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4/21/2014 3:45 am  #1


Magic treasures for PCs

What do you personally consider as a good guideline for giving magic treasures to PCs to find?

While I like to keep the overall amount low and the posession of every item meaningful, they are too fun to use too sparingly. As a rule of thumb, I think letting each character have one permanent item for every two levels should be a good idea. +1 weapons would appear around 5th level and +2 around 10th. Magicians snd other spellcasters might not even get any at all.


"Steel isn't strong, boy. Flesh is stronger. What is steel compared to the hand that wields it?"

Spriggan's Den
 

4/21/2014 5:06 am  #2


Re: Magic treasures for PCs

For one, I wouldn't really see my PCs keeping an magical object or weapon or armour for more than a scenario (or small campaign if said object is relevant).
So, not especially fond of stealling things to the PCs out of game, I'd give them objects with a limited utility, be it because of the very few charges they have or because they were designed specifically for a certain situation or enemy.

 

4/21/2014 5:58 am  #3


Re: Magic treasures for PCs

For S&S, I'm with Odysseus - all magic items are essentially disposable and will probably be lost before the next adventure begins, just like all the piles of gold you found.  Conan thinks nothing of throwing his sword away, so why should you?
 

 

4/21/2014 8:37 am  #4


Re: Magic treasures for PCs

Philosophically, I'm with you, nDervish and Odysseus. But I'm not quite sure how to get my players on board! So far they've found a +0 long sword that allows the sword to be used without penalty by any class (actually, that has been absorbed along with its wielder by Aurorus and now is part of the eldritch lights that fill the skies of Hyperborea; campaign journal to be updated soon!), a dagger that detects as magical but that they don't know the function of yet; a Hyperborean tube wand (wand of magic missiles) that yanked energy from the Ever-Breakking Dawn between worlds (now depleted), and some +1 scale mail. Oh! And some magical leather thongs that bind and loose on command. Plus a bunch of potions. It's actually more magic than I tend to give out in my AD&D game, but I have the same feeling expressed here, that it should all be impermanent. The NPC ranger has the scale mail, and I'm thinking I will have her trade it for training when she hits level 2 to show how ephemeral magic items can be. But I'm not sure how to have the game mechanically lead to this for the PCs. Item saves don't really do it, esp. not at low level when no one is tossing fireballs around. I suppose one option is to keep them poor enough that magic items often go for training costs--and the Drunk and Debauchery table is great for this! Any other thoughts on how to make the game reflect it without being overly pushy or removing magic items entirely?

 

4/21/2014 3:31 pm  #5


Re: Magic treasures for PCs

Handy Haversack wrote:

But I'm not quite sure how to get my players on board!

Imho, as soon as they understand that everything required to complete a scenario will be available during that very scenario, they won't fear throwing their toys away. It's just part of the game economy, a give and take kind of thing.
Also, magic items being rare, you could have some other groups going after your PCs to loot those items they cherish so dearly. Even if they're low level, their HQ and items might just look like the perfect first adventure for a group of level 1 NPCs. I mean, they didn't think they were the only up and coming adventurers in Hyperborea, did they ? ;)

 

4/21/2014 5:56 pm  #6


Re: Magic treasures for PCs

Heh. No. They've already been betrayed by a town guard who wanted to get their stuff and bring the Esquimeaux to the king for brownie points. He came to a bad end, though, and the party was able, just, to fight off the bandits he was going to split their loot with--and find the bandit lair! Now they have mules!

 

4/23/2014 9:10 pm  #7


Re: Magic treasures for PCs

Well my group did get a pile of stuff in Things In The Crypt, and they are sure that the weapons hurt and killed the ghosts. But now that they are several adventures on, and that's all they know. They do not have to know the + to hit or weapon damage or special bonus that the weapon may have. It is much more fun to spread that knowledge out, and I as the game master keep track of all that as it is a group of  four and thus manageable in size.

Aaron

 

4/23/2014 11:57 pm  #8


Re: Magic treasures for PCs

Mostly I just changed the definition of "magic item." I use wrought iron as the baseline metal for everything found in the equipment list and then I use bronze, crucible steel, orichalcum, meteoritic steel and mithril to give arms and armor special properties without making them common, easy to attain or cheapening the word "magicical." In general, that means if anything possesses an enchantment it's probably going to have some side effects and they can't be sussed out with a simple identify spell, only trial and error.

It's all just semantics, but this is the best compromise I could come up with between my own desire to keep things low magic, but still let my players find and possess items that grant them certain mechanical advantages in combat or certain other challenges.

Last edited by NAJones (4/23/2014 11:58 pm)

 

4/24/2014 7:39 am  #9


Re: Magic treasures for PCs

NAJones wrote:

I use wrought iron as the baseline metal for everything found in the equipment list and then I use bronze, crucible steel, orichalcum, meteoritic steel and mithril to give arms and armor special properties without making them common, easy to attain or cheapening the word "magicical." In general, that means if anything possesses an enchantment it's probably going to have some side effects and they can't be sussed out with a simple identify spell, only trial and error.

I definitely like that idea.  Would you mind sharing the mechanical effects of each material?  Are they just +1 (bronze) through +5 (mithril)?  (Although bronze being better than wrought iron doesn't intuitively sound right to me...)

 

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