5e: Magic item prominence

I have already seen a few comments about the subject of magic item prominence. I consider this to be an important topic, so I'm dedicating a thread to it.

In most iterations of D&D, and 4e in particular, magic items are extremely commonplace. In fact, in 4e, you are not just assumed to have magical gear at mid to high levels, but large quantities of such gear is mathematically required to maintain the power balance. This has numerous downsides and I think it should be addressed as a core issue.

I think that the core game should not include items that add directly to a character's direct power level. They should primarily add "flair" or niche functions as befit a narrative role.

Although individual DMs can tweak this, I would like to see a lower quantity as well. Magical items should be special and wondrous things to both the characters and the players. If a character recieves a magical sword from the elven king at 1st level, that should be able to be an iconic sword to that character throughout his career. It should be able to have relevance at level 20 while not overpowering everything at level 2. (and it shouldn't need to be constantly "upgraded" to achieve this).

These two factors would greatly help rescue D&D from playing like a video game and allow it to spend more of it's time on more interesting things like storytelling, character development (beyond his stats) and even combat. Let's face it, magical item acquisition and management can be a huge time sink which adds very little to the gameplay.
I'll quote myself to start:

Magic items should be *special*  They should be these amazing, cool things that you don't see so often, not expected parts of your build like they were in, expecially, 3.5.   One big way to do this is, of course, to have a fighter's damage and defense scale better, in a manner comprable to a wizard's damage output, based on class alone.  This frees up the magic weapons and armor, so they can be cool thingamabobs and not just expected stat sticks.  Magic items should do things their nonmagical counterparts simply can't, rather than simply providing a boost.  Down with +2 swords and Headbands of Intellect, Up with Figurines of Wonderous Power, Rings of Invisibility, the Apparatus of Kwalish, Portable Holes and Immovable Rods  (Flaming swords can probably stay via rule of cool)

In short, I absolutley agree with your sentiments, sir, and myself despise required/expected stat sticks.

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THE COALITION WAR GAME -Phyrexian Chief Praetor
Round 1: (4-1-2, 1 kill)
Round 2: (16-8-2, 4 kills)
Round 3: (18-9-2, 1 kill)
Round 4: (22-10-0, 2 kills)
Round 5: (56-16-3, 9 kills)
Round 6: (8-7-1)

Last Edited by Ralph on blank, 1920

 Hmmm I am torn on this, I love my magic items on my lfr characters but....   If they had proper scaling of attacks and defenses then the simple +x to magic item wouldnt be needed and magic items would be about the special properties I like the idea of that...however the +x magic item is as iconic to DnD as Class, Abilities, Level/XP and Races that it will probobly be a very hard sell to go the route you guys speak of.
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however the +x magic item is as iconic to DnD as Class, Abilities, Level/XP and Races that it will probobly be a very hard sell to go the route you guys speak of.


There was a time when Vancian Magic was that ingrained.  It went out for 4e and even I, old 3e grognard that I am, would like to see future editions find other ways to balance their casters than that twisted, illogical system.

Plus, IMO the +2 sword is way LESS Iconic than the Bag of Holding, Portable Hole, and Immovable Rod -- all items that make perfect sense to STAY when the stat sticks vanish.

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THE COALITION WAR GAME -Phyrexian Chief Praetor
Round 1: (4-1-2, 1 kill)
Round 2: (16-8-2, 4 kills)
Round 3: (18-9-2, 1 kill)
Round 4: (22-10-0, 2 kills)
Round 5: (56-16-3, 9 kills)
Round 6: (8-7-1)

Last Edited by Ralph on blank, 1920

Of all the talk of changes, I think this is the one I can whole hardedly agree with.  
I am not disagreeing with you Tevish just stating that +x has been around since 74 and I doubt with that kind of history it will go away.

I agree if they fix the attack and defense scaling they could get rid of the need for +x to any item and allow for rarer placement of magical treasure and making them more "precious", but I dont think any developer wants to go down in history as the "Killer" of the +2 sword.
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instead of offering statistical bonuses through magic items. i agree that they should be an actual bonus earned from leveling up. i would also prefer a power points per encounter system over the vancian spells per day stuff. maybe convert it into an endurance statistic that encompasses martials too. allow a 5 minute rest to recover these "Points". i would also like to see personal "healing" that comes from non supernatural sources. but limited by power/endurance points per encounter rather than uses per day.
+X items might be iconic to D&D, but how often do they show up in actual stories? I don't actually know the answer to this because I don't READ very many fantasy stories, but the ones that I have read focus on the characters, not their gear.

Lord of the Rings: The grandaddy of modern fantasy. It had a bunch of cursed artifact rings. it had a few artifact level swords (that weren't all that powerful compared to D&D swords, really). Frodo's sword had a specific function, but didn't necessarily give him across the board combat buffs.

Dragonlace: These stories had quite a few high level artifacts. Dragon Orbs, Disks of Mishakal(sp), Blue Staff thingy, Arm & Hammer and a few others besides. I do NOT remember a whole bunch of "mundane" magical items, except for the dragonlaces, which were crafted with a very specific purpose in mind. Tanis wore normal armor and used normal swords throughout the original trilogy, if I remember correctly.

There's a reason for this. Magical items aren't actually very interesting unless they're artifacts. Excalibur might be considered a +5 Holy Avenger, but it also came with significant meaning. Samurai Jack's katana is forged from the soul of his father. It's extremely powerful, but it's also iconic to the character. Jack isn't going to replace it in a few levels when a more powerful version comes along. THESE are interesting items, and cannot be acquired as "random dungeon loot".
If the designer get rid of +1 swords I will even more likely to buy D&D Next. Toss the ability score, save, natural armor, deflection, armor class. skills, etc boosts as well.

Keep things like the robe of many items, folding boat, portable hole, flying carpet, and even swords with magic abilities like a flametongue. Just drop the number bonuses and I'd be happy.

I'd be okay with spells in a can changing as well, but I see this as less likely (wands of 50 spells etc.).
I say make characters functional without magic +x weapons/armor/shields (I liked the shields back in 3.5), but keep the magic weapons/armor/shields as a little extra awesome. I mean that way the +1 hand axe you got from that trapper you saved at level 3 is still useful once you get to higher levels. 
I mean that way the +1 hand axe you got from that trapper you saved at level 3 is still useful once you get to higher levels. 

Implement some sort of "augment" system?

If you can, go look up 2E's Kensai.

The death of +X items would be fantastic.
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The death of +X items would be fantastic.

Why not +X, or some goofy gimmick, but never (or almost never) both?

Don't make magic a part of the math, don't assume that x level character has x+magic item.
The death of +X items would be fantastic.



You know that if they did this it would be replaced with something like:
Sword of Accurate Slaying
+1 to attack
+1 to damage 
...Excalibur might be considered a +5 Holy Avenger...


Just to make a nerdy point, Excalibur is the perfect example of a Sword +1 in fiction.  The blade was certainly special, but...


Then Sir Arthur looked on the sword, and liked it passing well.

Whether liketh you better, said Merlin, the sword or the scabbard?

Me liketh better the sword, said Arthur.

Ye are more unwise, said Merlin, for the scabbard is worth ten of the swords, for whiles ye have the scabbard upon you, ye shall never lose no blood, be ye never so sore wounded; therefore keep well the scabbard always with you.


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THE COALITION WAR GAME -Phyrexian Chief Praetor
Round 1: (4-1-2, 1 kill)
Round 2: (16-8-2, 4 kills)
Round 3: (18-9-2, 1 kill)
Round 4: (22-10-0, 2 kills)
Round 5: (56-16-3, 9 kills)
Round 6: (8-7-1)

Last Edited by Ralph on blank, 1920

I disagree. I like magic item shops. I want to be able to have my characters to to the local magic item mall and go to the fitting room to try out and decide which magic boots they're going to buy for the party this weekend. I play D&D because I like fantasy, not because I like roaming around in the dirt making rolls versus boredom. I like for my fantasy to be fantastic, and that includes being able to make magic items analogous to technology today.

Best case scenario, the game would be such that specific campaigns could easily tailor balance to higher or lower numbers of magic items. But please stop asking for low-magic to be the default. Some players want fat lewtz, and that's okay.

Why, yes, as a matter of fact I am the Unfailing Arbiter of All That Is Good Design (Even More So Than The Actual Developers) TM Speaking of things that were badly designed, please check out this thread for my Minotaur fix. What have the critics said, you ask? "If any of my players ask to play a Minotaur, I'm definitely offering this as an alternative to the official version." - EmpactWB "If I ever feel like playing a Minotaur I'll know where to look!" - Undrave "WoTC if you are reading this - please take this guy's advice." - Ferol_Debtor_of_Torm "Really full of win. A minotaur that is actually attractive for more than just melee classes." - Cpt_Micha Also, check out my recent GENASI variant! If you've ever wished that your Fire Genasi could actually set stuff on fire, your Water Genasi could actually swim, or your Wind Genasi could at least glide, then look no further. Finally, check out my OPTIONS FOR EVERYONE article, an effort to give unique support to the races that WotC keeps forgetting about. Includes new racial feature options for the Changeling, Deva, Githzerai, Gnoll, Gnome, Goliath, Half-Orc, Kalashtar, Minotaur, Shadar-Kai, Thri-Kreen, Warforged and more!
I disagree. I like magic item shops. I want to be able to have my characters to to the local magic item mall and go to the fitting room to try out and decide which magic boots they're going to buy for the party this weekend. I play D&D because I like fantasy, not because I like roaming around in the dirt making rolls versus boredom. I like for my fantasy to be fantastic, and that includes being able to make magic items analogous to technology today.

Best case scenario, the game would be such that specific campaigns could easily tailor balance to higher or lower numbers of magic items. But please stop asking for low-magic to be the default. Some players want fat lewtz, and that's okay.


It's not low magic I'm asking for, it's RELEVANT magic.  I don't care how frequent magic items are, as long as they're special and not expected stat-sticks to be relevant at level x.  This is not incompatable with "Fat Lewtz" or "Monty Haul" gaming.  In fact, I think it would make the high loot end more interesting, as you got a bad of tricks, and immovable rod, a hammer that strikes with the power of thunder and returns to your hand when you throw it, and a sword hilt that sprouts a blade of searing golden flames on command -- you know, cool stuff that it is exciting to get and have, rather than a bunch of +x items to sell so you can get the next plus on your primary in order to keep up with the Jonses.

I don't want magic items to be rare as long as they have character to them.  So I agree totally with your best case scenario: the rules should work with any given level of magic item handouts, because their purpose is "being really, really cool," not "being able to perform your primary function"

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THE COALITION WAR GAME -Phyrexian Chief Praetor
Round 1: (4-1-2, 1 kill)
Round 2: (16-8-2, 4 kills)
Round 3: (18-9-2, 1 kill)
Round 4: (22-10-0, 2 kills)
Round 5: (56-16-3, 9 kills)
Round 6: (8-7-1)

Last Edited by Ralph on blank, 1920

I pretty much agree with the OP. And if characters already scale properly, even a +1 weapon becomes pretty cool. However, I think bonuses should be fairly rare. Items should grant cool abilities or conditional/temporary bonuses.
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The death of +X items would be fantastic.



You know that if they did this it would be replaced with something like:
Sword of Accurate Slaying
+1 to attack
+1 to damage 



That would be disguising, not killing.

I demand a sacrifice!
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I disagree. I like magic item shops. I want to be able to have my characters to to the local magic item mall and go to the fitting room to try out and decide which magic boots they're going to buy for the party this weekend. I play D&D because I like fantasy, not because I like roaming around in the dirt making rolls versus boredom. I like for my fantasy to be fantastic, and that includes being able to make magic items analogous to technology today.

Best case scenario, the game would be such that specific campaigns could easily tailor balance to higher or lower numbers of magic items. But please stop asking for low-magic to be the default. Some players want fat lewtz, and that's okay.



We are not saying get rid of magic items Crimson we are talking about gitting rid of the mathmatical need for +x magic items  there would still be magic weapons, armor, implements, etc but they would not grant a +x to attack, damage roll or defense they would be known for what they did magically, for instance instead of a +1 flaming longsword it would be a flaming longsword, instead of +1 Dwarven Plate it would be Dwarven plate.
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Crimson_Concerto, I wonder what you're disagreeing with. It seems that almost everybody in this thread is in favor of killing +X items, but NOT killing magic items overall. You can still go shopping for everything that you mentioned. Magic could still be an analog of technology. It just won't necessarily be a direct mathematical "power-up" nor would magical gear be REQUIRED for your character.

If your 20th level fighter got all of his bling taken away and thrown in a cave, he could still have a chance at fighting his way out with little more than the iron bar of the cage that he broke loose with his OWN incredible strength.

You can still have your flying cloak, boots of stealth and rings of snazziness. They just won't add +3 to every attack you make. THAT would be incorperated into your actual character.

As an added bonus, some groups DON'T like magic item shopping. Under this system, such a game would be easy to run without having to tweak the underlying math. The DM can hand out more items or fewer as he sees fit. That's it. Simple.
I'm fine with getting rid of +X items, but I'm not fine with not including megic items into the math of the game. Magic items need to be included into the math of the game or else they will break the game. We can have separate tables or something like "if you're doing low-magic, then encounters should be balanced like this, but if you're doing high-magic, then encounter should be balanced like this, etc.", but they do have to be taken into account somehow if we don't want them to break the game. Don't get me wrong, I totally support letting the low-magic crowd be able to do their thing, which is why I love the idea of alternative rewards to much in 4E and wish that it had been better expanded upon, but I should not need to be asked to give up my high-magic preferences to accomodate them. It would be perfectly possible to come up with different tables or whatever to say how encounter balance and such should change depending on campaign magic level, but for that to work right, they need to know how magic items will fit into the game's math.

Why, yes, as a matter of fact I am the Unfailing Arbiter of All That Is Good Design (Even More So Than The Actual Developers) TM Speaking of things that were badly designed, please check out this thread for my Minotaur fix. What have the critics said, you ask? "If any of my players ask to play a Minotaur, I'm definitely offering this as an alternative to the official version." - EmpactWB "If I ever feel like playing a Minotaur I'll know where to look!" - Undrave "WoTC if you are reading this - please take this guy's advice." - Ferol_Debtor_of_Torm "Really full of win. A minotaur that is actually attractive for more than just melee classes." - Cpt_Micha Also, check out my recent GENASI variant! If you've ever wished that your Fire Genasi could actually set stuff on fire, your Water Genasi could actually swim, or your Wind Genasi could at least glide, then look no further. Finally, check out my OPTIONS FOR EVERYONE article, an effort to give unique support to the races that WotC keeps forgetting about. Includes new racial feature options for the Changeling, Deva, Githzerai, Gnoll, Gnome, Goliath, Half-Orc, Kalashtar, Minotaur, Shadar-Kai, Thri-Kreen, Warforged and more!
There is no reason why they couldn't remove the +X from the game and make all magic items specifically named items.  A Flaming Sword converts your physical damage to fire damage and on a crit causes X more fire damage.  It doesn't need a bonus to hit and damage to be magical.  The fact that it is magically on fire makes it magical.  Same thing with armor.  Instead of +1 platemail, have Platemail of the Mountain, that a certain number of times per day makes you immovable.

The big thing is not to look at this in a vaccuum.  If they removed all the plusses from magic items, they would OBVIOUSLY need to scale back monsters at the higher tiers of play to compensate.  Right now the system assumes you'll have these things.  No reason the system can't be built to assume you don't.
 
I'm fine with getting rid of +X items, but I'm not fine with not including megic items into the math of the game. Magic items need to be included into the math of the game or else they will break the game. We can have separate tables or something like "if you're doing low-magic, then encounters should be balanced like this, but if you're doing high-magic, then encounter should be balanced like this, etc.", but they do have to be taken into account somehow if we don't want them to break the game. Don't get me wrong, I totally support letting the low-magic crowd be able to do their thing, which is why I love the idea of alternative rewards to much in 4E and wish that it had been better expanded upon, but I should not need to be asked to give up my high-magic preferences to accomodate them. It would be perfectly possible to come up with different tables or whatever to say how encounter balance and such should change depending on campaign magic level, but for that to work right, they need to know how magic items will fit into the game's math.



 Umm I dont get this Crimson if there are no +x items in the game how does the need to include the math of a non-exsiting element need to be included?   There will be a need to play test and balance the effects of any magic items abilities into the game but if there are no +x items there is no need to balance the game for them.  There will still be a need to play balance the other effects of magic items of course just not the +x element.

As to the low-middle-high magic campaigns the removal of +x to items its completly setting neutral, you can use it in any setting.  
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I fail to see how working around any given number of +Xs in the gear is really all that different than having to work around any given number of +X players.
Well I have to say I like my +X items but I can see the need to change as I have seen many a character take those legendary weapons or armor and interchange them like underwear.  But as I'm reading over this forum I happen to be playing Dragon Age: Origins. Now as I think on how the +X system is now, I'm noticing that I also like the system that BioWare created for the game.

You get your weapons that change based on the material used, the better the quality the better the damage and that magic weapons and armor don't necessarily give a direct bonus to the AC or Hit.  In the case of Weapons you sometimes get a bonus to hit or damage, but I find just as often it allows better crit chances or more damage against certain creature types.  Now to improve them better they created runes which could be added to give elemental damage or stun chances etc.  Now I think DnD Next could benefit from something like that for their weapons.

As for the Armor I find that in the system, it mostly has to do with Resistances to Elemental damage even damage reduction, the rarer armor or shield gave an armor bonus.  Even those it was a low number.  I found that I ended up using equipment that I found or bought early in the game all the way through.  I definitely like that idea, that the sword I found or was given by a grateful spirit in the lost temple ended up being the weapon that I was known to be carrying all the time.
Because if you look at novels and history, sometimes the style of armor or the specific blade they carry is often a symbol of such a character that seen without it, people assume or fear the worst.
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Umm I dont get this Crimson if there are no +x items in the game how does the need to include the math of a non-exsiting element need to be included?

+X items are not the only problem. Go run an encounter and see how it goes. Then, give all of the PCs magic items that let them teleport 10 squares at-will as a minor action and try running that encounter again to see how it does. I'm going to go ahead and bet that the encounter is going to be easier the second time around. +X items are not the only ones that need to be included into the math.

There will be a need to play test and balance the effects of any magic items abilities into the game...
There will still be a need to play balance the other effects of magic items of course...

Yes, that's what I'm talking about.

Why, yes, as a matter of fact I am the Unfailing Arbiter of All That Is Good Design (Even More So Than The Actual Developers) TM Speaking of things that were badly designed, please check out this thread for my Minotaur fix. What have the critics said, you ask? "If any of my players ask to play a Minotaur, I'm definitely offering this as an alternative to the official version." - EmpactWB "If I ever feel like playing a Minotaur I'll know where to look!" - Undrave "WoTC if you are reading this - please take this guy's advice." - Ferol_Debtor_of_Torm "Really full of win. A minotaur that is actually attractive for more than just melee classes." - Cpt_Micha Also, check out my recent GENASI variant! If you've ever wished that your Fire Genasi could actually set stuff on fire, your Water Genasi could actually swim, or your Wind Genasi could at least glide, then look no further. Finally, check out my OPTIONS FOR EVERYONE article, an effort to give unique support to the races that WotC keeps forgetting about. Includes new racial feature options for the Changeling, Deva, Githzerai, Gnoll, Gnome, Goliath, Half-Orc, Kalashtar, Minotaur, Shadar-Kai, Thri-Kreen, Warforged and more!
Umm I dont get this Crimson if there are no +x items in the game how does the need to include the math of a non-exsiting element need to be included?

+X items are not the only problem. Go run an encounter and see how it goes. Then, give all of the PCs magic items that let them teleport 10 squares at-will as a minor action and try running that encounter again to see how it does. I'm going to go ahead and bet that the encounter is going to be easier the second time around. +X items are not the only ones that need to be included into the math.



I never said there needs to be no balance of magic items effects only of the +X element to the game.
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I never said there needs to be no balance of magic items effects only of the +X element to the game.

Yes, that's what I'm talking about. I just accidentally hit to post too early.

Why, yes, as a matter of fact I am the Unfailing Arbiter of All That Is Good Design (Even More So Than The Actual Developers) TM Speaking of things that were badly designed, please check out this thread for my Minotaur fix. What have the critics said, you ask? "If any of my players ask to play a Minotaur, I'm definitely offering this as an alternative to the official version." - EmpactWB "If I ever feel like playing a Minotaur I'll know where to look!" - Undrave "WoTC if you are reading this - please take this guy's advice." - Ferol_Debtor_of_Torm "Really full of win. A minotaur that is actually attractive for more than just melee classes." - Cpt_Micha Also, check out my recent GENASI variant! If you've ever wished that your Fire Genasi could actually set stuff on fire, your Water Genasi could actually swim, or your Wind Genasi could at least glide, then look no further. Finally, check out my OPTIONS FOR EVERYONE article, an effort to give unique support to the races that WotC keeps forgetting about. Includes new racial feature options for the Changeling, Deva, Githzerai, Gnoll, Gnome, Goliath, Half-Orc, Kalashtar, Minotaur, Shadar-Kai, Thri-Kreen, Warforged and more!
I never said there needs to be no balance of magic items effects only of the +X element to the game.

Yes, that's what I'm talking about. I just accidentally hit to post too early.



Gotcha and no problem I've done it before myself.
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Umm I dont get this Crimson if there are no +x items in the game how does the need to include the math of a non-exsiting element need to be included?

+X items are not the only problem. Go run an encounter and see how it goes. Then, give all of the PCs magic items that let them teleport 10 squares at-will as a minor action and try running that encounter again to see how it does. I'm going to go ahead and bet that the encounter is going to be easier the second time around. +X items are not the only ones that need to be included into the math.



I agree somewhat -- but at the same time, the math can't really be told to expect certain numbers other than +X.  Will teleporting around change how the PCs play and probably increase their efficacy?  Yeah.  By how much: Er... damn.  While the game can be balanced to expect a certain degree of power represented in the arsenal of items a player has acquired by level X, when items have special effects rather than stat bonuses the math becomes far more... fluid.  The encounter you describe is made MUCH more trivial by the item you describe if it's got bad terrain, bottomless pits, spider webs everywhere, or such than if it's in an enclosed perfectly flat arena setting where the melee fighters are likley to stick in combat and not use that particular item.

At which point, the way the items ought to be taken into account is with guidelines for the DM:
"When designing encounters, remember that CR is a guideline.  A troll guarding a narrow bridge over a raging river is much more dangerous than the same troll in an open field, but not if the players have the ability to hover over empty space, avoiding plummeting down into the river should the troll knock them away.  Always consider the conditions of the encounter and the abilities your players have access to."

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THE COALITION WAR GAME -Phyrexian Chief Praetor
Round 1: (4-1-2, 1 kill)
Round 2: (16-8-2, 4 kills)
Round 3: (18-9-2, 1 kill)
Round 4: (22-10-0, 2 kills)
Round 5: (56-16-3, 9 kills)
Round 6: (8-7-1)

Last Edited by Ralph on blank, 1920


 Tanis wore normal armor and used normal swords throughout the original trilogy, if I remember correctly.



Nope, the sword he got from Kith-Kanan was magic and utterly ruined everything at a rather inopportune time. Innocent
I agree somewhat -- but at the same time, the math can't really be told to expect certain numbers other than +X.  Will teleporting around change how the PCs play and probably increase their efficacy?  Yeah.  By how much: Er... damn.  While the game can be balanced to expect a certain degree of power represented in the arsenal of items a player has acquired by level X, when items have special effects rather than stat bonuses the math becomes far more... fluid.  The encounter you describe is made MUCH more trivial by the item you describe if it's got bad terrain, bottomless pits, spider webs everywhere, or such than if it's in an enclosed perfectly flat arena setting where the melee fighters are likley to stick in combat and not use that particular item.

If it were simple, then we wouldn't be arguing about it, now would we? Tongue Out

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I agree somewhat -- but at the same time, the math can't really be told to expect certain numbers other than +X.  Will teleporting around change how the PCs play and probably increase their efficacy?  Yeah.  By how much: Er... damn.  While the game can be balanced to expect a certain degree of power represented in the arsenal of items a player has acquired by level X, when items have special effects rather than stat bonuses the math becomes far more... fluid.  The encounter you describe is made MUCH more trivial by the item you describe if it's got bad terrain, bottomless pits, spider webs everywhere, or such than if it's in an enclosed perfectly flat arena setting where the melee fighters are likley to stick in combat and not use that particular item.

If it were simple, then we wouldn't be arguing about it, now would we?


Very true good fellow.  I would just like to see a D&D where, instead of "You had better have a +3 sword by level 12 when Iron Golems start rearing their ugly heads", the designers just playtested the hell out of setups and estimated that a PC will be working at, say, about 110% of their base-statline-efficacy by level 10 thanks to magic items making some things easier, and 125% at level 20.  Meaning that while these encounters will be harder without items, no *particular* item or set of items is expected to play.  should you have a good array of magic items?  Sure.  If they're part of the game I agree you have got to take them into account as a designer.  Are they going to just sit by giving you your expected plusses?  Nah, they do cool things that probably have a swingy effect on the micro scale but tend to level out on the macro to the increase in efficacy the designers estimated, give or take.  It might be a little more thinking for a DM, but as a DM, I love thinking.

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Nope, the sword he got from Kith-Kanan was magic and utterly ruined everything at a rather inopportune time. 



According to my 2E Encyclopedia Magicka, Wyrmslayer (the sword of Kith-Kanan) is a +3 two-handed sword with various other abilities relevant to its name.

Caramon, I believe, was the only main Hero of the Lance to never pick up a magic weapon.  Actually, add Riverwind.

(Tanis - Wyrmslayer, Sturm - the Brightblade, Tas - Rabbitslayer, Raistlin - Staff of Magius, Goldmoon - Staff of Mishakal).
The difference between madness and genius is determined only by degrees of success.

Nope, the sword he got from Kith-Kanan was magic and utterly ruined everything at a rather inopportune time. 



According to my 2E Encyclopedia Magicka, Wyrmslayer (the sword of Kith-Kanan) is a +3 two-handed sword with various other abilities relevant to its name.

Caramon, I believe, was the only main Hero of the Lance to never pick up a magic weapon.  Actually, add Riverwind.

(Tanis - Wyrmslayer, Sturm - the Brightblade, Tas - Rabbitslayer, Raistlin - Staff of Magius, Goldmoon - Staff of Mishakal).



Raistlin's silver dagger was also magical, as I recall?

Raistlin's silver dagger was also magical, as I recall?



You are correct, though I don't remember its name, plus, or properties.

I think it might have been a +4, for some reason.  I remember thinking it was silly.  That might have been Rabbitslayer, though.  I'm pretty sure one of them was a +4.

(My encyclopedia magicka is not in a place I can easily get to and I'm not going to go searching for it for this Tongue Out)
The difference between madness and genius is determined only by degrees of success.
well, thank you all for bringing me back up to speed on Dragonlace magica (it's been a couple of decades).

So my point goes from "Dragonlance didn't have mundane magical items" to "It had unique, NAMED magical items that people can remember decades later."

So, did Sturm have a +2 helm, +2 shield and a +2 breastplate as well? I'm thinking that even his armor was non-magical, and his encounters took that into consideration. (I'm speaking in terms of the books, not the RPG splat, in case there's a difference)
well, thank you all for bringing me back up to speed on Dragonlace magica (it's been a couple of decades).

So my point goes from "Dragonlance didn't have mundane magical items" to "It had unique, NAMED magical items that people can remember decades later."

So, did Sturm have a +2 helm, +2 shield and a +2 breastplate as well? I'm thinking that even his armor was non-magical, and his encounters took that into consideration. (I'm speaking in terms of the books, not the RPG splat, in case there's a difference)



I don't recall specifically, but I would guess that his family armor was probably magical full plate as well.

If you're speaking specifically of the books, though, neither his sword nor his armor were ever specifically called out as being magical.  So purely in the books, you can add him to the 'no magical equipment' column.  (The starjewel, being completely noncombative, obviously doesn't count).




As to the original topic:  I enjoy +X items, but I think they should be optional, not mandatory.  I liked the way 3.X did it (in theory), where you could have a +1 flaming sword, or a +2 sword; but a +2 flaming sword would be equivalent to a +3 sword.  I feel like 4E's 'everything comes in +1 to +6 at approximately the same cost' has helped to water down magic items and make them feel too generic, too much like just an ordinary thing a character is mandated to have.

If increasing your enhancement bonus comes at the cost of cool properties, that means that sometimes the bonus can be better and sometimes the property can be better, and as a result people will have different things.  (For example, to use 3.X terms, Sturm might have a straight +5 two-handed sword while Tanis has a +3 dragon bane two-handed sword).
The difference between madness and genius is determined only by degrees of success.
Yes, that's the point I was making. The story is completely enjoyable without knowing that Sturm's gear was magical. We cared about Sturm and his exploits. Fancy gear didn't factor into it. The narrative didn't need to point out, "and lo, Sturm took the jade falcon statue from the draconian and sold it so that he could pay to have his family's heirloom armor upgraded to +3." That kind of meta information would have dulled imersion in the story. It does the same thing at the table as well. Iconic gear is good. Trying to maintain it's power level is not.