Magic items to NOT be mechanically important

Mentioned in the chat logs for the D&D Experience.  I, for one, am totally excited about this.  As Mearls said, it brings the exploration back into the game.

What are your thoughts?

Edit: Changed "comfirmed" to "mentioned" 
Meh, I like mechanically important magic items.  If they don't do anything of note, who cares?
Resident Prophet of the OTTer.

Section Six Soldier

Front Door of the House of Trolls

[b]If you're terribly afraid of your character dying, it may be best if you roleplayed something other than an adventurer.[/b]

Bruce: Magic items have always been a part of the game, but with 4th it became part of a player's natural progression so that you would have to pick up items from stores or other places to keep up. One of the negative things that brought up was that it eliminted some of the exploration that was so integral in earlier editions. You no longer had to go questing or searching for that magic item. We want to decouple magic items from character progression so they're not needed, and return that exploration and excitement of finding magic items.

Greg: Monte you had a poll like this in your L&L, do you remember what the results were?

Monte: Yeah, it was surprising. A majority wanted magic items to be special and not to be able to buy them in shops and such. Of course that could be campaign specific. We're running with the idea that magic items are special and not bound to character progression, though things could change through playtesting. But we want it to be something that the DM plans, or something that a player/character wants to go on a quest to get that magic item they've heard of or need to accomplish there goals.

sounds good to me but remember it is only a seminar this is discussing things they are thinking about.
so already calling it confirsmed might be a bit to soon, puting it in the very likly group is no problem. 
I play in an Eberron world.  I love the Artificer and the "magic-punk" theme of that world and the quick availability of magic items.  I could see them becoming less mechanical.  Drop the +3 to hit on it and just have it do effects.  But I would be sad to see my magic items go away.
....though I must admit, there is something to be said for carrying a bloodstained DMG around. Definitely gets the newbies' attention.
I play in an Eberron world.  I love the Artificer and the "magic-punk" theme of that world and the quick availability of magic items.  I could see them becoming less mechanical.  Drop the +3 to hit on it and just have it do effects.  But I would be sad to see my magic items go away.




I think they are not sugestiong they go away they do also mention it would be campaign dependent.

but as it is now in 4th edition your at 50% to hit against a monster of your own level.
to get to this 50% to hit the system assumes you have a +x magical weapon apropriate to your level.
so having a magic weapon does not make you better at hitting creatures of your own level it just prevents you from  getting worse at hitting a same level opponent.


I think this is what they suggest for 5th. 
your ar 50% to hit against a monster of equal level, this assumes you have no magical weapons.
so if you have the +3 magical weapon you suggested you would be at 65% to hit against a equel level monster. 

this would also help the people that said 50% is a too low hit chance. 
The meaning of 'not mechanically importnat' in this case isn't reffering to how they work (+1 etc.)... but more as to how they fit in with level and balance.  It appears that they will not be assumed and will be harder to get.

From what has been said default will be 'more special' as in 'not available from the corner shop'.

Nothing has been said that suggests that magic items are going away (unless your DM wants them to... in which case it isn't a problem, he should be able do that)


Reading this made me want to do my happy dance.  
I liked this probably more than every other thing they said today (with the exception of the return of 1e clerics, yay!). This way a magic item could really become a prized treasure and not something to hoard, like i'm accostumed to do in 4e.

Chauntea/Lathander/Torm Cleric since 1995 My husband married a DM - καλὸς καὶ ἀγαθός

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/14.jpg)

Ideally the rules should work well in low magic campaigns as well as a high magic campaigns.

Perhaps wizards could get a 5% bonus to XP in high magic campaigns keep the balance between the classes.
DISCLAIMER: I never played 4ed, so I may misunderstand some of the rules.
having the magic items campaign specific might have more its in the phb that magic items yadda yadda yadda deals...


but its all meh until AFTER the playtest 
a mask everyone has at least two of, one they wear in public and another they wear in private.....
Bruce: Magic items have always been a part of the game, but with 4th it became part of a player's natural progression so that you would have to pick up items from stores or other places to keep up. One of the negative things that brought up was that it eliminted some of the exploration that was so integral in earlier editions. You no longer had to go questing or searching for that magic item. We want to decouple magic items from character progression so they're not needed, and return that exploration and excitement of finding magic items.

Greg: Monte you had a poll like this in your L&L, do you remember what the results were?

Monte: Yeah, it was surprising. A majority wanted magic items to be special and not to be able to buy them in shops and such. Of course that could be campaign specific. We're running with the idea that magic items are special and not bound to character progression, though things could change through playtesting. But we want it to be something that the DM plans, or something that a player/character wants to go on a quest to get that magic item they've heard of or need to accomplish there goals.

sounds good to me but remember it is only a seminar this is discussing things they are thinking about.
so already calling it confirsmed might be a bit to soon, puting it in the very likly group is no problem. 

Dear Bruce:

Nobody has ever bought a magic item in any of my campaigns. The very concept of a magic shop would make someone's head asplode. Never was needed in 4e. I guess this is news to you guys.

In point of fact it is the situation where items are entirely optional in which they have no place in exploration. You BETTER want to go questing for that +4 sword because truth is you gonna need it where you goin' baby! ;)
That is not dead which may eternal lie
It's been a long time, but I seem to recall in 1E not getting any magic items other than potions before 4th level at least. Maybe a scroll of something useless. Scrolls were mostly effects you couldn't get from spells and defensive/preventative if I recall correctly. Can't even remember how wands were used in 1E.
Bruce: Magic items have always been a part of the game, but with 4th it became part of a player's natural progression so that you would have to pick up items from stores or other places to keep up. One of the negative things that brought up was that it eliminted some of the exploration that was so integral in earlier editions. You no longer had to go questing or searching for that magic item. We want to decouple magic items from character progression so they're not needed, and return that exploration and excitement of finding magic items.

Greg: Monte you had a poll like this in your L&L, do you remember what the results were?

Monte: Yeah, it was surprising. A majority wanted magic items to be special and not to be able to buy them in shops and such. Of course that could be campaign specific. We're running with the idea that magic items are special and not bound to character progression, though things could change through playtesting. But we want it to be something that the DM plans, or something that a player/character wants to go on a quest to get that magic item they've heard of or need to accomplish there goals.

sounds good to me but remember it is only a seminar this is discussing things they are thinking about.
so already calling it confirsmed might be a bit to soon, puting it in the very likly group is no problem. 

Dear Bruce:

Nobody has ever bought a magic item in any of my campaigns. The very concept of a magic shop would make someone's head asplode. Never was needed in 4e. I guess this is news to you guys.

In point of fact it is the situation where items are entirely optional in which they have no place in exploration. You BETTER want to go questing for that +4 sword because truth is you gonna need it where you goin' baby! ;)



I've had magic shops in my games, but I restricted what was available.  Even some special items could be commissioned from master craftsmen (assuming you could track down their hidden worshops and convince them to help you).  Of course, the shops mostly trafficked in healing pots, salves, and scrolls.  The only problem was that one of my players tried to steal from a magic shop.  I had to put a stop to that.  So, I created a magic anti-theft system: all the items are cursed (reversed effects) until the shop-owner deactivates the anti-theft curse.

Getting back on topic, this is another bad idea for balance.  Classes aren't designed with balance; meh, it could still work out.  Classes aren't designed for balance and magic items have no balance point; that's a bit more problematic.  I guess DMs will just have to give more magic items to classes getting the short end of the balance stick.  I hope the other players aren't the jealous type.

There are a great many problems that can be circumvented by players and DMs having a mature discussion about what the game is going to be like before they ever sit down together to play.

 

The answer really does lie in more options, not in confining and segregating certain options.

 

You really shouldn't speak for others.  You can't hear what someone else is saying when you try to put your words in their mouth.

 

Fencing & Swashbuckling as Armor.

D20 Modern Toon PC Race.

Mecha Pilot's Skill Challenge Emporium.

 

Save the breasts.

In 1e AD&D, players had little control over how thier characters developed.  A magic-user might be able to research a new spell and gain some distinctiveness that way - with DM aproval, of course - but that was about it.  Everyone else was was basically the same as any other character of the same race, class and level - except for the items they found.  AD&D had  wealth of items - ranging from cute but useless to overwhelmingly powerful to inexcapably deadly curses - and DMs were always adding more.

In AD&D, players /really/ needed control over what magic items they got, because magic items where major defining elements of the character's abilities, feel, and even personality (items /could/ change that, too).  But, items were entirely the perview of the DM, even a player making an item needed a lot of DM aproval and the DM ultimately created the final draft of how the item worked.

Over the eds, players have gotten more and more ways to define their characters - in 2e, kits and non-weapon proficiencies.  In 3e, skills, feats and modular multiclassing.  In 4e, skills, feats, multiclassing, hybrids, backgrounds, themes, builds, power choice, and re-skinning.  But, the players also got progressively greater control of the items they acquired, and the items were progressively toned down, as well.  In 2e, item-creation was a bit less restrictive, and some campaign settings featured veritable aftermarkets in magic items.  In 3e, items were taken down several notches, rarely doing anything spells couldn't and item-creation and market value was standardized, putting item choice firmly in the players' hands.  In 4e, items were placed in the PH, and players could make/buy items with little restriction, and make 'wish lists' to let the DM know what items would be 'right' for each character. 


See what's going on here?  The more character-defining items were in any given ed, the less control players had over them.  Exactly backwards.


If 5e wants to make items window dressing that evokes the fantastic elements of the genre and setting without particularly defining and empowering the character that gets the item (as in 4e, but more so), then there's no need for players to be able to get just the item they 'need' for their build or concept (exactly the opposite of 4e).  If 5e is going to make items dramatic, powerful, and an important component of what a character is capable of (as in AD&D), and thus who & what he is in the context of the setting and story, then they need to be firmly in the hands of the player, a choice little less important than race or class (exactly the opposite of AD&D), with a special defining item sticking with a PC throughout his carreer (like 3.5 ancestral weapons, for instance).

 

 

Oops, looks like this request tried to create an infinite loop. We do not allow such things here. We are a professional website!

Personally, I think that there shouldn't be + to AC and AB because that just leads to "you have to have a +3 weapon at this level or risk not being able to hit the broad side of a barn", rather we should have magic items that just add cool effects. Maybe your greataxe allows you to throw it and having it return, or maybe you can daze a hit enemy once per encounter, or maybe it allows you to spend a healing surge once per day as an immdiate interrupt.

Heck, maybe if you want to just use the same greataxe your entire adventuring career (maybe there's benefits for this too)
I am extremely happy about this. The problem with 4e magic items (and not 4e specifically, either; 3e had pretty much the same problem) was not so much the magic item shop as it was wealth-by-level (treasure parcels in 4e). It led (at least for me) to the metagame-inducing, immersion breaking problem of "well, I kinda have to get 1264 gold before I hit next level if the DM doesn't want to throw off the system math and leave me with a frustrating low chance to hit, so does it even really matter if we go look for that treasure chest that's supposedly down here and trapped out the wazoo?" From the DM's perspective it was the same problem, but in reverse. And (again, for me at least, and I suspect many others) 4e magic items did not feel special. You pretty much definitely had +2 armor of [something class related] and a +2 weapon of [something class releated] at level 8, and 6 other magic items of pre-known levels, and that was that. I know some people were happy in 4e with magic items feeling fairly routine and artifacts, perhaps, representing the really cool stuff, but I don't like that.

So I am extremely happy that magic items are no longer figured into the math; the only thing that would make me happier is if they do away with +x magic items entirely. +3 to attack and damage is boring and does nothing but throw off the math/become absolutely essential, depending on whether or not the system was built around it. Even a +3 damage for one attack per encounter" is mor exciting and interesting. I don't even really want +x skill items.
One thing you could do to make magic items no longer cetral to your character's development, and bring back some of the uniqueness to them, would be to do away with the 'vanilla' magic items.  Those that just grant a numerical bonus to your attack or defense.  +1 lonswords, +2 magic full plate, and so on.  Much like the inherent bonus option in the character builder for low magic campaigns, these bonuses are already calculated into your stats.  Maybe you gain a +1 to everything every 4 or 5 levels or so?  

That would let magic items do more interesting things.  Like change your damage type, give you more options in combat/exploration/roleplaying.  Flaming weapons would change your damage type to fire, for example, while vicious weapons would be capable to delivering truely gruesome wounds (however that would be handled).  Take the examples of the non-weapon, armor, and neck slot items from 4e.  Some of those feet slot items let you do some truely interesting things.  Of course, items that give boosts to certain skills may still be appropriate, but in this case, they should also give you some other new ability with that skill.  Maybe magic climbing boots that not only give you +2 on climb checks, but also increased your climb speed, and maybe let you climb once per encounter, or once per day without a check.  
That warm fuzzy feeling you get when you a forum thread you're subscribed to has a new comment.
I play in an Eberron world.  I love the Artificer and the "magic-punk" theme of that world and the quick availability of magic items.  I could see them becoming less mechanical.  Drop the +3 to hit on it and just have it do effects.  But I would be sad to see my magic items go away.

+1 on this. My level 8 Bard (also Eberron, with inherent bonuses) has ten magic items, most of which are not about combat at all and only one of which has even a +2 enhancement bonus.

"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

I don’t know what to think of this. I might be wrong, but when I hear magic items not mechanically important, I understand, they’re not taken into account in the math.


But if they don’t take them into account in the math, how can there possibly be +5 swords without breaking the game. Either monsters are designed to deal with +5 swords (higher AC), either they are not, there’s nothing in between.


Maybe it will be as simple as a “magic sword” (+1 to hit and damage), and that’s all you get. You would of course have other items like elven boots or cloaks of invisibility that will let you do things that don’t affect the numbers.


 


I like the idea of DM giving these rare magic items as rewards that all adventurer dream of. But without a magic item market, why would players want money? A dragon's hoard with loads of gems and jewels won't feel as fantastic if you don't have anything to buy with that money.

This seems to contradict the notion of magic items being required to boost your ability scores beyond a certain point and the importance of ability scores.       
Fire Blog Control, Change, and Chaos: The Elemental Power Source Elemental Heroes Example Classes Xaosmith Exulter Chaos Bringer Director Elemental Heroes: Looking Back - Class and Story Elemental Heroes: Complete Class Beta - The Xaosmith (January 16, 2012) Elemental Heroes: Complete Class Beta - The Harbinger (May 16, 2012) Check out my Elemental Heroes blog series and help me develop four unique elemental classes.
I like the idea of taking out +x items. They're boring and become overly-necessary. Effects like shocking burst, disrupting, and speed are flavorful and less game-breaking. Actually, my favorite magical items have always been of the wonderous variety. You can't go wrong with those trusty Wings Of Flying! If enhancement bonuses from items were eliminated, they would be very useful without being the sole focus of everything you do as a player, thereby making magic items a cool treat again, not something you'll die in 10 seconds without.
+1 to every one voting to getting rid of the +1's... hurray for irony Tongue Out

A "magic" item should be exactly that, magical. When it becomes necessary for you to be effective it becomes no more magical than your character's undergarments...unless your character does in fact have magical undergarments (Heward's Handy Hanes...obvious implication lol)...ANYWAYS. Give me more items like the "Exodus Knife" with 1 MILLION different creative uses and an actual magical feel. Rather that than:
-"Hey Bob! Nice magical knife! What does it do?" 
-"Well John it helps me put the pointy end into the other guy."
-"...does it do anything else?"
-"...it's shiny."
I think the coolest thing about AD&D magic as compared to, say, 3 or 4e was that it wasn't systematized. 3E wands are kind of boring - they just do a spell. AD&D wands are often unique - each does its own thing, often more than one thing. Your magic user is just a magic-user until you find a Wand of Frost - then you're an Ice Mage.

If 5e is going to make items dramatic, powerful, and an important component of what a character is capable of (as in AD&D), and thus who & what he is in the context of the setting and story, then they need to be firmly in the hands of the player



Your character is molded by what happens in play. You dictate how he starts out. If you could also dictate the treasure he gets and how he ends up... you would have no reason to play the game. Just write down level 30, and equip your pre-selected items. You win.

I'm fine with powerful items that aren't handed out at the player's whims. If the character wants to be a Frost Mage with a Wand of Frost... then the character should go to a sage, purchase the research required to find such a thing, and then meticulously plan and carry out the expedition that will result in him prying it from the literally cold, dead fingers of the lich who owns it. He should be able to tell an epic tale of how he earned it.

Or, conversely, he should just find it on the white dragon's horde, and although he hadn't planned on becoming the feared Xenedan Icecaller, Wizard of the North... that's how he ended up. Life, and D&D, are funny like that.
1)  I am absolutely, 1000%, totally in favor of putting magic items back into the category of 'magical extra' rather than 'essential part of the character's build'.  I didn't like the way 3.5 made making magic items cheap and easy and created the expectation that the players could get their hands on most of whatever they wanted.  And then 4E took that 30 steps further and put the magic into the PHB  and changed it from treasure into detacheable feats and mandatory parts of the combat math. 

2)  I am conflicted when it comes to +n magic items.  Yes they lack imagination or pizzaz.  But they are also an iconic part of the game and have been for well over thirty-five years.  Therefore, I think they have their place.  But they should also be used sparingly.  Speaking from my own personal experience, when we played AD&D1st 'back in the day' - we rarely saw anything better than a +2 weapon, even on characters as high as 13-15th level.    I'd go so far as to suggest that the range of bonuses be reduced to closer to that range.  Make a +1 weapon special, Make a +2 weapon extraordinary.  And make a +3 weapon phenomenally rare.  And make +4 and +5 weapons nonexistent.   Again - as with my posts about ability scores - the point is that if you flatten the range of bonuses, you reduce the imbalance created between the 'haves' and the 'have nots'.  If you have a +2 weapon and I only have a +1, the 'imbalance' is small; If you have a +5 weapon and I have a +1, the 'imbalance' is more extreme.

 (You could always go with the OD&D approach which implied that the majority of them were also intelligent.  That, at least, solved the 'boring' aspect).

3)  That said - although +n weapons may not be very exciting, I did like the idea of the +x versus [some kind of critter] weapon.  Those served a specific purpose.  They are as iconic as the generic +n weapons, but they also say a little bit about the world (and the character who wields them).  Besides, my dwarf always did like waving his +1, +2 versus humans battleaxe at the other players.  


I also wonder if part of the solution might not be to give them a numerical damage bonus, but not an attack bonus.  Then the 'have' and the 'have not' both hit equally well (all other factors being equal) but the 'have' does still have a small advantage in damage output.  But probably not enough of an advantage that he might not consider some other, more interesting, item.  Because, with the math working the way it does - few things are worth giving up a bonus to hit.  Since most abilities, etc. (including damage, of course) key off of hitting your opponent, if you are choosing between a to hit bonus and anything else, taking the to hit bonus is usually the way to go.  But if weapons don't give to hit bonuses it puts other options on a more equal footing.
To CarlT: I couldn't agree with you more on all of this.
Meh, I like mechanically important magic items.  If they don't do anything of note, who cares?



I think they mean necessary (which I detest).

If they do keep +X items in the game, I think they might be quested after (really big deal), because a +1 will be huge now that scaling has been flattened (thank god). 
But they are also an iconic part of the game and have been for well over thirty-five years.  Therefore, I think they have their place.

Absolutely disagree.  There are many, many traditions in the world that are not worth keeping.  I would list a few (or a lot), but I would risk getting political, which is not my goal.

The idea that anything -- ANYTHING -- from AD&D is so iconic that it is absolutely sacrosanct, regardless of how destructive it is to the overall game ... just doesn't make any sense.  If we want D&D Next to be the best game it can be, we have to learn to let some things go.
If your position is that the official rules don't matter, or that house rules can fix everything, please don't bother posting in forums about the official rules. To do so is a waste of everyone's time.
But they are also an iconic part of the game and have been for well over thirty-five years.  Therefore, I think they have their place.

Absolutely disagree.  There are many, many traditions in the world that are not worth keeping.  I would list a few (or a lot), but I would risk getting political, which is not my goal.

The idea that anything -- ANYTHING -- from AD&D is so iconic that it is absolutely sacrosanct, regardless of how destructive it is to the overall game ... just doesn't make any sense.  If we want D&D Next to be the best game it can be, we have to learn to let some things go.



And that is a strawman.

To say that I think that X is iconic and should be kept in no way leads to the conclusion that everything, especially things which are 'destructive to the overall game' should be kept.

If you would like to explain how a +1 item, or perhaps even a +2 item, is in anyway destructive to the game, please do so.

Carl
I'm in complete agreement with CarlT on this.  
But they are also an iconic part of the game and have been for well over thirty-five years.  Therefore, I think they have their place.

Absolutely disagree.  There are many, many traditions in the world that are not worth keeping.  I would list a few (or a lot), but I would risk getting political, which is not my goal.

The idea that anything -- ANYTHING -- from AD&D is so iconic that it is absolutely sacrosanct, regardless of how destructive it is to the overall game ... just doesn't make any sense.  If we want D&D Next to be the best game it can be, we have to learn to let some things go.



And that is a strawman.

To say that I think that X is iconic and should be kept in no way leads to the conclusion that everything, especially things which are 'destructive to the overall game' should be kept.

If you would like to explain how a +1 item, or perhaps even a +2 item, is in anyway destructive to the game, please do so.

Carl


In all fairness Carl, if +x items are included, we have no way of knowing if they will be restricted to just +1 or +2.  The notion than high value +x items would be destructive to 5e, as it has been described, is something you have already stated your agreement to.  +x items are iconic.  However, if they do not reasonably restrict their x value, including them would be destructive no matter how iconic they are.

There are a great many problems that can be circumvented by players and DMs having a mature discussion about what the game is going to be like before they ever sit down together to play.

 

The answer really does lie in more options, not in confining and segregating certain options.

 

You really shouldn't speak for others.  You can't hear what someone else is saying when you try to put your words in their mouth.

 

Fencing & Swashbuckling as Armor.

D20 Modern Toon PC Race.

Mecha Pilot's Skill Challenge Emporium.

 

Save the breasts.


In all fairness Carl, if +x items are included, we have no way of knowing if they will be restricted to just +1 or +2.  The notion than high value +x items would be destructive to 5e, as it has been described, is something you have already stated your agreement to.  +x items are iconic.  However, if they do not reasonably restrict their x value, including them would be destructive no matter how iconic they are.




And this I agree with.

Although I do see a place in the game for items which increase accuracy slightly (i.e. a +1 or maybe +2), I do think that items which increase that accuracy substantially (+4, +5) do raise significant problems.  

And, no, we hvae no way of knowing if they will be reasonably restricted in value.  Technically we have no way of knowing they won't put in +20 items.  All we can do is present arguments for why particular approaches might be desirable/undesireable and hope that they listen to and agree with our reasoning.  (Asking them to explain the flaws in our reasoning - if they see such - is probably asking too much.  But wouldn't it be a great touch and make it that much easier for us to give them useful feedback?)

But I don't think that we need to toss out +1 items out of fear that they will open the door to +5 items.

And I  also think that the most important point is that we (or at least I) don't want to see the 4E approach where a progression of +x items was not only possible, but explicitly assumed, made mandatory and built into the game mathematics.

Carl
But I don't think that we need to toss out +1 items out of fear that they will open the door to +5 items.



I'd prefer to keep that option as well.  However, if they can't keep the big bonuses out of future splatbooks, I'd rather they just keep their +x's in their pants instead of using them to screw us.

And I  also think that the most important point is that we (or at least I) don't want to see the 4E approach where a progression of +x items was not only possible, but explicitly assumed, made mandatory and built into the game mathematics.



I didn't care for that at first either, but 4e actually had a good reason for that.  If you want to keep the encounters balanced while also providing +x items of significant bonus value, then you either need to work it into the math or leave it out.  Working it into the math effectively charges players money as they level, and leaving them out results in no practical way to balance encounters across individual gaming groups.

There are a great many problems that can be circumvented by players and DMs having a mature discussion about what the game is going to be like before they ever sit down together to play.

 

The answer really does lie in more options, not in confining and segregating certain options.

 

You really shouldn't speak for others.  You can't hear what someone else is saying when you try to put your words in their mouth.

 

Fencing & Swashbuckling as Armor.

D20 Modern Toon PC Race.

Mecha Pilot's Skill Challenge Emporium.

 

Save the breasts.

But I don't think that we need to toss out +1 items out of fear that they will open the door to +5 items.

And I  also think that the most important point is that we (or at least I) don't want to see the 4E approach where a progression of +x items was not only possible, but explicitly assumed, made mandatory and built into the game mathematics.

Carl


If you've played Star Wars Saga this was the case.  Items would be +1 or +2 to hit and that's about it.  However, they could get up to +5 to damage but you were limited on how many modifiers you placed on a single piece of Equipment.  I really liked this because it allowed players to have items that complimented their styles.  One of my players have a Jedi Knight who mastered Juyo and Vaapad (Mace Windu's Style) so a bonus to damage was more important as he went for a single killing stroke.  Another an Imperial Knight who Mastered Soresu, so he had a dueling saber which gave an equipment bonus to Block and Deflect.  These were "either or" abilities and the saber itself only did 1D8 damage.  The Imperial Knight's talents and powers that allowed them to do 5D8+3D6+4 damage with a successful Riposte or AoO, but only 1D8+3D6+4 on an attack.  The weapon increased the chance of a successful Riposte or AoO but didn't give him the ability to do that kind of damage.  That was talents, feats, and powers.

The problem with this is in Star Wars a Jedi will have two Light Sabers his entire career
1) The one he starts with
2) The one he makes

A D&D character doesn't do that.  They're questing for a Staff of Ruin, a Vorpal Sword, or a Ring of Invisibility.  The problem I have (and I blame 3e) is the bucket of +1 Long Swords I collect on the way there.
I didn't care for that at first either, but 4e actually had a good reason for that.  If you want to keep the encounters balanced while also providing +x items of significant bonus value, then you either need to work it into the math or leave it out.  Working it into the math effectively charges players money as they level, and leaving them out results in no practical way to balance encounters across individual gaming groups.



A 'good reason' given the design philosophy of 4e.  But in practice I hated it. 

Knowing that your magic item was going to be obsolete in a few levels just seemed.... wrong.  And forcing treasure drops to keep up with the 'red queen's race' of 4E mathematics made the items seem merely mundane. 

One of my suspicions was always that part of the reasoning behind the 4E approach was an attempt to keep in the 'iconic' high +x items without having them skew the math.  And, although I agree with that as a goal - I think that the end result missed the mark.

The fix I would take for 4E would be to introduce true +1 items (along with using inherent bonuses).  They would grant a bonus above and  beyond the inherent bonus for your level.     5E hopefully won't have the inherent bonuses in the first place (and we already know the defens progression will be flattened).
Though, even if you kept +x items out, your items would still become obsolete eventually.  Flaming never stops being useful, but once you find that flaming burst weapon, selling the old fiery longsword just makes sense.  
That warm fuzzy feeling you get when you a forum thread you're subscribed to has a new comment.

I don’t know what to think of this. I might be wrong, but when I hear magic items not mechanically important, I understand, they’re not taken into account in the math.


But if they don’t take them into account in the math, how can there possibly be +5 swords without breaking the game.


There can't - so get rid of the +5 swords.

Maybe it will be as simple as a “magic sword” (+1 to hit and damage)

And that would be a rare and high-level item.

Swords which turn all damage to Fire, or which let you make a Melee 5 attack once an encounter, or something like that, would be more common. At higher levels you might have a sword which turns all damage to Fire *and* lets you make a Melee 5 attack once an encounter.
"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
I like the saga example (although I've never played).   There was a shift that took place from AD&D to 3.x in the frequency of magic - at least in my experience.  Buckets of +1 items just wasn't an issue in AD&D.



I thik that the 'goal' (from a "DM awarding loot" perspecitve) shoud be similar.  Rather then buckets of +1 items, or swapping out a new item every five levels I'd rather see most characters have two (or maybe three) weapons during their career.  The first weapon they find (Oh, cool!  a magic weapon!) - a weapon that the game mechanics make useful throughot their entire career (no obsolescence), and the weapon they hear about, seek out and eventually find  (finally, the [adjective] sword  of [noun]!!)- which may not be much more accurate than their earlier weapon, but is better suited to your abilities and/or fluff.  Piles of pointless items, whether buckets of +1s or discarded, obsolete weapons do nothing but dilute the 'specialness' of those two items.

Carl
If they do decide to keep bane weapons (+x on that weapon rises by +2 against that creature type, and the weapon does +2d6 damage to creatures of that type), I'd like to see all bane weapons made so that you can adjust the target of the bane with a ritual (perhaps you have to capture a creature of the new type and murder it with the weapon as part of the ritual).  Back in 3.5, I had a character that used to carry a quiver (basically like a golf bag) of +1 flaming, x bane longswords.  The wizard used to walk up to me and suggest which one to use like he was my caddy.

There are a great many problems that can be circumvented by players and DMs having a mature discussion about what the game is going to be like before they ever sit down together to play.

 

The answer really does lie in more options, not in confining and segregating certain options.

 

You really shouldn't speak for others.  You can't hear what someone else is saying when you try to put your words in their mouth.

 

Fencing & Swashbuckling as Armor.

D20 Modern Toon PC Race.

Mecha Pilot's Skill Challenge Emporium.

 

Save the breasts.

Piles of pointless items, whether buckets of +1s or discarded, obsolete weapons do nothing but dilute the 'specialness' of those two items.

Carl


I'm glad you said that!  I wanted to come back and make that statement myself.

I've noticed the thread is slowly turning into:
Magic Items as Effects/Abilities

As opposed to:
Magic Items as Bonuses

When magic items are bonuses (merely an aggregate of numbers) they lose their "specialness."  Being able to "hit better" should be a Effect, but not a Given.  The way magic exists now is a magic weapon must be both.  It must give a bonus to hit AND a special effect/ability otherwise it's thrown in the bucket for resale at the local BestBuy of Ye Oldde Majick Shoppes.  When items have an effect they'd probably stick around a lot longer.  I like the example Warrl gives about Flaming and Melee 5.  When you have a sword that is flaming it won't necessarily make you drop you Melee 5 (1/encounter) sword.  Both have their uses.  That's until you get a sword that does both then you could let them go.  When the "+" is a manditory feature that is a determining factor.  You drop a kewl item for once that is merely reliable.  It's less about "magic" and more about statistics.

Hmm...  With this sword I'm +20% more likely to hit?  I'll take it!


When it's laid out like this it just shake my head, knowing it's true and it's been like that for a long time.  It wasn't until 4e that I saw players thinking about holding on to lower "+" weapons and gear because they had really good abilities.  I haven't seen that since Unearthed Arcana came out in 1e.  But "+" wasn't eliminated deciding factor and I don't think it ever will be.
I thought I had something to contribute to this thread until I read CarlT's posts.

Holy crap man it's like I have a idea doppelganger! Surprised

What I think I can add is that, at least in previous games and editions I've run, +X items have been an easy way for me to throw the metaphorical bone to the newbies at the table that poorly made their characters in order to bring them up to par to the more seasoned players.  In that light giving a really poor character concept a +6 Legendary Weapon when he's only in heroic tier is far more delicate than having him just toss the first character he ever made and reroll something else.

I find anything else I say has already been mentioned, and would simply be a reiteration...Well played CarlT, well played sir...
In my AD&D game, all those +1 swords (1/4 of which are intelligent, and are actually NPCs), after an upgrade is found, are turned into loyalty.

Giving a henchman a magic talking sword? That guy is yours for life
Sign In to post comments