possible to trade, buy or sell magic items but it's unlikely you're going to waltz out such a location with +5 armor and a +5 sword.

I often create backgrounds for magic items they find. Generally, they either adventure and find them, quest for specific items or magical items are gifted by kings, queens, religious figures, etc.

Yes, that mean a player can't come to the gaming table "fully optimized and accessorized." There's also a few items that are generally rare compared to others. Ioun Stones are such items. Those are very hard to find.

I know what Pathfinder assumes but, I find the "just buy it" method completely unsatisfying as a GM and as a player. Because of the elimination of "magic mart", my players also see the value of cohorts and followers. The extra swords or spellcasters make the difference when you're not 100% accessorized. This adds to the role-playing experience as the players develop relationships with their cohorts. Throw in a few story seeds in a cohort's background and further enriches the story.

The best way to handle the "magic shop" problem is not to have a massive magic item economy. In the creation of magic items, pay attention to not only the gold value but include specific components, some of which might be hard to acquire. If a player wants to create a crystal ball maybe he needs the "an eye of a Rakshasa" or something like that as a key component. Justify it as most people want to keep magical items and implements. A longsword+1 isn't "longsword+1 number 532 of 56,034." It's a family heirloom handed down from generation to generation after the ancestor of a character slew a terrible troll and the blade was forged by the dwarves victimized by the troll in thanks. Unfortunately, the last bearer of the blade disappeared in a nearby ruin 25 years ago and the sword was lost. Until your party slays the Giant Spider and recover the blade from the cocooned corpse of its previous owner.


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So you allow the Leadership feat but somehow find the Gamemastery RAW rules for settlements and the purchase of magic items to be beyond the Pale. Hey, to each his own, party on Garth.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Make sure that your players are cool with any alternate/house rules you use.

Also, try not to dick your players around.

I had a DM want back-stories for every Masterwork and Magic Item.

I wrote whole page paragraph back-stories for every single item I wanted, and he decided it was too much to read, and disallowed all of them.

Don't be that guy.


The Morphling wrote:

In the past, I've run with the assumption that players can buy or sell whatever items they want, pretty much as written in the rules. When you get 4,000 gp, you head to town and buy your custom +2 ability score slotted item, no questions asked, et cetera. I've done this mostly out of convenience, since it requires no effort and just lets the players run wild.

Unfortunately, it makes magic items totally uninteresting. A huge drive of mine is to make magic items more "special." I want the players' +2 longsword to have a story, maybe even a name. Magic items are a wonderful fantasy staple, but in Pathfinder, they're a commodity, not a story piece.

At low levels, this is easy to avoid. The players simply can't afford too many expensive toys, and the encounters don't assume they're bedazzled in ioun stones and gleaming, winged armor that lets you shoot lasers out of your eyes.

In higher level games, though, how do you strike a balance between giving the players access to the toys they want and keeping them from cherry-picking items out of the rulebook?

Size of town, Spreadsheet, % of each item (changed as relevant for region/area), pre-made list for each shop in area.


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I'm a bit old school about magic item's i think it's better if they are hard won not just bought from "magic-mart"
I allow low lvl stuff like potions scrolls and low powered wands to be fairly common but the price varies depending on how much demand there would be for example a potion of cure light wounds goes for top dollar as they are always in demand
Where as mage armor is middle of the road as its more specialised
But any major item is very rare and only ever found or made to order with the players normally doing a side quest for some of the components


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Scadgrad, I don't find the rules "beyond the pale." If somebody else is using them, I play with whatever rules are at the table without a fuss. When I'm GMing, I don't use them.

What I find is in most cases, the purchase of magic items is generally not as fun and not as entertaining as adventuring, questing, rewarding or under some circumstances, creating magic items. I think its more interesting for a PC Paladin to go through some major adventure to acquire a holy avenger than to just purchase it like a Snickers Bar at a quickie mart. There are exceptions. For example, introducing an NPC that has access to magic items and sells them to boot, that can be fun to introduce if there's not one on every corner. In those instances, the dealers of dweomercraft might want something other than gold as compensation, becoming a sort of a patron to the PCs.


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scadgrad wrote:
I'm with Anzyr, this is a 3.x game, so you get quite a bit of cool stuff that you want. Not everything, but enough to feel like you've found some nice magic item rewards and are improving you PC's lot in the game.

Thirding this. Getting magic gear is part of the game. The game is balanced around the idea that characters will get access to more and better magic items as they level up. If they can't buy those items in stores, gold starts to lose a lot of its value after the first few levels.

I think if the GM wants their magic items to feel unique and special, the only way to do it is to actually make unique items. No amount of backstory is going to make a simple +2 sword stand out, because the item itself is bog-standard.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:
Arachnofiend wrote:
Alternatively, just accept our Magic Shop Overlords and have fun roleplaying Magic Mart, owner and proprietor of the Magic Mart, home for all your magical needs.

That's it. Now I have to write a campaign about how, despite the friendly veneer at the franchise level, the corporate overlords at Magic Mart get most of their inventory from looting the corpses of fallen adventurers brought down by any of many local dungeons (also supplied by Magic Mart.)

Or maybe there's Magic Mart, and Dungeon Mart (which supplies all the BBEGs at wholesale prices), and it turns out they are subsidiaries of the same sinister megacorporation.

Do all the adventurers wear Blu uniforms while all BBEGs and minions wear Red?


Gwaithador wrote:
What I find is in most cases, the purchase of magic items is generally not as fun and not as entertaining as adventuring, questing, rewarding or under some circumstances, creating magic items.

You're absolutely correct here. Try using the RAW for acquisition of items and just get on with the adventure. It's horses for courses I know but I'm firmly in agreement with you about the adventuring part and that is one of the best reason to embrace the RAW.

It's simply easier to use the quick RAW and not sweat this stuff so that you and your players can get on with storming the castle, romancing the princess, what have you. If you'd rather have your players make that 75% roll in front of you, keeping track with which items are not available, by all means do so. Quick, easy, fair and gets your dudes on their way out of the city doing more adventuring (or off to more interesting parts of the city if your campaign is Urban). I can see how that, if it's absolutely necessary for your group if it's an Urban campaign, but I find we spend more time adventuring by simply glossing over these other bits of minutiae.


the obvious solution is that the PCs only ever find +5 weapons, +6 belts, etc. that is, the stuff already at the top of the scale. and they only ever encounter vampiric demons riding tarrasques. >:D


scadgrad wrote:
Gwaithador wrote:
What I find is in most cases, the purchase of magic items is generally not as fun and not as entertaining as adventuring, questing, rewarding or under some circumstances, creating magic items.

You're absolutely correct here. Try using the RAW for acquisition of items and just get on with the adventure. It's horses for courses I know but I'm firmly in agreement with you about the adventuring part and that is one of the best reason to embrace the RAW.

It's simply easier to use the quick RAW and not sweat this stuff so that you and your players can get on with storming the castle, romancing the princess, what have you. If you'd rather have your players make that 75% roll in front of you, keeping track with which items are not available, by all means do so. Quick, easy, fair and gets your dudes on their way out of the city doing more adventuring (or off to more interesting parts of the city if your campaign is Urban). I can see how that, if it's absolutely necessary for your group if it's an Urban campaign, but I find we spend more time adventuring by simply glossing over these other bits of minutiae.

This. The main reason for "Magic Marts" in a lot of games is so the players can get all their gear purchases done quickly, and then get back to fighting monsters and questing.


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Chengar Qordath wrote:
scadgrad wrote:
Gwaithador wrote:
What I find is in most cases, the purchase of magic items is generally not as fun and not as entertaining as adventuring, questing, rewarding or under some circumstances, creating magic items.

You're absolutely correct here. Try using the RAW for acquisition of items and just get on with the adventure. It's horses for courses I know but I'm firmly in agreement with you about the adventuring part and that is one of the best reason to embrace the RAW.

It's simply easier to use the quick RAW and not sweat this stuff so that you and your players can get on with storming the castle, romancing the princess, what have you. If you'd rather have your players make that 75% roll in front of you, keeping track with which items are not available, by all means do so. Quick, easy, fair and gets your dudes on their way out of the city doing more adventuring (or off to more interesting parts of the city if your campaign is Urban). I can see how that, if it's absolutely necessary for your group if it's an Urban campaign, but I find we spend more time adventuring by simply glossing over these other bits of minutiae.

This. The main reason for "Magic Marts" in a lot of games is so the players can get all their gear purchases done quickly, and then get back to fighting monsters and questing.

If they have to quest for magic items then they can skip the gear purchasing step entirely and go straight to the adventure.


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"I adventure to find Whimcutter.", is a lot less interesting then say "I adventure to stop the spread of the Outside and their twisted mockeries of the natural world, thus to the Grove of Ancients I go."


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I do run a ye old magic shop kind of thing. But I've got a story behind it to justify it. Long story short, I knew that I wanted to give players anything they wanted in the books for stated price. But the problem is that if they kill the shopkeeper then they can just get 100,000,000 gp worth of magic crap right? Sure they probably would not have done this, but I didn't want the possibility to be there anyways.

So my solution to this is to make the shopkeeper a CR 20 monster. So if they somehow are able to kill him, then they do indeed deserve all of his stock. Cause he's just that tough. If they do kill him on an even level of 20, then by then the game is probably almost over anyways so who cares at that point?

In any case, the shopkeeper is a LN Ancient Gold Dragon. He has portals in many bustling cities in Golarion leading to his shop. The rich warriors/collectors go there to buy anything found in ultimate equipment. The idea is that the golden dragon flies out and collects all these magical things around the world. He also makes a lot of his merchandise.

I thought it was a fun and flavorful way to make a magic shop viable in game. Also I'm a fan of the dragon npc.


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Anzyr wrote:
"I adventure to find Whimcutter.", is a lot less interesting then say "I adventure to stop the spread of the Outside and their twisted mockeries of the natural world, thus to the Grove of Ancients I go."

No it isn't, because only a hero great enough to claim Whimcutter, the Sword of the Ancient Kings, has even the remotest chance of stopping the threat from Outside.


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JoeJ wrote:
Anzyr wrote:
"I adventure to find Whimcutter.", is a lot less interesting then say "I adventure to stop the spread of the Outside and their twisted mockeries of the natural world, thus to the Grove of Ancients I go."

No it isn't, because only a hero great enough to claim Whimcutter, the Sword of the Ancient Kings, has even the remotest chance of stopping the threat from Outside.

In some venues this sort of thing would be what is referred to as a "filler arc".

Especially if Whimcutter is just a +2 Greatsword that is going to be replaced by a +3 Greatsword eventually.

Shadow Lodge

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I find it more fun to wrest the Blade of McGuffin from the dead grip of a enemy than to bravely pay lots of coins for something at McGuffins-R-Us.


I don't have magic item shops IMC, Curse of the Crimson Throne. I have crafting require rare components with limited availability, plus all charges require castings into the charged item - 50 fireball spells for a 50 charge wand of fireballs. I use random rolls for the available magic items, which change monthly - around 20 items for Korvosa, a large city, on Gather Info Diplomacy DCs of 11-30.

This all works fine; signature items that level with the PC (+1 per 3 levels, say) are also fine. The system assumes the PCs have '+' items at higher levels, but doesn't require that they're kitted out with exactly the items they want for a particular build - it's your choice whether charop through item purchase is a part of your game.


If you want every magic item to have history and such, make up some tables and rollem dice can give you some ideas... for example...

Roll 1d4 to see how many 1d10s to roll (digits) for the item's age in years. This can result in an age of 0 years or 9999 years or anywhere between.

Once you have an age, find a close event in the setting's timeline... or make one up. Why was it made? Who made it, and for whom? Again you can make up a table like... this:

Who it was made for [1d10]
1 = hero
2 = some rich person with more cash than sense
3 = nobility (noble house)
4 = royalty (king, dutchess, etc)
5 = important military person
6 = wizard (for personal use or to equip minions/pawns)
7 = religious figure (see wizard)
8 = supernatural being
9 = secret society
0 = prize for a contest or mission

Once you have a history, pick or invent the names of the people involved in its history. Also, consider culture (racial or otherwise) when deciding if it has a name and a distinguished look/style to it.

What's fun about this is when someone casts Legend Lore or Vision, or makes high knowledge checks, they can figure these things out.


And after you've finished wasting time making history for your +1 sword the party found start rolling more for the +2 sword that's in the next treasure pile.

If you're a good GM and you can tell a compelling story the items don't matter as much to players.


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Khrysaor wrote:
And after you've finished wasting time making history for your +1 sword the party found start rolling more for the +2 sword that's in the next treasure pile.

Different games for different folks. You call it wrongbadfun, some people enjoy it.

Besides, for really common things like +1 longswords, you can easily just say "oh it's just one of around 4,000 swords from the Gaurokko series, given to the veterans from the Battle of Mearndig".


Khrysaor wrote:
And after you've finished wasting time making history for your +1 sword the party found start rolling more for the +2 sword that's in the next treasure pile.

I can save time by not putting a +2 sword in the next treasure pile. If a character already has a special unique weapon, then a second one would just be redundant.


When I want magic items to feel special I well... make them special. In my E6 campaign, I custom designed a magic item for each particular region. My players loved to search each area for a unique irreplaceable item, because those items actually were special.

For example:

Meteor Shard - This adamantine dagger appears to be a jagged volcanic rock that still simmers producing a soft glow. Small rivets of flame flow across the surface of the dagger giving the impression that is it is molten rock. Meteor Shard is a +1 Flaming Teleporting Adamantine Dagger. On a critical hit, Meteor Shard becomes a shooting star that impacts on the creature struck for 12 points of damage and spreading fire in a 5-foot-radius sphere for 24 points of fire damage.

It's rare and special, because there aren't any others and just getting a +2/3 dagger isn't going to help much. Even a +3 flaming, teleporting dagger wouldn't really be a replacement.


If you go by the availability as written it is far more limiting than just you can buy anything here.

Also how you present items makes a difference as well. If you give them context beyond "hey its magic" that helps communicate the rarity and uniqueness not only of the items but the pcs and their enemies as well.

For example looking at the king of all "Low Magic" settings, Middle Earth, when the Fellowship leaves Lothlorien they have 8 magic cloaks, a magic rope, magic dirt, magic daggers, a Mallorn seed, a magic bow, a named artifact sword for the would be king, a magic sword that glows when goblins are about, a light up jewel, a sword taken from the barrowights that is able to pierce the protection magic of the lord of the Nazgul and a major a intelligent artifact item. But they are presented mysterious, rare, and in significant contect.


Malignor wrote:
Khrysaor wrote:
And after you've finished wasting time making history for your +1 sword the party found start rolling more for the +2 sword that's in the next treasure pile.

Different games for different folks. You call it wrongbadfun, some people enjoy it.

Besides, for really common things like +1 longswords, you can easily just say "oh it's just one of around 4,000 swords from the Gaurokko series, given to the veterans from the Battle of Mearndig".

No one is saying wrongbadfun but you. Like you said, different games for different folks doesn't make either way better or worse as long as fun is had at your table. All I'm saying is that creating a unique story for a weapon that will be replaced by another unique item and yet another unique item doesn't make any of them very unique. The story of the +1 sword is forgotten when the +2 sword comes and then the +3 and so on until suddenly you're wondering why that +1 sword even had a history when you're holding that epic +5. Coupled with the other 15 item slots and a unique story becomes a blur.

The Exchange

Most of the time, my PCs find useful stuff on the guys they defeat - same as yours. It's only when they specifically go out of their way trying to find an unusual item that 1) you direct them to go to the store and 2) I recommend that they make time for a side adventure.

Even allowing for that, though, it sounds as if we hand out magic items to our respective PCs at different rates.


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Khrysaor wrote:
Malignor wrote:
Khrysaor wrote:
And after you've finished wasting time making history for your +1 sword the party found start rolling more for the +2 sword that's in the next treasure pile.

Different games for different folks. You call it wrongbadfun, some people enjoy it.

Besides, for really common things like +1 longswords, you can easily just say "oh it's just one of around 4,000 swords from the Gaurokko series, given to the veterans from the Battle of Mearndig".

No one is saying wrongbadfun but you. Like you said, different games for different folks doesn't make either way better or worse as long as fun is had at your table. All I'm saying is that creating a unique story for a weapon that will be replaced by another unique item and yet another unique item doesn't make any of them very unique. The story of the +1 sword is forgotten when the +2 sword comes and then the +3 and so on until suddenly you're wondering why that +1 sword even had a history when you're holding that epic +5. Coupled with the other 15 item slots and a unique story becomes a blur.

Truth. The magic item treadmill built into Pathfinder's mechanics discourages doing too much backstory on items that will just obsolete and due for replacement in a few levels. That's why I'd strongly suggest having items that upgrade themselves over time if you want to go backstory heavy. It keeps the Blade of the Elder Kings or whatever from Rapidly fading into irrelevance.


Chengar Qordath wrote:


Truth. The magic item treadmill built into Pathfinder's mechanics discourages doing too much backstory on items that will just obsolete and due for replacement in a few levels. That's why I'd strongly suggest having items that upgrade themselves over time if you want to go backstory heavy. It keeps the Blade of the Elder Kings or whatever from Rapidly fading into irrelevance.

Yeah, that's a very nice way of handling things. This sword confers a +1 bonus for characters up to Level 4, at which point it becomes a +2, until level 8 at which.. .etc, etc. Write that away with the sword drawing its power from its wielder or somesuch, and you're well on the way to breaking away from that "world full of magic items in every nook and cranny"

The Exchange

Yeah - even before "Weapons of Legacy" came out, I had a similar notion. Except that... once again... it was more story-oriented. The weapon/armor gained power through certain deeds done, not through simple character advancement. (To my surprise a similar pattern appeared in 4E, albeit one involving artifacts, not regular magical items.)


The Morphling wrote:

In the past, I've run with the assumption that players can buy or sell whatever items they want, pretty much as written in the rules. When you get 4,000 gp, you head to town and buy your custom +2 ability score slotted item, no questions asked, et cetera. I've done this mostly out of convenience, since it requires no effort and just lets the players run wild.

Unfortunately, it makes magic items totally uninteresting. A huge drive of mine is to make magic items more "special." I want the players' +2 longsword to have a story, maybe even a name. Magic items are a wonderful fantasy staple, but in Pathfinder, they're a commodity, not a story piece.

At low levels, this is easy to avoid. The players simply can't afford too many expensive toys, and the encounters don't assume they're bedazzled in ioun stones and gleaming, winged armor that lets you shoot lasers out of your eyes.

In higher level games, though, how do you strike a balance between giving the players access to the toys they want and keeping them from cherry-picking items out of the rulebook?

Ok i will tell you what i do but fair warning, it is not for every group. When i first started out as a GM i would use the table in core rulebook pg 461 and random roll out the items. A town that has 4000g economy, i would random roll 4d4 minors, 3d4 mediums, and 1d6 major. I would make a list of the equipment the town had. For smaller towns such as hamlets and thorps i woukd even pick out the mundane items that town woukd have to fit the theme (ex. A logging town in the middle of the woods with no farm land just nothing but woods, ur gonna find lots of axes and picks and swords and bows etc, but ur not gonna find any scythes or underwater crossbows etc.). Granted thats just for small towns, once u get to villages and such all simple and martials are considered on the list even if it doesnt show them but u would have to get large citys to find exotic weapons.

At higher levels i would make 2 random lists. That way if they teleported to another town theres the list. IF they chose to teleport again, i would roll out a new list right there...havent had anyone try teleporting jumping since (granted this was a new guy who...didnt quite mesh well with our group and....thats all ill say).
If they wanted something that wasnt on the list, then off they go to find a magic user who could make it for them. U can insert quest or simply have the npc ask for money up front and tell them to come back in such and such amount of days that it would normally take to create said item. This would be a npc who is created with a set knowledge in magic. Example a wizard who had his main school but coukdnt do any enchants if it was an opposing school, bards and clerics would have access to whole spell list (except bards and sorcerers i wouldnt add any spells whatsoever to their spells known except the ones needed for said enchantmant. If they ran out of spells known, then off to find someone else). Had a real exciting adventure finding a powerful necromancer and they captured him and forced him to create this magical item for them, thankfully one of the pcs was smart to watch him the whole time and preventing him from adding a curse lol).
My pcs know they can craft their own gear but i housedruled up front that they couldnt use wands or scrolls and that it had to be spells they knew and they accepted.
So far its going well, havent had any complaints and have on more than one occasion had oneof them tell me they didnt know at first but find it very immersing especially when they find a magic item they didnt know about lol.

BUT again, this is what works for me and my group and i am more than sure there are alot who wouldnt like this way, so know ur group. Yes its a bit more work for you, but to be honest i find it fun on lunch breaks pulling out the core book and rolling some dice and getting some random items. Surprising ive had the dice roll and fit the story and mood quite perfectly and sometimes it was like "wtf do they have this for" which means i get to come up with a short tale to spin as the shopkeeper trying to sell his wares.
just an idea but be warned this way isnt good for all groups and id dare say most groups, but i was just throwing it out there.

Shadow Lodge

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Ok, here's a stab at giving the fighter a bit of something back:

Magic Weapon Affinity (Ex)

In the hands of a fighter, magical weapons behave differently than they do in the hands of those who are not as well-trained in armed combat. Beginning at second level, a fighter can, as a free action, override the default enchantment of a magical weapon and replace it with the benefits granted by this ability. The benefits include a total bonus, and a maximum enhancement bonus. Weapons empowered with this ability must adhere to the magical weapons rules of needing a minimum of a +1 enhancement bonus before special qualities can be applied. The fighter can give the weapon any enhancement bonus up to the maximum provided on the Magic Weapon Affinity table, and any remaining bonuses from the total bonus can be used to apply special qualities to the weapon.

The special qualities for a given weapon can only be changed once per day, in a short (5 minute) ritual where the fighter concentrates on aligning his desires for how the weapon should function in his hands. If this power is activated for a weapon that the fighter has not performed this ritual for, it is empowered with his maximum enhancement bonus, but no special qualities are activated until the fighter can perform the ritual.

This ability cannot be used on ammunition, but it can be used on thrown weapons. The weapon is funcionally the same in all ways as the weapon it is empowered as while in the hands of the fighter (or until the attack is resolved, in the case of thrown weapons).

Magic Weapon Affinity Table


Khrysaor wrote:
Malignor wrote:
Khrysaor wrote:
And after you've finished wasting time making history for your +1 sword the party found start rolling more for the +2 sword that's in the next treasure pile.

Different games for different folks. You call it wrongbadfun, some people enjoy it.

Besides, for really common things like +1 longswords, you can easily just say "oh it's just one of around 4,000 swords from the Gaurokko series, given to the veterans from the Battle of Mearndig".

No one is saying wrongbadfun but you. Like you said, different games for different folks doesn't make either way better or worse as long as fun is had at your table. All I'm saying is that creating a unique story for a weapon that will be replaced by another unique item and yet another unique item doesn't make any of them very unique. The story of the +1 sword is forgotten when the +2 sword comes and then the +3 and so on until suddenly you're wondering why that +1 sword even had a history when you're holding that epic +5. Coupled with the other 15 item slots and a unique story becomes a blur.

You're assuming that the +2 sword will come along, and that for some reason the number of item slots has a bearing on how many magic items a party is able to obtain. But one of the consequences of making magic items special is that you don't need to give out anywhere near as many of them. In fact, it works better if you don't.


Anzyr wrote:
"I adventure to find Whimcutter.", is a lot less interesting then say "I adventure to stop the spread of the Outside and their twisted mockeries of the natural world, thus to the Grove of Ancients I go."

I adventure to find Whimcutter... so I can adventure to find Plancutter... so I can adventure to find Fatecutter... so I can adventure to find Historycutter.

I... don't find that sort of story very enticing.


Gnomezrule wrote:

If you go by the availability as written it is far more limiting than just you can buy anything here.

Also how you present items makes a difference as well. If you give them context beyond "hey its magic" that helps communicate the rarity and uniqueness not only of the items but the pcs and their enemies as well.

For example looking at the king of all "Low Magic" settings, Middle Earth, when the Fellowship leaves Lothlorien they have 8 magic cloaks, a magic rope, magic dirt, magic daggers, a Mallorn seed, a magic bow, a named artifact sword for the would be king, a magic sword that glows when goblins are about, a light up jewel, a sword taken from the barrowights that is able to pierce the protection magic of the lord of the Nazgul and a major a intelligent artifact item. But they are presented mysterious, rare, and in significant contect.

I don't consider LOTR to really be a low magic setting. For that I'd suggest instead Conan or Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser. Even when they managed to get their hands on something magical it was inevitably gone by the story's end.


Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber
The Morphling wrote:

In the past, I've run with the assumption that players can buy or sell whatever items they want, pretty much as written in the rules. When you get 4,000 gp, you head to town and buy your custom +2 ability score slotted item, no questions asked, et cetera. I've done this mostly out of convenience, since it requires no effort and just lets the players run wild.

Unfortunately, it makes magic items totally uninteresting. A huge drive of mine is to make magic items more "special." I want the players' +2 longsword to have a story, maybe even a name. Magic items are a wonderful fantasy staple, but in Pathfinder, they're a commodity, not a story piece.

At low levels, this is easy to avoid. The players simply can't afford too many expensive toys, and the encounters don't assume they're bedazzled in ioun stones and gleaming, winged armor that lets you shoot lasers out of your eyes.

In higher level games, though, how do you strike a balance between giving the players access to the toys they want and keeping them from cherry-picking items out of the rulebook?

Read through the Kingdom rules in Ultimate Campaign. It has limits on the availability of magic items in a given settlement, based on the settlement itself. And those limited slots are filled randomly to be available for purchase. Aside from that, to get just the item you want, you'd have to commision to have it constructed. I can't ever imagine the party walking into a shop and having a couple +3 scimitars hanging on the wall with price tags hanging from the hilts.


JoeJ wrote:

You're assuming that the +2 sword will come along, and that for some reason the number of item slots has a bearing on how many magic items a party is able to obtain. But one of the consequences of making magic items special is that you don't need to give out anywhere near as many of them. In fact, it works better if you don't.

I haven't made any assumptions. This is how pathfinder works. Your magic items scale to compensate for the scaling power of monsters. Removing equipment advancement and limiting the number of slots players can get items for simply cripples your players.

If you think the solution is to just limit the number of items then go nuts. No one is saying to not do this. It's a fact that you'll have to do an unnecessary amount of work scaling encounters down to compensate for crippling players.


Khrysaor wrote:
JoeJ wrote:

You're assuming that the +2 sword will come along, and that for some reason the number of item slots has a bearing on how many magic items a party is able to obtain. But one of the consequences of making magic items special is that you don't need to give out anywhere near as many of them. In fact, it works better if you don't.

I haven't made any assumptions. This is how pathfinder works. Your magic items scale to compensate for the scaling power of monsters. Removing equipment advancement and limiting the number of slots players can get items for simply cripples your players.

If you think the solution is to just limit the number of items then go nuts. No one is saying to not do this. It's a fact that you'll have to do an unnecessary amount of work scaling encounters down to compensate for crippling players.

No, it's not a fact. First of all, giving PCs fewer magic items is a long way from crippling them. Between traits, skills, feats, and spells, they're amazingly powerful at any level. And if a player thinks their character just has to have more magic items, well that's what Item Creation feats are for. And third, creating appropriate encounters for the party is part of the GMs job. The amount of work isn't affected by how much magic I've given out.


JoeJ wrote:
Khrysaor wrote:
JoeJ wrote:

You're assuming that the +2 sword will come along, and that for some reason the number of item slots has a bearing on how many magic items a party is able to obtain. But one of the consequences of making magic items special is that you don't need to give out anywhere near as many of them. In fact, it works better if you don't.

I haven't made any assumptions. This is how pathfinder works. Your magic items scale to compensate for the scaling power of monsters. Removing equipment advancement and limiting the number of slots players can get items for simply cripples your players.

If you think the solution is to just limit the number of items then go nuts. No one is saying to not do this. It's a fact that you'll have to do an unnecessary amount of work scaling encounters down to compensate for crippling players.

No, it's not a fact. First of all, giving PCs fewer magic items is a long way from crippling them. Between traits, skills, feats, and spells, they're amazingly powerful at any level. And if a player thinks their character just has to have more magic items, well that's what Item Creation feats are for. And third, creating appropriate encounters for the party is part of the GMs job. The amount of work isn't affected by how much magic I've given out.

Number 1. is patently untrue the higher leveled you get, because the monster have the item boosts your characters are supposed be getting factored into their stats. If you do not have those numbers you will in fact be cripple against CR appropriate threats.

Number 2. is not a solution, because once a player take a crafting feat you might as well drop "low magic" from your low magic campaign.

Number 3. is also untrue. The GM now cannot rely on CR appropriate encounters (see point 1) and must rework everything before it can be used. Even then at higher levels the GM will have to throw fights in order for the PCs to succeed.

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