Magical weapons and help me get over it


Advice

Scarab Sages

So I know this is going to sound weird but I feel magical weapons kinda take away from the idea that combat is deadly (I know it doesn't but I feel aways about it). I know magical items are a necessity in Pathfinder to allow the players to keep up with monster scaling but is there another way? Is there a better way to allow for lower magical items and keep the fun and scaling on the same level? Im looking for any advice and help on this topic so I can start handing out magical items to my players before they drawn and quarter me!! Thanks!


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Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

You can always just refluff magic weapons as weapons of finer craftsmanship, and remove the ability to transfer runes. Although, it sounds like you might want to talk to your players about this because they seem to be wanting to have magic items.


In a home game, nothing stops you from giving your players a sort of automatic bonus progression: give them the effects of fundamental weapon runes for free when they reach the appropriate levels, and keep only property runes on the magical weapons you hand out (or they buy/craft).
Probably, you should also reduce the treasure they get to account for the free runes they get.


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Bonus progression will also be in the gamemastery guide as far as I understand


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The whole "keep up with monsters and NPCs" thing is more the fundamental runes than the "magic effect" runes. So you could just make the +1 to attack and +1 damage die in inherent part of the weapon, contingent on being picked up by a character of the appropriate level (i.e., the same longsword would have different stats just by being passed back and forth between a low-level PC and a high-level PC). Which is also how NPCs do their level-appropriate damage while only using mundane weapons, even at high levels.


I'm not sure that baking the Magic weapon progression in would make combat feel any less deadly, but I guess that's up to how OP feels about that.


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Lanathar wrote:
Bonus progression will also be in the gamemastery guide as far as I understand

I'm hoping that takes the form of "whatever weapon you're using is level-appropriate", rather than "pick one, maybe two, weapons to be level-appropriate, while the rest still inevitably fall behind".


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Tectorman wrote:
The whole "keep up with monsters and NPCs" thing is more the fundamental runes than the "magic effect" runes. So you could just make the +1 to attack and +1 damage die in inherent part of the weapon, contingent on being picked up by a character of the appropriate level (i.e., the same longsword would have different stats just by being passed back and forth between a low-level PC and a high-level PC). Which is also how NPCs do their level-appropriate damage while only using mundane weapons, even at high levels.

In my own rpg draft this is kinda exactly how awesome items work. The quality of the item provides the upper cap, but the skill of the user determines how much they get of it. E.g in pathfinder terms the expert weapon weilder by a trained character only gives the trained benefit, they dont know enough to use it properly

Meanwhile that same weapon in the hands of a legend still only gives the expert benefit as the blade is not well balanced enough to truly sing.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
jquest716 wrote:
So I know this is going to sound weird but I feel magical weapons kinda take away from the idea that combat is deadly (I know it doesn't but I feel aways about it). I know magical items are a necessity in Pathfinder to allow the players to keep up with monster scaling but is there another way? Is there a better way to allow for lower magical items and keep the fun and scaling on the same level? Im looking for any advice and help on this topic so I can start handing out magical items to my players before they drawn and quarter me!! Thanks!

It depends on why you feel that magic weapons take away from how deadly combat is. If its because monsters and higher level NPCs have so many HP that it seems impossible to kill them without magic weapons, then your problem is with the amount of HP creatures have versus the amount of damage a PC does.

If that's the case, Automatic bonus progression of some kind will probably solve your dilemma. Or just halve or quarter everything's HP. Nothing says deadly combat like getting one shot by a dragon.


Tectorman wrote:
Lanathar wrote:
Bonus progression will also be in the gamemastery guide as far as I understand
I'm hoping that takes the form of "whatever weapon you're using is level-appropriate", rather than "pick one, maybe two, weapons to be level-appropriate, while the rest still inevitably fall behind".

Same here. I am using ABP in my 1E game at the moment but have ditched the weapon parts as they were both confusing and counter to the point of ABP in that they discouraged weapon special abilities over the raw numbers


Megistone wrote:

In a home game, nothing stops you from giving your players a sort of automatic bonus progression: give them the effects of fundamental weapon runes for free when they reach the appropriate levels, and keep only property runes on the magical weapons you hand out (or they buy/craft).

Probably, you should also reduce the treasure they get to account for the free runes they get.

This is how I would handle it. Remove the basic +1/2 to attack and AC, and save runes, and the +1/2 die damage bonus runes and just give them to players at the appropriate levels and remove the equivalent value of wealth from all characters. Now that is all just built in and innate to the character.

I suggest leaving a +1 option of all versions priced at the +3 version cost for truly highly characters to make the choice of getting. But if you look at the cost of a +3 potency and major striking runes, they are 31,065 gp. Wealth by level is 112,000 gp. The +3 armor potency + major resilient runes are 70,000 gp. Meaning if a player wanted all 4 of them they would have only 10935 gp left.

Which is why I suggest rolling the first 2 runes into character progression and the leaving the last as actual magical items that players can choose. So far I haven't designed a character that took all 4 at 20th level. Usually sacrificing either the save bonus or damage die bonus depending on what kind of character it was.


The fact characters and monsters do more damage as they level up serves two purposes:
1) it cements the way high-level creatures crush low-level creatures
2) it prevents a high-level fight from slowing to a crawl

That is, the fact you gain loads of hit points as you level up is only supposed to give you a huge buffer against low-level attacks. Against monsters your own level, it would make the game slow and boring if your increased hit point pool meant your foe had to make many more attacks to threaten your life.

Thanks to its increased damage output, you gaining more hit points does not help you in this regard - a monster your level is supposed to be able to eat through your hit points with roughly the same amount of attacks, regardless of whether you're both high or low level creatures.

My point here is that if you dislike how the game makes you need magical weapons with more weapon damage dice, you might be better off with a game without levels - crucially a game where "levelling up" doesn't give you loads of hit points.

There are many fantasy games without this aspect of levelling. Runequest, just to take a single example. You might become a mighty warrior, and your ability to deal damage might be improved several times over, and your ability to block and deflect incoming blows might become incredibly good.

But your basic "life pool" (what D&D calls hit points) stays roughly the same.

So a knife doesn't need to deal more damage throughout the campaign. Losing 4 wounds/hit points/life energy is just as damaging when you start out as it is when you're concluding your campaign, or at least nearly so.

A typical game of this sort starts you out with maybe 10-20 hit points, much like D&D or Pathfinder (or even more compared to the 1d4 of old-school D&D Wizards!).

But at the end of your hero's journey, you might look at having 50% more hit points. Certainly not the twentyfold increase typical of D&D-style level-based games!


Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Harnmaster doesn't use hit points. It uses injury points (IPs). IPs reduce your probability of success at physical endeavors - including, for example, how well you swing your sword. Armor mitigates damage. The same armor mitigates the same damage no matter who is wearing it. But experience counts, both for you and for your enemy. A specific number of IPs taken by a relatively new character will have much more impact on that character's ability in future fights than the same number of IPs taken by a more experienced character. Oh, and IPs can take days (or weeks) to heal. You might be hors de combat for a while.

There are no levels, either btw. It's a gritty, dangerous system, but I like it. :-)

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