I've always struggled with the notion of "mundane magic items," a term I use to describe all those "wondrous" items that get treated like common commodities. I find that I appreciate magic items more when they feel unique and special. Does resonance solve this problem? Or is it not worth the tradeoff in customization?
This is precisely why I am currently running a campaign in wilderness/small towns.
My players can occasionally craft a bit, but otherwise are largely getting items I've fed to them; which makes them actually think the items are really awesome. A Belt of Giant's Strength +2 was an amazing thing to get, rather than a thing that (most of this forum) says you should expect.
This is all to say, items not feeling cool or special is entirely up to the GM; not just in adding flair to an item; but how you structure your players access to things and how to flavor the world.
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PF is a game meant to be played with tons of magic items, due to that, ofc, individual magic items dont feel all that awesome unless they can do something they player trully, trully values a LOT.
Honestly resonance was full of holes, they were trying to deal with it last i checked, but for PF1 for example, i wouldnt ever apply such a system.
PF2 on the other hand they are trying to build from the get go to have such a thing in place, so it could potentially work. In PF1 you are just gimping your players out.
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Curtailing magic items never made magic items feel more special to me. They are either useful or they are not. It doesn't matter if I have one or twenty.
You can flair it up however you want, you can create this elaborate backstory. It can be the only item I get by the time I'm third level and I still won't use it unless it's actually useful.
I reckon resonance (in it's current form) will make magic less 'magical'. Now that permanent magic item is not only competing against every other permanent item, but also consumables that will keep you alive.
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RazarTuk wrote:As long as the system math expects you to have things like a magic weapon or stat boosting items, magic items will never feel special.This. The rules assume you have these items and buffs everything to compensate, ao you are running to stand still.
The comparison I've started giving:
If magic items just mean +X to attack rolls and +XdY to damage, that doesn't feel substantially different from just making levels of craftsmanship above masterwork. And sure enough, the only difference between potency runes and the new super-masterwork weapons are the damage dice, just like +1 damage was the only difference between masterwork and +1 in 1e.
If magic items means things like finding a sword that can wreath itself in flames to help fight the hydra terrorizing a village, or finding a mystical rune that allows weapons to harm the incorporeal to deal with the ghosts haunting a place up, then they begin to feel special again and properly magical.
Additionally, there are two builds that aren't possible if you need a magic weapon to function as a character of your level. Switch-hitters and improvised weapon masters. Sure, runes mean that GMs no longer have to cater treasure to the exact weapon preferences of the party, but they're only transferrable in downtime. If you want to carry around a longbow to open with and a shortsword to switch to when the enemy approaches, you want/need maxed out potency runes on each. And in general, you can't even consider building a character like Jason Bourne who can murder things to death with any improvised weapon. You'd need downtime to move the potency rune to the weapon, which defeats the feel of making things up on the spot.
Does resonance solve this problem?
No. Resonance enshrines the pedestrian nature of magic items by integrating their existence into the fabric of character abilities.
Sir Marcus the Fighter - Hmmm, which magic item do put my resonance points into this morning? [As if any character in any D&D game prior to PF2 has ever stopped to handle magic items that way.]
Resonance creates problems.
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Magic items will never be special if they're just +X bonuses to specific things. It's even worse when the system itself expects the PC's to have certain items at certain levels, it just creates an illusion of choice and progression, this definitely takes away any novelty that new items might have, when you know they're a requirement to be on the expected power-level curve.