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


Advice

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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
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.

I think a much more reasonable alternative would be to alter the rule, not avoid it altogether. I would like to see a +3 DC for every level the crafter is below the items caster level, instead of just +5 for 'not meeting the level'. I come at this from the perspective of my current character (a Soul Forger Magus), which is very craft focused by class (archetype) design. I feel a focused character SHOULD be able to craft higher than their level, as to focus on crafting, a crafter has to give up a lot of other capability (skill ranks AND feats). By making the level bypass difficulty proportional to the amount of levels bypassed, it allows the level of crafting focus to be considered.

Lets keep in mind that relatively simple weapon enchantments like flaming and frost are CL 10.


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.

At one time, before errata it said +5 and +10. So +5 is the RAI, and I many of us have never had a problem with the magic item crafting rules so you can only say the system falls apart in your games. Also the caster level for the magic item would have to correlate to the value of the magic item in order for caster level to be a good check and right now there is no correlation.


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?

A little late to the party, but one way that I tend to do it is I hand out fewer items, but have those items grow and develop with the PC's, meaning that a magical rapier found at 2nd level might merely be +1 with an interesting story, and by 12th level might be Keen +2 and grant the Disarming Strike feat for free. The character has built his identity around a single weapon rather than being on his fourth magical rapier and already eyeing his fifth.

Nothing ruins immersion or great storytelling than having your players buy, sell and trade magical items like they were baseball cards.


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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.

I generally do this as well. My players have honestly always prefer making their magic items instead of buying them. We love that customization and naming it. We don't care about, say, Sir Archibald's rapier that we find, but love the swords and stuff we create and name. Because ultimately, we are building our own legend, not so much living in the shadow of another.

The magic mart is primarily a GM problem. I rarely see players complain and have found that more often than not, you'll never make magic feel special. Fantasy is too mainstream right now, with video games and movies and books flooding the market. Generally, people of the current generation aren't going to really be wow'd by magic if you just take it away from them and make it rare. Trust me, making a bunch of 8th level adventurers beg for a +1 dagger isn't very fun.

Course, this doesn't mean I have Magi-Mart Superstores everywhere. I generally have magic items available to buy from collectors, or have items the players craft. And if there is a magic mart, I generally do cool stuff with it. Like, I once had a dimensional-floating magic mart with a mummy oracle in it that would sell items to the players. They could summon him with a special feather token that would allow any door in a city to turn into an entrance into his store. And they ended up doing some cool planar adventures with him, since he had a sarcophagus that was pretty much a TARDIS. So I don't get lazy and just remove magic marts. I make them spare, but I also make them fun and engaging for the players. Pretty much everything I do ends up being a story hook for the players.

And one thing I've noticed with the current generation of gamers is that story and making magic cool is all about engaging both their mechanical side and their roleplaying side. If you just talk about Sir Archibald's rapier, most people will shrug it off. Especially if they don't use rapiers. But if you give them a quest where they learn about him, maybe because they need his weapon, and even tailor it to one of the party member's weapons, you'll find your players much more immersed in your world and enjoying magic for more than just numbers and bonuses.


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Odraude wrote:
The magic mart is primarily a GM problem. I rarely see players complain and have found that more often than not, you'll never make magic feel special. Fantasy is too mainstream right now, with video games and movies and books flooding the market.

+1000

I think that what happens is the players give a sigh of relief when the GM finally gives them something, and the GM mistakes for it "wonder", so he keeps the same pattern going. I have never heard a player say, "You make it too easy to get these items. Send us on a quest.".

The 75% rule does a good job of not getting them everything they want, but normally giving them enough.


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I remember playing in a game where we were all 8th level and the GM was trying to go for the no Magic Marts-Magic is special route. After doing a long dungeon that culimanted with a battle between us and some golems and a purple worm, all we got for our troubles were.... a silver masterwork dagger, some coins (about 100 gp) and some silver horseshoes. Oh and a "Good Job" from our commander (we were employed by the army).

Next session, we all levelled. So we all took leadership, got some followers, and said that we were retiring from the adventurer life and buying farmland to live our days. Because risking our lives for no money wasn't worth it and wasn't fun.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Just adding little details here and there, make people enjoy your magic items so much. Like I mentioned a Khopesh +1 with precious gems encrusted into the hilt from a pyramid loot, became quickly one of my player favorite item.

Don't underestimate taking legendary magic items in your world and make them have their own history. Holy Avengers, Frostbrand, Sunblades are quite worthy of having their own history in your campaign world lore. Like maybe there are only 2 or 3 of these items, so each them would have an unique name etc...


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Odraude wrote:

I remember playing in a game where we were all 8th level and the GM was trying to go for the no Magic Marts-Magic is special route. After doing a long dungeon that culimanted with a battle between us and some golems and a purple worm, all we got for our troubles were.... a silver masterwork dagger, some coins (about 100 gp) and some silver horseshoes. Oh and a "Good Job" from our commander (we were employed by the army).

Next session, we all levelled. So we all took leadership, got some followers, and said that we were retiring from the adventurer life and buying farmland to live our days. Because risking our lives for no money wasn't worth it and wasn't fun.

Thank goodness Luke Skywalker, Indiana Jones, Frodo and Bilbo Baggins, Robin Hood and pretty much every great character from fiction didn't feel that way, eh?


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Wiggz wrote:
Thank goodness Luke Skywalker, Indiana Jones, Frodo and Bilbo Baggins, Robin Hood and pretty much every great character from fiction didn't feel that way, eh?

Yoda: "If all jedi lightsabers have, none special will feel, hmmm? A butter knife for you is good enough."

Museum: "Sorry, Dr. Jones. I know you believed this to be the Lost Ark of the Covenant, but then we'd need magic rocks or something for the next movie, and we simply can't have so many magic goodies floating around. So what you recovered is, in fact, a brass-covered box with some plain stone tablets in it. But it has a backstory!"

Gandalf: "Yes, there are legends of the Ring of Sauron, that makes men and hobbits invisible to all except His eye... but what you have there, what your uncle Bilbo recovered, is my aunt Mildred's engagement ring."

Sheriff of Nottingham: "Yes, of COURSE you can defeat all my schemes with a mundane bow... we're only 4th level, after all, and this is an E6 campign."


wraithstrike wrote:
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.

The characters don't actually have to know every magic item in existence. All they have to know is what they need. When I go to a hardware shop I don't have its whole inventory catalogue memorized, but I do know that I need a plumber, so I search for one or ask an employee. I don't even need to know what a plumber is. I just need to know for what I need the tool and I'll should be able to find the right one, unless I'm really stupid.


Kirth Gersen wrote:

Yoda: "If all jedi lightsabers have, none special will feel, hmmm? A butter knife for you is good enough."

Museum: "Sorry, Dr. Jones. I know you believed this to be the Lost Ark of the Covenant, but then we'd need magic rocks or something for the next movie, and we simply can't have so many magic goodies floating around. So what you recovered is, in fact, a brass-covered box with some plain stone tablets in it. But it has a backstory!"

Gandalf: "Yes, there are legends of the Ring of Sauron, that makes men and hobbits invisible to all except His eye... but what you have there, what your uncle Bilbo recovered, is my aunt Mildred's engagement ring."

Sheriff of Nottingham: "Yes, of COURSE you can defeat all my schemes with a mundane bow... we're only 4th level, after all, and this is an E6 campign."

Is it weird that I kind of like these twists?

I mean, if that's what's on offer at the start of the campaign, and I know what I'm getting into, I'm down.


Kirth Gersen wrote:
Wiggz wrote:
Thank goodness Luke Skywalker, Indiana Jones, Frodo and Bilbo Baggins, Robin Hood and pretty much every great character from fiction didn't feel that way, eh?

Yoda: "If all jedi lightsabers have, none special will feel, hmmm? A butter knife for you is good enough."

Museum: "Sorry, Dr. Jones. I know you believed this to be the Lost Ark of the Covenant, but then we'd need magic rocks or something for the next movie, and we simply can't have so many magic goodies floating around. So what you recovered is, in fact, a brass-covered box with some plain stone tablets in it. But it has a backstory!"

Gandalf: "Yes, there are legends of the Ring of Sauron, that makes men and hobbits invisible to all except His eye... but what you have there, what your uncle Bilbo recovered, is my aunt Mildred's engagement ring."

Sheriff of Nottingham: "Yes, of COURSE you can defeat all my schemes with a mundane bow... we're only 4th level, after all, and this is an E6 campign."

Ummmm... what does any of that have to do with the characters being motivated solely by financial reward, as stated in the post I quoted and responded to?


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Wiggz wrote:
Odraude wrote:

I remember playing in a game where we were all 8th level and the GM was trying to go for the no Magic Marts-Magic is special route. After doing a long dungeon that culimanted with a battle between us and some golems and a purple worm, all we got for our troubles were.... a silver masterwork dagger, some coins (about 100 gp) and some silver horseshoes. Oh and a "Good Job" from our commander (we were employed by the army).

Next session, we all levelled. So we all took leadership, got some followers, and said that we were retiring from the adventurer life and buying farmland to live our days. Because risking our lives for no money wasn't worth it and wasn't fun.

Thank goodness Luke Skywalker, Indiana Jones, Frodo and Bilbo Baggins, Robin Hood and pretty much every great character from fiction didn't feel that way, eh?

As I recall, Frodo really didn't want anything to do with the ring. But we was pretty much pressured into it. And didn't Robin Hood end up marrying the noble woman and getting rewarded at the end? In fact generally, most heroes in fiction get rewarded in some fashion at the end of the story. And of course there are examples of heroes who continue to fight the good fight with no progress and get weary of it. Of course, I prefer my heroes more like Conan and The Gray Mouser than Superman and Gandalf anyways so...

And you're making the same mistake that a lot of GMs make when they want to make magic items rare and unique and special snowflakes. You are thinking of the game world as a novel, in a vaccuum without the PCs in consideration. There are things that work great in novels that don't translate well into games. Granted, giving PCs great stories to latch onto and become invested in is awesome and a great thing to do. But ultimately, this is a game. And in a game, the average player likes to do cool things with their character and their character's story. The PCs will like your world and your NPCs, but ultimately want to build up their PC's story, notoriety, and legend. Because to them, it's a game. A fun one. One that combines the immersion of books with the interaction of video games. They want to make their mark on the world and make their character awesome.

In general, PCs like to see progress. Progress is, of course, an open-ended term. It could be anything, and thanks to Ultimate Campaign , there are rules for more than just magic items, levels, and money. Farmland, a bar, a temple, a fort, followers.... these are all great for progress, get PCs invested in your story world, and you have potential story hooks for your players. But if your players see no progress, then after awhile, some may just not have fun with gaming. I know if I play a game that's the same thing over again with nothing to show for it at the end, I eventually get bored. That's what I see in the "make magic special" crowd. Usually a "red flag" (so to speak) to a larger issue of building and running a world without the PCs' consideration of it. That's admittedly based on my own anecdotal evidence of playing in games where GMs wanted magic items to be rare and special.

Now, if your players are cool with no rewards and doing good for good's sake, then by all means, go for it. Different strokes and such. But I'm talking in general, and from what I've encountered of GMs and PCs.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Wiggz wrote:
Ummmm... what does any of that have to do with the characters being motivated solely by financial reward, as stated in the post I quoted and responded to?

That's not what was stated. They were motivated by survival.


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TriOmegaZero wrote:
Wiggz wrote:
Ummmm... what does any of that have to do with the characters being motivated solely by financial reward, as stated in the post I quoted and responded to?
That's not what was stated. They were motivated by survival.
Quote:
Because risking our lives for no money wasn't worth it and wasn't fun.

Perhaps not solely, but money seems to have been a big part of it.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

My answer still stands.


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In D&D, money is only a means to an end. The way the rules are set up, you can't spend that loot on castles, or on hookers and blow, or whatever without hamstringing yourself as an adventurer. This is most especially true of martial guys, because in D&D Land, magic is really the only way to get a lot of things done, once you reach mid-level or so. That means, if you're not casting spells yourself, you need items just to keep up. And getting those items requires gp. That's just the way the game is set up. You can alter or mitigate that by a variety of means, but what you can't do is just ignore it and expect everything to work out.

Elric didn't want Stormbringer, but when the adventure involves destroying demons and even minor gods, he needed it, because there's no way for you to fight those kind of things with a normal blade.

When Luke is getting shot at by a dozen blasters, he needs that lightsaber to deflect them, or he ends up riddled in holes. So when he can, he constructs a new lightsaber with his (off-screen) loot from previous adventures.

Conan can get away with squandering all his wealth on debauchery, and Robin Hood can give his spoils to the poor, because those guys stay in an E6-type framework. They simply don't ever go up against things that require better armaments, and there's no expectation that they ever will.


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thejeff wrote:
TriOmegaZero wrote:
Wiggz wrote:
Ummmm... what does any of that have to do with the characters being motivated solely by financial reward, as stated in the post I quoted and responded to?
That's not what was stated. They were motivated by survival.
Quote:
Because risking our lives for no money wasn't worth it and wasn't fun.
Perhaps not solely, but money seems to have been a big part of it.

Lack of meaningful progress was the largest issue. We were playing soldiers in an Imperial army and for eight levels, never got to see any progress. No rewards, no promotions, no people for us to command. Just a "fight the good fight, you scumbags" and a pat on the back for our troubles.


Kirth Gersen wrote:

In D&D, money is only a means to an end. The way the rules are set up, you can't spend that loot on castles, or on hookers and blow, or whatever without hamstringing yourself as an adventurer. This is most especially true of martial guys, because in D&D Land, magic is really the only way to get a lot of things done, once you reach mid-level or so. That means, if you're not casting spells yourself, you need items just to keep up. And getting those items requires gp. That's just the way the game is set up. You can alter or mitigate that by a variety of means, but what you can't do is just ignore it and expect everything to work out.

Elric didn't want Stormbringer, but when the adventure involves destroying demons and even minor gods, he needed it, because there's no way for you to fight those kind of things with a normal blade.

When Luke is getting shot at by a dozen blasters, he needs that lightsaber to deflect them, or he ends up riddled in holes. So when he can, he constructs a new lightsaber with his (off-screen) loot from previous adventures.

Conan can get away with squandering all his wealth on debauchery, and Robin Hood can give his spoils to the poor, because those guys stay in an E6-type framework. They simply don't ever go up against things that require better armaments, and there's no expectation that they ever will.

Well, I generally allow my players to and just make up for it with more money. Also, crafting does open up more money for my players to spend money on castles and forts ad such. Admittedly, that is GM fiat but I don't mind it.


In the past I've allowed players to have whatever magic items they could afford, and I never saw many issues with that, but I'm looking for a change. I'm about to run a homebrew-heavy campaign, in which I've done away with the ye olde magick shoppe and magic item creation completely. The gist of it is that the secrets of creating magic items were lost long ago, so shops that buy and sell magic items are dealing in scavenged antiquities. It's not that magic items are super rare per se, just that you have to make do with what you find. I'm also implementing a houserule creating two extra ring slots, that can only hold 'left hand rings of mental stats' and 'right hand rings of physical stats'. This way players feel less pressured to give up their interesting belt slot and headband slot items in favor of boring stat boosts. I've talked to my players and they seem down for it.


I'm running a low-magic campaign, which has needed a lot of tweaking because PF supports the "I can go and shop for what I want" mentality.

It does make sense IF Magic Item Creation Feats are available the way the system is written. It makes sense if a 3rd lvl Wizard can start crafting Wondrous Magic items; that I can craft magical arms or armor at lvl 5, or forge a Ring at lvl 7. Given how easy, and early on, you can start crafting, why wouldn't there be shops that can sell just about everything? Or at least be commissioned to produce one?

So I had to disallow Item Creation Feats to make it work. Which wasn't a popular decision, let me tell you!

I expressed my desire for magic items to be rare, and for magical item creation to be rarer still - and that the number of items even a skilled master craftsman/magician can make would be limited.

The campaign is story driven, and the players have gotten into it - thankfully! Without that, I would have had a bunch of people expecting to go and buy their +2 Flaming Sword or Keen Weapon because "it works with my build!"

It can be done, but you need to think it through, and really house-rule a LOT. But worth it, I feel, if you want Excalibur to mean something when they discover it.


Odraude wrote:

And you're making the same mistake that a lot of GMs make when they want to make magic items rare and unique and special snowflakes. You are thinking of the game world as a novel, in a vaccuum without the PCs in consideration. There are things that work great in novels that don't translate well into games. Granted, giving PCs great stories to latch onto and become invested in is awesome and a great thing to do. But ultimately, this is a game. And in a game, the average player likes to do cool things with their character and their character's story. The PCs will like your world and your NPCs, but ultimately want to build up their PC's story, notoriety, and legend. Because to them, it's a game. A fun one. One that combines the immersion of books with the interaction of video games. They want to make their mark on the world and make their character awesome.

In general, PCs like to see progress. Progress is, of course, an open-ended term. It could be anything, and thanks to Ultimate Campaign , there are rules for more than just magic items, levels, and money. Farmland, a bar, a temple, a fort, followers.... these are all great for progress, get PCs invested in your story world, and you have potential story hooks for your players. But if your players see no progress, then after awhile, some may just not have fun with gaming. I know if I play a game that's the same thing over again with nothing to show for it at the end, I eventually get bored. That's what I see in the "make magic special" crowd. Usually a "red flag" (so to speak) to a larger issue of building and running a world without the PCs' consideration of it. That's admittedly based on my own anecdotal evidence of playing in games where GMs wanted magic items to be rare and special.

Now, if your players are cool with no rewards and doing good for good's sake, then by all means, go for it. Different strokes and such. But I'm talking in general, and from what I've encountered of GMs and PCs.

We're actually not far off in disagreement. My players generally view progress as 1) making the next level of discoveries and seeing how the story unfolds, 2) enhancing their personal abilities through leveling and experience (both mechanical and otherwise). The accumulation of personal wealth doesn't tend to be a motivating factor in all but the rarest of circumstances though 'non-wealth' rewards such as building relationships with NPC's, gaining fame and notoriety, etc. are. Its all a matter of how you define rewards and progress I suppose.

I wasn't really addressing any of that, which I imagine we are in fair agreement over, but rather the tendency for players to identify their characters with what they can buy rather than what they can do. To feel helpless or at the very least inadequate if they don't have a dozen different magical items that all have the right 'pluses' on them. The tendency to view their characters as an accumulation of statistical superiority of which gear plays a crucial part. I'd honestly rather have the characters increase their attributes, AC and saving throws through leveling than see every single one of them sporting a Belt of X +X, a Headband of X +X, a Ring of Protection +X and a Cloak of Protection +X.

I'm not opposed to magic items whatsoever - I just view magic items as predominantly part of the story rather than part of the mechanics, as an opportunity to improve the richness of the experience rather than as an opportunity to 'win'. My players all have magical gear - some of it significantly more potent than traditional wbl would allow - but none of it is considered a temporary holding spot for their next ever-impending upgrade. If they wanted to play Diablo or something similar, where 'story' is that 30 second interlude between levels and accumulation of ever-superior ever-generic gear was the key to winning the game, I'm sure they would be.

People point to the many magic items in fiction (like LotR) as examples why magic items should be included and I don't disagree in the slightest... I'm just trying to remember the last time the Hobbits went to Bree and traded in the daggers they received as gifts from the Lady of Lothlorien for something with a little more 'oomph'.

Sovereign Court

I was in a campaign where the DM presented us with a Mercane who had two ogre bodyguards and ran a magic item shop. He was true neutral and often had very unscrupulous types he'd interact with. Often we'd request a magic item and he'd charge 150% or more of the listed price and then tell us we didn't want to know where it came from.

Made the campaign rather fun at times.


Taperat wrote:
In the past I've allowed players to have whatever magic items they could afford, and I never saw many issues with that, but I'm looking for a change. I'm about to run a homebrew-heavy campaign, in which I've done away with the ye olde magick shoppe and magic item creation completely. The gist of it is that the secrets of creating magic items were lost long ago, so shops that buy and sell magic items are dealing in scavenged antiquities. It's not that magic items are super rare per se, just that you have to make do with what you find. I'm also implementing a houserule creating two extra ring slots, that can only hold 'left hand rings of mental stats' and 'right hand rings of physical stats'. This way players feel less pressured to give up their interesting belt slot and headband slot items in favor of boring stat boosts. I've talked to my players and they seem down for it.

So, no crafting feats for your PCs then.

Does this also apply to consumables? If so, are you doing anything to make up for the lost abilities of Wizards and Alchemists? They have item creation feats at 1st level.


Taperat wrote:
It's not that magic items are super rare per se, just that you have to make do with what you find.

That works if the DM is pretty generous (with items for the martial guys in particular) and if everyone wants him to have that level of control over their characters. I've played in groups where that's akin to the DM deciding on your class or hair color, so I tend to maybe go too far the other direction, in letting the players design their own items.


Wiggs wrote:
I'd honestly rather have the characters increase their attributes, AC and saving throws through leveling than see every single one of them sporting a Belt of X +X, a Headband of X +X, a Ring of Protection +X and a Cloak of Protection +X.

Yes! Exactly.


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On the topic of PCs knowing about the existence of all the magic items present in the Pathfinder books...

I'm with wraithstrike on this one. Why would they not? We do. As players most of us know the properties of most of the magic items. I don't think I am nearly as intelligent as many of the characters with ranks in knowledge: arcana or spellcraft are. Or at least not as skilled in those fields. But how is it that I could know more than they do on those particular topics?

Does anyone honestly think that it is beyond a PC's ability to read a 300 page book and commit it to memory? Or at least the section about magic items?

The way I prefer to handle it in game is with knowledge checks for some things that might not be so common of knowledge but for many magic items it is assumed they know.

As for the topic at hand I think that the RAW method is a quick and easy way of going about a moderate approach to availability. As for the roleplaying aspect of this, well... I think that depends on where the PCs are at that they are shopping for said items. It so greatly depends on this that I can't think of any general advice to give.


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The magic shops are a simple convenience for game play, much like 'Common', selling stuff for half value, and a single coinage across all realms. If none of those other things offend your sense of verisimilitude then why does the concept of the magic shop?

The 'magic shop' does not need to be an Enchantments-R-Us department store to work. It is most likely a combination of contacts like merchants who know where such things can be found, churches who may have stockpile of stuff and/or know people who could be persuaded to part with an item for a good cause, nobles who may need cash more than they need a family heirloom, or a wizard school/guild that make the items. Just like most people skip over the money changer or finding the collector for the statue they hauled out of the dungeon they skip over hunting down the seller of a magic item. It is just abstracted over for ease of game play.


Odraude wrote:
thejeff wrote:
TriOmegaZero wrote:
Wiggz wrote:
Ummmm... what does any of that have to do with the characters being motivated solely by financial reward, as stated in the post I quoted and responded to?
That's not what was stated. They were motivated by survival.
Quote:
Because risking our lives for no money wasn't worth it and wasn't fun.
Perhaps not solely, but money seems to have been a big part of it.
Lack of meaningful progress was the largest issue. We were playing soldiers in an Imperial army and for eight levels, never got to see any progress. No rewards, no promotions, no people for us to command. Just a "fight the good fight, you scumbags" and a pat on the back for our troubles.

And that's the problem. Low magic can, at least in theory and ignoring mechanical issues, work fine, if the characters and players are invested in what's going on and rewarded by other means.

That other reward in a case like yours might well have been promotion and more freedom of action rather than just being sent on narrowly defined missions. In games I prefer, it's as much plot-bunnies as anything - figuring out what's going on and how to deal with it, peeling away layers of the onion.

In a game with less choice, where you're just following orders or picking missions from a board, the rewards need to be more direct.


Kirth Gersen wrote:

In D&D, money is only a means to an end. The way the rules are set up, you can't spend that loot on castles, or on hookers and blow, or whatever without hamstringing yourself as an adventurer. This is most especially true of martial guys, because in D&D Land, magic is really the only way to get a lot of things done, once you reach mid-level or so. That means, if you're not casting spells yourself, you need items just to keep up. And getting those items requires gp. That's just the way the game is set up. You can alter or mitigate that by a variety of means, but what you can't do is just ignore it and expect everything to work out.

Elric didn't want Stormbringer, but when the adventure involves destroying demons and even minor gods, he needed it, because there's no way for you to fight those kind of things with a normal blade.

When Luke is getting shot at by a dozen blasters, he needs that lightsaber to deflect them, or he ends up riddled in holes. So when he can, he constructs a new lightsaber with his (off-screen) loot from previous adventures.

Conan can get away with squandering all his wealth on debauchery, and Robin Hood can give his spoils to the poor, because those guys stay in an E6-type framework. They simply don't ever go up against things that require better armaments, and there's no expectation that they ever will.

I wouldn't say it's so much that it's necessarily the lower level framework. It's quite possible to have a high powered setting that isn't magic item dependent and thus doesn't have to be loot dependent. There's nothing inherent about powerful threats that requires loot or magic items even in fantasy.

It's just a different game than D&D/Pathfinder.


For myself, it was the sense of entitlement that really set me back when I first started playing/running a game again. Maybe that's the fault of video games?

But when Players learn that they can have as much fun without the "Christmas tree effect", then things get so much easier, and everyone can have fun.

Anyway, back to the OP question: I have very little available, maybe 25% chance, based on the town size, seldom going over something with a 2nd lvl spell equivalent. Mostly just scrolls and potions - which the players can craft for themselves. Just no permanent magic items - weapons, armor, rings, staves,etc. Instead of Item Creation feats, they can take another Feat.

But my campaign is meant to make being an arcane caster hard. Magic is drying up, and so there are VERY few who can work magic.


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I never use magic items shops...... they seem like a joke personally

There may be an herbalist or alchemist sellign potions or poisons .... everything else must be created, looted,found, or bargained for ....

but never a shop......

people able to customize to the smallest degree the magic items they have on their character is the quickest way to turn Role into Roll and break the system.....


Otherwhere wrote:
For myself, it was the sense of entitlement that really set me back when I first started playing/running a game again. Maybe that's the fault of video games?

It dates back to at least 2000, because it's hard-wired into 3rd edition. The whole game is built on the assumption that PCs can have WBL worth of pretty much whatever gear they want, within that limit. Without it, the whole CR/challenge system breaks down very quickly.

Blaming anything you don't like on "video games" is pretty common, but not really useful.

Disclaimer: I'm a 1st ed. grognard who does not play video games.


Otherwhere wrote:

For myself, it was the sense of entitlement that really set me back when I first started playing/running a game again. Maybe that's the fault of video games?

But when Players learn that they can have as much fun without the "Christmas tree effect", then things get so much easier, and everyone can have fun.

Anyway, back to the OP question: I have very little available, maybe 25% chance, based on the town size, seldom going over something with a 2nd lvl spell equivalent. Mostly just scrolls and potions - which the players can craft for themselves. Just no permanent magic items - weapons, armor, rings, staves,etc. Instead of Item Creation feats, they can take another Feat.

But my campaign is meant to make being an arcane caster hard. Magic is drying up, and so there are VERY few who can work magic.

If anything creates "entitlement" in the game, it's the rules and assumptions of the game itself.

I assume you do let them find some magic, right? Even if they can't buy real magic items, there are some as loot? Hopefully you customize them so the characters can use most of them at least, otherwise what do they do with them.

You do realize that very low magic items tends to boost casters and weaken martials, right? Since they have more trouble compensating for the lack.

If the fighter doesn't have a magic weapon that can hurt the monster, he's out of luck. The wizard still has spell or at least scrolls that can do the job.
If the fighter can't get a flight item, he's out of luck. Maybe he can beg the wizard to cast fly on him.


Kirth Gersen wrote:
Wiggz wrote:
Thank goodness Luke Skywalker, Indiana Jones, Frodo and Bilbo Baggins, Robin Hood and pretty much every great character from fiction didn't feel that way, eh?

Yoda: "If all jedi lightsabers have, none special will feel, hmmm? A butter knife for you is good enough."

Museum: "Sorry, Dr. Jones. I know you believed this to be the Lost Ark of the Covenant, but then we'd need magic rocks or something for the next movie, and we simply can't have so many magic goodies floating around. So what you recovered is, in fact, a brass-covered box with some plain stone tablets in it. But it has a backstory!"

Gandalf: "Yes, there are legends of the Ring of Sauron, that makes men and hobbits invisible to all except His eye... but what you have there, what your uncle Bilbo recovered, is my aunt Mildred's engagement ring."

Sheriff of Nottingham: "Yes, of COURSE you can defeat all my schemes with a mundane bow... we're only 4th level, after all, and this is an E6 campign."

Nice.

However there is a fly in your ointment. Magic being special is not the same as nerfing it or buying into gritty realism games where there is no magic.

Luke and Darth having the only light sabers in the galaxy as far as we knew in the first triology was part of the mystique. Again its power was significant but it was rare.

Dr. Jones found the ark but it was a one of a kind unbelievably rare thing. Not one of thousands I mean who cares if the Natzis find them if magic is everywhere.

Middle Earth actually has a lot of magic just not as flashy. But that is really what I like about it. It felt rare and mysterious. Even though everyone in the party had a few items by the time they left Galadriel. Including Sam's magic elven potting soil. Again not nerfing the power or even the amount the party needs or finds its about how it is presented and how the large world treats it. Looking at Middle Earth again. The assumption in Bree in the books when Frodo vanishes in the bar is that he is some sort of sorcerer. It was not unheard of but it was not common. Is there magic in the world but there is not a Walmart with discount magic items made by gnome school children.

I can't help with Robin Hood he never needed magic before why does he need it now.


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Kirth Gersen wrote:
Otherwhere wrote:
For myself, it was the sense of entitlement that really set me back when I first started playing/running a game again. Maybe that's the fault of video games?

It dates back to at least 2000, because it's hard-wired into 3rd edition. The whole game is built on the assumption that PCs can have WBL worth of pretty much whatever gear they want, within that limit. Without it, the whole CR/challenge system breaks down very quickly.

Blaming anything you don't like on "video games" is pretty common, but not really useful.

Disclaimer: I'm a 1st ed. grognard who does not play video games.

Ya, its less "video games" and "Oh we raided the fort and got... nothing." Much like gaining in level, gaining items is way to enhance your character. And I've never met a player who didn't love progressing by gaining levels. Enhancing your character (through levels or items) is fun because it adds a sense of accomplishment. Getting a +1 Dagger and some gold at level 7+ is simply not fun.


Gnomezrule wrote:
Luke and Darth having the only light sabers in the galaxy as far as we knew in the first triology was part of the mystique. Again its power was significant but it was rare.

Yeah, it's not like there were other ultra-high-tech (aka "magic") items like star destroyers and landspeeders and hyperdrive and tractor beams and blasters and AT-ATs and bacta tanks and hologram projectors and droids and cybernetic armor and the Death Star. I mean, the series could never hold together with that kind of stuff everywhere.


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The "entitlement" predates 3.0. It was the same way in 2nd edition and, according to my dad, the same way back in his day. Only difference is that WPL is more codified into 3.X games. Though it isn't hard to work around honestly.

Course, is it the player that is entitled because they want rewards, or the GM that is entitled for wanting less magic? ;)


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Devin O' the Dale wrote:

I never use magic items shops...... they seem like a joke personally

There may be an herbalist or alchemist sellign potions or poisons .... everything else must be created, looted,found, or bargained for ....

but never a shop......

people able to customize to the smallest degree the magic items they have on their character is the quickest way to turn Role into Roll and break the system.....

The same could be said of spell lists and spells known.


I think the whole magic shop (or shoppe) idea is really dumb. There is no reason whatsoever to equate the rules saying something might be available to saying that it is all located in one store, on main street.

I would think that locating the desired object is part of the process.

Like buying a used car, lots of places to look til you find exactly what you want.


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KenderKin wrote:
Like buying a used car, lots of places to look til you find exactly what you want.

Fluff-wise, sure, but not every group enjoys spending their weekend time pretending to go shopping; some people even hate it in real life. So the real question is whether you hand-wave all that and just say "OK, after 2 weeks of searching through the back alleys of Kambuchistan, you manage to secure a magic dagger of uncertain precendent"... or whether you force them to play out every conversation with everyone along the way.


Kirth Gersen wrote:
Gnomezrule wrote:
Luke and Darth having the only light sabers in the galaxy as far as we knew in the first triology was part of the mystique. Again its power was significant but it was rare.
Yeah, it's not like there were other ultra-high-tech (aka "magic") items like star destroyers and landspeeders and hyperdrive and tractor beams and blasters and AT-ATs and bacta tanks and hologram projectors and droids and cybernetic armor and the Death Star. I mean, the series could never hold together with that kind of stuff everywhere.

But they were not readily available to a rag tag group of wanders looking to loot the space station Hommlet. They had context and relevance to the world and needed huge sums of credits spent by the empire. Land speeders were akin to riding dogs or horses considering a peasant farm boy had them. I would say that a lot of the high tech things you list here are mundane in the world in which they exist. And also again magic or tech as special is not the same as nerfing it. Blasters common, ships relatively common, battleships rebels had some empire had alot. Lightsabers only 4 we know of in the original trilogy. Are you seriously suggesting that the Death Star was not significant or rare in the story?

Its an issue of taste. I prefer feeling like items are rare and not one of billions in the world. I was just responding to your previous post that I actually thought was clever but I felt like you were equating rare or special magic as the same as nerfed or absent. The are not necessarily the same thing.


Gnomezrule wrote:
But they were not readily available to a rag tag group of wanders looking to loot the space station Hommlet.

Sure they were. Han Solo just happens to have a hyperspace-capable ship equipped with a variety of laser cannons. They even meet him in a bar, in time-honored D&D fashion.

And, yeah, two Death Stars amidst an insane plethora of x-wing fighters and droids and so on down the list. Just like you have maybe one Hand and Eye of Vecna amidst all those magic swords.

Same, same.


KenderKin wrote:
I think the whole magic shop (or shoppe) idea is really dumb. There is no reason whatsoever to equate the rules saying something might be available to saying that it is all located in one store, on main street.

No one said there is. Magic Mart is just an expression for a certain type of game. It's not meant to be taken literally (but doesn't mean it can't, I'm sure some people do have literal magic marts in their games).


Like with all things, I take the answer in the middle. I don't have magic marts everywhere, but I compromise and give the players the rewards they want, or sometimes the rewards they don't realize they want. A friend playing an awakened bear cleric was happy when he got a temple to his god that he could have. Never wanted it, never asked for it, but man, he was psyched to get his paws on that temple.

With shopping or crafting, I generally handwave it unless there is an adventure to be had for it. Roleplaying your first time in a certain shop is fun. Doing it each and every time would get tiresome. But I always choose fun over verisimilitude given the option.


KenderKin wrote:

I think the whole magic shop (or shoppe) idea is really dumb. There is no reason whatsoever to equate the rules saying something might be available to saying that it is all located in one store, on main street.

I would think that locating the desired object is part of the process.

Like buying a used car, lots of places to look til you find exactly what you want.

The rules are set up in such in fashion that:

1. Making magic items is easy. Like really really easy.
2. Magic items tend to hang around for basically ever.
3. Magic items are really easy to identify making them easy to sell.

Also, no one is saying that there is one store that sells everything though sometimes there probably is. Take my campaign, you can stop by "The Glad Mage" for a minor magical nick-knacks and other curiosities (or fireworks...), or you could swing over to Stormhaven Academy and see what magical items they have in stock, or you could go to Montmorency's which is basically a magic department store (complete with elevator and "8th floor Hats and Cloaks"). Or you could hop a Planeshift to Union and go to Brimstone, where a Lawful Neutral Horned Devil probably has what you want in stock, just make sure your payment is on time and in the correct amount.


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Again, if you want items to be less common, just get rid of "slots" and let them combine properties. I posted the example above of the guy with magic plate armor of bull's strength, resistance, and flight, instead of having the armor, a belt, a cloak, and a carpet all as separate items. The thing is, if you let the players "buy" those proprties themselves up to a pre-selected limit (WBL or whatever), most of them get really into it and enjoy that process as much as leveling up. It's a win-win, because you don't have to sit around dreaming up stuff they'll like.

This is the solution I use; you get rid of the "Christmas tree syndrome" and magic-mart fluff, you don't break the underpinnings of the game, and you add player engagement besides.


Kirth Gersen wrote:
Gnomezrule wrote:
But they were not readily available to a rag tag group of wanders looking to loot the space station Hommlet.

Sure they were. Han Solo just happens to have a hyperspace-capable ship equipped with a variety of laser cannons. They even meet him in a bar, in time-honored D&D fashion.

And, yeah, two Death Stars amidst an insane plethora of x-wing fighters and droids and so on down the list. Just like you have maybe one Hand and Eye of Vecna amidst all those magic swords.

Same, same.

Blasters=Mundane Crossbow

Millenium Falcon=Mundane but awesome Boat
Laser cannons=Mundane Siege weapons
Light Saber=Vorpal Blade
Death Star=Artifact Fortress apparently insignificant to the power of the force.

That's how I see it anyway.


Gnomezrule wrote:

Millenium Falcon=Mundane but awesome Boat

Nope. Millennium Falcon = Mass teleportation/plane shift item. It doesn't just get you from point A to point B; it takes you vast distances, even to different planets (planes), instantaneously. It serves EXACTLY the same role in SW as teleport/plane shift magic serves in D&D/Pathfinder.

Dark Archive

Kirth Gersen wrote:
In D&D, money is only a means to an end. The way the rules are set up, you can't spend that loot on castles, or on hookers and blow, or whatever without hamstringing yourself as an adventurer. This is most especially true of martial guys, because in D&D Land, magic is really the only way to get a lot of things done, once you reach mid-level or so. That means, if you're not casting spells yourself, you need items just to keep up. And getting those items requires gp. That's just the way the game is set up. You can alter or mitigate that by a variety of means, but what you can't do is just ignore it and expect everything to work out.

But for the sake of this argument higher level characters needing better gear =/= need for magic shops in the game. The first is a need or desire that is part preference (player) and part mechanical (required numbers) while the latter is just a fix for the former. Not the only fix, just the easiest.

Magic shops are just a means to an end. They convert loose cash and unwanted "random" items to items the character can (more optimally) use.

One way (of many) around that magic shop design consideration would be for the players to seek out the specific items they need via actual adventuring.

You need a flametounge bastard sword - here's a story/legend/rumor about the sword and where it was last seen. Granted, that approach requires much more work for the players (specific questing) and DM (setting up side quests or incorporating specific items into their current scenario).

---------------------------------

What I did for my last (and most recent) mid level PF FR game was to have players only get higher end gear from higher end fronts.

When they were low level some scrolls and potions were available for purchase, at the close of the last campaign they were trading with a LN Eye of the Deep with sorcerer levels (named Bloggthamalgorus or Blogg) who controlled an underdark chasm as a neutral/safe ground and traded with creatures as they passed through. They had to trek 3 days to get to him and they would put in requests for what they were looking for in advance - and they had to pay fees on top of that or do some kind of service or favor for him (he liked very large and expensive gemstones and he also needed certain things that were not common or durable underground).

When they were in town they were considerably more limited in magic item trading/purchases. Potions and scrolls were available from the local hedge wizard/weirdo living outside of town but they had to go through some go-betweens for the higher powered stuff. The local Lord (who was retaining their services) actually put out the word to other families that they were seeking items and the players decided on what to pick from that. Again though - they were thematically limited to what some noble families would have: armor, cloaks, rings, weapons and maybe some trinket/jewelry items. Nothing too weird.

Again - all the of the above required more work than walking into the magic shoppe and picking out the next sword. But for me it was also very organic. The Eye of the Deep encounter was setup to be a potential ally with trading ability for the weird/odd items and it was fun when the "good" PCs went back to visit him while a group of drow were passing through wanting to start a fight with the PCs - very "Tombstone-esque" verbal standoff.

....

The other thing I did was I stopped running PF/3rd ed based games. Life got easier after that.

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