When mechanics and roleplay clash - Character attachment to weapon vs. magic weapon


Advice


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I'm running into a bit of a crisis of faith, so to speak:

Context: I play a character whose background involves a family weapon inherited from his father.

The DM was starting us off with a significant chunk of money, but the character is, by background, broke. To make these two facts meet, I gave the character extremely meager beginning equipment, save for a masterwork weapon made of an exotic material.

The problem I'm meeting now is that following the game's first major boss fight, the party has come into possession of a magical weapon of the same type. (My character is the only party member who uses this type of weapon.)

The best option for me would be to use this new weapon. However, this severely breaks roleplay and immersion, as the character has a significant attachment to his current weapon.

I asked my DM what he feels would be an appropriate price for transfering the new weapon's magic to his family's axe, though the price given feels rather excessive to me. The GM justified this price (1200 gp) as being cheaper than enchanting this axe from scratch. However, this does not account for the lost magic on the magical weapon obtained, driving the price beyond the original.

I'm hoping to suggest an alternative solution, though I'm having issue finding one.

Has anyone run into this? What was your solution?


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Don't worry about it too much and stay with your family's weapon. The price difference in the long term for selling the weapon instead of using it is not much so just sell it. I'm assuming the weapon is +1? Then your GM is shafting you on the price big time. Just sell the weapon and enchant your weapon by having someone do it for you. That will set you back 2000gp. If it costs more than that you have one of those GM's who feel that the prices in the book are just suggestions and it's okay to up the price as they see fit (they will never lower it even though if it varies it should do so in both directions). You should at this point point out that that is not really fair to over charge in a game where gold is essentially and experience track, if he persists, well just deal with it.

Don't take his deal for 1200 gold that is not a good deal at all.


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What is the magic weapon? Just a +1 axe?

Also realistically the best option is always to talk to your gm about this (although asking advice about HOW to do this can be a good idea).

EDIT: Actually after Hogeyhead's post I did the math: assuming it's a +1 axe
If you sell the weapon for 1000gp, and enchant your weapon for 2000gp you'll be spending 1000gp to enchant your weapon. That's cheaper than the 1200gp your gm offered.
So yes your gm gave you a bad deal.


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Yeah, the 1200 gp deal is incredibly bad. If it's just a +1 weapon, then to make it in any way fair, it should cost less than 1000. 'cause here's what you could do instead:

  • sell the found weapon for 1000 gp
  • enchant your family weapon for 2000 gp
So, that sets you back 1000 gp. If you go with his deal, you lose much more. Heck, if you have a friendly caster with Craft Magic Arms and Armor, they might even cut you a better deal on the enchantment.


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Honestly, the best way to handle this is to allow the enchantment to be moved for free. There should always been an easy way to help a player enact their vision without breaking the game.

You shouldn't have to pay to play your character.


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Create Mr. Pitt wrote:

Honestly, the best way to handle this is to allow the enchantment to be moved for free. There should always been an easy way to help a player enact their vision without breaking the game.

You shouldn't have to pay to play your character.

I don't know if I entirely agree with this. For example, replacing your dead familiar with the exact same type of creature is always way cheaper than reviving your old familiar and makes no mechanical difference. But if my GM made them cost the same, that would remove all the emotional impact of my familiar's death. This actually happened to me and my character, who is otherwise very distant and unfriendly to other people, gladly paid the 5000 gp to get her old familiar back rather than get Familiar 2.0 for less than half that cost. This really highlighted what kind of character she is which is what you want in a roleplaying game.

Similarly, I think this inner turmoil of "Do I pay a lot of money to make my family sword better or do I just take the better sword?" is a good thing and encourages roleplay. If the enchantment can be moved, it shouldn't be both easy and cheap.
It can be just cheap, though, if your GM is willing. Maybe a local wizard is willing to do it for free, but you owe them a favor now. And maybe later on, that favor goes against what the party is trying to achieve. Or maybe that wizard is a morally ambiguous questgiver. Now we're roleplaying!

There's still no reason to present the player with such a transparently bad deal, though.


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Just to be clear, you guys are passing judgment on this GM for 200gp.

Book prices: sell the axe for 1000 gp, enchant his axe for 2000, net loss 1000 gp.

GM's offer: trade the axe in and have the enchantment transferred for 1200 gp.

The difference between these 2 is 200gp.


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I try not to discourage flavor is it doesn't have a huge impact on mechanics.

I get the value in tradeoffs, but I'd prefer players to have narrative options unfettered by costs.


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Irontruth wrote:
Just to be clear, you guys are passing judgment on this GM for 200gp.

Well, yes. Yes, I am. Depending on what level you are, 200 gp might be important. And even if 200 gp were peanuts, if my GM offered me such a deal, I would probably just stare at them incredulously and wonder how stupid they think I am. It is such a transparently bad deal. Trying to trick your players in such a way strikes me as very bad form.

If the character had Int as a dump stat and no Appraise, then sure, maybe they'd go for that, but from the OP, this seems less of an offer by an NPC to the PC, but by the GM to the player.


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And you have ALL of the details to know for SURE that the GM is screwing the player?


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Try proposing this:
Automatic bonus progression: http://www.d20pfsrd.com/gamemastering/other-rules/unchained-rules/automatic -bonus-progression


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Nixitur wrote:


Well, yes. Yes, I am. Depending on what level you are, 200 gp might be important. And even if 200 gp were peanuts, if my GM offered me such a deal, I would probably just stare at them incredulously and wonder how stupid they think I am. It is such a transparently bad deal. Trying to trick your players in such a way strikes me as very bad form.
If the character had Int as a dump stat and no Appraise, then sure, maybe they'd go for that, but from the OP, this seems less of an offer by an NPC to the PC, but by the GM to the player.

Seems more than a stretch to assume the GM is trying to trick anyone. Maybe that is just the reality in that world to transfer an enchantment.

This is not an issue is roleplay clashing with mechanics. Roleplay is not about getting everything you want. It is about making choices.


Maybe you can get the automatic progression from unchained for your sword?

Or be a paladin with your sword.


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Irontruth wrote:
Just to be clear, you guys are passing judgment on this GM for 200gp.

Well yes, but since the GM is offering "something special" it shouldn't be worse than the normal way of doing things. This is a case where he's made a new system of transferring enchantments, and it's strictly worse than the system in the CRB, so no one will ever use it.

Nixitur wrote:
... Trying to trick your players in such a way ...

I'd assume the GM isn't trying to trick anyone, he's just terrible at maths (or more likely just pulled a number from the air without really thinking about it).

Back to the OP - assuming (s)he's still here - There's not that much difference between a masterwork weapon and a +1 weapon. The +1 weapon gets +1 damage per hit, and ignores DR/magic. The extra 1 damage won't make much difference (it's the +1 to hit that makes enhancements amazing).

Masterwork = 1dx+y
Magic = 1dx+y+1

The DR/magic is only going to be important sometimes. If you come up against an enemy with DR/magic and you think it's dangerous enough to be a real threat to the party THEN you can pull out the magic weapon (assuming your character's at least a little pragmatic).

I'd say role-play it up until you have enough to sell it and enchant your family weapon.


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How long does the transfer take?

If it's instant this system may pay off in the long run.


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MrCharisma wrote:
Irontruth wrote:
Just to be clear, you guys are passing judgment on this GM for 200gp.

Well yes, but since the GM is offering "something special" it shouldn't be worse than the normal way of doing things. This is a case where he's made a new system of transferring enchantments, and it's strictly worse than the system in the CRB, so no one will ever use it.

Nixitur wrote:
... Trying to trick your players in such a way ...
I'd assume the GM isn't trying to trick anyone, he's just terrible at maths (or more likely just pulled a number from the air without really thinking about it).

I think that's fair. Just saying we don't need to crucify the GM over it.

I'd agree that overall the upgrade really isn't a huge deal. In fact, the player could just sell the axe and use the money to buy a different item, like upgrading armor. Either adding a +1, or just buying a better suit of armor. If the PC is wearing starting armor, it's probably scale or chain at best. If combined with a little more money the PC could get full plate and significantly upgrade their AC.


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After further discussion, it does seem like the other axe was intended to be part of the 1200, with the transfer price really being more like 200.

That said, as another party member similarly has a 'growing weapon' thing going, we are thinking of using the Scaling Weapons variant.

http://paizo.com/pathfinderRPG/prd/unchained/magic/scalingItems.html

Does anyone ahve experience with this?


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Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

How about having both weapons?

The heirloom sword isn't supposed to take you all the way to 20, it is something passed down to your own heir for when they start their own adventure. Maybe your parents were adventurers that fell into hard times when they retired and lost the treasures they had earned. They made sure that the sword was kept to pass on to you, though. Now, you have to let go of living up to your parents' legend and forge your own.

So you carry that weapon with you, because, in essence, the blade absorbs your experiences. It isn't a useless weapon, but it is going to be eclipsed by magical weapons that you find. You'll have your own weapon with your own story to tell, but the heirloom blade is what has connected generations of your family who've owned it.

So take up the new weapon, take a deep breath, thank your parents for their love, and turn that weapon into one that the land will never forget.


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Ask GM if you can transfer enchantment. When I GMing, you can't always give players what they want. But you can give them options to make up what they want. I always let them transfer enchantment for 50gp for +1, 100gp for +2, 200gp +3, 400gp +4, 800gp +5, 1600gp +6, 3200gp +7, 6400 +8, 12800 +9, 25600 +10. Ask if your GM can do that.


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At higher levels, enchanting a weapon takes so long that you will want a backup weapon anyway.


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Valamuur wrote:

How about having both weapons?

The heirloom sword isn't supposed to take you all the way to 20, it is something passed down to your own heir for when they start their own adventure. Maybe your parents were adventurers that fell into hard times when they retired and lost the treasures they had earned. They made sure that the sword was kept to pass on to you, though. Now, you have to let go of living up to your parents' legend and forge your own.

So you carry that weapon with you, because, in essence, the blade absorbs your experiences. It isn't a useless weapon, but it is going to be eclipsed by magical weapons that you find. You'll have your own weapon with your own story to tell, but the heirloom blade is what has connected generations of your family who've owned it.

So take up the new weapon, take a deep breath, thank your parents for their love, and turn that weapon into one that the land will never forget.

That's kind of a lame copout for someone who is invested in the whole "Ancestral Weapon" trope.


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Using a battle axe as the example, wouldn't the price to pay someone to enchant it(and this is not assuming they won't charge a little extra to do so) be 1,160 because you need to buy the masterwork axe first? If the special material doesn't make the item masterwork it would instead cost 1,420gp (enchanting it, buying a casting of masterwork transformation and the spells material component)?


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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Azten wrote:

Using a battle axe as the example, wouldn't the price to pay someone to enchant it(and this is not assuming they won't charge a little extra to do so) be 1,160 because you need to buy the masterwork axe first? If the special material doesn't make the item masterwork it would instead cost 1,420gp (enchanting it, buying a casting of masterwork transformation and the spells material component)?

By definition special materials make an item masterwork.

If the heirloom special material item in question is getting the enchantment, then the masterwork requirement has already been met.


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On the other hand...

As a GM, I was just recently running a game for a Firefly RPG (using the revised Cortex system), and had a character who was an expert swordsman. As a signature asset (a kind of akin to a personal "I'm better with this item than I am without it" thing - akin to a mwk or magical weapon; it's a big deal) he had his grandfather's old saber (especially emotional, as the guy had been disowned by his parents after failing out of law school; his mother had come to visit him one last time, and gift the thing, as part of his pre-game background; it was pretty emotional).

So Quinton (the PC) went up against a villain with monstrous prosthesis (a mechanical metal claw-arm, a huge metal neck-piece, and, other things) although he was winning, over-all, he was also gaining ever-greater complications*, and his foe was pretty brutal and tough. Finally, the complications piled high enough that the character just couldn't do anymore - he would be taken out, meaning he'd probably drop the grenade, and he and a nice portion of the station would suddenly have new holes that couldn't be fixed. So, thinking, I had the complication shift focus, and, as a, "I win!" move, the bad guy took his weapon and destroyed it.

The player just had the character sigh, wistfully (as another player said, "No! No! Not the sword!"), take a step back, and grab a hold of a bar in the wall. With a mild, "Sorry." he opened the airlock, sucking the metal dude - and the now-released grenade - out into space, before slamming the airlock again, and closing it.

The point of all this? The character lost his heirloom weapon - it was a big deal. But at the same time, the character lived, and manged to be a Big Dang Hero***, and saved everyone's lives, and their shiny new (mobile) space station.

Although he'd lost an incredibly important part of his character design, he had succeeded and in a spectacular way that the adventure (and I) hadn't originally anticipated, but I, as GM, supported him in doing.

To that end, the player handled the loss not only well, but enthusiastically about the story. Of course, it helped that another PC (namely the one who'd been so worried about the sword in the first place) went out of her way to replace it with the finest weapon her money could buy; similarly, I, as GM, made sure that there were ways various grateful NPCs would also help (a future-equivalent of GoFundMe was started with his name that eventually purchased his grandfather's entire collection... secretly basically donated by his parents... that gave him a huge wrack full of weapons).

For the curious, he chose the one given by his friend as his new signature asset - I allowed him to have it basically for free, considering the sacrifice involved.

The point is this: though it was a key element to his build, he was more than ready to give it up in an epic story conceit. It may be possible to chat with your GM about something like this. Either a planned thing, or one that you aren't entirely sure about, but that can work out anyway.

You don't have to go this route, and I don't necessarily recommend it - point in fact, the specifics wouldn't really work in PF, as it's an entirely different system.

Rather, I'm just pointing out that there are multiple ways to handle the "heirloom" trope, other than, "Worthless junk I toss." and "The magic always grows!" element, though, depending on the group, either of those could satisfy, too. You might find one that works for you!

As to the GM, it's also possible that he gave you the weapon thinking he was basically doing you a favor. "Hey, that guy has axes, right? Maybe I'll throw him a shiny." is another possible interpretation. Mostly, no matter what they take, GMs - at least if they're at all like me - like to help their players have fun and craft an interesting and emotional story.

Working with your GM and the group is the key point - making it a good thing.

Out of curiosity, what is the special material your weapon is made of?

* Gaining complications is roughly analogous to losing hp. It's less tightly bound than that, as the system is functionally different, but if you get enough complications, or a particular complication becomes too big, you get "taken out" (and can't do anything). In this case, the poor guy had been shot in the leg, punched repeatedly, stabbed once in the arm, fallen off a ship to metal floor, run through a - admittedly small - space-station, and had flash-bangs go off on him in pursuit of a fleeing criminal who was trying to get to his metal-enhanced colleague. When Quinton - the PC - finally caught up with the fleeing criminal, said criminal had a bomb on his vest, and pulled out a (space-) grenade to throw at Q-ball. So, Quin, not having time to cross the space, used the weapon he already had in-hand to render the villain unconscious - a one-shot electric baton-like thing. Said baton had been intended for the fleeing criminal's partner - the dude with monstrous prosthesis, but alas, one does as one must. Criminal was taken out, although Quinton ran up to him just in time to see the (space!-) grenade's pin fall out... and grabbed that, leaving the effectively-tazered criminal alone, while he went to throw the grenade out an airlock to save the ship (as the blast would be too damaging inside the station for anyone to survive). So a shot, stabbed, flash-banged, fallen, winded, grenade-holding PC went to find an airlock to fling the grenade out of (as he was still depressing the lever**), and he finds... a violent sociopath with large metallic appendages in his way, and nowhere to safely drop his grenade. "Hm. This is a most stimulating day." the player quipped, as the character drew his sword...

** I'm aware that this might not have worked well in real life. 1) this was a dramatic story, and 2) the PC rolled quite well, and 3) as a GM, I'm more interested in dramatic tension and exciting action than murdering my PCs and kicking them in the face for heroism. So, you know, somewhere between those three things, I let it stand, reasoning that this was a safety-conscious future -space- grenade.

*** Yes, I edited. Sorry, fellow Firefly fans! I just... try not to use strong language.

Scarab Sages

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all depends on how you run the ancestors weapon.
It could have a ceremonial value or specialize against a most hated foe or whatever you decide.


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The weapon in question is a greataxe made of fire-forged steel.

I do believe the weapon was intended as a favor, and I certainly don't flaw my DM for doing so.

I am definitely considering keeping the heirloom as a back up weapon if need be, though I would like to experiment with alternate avenues first, especially because the magical weapon was found not long after the beginning of the campaign.

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