Magic Items: why ignoring bonuses is not the way to take us off the treadmill

First off, I'm all in favor of not needing magic items to keep up with the monsters.  That was one of my least favorite things about 4e (mind you, overall I liked 4e and I don't think the problem was by any means exclusive to 4e).  It forced DMs to give out too many magic items (and inherent bonuses really didn't fix that, it just replaced magic items with training/boons and gave us even more item slots to fill), and giving out too many made it impossible to make any of them special (Huzzah, quest for the holy avenger, during which we locate four other magic items that are never substantially worse and quite possibly better).  It meant players felt entitled to magic items, rather than ecstatic to receive them.  It made power levels hugely dependent on having the right treasure.  

However, the solution to not needing magic items is not to have monster stats assume PCs don't have magic gear, and then give out magic gear anyway (at least in some if not most games).  Explain to me how you plan to create a system in which monsters have ACs that are both hitable by a cleric without magic gear and missable by a fighter with a belt of storm giant strength and a +3 weapon?  Conservatively, that's a 9 point difference in attack bonus at level 20 (4 points of STR bonus [assuming the cleric gets his STR to 20, which may be hard for a dual statter], 3 points of enhancement, and 2 points of class [assuming the gap in class bonuses does not expand with levels, which I expect it to do by another point at least, with clerics getting 2+1/6lvl and fighters getting 3+1/4lvl]).  The difference is quite likely to hit 11, and may well hit that range by level 8 (given that it's now "OK" to give out vorpal swords at level 2).  +3 armor or no may sound like only 15 percentage points of monster accuracy, but given that they're already hitting only about 30% of the time that's cutting their damage output in half.  50%, not 15%, there's a difference between percent and percentage points.  

This is going to result in huge variations in PC power levels, huge variations in hit/miss ratios, and those variations are going to be tied to a decision that should be about flavor.  I don't want it to be impossible to play a high magic game in which monsters hit or my players miss less than 20% of the time.  I don't want to have to have three different XP budgets by level depending on how much magic gear I give out, and I even less want to be left to figure the three charts out myself based on trial and error.  I'm all for not assuming magic enhancement bonuses in the system math, but PLEASE don't just throw in magic enhancement bonuses and then pretend they don't exist.  System math is not the ravenous bugbladder beast, just because you wrap your head in a towel doesn't mean it can't see you.

If you really want to make enhancement bonuses not assumed, then don't give them to anybody.  At least not as static, all the time bonuses (I don't mind so much a + vs dragons/undead, if you absolutely insist, although even then I'd rather a resistance to their attacks or the ability to ignore their resistances).  Seriously, this is important.  And it  applies to damage too, although less importantly.  
Good points but having skimmed the Magic Items doc so far I got the distinct impression that +3 items would be almost unheard of (Artifacts?), even +2s being consired "unusual" (which to me would probably suggest Legendary).

As a DM you can ensure that such wide power gaps don't appear. The new doc is pretty much exactly what I hoped for an expected in this iteration - it's certainly a step in the right direction away from the +1 to +6 escalator we had in 4E.

The +1 items are needed so that most magic items have "an edge" beyond their pure flavour.
With limited attuned items everyone should stay close to the "the expected power" of their level (they may have a +1 weapon but lack a +1 armour or vice versa, later they have both but the power curve can accommodate that since we are sticking to the assumption of 5% gains here and there).

+2 Legendaries are for the higher levels undertaking epic quests, but nobody can expect to get them.
+3 Artifacts would be almost world-changing, certainly major campaigns could be based around them and no character should ever think they are going to even see one.

Bringing in issues of character stats is not really relevant to Magic Items themselves, Fighters are expected to have higher Attack and Defence than most other characters just by being Fighters.

Anyway it's not perfect yet and they really do need to address the possibility of the power creep/differentials you suggest but I think it's a great start.
 inherent bonuses really didn't fix that, it just replaced magic items with training/boons and gave us even more item slots to fill


While I like most of your post, I have to point out this is not even remotely what inherent bonuses does.  Training and boons are a completely separate and equally optional "rules module" for 4e.

I'm definitely a fan of the path they're taking. And with the simple math making things overall easier to run (at least in my experience so far), they can safely go back to saying "You're the DM, exercise some judgement when running your game. It's not hard." A bad DM can ruin any game, no matter how many rules there are to try to prevent it, while a good DM (again, in my experience) fares far better when the system they're using allows them this sort of space to shape their game without having to house-rule away silly things like item-reliant math and the like...

So, in my opinion, it's far better to give the DM free reign to run their game how they want, and actually expect a DM to either know what they're doing or learn on the way. I like this trend.
First off, I'm all in favor of not needing magic items to keep up with the monsters.  That was one of my least favorite things about 4e (mind you, overall I liked 4e and I don't think the problem was by any means exclusive to 4e).  It forced DMs to give out too many magic items (and inherent bonuses really didn't fix that, it just replaced magic items with training/boons and gave us even more item slots to fill), and giving out too many made it impossible to make any of them special (Huzzah, quest for the holy avenger, during which we locate four other magic items that are never substantially worse and quite possibly better).  It meant players felt entitled to magic items, rather than ecstatic to receive them.  It made power levels hugely dependent on having the right treasure.  

However, the solution to not needing magic items is not to have monster stats assume PCs don't have magic gear, and then give out magic gear anyway (at least in some if not most games).  Explain to me how you plan to create a system in which monsters have ACs that are both hitable by a cleric without magic gear and missable by a fighter with a belt of storm giant strength and a +3 weapon?  Conservatively, that's a 9 point difference in attack bonus at level 20 (4 points of STR bonus [assuming the cleric gets his STR to 20, which may be hard for a dual statter], 3 points of enhancement, and 2 points of class [assuming the gap in class bonuses does not expand with levels, which I expect it to do by another point at least, with clerics getting 2+1/6lvl and fighters getting 3+1/4lvl]).  The difference is quite likely to hit 11, and may well hit that range by level 8 (given that it's now "OK" to give out vorpal swords at level 2).  +3 armor or no may sound like only 15 percentage points of monster accuracy, but given that they're already hitting only about 30% of the time that's cutting their damage output in half.  50%, not 15%, there's a difference between percent and percentage points.  

This is going to result in huge variations in PC power levels, huge variations in hit/miss ratios, and those variations are going to be tied to a decision that should be about flavor.  I don't want it to be impossible to play a high magic game in which monsters hit or my players miss less than 20% of the time.  I don't want to have to have three different XP budgets by level depending on how much magic gear I give out, and I even less want to be left to figure the three charts out myself based on trial and error.  I'm all for not assuming magic enhancement bonuses in the system math, but PLEASE don't just throw in magic enhancement bonuses and then pretend they don't exist.  System math is not the ravenous bugbladder beast, just because you wrap your head in a towel doesn't mean it can't see you.

If you really want to make enhancement bonuses not assumed, then don't give them to anybody.  At least not as static, all the time bonuses (I don't mind so much a + vs dragons/undead, if you absolutely insist, although even then I'd rather a resistance to their attacks or the ability to ignore their resistances).  Seriously, this is important.  And it  applies to damage too, although less importantly.  


From what I can see, your problem is based in the assumption that Monty Haul DMs are going to have a broken game. But this is how it's always been. If a DM gives out too many magic items, the party is powerful. Too few, it might be too weak. That's how it was in every edition. You can't balance the game around DMs that might give their players too much gear, then you end up with 4e. You have to balance it around the average. DMs are going to give their players the amount of treasure they want, and I don't see a reason to prevent them from doing this.
My two copper.
@intruder

The fact that artifacts are intended to be rare lessens the problem (although it's rather unclear how rare, since so many of the items in the packet seem to be artifact level), it does not remove it.  Even one artifact is already going to result in pretty big gaps, and while I'm not blaming the item system for the fighter/cleric gap I think it's important to keep the entire system in mind and recognize that these gaps compound each other.  The system math needs to work in a game where the DM says "there is no magic in my campaign," and a player chooses to play a cleric.  It also needs to work in a world where the DM says, "there is a lot of magic in my campaign," and the fighter leads his friends out of their way to seek out artifacts of power.  If magic items are going to provide static bonuses like this, and the system math is not going to adjust to the number of magic items given, then either everyone has to stay pretty close to the assumed level (which nobody seems to want) or we have to accept large variations in expected to hit ratios, damage output, and PC survivability.

To take an example, let's say your system math is designed so that a lvl 12 rogue (average attack bonus) in an average-magic setting (a +2 weapon) hits about 65% of the time (seems to be the target now).  A fighter in a high-magic campaign will instead hit 80-95% of the time (assuming a +3 weapon at the low end, and a belt of storm giant strength and +2 weapon at the high).  A cleric in a no-magic campaign will hit only 50% of the time, give or take based on starting attributes (45% at level 11).  I don't like that the system math allows fighters in high magic campaigns to hit on a 2.  I don't like that the system math says, "missing is annoying let's let players hit pretty reliably, unless you're playing a cleric or a low-magic campaign."  I don't like that, if I want to-hit ratios more in the 50% range, I have to play a no magic campaign, or if I want a high magic campaign I have to accept hit ratios of 80% or more.  I REALLY don't like that the system pretends that the high magic party and the low magic party should face the same number of monsters in a day.  Granted there has always been some wiggle room based on party optimization, smart play, exactly which items were given out even if the number is obligatory, and exactly which monsters they are.  But the less unpredictability and DM trial and error there is in that number, the better.  A limit of 3 attuned items + however many unattuned items you want does not begin to solve the problem.  

And for the record, no, you do not need static +x bonuses to attack (or even damage) to make magic items have "an edge."  They can absolutely provide edges through increased versatility.  What's cooler, a +1 to hit, or the ability to extinguish light sources in the area, or to shoot fireballs, or to let you phase through walls?

@FlashbackJon

Take a look at the DM side of the rules.  In a low magic campaign, they advise that you use inherent bonuses, then replace half of the magic items you would otherwise give out with training and boons.  Since training and boons are only reskinned items, none of the problems I had as DM with giving out too many magic items were solved.  That was my point, I apologize for not being clearer, but as it was a side point I didn't want to spend too much time on it.  

@JRutterbush

I'm all in favor of free reign for DMs.  I am in no way suggesting that all DMs should be forced to give out the same number of magic items.  Rather, I'm suggesting that the system math actually accomodate DMs who want to give out more or less magic items.  As it stands, the system math assumes you give out the average amount and then tell you you can give out as much or as little as you like, as if it has no impact on the system math.  It DOES have an impact, and I'm saying that impact should be reduced as much as possible (without leaving magic items meaningless) so that DMs really do get free reign.  Yes, through trial and error, you can balance the encounters anyway.  But I'd prefer less error in my trial if I can get it, and I'd prefer not to have "high magic campaign" mean that my players yawn while I roll monster miss after monster miss and yawn when they roll for attack because the outcome is all but preordained.  

@ Jenks

I'm not, in fact, assuming that Monty Haul DMs will have a broken game.  My problem is not simply that high-magic PC stats will be too high, it is that they will be too much higher than low magic PC stats.  I'm not suggesting they balance the game around the high end, or the low end, or the average.  I'm not suggesting they pronounce from on high that DMs must conform to a set treasure progression in order to minimize variations from that arbitrary balance point.  I'm suggesting that they set up the system so that straying from whatever point you balance around does not unbalance the game (at least more than it needs to).  I'm arguing that they should utterly divorce gear from the system math, so that attack and AC variations between high and low magic campaigns are minimized, so that DMs can in fact give whatever amount of treasure they want without worrying that it will result in monsters that can't hit, PCs that can't miss, or DMs that can't balance an encounter.  "This is how it has always been" is no excuse not to fix it.  We can, in fact, have a system in which DMs can give as much or as little treasure as they like without breaking the game.  I want to have that system.  5e is not that system, and the fact that they tell DMs that it is does not make it so.
One thing that might help in a high-magic campaign where powerful items are common would be to give monsters more magical gear themselves. If magic is so common that every PC has +1 something by level 5 - 7 then it would make sense that monsters would all have +1 somethings as well, just of lesser quality than most PC gear (ie +1 sword instead of +1 sword that can deal fire damage as well). It doesn't address the problem directly, but it would help flatten the math a little more.
@FlashbackJon

Take a look at the DM side of the rules.  In a low magic campaign, they advise that you use inherent bonuses, then replace half of the magic items you would otherwise give out with training and boons.  Since training and boons are only reskinned items, none of the problems I had as DM with giving out too many magic items were solved.  That was my point, I apologize for not being clearer, but as it was a side point I didn't want to spend too much time on it. 


Your point doesn't make any sense.  How is your problem you had as DM with giving out too many magic items not made better by giving out half as many items?

From your statements, it seems you misread completely the advice on low magic campaigns.  They don't have the same number of magic items as normal. 
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
I'm not a fan of +X items. I wish WotC would just get rid of them already and focus on interesting properties instead.
I'm not a fan of +X items. I wish WotC would just get rid of them already and focus on interesting properties instead.

I do belive there is room for +x items but not all magic items need to have it. Like previously mentioned, other abilities make the item interesting.  I think 1st edition item creation should be used as a reference for building magic items.  but this is my personal opinion.

I know this is a bit of a stretch but a show I watch WareHouse 13 explained how the artifacts in that genre are created. In fact, one episode allowed the viewer to watch an artifact be created.  This kinda goes along the lines of the 4E or 3.5 optional rules about magic items gaining power as the owner goes up in level.  I guess there is room for many of these rules or options depending on how the DM wants to go.  I recall seeing an article in an old Dragon Magazine about the same subject.  It covered the idea that weapons can become magical based on their use.   
Celtas
Agreed with the OP. If bounded accuracy is still one of the goals the designers want to achieve, +x items (and stuff like the belt of giant strenght) must die in a fire.
I want magic items to have an XPA (eXperient Point Adjustment).

The player adds these experience points to their own experience points to determine their virtual level. The DM sees this level, and allows them to engage higher-than-normal-level creatures.

The hero who receives a magic item keeps track of two levels, with and without the magic items.

The XPA (not a Level Adjustment) can represent the impact of a magic item accurately. For example, a magic item whose XPA is worth +1000 XP, will dramatically increase the level of a level 1 hero, but will be barely noticeable for a level 10 hero.



(Also, instead of listing a gp value, use the XP value for conversions into gp, depending on the economy of the setting.)
The player adds these experience points to their own experience points to determine their virtual level. The DM sees this level, and allows them to engage higher-than-normal-level creatures.

Why not a horizontal treadmill instead of a vertical one?

Instead of jacking up the monsters to match swag, just add more of the same monsters.  A +1 sword doesnt mean graduating from kobolds to orcs - it means ten kobolds next time instead of eight.

Qmark, fair point.

A DM may prefer to just increase the XP value of the encounter by increasing opponents rather than increasing levels.  
Just give everyone training boons. Other classes and monsters. Balance made easy with the same amount of magic items.
I'm not a fan of +X items. I wish WotC would just get rid of them already and focus on interesting properties instead.

I do belive there is room for +x items but not all magic items need to have it. Like previously mentioned, other abilities make the item interesting.  I think 1st edition item creation should be used as a reference for building magic items.  but this is my personal opinion.

I know this is a bit of a stretch but a show I watch WareHouse 13 explained how the artifacts in that genre are created. In fact, one episode allowed the viewer to watch an artifact be created.  This kinda goes along the lines of the 4E or 3.5 optional rules about magic items gaining power as the owner goes up in level.  I guess there is room for many of these rules or options depending on how the DM wants to go.  I recall seeing an article in an old Dragon Magazine about the same subject.  It covered the idea that weapons can become magical based on their use.   



Warehouse 13 is an epic show, I'm so sad I have to miss this season because of school. It would be really interesting to try and work a system of magic items in that reflect some of the principles of the show. It'd be cool if a fighter who uses the same sword for ten levels could imbue his iconic weapon with some sort of magic. Similiar to the Kensai concept from 3.5 perhaps?
I'm not a fan of +X items. I wish WotC would just get rid of them already and focus on interesting properties instead.

I do belive there is room for +x items but not all magic items need to have it. Like previously mentioned, other abilities make the item interesting.  I think 1st edition item creation should be used as a reference for building magic items.  but this is my personal opinion.

I know this is a bit of a stretch but a show I watch WareHouse 13 explained how the artifacts in that genre are created. In fact, one episode allowed the viewer to watch an artifact be created.  This kinda goes along the lines of the 4E or 3.5 optional rules about magic items gaining power as the owner goes up in level.  I guess there is room for many of these rules or options depending on how the DM wants to go.  I recall seeing an article in an old Dragon Magazine about the same subject.  It covered the idea that weapons can become magical based on their use.   



Warehouse 13 is an epic show, I'm so sad I have to miss this season because of school. It would be really interesting to try and work a system of magic items in that reflect some of the principles of the show. It'd be cool if a fighter who uses the same sword for ten levels could imbue his iconic weapon with some sort of magic. Similiar to the Kensai concept from 3.5 perhaps?



I have considered making a campain based on wharehouse 13, one of the few shows I have seen that this could work for well.

Insulting someones grammar on a forum is like losing to someone in a drag race and saying they were cheating by having racing stripes. Not only do the two things not relate to each other (the logic behind the person's position, and their grammar) but you sound like an idiot for saying it (and you should, because its really stupid )
Agreed with the OP. If bounded accuracy is still one of the goals the designers want to achieve, +x items (and stuff like the belt of giant strength) must die in a fire.


Or maybe they just need to change to work within the new system...

I don't think that we will see +x items removed from the game completely as they are an iconic component.  At the same time, to allow a DM to define the magic level in their own game, the system can't assume they exist.  Modifying monsters on the fly with boons and what not is problematic for DMs already struggling to keep up with everything going on at the table.

The issue of +x items seems to be more problematic with attacks rolls under the new system, while damage seems to scale with level.  What if +x items simply give a bonus to damage dice or a static damage bonus.  So a +1 Longsword could either do 1D10 damage, or 1D8+1, depending on which way they go.

Likewise gauntlets of ogre strength could increase the damage of str based attacks and carrying capacity, without applying a bonus to hit.  Giving players both would still be a powerful combination, but not nearly as unbalancing as the attack bonuses.

If the DM's Guide then went a step farther and provided DMs with guidance for encounter building with varying levels of magic, that should help deal with any issues arising from increased damage.  As one of the posters above pointed out, maybe an encounter of 8 Kobolds, would be an encounter of 10 Kobolds in a heavy magic campaign.
I want magic items to have an XPA (eXperient Point Adjustment).

The player adds these experience points to their own experience points to determine their virtual level. The DM sees this level, and allows them to engage higher-than-normal-level creatures.

Quite a few 4E DMs have dispensed with XP entirely, replacing it with plot-based or when-it-seems-like-time-based leveling. Since WotC wants those DMs and their groups to like 5E, that play style needs to be accommodated.


"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
A +3 bonus seems amazing in a system with bounded accuracy, but it's only a 15% greater chance to hit in an edition where hit points are the enflationary element. That's nothing compared to the Fighter's expertise dice or the damage from a fireball.

It's good, and magical, but it won't wreck a game.
I'm not too worried about the +3 items.  I don't think that the +3 items by themselves could break the game.  My concern is the belts of giant strength in the upper end.  Combine those with the +3 weapons, and the game becomes "roll to see if you critically miss."  Despite what Mike Mearls says, a 95% hit chance is not fun to play for many people, even if hit points balloon to huge levels.  At that point, it's just a hit point grind to see which one falls first.

And that's if the monsters can even hit you.

I like how 4E made certain magic items affect different things.  I would like to see +hit and +damage solely the domain of weapons (with maybe +damage on things like bracers and gauntlets).  I'd like to see shields add their enhancement bonuses not to AC, but to Dexterity saves to avoid damage (like with Fireball).  I'd like to see the belts of giant strength apply to things like encumbrance and Strength checks rather than just giving someone a set Strength score to even further boost their chance to hit and do damage.

As a DM, I know and fully embrace that I control the distribution of items in my game.  But that doesn't mean that it's not in the game's best interests to curb blatantly game-breaking combinations off the bat.

Ideally, I'd like to see monster to-hit go up, player to-hit and sustained damage go down (spike damage should be high), and magic items kept within some sort of constraints at most times (artifacts should be the exceptions).  That way, this insane exponential curve they're using for monster hit points to make them challenging with a 95% hit chance can be flattened out some.
I'm not too worried about the +3 items.  I don't think that the +3 items by themselves could break the game.  My concern is the belts of giant strength in the upper end.  Combine those with the +3 weapons, and the game becomes "roll to see if you critically miss."  Despite what Mike Mearls says, a 95% hit chance is not fun to play for many people, even if hit points balloon to huge levels.  At that point, it's just a hit point grind to see which one falls first.

Bolded for emphasis.

I think this is the key part of this, because the argument against these items seems to be based on the assumtion that magic items are handed out at random by a robot picking from a hat.  Putting aside the fact that artifacts (such as the Belt of Storm Giant Strength or a +3 weapon) are rediculously rare (to the point where managing to get two of them that also synergise perfectly should allow you to be awesome!), the game is actually designed with the assumption that a DM will be behind the decisions.  And the DMG will, as always, be about educating DMs to help them make informed decisions.

So, for example, if I (as the DM), am thinking up items for my party, and the Belt of Storm Giant Strength comes up, I will think about how it will impact the party.  If the Fighter (or whoever will be most likely to get the item) already has a powerful magic weapon, I might pick a different item to give out (or, if I know that my group wouldn't care, I'd stick with it...again, this is the great thing about the DM; they know what their group likes).  If the Fighter doesn't have a magic weapon, this would be a great item to give out.

I'm not too worried about the +3 items.  I don't think that the +3 items by themselves could break the game.  My concern is the belts of giant strength in the upper end.  Combine those with the +3 weapons, and the game becomes "roll to see if you critically miss."  Despite what Mike Mearls says, a 95% hit chance is not fun to play for many people, even if hit points balloon to huge levels.  At that point, it's just a hit point grind to see which one falls first.



I do think the problem is that Belts of Giant Strength are mechanically too similar to +3 Swords, so instead of items working together in an interesting way they just stack for big numbers.

I'd prefer Giant Strength to add the giant damage, and allow feats of giant-like strength and hurling boulders, but not be a Belt of Giant Accuracy. I think that is how 1e potions of giant strength worked (but I can't find my 1e DMG to double check). If accuracy was left to magic weapons, then I think the items would feel more like they contibuted different things, whether they were both on one character or on different characters within the same party.
I'm not too worried about the +3 items.  I don't think that the +3 items by themselves could break the game.  My concern is the belts of giant strength in the upper end.  Combine those with the +3 weapons, and the game becomes "roll to see if you critically miss."  Despite what Mike Mearls says, a 95% hit chance is not fun to play for many people, even if hit points balloon to huge levels.  At that point, it's just a hit point grind to see which one falls first.

Bolded for emphasis.

I think this is the key part of this, because the argument against these items seems to be based on the assumtion that magic items are handed out at random by a robot picking from a hat.  Putting aside the fact that artifacts (such as the Belt of Storm Giant Strength or a +3 weapon) are rediculously rare (to the point where managing to get two of them that also synergise perfectly should allow you to be awesome!), the game is actually designed with the assumption that a DM will be behind the decisions.  And the DMG will, as always, be about educating DMs to help them make informed decisions.

So, for example, if I (as the DM), am thinking up items for my party, and the Belt of Storm Giant Strength comes up, I will think about how it will impact the party.  If the Fighter (or whoever will be most likely to get the item) already has a powerful magic weapon, I might pick a different item to give out (or, if I know that my group wouldn't care, I'd stick with it...again, this is the great thing about the DM; they know what their group likes).  If the Fighter doesn't have a magic weapon, this would be a great item to give out.



+1
My two copper.
My real problem is that any +x items are not actually a in-game effect.  It's a metagame effect.  They increase some abstract stats that the charactor can't even really understand.
How are they not an ingame effect?  The sword uses magic to hurt things more effectively.  The armor uses magic to be more resistant to attacks.

Saying they're not an ingame effect makes about as much sense as saying Magic Missile isn't an ingame effect.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
Though I favor creative effects over +X items...

The easiest solution to "always on" +X items is to limit the usage. Items can be activated X/day to help you in a pinch, but you can't rely on them all the time.

Lots of people seem to like Spell Slots, why not have Magic Item Slots: you can use a level 5 magic item X/day.

Thoughts?
I hate slots, but I like Attunement.... not utterly sure how that interacts with your idea but perhaps enhancing the attunement system so some items can only be attuned once and some items count as more (as they take more of your attention and are more central to your identity)
  Creative Character Build Collection and The Magic of King's and Heros  also Can Martial Characters Fly? 

Improvisation in 4e: Fave 4E Improvisations - also Wrecans Guides to improvisation beyond page 42
The Non-combatant Adventurer (aka Princess build Warlord or LazyLord)
Reality is unrealistic - and even monkeys protest unfairness
Reflavoring the Fighter : The Wizard : The Swordmage - Creative Character Collection: Bloodwright (Darksun Character) 

At full hit points and still wounded to incapacitation? you are playing 1e.
By virtue of being a player your characters are the protagonists in a heroic fantasy game even at level one
"Wizards and Warriors need abilities with explicit effects for opposite reasons. With the wizard its because you need to create artificial limits on them, they have no natural ones and for the Warrior you need to grant permission to do awesome."

 

Or if you don't want to deal with slots, flat-out 1 attunement = X use(s)/day.

However, if usage were that limited, I think +X power bump items have to be toned down so that creative/situational items are competitive choices.
A +3 Sword and a Belt of Storm Giant Strength are both artifact level items. The possessor of them (and in most cases there will be only 1) SHOULD be the mightiest of warriors, not just in his own party but in all the world.

(And a magnet for every young bravo on the continent.)

These items are like The One Ring. Finding owning and keeping one is something the whole campaign would revolve around. They are, for all intents, plot devices and not equipment. 

Worrying about system math based on these components is like worrying that the HP and saving throw system is broken because you gave one of the players the Rod of Orcus.

What the rules need is more emphasis on how truly game changing and rare these items are even in a "High Magic" campaign. In a low magic campaign they just won't exist at all.
A +3 Sword and a Belt of Storm Giant Strength are both artifact level items. The possessor of them (and in most cases there will be only 1) SHOULD be the mightiest of warriors, not just in his own party but in all the world.

(And a magnet for every young bravo on the continent.)

These items are like The One Ring. Finding owning and keeping one is something the whole campaign would revolve around. They are, for all intents, plot devices and not equipment. 

Worrying about system math based on these components is like worrying that the HP and saving throw system is broken because you gave one of the players the Rod of Orcus.

What the rules need is more emphasis on how truly game changing and rare these items are even in a "High Magic" campaign. In a low magic campaign they just won't exist at all.



But I don't see why having an option for these items that is usable in a lower magic campaign should be ignored.  All you need is cool earth shattering powers that either aren't at-will or that don't trash bounded accuracy even temporarily by limiting or removing the bonuses to attack rolls.

However, the solution to not needing magic items is not to have monster stats assume PCs don't have magic gear, and then give out magic gear anyway (at least in some if not most games).  Explain to me how you plan to create a system in which monsters have ACs that are both hitable by a cleric without magic gear and missable by a fighter with a belt of storm giant strength and a +3 weapon?



They aren't.  In the latter game the DM clearly doesn't care about balance, so it's all good.  If the DM DID care about balance, the fighter would not have the belt and a +3 weapon.  Make sense?

      
I'm not a fan of +X items. I wish WotC would just get rid of them already and focus on interesting properties instead.



Why should I have to pay for your desire not to have +x weapons that you don't need to use?
An additional 5-15% chance of successfully hitting something is an "interesting property".
Here is the thing.

You can't challenge the fighter with mundane items and the fighter with magical items with the same monster.

A 2nd level fighter with chainmal and a masterwork longsword fights an orc or a goblin ledaer.

A 2nd level fighter with chainmal, a gauntlet of orge power. and a +3 longsword fights an ogre or a gobln leader with +3 studder leather armor who drank a potion of heroism.

Orzel, Halfelven son of Zel, Mystic Ranger, Bane to Dragons, Death to Undeath, Killer of Abyssals, King of the Wilds. Constitution Based Class for Next!

Just make them all enhancement bonuses to hit so that only the highest applies but allow damage bonuses to stack.
Here is the thing.

You can't challenge the fighter with mundane items and the fighter with magical items with the same monster.



Right.  What's the problem?  If you want to challenge the fighter with monster X and you can't do that if you give the fighter certain magic items..............................don't give him those items.

Here is the thing.

You can't challenge the fighter with mundane items and the fighter with magical items with the same monster.



Right.  What's the problem?  If you want to challenge the fighter with monster X and you can't do that if you give the fighter certain magic items..............................don't give him those items.



Or, if you think he'll hit too often because he's got a +2 magical item... give that monster a +1-2 bonus to AC, or add some hit points, or whatever.

I really don't get why we're re-hashing a "problem" that has existed since the game came out.

If you include magical items AT ALL, there is a chance of unbalancing the game, either from the unexpected magical item interations (for example, the "potion effect is now permanent"), party's attack bonuses are all at +3 from magical items since they somehow got artifacts on their dice rolls, or even randomly getting a potion of fire resistance right before they fight a fire-breathing drake.

Each one of these scenarios can easily be "countered" by a decent DM.  Oh, fighter has 5 more hit points than what he should even be able to have by this level?  Maybe I'll add a poison to the next attack that hits the fighter.  Or, really, I'll just let it slide because, well, he could have easily have blown himself up instead.

Party attack bonuses too high?  Fudge the AC/Defenses, zones of magic weakening/enemy boosting, or just let them kick butt for an encounter or two.  Or have the artifacts be cursed, and they need to find a way to break the curses before Something Bad Happens.

Potion of Fire Resistance will break your Flame Drake encounter?  It's not a Flame Drake.  It's a Frost Drake.  Why does a Fire Giant have a Frost Drake?  You see it has a golden collar, inscribed in Giant with "In recognition of his combat prowess, Rimebeard gifts his favorite pet to Ashcuff."
Salla, on minions: I typically use them as encounter filler. 'I didn't quite fill out the XP budget, not enough room left for a decent near-level monster ... sprinkle in a few minions'. Kind of like monster styrofoam packing peanuts.
Here is the thing.

You can't challenge the fighter with mundane items and the fighter with magical items with the same monster.



Right.  What's the problem?  If you want to challenge the fighter with monster X and you can't do that if you give the fighter certain magic items..............................don't give him those items.



Or, if you think he'll hit too often because he's got a +2 magical item... give that monster a +1-2 bonus to AC, or add some hit points, or whatever.

I really don't get why we're re-hashing a "problem" that has existed since the game came out.

If you include magical items AT ALL, there is a chance of unbalancing the game, either from the unexpected magical item interations (for example, the "potion effect is now permanent"), party's attack bonuses are all at +3 from magical items since they somehow got artifacts on their dice rolls, or even randomly getting a potion of fire resistance right before they fight a fire-breathing drake.

Each one of these scenarios can easily be "countered" by a decent DM.  Oh, fighter has 5 more hit points than what he should even be able to have by this level?  Maybe I'll add a poison to the next attack that hits the fighter.  Or, really, I'll just let it slide because, well, he could have easily have blown himself up instead.

Party attack bonuses too high?  Fudge the AC/Defenses, zones of magic weakening/enemy boosting, or just let them kick butt for an encounter or two.  Or have the artifacts be cursed, and they need to find a way to break the curses before Something Bad Happens.

Potion of Fire Resistance will break your Flame Drake encounter?  It's not a Flame Drake.  It's a Frost Drake.  Why does a Fire Giant have a Frost Drake?  You see it has a golden collar, inscribed in Giant with "In recognition of his combat prowess, Rimebeard gifts his favorite pet to Ashcuff."



Exactly. Heck, you don't een have to do that much.

The Goblin has 13 AC from his DX, armor, and shiel and is too low for your fighter? His attack is too low as well

Increase his Dexterity by 2 and give him studded leather.
Well the goblins in this tribe are just more genetically dexterous huh?

Orzel, Halfelven son of Zel, Mystic Ranger, Bane to Dragons, Death to Undeath, Killer of Abyssals, King of the Wilds. Constitution Based Class for Next!

If you include magical items AT ALL, there is a chance of unbalancing the game, either from the unexpected magical item interations (for example, the "potion effect is now permanent"), party's attack bonuses are all at +3 from magical items since they somehow got artifacts on their dice rolls, or even randomly getting a potion of fire resistance right before they fight a fire-breathing drake.

Each one of these scenarios can easily be "countered" by a decent DM.  Oh, fighter has 5 more hit points than what he should even be able to have by this level?  Maybe I'll add a poison to the next attack that hits the fighter.  Or, really, I'll just let it slide because, well, he could have easily have blown himself up instead.

Party attack bonuses too high?  Fudge the AC/Defenses, zones of magic weakening/enemy boosting, or just let them kick butt for an encounter or two.  Or have the artifacts be cursed, and they need to find a way to break the curses before Something Bad Happens.

Potion of Fire Resistance will break your Flame Drake encounter?  It's not a Flame Drake.  It's a Frost Drake.  Why does a Fire Giant have a Frost Drake?  You see it has a golden collar, inscribed in Giant with "In recognition of his combat prowess, Rimebeard gifts his favorite pet to Ashcuff."



Again the issue isn't about the party, it's about individual PCs.  Players will quickly notice if the DMs monsters are deliberately targeting one particular PC's weaknesses.  Intelligent monsters may be able to justify a certain degree of tactics but bias is unfair.  Remember that DMs don't dictate who gets which items, they can only try to target items and see if the players agree (unless attunement is such that the DM is allowed to fudge which PC the item 'chooses' which might really help balance.  Either the game needs to be designed so that no item combos can be too powerful or the items themselves need to be kept simple and limited to avoid the need for a PC arms race to keep up.  I'd like to add here that I'm not an advocate of 4e simple and limited because they were also flavourless but rather I want items to be limited in their combat application as opposed to their utility.

Items should give increased breadth.  Attack bonuses should be the gravy and there should not be too much gravy to avoid drowning out the flavour of the food.  Bonuses should not be the main reason to have items.  I'm ok for items to have +1 or +2 and +3 for artifacts but the bonuses TO ATTACK should not stack.