Default magic item availability assumptions?


Pathfinder Second Edition General Discussion


I'm planning on running the upcoming AP (Extinction Curse) as my first Paizo adventure path, and I'm struggling to understand what role magic shoppes play in the official or default campaign.

I mean, at one extreme we have:

Magic shoppes are plentiful and unrestricted. As soon as a player amasses 2,800 gp she can spend that and instantly have a Flame Tongue (page 600) in her hands.
Heck, if she has 28000 gold, she could buy ten of them!

At the other extreme we have:

There are no magic shoppes. You need formulas to craft anything.

I'm not expecting Paizo to use either extreme, of course. But what is it?

Do settlement levels play a role per RAW? That is, is there a mechanism to limit availability and/or quantity, or is the Treasure chapter to be considered a catalog of shelf-ready items in unrestricted quantities? Are formulas actually used, or is the rules text for formulas merely an optional suggestions for groups that like the idea?

You will hopefully agree that the game's difficulty level depends considerably on this issue, and it makes no sense to me to have a game as carefully calibrated as PF2 only to leave access to magic items entirely unregulated.

Also, the utility of the Crafting skill seems to be entirely dependent on the GMs decisions in these issues. What am I to tell a player wanting to know if Crafting will play a role in the upcoming campaign?

Now, I already know I can make up my own mind and that I can decide for myself, so please don't post just to say this. In this thread I want to know every little scrap or tidbit of an official position for playing PF2 Adventure Paths on "default difficulty" that you know of.

Thank you


Currently, items are limited by community level. If, for instance, a town is level 4, it will typically sell common items up to level 4. Devs have said that they would like for most equipment to be procured while adventuring, however, but I don't know about "official statement."

Crafting, as always, is regulated by the player's level. They may have all the time and money in the world to spend on crafting, but they can't craft items that are beyond their relative power level.

Sovereign Court

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If you want official guidance, you'll have to wait for the Gamemastery Guide which releases next month. That will give you the designers' standard assumption. That's as "RAW" as a guideline for the GM can come to being a rule.


Ascalaphus wrote:
If you want official guidance, you'll have to wait for the Gamemastery Guide which releases next month. That will give you the designers' standard assumption. That's as "RAW" as a guideline for the GM can come to being a rule.

Okay, are you sure it will contain such guidance? It would be great if it did!


Ruzza wrote:

Currently, items are limited by community level. If, for instance, a town is level 4, it will typically sell common items up to level 4. Devs have said that they would like for most equipment to be procured while adventuring, however, but I don't know about "official statement."

Crafting, as always, is regulated by the player's level. They may have all the time and money in the world to spend on crafting, but they can't craft items that are beyond their relative power level.

Okay... but if the answer to the following question remains unknown, that still isn't exactly satisfactory for the player:

Will players regularly operate in settlements at their level?

For instance, what is the case for the existing AP, Age of Ashes or whatitscalled?

What is the "settlement level" of big cities in the Absalom region, for instance? (Assuming I can't or won't prevent players from sailing around the region once they're off the lowest levels)


Also, formulas.

Thank you for your answers, but you say nothing of formulas.

If there isn't any support for them, I can't see how I am supposed to support formulas without considerable effort.

For instance, if APs routinely have formulas drop as loot, I would probably use them...

Or, if there is guidance such as "you may turn any magic item a monster isn't actively using into its formula instead"...?

I am uncertain.


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Zapp wrote:
There are no magic shoppes. You need formulas to craft anything.

Formulas are items, you need a formula to be available to get it. So, the extreme is: There are no magic shops and you can't craft anything.

As a DM, I would not always apply RAW on something that important. From personal experience (Dead Suns AP), you can have a complete unavailability of some item types during 2/3rd of a campaign. Ending the campaign with a first level item that is paramount to your character efficiency is nowhere close to fun.


Zapp wrote:
Or, if there is guidance such as "you may turn any magic item a monster isn't actively using into its formula instead"...?

Page 293 of the Core Rulebook

Quote:

If you have an item, you can try to reverse‑engineer its formula. This uses the Craft activity and takes the same amount of time as creating the item from a formula would. You must first disassemble the item. After the base downtime, you attempt a Crafting check against the same DC it would take to Craft the item. If you succeed, you Craft the formula at its full Price, and you can keep working to reduce the Price as normal. If you fail, you’re left with raw materials and no formula. If you critically fail, you also waste 10% of the raw materials you’d normally be able to salvage.

The item’s disassembled parts are worth half its Price in raw materials and can’t be reassembled unless you successfully reverse-engineer the formula or acquire the formula another way. Reassembling the item from the formula works just like Crafting it from scratch; you use the disassembled parts as the necessary raw materials.

Your questions seems specific, but are actually quite vague. You are looking for answers to broad sweeping questions, but you want answers for minutiae. What is your specific goal with these questions. Will players regularly operate in towns? That varies from game to game. Will level will the towns be? The game is 4 months old, we have only one AP to pull from, and magic item shopping is specific to the AP in many areas. Without spoilers, the towns provide access to items at the appropriate power level.

It sounds as though you are planning to run Extinction Curse, but give players the opportunity to leave the Isle of Korthos, which is fine. But these questions are aimed at... discovering what items should be available for towns outside of the AP that we don't know anything about yet? I'm just confused as to this line of questioning.

EDIT: You can also use the Inventor feat to get formulas for items.


SuperBidi wrote:
Zapp wrote:
There are no magic shoppes. You need formulas to craft anything.
Formulas are items, you need a formula to be available to get it. So, the extreme is: There are no magic shops and you can't craft anything.

Point taken.


Ruzza wrote:
Zapp wrote:
Or, if there is guidance such as "you may turn any magic item a monster isn't actively using into its formula instead"...?

Page 283 of the Core Rulebook

Quote:

If you have an item, you can try to reverse‑engineer its formula. This uses the Craft activity and takes the same amount of time as creating the item from a formula would. You must first disassemble the item. After the base downtime, you attempt a Crafting check against the same DC it would take to Craft the item. If you succeed, you Craft the formula at its full Price, and you can keep working to reduce the Price as normal. If you fail, you’re left with raw materials and no formula. If you critically fail, you also waste 10% of the raw materials you’d normally be able to salvage.

The item’s disassembled parts are worth half its Price in raw materials and can’t be reassembled unless you successfully reverse-engineer the formula or acquire the formula another way. Reassembling the item from the formula works just like Crafting it from scratch; you use the disassembled parts as the necessary raw materials.

Thank you.

Quote:


Your questions seems specific, but are actually quite vague. You are looking for answers to broad sweeping questions, but you want answers for minutiae.

Yes there is vagueness. If you can help me rephrase my question (as you seem to be doing in your post) that's much appreciated.

Quote:
What is your specific goal with these questions. Will players regularly operate in towns? That varies from game to game.

Of course.

I'm asking from the point of view of someone who wants to run a game at "default" challenge level. To do so, I need to know what the default "Magic Shoppe policy" in official APs is, don't I?

Quote:
Will level will the towns be? The game is 4 months old, we have only one AP to pull from, and magic item shopping is specific to the AP in many areas. Without spoilers, the towns provide access to items at the appropriate power level.

Feel free to use the spoiler tag if you have information you feel is pertinent to my inquiry.

What you seem to be saying is, that for Age of Ashes at least, a player of level N can expect to find a town of level N, and therefore that any item you could craft (items of level N or lower) you could just buy instead.

What you aren't saying is that these shoppes are meaningfully restricted, other than the settlement level? (Of course I realize some shoppes will be specifically stocked according to AP instructions, but now I'm assuming that's an exception and not the rule for all shoppes)

Are you saying that your experience from Age of Ashes is that crafting does not play a larger role than that?

Quote:
It sounds as though you are planning to run Extinction Curse, but give players the opportunity to leave the Isle of Korthos, which is fine. But these questions are aimed at... discovering what itmes should be available for towns outside of the AP that we don't know anything about yet? I'm just confused as to this line of questioning.

I would like to ask experienced Paizo customers what their predictions are.

Of course noone knows for sure until the 6th installment is due.

But already from your post it seems that with no other information, I will have to give my players the following answer:

"By my best guesstimate, magic shoppes are limited to their settlement level, and you will have access to settlements of roughly your own level, give or take."

In other words, Crafting does not play a crucial role unless the GM actively restricts Magic Shoppes over and beyond the default assumptions.

Would that be your best-guess assessment too, Ruzza?


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Alright, let me breakdown my assessment here from what I've got, which is the full AoA AP.

AoA Spoilers:

Book 1 Gives us Breachill, a level 4 settlement which means that players will have access to items that should fill in any gaps in their arsenal between levels 1 and 5, where your max item level should be around level 4.

Book 2 introduces Akrivel, which is a level 5 settlement, but does not sell or trade goods (I roundabout eluded to it as a socialist paradise in my home game), with a large swath of magic items being given out as rewards for Diplomatic standing in the community. It's encouraged in the book for GMs to choose a number of items that your players will need and gift them at a certain point.

Book 3 (I'm just starting this, so my familiarity is low) gives us Cypress Point, a 3rd level settlement that the players get to rescue. They also then travel to Kintargo, a 7th level settlement. There are, as far as I see, no notes about special items.

Book 4 is where things begin to get more interesting. Kovlar is a level 5 settlement, yet introduces us to the first(?) settlement stat block of 2e, which introduces a trait: City of Artisans. It notes that items up to 8th level can be purchased here, as well as weapons and armor up to 12th level. Great for PCs as they begin the Book, but less so for as they finish. However, this is mitigated by an NPC that the players can befriend who can craft items up to 16th level.

Book 5 (very much getting further away from what I comfortably know) gives us Katapesh, a 13th level settlement. It also has a series of Downtime actions, one of which allows players to "seek and unusual item" which allows players to access uncommon or even rare items. This, I believe, is left up to GM discretion. Another NPC allows for PCs to access adamantine or orichalcum. Once more, story specific hoops to jump through. There's probably more here, but -again - my group is only beginning book 3.

Book 6 gives us Promise. It specifically notes that any common item of up to level 20 can be found and purchased in the city, but items of 11th level or higher requires requires Gather Information as such wares are strictly regulated by the overly zealous governor. It goes on to note that uncommon and rare items are once more up to GM discretion.

All that said, Crafting to me is more standardly used for consumables like potions or scrolls as well as the Earn Income action. If a player wanted to "invest heavily" into Crafting, I would assume that stipulation includes the Inventor feat and that they would essentially access magic items without worry for any sort of settlement. It's also a conversation for the player and the GM in my mind. (I have a player that did this, as he's an alchemist and he really wanted a certain uncommon crossbow. It pointed out that it was a lot of investment for a weapon, but he's happy with the choice.)

As for the settlements, from what I see, the bulk of magic items come from adventuring. 90% - 95%, possibly. Settlement magic items seems to just fill in gaps in what you're lacking, but my players haven't felt the need to go into full shopping sprees yet.


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If you are desperate for some guidelines and cant wait for Paizo to release some.

I would suggest to look at the Available Magic Item table from PF1 and changing the base values and purchase limit to fit PF2. As for the number of magic items you can always change it to fit the area as needed.

Sovereign Court

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Zapp wrote:
Ascalaphus wrote:
If you want official guidance, you'll have to wait for the Gamemastery Guide which releases next month. That will give you the designers' standard assumption. That's as "RAW" as a guideline for the GM can come to being a rule.

Okay, are you sure it will contain such guidance? It would be great if it did!

I've got a copy of it for review purposes but that means I'm under NDA, so I can't give you specifics. That it contains stuff about settlements is in the (public) product description already and it's not really running my mouth to say that the actual substance of the book matches the description :P

But I can try to give advice more generally about PF2 based on your questions below -

Zapp wrote:
I'm asking from the point of view of someone who wants to run a game at "default" challenge level. To do so, I need to know what the default "Magic Shoppe policy" in official APs is, don't I?

Yes and no. What you really need is to know what the policy is on accessing items of your choice, as opposed to what randomly drops as loot. The precise mechanism by which places get items of choice is a secondary question, the primary is how much choice they can count on.

I think Paizo intentionally kept the access mechanism for magic items a bit vague, because they don't want to impose a standard assumption that there is (or isn't) a magic shop. Rather, they give guidelines for how much items players should have.

The CRB actually gives you the baseline such as it is, in pages 508-511. The focus is more on the "what" you should have than the "how" you get it. Over the course of a level, the characters should acquire such and so much items of a particular type and level; or if starting a new character with free choice, a pick out of this and that. Whether the characters pick the treasure of a rapidly cooling monster body or get it gifted isn't really important to the game design, just that they get approximately the right amount over the course of a whole level.

The rules for settlements (in the CRB and beyond) say something about how much you should be able to get in a particular settlement, but they don't say how often the players should be able to get to a settlement of a particular level.

I think to develop an intuition for what the game designers expect for acquiring items through shopping and crafting, it's best to look at the rules for starting new higher-level characters. They start with less items than characters that have risen through the ranks, to balance out that they have more choice in what items they get.

So extrapolating that to a policy on shops: it should be easy to get common items up to the level of your character. Common items slightly higher level should be doable with some effort. Likewise, uncommon items should be accessible with some effort - you can't just pick them off the rack, but if you ask around you'll get an answer on what you'd have to do to get them. Rare items are never just available, if they're in a shop there's a plot reason for them. Even if you ask around and are willing to do quests, there is no guarantee you can get access.

So we have an OOC idea of what kind of magic item access should be there, and then we need to find IC ways of making that possible. Generally this is not so hard: higher level characters can gain access to teleportation or planar travel magic and just go to a higher level settlement to shop and then go back to wherever the campaign is taking place. Or if you find that distracting in your campaign, you could let them place special orders with merchants who'll get the items to the adventurers. That could incur a short delay, but probably shouldn't take longer than the time it takes to reach the next level.

Zapp wrote:

I would like to ask experienced Paizo customers what their predictions are.

Of course noone knows for sure until the 6th installment is due.

But already from your post it seems that with no other information, I will have to give my players the following answer:

"By my best guesstimate, magic shoppes are limited to their settlement level, and you will have access to settlements of roughly your own level, give or take."

I think that Paizo's take on treasure is that the means are less important than the ends. The end goal is that characters can get common gear up to their level reliably. Whether you use magic shops, give lots of downtime for crafting, or have traveling magic item merchants is not so important to the designers.

You should enable whatever means you enjoy and find appropriate to your style of campaign. If the theme of your campaign is being out on the fringes of civilization then you don't want a big magic shop because that would look strange. So you can make sure there's more time for crafting and that inventing formulae is doable. Or you create an interesting magic merchant NPC that the PCs can easily place orders with.

In the case of Oblivion Oath, you have a bit of an unusual situation: Absalom certainly will have a high settlement level and has a reputation as being a key hub for trade, so items would be available that are far higher level than the PCs. For the first 13 levels or so, Absalom has more to offer than you need. You may want to find reasons why level 5 characters can't buy level 10 items. But this is not so hard: you can just say that those kinds of items come from different shops that for security reasons don't deal with just everyone. You have to have more of a reputation before they want to do bussiness with you. (In other words: you need to gain more levels = more reputation.)


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I agree with Ascalaphus. For me, if an item is Common, players should have no issue getting access to it (and in whatever quantity they need) at appropriate level. You may give a little delay for access, but you should not block the access, unless you want to have different power levels between your players depending on their ability to access the magic items they need.
And some APs put you in very distant places, where they won't be able to buy anything. In such a case, you need, as a DM, to give them what they need from the loot (and as such adapt the loot to their needs if they have unconventional ones).


Great replies!

Basically, if I'm a player, and I believe I don't need crafting if I will have easy access to Shoppes stocking common items up to my own level, that is, I don't want to take the skill just for Repair and the odd skill check, then I need to ask my GM for house rules to give Crafting some oomph.

If I don't get that, I simply don't pick Crafting, everybody's happy. Aight?


I find that Crafting works the way it is.
I would ask my DM if there is a lot of downtime during the adventure. If the answer is yes, then I can use Crafting. Crafting has one advantage: it divides prices by 2 if you have enough downtime. If I plan on playing a character with strong item needs, I may clearly consider Crafting for the cost reduction. One good example is scrolls on a MCed character. As you can use any scroll from your tradition, it can be very interesting to craft a lot of them so you don't end up limited by your spell slots.


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SuperBidi wrote:

I find that Crafting works the way it is.

I would ask my DM if there is a lot of downtime during the adventure. If the answer is yes, then I can use Crafting. Crafting has one advantage: it divides prices by 2 if you have enough downtime.

This isn't the proper thread to discuss this, but I believe this is a misconception.

All you save by longer crafting periods is exactly what the other characters earn by Earn Income during the same downtime period.

While that might technically reach "half price", I would still call it misleading: you could simply buy the stuff and do Earn Income, and end up with the same gold without having Craft as a skill.

Right?


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Unfortunately all we have till the gmg hopefully gives us more is

"If you don’t know the settlement’s level, it’s usually 0–1 for a village, 2–4 for a town, or 5–7 for a city. A PC might need to travel to a metropolis or capital to find tasks of levels 8-10, and to the largest cities in the world or another plane to routinely find tasks beyond that."

Outside of that I am running it as uncommon will require npc roleplay to get and may be location limited. Rare is specifically tied to quests or me giving it out but never a plain sale.


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Not wrong, for sure.
But I think Crafting earns a bit more than Earn Income (at least in PFS, I roll 2 level above with Crafting, but I don't know if it's rules guidelines or PFS downtime rules).
Also, Earn Income can't be used in every situation. For example, if you are making a boat trip, unless you're a sailor, you won't be able to earn income. But if you have the proper equipment on the boat, you can craft. Same if you are in a small settlement compared to your character level. It depends on the type of crafting, but alchemical crafting, scroll writing and most consumable crafting can be done nearly everywhere with small amount of tools in my opinion.

Also, I must admit I really dislike Earn Income. I find that illogical from a roleplay perspective for my character to lose time earning income when he could do more important things like training or crafting his equipment. But that's purely personal :)

Sovereign Court

I think the Earn Income table is calibrated so that compared to adventuring, doing regular work is pretty tame. For comparison: in PFS typical payout for a level 1 adventurer is 14gp for the adventure compared to 4sp for some Earn Income afterwards. Adventuring is the quick trip to wealth compared to sweating in the workshop - which is exactly how it's supposed to be. After all, who'd risk life and limb as an adventurer if a regular job paid just as well?

---

SuperBidi makes a good point about players asking the GM if there is enough time to craft.

Paizo's previous adventure paths often take characters from level 1 to double digits in mere months of in-game time, because you're constantly running after the next group of bad guys that's about to do something really bad.

The 1E counterpoint to that was that if you had enough time, magical crafting gave you such a big discount on magic items that it blew WBL completely out of the water.

So for crafting to be fun and satisfying it there needs to be enough but not too much time for it in the campaign.

Fortunately, in 2E crafting isn't nearly as profitable. So if you're running a campaign where going to shops doesn't fit the flavor ("you're stuck in the jungle"), it wouldn't break anything if you houseruled a shorter time needed to craft things.


We don't have to discuss crafting in this thread (there's plenty other threads discussing that) - just that the initial assumption I'm basing this thread on is:

If you want more than minor flexibility out of Crafting you need to know whether the campaign will feature easy access to Magic Shoppes.

In order to answer that question, I as the GM started this thread to find out more about the "default" Paizo assumption, since the rulebook isn't saying much either way.

Zapp

PS. I'm not saying it's unreasonable to tell the player he or she can't expect more than the minor benefits the rulebook provides to a Crafter.

I'm just saying that any player that does want more, should probably not choose Crafting unless his or her GM can provide further assurances.

Which again brings me, said GM, to asking here at the forum for what I can expect :-)


Crafting is actually a pretty useful adventuring skill now (as opposed to just downtime) because it is now not only covers all of the old craft skills but Appraise and Knowledge Engineering to boot.

How well it functions as a downtime skill is dependent on the settlements of course. Unfortunately, while we know the default rule weill be settlement level = item level for purchase, the devs have been tight lipped on whether you can buy formulas at a higher level, which is a pretty important for the thrust of the thread. Theoretically formulas are cheaper and easier to ship, store, and copy compared to the items themselves, so it stands to reason they would be wider spread. But the lack of guidance has been frustrating.

What we do have a good idea on is settlement level from the CRB.

You set the task level when someone tries to Earn Income. The highest-level task available is usually the same as the level of the settlement where the character is located. If you don’t know the settlement’s level, it’s usually 0–1 for a village, 2–4 for a town, or 5–7 for a city. A PC might need to travel to a metropolis or capital to find tasks of levels 8-10, and to the largest cities in the world or another plane to routinely find tasks beyond that. Some locations might have higher-level tasks available based on the nature of the settlement. A major port might have higher-level tasks for Sailing Lore, a city with a vibrant arts scene might have higher-level tasks for Performance, and so on. If someone is trying to use a particularly obscure skill, they might have trouble finding tasks of an ideal level, or any at all—no one in most settlements is clamoring for the expertise of someone with Troll Lore.

So while theoretically any skill can Earn Income at the same rate, in practice that isn't the case. Saving money from the craft activity, on the other hand, always uses your level. Also, as Crafting is quite useful for adventuring now, you have more reason to raise your proficiency in it and therefore your savings than a Lore skill.

The Additional Lore skill feat is a very efficient way to improve proficiency, but as a general rule of thumb the more relevant to adventuring a lore is (Lore: Dragons) the less relevant it will be for downtime (Lore: Accounting.)

All of that is a long winded explanation for a very basic principle to help you determine how useful Crafting in downtime will be. You need to figure out two ratios:

A) Formula availability to Item availability
B) Character level to Settlement level

The higher the first one is to the second, the better Crafting will be.


Captain Morgan wrote:
Crafting is actually a pretty useful adventuring skill now (as opposed to just downtime) because it is now not only covers all of the old craft skills but Appraise and Knowledge Engineering to boot.

That is an assumption, yes.

Even a reasonable one at that, but for the purposes of this thread we want to find out if Crafting can provide any direct benefits to getting our grubby fingers on magic items. Any other use cases is secondary (for this purpose).

Quote:
How well it functions as a downtime skill is dependent on the settlements of course.

I would hesitate to say "of course" since it isn't in the CRB after all.

Per the CRB settlement level regulates availability of earn income tasks, and that's it.

Quote:
Theoretically formulas are cheaper and easier to ship, store, and copy compared to the items themselves, so it stands to reason they would be wider spread. But the lack of guidance has been frustrating.

Not sure why you believe this is helpful.

You can still only craft items of your level or lower (page 244). There is no reason to seek out formulas ahead of time (except to anticipate level-ups of course).

Quote:
So while theoretically any skill can Earn Income at the same rate, in practice that isn't the case.

With respect, I consider this to be a rather secondary benefit. It's not as if a few levels of earn income makes a difference, not unless you're talking months and years of downtime, which I believe I can safely assume isn't happening in active campaigns like Paizo APs.

If you plan on several months worth of income, it stands to reason you'll move to a capital or go plane-hopping. Say "regular" Earn Income nets you a level 12 task.

Also say the party is level 15. Thus each day means the Crafter makes a net profit of 28-10=18 gp a day or 864 gp during a two-month stay assuming you take Sundays off. However, the characters are level 15! 864 gp extra at that level is chump change, if you ask me... (any item you want to purchase is easily 6000 gold!)


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Zapp wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:


How well it functions as a downtime skill is dependent on the settlements of course.

I would hesitate to say "of course" since it isn't in the CRB after all.

Per the CRB settlement level regulates availability of earn income tasks, and that's it.

Yes, but it has since been clarified in APs, posts from James Jacobs, and Twitch streams on the GMG. Most of which has been mentioned in the thread already, so I rather think we can take it as a given at this point of the discussion.

Quote:

Not sure why you believe this is helpful.

You can still only craft items of your level or lower (page 244). There is no reason to seek out formulas ahead of time (except to anticipate level-ups of course).

You seem to be assuming the settlement level (and therefore shopping options) will keep up with character level. This isn't a given, and isn't how Age of Ashes works. Ruzza's breakdown above is pretty accurate on settlement levels, but they aren't explicit about relative character level.

AoA spoiler:
Settlement levels lag way behind character level. You only have a 4th level market in the story until the PCs reach level 10, at which point they gain access to the the 7th level Kintargo. They are 13th level before they gain access to Kovlar.

And in all of the examples Ruzza outlines, buying items of your level require jumping through some pretty serious hoops.

Quote:
I believe I can safely assume isn't happening in active campaigns like Paizo APs.

You'd be wrong about that. APs don't tend to set firm schedules, but they do usually say "make sure you give players downtime between books they can use to craft magic items." In fact, a good rule of thumb is to assume most campaigns take at least 6 months from start to finish, seeing as how their release schedule roughly coincides with their in game date. Paizo publishes 2 APs a year, which means Golarion has about 2 epic adventures in any given year.

Quote:
If you plan on several months worth of income, it stands to reason you'll move to a capital or go plane-hopping.

That is a HUGE assumption. Conventional travel takes time, time you could be spending earning income. Teleport and Plane Shift are both uncommon spells, and both also require additional tools to use effectively. (You can't teleport to a place you haven't seen, and you can't Shift to a Plane you don't have a tuning fork for.) That ain't something you can count on as much as just convincing the local smithy to rent you some space.

Quote:
math stuff

First off, the rules don't assume for taking Sundays off. They abstract out days of downtime to money earned because they don't want you tracking how many hours you spend on any given day. Some will be more, some will be less. You still Earn Income at X rate per day.

So let's assume 2 months, which is usually 61 days minus the 4 for initial crafting. 57x28 gp (master in crafting) = 1,596 gp.

You seem to be sorely mistaken about how much money that is in PF2, as compared to PF1. It is about half of the gold a party is expected to accrue over the course of 15th to 16th level. Most 15th level permanent items are about 6,500 gp, and a consumable like 1,300. Like an 8th level and life saving scroll of Mind Blank, for example. I mean a scroll of planeshift is going to be at LEAST 600 gp (probably more because uncommon) if you can find it in the first place.

More broadly, my point is that the value of craft as a downtime activity (and thus how advisable it is for you as a GM to let your player invest in it) is "it depends." It is going to vary drastically based on those two factors. Hopefully we get a hard answer to the formula thing, but Settlement level is too varied to give a universal answer to. You will hopefully know the settlement levels of where the adventure goes before you run it.

I haven't tried to map out the Extinction Curse based on previews, but I did notice one book has a prominent Nirmathas NPC on the cover, and Nirmathas (where most of my current PF1 campaign takes place) doesn't have much for big settlements. So I'd guess it will be pretty low on magic mart access because it takes place more on the frontiers, which help contrast it to the upcoming urban AP which is starts off in Absalom. But I'm just guessing.


As far as general balance concerns... PF2 is built assuming you don't purchase the bulk of your gear but find it through adventuring, be it looting or donations from NPCs or what have you. The WBL table in the CRB makes this extremely clear.

Age of Ashes also tell GMs to give out items that fit your specific party. This is explicitly called out at times-- saying you can have an NPC award each character a 10th level item of your choice, or mentioning that a +2 Battle Axe can be made into a +2 of another weapon if the battle axe doesn't suit any of your PCs. We know from posts James Jacobs has made that this is a general design philosophy Paizo has right now.

And vendor trash isn't really a thing anymore, either, based on the Monster Creation rules. Selling monster gear isn't meant to be a significant income stream.

So as a general rule of thumb, magic shop access shouldn't matter THAT much for balance concerns. The game wouldn't give you gold if you couldn't spend it eventually, but purchased equipment is too small a fraction of character gear to worry about strict time tables for markets by character level.

Item access has a lot less to do with game balance than it does about world building and player agency, IMO. The world building is obvious. The player agency is a little more nuanced. How much combing through the entire item list to find exactly what you want do your players enjoy? If they are all about that degree of character creation, they will appreciate having high level markets or formulas to craft with. If their eyes glaze over when you ask how they spend their money, then having less items to choose from is a good thing.

If you allow formula access to outpace settlement levels, your player is going to have more agency by Crafting than shopping. The player also has more say in how much Income they Earn and how they Earn it, because they don't need to ask you for what level of jobs is currently available.


Thank you all. Perhaps surprisingly, you have convinced me crafting could net you maybe 20% savings without being too far from the norm (per practical play).

Though instead of using the RAW on this, which is cluttery, administratively heavy (counting individual downtime days), and still depends a lot on factors players have no control over (such as settlement size), I will probably simplify my Crafting and boil down that 20% gain into something like this.

This way, instead of being close to impossible for a player to get an overview of just by broswing the Crafting process, without the kind of play experience you provide, the rule itself will spell out "t w e n t y p e r c e n t" so the player knows what he or she can expect from choosing to be a crafter.

Thank you for clarifying what Paizo couldn't or wouldn't explain in the CRB :)


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Zapp wrote:
Thank you for clarifying what Paizo couldn't or wouldn't explain in the CRB :)

This is entirely unnecessary. We, the community, reached out to help clarify something for you. I don't see any need to make jabs at the developers. I don't like engaging in your threads for this exact reason.


Captain Morgan wrote:
So as a general rule of thumb, magic shop access shouldn't matter THAT much for balance concerns.

That is a very nasty rule of thumb if you want all your players to have a proper equipment.

Without vendors, you'll have very well equipped characters and completely screwed ones (mostly casters) who will have sometimes more than 5 levels of difference in equipment level.

Classical situation:
The elven wizard with a bow. If you give him money and a vendor, he'll buy a proper rune for his bow. Player happy.
If he has to drop it, considering that he's last pick after the barbarian, the 2-weapon ranger and the rogue, he'll never have useful property runes and will in general have a +1 potency rune when you start giving +2 potency runes.

Also, you have all the characters with non conventional needs. For example, I love scrolls on my casters. Like I don't care about anything but scrolls, they are in general more than 50% of my equipment cost. I never find them in adventure (well, I should say, I never find more than 2% of my needs). If I can't get to a scroll vendor, I'm as good as naked.

Classical character builds equip themselves properly out of loot. But some characters get most of their equipment from vendors.


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What Ruzza said.

SuperBidi wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:
So as a general rule of thumb, magic shop access shouldn't matter THAT much for balance concerns.

That is a very nasty rule of thumb if you want all your players to have a proper equipment.

Without vendors, you'll have very well equipped characters and completely screwed ones (mostly casters) who will have sometimes more than 5 levels of difference in equipment level.

Classical situation:
The elven wizard with a bow. If you give him money and a vendor, he'll buy a proper rune for his bow. Player happy.
If he has to drop it, considering that he's last pick after the barbarian, the 2-weapon ranger and the rogue, he'll never have useful property runes and will in general have a +1 potency rune when you start giving +2 potency runes.

Also, you have all the characters with non conventional needs. For example, I love scrolls on my casters. Like I don't care about anything but scrolls, they are in general more than 50% of my equipment cost. I never find them in adventure (well, I should say, I never find more than 2% of my needs). If I can't get to a scroll vendor, I'm as good as naked.

Classical character builds equip themselves properly out of loot. But some characters get most of their equipment from vendors.

I can actually personally testify that vendors don't solve your first example: I have a cleric of Erastil in my party who has been complaining that they are still using a +1 weapon while most of the party is +2. But the party hasn't found a single one of those +2 runes; they have all been purchased or crafted. Being the last priority for weapon upgrades is a downside whenever you have limited resources to pool. I suppose giving everyone a precisely equal share of the good can help with that, but in practice it creates other problems.

(Per the above description, I'm planning to have the next enemy drop a +2 longbow to appease everyone.)

As for your scrolls example, with the PF2 mentality your GM should be noting this and dropping more scrolls. But that is also just a good demonstration of what I was saying: vendor access improves player agency more than balance. You're the sort of person who wants to be able to comb through the spell list and have a solution to every possible problem on hand, a la Batman. You are a good example of the type of player who is going to strongly prefer picking out your own things vs making due with what the GM drops.


Captain Morgan wrote:

I can actually personally testify that vendors don't solve your first example: I have a cleric of Erastil in my party who has been complaining that they are still using a +1 weapon while most of the party is +2. But the party hasn't found a single one of those +2 runes; they have all been purchased or crafted. Being the last priority for weapon upgrades is a downside whenever you have limited resources to pool. I suppose giving everyone a precisely equal share of the good can help with that, but in practice it creates other problems.

(Per the above description, I'm planning to have the next enemy drop a +2 longbow to appease everyone.)

In the parties I'm in, people split money equally. At least, it's easy to justify that you need some if you are underequipped. It's true it doesn't necessarily solve everything, but if your cleric cares, at first, about his bow, he should be able to have a proper one thanks to money. The rest of his equipment may then be lagging behind, but he has his most important part of equipment upgraded.

Captain Morgan wrote:
As for your scrolls example, with the PF2 mentality your GM should be noting this and dropping more scrolls. But that is also just a good demonstration of what I was saying: vendor access improves player agency more than balance. You're the sort of person who wants to be able to comb through the spell list and have a solution to every possible problem on hand, a la Batman. You are a good example of the type of player who is going to strongly prefer picking out your own things vs making due with what the GM drops.

This one is a bit more complicated.

First, no, I don't care of having everything in scroll. I buy offensive scrolls to complement my spell list in times of need. I really dislike being spell starving, and I find most casters don't have enough spell slots to handle tough fights and dungeons easily. Also, I don't find any other useful items for my casters, so most items you can give me won't please me (I find wands and staves to be way underpowered compared to just scrolls, at least at mid levels (and you don't have many at low levels)).
The main issue, without a vendor system, is that I'm dependant from my DM. If there's a big part of the adventure without scrolls, I will lack them. Also, if my DM doesn't understand my need, or finds that I'm too greedy, I may end up with a small portion of what I need. And clearly, I dislike playing rationing spellcasters, so it's the kind of situations where I may just drop from a campaign out of boredom (if fights are a good part of the campaign, but if they aren't, the limited spell list problem would not be one).
The advantage of a vendor system is that you know a small portion of your equipment will be (roughly) guaranteed. Your basic needs are a certainty, then, you can work with the loot for the rest of your equipment. You won't be equipped the way you want exactly, but you won't lack something you find paramount to your character concept.


SuperBidi wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:

I can actually personally testify that vendors don't solve your first example: I have a cleric of Erastil in my party who has been complaining that they are still using a +1 weapon while most of the party is +2. But the party hasn't found a single one of those +2 runes; they have all been purchased or crafted. Being the last priority for weapon upgrades is a downside whenever you have limited resources to pool. I suppose giving everyone a precisely equal share of the good can help with that, but in practice it creates other problems.

(Per the above description, I'm planning to have the next enemy drop a +2 longbow to appease everyone.)

In the parties I'm in, people split money equally. At least, it's easy to justify that you need some if you are underequipped. It's true it doesn't necessarily solve everything, but if your cleric cares, at first, about his bow, he should be able to have a proper one thanks to money. The rest of his equipment may then be lagging behind, but he has his most important part of equipment upgraded.

Captain Morgan wrote:
As for your scrolls example, with the PF2 mentality your GM should be noting this and dropping more scrolls. But that is also just a good demonstration of what I was saying: vendor access improves player agency more than balance. You're the sort of person who wants to be able to comb through the spell list and have a solution to every possible problem on hand, a la Batman. You are a good example of the type of player who is going to strongly prefer picking out your own things vs making due with what the GM drops.

This one is a bit more complicated.

First, no, I don't care of having everything in scroll. I buy offensive scrolls to complement my spell list in times of need. I really dislike being spell starving, and I find most casters don't have enough spell slots to handle tough fights and dungeons easily. Also, I don't find any other useful items for my casters, so most items you can give me won't please me (I...

I get it. My point is that you're the type of player who wants to be able to shop a lot. Others don't. The game's balance can work either way.

You're personally going to enjoy playing in game with shopping. That doesn't contradict the idea above.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Maybe I missed this, but why doesn't your character craft scrolls?


His point is that vendors do have a large effect on balance. Enjoyment of it is a tangent related to some characters being out right unfun if there arent enough vendors and/or downtime to support them, mostly do to lack of player agency.

@Fumarole, not all casters make scrolls, that's a stereotype (mostly for Wizards).

Sovereign Court

Temperans wrote:

His point is that vendors do have a large effect on balance. Enjoyment of it is a tangent related to some characters being out right unfun if there arent enough vendors and/or downtime to support them, mostly do to lack of player agency.

@Fumarole, not all casters make scrolls, that's a stereotype (mostly for Wizards).

Again, though, as to balance... Vendors have little to do with that. It's about the GM dropping/rewarding enough of the appropriate loot to make sure things are balanced. (Which is a far different goal than letting players get whatever they can afford.)


Dropping the exact rewards the player needs, specially when its consumables, enough that vendors become a none issue can very easily fall into the grounds of Deus ex Machina. At which point the problem becomes, player agency and the feeling of being railroaded, which is just as bad as poor balance.


Fumarole wrote:
Maybe I missed this, but why doesn't your character craft scrolls?

Crafting (+ money and downtime) also works, if you have the formulas of course (for scrolls, it clearly solves the issue, even if it's at a cost, but not an unbearable one).

And I'm with Temperans: Why not putting vendors if you end up dropping what the players would have bought? It would look a bit less strange than exactly finding what your players ask for.


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Temperans wrote:
At which point the problem becomes, player agency and the feeling of being railroaded, which is just as bad as poor balance.

Which is literally what I said.

Item access has a lot less to do with game balance than it does about world building and player agency, IMO.

No one said you shouldn't use vendors. Depriving players of agency is bad.* Poor balance is bad. They are both bad. They are also not the same thing, which is my whole point.

*Assuming they want the agency, as mentioned. Lots of players don't.

Sovereign Court

The CRB does advise the GM to tailor loot piles a bit to players, but I'm not sure that advice is repeated in APs next to those specific loot piles.

In general, rune transferability already solves one of the big problems of PF1, with enemies dropping the "wrong" weapons and armor as loot.

Random loot does have some benefits though; it can end up with players getting some items that they enjoy but would never have bought. The new system also facilitates this. As a GM when doing treasure budgets, you can rate tailored/transferable items as full value (since they won't be resold, and people would have likely bought them for full cost if they hadn't dropped), and rate "random" items as half value (since they're more likely to be sold for half value).

Occasional shop access allows the players to do some tailoring themselves, round off the rough edges.

So I think a happy campaign splits treasure roughly three ways:
- Some tailored/transferable items ("core" items)
- Some random items; player choice to keep them or sell for half value
- Some cash & shopping

Selling stuff for half or keeping them can be an interesting choice; by keeping more random items players basically optimize quantity over quality. After all, if you keep something instead of selling it for half value, you've basically earned the second half of the value.


Also, in the Treasure for new characters chart, there is a part of the treasure which is composed of money. Roughly 15%. So, I think this can be used as baseline from the developers.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Ascalaphus wrote:
The CRB does advise the GM to tailor loot piles a bit to players, but I'm not sure that advice is repeated in APs next to those specific loot piles.

It is repeated, there are at least two instances in Hellknight Hill where it tells the GM to adjust the magic weapon loot to something that fits the PCs.


Vlorax wrote:
Ascalaphus wrote:
The CRB does advise the GM to tailor loot piles a bit to players, but I'm not sure that advice is repeated in APs next to those specific loot piles.
It is repeated, there are at least two instances in Hellknight Hill where it tells the GM to adjust the magic weapon loot to something that fits the PCs.

It is also repeated in the second book-- there's a whole paragraph on giving them custom items at one point. I can't remember if it is repeated in the 4th book, although at that point there is at least some degree of respectable vendor access.


Temperans wrote:
Dropping the exact rewards the player needs, specially when its consumables, enough that vendors become a none issue can very easily fall into the grounds of Deus ex Machina. At which point the problem becomes, player agency and the feeling of being railroaded, which is just as bad as poor balance.

And vendors always having exactly what you want to purchase is different, how?


Saldiven wrote:
Temperans wrote:
Dropping the exact rewards the player needs, specially when its consumables, enough that vendors become a none issue can very easily fall into the grounds of Deus ex Machina. At which point the problem becomes, player agency and the feeling of being railroaded, which is just as bad as poor balance.
And vendors always having exactly what you want to purchase is different, how?

1. I didnt say that magic shops should have the item the player wants.

2. All extremes are bad.
a. Giving players every item they ask for refardlesss of method, makes it so magic items lose their Charm. "I'll just get what I want anyways".

b. Never giving players what they want makes it so they dislike their characters or even the game. "What's the point I'll never get what I want".

3. The difference between finding a drop and finding a shop with the item are very different. Finding the drop sometimes gives the feeling of being lucky; While finding the item in the shop sometimes gives the feeling of a living world and having "hunted" down the item.

4. Everything is a balance between how often you can find, buy, or make something. This balance will change depending on the campaign/session and the players. Which means to say magic shops arent the end all be all, but they are important and shouldn't be ignored/thrown away.


The basic runes for weapons and armor are mandatory since the bad guys are designed with the assumption that the PCs have them. And if you have those items available on demand it becomes harder to justify other items with lesser cost not being available.

Sovereign Court

Eh. I can see how magic shops would know to stock up on fundamental runes because there's a lot of demand for them. The CRB talks about "core" magic items for a reason.


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

well, is magic shoppes' clientele exclusively adventurers? If so, then I'd agree a high demand for fundamental runes - or the formulae for them. If adventurers are a small percentage of their clientele, as they are a small percentage of the general populace, then overall demand may be low.


Well I would assume that guards, mercenaries, and other questionable individuals would looks for combat bonuses.

Other items are more complicated with markets being artists, nobles, certain explorers, eccentrics, some middle income households, etc.

Then there is the governmental markets. Things like water supply, messaging, lights, policing tools, etc.

The only real limit to a magic shoppe like any other business are its supply and costs. There will always be more demand (although some things are more niche).


Ed Reppert wrote:
well, is magic shoppes' clientele exclusively adventurers? If so, then I'd agree a high demand for fundamental runes - or the formulae for them. If adventurers are a small percentage of their clientele, as they are a small percentage of the general populace, then overall demand may be low.

From a world building perspective, NPCs with combat roles would want fundamental runes too. Mechanically, NPCs don't need them as bad as PCs do, but there's no in fiction reason an NPC wouldn't want striking runes just because their base damage is higher. It's purely gamist reasons NPCs don't get them.

Also, while PCs are rare, I don't think adventurers are on Golarion. They are a recognized profession with numerous organizations like the Pathfinder society. And it is widely recognized as a lucrative profession at that, so they spend more coin than most other people to boot.


Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Captain Morgan wrote:
Also, while PCs are rare, I don't think adventurers are on Golarion. They are a recognized profession with numerous organizations like the Pathfinder society. And it is widely recognized as a lucrative profession at that, so they spend more coin than most other people to boot.

The presence of adventurers in Paizo's official Golarion setting is strongly attested with the updated history showing the results of all published adventure paths to date. They are far from "rare". Indeed, there must be dozens of 17th to 20th level retired adventurers out there, since all the adventure paths are assumed to have been completed successfully.

Now, regarding the default assumptions of magic items, just from reading the CRB, you have to assume they are quite common. A number of low-level consumable magic items are listed in the basic materials section, right alongside swords and backpacks. And a lot of items are marked "common", so it seems to me that the default availability level is quite high, subject to the size of a given settlement.

And we already have extant examples of some shops in settlements whose upper limit of available items is higher than the settlement level as such. So I think this is a mandate for DMs making available anything within the reach of their PCs' pocketbooks.

Personally, I don't like the notion of magic shops which stock everything listed in the book. I prefer curating a list of a dozen or a couple dozen items for any given shop and presenting that list to players, rather than having them paging through the list of magic items to find the most optimal choices. But my personal preferences have nothing to do with the default assumptions of PF2 and the Golarion setting. The way I read the rarity rules, if it's marked "common" then it's generally available somewhere, in a big enough city or a rich enough market.


Wheldrake wrote:


Personally, I don't like the notion of magic shops which stock everything listed in the book. I prefer curating a list of a dozen or a couple dozen items for any given shop and presenting that list to players, rather than having them paging through the list of magic items to find the most optimal choices. But my personal preferences have nothing to do with the default assumptions of PF2 and the Golarion setting. The way I read the rarity rules, if it's marked "common" then it's generally available somewhere, in a big enough city or a rich enough market.

Sorta. Common items up to the settlement level is the default rule, but per James Jacobs your preference is entirely valid, and indeed shared by the dinosaur himself. Saying "all common items" is really just a time saver for GMs.

Plus, don't forget that rarity levels are meant to be changed. Katanas are uncommon in Kraggodan but common in Tian-Xia. You can apply that to any item based on your setting and preferences.

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