Dragon 397 - Bazaar of the Bizarre: The Beast of Talgora

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DnDi_Large.pngDragon 397
Bazaar of the Bizarre: The Beast of Talgora

by Scott Gable

The Beast of Talgora was slain ages ago, but its power lives on in six magic items.

Talk about this Article here.

I thought we would get a mount or something, but was pleasantly surprised by these items.

My wizard just found an item for his arms slot.
yes that crit daze is tempting for my invoker, 'mr critical'

I'm somewhat disappointed at yet another DM-centric magic item article (with lots of background for including it in a campaign, and 1/3 of the items rares), though the overall concept itself is an interesting one.

Dear Wizards of the Coast,

We've had this discussion before, but apparently you weren't listening:

UNCOMMON AND RARE ITEMS, ESPECIALLY HEAVILY STORY-BOUND ONES THAT REQUIRE WORK TO FIT INTO A CAMPAIGN, ARE NOT PLAYER CONTENT.

Hopefully we can avoid retreading this again next time.

-Spud
Or you take a look at the fluff, check how it can help give more depth to your PC and than work together with your DM on how to get that item into your game. Why is that just because something is rare or fluff that it all of the sudden is only in the hands of the DM? I have no problems with wishlists, but I wished that when my players use it (and only a few do), they would also give me suggestions on how to use those items to enrich the story...
Or you take a look at the fluff, check how it can help give more depth to your PC and than work together with your DM on how to get that item into your game. Why is that just because something is rare or fluff that it all of the sudden is only in the hands of the DM? I have no problems with wishlists, but I wished that when my players use it (and only a few do), they would also give me suggestions on how to use those items to enrich the story...



Because the rarity system specifcally makes it in the hands of the DM.

This is not a problem if your in a home game, but is difficult in LFR/Encounters.
Yes, it means the DM will have to vet the magic item, but a DM usually does so anyway since he decides what a character finds. So by that argument all item articles belong in Dungeon, something I disagree with. Players should be able to easily browse for items best fit for their character since they know the character better and the DM has better things to do than sift through hundreds of items. Now if a player finds one of these items useful, he points it out to the DM who than has the fluff to enrich the story (assuming he even wants to give the item to the players).

As for LFR, the rarity system actually works best in such a campaign, since it allows the designers to design a few slightly more powerful items without immediately destroying game balance in an organized campaign. It also gives the authors a bit more to make the treasure bundles worth while ;) Mind you, considering most items are uncommon, it is perfectly usuable in LFR as well.
Or you take a look at the fluff, check how it can help give more depth to your PC and than work together with your DM on how to get that item into your game. Why is that just because something is rare or fluff that it all of the sudden is only in the hands of the DM? I have no problems with wishlists, but I wished that when my players use it (and only a few do), they would also give me suggestions on how to use those items to enrich the story...



I'm... pretty sure that, as a DM saying you wish more players took advantage of articles like this, you're only providing more support for the presence of this as a DM article, not a player one.

Yes, players can try and work with the DM to add elements of fluff to the game and customize wish lists or the like. But that isn't the default, especially not with the new rarity system. Especially in a case like this, where the items aren't even a player set but a group set - this is something the entire party would need to get behind to really build around, or a DM would introduce these elements as part of a central plot. I'm pretty sure I know which of those scenarios is more likely.

An article like this is of far more use to the DM than to the players. It is a good article, but I'm sorry, it belongs in Dungeon rather than Dragon, and when Dragon content is already so light, it is unfortunate when an article like this arrives that provides no new player options.

Especially on a topic where there is a distinct need - such as with the lack of common magic item choices. Bazaar of the Bizarre is the perfect place to fill that need, but this article does not do so, and that is the cause for complaint.

As for LFR, the rarity system actually works best in such a campaign, since it allows the designers to design a few slightly more powerful items without immediately destroying game balance in an organized campaign. It also gives the authors a bit more to make the treasure bundles worth while ;) Mind you, considering most items are uncommon, it is perfectly usuable in LFR as well.



He wasn't saying the rarity system doesn't work in LFR. It works great. It is also entirely in the hands of the DM - that's all he was saying. In LFR, it is in the hands of the authors - removing even the suggestion you have, of a player working with a DM to introduce customized elements.

Look, I'm not saying all items belong in Dungeon. I was a huge fan when the PHB came out with the magic items in it, removing the need for players to get both it and the DMG to play their characters.

But the new rarity system undeniably changed the dynamic of magic items in the game. Common items are what players have control over - uncommon items are not. Now, they've botched the execution of it quite a bit, sure, and that's part of the problem. And some DMs will use wish lists and tell the players to feel free to look for uncommons/rares/artifacts that they want - but not every DM works like that or likes that approach, and the new rarity system has moved away from that design.

What I'd like to see are articles that provide player content. Common items - maybe uncommons if they tie into core player elements and the articles has other player content in it. This, honestly, doesn't - it isn't about a seperate element, a ancient primal beast spirit, that ties into the background of the game more than the background of a PC.
Exactly.  Unless the item is in the adventures, the chances of getting an uncommon item is once per level.
Yes, it means the DM will have to vet the magic item, but a DM usually does so anyway since he decides what a character finds. So by that argument all item articles belong in Dungeon, something I disagree with.



Before item rarity, players could buy any magic item that wasnt an artefact.

Now the list of buyables is substantially smaller.
Or you take a look at the fluff, check how it can help give more depth to your PC and than work together with your DM on how to get that item into your game. Why is that just because something is rare or fluff that it all of the sudden is only in the hands of the DM? I have no problems with wishlists, but I wished that when my players use it (and only a few do), they would also give me suggestions on how to use those items to enrich the story...





It's like you read my mind. Personally I think we need a lot more articles like this. People have been crying out for more rare items and as a busy DM I appreciate not having to spend a lot of time on the back story. If a player came to me and said "any chance we could get this in the game?" I'd say absolutely. Itmight not just drop in his lap, but as a reward for a great achievement? definitely.

Thank you Scott Gable for a great article.
So what about an article on "How Players can build adventures"

This is something I think should be addressed, brainstorming out an adventure and giving it to the DM so that the DM gets a night off from intense adventure planning on the proactive player can feature his own players story in a fun way that is under his control.

Two Examples (One germane to this article, the other my original idea):

I Want a Holy Avenger and I want one NOW!
Player's Motivation: That DM isn't giving our team's Pally a Holy Avenger, and he wants one, I'm a rune smith, I should be able to make a divine sword if I want.

Player's Tells DM: Before I became an Adventurer, I learned of a ritual of making that bound Divine Power and the sword of Pelor's Exarch that would withstand the rune, I want to go on a quest to find the sword, even though I hear it is defended by Angels specifically set in place to test the mettle of any hero that dares claim it.

Player's Role: Makes maps for the path to the temple of Pelor and to the mountain library where a scroll of making is kept. Generates lists of appropriate monsters, what his character "has heard" lives in the mountains and in the Temple-path Vale.

DM's Role: Throw in one or two surprise monsters to keep things interesting, an unexpected skill check on the road, and figure out what Pelor will do for the Runesmith for helping his Paladin. 

Return to the Feyhold
Player's established Background: The character plays a Gnome Feylock who served the Court of the Woodking. After an assault by Fomorians the Gnome escaped to the world and joined the adventurers hoping one day to return and free the patron who gives him his powers even from deep inside his own dungeon.

Player's Role: The player sketches out the Woodking's Demense and the Dungeons beneath his palace. As a character he would know most of this stuff himself, even some secret traps he hopes that the Spriggans and Cyclops haven't found yet.

DM's Minor Role: Taking the maps and deciding where he will place the monsters, and which room will have the hag whos rituals are keeping the patron at bay. Also which of the traps the Gnome knows about are still working (treated as a terrain attack) and which ones have been disarmed (you failed your perception check, you press the stone and nothing happens, and now you are out in the open!)