DM doesn't outlaw, but doesn't provide magical items

18 posts / 0 new
Last post
Our playgroup is starting up again this winter... YAY!

Our DM is a very close friend to all of us and we have two new members playing for the first time. double YAY.

Last campaign, the DM didn't provide us with many magical items. We searched retailers and asked people we met, but not much of anything. Talking to him before this next campaign I asked him about the subject. He said you must work very hard on quests to receive magical items. His first DM did this and it made a player feel the hard work was well worth it. I agree that hard work on a quest deserves something special.

How do I talk to him about allowing our characters to get magical items more regularly? Without much experience in the game (only one campaign played so far) how does a character acquire magical items the CHARACTER wants... not just one provided by the DM?

I ask this question because of all the builds I see online, many characters are well suited up with magical items very early on. Ones that are optimized for them. Are that available in your worlds?

Thanks for your help.
As a DM I don't really bother giving out magical items. I hate the idea of extra damage or AC boosts due to some kind of magical enchanement. Every one or two quests however I make sure players find a wondrous item of some kind. I believe that wondrous items are more useful to players then magical weapons and armor.

I have handed out magical rings but as far as weapons and armor go, I rather the players take the Crafting skills and make those items themselves. There is more adventure in finding resources and creating the magical items for players then just finding some random sword.

Ask your DM for some more items, give him a list of items you and the group would like to find. If he doesn't bite to the idea of "hand outs" then take the crafting skills and make your own magical items.

Unless the DM is running some kind of story were magic is rear and secret he can't stop you from making your own items.
Just in case I failed to mention; I am playing D&D 3.5e.
Our playgroup is starting up again this winter... YAY!

Our DM is a very close friend to all of us and we have two new members playing for the first time. double YAY.

Last campaign, the DM didn't provide us with many magical items. We searched retailers and asked people we met, but not much of anything. Talking to him before this next campaign I asked him about the subject. He said you must work very hard on quests to receive magical items. His first DM did this and it made a player feel the hard work was well worth it. I agree that hard work on a quest deserves something special.

How do I talk to him about allowing our characters to get magical items more regularly? Without much experience in the game (only one campaign played so far) how does a character acquire magical items the CHARACTER wants... not just one provided by the DM?

I ask this question because of all the builds I see online, many characters are well suited up with magical items very early on. Ones that are optimized for them. Are that available in your worlds?

Thanks for your help.


Which edition?

If you're playing 4e, and your DM is not either giving out magic items or using Inherent Bonuses, he really needs to learn the rules, because PC attacks and defences don't scale properly without one or the other.
Harrying your Prey, the Easy Way: A Hunter's Handbook - the first of what will hopefully be many CharOp efforts on my part. The Blinker - teleport everywhere. An Eladrin Knight/Eldritch Knight. CB != rules source.
Hey,

Well, yes and no. 'Modern', optimised PCs will be significantly more powerful than PCs built out of the Player's HandBook, probably even with significantly lower-quality gear. Anyway, being 'underpowered' in any context only matters if you aren't having fun because the challenges you encounter are too tough, or because your teammates are outshining you.

Seperately, lots of optimised builds recommend the same few pieces of equipment, which can get a bit boring and 'devalue' magic items as something special. I guess your particular issue is actually because there is something 'cool' you would like to do that needs a particular item effect - in which case I'd suggest asking the DM to fold it into treasure, or to create a side-quest for you to go and find it. You may also wish to point out that rewards of gold have no practical effect if they can't be spent (but in a non-confrontational way). By the 'rule of cool', your DM will hopefully allow you the equipment you want.

Be cautious, however! It will be less fun for your fellow players if you are much more powerful than they (addendum: this doesn't really apply to leader and healer types, because the share-the-love nature of their powers tends to mean everyone's happy when they get a power-up).

Yours,

JMH

It depends. I'll guess you are doing 4e, where those items are mandatory for the math to balance out (unless he is using variant rules?). I suggest you point that out, and explain that you love the idea of cool, powerful, custom, magic items, and you are totally down for doing quests for them. But youdo need the basic number fix items. I'd also push the inherant bonus variant rule. It gives you the +X bonuses you need to compete without items. 


I'd also look into being a ritual caster, and making my own magic items. Fun roleplay bit with your DM. Make magic items, and hide them in haunted caves and similar places. Explain its for future adventurers. 

"In a way, you are worse than Krusk"                               " As usual, Krusk comments with assuredness, but lacks the clarity and awareness of what he's talking about"

"Can't say enough how much I agree with Krusk"        "Wow, thank you very much"

"Your advice is the worst"                                                  "I'd recommend no one listed to Krusk's opinions about what games to play"

If you are playing 4E you either need to be getting magic items, using inherent bonuses, or changing all the monster defenses, HP, and attack bonuses.

As long as he is using inherent bonuses or adjusting the monsters it is fine that he is only occasionally handing out items.  4E in general is designed around PCs getting useful stuff.  It doesn't have to be every specific item on the list, but they need something to help them out.

I would ask him up front what he is doing and go from there.  Does he have a lot of experience running 4E past early heroic?
Also, make sure that the DM knows your characters. One of the premises in 4th edition is that characters find narratively interesting magical items. So you should expect to find items that the party can use. Previous editions were much more random in distribution. It really is pretty dispiriting for a party to find plate armor when the heaviest that anyone can wear is chain, or a wand that boosts fire effects when the only wand users have no fire powers, or a magic shield when the only character who can use it has a very nice magic full sword and has spent two feats to be better with it. Sometimes you can "fix things" via transfer enchantment, but not always.

As a GM, I track what items I've handed out and which characters have them. I look for who has the lowest level items in particular slots, and choose items which will help them in those slots. I keep track, on the spellcasters, with what implements they use and their dominant spell effect types, and for the weapon users, which weapons. I don't always (or even that often) give out the "optimal" items, and usually no more than one "optimal" item per character per tier. When I see that a player really likes a given item that they have, I will often have the item get more powerful rather than give them a new item. As a player, I don't mind too much if I get an item which will take a level of retraining to use most effectively, but I really don't like ones that would take more.

As a side note: 4th edition items tend to do only one or two (related) things, and many of them only do special stuff on crits.
Are you finding that you actually NEED the items? If the DM knows what he's doing and isn't on autopilot in every other aspect of the game, you can do fine.

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.

You need the magic items, or inherent bonuses, or for the DM to delevel encounters by approximately the enhancement bonuses you should have.

Inherent bonuses are really the better way to go there. (Usually the recommendation when using inherent bonuses is to cut the number of magic items in the treasure parcels in half.)

I love the flexibility of not having to upgrade items. And if you don't NEED to find another magic weapon for the enhancement bonus, there's no automatic preference for the weapon slot over, say, the foot slot. Usually the recommendation when using inherent bonuses is to cut the number of magic items in the treasure parcels in half. Plus it's really good for the multiple-weapon/implement character. (I've played a character who uses two melee weapons AND a bow.)

Given that the DM doesn't like items chosen for their enhancement bonuses, I say mostly forget them. But pick out a few magic items for flavor or characterization (but don't go above the enhancement bonuses you should have) and identify them to the DM as the sort of thing you'd like to find. (AKA "wish list". Notice the complete lack of a guarantee that you'll find anything, let alone everything, on your list.)

My bard is at level 7 in a campaign with inherent bonuses and has: weapon level 2, implement level 4, armor level 3, boots level 3, cloak level 2.

(She also has a houseruled, non-magical but somewhat expensive, harp. Bard rituals require expensive musical instruments as foci, and there's a serious disconnect between the list of values required for those foci and the list of values of musical instruments that exist in RAW.)
"The world does not work the way you have been taught it does. We are not real as such; we exist within The Story. Unfortunately for you, you have inherited a condition from your mother known as Primary Protagonist Syndrome, which means The Story is interested in you. It will find you, and if you are not ready for the narrative strands it will throw at you..." - from Footloose
The question I would ask is it the style of world or is it the preference of the DM and the world still feels like magic items are common and monsters face require magic items to hit at all or to defeat damage reduction. No magic items in Westeros is a big differnece than no magic in Forgotten Realms.


If it is a game mechanic problem talk to him about game balance.


If it is the style of the world then remind him there are other explinations for incredible weapons other than magic. The weapons could be made of superior materials that grant bonuses. It could be made by superior craftsmen who know techniques most weaponsmiths do not. For instance this means your fighter might find a suberbly made (masterwork), mithril (inherent bonus from material), the nigh on legendary craftsman who made it knows a method of folding the metal so it is lighter, stronger and able to hold  an edge (keen). That might yield a completely mundane +2 keen weapon with a unique appearence (like damascus steel). This is completely reasonable in a low magic setting if that is what he is shooting for. This leaves the oportunity for the once in a dragon's generation for the +3 Holy Ghost Touch Warhammer of Vicious Thundering.       

I ask this question because of all the builds I see online, many characters are well suited up with magical items very early on. Ones that are optimized for them. Are that available in your worlds?


As a side note, those online builds aren't necessarily representative of characters that people actually play.

As to your question, just tell your DM that your character wants to research where he can find specific items. (Or at least specific types of items.) Unless your DM is running a strictly story-focused campaign (aka a 'railroad' campaign), he'll appreciate your interest. Characters who go looking for stuff create the opportunity for DMs to design adventures around the characters finding that stuff.

If your DM is running a low-wealth campaign, you still won't find a lot of items. But you should be able to find stuff you want. 
Sounds like he's a bad DM who doesn't realise not receiving any rewards as a player isn't fun. Having to wait ten sessions to get one magic item doesn't make that magic item more special, it makes finding it anti-climatic.

Magic items should be a fairly regular reward for accomplishing things in game.

Very powerful items, wonderous items and the likes of artifacts should be those 'very rare' magic items that you have to work very hard towards.

Sadly most DM's idea of fun isn't their players idea of fun hence why you're disasstisfied.

Just point to the rules. The DM guide clearly says how many items and how much gold a group should have per level within 4th edition. If he refuses then tell him you need to have inherent bonuses to balance the math out. If he refuses that inform him he's a bad DM who doesn't care about his players and leave the group. 
Eh, I am of the opinon that less is indeed better.It really depends on the setting really, but I don't really like how magical weapon and the sort are used as freebies. Takes the mystery out of the setting and makes one wait for payday. Reminds me of how silly it felt when we recieved several weapons and artifacts, in bags of holding. XD

Just hold out for a few more sessions and wait, I have found that not asking, tends to incline one in wishing to provide sooner then for those who ask and manys experiences with roleplaying is harder to shake, not to mention bringing them great satisfication, even if the times have moved on a little.  
Eh, I am of the opinon that less is indeed better.It really depends on the setting really, but I don't really like how magical weapon and the sort are used as freebies. Takes the mystery out of the setting and makes one wait for payday. Reminds me of how silly it felt when we recieved several weapons and artifacts, in bags of holding. XD

Just hold out for a few more sessions and wait, I have found that not asking, tends to incline one in wishing to provide sooner then for those who ask and manys experiences with roleplaying is harder to shake, not to mention bringing them great satisfication, even if the times have moved on a little.  




Yeah but this doesn't actually work in 4th unless the DM is using inherent bonuses as the game math doesn't scale towards the players not having magic items. Wait and see means they have to slog through constant boring encounters until they get an item that doesn't help them balance anything at that point.
Just hold out for a few more sessions and wait, I have found that not asking, tends to incline one in wishing to provide sooner then for those who ask and manys experiences with roleplaying is harder to shake, not to mention bringing them great satisfication, even if the times have moved on a little.  

I'll disagree with that, with a qualifier.

FREQUENTLY asking for magic items is bad.

Asking the DM what average rate of finding/acquiring magic items the PCs should expect, is reasonable. The PCs would know if it's common for minor to moderate heroes in their world to have several magic items each, or if entire parties of legendary heroes have just one magic item among them. (Might take a History, Religion, or Arcana check.)

It's entirely possible that the DM will say you should be getting magic items frequently, and then realize that isn't what has been happening and make some "catch up" adjustments.

(In one game I was in, the party came across a yard sale. A previous adventuring party had left some items behind when they left town, and their landlord was cleaning out the house they had rented. We got quite a pile for practically nothing - a "catch up" adjustment.)

"The world does not work the way you have been taught it does. We are not real as such; we exist within The Story. Unfortunately for you, you have inherited a condition from your mother known as Primary Protagonist Syndrome, which means The Story is interested in you. It will find you, and if you are not ready for the narrative strands it will throw at you..." - from Footloose
..oh man thats rough man.. ..a dungeons and dragons game without magic items, oh man bummer.. ..i play the EXACT opposite, I start handing out magic items as early as possible.. ..everything from potions, oils, scrolls, powders.. ..anything I can think of..

..i played alot of Diablo 2 and I have mundane magical items i hand out about the same as that game did.. ..rings, belts, amulets, circlets that have minimal enhancements but magic none-the-less.. ..sometimes just as simple as a brooch that gives 2 extra hp after being worn for 24 hours..

..as a DM i love magic items if just for the sole purpose of allowing me to make more fanciful encounters and introducing more savage savages and all their savagery.. ..i remember one time i made a mistake and gave my barb pc 2 items that added strength bonuses, when i found out that they didnt stack i just turned one into an item that permanently increased his strength and then disappeared..

..man i LOVE magic items.. ..heck sometimes i just ask the pc's what they want to get.. ..and sometime before the end of the quest i give it to them.. ..sometimes exactly what they want (as long as its not overpowering) or a lesser version of it.. ..with the shear amount of information out there they often find that once they have gotten their coveted item they want something else..

..man i love those magic items..
A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men. - Willy Wonka
Players like phat loots.  You gotta give them phat loots.  Or level them frequently.  Players want something interesting happening to them.  It's something I try and do as a DM and something that is a problem under another DM's game where I'm a player.

At that DM's table he infrequently gives out magic items, and if he does it's useless baubles.  (He's given more than one of a type of ring / amulet that makes it so a character never has to eat, but he had never ever had us do starvation/food checks.)  And it's nearly 2-3 months (of 1/week sessions) before we gain a level.  But we're starting up after a long hiatus and these are things that we'll be talking about with him. 

At my table where I'm the DM, I've found players like to level up.  It gives them something to look forward to.  And I've told them that I'll be slowing down the distribution of magical items since I've found that they're almost too easily over-coming most encounters.  But I stick with the DM/PHB standard of characters should be levelling up every 8-10 encounters and that keeps them pretty happy. 

If your DM doesn't want to or won't hand out magic items maybe ask if he'd use the inherent bonuses feature (which is recommended in the DM guide for magic-less campaigns.)  And maybe allow you to level up a little bit more often.  Say, maybe every 7-8 encounters over the 8-10 ratio.  That way it helps keep you guys interested in your characters' growth. 

It's one thing to deny characters magic items if the world fits.  If you're an entire party of martial characters and there's no magic in the world it is probably easier to accept the lack of magic.  Myself, if I were besieged by wizards I'd start asking "Well, how come they've got magic and I don't."

I looked into the Essentials reclassification of magical items.  With the categories of "Common, Uncommon, and Rare."  Common is everything laying around, uncommon should be something a player should get their hands on every 3 levels (ish) and rare items should be handed out 1/tier.  He could adopt that as well.

In my campaign, after players performed admirably for a guild of merchants I've given them the ability to buy uncommon magical items (through contacts in the guild, where before I only ever allowed them to buy just common magical items after a campaign.)  

'Course, I warned them if they start steamrolling my encounters, they're gonna find themselves sold as gladiator slaves in the city of Draj.  Tongue Out
There's a point to not wanting to be Monty Hall, but being Ebeneezer Scrooge is not the answer. It is not a crime against humanity for player characters to have useful magic items. Getting treasure is part of the game. Saving the village, rescuing the mayor's daughter, kill the vampire, deny Orcus ascension are all fun quests for their own sake, but getting loot is still part of the process. Leveling up is the game mechanics measurement of accomplishing stuff. Getting treasure is the roleplay measurement of accomplishing stuff.
Support Cedric Diggory, the real Hogwarts Champion!
Sign In to post comments