GMs: How do *you* handle magic item shops?


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wraithstrike wrote:
Greylurker wrote:

I make them find the stores.

When I write up a settlement I specifically write down what stores will be selling the magic items and what sorts of items they sell. Then I make up the store owners and what it takes to actually find the store.

Even after finding the store the owner isn't going to sell his best stuff right away. They have to Role-play and build up the relationship before he brings out the back room stuff.

I don't name the items out of the book. The shop owner might indeed have "a magic belt that increases your strength" but concepts like +2 or +4 Strength arn't things people in the world use, and very few shop owners like you casting spells on their merchandise.

Lastly, anything higher than +2 is a named item and rare as heck. You simply will not find them popping up in a store without some kind of story involved. That's just how I roll.

So if I am reading this correctly a "business owner" is trying to not sell his better merchandise and make a profit?

Now if the guy was an old adventurer with a sentimental attachment to some gear I would understand, but me and the owner in character would have a long talk about his logic.

I understand about concepts like +2 not existing, but I assume my character says it in fantasy land terms just like when I roll a 35 on my diplomacy check, which I could never do in real life.

Going back to these store owners I would make deal with them to bring them back some magic items I find while I was adventuring if they ease up on holding back on me. That way we both benefit.

The store owner can make good money just selling the low level items, way more than any farmer makes selling his crops. Selling a single +1 sword nets him 1000gp profit. Even if he only sells 1 item a month he's living the rich life, even after taking out for guards and security magic.

The big ticket items he holds back for a couple of reasons.

1) he needs to know that the person he is selling to can pay for it. No counterfit coins, no Fool's Gold spells, no Charm person to get a better deal.
2) do you really think it's wise to make it public knowledge that you have the Legendary Holy Blade Roderick's Resolve (+4 Holy Demon Bane Longsword) in stock


Simon Legrande wrote:
Mark Hoover wrote:

Y'know what I think makes magic so dang commonplace where players lose their sense of wonder? Spellcasters.

Seriously. All the magic shops in the world can't compete with a guy, in the party all the time, who with the right spell selection can do nearly anything everyone else can do and at least once/day win just about any fight.

Also think about it. Even if you sold items to the party without spellcasters you could describe ANY effect they perform and it would seem amazing. "This blade is forever sharp, clean and pure. What's more it traps even the most miniscule motes of light from the deepest shadow and amplifies them so that it always glows from within!" Then the wizard steps up and goes "Prestidigitation and light? Big whup."

Not having magic items being sold because it breaks player immersion or engagement or verisimilitude or whatever the right phrase here is just does not compute for me. If we want wonder at the power of magic then it can't be codified, quantified or even identified. Once it is, it's not wonderful anymore. Amazingly any spellcasting class, even bards, do this instantly just by existing.

Anyway sorry again for the rant. Really, I'm sorry.

Here's something that I think goes contrary to that idea. We always see claims that higher level spell casters are supposed to be super rare. I mean like 1:1,000,000,000 rare. If that's the case, how is the world littered with shops that sell equipment that only a high level caster could craft? (I'm not looking for an answer, it's just a counterpoint to the magic items everywhere idea).

Probably becuase the items are generally much more durable than normal items. they dont rot, corrode, become brittle.

They tend to stick around.


How I run shop is magic only in the shop when the city allow magic. Even so magic is still not easy to find. Depends on how well the player and his character did in the champaign, I reward him accordingly. Say if a player playing a martial and survived level 10 without magical items when the rest of his team has tons of them, then I will most likely give him what he was if not better.

In a city that doesn't allow magic, only the rogue with black-market rogue talent will be allow to buy magical items. On top of that, the rogue will have to use knowledge local and many other skills to not get caught. The rest of the team gets nothing, the bard can try but he will it will be harder as the bard doesn't know the drill as well as a rogue should.

Also, when buying magical items, there will always be a chance of getting cursed item. I will role d100. starts with 1%+ 1%for each magical items they have on their character and each enchantment bonus one them. Depends of the place they buy and their reputation, the number chances. Say a rogue goes to a shady place to shop, people know he knows the drill, better not trick him, don't want to mess with a guy who knows the drill. When a goody goody fighter buy things from black market, he will likely be tricked. Same as the honest shopkeeper doesn't want to sell his expensive goods to people he can't trust, try to keep a good reputation by dealing with good costumers.


I am working on a campaign for a different group. Where magic items will be handled differently.

* There will be no (or at least nearly no) +X items.
* There will be specialty shops that consistently carry the common low end items.
* Crafters generally will only make consumable items. (If I make the captain a permanent flaming sword I will probably never have another commission from him. But if I make him a command word activated flaming sword with 15 charges, he’ll come back when he needs it refilled.)
* Offensive and stealth items are usually only made for the local authorities. (If I make a chime of opening for you and then you rob the guild, I’m might get in trouble for it. Or you might even try to use it against me!) There is talk of passing laws to make a license required, but it hasn’t reached that point yet.
* The churches have ready stocks of the common cure and condition removal consumables, but usually only for members of their church. (Some of the most goody goody churches might make for all and some of the most mercenary will make for any but charge more.)
* Higher power condition removals (break enchantment or non-member resurrection), off-the-book attack/stealth items, permanent items, etc… are possible. But you will have to find someone willing, convince them, make a deal, probably pay quite a bit more, and/or trade favors.
* Crafters (especially high level arcane casters) tend toward paranoia. So they might include a weakness or prohibition in a powerful item to help ensure their creations can’t be used against themselves.

Don't have all of the details worked out, but it will be along those lines.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I do a static list of magic items available in each type of shop(alchemical, smithing, general store) in the towns based on the size of the settlement per the core rules, allowing checks for the 75% chance of items of a certain value or lower. I allow a set number of checks a week for that 75% chance. Every week, a random number of static items get changed out. The game sessions have a lot of time between them, so I have plenty of time to keep records of what is in each place.


Jiggy wrote:
But lots of GMs use things like Adventure Paths because they don't have the time/creativity/interest for making up their own encounters. And if they have to "adjust encounters so that they are workable no matter what level of X is available", as you put it, then what was the point of buying the adventure in the first place? I sure know my Mummy's Mask GM wouldn't be interested in doing anything that forced him to adjust all the encounters.

Heh. That's totally not why I run them. I run them sort of like we go to see movies. My players see it and say "Ooooooo, let's play that."

Not trying to argue. I know some people spend less time prepping APs, but some people like me spend way more.

Jiggy wrote:
That's what people mean when they talk about X being "required by the system". They mean "in order to play the game without having to make up all my own stuff, I need to use X". They're just saying that in order to run the game in a non-homebrew fashion, they have to give the PCs that which the adventure they're running assumes they have.

That assumes difficulty is static, but groups have a huge range of preferences on the matter. There are actually around three routes here.

You can decide to change magical item availability, then tweak the game's difficulty to get back to par.

You can want to change the game's difficulty and tweak magical items to get that difficulty level.

Or, you can find a point where the difficulty scale and the magical item availability are both in your acceptable range, so you can kill two birds with one stone.

So, yes, if you want to keep difficulty even, you need to make some other adjustments. But there are actually a lot of cases where you can use magical item availability to adjust the difficulty without substantially reworking the AP.

Cheers!
Landon


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Landon Winkler wrote:
Jiggy wrote:
But lots of GMs use things like Adventure Paths because they don't have the time/creativity/interest for making up their own encounters. And if they have to "adjust encounters so that they are workable no matter what level of X is available", as you put it, then what was the point of buying the adventure in the first place? I sure know my Mummy's Mask GM wouldn't be interested in doing anything that forced him to adjust all the encounters.

Heh. That's totally not why I run them. I run them sort of like we go to see movies. My players see it and say "Ooooooo, let's play that."

Not trying to argue. I know some people spend less time prepping APs, but some people like me spend way more.

Jiggy wrote:
That's what people mean when they talk about X being "required by the system". They mean "in order to play the game without having to make up all my own stuff, I need to use X". They're just saying that in order to run the game in a non-homebrew fashion, they have to give the PCs that which the adventure they're running assumes they have.

That assumes difficulty is static, but groups have a huge range of preferences on the matter. There are actually around three routes here.

You can decide to change magical item availability, then tweak the game's difficulty to get back to par.

You can want to change the game's difficulty and tweak magical items to get that difficulty level.

Or, you can find a point where the difficulty scale and the magical item availability are both in your acceptable range, so you can kill two birds with one stone.

So, yes, if you want to keep difficulty even, you need to make some other adjustments. But there are actually a lot of cases where you can use magical item availability to adjust the difficulty without substantially reworking the AP.

Cheers!
Landon

Not really. Casters might be able to manage against high level monsters with just the crafted items on their back (which they get easier access to then martials), but martials with reduced WBL are going to have trouble with a Pit Fiend, let alone a AP ending CR 20+ enemy. And that's the problem. WBL and magic items in general are there to help the martials stay relevant at high levels. If you don't allow magic item availability, you are handicapping the martial classes even further then they already *are*. To me what you are basically saying is "I only want people to play casters in my campaigns."


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Kydeem de'Morcaine wrote:

I am working on a campaign for a different group. Where magic items will be handled differently.

* There will be no (or at least nearly no) +X items.
* There will be specialty shops that consistently carry the common low end items.
* Crafters generally will only make consumable items. (If I make the captain a permanent flaming sword I will probably never have another commission from him. But if I make him a command word activated flaming sword with 15 charges, he’ll come back when he needs it refilled.)
* Offensive and stealth items are usually only made for the local authorities. (If I make a chime of opening for you and then you rob the guild, I’m might get in trouble for it. Or you might even try to use it against me!) There is talk of passing laws to make a license required, but it hasn’t reached that point yet.
* The churches have ready stocks of the common cure and condition removal consumables, but usually only for members of their church. (Some of the most goody goody churches might make for all and some of the most mercenary will make for any but charge more.)
* Higher power condition removals (break enchantment or non-member resurrection), off-the-book attack/stealth items, permanent items, etc… are possible. But you will have to find someone willing, convince them, make a deal, probably pay quite a bit more, and/or trade favors.
* Crafters (especially high level arcane casters) tend toward paranoia. So they might include a weakness or prohibition in a powerful item to help ensure their creations can’t be used against themselves.

Don't have all of the details worked out, but it will be along those lines.

That's going to seriously weaken martials when compared to casters, even more at high levels.

Sovereign Court

Kydeem de'Morcaine wrote:
* Crafters generally will only make consumable items. (If I make the captain a permanent flaming sword I will probably never have another commission from him. But if I make him a command word activated flaming sword with 15 charges, he’ll come back when he needs it refilled.)

If there's only 1 crafter in town... maybe. (assuming there isn't enough business) But if your enchantment runs out - he's probably not coming back to you. He's going to the enchanter across town. (yay capitalism!)

Kydeem de'Morcaine wrote:
* Offensive and stealth items are usually only made for the local authorities. (If I make a chime of opening for you and then you rob the guild, I’m might get in trouble for it. Or you might even try to use it against me!) There is talk of passing laws to make a license required, but it hasn’t reached that point yet.

By that logic people shouldn't sell the group swords either. You might come back and stab them with it!


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Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Yes, since it takes a crafter of 15+ level to craft a +5 sword (and so on) those really cool magic weapons can't be cranked out by just anybody. And your 15+ level wizards probably have a lot of better things to do than cater to the greedy desires of the latest crop of adventurers, not to mention better ways to rake in loads of swag.

Most of those magic items that require really high-level casters to make are probably centuries old, if not more.

This said, I've really enjoyed reading this thread, and it reinforces the idea that you can play D&D/Pathfinder in many different ways, with a magic-rich or magic-poor setting, however you prefer. There is no one right way.


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Wheldrake wrote:


This said, I've really enjoyed reading this thread, and it reinforces the idea that you can play D&D/Pathfinder in many different ways, with a magic-rich or magic-poor setting, however you prefer. There is no one right way.

Ya, except for the fact that the game actively punishes martials in a magic-poor setting sure.


Wheldrake wrote:
Yes, since it takes a crafter of 15+ level to craft a +5 sword (and so on) those really cool magic weapons can't be cranked out by just anybody.

No, it doesn't. For a +5 DC modifier, you can craft it as soon as you have the feat and the gold.


Wheldrake wrote:

Yes, since it takes a crafter of 15+ level to craft a +5 sword (and so on) those really cool magic weapons can't be cranked out by just anybody. And your 15+ level wizards probably have a lot of better things to do than cater to the greedy desires of the latest crop of adventurers, not to mention better ways to rake in loads of swag.

Most of those magic items that require really high-level casters to make are probably centuries old, if not more.

This said, I've really enjoyed reading this thread, and it reinforces the idea that you can play D&D/Pathfinder in many different ways, with a magic-rich or magic-poor setting, however you prefer. There is no one right way.

I feel like I'm a broken record here but I really feel like all these ideas about the rules allowing for Magic Mart Syndrome are a consequence of people never reading or enforcing settlement limitations. A +5 magic sword is also 50,000. If you're going by the rules, there *might* be one available (from the specific major item random roll) but if not, a player isn't going to be able to just buy one, even in a Metropolis (unless that metropolis has some traits that give it a decent boost to its base gp value). Many of these homebrew attempts I see have an incredible onus on them. I feel if many just really read the settlement rules and enforced them, they wouldn't need convoluted systems of magical item distribution.


thegreenteagamer wrote:
Kydeem de'Morcaine wrote:

I am working on a campaign for a different group. Where magic items will be handled differently.

...

Don't have all of the details worked out, but it will be along those lines.

That's going to seriously weaken martials when compared to casters, even more at high levels.

I have heard people say that. I've also heard people say the exact opposite. The casters are so dependent their gear to function and survive that if you take away their gear they are unplayable.

First, I'm not taking away everything. Just the +X items. The other stuff will either be limited use or they have to work harder for the permanent magic items.

As I've said before. The little bit of play testing we have done shows that neither martial or caster significantly hurt worse than the other. The offensive and defensive items tend to just cancel each other out in the long run. So gear wielding opponents (other class level creatures are most of the opponents in most of the campaigns I've seen).

The only way it seems to make much of a difference is with the non-gear opponents. Your Pit Fiend example. But it tends to hurt both of them roughly the same across several different types of opponents. The martial find them harder to hit and that they hit harder. The caster finds, that without the gear, he can't effect them easily with magic. So I won't use a CR non-gear opponent. I will use a weaker fiend (or dinosaur or dragon).


Anzyr wrote:
Not really. Casters might be able to manage against high level monsters with just the crafted items on their back (which they get easier access to then martials), but martials with reduced WBL are going to have trouble with a Pit Fiend, let alone a AP ending CR 20+ enemy. And that's the problem. WBL and magic items in general are there to help the martials stay relevant at high levels. If you don't allow magic item availability, you are handicapping the martial classes even further then they already *are*. To me what you are basically saying is "I only want people to play casters in my campaigns."

In theory, you're correct.

In practice, I have a group with three martials and a healer finishing Rise of the Runelords right now. Outside of loot and quest rewards, they have one commissioned magical item, and I haven't had to adjust CR at all. If anything, I end up running the encounters harder than intended.

Now, if I were going to remove all magical items and play in low-magic hard mode, I'd probably remove full casters as well. But not because they'd be unbalanced, because they don't fit the theme at all.

It's easy to play a full caster as equal to martial characters, even ones without magical item access. You just have to keep it in mind while choosing spells. Now, if the player isn't up that, they probably shouldn't play a full caster in those situations.

Setting Difficulty:
Difficulty isn't something I just set by myself as GM. The table as a whole has to decide that.

If the players want to blow through combats like they're nothing, more power to them. No maps, no minis, bare minimum stats, we can get through easily half a dozen combats a night and finish the AP on fast forward.

If the players want combat to be an intricate tactical dance that takes some time and effort, also great. It takes more prep from me and campaigns will last longer, but we can do that.

Now, if the group wants the former, everybody needs to bring characters that trivialize combat or characters with plenty of stuff to do outside of combat. If they want the latter, they should bring characters that don't trivialize combat but they'll enjoy playing in fights.

If your table can't decide what sort of campaign they want, that's something that needs to be handled with the whole group.

As a GM, all that should be left is the fine-tuning. Unless your players are lucky or superhuman, they're not going to be spot on in their goals, so you nudge people around with things like monster choices or enemy tactics or magical item awards.

Cheers!
Landon


Brotato wrote:
A +5 magic sword is also 50,000. If you're going by the rules, there *might* be one available (from the specific major item random roll) but if not, a player isn't going to be able to just buy one, even in a Metropolis (unless that metropolis has some traits that give it a decent boost to its base gp value). Many of these homebrew attempts I see have an incredible onus on them. I feel if many just really read the settlement rules and enforced them, they wouldn't need convoluted systems of magical item distribution.

The standard rules are fairly convoluted - at the level where you have 50,000gp to spend you probably also have the magic to travel the world, looking in all the world's great metropolises to see what's available.

You can't solve everyone's problems by going by the rules, because everyone has different goals. Some people want to make all magic items, not just the 20,000gp+ ones, feel special and rare and not mass produced. My goals are (a) to allow the player to get the things that are specific to their character concept, (b) to avoid overpowered PCs, and (c) for all shopping to take place between sessions so I don't have to waste table time on it.


Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
blahpers wrote:
Wheldrake wrote:
Yes, since it takes a crafter of 15+ level to craft a +5 sword (and so on) those really cool magic weapons can't be cranked out by just anybody.
No, it doesn't. For a +5 DC modifier, you can craft it as soon as you have the feat and the gold.

Although that may be RAW, it's a patently ridiculous loophole in the magic crafting rules. Caster level requirements should be hard limits that you can never get around simply by adding a measly +5 to your crafting DC.

Again, I realize that is correct according to RAW, but IMHO any sane DM should make the caster level requirements hard limits, or else the whole system just falls apart. And I do not believe that was the RAI of the +5 DC caveat.


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Wheldrake wrote:
blahpers wrote:
Wheldrake wrote:
Yes, since it takes a crafter of 15+ level to craft a +5 sword (and so on) those really cool magic weapons can't be cranked out by just anybody.
No, it doesn't. For a +5 DC modifier, you can craft it as soon as you have the feat and the gold.

Although that may be RAW, it's a patently ridiculous loophole in the magic crafting rules. Caster level requirements should be hard limits that you can never get around simply by adding a measly +5 to your crafting DC.

Again, I realize that is correct according to RAW, but IMHO any sane DM should make the caster level requirements hard limits, or else the whole system just falls apart. And I do not believe that was the RAI of the +5 DC caveat.

They have had several reprints to change that rule if it wasn't working as intended.


What falls apart? Going by the RAW, people who specialize in crafting can craft good items if they have the money, even if they're not wizards with world-controlling magic powers. How does this break the game balance, the world, or anything else?


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Kydeem de'Morcaine wrote:
The casters are so dependent their gear to function and survive that if you take away their gear they are unplayable.

Wut.

"Flat, even surfaces are so hard to move over that if you take away the marathon runners' (unneeded) wheelchairs, they won't be able to walk or run on the paths."


Matthew Downie wrote:
Brotato wrote:
A +5 magic sword is also 50,000. If you're going by the rules, there *might* be one available (from the specific major item random roll) but if not, a player isn't going to be able to just buy one, even in a Metropolis (unless that metropolis has some traits that give it a decent boost to its base gp value). Many of these homebrew attempts I see have an incredible onus on them. I feel if many just really read the settlement rules and enforced them, they wouldn't need convoluted systems of magical item distribution.

The standard rules are fairly convoluted - at the level where you have 50,000gp to spend you probably also have the magic to travel the world, looking in all the world's great metropolises to see what's available.

You can't solve everyone's problems by going by the rules, because everyone has different goals. Some people want to make all magic items, not just the 20,000gp+ ones, feel special and rare and not mass produced. My goals are (a) to allow the player to get the things that are specific to their character concept, (b) to avoid overpowered PCs, and (c) for all shopping to take place between sessions so I don't have to waste table time on it.

Sure, they do. But how many settlements are metropolis level in Golarion? Maybe 12-20? That's 12-20 shots at your item, on a table that is quite frankly so vast that your chances of any specific item you want being available are so slim that it's like winning the lottery.

Take Rise of the Runelords for example. The biggest settlement you come across in that entire campaign is Magnimar. Magnimar's base GP limit is 12,800 gp. You literally cannot find even a +4 stat item in Magnimar if it's not rolled as a specific item for that month. And you can get to this point as early as 7th level. This is for an AP that spans 18 levels by the end. So for more than half of the PCs adventuring lives, they have to juggle trying to have things commissioned (Runelords has some decent time tables in place) or just roll with what they find in monster loot.

If you want magical items to feel special, there is already a mechanism for that. It's far less immersion breaking to me to just say that a medieval civilization with low magic would have medieval settlement sizes (ie, large cities being the absolute maximum size) and using that than creating specific and arbitrary restrictions.


Landon Winkler wrote:
Anzyr wrote:
Not really. Casters might be able to manage against high level monsters with just the crafted items on their back (which they get easier access to then martials), but martials with reduced WBL are going to have trouble with a Pit Fiend, let alone a AP ending CR 20+ enemy. And that's the problem. WBL and magic items in general are there to help the martials stay relevant at high levels. If you don't allow magic item availability, you are handicapping the martial classes even further then they already *are*. To me what you are basically saying is "I only want people to play casters in my campaigns."

In theory, you're correct.

In practice, I have a group with three martials and a healer finishing Rise of the Runelords right now. Outside of loot and quest rewards, they have one commissioned magical item, and I haven't had to adjust CR at all. If anything, I end up running the encounters harder than intended.

In practice, even with full WBL at level 13 the gap between a martial and a caster becomes incredibly obvious. Having played multiple 3.5 and PF campaigns to 20, thats almost always the case (outside of Psionics and Tome and Battle martials). If your team is 3 martials and only 1 casters, Karzoug should completely roll them if played intelligently.


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Wheldrake wrote:
blahpers wrote:
Wheldrake wrote:
Yes, since it takes a crafter of 15+ level to craft a +5 sword (and so on) those really cool magic weapons can't be cranked out by just anybody.
No, it doesn't. For a +5 DC modifier, you can craft it as soon as you have the feat and the gold.

Although that may be RAW, it's a patently ridiculous loophole in the magic crafting rules. Caster level requirements should be hard limits that you can never get around simply by adding a measly +5 to your crafting DC.

Again, I realize that is correct according to RAW, but IMHO any sane DM should make the caster level requirements hard limits, or else the whole system just falls apart. And I do not believe that was the RAI of the +5 DC caveat.

It's RAI. Bypassing the caster level requirement for enhancement bonuses has even been specifically FAQ'd:

Quote:

Crafting and Bypassing Requirements: What crafting requirements can you bypass by adding +5 to the DC of your Spellcraft check?

As presented on page 549 of the Core Rulebook, there are no limitations other than (1) you have to have the item creation feat, and (2) you cannot create potions, spell-trigger, or spell-completion magic items without meeting their spell prerequisites. So racial requirements, specific spell requirements, math requirements (such as "caster level must be at least three times the enhancement bonus"), and so on, are all subject to the +5 DC rule.

(Emphasis mine.)

From a design perspective, here's my guess as to why this is the case:

1. Crafting in Pathfinder simply isn't intended to be difficult because difficulty simply discourages the attempt. I've never even heard of someone failing a crafting check, much less accidentally making a cursed item. It just doesn't happen.
2. The gold requirement keeps the crazier stuff from being a problem far more effectively than other requirements. A +5 longsword still costs 25,000 gp. While this is theoretically possible by level 8, it's unlikely until the teens unless the player neglects other magical effects. Most warrior-type players would be better off with a +2 longsword, some nice armor, a belt, a cloak, and a few utility items for dealing with things that can't simply be poked to death with a sharp stick.
3. Crafting feats should empower the bearer of those feats to actually craft things, and if level requirements weren't bypassable then many of the feats would be next to useless for the majority of the character's career.

I'm not terribly fond of the idea of high-level magic items being easy to shop for, but I'm a huge proponent of letting crafters actually craft. Especially non-caster crafters using the Master Craftsman feat. If you eat the feat(s), you should get the benefits.


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Brotato wrote:
Matthew Downie wrote:
Brotato wrote:
A +5 magic sword is also 50,000. If you're going by the rules, there *might* be one available (from the specific major item random roll) but if not, a player isn't going to be able to just buy one, even in a Metropolis (unless that metropolis has some traits that give it a decent boost to its base gp value). Many of these homebrew attempts I see have an incredible onus on them. I feel if many just really read the settlement rules and enforced them, they wouldn't need convoluted systems of magical item distribution.

The standard rules are fairly convoluted - at the level where you have 50,000gp to spend you probably also have the magic to travel the world, looking in all the world's great metropolises to see what's available.

You can't solve everyone's problems by going by the rules, because everyone has different goals. Some people want to make all magic items, not just the 20,000gp+ ones, feel special and rare and not mass produced. My goals are (a) to allow the player to get the things that are specific to their character concept, (b) to avoid overpowered PCs, and (c) for all shopping to take place between sessions so I don't have to waste table time on it.

Sure, they do. But how many settlements are metropolis level in Golarion? Maybe 12-20? That's 12-20 shots at your item, on a table that is quite frankly so vast that your chances of any specific item you want being available are so slim that it's like winning the lottery.

Take Rise of the Runelords for example. The biggest settlement you come across in that entire campaign is Magnimar. Magnimar's base GP limit is 12,800 gp. You literally cannot find even a +4 stat item in Magnimar if it's not rolled as a specific item for that month. And you can get to this point as early as 7th level. This is for an AP that spans 18 levels by the end. So for more than half of the PCs adventuring lives, they have to juggle trying to have things commissioned (Runelords has some decent time tables in...

*coughPlaneShiftcough*

*coughTeleportcough*

*coughContactOtherPlanecough*

Sorry something in my throat, had to clear it lest it mess with my verbal components. (Amusingly enough, that's all available under 10th level.)


Anzyr wrote:

*coughPlaneShiftcough*

*coughTeleportcough*

*coughContactOtherPlanecough*

Sorry something in my throat, had to clear it lest it mess with my verbal components.

Heh, I love it when PCs get access to these spells. They just ooze plot hooks.

Edit: For that matter, if you have those spells, you're better off divining the location of such a weapon in a treasure horde and questing for it. Cheaper, more fun, and you might get other loot as well.


Magic shops should be more like Argus, you get a catalogue and and fill out a request form for what you want.
Some items will be in stock and some will require a waiting time while they are ordered in/created, and then some will not be available in a town that isn't very large. (no npc of a high enough level to produce them) then there will be a required waiting time based on how busy the crafters are.
Maybe double the time if the item is unusual!?


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

I'm running an urban campaign set in a Large City. I'm not using the normal settlement marketplace rules, though. I want magic items to be available, but not ubiquitous. This makes the PCs a bit more reliant on items found as loot, and more likely to use oddball items in slots rather than the "standard" ones (i.e. amulet of natural armor, belt of physical attribute, headband of mental attribute, boots of striding and springing, handy haversack, cloak of resistance, ring of protection etc.)

Potions, scrolls of CL5 and lower, and other single-use items of similar power level are easily obtainable at book prices, but not necessarily all at the same shop. It usually takes 1d6 hours to locate a specific item. Successful Diplomacy (gather information) checks lower this time.

I have detailed ten specific shops and collectors across the city that offer particular kinds of items for sale. Some of these shops have a nonrefundable entry fee to walk through the door, or require the PCs to somehow gain the proprietor's trust. Others are less-than-scrupulous, and may deliberately sell fake or cursed items at regular prices. Additionally, there are three marketplaces where foreign trader may have magic items. (There's a roll.)

Every game week, I roll randomly for a number of other magic items that are available for purchase somewhere in the city. Purchase price is book price plus a variable markup of +2d4*10% PCs have to haggle to lower the price. Any magic item purchased from a merchant has a 5% chance of having a curse of some sort. PCs should also be wary of purchasing charged items: such items sold second-hand are rarely fully-charged, but are always priced as if they were.

PCs can hire people to craftspeople to commission magic items to order. This takes the normal amount of time and money.

This system is also there to encourage PCs to take item creation feats.


Plane Shift to where, exactly? City of Brass on the Fire Plane I suppose would work, no sure of any other Metropoli elsewhere. Better be prepared though, Plane Shift isn't exact.

Teleport to where, exactly? Sure you can keep trying until you hit a place you've "seen once," but this invites potential mishaps, and wastes time, which as I mentioned can become a factor in Runelords.

I'll admit ignorance and say I'm not sure what Contact Other Plane is meant to accomplish in this scenario.

Spoiler:
On a tangent, Anniversary Edition Karzoug is dangerous enough that I think even two full casters in a party of four would have a hard time keeping him under control. That first round if he wins Init is just brutal.


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Brotato wrote:

Plane Shift to where, exactly? City of Brass on the Fire Plane I suppose would work, no sure of any other Metropoli elsewhere. Better be prepared though, Plane Shift isn't exact.

Teleport to where, exactly? Sure you can keep trying until you hit a place you've "seen once," but this invites potential mishaps, and wastes time, which as I mentioned can become a factor in Runelords.

I'll admit ignorance and say I'm not sure what Contact Other Plane is meant to accomplish in this scenario.

** spoiler omitted **

The answer to your third (implied) question is "to answer your first two questions".


Yeah, it always seems like the people who think casters need gear, and the people who think there's no martial/caster disparity, are also the people who don't really think too hard about what casters can really do if they forget about the school of evocation and instead start really looking at divinations and conjuration spells, and what their potential is.


Contact Other Plane:

"Is there a Cloak of Resistance +4 for sale in Magnimar?"

"Is there a +5 Greatsword for sale in the City of Brass?"

"Is there a +6 Headband of Mental Superiority for sale in X region."

Etc.

Make sure you have a way to reroll a check before attempting this though for safety reasons. Once you do just go for Greater Deity every time.

Commune also works very well for this, since presumably your god would like you to succeed on your quest.

Edit: Ninja'd!


blahpers wrote:
Brotato wrote:

Plane Shift to where, exactly? City of Brass on the Fire Plane I suppose would work, no sure of any other Metropoli elsewhere. Better be prepared though, Plane Shift isn't exact.

Teleport to where, exactly? Sure you can keep trying until you hit a place you've "seen once," but this invites potential mishaps, and wastes time, which as I mentioned can become a factor in Runelords.

I'll admit ignorance and say I'm not sure what Contact Other Plane is meant to accomplish in this scenario.

** spoiler omitted **

The answer to your third (implied) question is "to answer your first two questions".

Ah I see. Yes I suppose if you're willing to pester deities with where you can find the BSF's next sword, that would help. It's a bit dangerous (Ability checks stay relevant much longer than other checks). It's also a lot of your high level spells just to buy things. Which means you're likely not adventuring that day. Which can (not always, but can) have its own repercussions.


Not really, Rise of the Runelords gives you decent chunks of downtime. And that really takes a day a most. And even if you do end up having to do something you have plenty of 1-4th level spells to fall back on.


I think for groups that steamroll the adventures due to system knowledge could be held back somewhat if they weren't allowed free roll to buy whatever they can afford. Although as a player I may well find that I bit tedious it would work quite well.
Feats are another free accessory, perhaps finding someone to train you in their use over a period of time would slow there auto/immediate use.

Ultimately the DM has control over how easy/hard PC progression is and a firmer hand might make things more of a challenge. The way they're meant to be!


Anzyr wrote:
Not really, Rise of the Runelords gives you decent chunks of downtime. And that really takes a day a most. And even if you do end up having to do something you have plenty of 1-4th level spells to fall back on.

As long as you can get back to Varisia in the same day, but I agree about Runelords having large chunks of downtime. I wasn't referring to that AP in particular for the repercussions part (though there are a few timetables in that game that my players have borked by trying to abuse 15 minute adventure days.)


Kirth Gersen wrote:
Kydeem de'Morcaine wrote:
The casters are so dependent their gear to function and survive that if you take away their gear they are unplayable.

Wut.

"Flat, even surfaces are so hard to move over that if you take away the marathon runners' (unneeded) wheelchairs, they won't be able to walk or run on the paths."

I didn't say I believed it was true. I said I've heard other people say it.

.
.
Charon's Little Helper wrote:
Kydeem de'Morcaine wrote:
* Crafters generally will only make consumable items. (If I make the captain a permanent flaming sword I will probably never have another commission from him. But if I make him a command word activated flaming sword with 15 charges, he’ll come back when he needs it refilled.)
If there's only 1 crafter in town... maybe. (assuming there isn't enough business) But if your enchantment runs out - he's probably not coming back to you. He's going to the enchanter across town. (yay capitalism!) ...

People in RL tend to go to the same car dealership, gunshop, gas station, computer store, etc... Most only switch if they can get a significantly better deal or significantly better product.

Charon's Little Helper wrote:
...
Kydeem de'Morcaine wrote:
* Offensive and stealth items are usually only made for the local authorities. (If I make a chime of opening for you and then you rob the guild, I’m might get in trouble for it. Or you might even try to use it against me!) There is talk of passing laws to make a license required, but it hasn’t reached that point yet.
By that logic people shouldn't sell the group swords either. You might come back and stab them with it!

True to a certain extent. And in some parts of the my world certain weapons will be illegal to own if you aren't part of the authorities. Also, paranoia in casters (especially arcane casters) is part of the setting. Most casters become more and more convinced that 'they' are out to get them.


Captain Beaky and his band wrote:
I think for groups that steamroll the adventures due to system knowledge could be held back somewhat if they weren't allowed free roll to buy whatever they can afford.

What has in many instances worked a lot better than not allowing them to buy gear is to just ban full casters other than beguilers and dread necromancers and so on. When you're operating at the levels where teleport and contact other plane are available, it takes a great deal of system knowledge to make a mundane character who can adventure on the same footing with lesser casting classes. In contrast, person with a modicum of system knowledge can use a wizard, cleric, or druid, at those levels, to easily break the game.


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Kydeem de'Morcaine wrote:
Kirth Gersen wrote:
Kydeem de'Morcaine wrote:
The casters are so dependent their gear to function and survive that if you take away their gear they are unplayable.

Wut.

"Flat, even surfaces are so hard to move over that if you take away the marathon runners' (unneeded) wheelchairs, they won't be able to walk or run on the paths."
I didn't say I believed it was true. I said I've heard other people say it.

Well as politely as it can be said; those people are wrong.


Kydeem de'Morcaine wrote:
I didn't say I believed it was true. I said I've heard other people say it.

Ah! Gotcha. Thank you for the clarification; that makes a big difference.


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Kirth Gersen wrote:
Yeah, it always seems like the people who think casters need gear, and the people who think there's no martial/caster disparity, are also the people who don't really think too hard about what casters can really do if they forget about the school of evocation and instead start really looking at divinations and conjuration spells, and what their potential is.

I am perfectly aware that there is a disparity between casters and martials at high level. I am not convinced it is quite as bad as some people think unless the GM lets the players get away with more than I believe they should. But yes, it is clearly present in the system.

However, I also tend to not usually play to the highest levels. So that also mitigates the problem somewhat. I think the system tends to break down in many respects (not just the martial/caster disparity) at the highest levels. So we usually find ourselves arguing, bargaining, adjucating more than actually playing the game. Plus most AP's end at approximately level 15.


I tend to roll play it out.
For low level stuff like potions you can either go to a major town and buy it from an alchemist shop, but if the players want to buy it local they have to go to the nearest temple or the local Hedgewitch and they often want some thing besides gold for their products.
And I always roll play the big stuff. You are Looking for a +2 Keen Longsword? The Heir to House D'Arlan has one she not using and she just turned 18 and all she wants for it is to some one to clear out those Cloud Giants that are squatting in her Castle.


Kydeem de'Morcaine wrote:
I also tend to not usually play to the highest levels. So that also mitigates the problem somewhat. I think the system tends to break down in many respects (not just the martial/caster disparity) at the highest levels.

I totally agree. Sometimes I think that even 1st ed. worked as well as it did for my group, back in the day, because all our characters retired at "name" level (9th-10th).

Sovereign Court

Kirth Gersen wrote:
Kydeem de'Morcaine wrote:
I also tend to not usually play to the highest levels. So that also mitigates the problem somewhat. I think the system tends to break down in many respects (not just the martial/caster disparity) at the highest levels.
I totally agree. Sometimes I think that even 1st ed. worked as well as it did for my group, back in the day, because all our characters retired at "name" level (9th-10th).

Frankly - I think that paizo agrees with you. That's why PFS ends at 12th-14th level. The character powers just get almost impossible to balance.

I've only had one campaign get past level 12, and that was only for the last few sessions - sort of the finale. (I had them basically 'strengthened' in the shadow realm by a near demi-god, so they skipped straight from 12ish to 16ish. It made sense within the campaign.)


DethBySquirl wrote:
I mean, this is obviously relative to a given setting, but most of the well-known and often-played settings, including Golarion, are based in that kind of high-fantasy world.

Another reason I don't use Golarion.


Brotato wrote:
Wheldrake wrote:

Yes, since it takes a crafter of 15+ level to craft a +5 sword (and so on) those really cool magic weapons can't be cranked out by just anybody. And your 15+ level wizards probably have a lot of better things to do than cater to the greedy desires of the latest crop of adventurers, not to mention better ways to rake in loads of swag.

Most of those magic items that require really high-level casters to make are probably centuries old, if not more.

This said, I've really enjoyed reading this thread, and it reinforces the idea that you can play D&D/Pathfinder in many different ways, with a magic-rich or magic-poor setting, however you prefer. There is no one right way.

I feel like I'm a broken record here but I really feel like all these ideas about the rules allowing for Magic Mart Syndrome are a consequence of people never reading or enforcing settlement limitations. A +5 magic sword is also 50,000. If you're going by the rules, there *might* be one available (from the specific major item random roll) but if not, a player isn't going to be able to just buy one, even in a Metropolis (unless that metropolis has some traits that give it a decent boost to its base gp value). Many of these homebrew attempts I see have an incredible onus on them. I feel if many just really read the settlement rules and enforced them, they wouldn't need convoluted systems of magical item distribution.

Not disagreeing at all, but with 50K cash to burn, they probably have the ability to teleport where they need to go.

Just a speed bump?


Anzyr wrote:

Contact Other Plane:

"Is there a Cloak of Resistance +4 for sale in Magnimar?"

"Is there a +5 Greatsword for sale in the City of Brass?"

"Is there a +6 Headband of Mental Superiority for sale in X region."

Etc.

Make sure you have a way to reroll a check before attempting this though for safety reasons. Once you do just go for Greater Deity every time.

Commune also works very well for this, since presumably your god would like you to succeed on your quest.

Edit: Ninja'd!

sure but the guy selling the +5 sword in the City of Brass could be a racist. "No Cold Bloods allowed in my Store. I won't do buisness with your kind"

just because you can make it easy to find doesn't mean it has to be easy to buy

Shadow Lodge

Greylurker wrote:
just because you can make it easy to find doesn't mean it has to be easy to buy

Can I pay for it in HP damage?


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Greylurker wrote:
Anzyr wrote:

Contact Other Plane:

"Is there a Cloak of Resistance +4 for sale in Magnimar?"

"Is there a +5 Greatsword for sale in the City of Brass?"

"Is there a +6 Headband of Mental Superiority for sale in X region."

Etc.

Make sure you have a way to reroll a check before attempting this though for safety reasons. Once you do just go for Greater Deity every time.

Commune also works very well for this, since presumably your god would like you to succeed on your quest.

Edit: Ninja'd!

sure but the guy selling the +5 sword in the City of Brass could be a racist. "No Cold Bloods allowed in my Store. I won't do buisness with your kind"

just because you can make it easy to find doesn't mean it has to be easy to buy

That's why you ask "for sale". Now sure the shopkeeper could be a racist, but then you just ask for the item again in another place and go there. And if that guy is also a racist, you tell the GM to stop being passive aggressive. If that doesn't work you kill the shopkeeper, take the sword and say "Quest complete". Anyone who tries to stop you is just part of the adventure and is good xp and loot!


The Morphling wrote:

I'm looking ahead to the time when my players in an ongoing campaign will start being able to afford lots of magical gear. In past games I've let them have access to whatever items they wanted, as long as they could afford them, but I'd like to keep magical gear a little bit more "story-oriented" this time. That's certainly not to say I want to limit what they have access to - but I want the process of obtaining say, a +2 keen longsword to be a little bit more interesting than an out-of-character "I buy a +2 keen longsword, then we sleep for 8 hours." I'm looking for ideas to make magic item buying a bit more memorable and engaging, rather than turning it into a roleplay-free stat boost.

How have you handled the "magic item shop" syndrome in your games?

They way i have liked best so far is: Potion, Wands, and Scroll can be magic shop. If the PC have the cash, they can just buy them. Nice money sink, while letting them have access to low level spell, or Scroll for the wizard/sorcerer when they can afford them. ((I also like spell to be common and ready available, when player want them)).

Meta-magic Rods: i do not allow. (kills the point of taking the feats).

Every thing else: Is rare special loot drops, OR the PC's can take the Feats to create there own magic items, spend the time.

(( The key is TIME, every day, ask the wizard what they are doing to create the magic item... then ask the fighter, rogue, priest, what they are doing .... Make each day that they are crafting, drag on out, day by day by day by day.... If they want the magic item, they can create it themselves, but it discourage them from creating stuff for cash, when they could make more cash by adventuring & having fun.))

Also, it encourage player to take magic item creating feats, let them create item that they want, and over time, give me a change to build up stories about the PC, as the great power adventure, that created magic items.

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TOZ wrote:
Greylurker wrote:
just because you can make it easy to find doesn't mean it has to be easy to buy
Can I pay for it in HP damage?

with the right alignment yes you can, and my group has done so on occasion. Fairly regularly in one particularly non-heroic campaign and with far less provocation than a racist shop clerk.

ended up with quite the high bounty as I recall.

course that was the same party that chose to resolve the "Mob of villagers is asking for answers" problem with a fireball.

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