Legacy Items in 5e

Late 3.5 featured the infamous "Legacy Items". They were broken to the core and I believe no sane DM would ever actually use them.

However, they had an awesome theme and some intresting ideas and concepts. Basically, you could choose some items that had a meaning, that were important to your character, and say they were "Legacy Items" - or as a DM, introduce into a game powerful artifacts and use those rules to handle them. The main selling point of those items were that they grew with you, and that you needed to complete specific subquests (relevant to the story of the item, the details of which were left to the DM) to unlock the higher levels of their powers.

I'd like to see a balanced system to handle such items in 5e. If I am using the weapon of my grandfather, I do not want this to happen. I want my ancestral weapon to retain its usefulness throughout the game, without transfer enchantment shenanigans (that aren't really viable in the middle of a dungeon anyway) or similar things. I want special items to stay special. Items that tell something about my character shouldn't be easily replaced by some random dungeon crawl loot. Legacy Items, while broken and unbalanced and badly thought-out, were somehow along the lines of what I have in mind. With the proper rebalancing, I believe they would be a very nice addition to the game.

What do you think about it? 
Are you interested in an online 4E game on Sunday? Contact me with a PM!
Show
Reflavoring: the change of flavor without changing any mechanical part of the game, no matter how small, in order to fit the mechanics to an otherwise unsupported concept. Retexturing: the change of flavor (with at most minor mechanical adaptations) in order to effortlessly create support for a concept without inventing anything new. Houseruling: the change, either minor or major, of the mechanics in order to better reflect a certain aspect of the game, including adapting the rules to fit an otherwise unsupported concept. Homebrewing: the complete invention of something new that fits within the system in order to reflect an unsupported concept.
Ideas for 5E
Yes, yes please. I loved items of legacy. As a DM in 3.5 that book helped me build truly powerful, legendary artifacts for my players. I didn't found them to be broken simply because I was the one choosing the powers, not the players, so I could avoid the few totally OP options.

Bring'em back! 
3.5 Legacy items were broken in both directions.  In the one, picking powers let you build a crazy powerful weapon with few drawbacks, and in the other the pregen weapons were really stupid things like a +4 sword that gave you -2 to all attack rolls.

However, the core concept behind them was excellent, and with refined execution would be an excellent feature of the new edition.  Remove the penalties system, instead build a system where instead of handing out treasure, or as a quest reward, a DM can have a weapon become endowed with new powers the PC unlocks by leveling up.  This allows for adventure hooks like needing to face a mighty dragon in ritual combat to awaken the full potential of a character's grandfather's sword, requiring them to seek out the dragon's lair, persuade it to the duel, and then actually fight the dragon, potentially causing the cast to become embroiled in other events taking place in that same area when the downtime before the duel leads to uncovering a plot by evil cultists to rig the duel and slay the dragon, who serves as the town's protector against their demonic master.  A wizard player who finds an ancient tome that seems to be missing many of its pages, though even in its ruined state it acts as a magic implement, can do research to learn that some of the missing pages are located in the treasure room of a baron willing to part with them in exchange for pest control.  As the book is put together it grows in power and begins to leave clues towards the identity of its former owner, now a powerful lich and capable of being an archrival for the wizard.

Ideally players wanting to wield a legacy artifact should be able to communicate with the DM, decide together what the weapon's final form should look like and what its history is, figure out how much of the player's share of the treasure this is going to cost them, and then let the DM take care of planting the quest hooks. 
I think all magic items with the exception of consumables and ammunition should work this way.  No fantasy hero ever threw his sword away because it was too weak for him anymore.  How the system should work I am flexible on, but gone should be the days of tossing aside a weapon or armor because you found one that is better.  I'm also against magic item shops, and just making the magic items you want, but that is for another thread and I'm not against it being possible, only againt it being expected or required.

Kalex the Omen 
Dungeonmaster Extraordinaire

OSR Fan? Our Big Announcement™ is here!

Please join our forums!

Concerning Player Rules Bias
Kalex_the_Omen wrote:
Gaining victory through rules bias is a hollow victory and they know it.
Concerning "Default" Rules
Kalex_the_Omen wrote:
The argument goes, that some idiot at the table might claim that because there is a "default" that is the only true way to play D&D. An idiotic misconception that should be quite easy to disprove just by reading the rules, coming to these forums, or sending a quick note off to Customer Support and sharing the inevitable response with the group. BTW, I'm not just talking about Next when I say this. Of course, D&D has always been this way since at least the late 70's when I began playing.

Personally I would move the rules for magic weapons straight into character abilities by level. If a game assumes you have a +1 magic sword at 4th level, then that should be a class feature. Doing it the way it currently is takes the long way around. How did you get that +1 sword? You can explain it any way that makes sense. Then, at 8th level when you choose to upgrade to a flaming sword, it can still be the same sword, the sword of  your grandfather, but now something has been unlocked or added or infused. Or maybe the flaming power doesn't reside in the sword itself?

Either way, things that are supposed to be part of your character at a level should be part of your character class. 
+1 for legacy.

If magic weapons become class features, Then ... how super dull would that be.

Congratulations on killing the Red Dragon... Loot ... ohh some nice tapestries, some 1st edition Orc's Vs Thrud books. Weapons, Ohhh no sorry no chance. There built into class features now :s
I think they need to have a Wednesday Encounters and Convention Module that... limits what PCs can do and show up with that don't hinder DMs who want to turn it up.
Sign In to post comments