Mandatory Items


Pathfinder Second Edition General Discussion

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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I don't come to forums with the goal of debating with others, plenty of other people have that covered. I just wanted to chime in with my personal feelings that are somewhat shared by the op. No need to try to call me out or even try to change my mind, I'm pretty stubborn anyway and it's not really what I'm looking for.

I remember when I was first looking into Pathfinder 1st edition and fell in love with kineticist, it was really the eye opener for me with what the system could do, how different it could be from dnd. But I didn't ever get to play the game, just build characters and talk on various forums about the game. I remember being really disheartened when I found out the insane disparity balance played between builds, with people building PCs with insane ac by level 5. I posted about it on these forums and just through finding common ground with people (including mark seifter himself, who has turned into a bit of a hero to me, chatted with him a bunch during paizocon (I'm rhynox on discord)) it made me feel better about the system.

That's a big reason why I post on forums. Not to debate or look to call people out or change peoples opinions. I'm sure I'm not the only one in the Venn diagram of people who play by rules as written and people who aren't a huge fan of fundamental runes. A second reason to post is that devs do see this sort of thing. There's already a few ways of having fallback options if your weapon breaks (or not using a weapon at all) and more are on the way with SoM and GnG. I love those sort of options and am always looking for more.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
PossibleCabbage wrote:

It's really a feel thing. Some stories benefit from the protagonists having a magic sword. Other stories benefit from the protagonist being a total BA who can win fights with random objects.

If there weren't magic swords it would be harder to tell stories about people who find awesome magic swords. IF you don't want to do that you can just use ABP.

I wish there was more of a middle ground, tbh. Magic swords are cool and players finding unique, powerful weapons that enhance their capabilities is a fun genre staple.

But PF2 weapons really take this to the extreme.


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Aristophanes wrote:
A PENGUIN? I hope that wasn't before 13th level or so. Otherwise that's just WAAAYYY OP!

Carl Gustav (the penguin) has been left in the tender care of the local homeless community the barbarian has taken under his care. His great wrath and terrifying abilities are thus (sadly) only turned against canned fish.


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Karmagator wrote:
Aristophanes wrote:
A PENGUIN? I hope that wasn't before 13th level or so. Otherwise that's just WAAAYYY OP!
Carl Gustav (the penguin) has been left in the tender care of the local homeless community the barbarian has taken under his care. His great wrath and terrifying abilities are thus (sadly) only turned against canned fish.

When was the last time you checked in?

You can't trust those penguins, probably slew everyone in the community during a herring fueled rage.


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Claxon wrote:
Karmagator wrote:
Aristophanes wrote:
A PENGUIN? I hope that wasn't before 13th level or so. Otherwise that's just WAAAYYY OP!
Carl Gustav (the penguin) has been left in the tender care of the local homeless community the barbarian has taken under his care. His great wrath and terrifying abilities are thus (sadly) only turned against canned fish.

When was the last time you checked in?

You can't trust those penguins, probably slew everyone in the community during a herring fueled rage.

Its only been a couple of hours, so the number of potential victims is somewhat limited. He seems rather docile, though, at least when in the presence of anything remotely snake-like. He was the only survivor of the Menagerie Incident and Amun (the dragon, a blue btw) got a kick out of scaring him. Carl will most likely become a monk for his ability to be as still as a stone :D


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Why does it seems everyone defending mandatory items always assume that players don't get magical items with APB?

Specific items are far more magical than any fundamental rune or even property rune can ever hope to be. Honestly.

The GM should also be handing out far more interesting items that do stuff instead of "+X weapon".

Automatic Bonus Progression doesn't inherently means "no magic items" campaign. Quite the opposite, you can simply give your players fun items that they would never consider because they would need to save for their next mandatory upgrade.

Wanna give them a cool item early? Why not describe them this: "You find among the treasure a blade that exhales smoke! It's almost like it's fresh out of the forge!", then you present them a Smoking Sword (+1 Fire damage, but you can concentrate on it and deal 1d6 Fire for the rest of your round) instead of "You find a weapon, it's really well made and emanates a magical aura", then you give then a +1 weapon or +1 Striking, the players will only like it because it's extra bonuses of things that they already can do.

The truth is, you don't lose anything by switching to the APB and I guarantee you all that if you play with it with a bunch of newbie players they won't even notice the lack of mandatory items.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Lightning Raven wrote:
Why everyone defending mandatory items always assume that players don't get magical items with APB?

Literally no one is doing that.

Some people simply like having hefty mathematical power increases from some of their key pieces of equipment as a matter of preference.


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WatersLethe wrote:
Lightning Raven wrote:
Why everyone defending mandatory items always assume that players don't get magical items with APB?

Literally no one is doing that.

Some people simply like having hefty mathematical power increases from some of their key pieces of equipment as a matter of preference.

It seems like they are because the argument that "I like to give my players some cool magical items that get them excited" has been used several times already and it was a staple back then during the playtest.

That's just what I'm getting at.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 4, RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32

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Charon Onozuka wrote:

Would you not just get the same feeling by giving out a property rune like flaming before a player could normally get it? Or you know, any useful magic item that's at a higher level than the party?

Then you get down to the basic question of whether a group finds a +1 or striking weapon exciting. For some players it's just a boring numbers thing, but for others it's not. And while property runes are fun, fundamental runes provide a nice simple way to demonstrate that a weapon is notably more powerful than a mundane alternative. For many groups, there's room for both.

Quote:

My issue with mandatory items is how it ruins the theme of "special magic weapon" when every PC and NPC above a certain level requires it to stay relevant. It feels kinda like an Elder Scrolls game where the excitement of crafting a new tier of weapon is watered down the moment you see that every guard and bandit now has one too.

With the way NPCs are built, I think this is less of a concern; you can have NPCs delivering level-appropriate damage without stocking their gear full of magic items if you wish.

I don't mean to downplay ABP, which is awesome and I'm super glad we got it quickly instead of waiting until the halfway point of the edition cycle. I'm just saying that there are reasons some players might like not using it beyond mere tradition.

Basically, in first edition I always used ABP (and my own houseruled version before Pathfinder Unchained was a thing) because cloaks of resistance and rings of protection bored me to death. The shift toward making the "big" items fantasy staples like weapons and armor solved that problem for me, and now ABP is something I may or may not use based on the campaign. It makes sense to me that some would find a striking weapon as boring as I found an amulet of natural armor in 1e. But those who do find appeal there are likely driven by more than just a slavish devotion to tradition.


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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber
Lightning Raven wrote:
WatersLethe wrote:
Lightning Raven wrote:
Why everyone defending mandatory items always assume that players don't get magical items with APB?

Literally no one is doing that.

Some people simply like having hefty mathematical power increases from some of their key pieces of equipment as a matter of preference.

It seems like they are because the argument that "I like to give my players some cool magical items that get them excited" has been used several times already and it was a staple back then during the playtest.

That's just what I'm getting at.

Er…yes. Some players get excited about mathematically impactful bonuses and think +1 weapons and armor are cool, even if other players (like me) find such items boring.

It ain’t to my taste, but as long as they’re happy, I see no issue.


Not using the "mandatory" runes without going to ABP leads to odd scenarios. I play a Mutagenist Alchemist, and he's definitely a Melee combatant. If for some reason folks didn't have the weapon runes he'd have a better chance of connecting on the first swing than anyone not a Fighter (for a lot of his career).


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I don't really understand the people wanting the mandatory magic items myself. Striking runes have actually somewhat turned me off of playing fighters and monks in pfs.

And playing those classes is actually otherwise fun to me in pf2.

But then they get to level 5 and are waffling little wimps without those runes. So they have to then buy more power from somebody else to succeed, instead of getting stronger themselves.

Well, unless they're crafting them themselves of course, but then all my fighter and monk characters also have to also be magic item crafters. Which feels weird.

That's how I feel about it, anyway.


I think some people are missing my point. It is not that they are not being given out as loot. The adventure as written has standard loot.

The party just doesn't want to use them. They hate the way they work mechanically and the lack of internal consistency with how they function. They feel like they are an artificial tax that has been imposed.

I am listing all these reasons because different players have expressed different causes for their dislike.

The ABP seems like it will work for my group. Too bad that is an optional rule. We also tend to play with only baseline rules and no variants or homebrewing. I think in this case though it is a necessary exception.


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The Tage wrote:
They feel like they are an artificial tax that has been imposed.

That's because, in a way, they are exactly that.

When including the concept of "some weapons are just plain better than normal" in your game, there's really only two goals you can aim for: a game that is balanced when you include such weapons in reasonable quantities and intervals, or a game that is balanced until you include any such weapons.

Paizo having aimed for a game that is balanced when played as expected so that there's no sliding scale for GMs and players to try and wiggle into place by including magic items and then doing something to counter-balance the effect and there's no "well, just don't have magic swords if you don't like how easy encounters are when you have one" effect results in the case of either you have the level of items the game math expects you to or you are genuinely behind and the game difficulty has increased as a result.

And I personally think this came down to the playtest asking the wrong question (because "do you want items with plusses in the game?" being answered "yes" isn't quite the "do you want items with plusses in the game, even when those plusses will not result in being above the expected statistics for your level?" being answered "yes" that it ended up being) and forgetting to account for the fact that what people say they want is often not fully accurate, especially because people often believe they prefer what they currently have over other options they've never tried but they are really just preferring to stick with a known quantity that works well-enough rather than risk something new resulting in a worse experience even if there are good odds it'd be an improved experience instead.


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The Tage wrote:
They feel like they are an artificial tax that has been imposed.

That is their design intention. During the playtest a number of options were considered and a preponderance of players, according to Paizo, deeply enjoyed the fantasy trope of a character who is helpless without magical equipment. Paizo crafted their magic item rules specifically to cater to this fantasy.


I don't remember anyone asking to be helpless without magic items. There was however a large group who though that the items in the playtest were not good enough. In any case the matter of "you absolutely need this weapon" is due to how Paizo set up the system. Not a matter of "having strong weapons is bad".

The same thing happened with shields. The playtest gave a system that no matter how much damage you block with a shield it will always remove 1 out of 2 dents (3 for sturdy). But people didn't like that as a small hit should deal little to no damage to the shield. Now sure they gave HP to shields; But they barely gave most shields enough to take 1 hit before being broken, let alone 2.

(Hence the meme of "let me block with my body to protect my shield.")


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swoosh wrote:
The Tage wrote:
They feel like they are an artificial tax that has been imposed.
That is their design intention. During the playtest a number of options were considered and a preponderance of players, according to Paizo, deeply enjoyed the fantasy trope of a character who is helpless without magical equipment. Paizo crafted their magic item rules specifically to cater to this fantasy.

A less disingenous way of putting it would be: a preponderance of players actually wanted Excalibur to feel like Excalibur, and not "exactly as good as any other sword, but flaming".

Temperans wrote:

The same thing happened with shields. The playtest gave a system that no matter how much damage you block with a shield it will always remove 1 out of 2 dents (3 for sturdy). But people didn't like that as a small hit should deal little to no damage to the shield. Now sure they gave HP to shields; But they barely gave most shields enough to take 1 hit before being broken, let alone 2.

(Hence the meme of "let me block with my body to protect my shield.")

The primary cited reason was more that no matter how strong the hit, a shield would always take a certain amount of hits to destroy, which caused realism issues when say, a level 7 giant clubbed a level 1 shield and it stayed intact.

(And that meme is used only by armchair theorycrafters, who would also tell you caster damage sucks.)


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Cyouni wrote:
swoosh wrote:
The Tage wrote:
They feel like they are an artificial tax that has been imposed.
That is their design intention. During the playtest a number of options were considered and a preponderance of players, according to Paizo, deeply enjoyed the fantasy trope of a character who is helpless without magical equipment. Paizo crafted their magic item rules specifically to cater to this fantasy.

A less disingenous way of putting it would be: a preponderance of players actually wanted Excalibur to feel like Excalibur, and not "exactly as good as any other sword, but flaming".

And now it feels exactly as good as any other sword that you would've gotten at the level you get it, but flaming.


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Charlie Brooks wrote:
Charon Onozuka wrote:

My issue with mandatory items is how it ruins the theme of "special magic weapon" when every PC and NPC above a certain level requires it to stay relevant. It feels kinda like an Elder Scrolls game where the excitement of crafting a new tier of weapon is watered down the moment you see that every guard and bandit now has one too.

With the way NPCs are built, I think this is less of a concern; you can have NPCs delivering level-appropriate damage without stocking their gear full of magic items if you wish.

For me & my players, that actually makes it more of a concern, not less. If you require a magic sword to deal competent damage but the NPC guard/bandit/etc. gets to do the same for free with a normal weapon - then you feel less like heroes since you're clearly less competent with your weapons than the average NPC of similar level. Especially if you have to fight that NPC and then find out you don't get magic loot as a reward, because they're just more special than you are. [And on the flip side, if NPCs are equipped appropriately, then they start providing too much treasure as a reward due to how much expensive magic stuff they need to actually be an encounter.]

Cyouni wrote:
swoosh wrote:
The Tage wrote:
They feel like they are an artificial tax that has been imposed.
That is their design intention. During the playtest a number of options were considered and a preponderance of players, according to Paizo, deeply enjoyed the fantasy trope of a character who is helpless without magical equipment. Paizo crafted their magic item rules specifically to cater to this fantasy.
A less disingenous way of putting it would be: a preponderance of players actually wanted Excalibur to feel like Excalibur, and not "exactly as good as any other sword, but flaming".

Excalibur is a unique sword of legend. Something that every PC / NPC carries on their hip past level X in order to meet basic math standards is not Excalibur. Also, I still maintain that particular survey was very badly worded in a way that would tilt the responses - but it's a sailed ship now.

---

Overall, I'm not too concerned since ABP came out early enough, even though it has issues since it is a band-aid instead of being fully integrated with the system. But overall it is a good enough fix to be satisfied with, especially when I see multiple threads complaining of how certain character and/or campaign concepts simply don't work well with mandatory magic. For example, a gunslinger with a full bandolier of flintlocks, pirate style (brought up during G&G playtest). Unless some custom magic item gets made, you'd have to spend a fortune individually enchanting every one to avoid the weapons becoming useless... or just use ABP to make your character special instead of just their weapons being special.


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Charon Onozuka wrote:
Excalibur is a unique sword of legend. Something that every PC / NPC carries on their hip past level X in order to meet basic math standards is not Excalibur. Also, I still maintain that particular survey was very badly worded in a way that would tilt the responses - but it's a sailed ship now.

And a +3 major striking sword is a unique sword of legend if only one exists, and all other swords are at best +1 striking.


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Cyouni wrote:
Charon Onozuka wrote:
Excalibur is a unique sword of legend. Something that every PC / NPC carries on their hip past level X in order to meet basic math standards is not Excalibur. Also, I still maintain that particular survey was very badly worded in a way that would tilt the responses - but it's a sailed ship now.
And a +3 major striking sword is a unique sword of legend if only one exists, and all other swords are at best +1 striking.

Which won't be the case if there's more than 1 martial in the party or you need the PCs to fight other adventurers of their level.

Liberty's Edge

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I have no problem with Thor and King Arthur fighting side by side against Mikaboshi wielding a stolen Kusanagi, so that they can prevent the end of things.

In fact, it seems pretty fitting.

Sovereign Court

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I don't think you can really say whether ABP is objectively better or worse than items and their expectations. It's like saying that chess is objectively better than roulette because it has perfect information, no randomness and it's all about player skill. Meanwhile, at the roulette table people are cheering because of some long shot gamble that paid off or commiserating when a safe play doesn't pan out.

The appeal of items for me is in the (bounded) surprise factor. When you've been trudging along at level 3 fighting monsters with your level 3 powers and you suddenly find a weapon that nearly doubles your damage output, that's quite a rush. It's surprising and feels powerful because you actually are more powerful than expected. ABP doesn't do that, you are exactly as powerful as expected, all the time.


The matter of NPCs carrying items is a whole other topic that is just as long. From my perspective on that topic. That divide comes from, "how much money should killing give a character give?"

  • One side thinks that chars should just drop whatever items they have and let the party sort it out. If they want to deal with all of that, they deserve the money.

  • The other side thinks that chars should only drop curated items. If the party wants to make money they will have to find another way.

    Yes I know that there are people in between and tangential. Point is that the two side just don't agree at a fundamental level.


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    Ascalaphus wrote:

    I don't think you can really say whether ABP is objectively better or worse than items and their expectations. It's like saying that chess is objectively better than roulette because it has perfect information, no randomness and it's all about player skill. Meanwhile, at the roulette table people are cheering because of some long shot gamble that paid off or commiserating when a safe play doesn't pan out.

    The appeal of items for me is in the (bounded) surprise factor. When you've been trudging along at level 3 fighting monsters with your level 3 powers and you suddenly find a weapon that nearly doubles your damage output, that's quite a rush. It's surprising and feels powerful because you actually are more powerful than expected. ABP doesn't do that, you are exactly as powerful as expected, all the time.

    You're thinking way too narrowly about the surprise factor of finding magical items. No wonder you can only think in terms of finding +X weapons and nothing else.

    Once you stop to think and realize what Fundamental Runes really are, it's kinda hard to think of them as anything but a toll you have to pay. It's kinda like micro-transactions in video games we see these days. They exist as "Time savers", and they save you time, after they designed the game to require a lot of it and you pay to get through the artificial inflation.

    Can we start calling Mandatory Items as Micro-Transaction Weapons from now on? I'm just joking.


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    Karmagator wrote:
    Claxon wrote:
    Karmagator wrote:
    Aristophanes wrote:
    A PENGUIN? I hope that wasn't before 13th level or so. Otherwise that's just WAAAYYY OP!
    Carl Gustav (the penguin) has been left in the tender care of the local homeless community the barbarian has taken under his care. His great wrath and terrifying abilities are thus (sadly) only turned against canned fish.

    When was the last time you checked in?

    You can't trust those penguins, probably slew everyone in the community during a herring fueled rage.

    Its only been a couple of hours, so the number of potential victims is somewhat limited. He seems rather docile, though, at least when in the presence of anything remotely snake-like. He was the only survivor of the Menagerie Incident and Amun (the dragon, a blue btw) got a kick out of scaring him. Carl will most likely become a monk for his ability to be as still as a stone :D

    Two whole hours! I'm sorry to tell you mate, but there's only a single blood covered penguin left there now. He has made a throne from the bones of those he slew, and reanimated the remaining corpses into skeletal servants to fish for him.

    This vile penguin hid his true nature from all, until he was in a perfect position to start his kingdom of fish and blood.

    Silver Crusade

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    Lightning Raven wrote:
    I guarantee you all that if you play with it with a bunch of newbie players ...

    I don't think I've EVER seen a sentence that starts that way turn out to be correct :-).

    One of the nicest things about playing with newbies is their ability to totally surprise you by their assumptions, lack of preconceptions, and naivete.

    Of course, one of the worst things about playing with newbies is their ability to totally do the wrong thing due to their assumptions, lack of preconceptions, and naivete :-) :-) :-)


    pauljathome wrote:
    Lightning Raven wrote:
    I guarantee you all that if you play with it with a bunch of newbie players ...

    I don't think I've EVER seen a sentence that starts that way turn out to be correct :-).

    One of the nicest things about playing with newbies is their ability to totally surprise you by their assumptions, lack of preconceptions, and naivete.

    Of course, one of the worst things about playing with newbies is their ability to totally do the wrong thing due to their assumptions, lack of preconceptions, and naivete :-) :-) :-)

    That's true. They also lack some common knowledge that's helpful, such as checking for magic, searching rooms properly, etc.

    My point was that people only cling tight to their mandatory items because it's something that they are familiar with but never really thought about more deeply. Kinda like so many things in our society that we think are "normal", "common sense" and "immutable", that are just an environment reinforced by ourselves and thus can be subject to change. Kinda like the switch from "race" to "ancestry", someone that never played TTRPGs won't bat an eye by having to choose an ancestry over choosing a race, all veterans will notice immediately.


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    I feel like the thing about "past a certain level, everybody's going to have the fabled legendary sword of awesomeness" is that the setting does not really have all that many high level people running around. So Excalibur might not feel like Excalibur when you just look at your traveling companions, but it definitely feels like Excalibur when you consider that 19th level swords are rarer than 19th level people and 19th level people are really rare.


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    As a GM, ABP really reduces book keeping.

    Humbly,
    Yawar


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    Cyouni wrote:
    Charon Onozuka wrote:
    Excalibur is a unique sword of legend. Something that every PC / NPC carries on their hip past level X in order to meet basic math standards is not Excalibur. Also, I still maintain that particular survey was very badly worded in a way that would tilt the responses - but it's a sailed ship now.
    And a +3 major striking sword is a unique sword of legend if only one exists, and all other swords are at best +1 striking.

    Unless the GM is showing favoritism or you're in a 1 player campaign - everyone else in you party is expected to have their own "excaliburs" or else they fall behind the math. Same goes for nearly any humanoid NPC that is expected to be an encounter for the party. Also really doesn't fit the theme of "unique sword of legend" when a party member decides they only use simple clubs, and then rips all of the magic off of Excalibur to transfer it to their club instead.

    If you really wanted something "legendary" talking to your GM about Intelligent Items, Relics, etc. is a far better way to go about it. In reality, something like Excalibur is probably an artifact - and trying to pretend otherwise just does it a disservice. Not to mention that Artifacts already display the ability to go up to +4 (along with other abilities), which would be a boost regardless of which system you're using.

    Plus, all other swords are at best +1 striking? What happened to all the +2 greater striking weapons that the PCs would have needed access to for about 7-9 levels previously? Also, what is the point of +1 & +2 weapons if they aren't special (because they are mandatory) and everyone can potentially pick one up at the local magic mart in a large enough settlement? (because otherwise, you'd deny your players math enhancements that are mandatory to keep up with the enemy math.)

    Ascalaphus wrote:
    The appeal of items for me is in the (bounded) surprise factor. When you've been trudging along at level 3 fighting monsters with your level 3 powers and you suddenly find a weapon that nearly doubles your damage output, that's quite a rush. It's surprising and feels powerful because you actually are more powerful than expected. ABP doesn't do that, you are exactly as powerful as expected, all the time.

    Um, what? You're acting like there is nothing else in the system that can be given to players early in order to make them feel more powerful if you want. Especially with items levels & rarity, it is easier than ever for the GM to hand out something the PC otherwise wouldn't have access to or give it to them before they'd find a market which could sell them. Give a flaming rune early and not only does the player deal more damage than expected, but they now have a sword that actually does something magical instead of just being 5% more accurate or X% more damage.

    Temperans wrote:

    The matter of NPCs carrying items is a whole other topic that is just as long. From my perspective on that topic. That divide comes from, "how much money should killing give a character give?"

  • One side thinks that chars should just drop whatever items they have and let the party sort it out. If they want to deal with all of that, they deserve the money.

  • The other side thinks that chars should only drop curated items. If the party wants to make money they will have to find another way.

    Yes I know that there are people in between and tangential. Point is that the two side just don't agree at a fundamental level.

  • For me, this comes down to simple verisimilitude. If you kill a guy wielding an awesome flaming sword that calls down heavenly light, and it turns into a normal longword the moment they die, you feel cheated. If you somehow gank King Arthur, then Excalibur being part of the loot is kinda expected. Items do not generally disappear or spontaneously change their properties in the real world, so it starts to break verisimilitude if they frequently do so in your games. This was something everyone at my table pointed out during the original playtest - when humanoid enemies (I think hobgoblins) clearly did more damage due to having a second damage dice - but then their weapons stopped being special the moment the hobgoblins died while the PCs had to rely on weapons being special in order to do the same thing. If enemies get ABP for free while you're forced to spend money and can't even loot good stuff from their corpses, then it feels like an unfair tax.


    Agreed Charon. It can feel like a tax when the enemy deals with more damage without needing a magic weapon, but you need one.

    Also, everyone mentioning the excalibur example. Just because you have excalibur, does not mean that another person cannot have: Caliburn, Gae bulg, Durandal, Dyrnwyn, Hrunting and Nægling, Vajra, Sharur, Gandiva, Freyr's sword, Gram, Mistilteinn, Tyrfing, Fragarach, Caladbolg, Carnwennan, Arthur's sword of peace, Galatine, Tizona, Colada, etc.

    Why are you complaining that there are multiple legendary weapons, when in mythology there are multiple legendary weapons. Probably almost as many legendary weapons as there are heros and gods in myth.


    YawarFiesta wrote:

    As a GM, ABP really reduces book keeping.

    Humbly,
    Yawar

    It depends on what you're doing. I primarily run Adventure Paths, so converting to ABP would actually increase the level of bookkeeping I have to do. I imagine the amount of effort would at worst remain static if you were making your own content, though.


    Eh, you can fairly safely just remove fundamental runes and call it a day for APs.


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    Temperans wrote:

    Also, everyone mentioning the excalibur example. Just because you have excalibur, does not mean that another person cannot have: Caliburn, Gae bulg, Durandal, Dyrnwyn, Hrunting and Nægling, Vajra, Sharur, Gandiva, Freyr's sword, Gram, Mistilteinn, Tyrfing, Fragarach, Caladbolg, Carnwennan, Arthur's sword of peace, Galatine, Tizona, Colada, etc.

    Why are you complaining that there are multiple legendary weapons, when in mythology there are multiple legendary weapons. Probably almost as many legendary weapons as there are heros and gods in myth.

    Because the legendary weapon argument is used to justify everything from the +3 major striking weapon to the +1 weapon that the local magic mart is expected to have a dozen of in every town and city.

    Because actual legendary weapons would be better expressed as artifacts which would have other magical abilities in addition to just being better weapons.

    Because legendary weapons without those extra magical abilities are often only legendary because of the hero who wielded them instead of the other way around.

    Because a legendary swordsman wielding a legendary blade should still feel like a legendary swordsman without it - rather than becoming a glorified peasant the moment their favorite toy is taken away (admittedly much better now than PF1, but still).


    Charon Onozuka wrote:


    If you really wanted something "legendary" talking to your GM about Intelligent Items, Relics, etc. is a far better way to go about it. In reality, something like Excalibur is probably an artifact - and trying to pretend otherwise just does it a disservice. Not to mention that Artifacts already display the ability to go up to +4 (along with other abilities), which would be a boost regardless of which system you're using.

    You mean like all the other legendary weapons in mythology, quite a few of which have been destroyed (Naegling is a representative example)? Gonna have a lot of artifacts if every weapon or magic item in myth has to be an artifact. Perseus, for example, has Harpe, a helm of darkness, winged sandals, a mirror shield, a magic bag, and Medusa's head.

    Point is, if a level 5 character sees a +3 major striking sword, that sword might as well be Excalibur to them. See Perseus above, where a lot of his listed items can map to higher-level Pathfinder items.

    And to be honest, I've never heard of someone complaining that weapon runes weren't exclusive enough to their weapons, but I suppose there's a first time for everything. Transferring runes is entirely a gamist thing thanks to it sucking hard when you get a magical weapon that you can't use, and are forced to sell instead.

    Temperans wrote:


    Also, everyone mentioning the excalibur example. Just because you have excalibur, does not mean that another person cannot have: Caliburn, Gae bulg, Durandal, Dyrnwyn, Hrunting and Nægling, Vajra, Sharur, Gandiva, Freyr's sword, Gram, Mistilteinn, Tyrfing, Fragarach, Caladbolg, Carnwennan, Arthur's sword of peace, Galatine, Tizona, Colada, etc.

    Why are you complaining that there are multiple legendary weapons, when in mythology there are multiple legendary weapons. Probably almost as many legendary weapons as there are heros and gods in myth.

    Speaking of multiple legendary weapons, there's also a ton of myths and legends about those weapons getting stolen and those heroes running into trouble as a result. Easiest example is the theft of Mjolnir by Thrym.


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    Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

    Personally, I don't mind striking runes, but I did kind of whish we had used crafting quality over potency runes.

    I also get why people don't like striking runes though and fully support the ABP.


    I was just checking out some of the magic items in the adventure I am running and wow are they boring. Hopefully at higher levels items do something more than allow you to use a feat sometimes or give you a small bonus to a very specific action...


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    Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
    The Tage wrote:
    I was just checking out some of the magic items in the adventure I am running and wow are they boring. Hopefully at higher levels items do something more than allow you to use a feat sometimes or give you a small bonus to a very specific action...

    Low level magic items are intentionally low-impact. As you advance in level you will find a marked increase in magic item capabilities. I can't speak to your specific AP, but there are plenty of interesting items at any level in the rulebooks, especially if your players are creative. If your adventure feels lacking, feel free to amp up the loot!

    Also, custom magic items can be a lot of fun!


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    Charon Onozuka wrote:
    Temperans wrote:

    Also, everyone mentioning the excalibur example. Just because you have excalibur, does not mean that another person cannot have: Caliburn, Gae bulg, Durandal, Dyrnwyn, Hrunting and Nægling, Vajra, Sharur, Gandiva, Freyr's sword, Gram, Mistilteinn, Tyrfing, Fragarach, Caladbolg, Carnwennan, Arthur's sword of peace, Galatine, Tizona, Colada, etc.

    Why are you complaining that there are multiple legendary weapons, when in mythology there are multiple legendary weapons. Probably almost as many legendary weapons as there are heros and gods in myth.

    Because the legendary weapon argument is used to justify everything from the +3 major striking weapon to the +1 weapon that the local magic mart is expected to have a dozen of in every town and city.

    Because actual legendary weapons would be better expressed as artifacts which would have other magical abilities in addition to just being better weapons.

    Because legendary weapons without those extra magical abilities are often only legendary because of the hero who wielded them instead of the other way around.

    Because a legendary swordsman wielding a legendary blade should still feel like a legendary swordsman without it - rather than becoming a glorified peasant the moment their favorite toy is taken away (admittedly much better now than PF1, but still).

    What a way to misrepresent the point.

    The legendary argument is not used to justify everything. Its used to justify the fact that a higher level item should make you stronger than just using a random weapon. This is what people seem to misunderstand. A great warrior using a bad weapon is worse off than a great warrior using a great weapon. But ABP doesn't care and makes the weapon and armor meaningless.

    Its the difference between Superman vs Green Lantern vs Batman. Superman needs no weapons and any weapon he uses doesn't really do anything for him. Most green lanterns are nothing without their rings, their rings are easily artifacts. But Batman? Batman is nothing without his tools, tools that cannot just be replaced by anything what so ever.

    Also its hilarious you mentioned PF1 as being worse. In that system you literally don't need a magic weapon, what you get +5 to attack and damage? So what? A high level character is easily getting +20 from other sources. The real value of magic weapons in that system are all the bonus effects and bypassing DR/magic. Magic weapons are actually worse in PF2, as not getting those +1 and striking upgrades will greatly cut your damage.


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    Temperans wrote:
    Also its hilarious you mentioned PF1 as being worse. In that system you literally don't need a magic weapon, what you get +5 to attack and damage? So what? A high level character is easily getting +20 from other sources. The real value of magic weapons in that system are all the bonus effects and bypassing DR/magic. Magic weapons are actually worse in PF2, as not getting those +1 and striking upgrades will greatly cut your damage.

    It's not as straight-forward as that, though.

    In PF2 resistance to damage from nonmagical weapons is less common of a rule element, and when included is often at similar or smaller values to PF1, and there are often other details of the system which provide more workable options outside of having the correct potency of magical weapon.

    So while the general "you don't have the right weapon" effect might be a larger reduction in percentage of damage, there's also still less "you don't have the right weapon, so your ability to contribute has dropped to functionally zero."

    Though I do agree more generally with your point that ABP doesn't care about the quality of weapon or armor being used... I just don't see that as being the actual problem. To me, the problematic part is that the balance point of the game - by which I mean the range of options that you can actually choose and use in practice and result in the appropriate, fair, and expected level of difficulty - cannot actually tolerate not including the "right level" of weapons.

    I do think that is a fundamental incompatibility, though, between the idea of an amazingly potent weapon that can elevate an inept swordsman to a serious threat or make a skilled swordsman a legendary bad-dude and the game having to actually work for a team of players. You kind of have to choose either to have the weapons end up appearing relatively mundane because there's no functional character without one, or have the weapons end up appearing relatively mundane because the difference between "this is a sword I grabbed off the rack in the armory, where there were a dozen more just like it" and "this is the most powerful sword known in this era" has a small enough impact on game balance that it genuinely feels like choosing to never use the latter is a valid option.

    Which is why I accept that magic items aren't going to feel spectacular, and focus on other aspects of the story to get the oohs and awe... and use ABP just to trim out the part of treasure placement/planning that I find boring and the need for players to (proactively or by me remembering to drag them through it) make sure they aren't missing out on an important plus the game expects them to have an item provide.


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    Captain Morgan wrote:

    Personally, I don't mind striking runes, but I did kind of whish we had used crafting quality over potency runes.

    Though an advantage of having striking runes instead of crafting quality is that you can have your heirloom weapon that you got from your grandpa or similar with you the entire adventure.


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    Onkonk wrote:
    Captain Morgan wrote:

    Personally, I don't mind striking runes, but I did kind of whish we had used crafting quality over potency runes.

    Though an advantage of having striking runes instead of crafting quality is that you can have your heirloom weapon that you got from your grandpa or similar with you the entire adventure.

    That's true, but the Relic system is a pretty interesting item for characters looking to have heirloom weapons.

    Liberty's Edge

    Captain Morgan wrote:

    Personally, I don't mind striking runes, but I did kind of whish we had used crafting quality over potency runes.

    I also get why people don't like striking runes though and fully support the ABP.

    Yeah, I'm also disappointed in this as well and wish the GMG would have implemented some better Masterwork rules that can work alongside the rest of the Potency and Striking Runes to have the same mechanical effect without having to be MyStIcAl MaGiCaL, after all, fiction is chock full of heroes with exceptionally well-made Weapons and Armor that were just flat out never Magic in the first place.

    Allowing a Rogue to have a Magical Dagger and a Masterwork Dagger function in near-identical ways in combat would have been the dash of salt to the boiling water that made my meal but... it's easy enough to homebrew.


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    High-quality weapons and armor is another optional rule that takes out the magic.

    High-quality


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    I don't really think there's a problem in magic weapons and armor existing, magic items are cool.

    Personally, I run with ABP, because my group, while mostly newer gen players, like the old trope of packing a bunch of different weapons to target weaknesses, and ABP lets them have that fantasy. That said, before ABP, my players usually got really excited when they got their newest armor or weapon rune, and at the end of the day, if the players are excited, then the loot succeeded in its job in being rewarding


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    Cyouni wrote:
    You mean like all the other legendary weapons in mythology, quite a few of which have been destroyed (Naegling is a representative example)?

    Naegling is a rather good example of a blade that is only known because of its wielder(s), rather than really being special in and of itself. It is described as being a fine sword, but otherwise isn't exactly notable and even breaks because it can't withstand the legendary might of the man who wields it. Beowulf is the legendary one, Naegling just happens to be one of the swords he wielded.

    Cyouni wrote:
    Gonna have a lot of artifacts if every weapon or magic item in myth has to be an artifact. Perseus, for example, has Harpe, a helm of darkness, winged sandals, a mirror shield, a magic bag, and Medusa's head.

    Uhh... yeah, a high level character is probably going to have magic items in addition to any artifacts, I never said that everything magical in myth had to be an artifact, even though some of what you listed absolutely should be artifacts. And it shouldn't be a surprise to find a bunch of artifact-level items if you're searching through myths (swords forged by literal deities aren't exactly uncommon in myth, but are probably something your high-level crafter shouldn't be able to replicate on a weekly basis as the default expectation).

    Cyouni wrote:
    Point is, if a level 5 character sees a +3 major striking sword, that sword might as well be Excalibur to them. See Perseus above, where a lot of his listed items can map to higher-level Pathfinder items.

    Or they see something like the Axe of the Dwarven Lords which actually lives up to being a legendary named weapon rather than just having the typical set of mandatory legendary runes.

    Cyouni wrote:
    And to be honest, I've never heard of someone complaining that weapon runes weren't exclusive enough to their weapons, but I suppose there's a first time for everything. Transferring runes is entirely a gamist thing thanks to it sucking hard when you get a magical weapon that you can't use, and are forced to sell instead.

    I'm guessing that you didn't participate in certain threads during the playtest then. Overall, transferring runes is something I'm fine with for average weapons, its thematically annoying but reasonable, but calling something legendary when the only thing making it so is a transferrable rune seems very wrong. At that point it isn't the sword that is legendary, its the runes on the sword which would be legendary... which are the same runes on every other legendary weapon.. which also can be transferred onto any random stick to make it considered legendary instead... yeah, that kinda waters down the myth of the sword itself being something special.

    The Tage wrote:
    I was just checking out some of the magic items in the adventure I am running and wow are they boring. Hopefully at higher levels items do something more than allow you to use a feat sometimes or give you a small bonus to a very specific action...

    One big hope is that Secrets of Magic should be having a lot of magic items to help, since the current list does need to be expanded more.

    Temperans wrote:

    What a way to misrepresent the point.

    The legendary argument is not used to justify everything. Its used to justify the fact that a higher level item should make you stronger than just using a random weapon. This is what people seem to misunderstand. A great warrior using a bad weapon is worse off than a great warrior using a great weapon. But ABP doesn't care and makes the weapon and armor meaningless.

    I feel like I need to put this in bold considering how many times I've had to say it, but property runes exist! You can have weapons and armor that are better than the generic, but they also actually feel magical and can do cool/unique things like ignoring resistance, turning you ethereal, ripping open bleeding wounds, instantly beheading things, or flying out of your hand to attack enemies. ABP does not suddenly make equipment meaningless, but it does make it so that specific equipment is no longer mandatory to meet the expected minimum level of performance.

    The problem isn't that the item is a bit stronger, it is that these specific items are mandatory to meet the basic math of the system and failing to acquire them at the prescribed levels means you are suddenly worse at your job because all of your enemies have their AC/HP jump in assumption of you spending your money on these items. [Also, it really sucks to be given money and then told that it must be spent on item X.]

    Temperans wrote:
    Its the difference between Superman vs Green Lantern vs Batman. Superman needs no weapons and any weapon he uses doesn't really do anything for him. Most green lanterns are nothing without their rings, their rings are easily artifacts. But Batman? Batman is nothing without his tools, tools that cannot just be replaced by anything what so ever.

    And then there are tales of legendary swordsman who are so good, they can pick up random stick or carve a sword out of wood and still beat similarly skilled foes to death. And since you bring up Batman... I suppose once he hits the level in which it is mandatory to have a legendary weapon in order to hit things/deal enough damage to contribute, he's just expected to stop making attacks in combat? Since it kinda ruins the appeal of being Batman if you have to rely on a specific weapon of legendary might. Even his most commonly used weapons, the batarangs, are a large set of items that would be unrealistic for a PC to individually equip with enough runes to stay relevant. The best they could do is use just one with returning + mandatory runes - but that starts to deviate from the fantasy of being batman.

    ---

    More importantly, in a team-based game, taking away one character's toy basically makes it so they're not allowed to have fun for the session - which really sucks. You don't even have to take the weapon away, simply having an enemy that is highly resistant/immune to your weapon basically forces the PC to go sulk in the corner, because they can't afford to stack enough mandatory magic on their backup in order for it to be viable (something I saw a lot before running ABP).

    In the current adventure path I'm running the PCs would probably have either quit or been TPKd if I wasn't using ABP because nearly every enemy in the first part was immune to their primary weapons and many even triggered nasty reactions of top of it. They also probably wouldn't have been able to respond to a future area likely having demons by purchasing some cold iron weapons, since they'd have to pay for cold iron plus all the necessary mandatory magic - otherwise cold iron triggering weakness wouldn't be worth it because lacking the mandatory magic would make it less damaging overall. And I'll note that even while using ABP, we did have the situation of needing to manage without having the most optimal weapon for a while - because those cold iron swords broke during a critical result against a reaction, so the player had to default back to their normal weapons and be unable to trigger weaknesses until they found the forging room and were able to repair the weapons.


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    Personally I would rather magic weapons and Armor have powers (ala 4e) rather than math Enhancers. A sword that once per day upgrades a hit to a critical hit is going to feel more epic than a sword that gives you a consistent 5% improvement even if mathematically it isn't.

    Dark Archive

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    This is one of those "boths have pros and cons" things rather than "clearly one of these is better". You will have preference for one of them but other opinion isn't wrong just because its opposite :p

    Like automatic bonus progress does serve role of "removing items everyone wants anyway from loot math", but at same time, some players REALLY like feeling of mathematical power boosts over "you do 1d6 more cold damage".

    And it is fairly true that with automatic bonus progressions, armor and weapons are fairly interchangeable besides property runes.

    Either way, I do think there is one shenanigan not mentioned in thread yet: magic items allow you to do shenanigans like "farmer found major striking weapon and now does way more damage than they should be able to" xD

    Shadow Lodge Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 8

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    The idea that some swords are just plain better than others is a pretty popular fantasy trope. I don't mean better because they're flaming, or holy, or have special powers, I mean that some swords are just more sword-y than others.

    Is that a sacred cow they should have axed in the new edition? Maybe. But my sense is most people seem to enjoy it, and enjoy having a dimension of character growth not tied to xp. For those that don't, ABP works fairly well.

    ...though, it does assume most players are going to be using weapons, and doesn't do much for those who want to focus on pure spellcasting.

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