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


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I prefer asking the players the sort of loot they want for their characters, and including it in the treasure, sometimes with a few twists, but ultimately cooperative.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Greylurker wrote:
Fairly regularly in one particularly non-heroic campaign and with far less provocation than a racist shop clerk.

Kinda makes 'we don't serve your kind' useless as a balancing factor, eh?


If you buy a powerful magic item things you need to think about.
1) was the person you bought it from the real owner or is some one going to show up later and claim it as theirs?
What happens if you buy a wand of fireballs and Later that day you hear the Duke's court Wizard is in an uproar threatening to turn who ever took his wand of fireballs into a newt and drop him into the alligator pond? or you find out your new +3 plate was taken from the Legion of Death when it was destroyed 20 years ago but the Legion has just reformed and is looking to gather back its prized items. Or perhaps there are slight flaws in it the owner for got to mention
For me big ticket items should have a history and not just appear out of no where.


Degoon Squad wrote:

If you buy a powerful magic item things you need to think about.

1) was the person you bought it from the real owner or is some one going to show up later and claim it as theirs?
What happens if you buy a wand of fireballs and Later that day you hear the Duke's court Wizard is in an uproar threatening to turn who ever took his wand of fireballs into a newt and drop him into the alligator pond? or you find out your new +3 plate was taken from the Legion of Death when it was destroyed 20 years ago but the Legion has just reformed and is looking to gather back its prized items. Or perhaps there are slight flaws in it the owner for got to mention
For me big ticket items should have a history and not just appear out of no where.

Sounds like it's time to get some more XP and loot. And you know spellcraft identifies items now right? And that Identify makes it a super easy check ya?


Greylurker wrote:
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

1. If that spell exist in your setting I would assume a counter spell also exist. If the adventurer is using charm person the shop owner would likely be charmed. If the person is using counterfiet money or the fool's gold spell, which I don't know is something you made up, they will likely have other methods to get what they want that a simple shopkeeper could not stop. If he is more than a simple shop keeper then the ability to detect ruses would likely be at his disposal. Having it known(or falsely spread) that the shopkeeper is aligned with (insert powerful ally) may also help. Otherwise if a shopkeeper with magic items cant handle adventuring parties on his own then they can just take what they want, and they won't have to be anyone's friend or even bother paying for anything.

2. They can use commune and other divination spells to get this information, and going back to one his not giving the information does not help stop robbers. Maybe the bandits are willing to kill for a simple +2 weapon. Just you owning a magic shop can make you a target. You don't need to have a 75000gp item. It is not different than convenience stores being robbed for a few hundred bucks.

PS: My point is simply this, from a business perspective it makes sense to sell the item. If magic item robbery is the real "in world" then not telling someone something is a very small deterrent from some who would try to trick you or just take what they want.

Yes, I understand that you just don't want any magic item to be availible, and that is likely your main concern. As long as the players play along that is all that matters. I seem to get players that question in world inconsistency, so be ready if you ever get one.

Player: Why didn't villain X do ____?

GM: <knowing the answer is I was avoiding a TPK> Maybe he wanted to capture someone alive to see if you were working for someone else.


I handle magic item shops by telling my players at the start of the campaign caveat emptor.

Most magic items found for sale are just outright fakes. If not fakes, then most of them are cursed. If not cursed, then they are usually stolen. Even if not stolen, then there are often other strings attached. Only a small minority have nothing wrong with them and are an item that performs exactly as claimed.

Players naturally avoid them for those reasons. In the cases where they do want to buy magic items from a merchant, they are very cautious in checking the item with Perception and Appraise checks, casting Detect Magic and other magic spells to examine it thoroughly, and looking into the trustworthiness of the merchant.

I find this approach helps keep using magic shops as a crutch or a min-max tool to a minimum while other some flavor and fun elements.


darth_borehd wrote:

I handle magic item shops by telling my players at the start of the campaign caveat emptor.

Most magic items found for sale are just outright fakes. If not fakes, then most of them are cursed. If not cursed, then they are usually stolen. Even if not stolen, then there are often other strings attached. Only a small minority have nothing wrong with them and are an item that performs exactly as claimed.

Players naturally avoid them for those reasons. In the cases where they do want to buy magic items from a merchant, they are very cautious in checking the item with Perception and Appraise checks, casting Detect Magic and other magic spells to examine it thoroughly, and looking into the trustworthiness of the merchant.

I find this approach helps keep using magic shops as a crutch or a min-max tool to a minimum while other some flavor and fun elements.

What if they take crafting feats?


I run Eberron so magic shops are mostly owned and run by an international Guild/House. Of course there are also people who make items bespoke, they command higher prices. And governments know about magic items so regulate/tax them.

Minor items, potions, etc are reasonably easy to find. Combat useful items are less so and usually require a licence. Weapons are available as long as they aren't too exotic.

The world is dangerous and a lot of frontier land exists so governments don't worry about it too much. BUT commit a crime while using magic and the punishment is harsher than normal.

That said, I usually ask the players what kind of items they want for their character and allow them to find that or something similar if I think the item would cause problems as is.

The only complaint so far came from a guy used to very high fantasy games with people dripping with items. But he got used to my style of game and had fun anyway.

His favourite item ended up being a self heating cooking pot... o_0


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wraithstrike wrote:
darth_borehd wrote:

I handle magic item shops by telling my players at the start of the campaign caveat emptor.

Most magic items found for sale are just outright fakes. If not fakes, then most of them are cursed. If not cursed, then they are usually stolen. Even if not stolen, then there are often other strings attached. Only a small minority have nothing wrong with them and are an item that performs exactly as claimed.

Players naturally avoid them for those reasons. In the cases where they do want to buy magic items from a merchant, they are very cautious in checking the item with Perception and Appraise checks, casting Detect Magic and other magic spells to examine it thoroughly, and looking into the trustworthiness of the merchant.

I find this approach helps keep using magic shops as a crutch or a min-max tool to a minimum while other some flavor and fun elements.

What if they take crafting feats?

Or just have an INT based caster with Spellcraft on their class list and who has ranks in it, use Identify? You are guaranteed to identify anything with a caster level 14 or lower at level 1 if you take 10. 1 Rank + 3 Class Skill + 5 INT + 10 Identify + 10 roll = 29 to identify an item against a static DC of 15 + item's caster level.


Anzyr wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
darth_borehd wrote:

I handle magic item shops by telling my players at the start of the campaign caveat emptor.

Most magic items found for sale are just outright fakes. If not fakes, then most of them are cursed. If not cursed, then they are usually stolen. Even if not stolen, then there are often other strings attached. Only a small minority have nothing wrong with them and are an item that performs exactly as claimed.

Players naturally avoid them for those reasons. In the cases where they do want to buy magic items from a merchant, they are very cautious in checking the item with Perception and Appraise checks, casting Detect Magic and other magic spells to examine it thoroughly, and looking into the trustworthiness of the merchant.

I find this approach helps keep using magic shops as a crutch or a min-max tool to a minimum while other some flavor and fun elements.

What if they take crafting feats?

Or just have an INT based caster with Spellcraft on their class list and who has ranks in it, use Identify? You are guaranteed to identify anything with a caster level 14 or lower at level 1 if you take 10. 1 Rank + 3 Class Skill + 5 INT + 10 Identify + 10 roll = 29 to identify an item against a static DC of 15 + item's caster level.

I was going to handle that next and yes darth taking 10 is allowed unless you houserule otherwise.

edit: in addition why can't fraudulent NPC's be reported to the authorities. If PC's can go to jail, then so can NPC's. Unless the campaign relies on "street justice" then I can see people being killed over trying to con someone. That would leave to law enforcement preventing/discouraging such crimes.


wraithstrike wrote:
darth_borehd wrote:

I handle magic item shops by telling my players at the start of the campaign caveat emptor.

Most magic items found for sale are just outright fakes. If not fakes, then most of them are cursed. If not cursed, then they are usually stolen. Even if not stolen, then there are often other strings attached. Only a small minority have nothing wrong with them and are an item that performs exactly as claimed.

Players naturally avoid them for those reasons. In the cases where they do want to buy magic items from a merchant, they are very cautious in checking the item with Perception and Appraise checks, casting Detect Magic and other magic spells to examine it thoroughly, and looking into the trustworthiness of the merchant.

I find this approach helps keep using magic shops as a crutch or a min-max tool to a minimum while other some flavor and fun elements.

What if they take crafting feats?

I make the spellcraft checks for the character. They never know for sure if they failed or succeeded (unless the DC. Failing by 5 or more means the item is actually cursed in some way, as per the RAW. Higher level characters with a high spellcraft check bonus can be pretty confident small little items they make are OK.

One person asked about the magic item merchant being brought to the authorities for selling fake or cursed items. On what charge? There are no regulations on business transactions in this campaign world. It's laissez-fair capitalism. Besides the merchant can always just claim ignorance. "Well, that's what the guy who sold it to me said it did!"

Yes, players can get +10 on spellcraft through the Identify spell. That is still not a guarantee of success and it must beat the DC by 10 to identify a cursed item.


darth_borehd wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
darth_borehd wrote:

I handle magic item shops by telling my players at the start of the campaign caveat emptor.

Most magic items found for sale are just outright fakes. If not fakes, then most of them are cursed. If not cursed, then they are usually stolen. Even if not stolen, then there are often other strings attached. Only a small minority have nothing wrong with them and are an item that performs exactly as claimed.

Players naturally avoid them for those reasons. In the cases where they do want to buy magic items from a merchant, they are very cautious in checking the item with Perception and Appraise checks, casting Detect Magic and other magic spells to examine it thoroughly, and looking into the trustworthiness of the merchant.

I find this approach helps keep using magic shops as a crutch or a min-max tool to a minimum while other some flavor and fun elements.

What if they take crafting feats?

I make the spellcraft checks for the character. They never know for sure if they failed or succeeded (unless the DC. Failing by 5 or more means the item is actually cursed in some way, as per the RAW. Higher level characters with a high spellcraft check bonus can be pretty confident small little items they make are OK.

One person asked about the magic item merchant being brought to the authorities for selling fake or cursed items. On what charge? There are no regulations on business transactions in this campaign world. It's laissez-fair capitalism. Besides the merchant can always just claim ignorance. "Well, that's what the guy who sold it to me said it did!"

Yes, players can get +10 on spellcraft through the Identify spell. That is still not a guarantee of success and it must beat the DC by 10 to identify a cursed item.

So I am guessing Analyze Dweomer is a popular spell and players don't rush crafting items too much.


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darth_borehd wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
darth_borehd wrote:

I handle magic item shops by telling my players at the start of the campaign caveat emptor.

Most magic items found for sale are just outright fakes. If not fakes, then most of them are cursed. If not cursed, then they are usually stolen. Even if not stolen, then there are often other strings attached. Only a small minority have nothing wrong with them and are an item that performs exactly as claimed.

Players naturally avoid them for those reasons. In the cases where they do want to buy magic items from a merchant, they are very cautious in checking the item with Perception and Appraise checks, casting Detect Magic and other magic spells to examine it thoroughly, and looking into the trustworthiness of the merchant.

I find this approach helps keep using magic shops as a crutch or a min-max tool to a minimum while other some flavor and fun elements.

What if they take crafting feats?

I make the spellcraft checks for the character. They never know for sure if they failed or succeeded (unless the DC. Failing by 5 or more means the item is actually cursed in some way, as per the RAW. Higher level characters with a high spellcraft check bonus can be pretty confident small little items they make are OK.

One person asked about the magic item merchant being brought to the authorities for selling fake or cursed items. On what charge? There are no regulations on business transactions in this campaign world. It's laissez-fair capitalism. Besides the merchant can always just claim ignorance. "Well, that's what the guy who sold it to me said it did!"

Yes, players can get +10 on spellcraft through the Identify spell. That is still not a guarantee of success and it must beat the DC by 10 to identify a cursed item.

So basically your in game societies don't function? Even in a society of laissez-fair capitalism, a merchant would still have to honor a contract. If you enter an agreement for one Cloak of Resistance +3 and they deliver instead a regular cloak, then the local law enforcement and courts would have something to say.


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Anzyr wrote:
So basically your in game societies don't function? Even in a society of laissez-fair capitalism, a merchant would still have to honor a contract. If you enter an agreement for one Cloak of Resistance +3 and they deliver instead a regular cloak, then the local law enforcement and courts would have something to say.

If you're saying there is no zero legal protection against fraudulent sellers or legal repercussions for being one, then reputation would be the most important thing in the world for merchants: Buyers know they can only buy from people who are guaranteed to be trustworthy as if not they are screwed, and they know by seller reputation who is not a con man. So having a good reputation is the only way for a merchant to survive in the system. By doing stupid s!&& like you have your merchants do, they are committing career suicide as no one but idiots will risk buying from them.


chaoseffect wrote:
By doing stupid s~&@ like you have your merchants do, they are committing career suicide as no one but idiots will risk buying from them.

By ripping off high level adventurers, they might be committing physical suicide too.


Matthew Downie wrote:
chaoseffect wrote:
By doing stupid s~&@ like you have your merchants do, they are committing career suicide as no one but idiots will risk buying from them.
By ripping off high level adventurers, they might be committing physical suicide too.

That is what I was thinking. I was in a star wars saga game where we were ripped off and another merchant was being a jerk. At that point in the game we were pretty well known, and I was thinking OOC "this makes no sense. We can kill this guy and be on the next planet in no time".

Even if the town guard was there in PAthfinder or Star Wars Saga once you are high level there is not really much they can do. Even if the town has special forces for high level threats you can be gone before they show up barring GM Fiat. That is why I mentioned the law issue. Otherwise people will take things into their own hands and kill the merchant or just take the money back, if the merchant is lucky. Binding outsiders to kill the merchant after you leave the town would also work. So what is some demon names you, assuming you tell them your real name. Nobody trust demons.


Low priced magic items are readily available, as per the settlement rules. Since the party has access to teleport and excellent diplocamy rolls, high price magic items are specifically commissioned to spellcasters in metropolii, and the money is paid up front (so they have a delay in which they need to go adventuring with sub-par gear while they leave the good stuff at Katapesh or Absalom for enchanting). Then it's just a matter of putting the clock pressure on them to see if they're willing to wait for the stuff (and make the encounters proportionally more difficult because their opponents also get more time to get ready) or if they're willing to tackle the middle of the module with sub-par gear in order to save time.


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For folks that say magic items = rare and precious why not just houserule: no magic items can be bought, period? I'm not being snarky it's an honest question. Sure there are still crafting feats out there and everyone's free to craft on their own but literally no one in the entire game world will sell them, not even the consumables. The only way magic items then change hands are by gift or force.

If the PCs want to start off at first level with a potion of Cure Light Wounds they either need to have the crafting feat or have done a special favor for a church/witch/bard etc. When they hit 2nd and they want a wand, they have to go on a quest for that crafting entity or have earned their trust already. At third level the greatsword wielder better either be happy with the +1 hand axe they found in the loot pile or he better be willing to go on another side quest.

Rather than make a bullet pointed list of how they buy items or where or whatever, just remove buying. I know my own players have said they don't enjoy side questing for specific items but maybe yours will and that will make them so much more precious yes?


Mark Hoover wrote:

For folks that say magic items = rare and precious why not just houserule: no magic items can be bought, period? I'm not being snarky it's an honest question. Sure there are still crafting feats out there and everyone's free to craft on their own but literally no one in the entire game world will sell them, not even the consumables. The only way magic items then change hands are by gift or force.

If the PCs want to start off at first level with a potion of Cure Light Wounds they either need to have the crafting feat or have done a special favor for a church/witch/bard etc. When they hit 2nd and they want a wand, they have to go on a quest for that crafting entity or have earned their trust already. At third level the greatsword wielder better either be happy with the +1 hand axe they found in the loot pile or he better be willing to go on another side quest.

Rather than make a bullet pointed list of how they buy items or where or whatever, just remove buying. I know my own players have said they don't enjoy side questing for specific items but maybe yours will and that will make them so much more precious yes?

I actually asked about that in a topic, and making them harder to get did not make them more special. Even in a low magic world where there are almost no PC classes and adventuring parties come along every 800 years I would just see the items as a means to an end.

That does not mean I would not appreciate but that "moment of awe" is pretty much something I don't see because players can see behind the screen aka "they have access to the books" among other reasons.


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@ lucky strike: Well that brings me back to the other point I suggested upthread - maybe if you're looking for magic = special then don't have spells. When people know exactly what the definition and variables are on a "Fireball" spell then handing them a necklace of them isn't going to be exciting. Now imaging a game where you literally have no insight into magic spells at all and your GM gives your caster "a small, bulbous flask which, when thrown explodes and amazing ball of flame!" The PCs still don't know how much damage it'll do or anything.

Would that enhance the magic and make it special? I polled my players and 2 of them didn't care. One said it would be like getting an alien laser pistol but not knowing it was an alien laser pistol and so you end up calling it a Sunray Wand or something. The last player of the 4 just said that sounded annoying.


I am not looking for it to be special assuming I am "lucky strike". I just wanted to remind some GM's that just because they think ____ will make the player feel a certain way, that does not mean that is what happens. That sigh of happiness could be relief not wonder. In other words ask the players does ___ make the items feel mysterious or special, don't assume it does. :)

Sovereign Court

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darth_borehd wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
darth_borehd wrote:

I handle magic item shops by telling my players at the start of the campaign caveat emptor.

Most magic items found for sale are just outright fakes. If not fakes, then most of them are cursed. If not cursed, then they are usually stolen. Even if not stolen, then there are often other strings attached. Only a small minority have nothing wrong with them and are an item that performs exactly as claimed.

Players naturally avoid them for those reasons. In the cases where they do want to buy magic items from a merchant, they are very cautious in checking the item with Perception and Appraise checks, casting Detect Magic and other magic spells to examine it thoroughly, and looking into the trustworthiness of the merchant.

I find this approach helps keep using magic shops as a crutch or a min-max tool to a minimum while other some flavor and fun elements.

What if they take crafting feats?

I make the spellcraft checks for the character. They never know for sure if they failed or succeeded (unless the DC. Failing by 5 or more means the item is actually cursed in some way, as per the RAW. Higher level characters with a high spellcraft check bonus can be pretty confident small little items they make are OK.

One person asked about the magic item merchant being brought to the authorities for selling fake or cursed items. On what charge? There are no regulations on business transactions in this campaign world. It's laissez-fair capitalism. Besides the merchant can always just claim ignorance. "Well, that's what the guy who sold it to me said it did!"

Yes, players can get +10 on spellcraft through the Identify spell. That is still not a guarantee of success and it must beat the DC by 10 to identify a cursed item.

Laissez-fair capitalism doesn't work that way. At all. (I assume you've never read anything from Adam Smith.)

Laissez-fair capitalism doesn't mean that you're allowed to con & cheat people. It just means that there are no regs on what / how you can sell whatever you want. You still have to uphold contracts etc. (In fact - they become even more important.)

What you're describing isn't laissez-fair capitalism. It's anarchy. And if someone cheats you like that in an anarchy type system - you stab them in the face.

Fourteen times.

And no one cares.

Because it's anarchy.


wraithstrike wrote:
Mark Hoover wrote:
For folks that say magic items = rare and precious why not just houserule: no magic items can be bought, period? I'm not being snarky it's an honest question. Sure there are still crafting feats out there and everyone's free to craft on their own but literally no one in the entire game world will sell them, not even the consumables. The only way magic items then change hands are by gift or force. ...
I actually asked about that in a topic, and making them harder to get did not make them more special. ...

I have known a couple of GM's that do that. It actually was not a horrible game. Of course after a few levels everyone was building up a basement stock of +1 value items that were no longer of use.

But in my personal opinion that is too far on the other end of the spectrum. Both the Magic Mart anything-conceivable-is-always-in-stock and the opposite of nothing-is-ever-sold are both about evenly implausible.


Charon's Little Helper wrote:
darth_borehd wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
darth_borehd wrote:

I handle magic item shops by telling my players at the start of the campaign caveat emptor.

Most magic items found for sale are just outright fakes. If not fakes, then most of them are cursed. If not cursed, then they are usually stolen. Even if not stolen, then there are often other strings attached. Only a small minority have nothing wrong with them and are an item that performs exactly as claimed.

Players naturally avoid them for those reasons. In the cases where they do want to buy magic items from a merchant, they are very cautious in checking the item with Perception and Appraise checks, casting Detect Magic and other magic spells to examine it thoroughly, and looking into the trustworthiness of the merchant. ...

What if they take crafting feats?

...

One person asked about the magic item merchant being brought to the authorities for selling fake or cursed items. On what charge? There are no regulations on business transactions in this campaign world. It's laissez-fair capitalism. Besides the merchant can always just claim ignorance. "Well, that's what the guy who sold it to me said it did!" ...

Laissez-fair capitalism doesn't work that way. At all.

Laissez-fair capitalism doesn't mean that you're allowed to con & cheat people. It just means that there are no regs on what / how you can sell whatever you want. You still have to uphold contracts etc.

What you're describing isn't laissez-fair capitalism. It's anarchy. And if someone cheats you like that in an anarchy type system - you stab them in the face.

Fourteen times.

And no one cares.

Because it's anarchy.

I may have some of it incorrect since it has been a looong time since my readings on the subject. But I believe...

In actual real life medieval and renaissance market place, any type of enforcement was usually the purview of the guild. Any given specific guild house may or may not enforce any particular thing for a variety of reasons. Even then, that would only apply if the merchant were a member of the guild (should have bought from a guild merchant, there's nothing I can do).

The actual authorities would only get involved if it was a noble bringing the complaint (usually PC's do not qualify) or the con was hurting the local economy, city, or nation in some way (again why would they care if stupid foreign trouble making vagabonds were cheated).

Sovereign Court

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Kydeem de'Morcaine wrote:


I may have some of it incorrect since it has been a looong time since my readings on the subject. But I believe...

In actual real life medieval and renaissance market place, any type of enforcement was usually the purview of the guild. Any given specific guild...

If you're going to get into guild systems - their whole purpose was for a united front of consistency. If you were a member and started to make them look bad - they'd kick you out. And if you weren't a member - you weren't allowed to do business there. (the local lord might even get involved if you tried)

To become a full member (master) - you had to prove that you were good at what you did. This was done by making a great work of your craft. (a masterpiece - hence the name)

But guildmembers were HIGHLY regulated. Just not by the local lord. Basically - think of the guilds as our current buerocrats involved in all sorts of regulations.

Laissez-fair capitalism was coined by Adam Smith in the 18th century - pushing for all those regs to be lessened - notably those created by guilds. (at one point the chandler's guild got the english parliment to make it illegal for people to make their own candles - then immediately doubled their prices - yay gov sanctioned monopoly :P)

Edit: Random fact you might find intriguing. The whole reason the masons guild had all those secret handshakes etc was because stone masons had to travel around for work. Since people might not know you at any particular job - you gave the secret signs to prove that you were a journeyman / mater etc. - otherwise you could inflate your skill level for higher pay.


Charon's Little Helper wrote:


Laissez-fair capitalism doesn't work that way. At all. (I assume you've never read anything from Adam Smith.)

Laissez-fair capitalism doesn't mean that you're allowed to con & cheat people. It just means that there are no regs on what / how you can sell whatever you want. You still have to uphold contracts etc. (In fact - they become even more important.)

What you're describing isn't laissez-fair capitalism. It's anarchy. And if someone cheats you like that in an anarchy type system - you stab them in the face.

Fourteen times.

And no one cares.

Because it's anarchy.

Anarchy doesn't work that way at all. I assume you've never read the works of Anselme Bellegarrigue.

If you stab someone in the face in an anarchy, people still care. There's no justice system to protect you, so you'd probably get lynched.

Sovereign Court

Matthew Downie wrote:
Charon's Little Helper wrote:


Laissez-fair capitalism doesn't work that way. At all. (I assume you've never read anything from Adam Smith.)

Laissez-fair capitalism doesn't mean that you're allowed to con & cheat people. It just means that there are no regs on what / how you can sell whatever you want. You still have to uphold contracts etc. (In fact - they become even more important.)

What you're describing isn't laissez-fair capitalism. It's anarchy. And if someone cheats you like that in an anarchy type system - you stab them in the face.

Fourteen times.

And no one cares.

Because it's anarchy.

Anarchy doesn't work that way at all. I assume you've never read the works of Anselme Bellegarrigue.

If you stab someone in the face in an anarchy, people still care. There's no justice system to protect you, so you'd probably get lynched.

True - but good luck trying to lynch 8th level adventurers. (and people might not care much if he'd conned them too)


Kydeem de'Morcaine wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
Mark Hoover wrote:
For folks that say magic items = rare and precious why not just houserule: no magic items can be bought, period? I'm not being snarky it's an honest question. Sure there are still crafting feats out there and everyone's free to craft on their own but literally no one in the entire game world will sell them, not even the consumables. The only way magic items then change hands are by gift or force. ...
I actually asked about that in a topic, and making them harder to get did not make them more special. ...

I have known a couple of GM's that do that. It actually was not a horrible game. Of course after a few levels everyone was building up a basement stock of +1 value items that were no longer of use.

But in my personal opinion that is too far on the other end of the spectrum. Both the Magic Mart anything-conceivable-is-always-in-stock and the opposite of nothing-is-ever-sold are both about evenly implausible.

I used to do the "you can buy everything" market also, but the book's 75% and cities with spending limits is a better way. I do however allow for items to be commissioned but sometimes that means the players have to continue the mission and come back later to pick it up.


Matthew Downie wrote:
Charon's Little Helper wrote:


Laissez-fair capitalism doesn't work that way. At all. (I assume you've never read anything from Adam Smith.)

Laissez-fair capitalism doesn't mean that you're allowed to con & cheat people. It just means that there are no regs on what / how you can sell whatever you want. You still have to uphold contracts etc. (In fact - they become even more important.)

What you're describing isn't laissez-fair capitalism. It's anarchy. And if someone cheats you like that in an anarchy type system - you stab them in the face.

Fourteen times.

And no one cares.

Because it's anarchy.

Anarchy doesn't work that way at all. I assume you've never read the works of Anselme Bellegarrigue.

If you stab someone in the face in an anarchy, people still care. There's no justice system to protect you, so you'd probably get lynched.

Much like, in an anarchy if the merchant cheats people, people still care.

There's no justice system to protect him, so he'd probably get lynched - or at least run out of town on a rail.

If the whole town is in on cheating those weird foreign adventurers, that's another story, but it also has nothing to do with it being anarchy.


wraithstrike wrote:
Kydeem de'Morcaine wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
Mark Hoover wrote:
For folks that say magic items = rare and precious why not just houserule: no magic items can be bought, period? I'm not being snarky it's an honest question. Sure there are still crafting feats out there and everyone's free to craft on their own but literally no one in the entire game world will sell them, not even the consumables. The only way magic items then change hands are by gift or force. ...
I actually asked about that in a topic, and making them harder to get did not make them more special. ...

I have known a couple of GM's that do that. It actually was not a horrible game. Of course after a few levels everyone was building up a basement stock of +1 value items that were no longer of use.

But in my personal opinion that is too far on the other end of the spectrum. Both the Magic Mart anything-conceivable-is-always-in-stock and the opposite of nothing-is-ever-sold are both about evenly implausible.

I used to do the "you can buy everything" market also, but the book's 75% and cities with spending limits is a better way. I do however allow for items to be commissioned but sometimes that means the players have to continue the mission and come back later to pick it up.

Yeah I don't have a huge problem with enforcing the 'book' availability rules. (I still think that might be a bit too prolific but meh.) However, some/many(?) people do have a problem with enforcing 'book' availability.

As I said before, my current group basically won't play unless anything below artifact level is readily available. They are occasionally willing to wait on commissioned work for really big ticket items if the location is smaller than Absalom and doesn't impact their schedule too much.


Charon's Little Helper wrote:
Kydeem de'Morcaine wrote:


I may have some of it incorrect since it has been a looong time since my readings on the subject. But I believe...

In actual real life medieval and renaissance market place, any type of enforcement was usually the purview of the guild. Any given specific guild...

If you're going to get into guild systems - their whole purpose was for a united front of consistency. If you were a member and started to make them look bad - they'd kick you out. And if you weren't a member - you weren't allowed to do business there. (the local lord might even get involved if you tried)

...
But guildmembers were HIGHLY regulated. Just not by the local lord. Basically - think of the guilds as our current buerocrats involved in all sorts of regulations. ...

To a certain extent, I agree.

However, it also depended on the location and guild. Some guilds were not strong enough (or ruthless enough) to enforce things. Sometimes the conman was bribing the head of the guild to get away with stuff. Sometimes the local lord did not like the power of the guild, so supported non-members. There were also places where it was practically considered a civic responsibility to cheat foreigners (so you certainly wouldn't get in trouble by anyone local for it). Etc...

On the other hand...

I would think a guild of casters would be sufficiently dangerous, powerful, threatening, and ruthless to easily enforce their guild rules and regulations on nearly any crafters in the area.
The corruption angle would be a totally unknown factor though.


Ya, I'm sure local law enforcement would really be after the heroes who took care of their Chimera problem. Especially since the merchant was dumb enough cheat them. Look the system makes magic item available, so guess what? Their easy to make, they are easy to identify and they are common in even towns. Anything else is at odds with the system.


I'm sadistic. I like lots and lots of Random charts for magic items. I have several D30 lists, D100s and the like. I usually have a "Roll a di and see what list(s) you get to roll on." Because it's fun. Also, I love putting magic item shops in my game that just have a bunch of random items in them and the Shop owner doesn't know what they do (this is where some of the random lists come in). Say the player wants a magic longsword, well look, I have one right here! What's it do? How should I know! I'm not a wizard or sorcerer. I found it at a pawn shop. I'll give you a good price on it though!" so for a reasonable price (for whatever level the characters are anywhere for a few hundred to a few thousand gold) and then roll on my lists that say what the sword is. Does it have drawbacks? What bonuses? is it intelligent (something like a 10% chance is it) and go from there. Maybe they don't get exactly what they want, but it might be better than what they were looking for. Who says some little magic shop in some little town is going to have exactly what you want when you want it?

I say, if a character wants something specific, they can have it commissioned and wait a specified number of game sessions to get it. Otherwise, take what you can find. I also like to use the charts for random magic items found on monsters :D


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
Corrik wrote:
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.

I don't think they need to. Consider the magic item crafting rules. Being able to skip a prerequisite for a +5 DC is a general rule. The caster level rules for arms and armor are called out as special prerequisites. As I see it, those are specific rules trumping general. So, no skipping the special level requirements for arms and armor for a +5 DC...


Bill Dunn wrote:
Corrik wrote:
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.
I don't think they need to. Consider the magic item crafting rules. Being able to skip a prerequisite for a +5 DC is a general rule. The caster level rules for arms and armor are called out as special prerequisites. As I see it, those are specific rules trumping general. So, no skipping the special level requirements for arms and armor for a +5 DC...

They've specifically answered this question in the FAQ. See my previous post on the subject.


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I prefer magic as rare and items as special. However I tend to play as RAW. What I found is that there is a huge difference from you can buy what you want when you want and how buy magic items is presented. That alone made it a lot easier on me.

Whenever we get to town. I will actually roll up a few shops from this generator.

Pathfinder Magic Shop Generator

If its a small town I will just to a general store. If it is larger I will do a few shops. When people start asking for who can make what they can but it there is a wait and cost for pushing you way up the wait list.

For me it has worked a good balance. Its not item entitlement syndrome or death by no item.

The Exchange

I doubt anybody's read this far if they were looking for 'new' input, but here's my usual method.

1. First of all, magic items in my campaign are not sold in 'magic item shops.' In general you go to a temple (Abadar or the local trade god works best), an arcane guild (being a member frees you from a substantial mark-up), or sometimes an auction house (the quality of items found there is variable, but it's one of the few ways to pick up a magic item at less than cost... sometimes). Once in a while, private citizens will be looking to sell or trade one item, but visitors gathering info will usually be referred to a location like that - not to a 'shop'. (When's the last time you saw a convenience store that carried Stradivarius violins, Faberge eggs and weapons-grade uranium?)

2. Second, the CRB lists how many magic items are available of each power level; I reduce those slightly (for instance, in my games even a metropolis won't have 'infinite' wands of cure light wounds) and otherwise go through the process of finding out what's available, with a 5% chance of 'cursed' items (generally the lightweight stuff with 'drawback' or 'limited usage', and if the merchant knows it's cursed it comes at a substantial discount.) I admit it's a time-consuming process to find out what's available at each town - nowadays I usually have a list for each town size ready for use, to be replaced as they get used.

The two 'extremes' (Acme Mail-Order Magic vs. Economics-Proof Magic Items) both have problems, and while I'm not terribly fond of the middle road that I describe, it's more plausible than either and does have its own (imperfect) controls. There really isn't a perfect solution - at least, not in a "magic items are relatively common" continuum.


Gnomezrule wrote:

I prefer magic as rare and items as special. However I tend to play as RAW. What I found is that there is a huge difference from you can buy what you want when you want and how buy magic items is presented. That alone made it a lot easier on me.

Whenever we get to town. I will actually roll up a few shops from this generator.

Pathfinder Magic Shop Generator

If its a small town I will just to a general store. If it is larger I will do a few shops. When people start asking for who can make what they can but it there is a wait and cost for pushing you way up the wait list.

For me it has worked a good balance. Its not item entitlement syndrome or death by no item.

There is a site that rolls up magic items based on settlement size. If I can find the link I will post it here.


This is not the one I was looking for, but I will present it anyway.

edit: nevermind this one does not roll items for you.


Here is the one I was looking for.


In the games i run i allow up to 18000 gp items to be off the rack items.
Anything that costs more is only available by commission and only if you are in good standing with the guild of feudal lord of the region.
There is an npc that will sell higher quality items but there is a catch he is a avatar of the god of chaos the realm. If you want him to make you something you must take quests from him or sign over your soul, feed him (i.e. permanent unreversible level drain or ability drain) so it's a gamble to deal with him.


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fel_horfrost wrote:

In the games i run i allow up to 18000 gp items to be off the rack items.

Anything that costs more is only available by commission and only if you are in good standing with the guild of feudal lord of the region.
There is an npc that will sell higher quality items but there is a catch he is a avatar of the god of chaos the realm. If you want him to make you something you must take quests from him or sign over your soul, feed him (i.e. permanent unreversible level drain or ability drain) so it's a gamble to deal with him.

I'd see a system like that as just conditioning players into a "f@+* it, we'll each just take a crafting feat" mindset. Unless they already have the required good standing to get things made, of course.


chaoseffect wrote:
fel_horfrost wrote:

In the games i run i allow up to 18000 gp items to be off the rack items.

Anything that costs more is only available by commission and only if you are in good standing with the guild of feudal lord of the region.
There is an npc that will sell higher quality items but there is a catch he is a avatar of the god of chaos the realm. If you want him to make you something you must take quests from him or sign over your soul, feed him (i.e. permanent unreversible level drain or ability drain) so it's a gamble to deal with him.
I'd see a system like that as just conditioning players into a "f$!# it, we'll each just take a crafting feat" mindset. Unless they already have the required good standing to get things made, of course.

well the upside is that you get your items instantly from him and he will come to you anywhere you are to broker the deal.


That actually sounds like a really cool concept that I'm going to steal now. I do love me some Faustian/leonine contracts.

Grand Lodge

Scythia wrote:

I find a point in the story to introduce an NPC crafter, a character who they can go to in order to commission new items, or upgrade old ones.

I've had actual magic item stores in game before, but they ran along theme. For example, I had an Alu-fiend that ran a magical clothing boutique.

After running for a group for awhile, you should have an idea what approach will work best for them. Some groups like convenient loot "among the demon's stolen treasure is +2 flaming falcion (like you were wanting) ", others prefer magic stores or helpful sages.

This is what I pretty much do for almost all my campaigns but i've known my group for a long time.


fel_horfrost wrote:
chaoseffect wrote:
fel_horfrost wrote:

In the games i run i allow up to 18000 gp items to be off the rack items.

Anything that costs more is only available by commission and only if you are in good standing with the guild of feudal lord of the region.
There is an npc that will sell higher quality items but there is a catch he is a avatar of the god of chaos the realm. If you want him to make you something you must take quests from him or sign over your soul, feed him (i.e. permanent unreversible level drain or ability drain) so it's a gamble to deal with him.
I'd see a system like that as just conditioning players into a "f$!# it, we'll each just take a crafting feat" mindset. Unless they already have the required good standing to get things made, of course.
well the upside is that you get your items instantly from him and he will come to you anywhere you are to broker the deal.

I will pass on that deal. LOL

Me with negative levels will greatly impact my ability to save the world, and he is not getting my soul.

PS: Well actually I might do the quest. That is actually a fantasy trope I have never used as a GM also.
------------------------------------------------------
PC: We need a ring of 3 wishes.

Avatar: Well there is this CR 29 dragon I need to die.

PC: Really? I hate you. <grumble grumble>

Avatar: So then your soul?

PC: I will take the dragon.

Avatar: Try to make it quick, and I wish you the best. IF you survive your item will be here when you get back. <devilish smirk on his face>

:)

Dark Archive

Matthew Downie wrote:
Zedth wrote:
I inferred players having the full knowledge of the extensive array of magic items in the CRB and other books is the very definition of metagaming. You're free to disagree
Thanks! I disagree.

I'm not sure whether I disagree or not, but then I see some forms of metagaming as helpful. I certainly couldn't see myself forbidding my players from reading books that they own and paid for. I am sure the response if I did would be quite forceful.

We pretty much hand wave the purchase of magic items. From some of the posts here, some groups view shopping as a fun part of the whole Pathfinder experience, but we find it tedious.

We metagame that whatever the player wants is available, subject to the settlement purchase limit rules. We assume that if the character would have no reason to know the item even existed, then some eager shopkeeper drew his attention to it in the hope of making a sale.

We also metagame that the PCs never, ever attack magic item sellers, even if it would be more in character to steal something than to buy it.

Come to think of it, if I was in a group that liked to play "lets go shopping" I might try to persuade them that it might be even more fun if we tried to rob the merchant instead.

Dark Archive

Degoon Squad wrote:

If you buy a powerful magic item things you need to think about.

1) was the person you bought it from the real owner or is some one going to show up later and claim it as theirs?
What happens if you buy a wand of fireballs and Later that day you hear the Duke's court Wizard is in an uproar threatening to turn who ever took his wand of fireballs into a newt and drop him into the alligator pond? or you find out your new +3 plate was taken from the Legion of Death when it was destroyed 20 years ago but the Legion has just reformed and is looking to gather back its prized items. Or perhaps there are slight flaws in it the owner for got to mention
For me big ticket items should have a history and not just appear out of no where.

I, as the player, don't need to think about it at all!

Coming up with exciting plot hooks is the GMs job. I'd have no problem playing any of the above adventures. (Although, as written, the wizard one would need an extra twist, since I'd probably just give him his wand back in the hope of a reward.)

Magic items with flaws can also be interesting, so long as it doesn't turn into a regular way of giving characters what is effectively 10,000 gp of equipment in exchange for 20,000 gp.

Sovereign Court

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amethal wrote:


We pretty much hand wave the purchase of magic items. From some of the posts here, some groups view shopping as a fun part of the whole Pathfinder experience, but we find it tedious.

I'm with you. I don't think of there necessarily being a 'magic item shop', I just figure we'll find them somehow. Old adventurers/pawn shops/local lord etc. So whenever we have significant downtime, we assume that we can find whatever we want in an abstract sort of way. I'd rather just get on to interesting things.

I play Pathfinder to be an awesome adventurer, not a purchasing agent.

After all - I don't recall Star Wars making a big deal about how Luke made his new lightsaber - acquiring all the parts and putting it together. Why? They could have. They didn't because it'd have been boring. They wanted to get on with the actual story.


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Zedth wrote:
BigDTBone wrote:


Yea! I mean... I know you have a +1 sword, and I know the Mage just told you that +3 swords will get through his DR just like it was made of cold iron, but how could you possibly know about +2 swords! FREEKING metagamers! This is getting out of hand!

What do you mean you want a +2 cloak of resistance. You mean a "gracious cloak of avoiding harm of the 2nd circle?" Well you don't know about those! Metagame cheat game ruiner!

Rod of metamagic quickening? Are you insane? How does your character even know about that? Oh? You have the feat? And you have extend? And a rod of extend? Natural conclusion?!?!! NO WAY!!!!!! NO MOAR MAGIC ITEMS! Magic items are the special precious flowers and snowflakes that litter my campaign world like a bad Longfellow poem. From now on you will take only what you get, and you will equip it, and you won't try to sell it, and you will like it, AND THERE WILL BE SANITY ON THE MATERIAL PLANE!!!!!! ROWAR!!!!

Nowhere did I infer players wouldn't know about magic items. I inferred players having the full knowledge of the extensive array of magic items in the CRB and other books is the very definition of metagaming. You're free to disagree, but your attack on my opinion is extremely childish. You may have missed the "Help us keep the messageboards a fun and friendly place" rule.

Why couldn't the characters know? In a low magic setting where magic or magic items is rare maybe, but in the standard setting I don't see how they could not know. As someone in the military, I knew about military equipment used by other services that I never got to see in person.

In the game you can use knowledge checks to know about monsters and other things that way outnumber magic items.

It makes sense that someone would let the PC's know about these items especially if they are the trained PC's.

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