Suggestions for starting magic items at higher levels?

Our next game we're going to make up 14th level characters for the enclosed adventure.   Any ideas on how many/power level for starting magic items?

I'm thinking of one Very Rare, one Rare and two common items per PC for 14th level.
Here's my idea: Start with no magical items at all, even though you are 14th level - just to see how it works out.

My guess is that it will work fine, especially if you allow the PCs around 2,000+ gp to grab up equipment that actually has prices listed.

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I went with the no magic items for my party in the playtest. It works, but be wary of the golems in room 4. My party made it through thanks to the monk, but they would be completely invulnerable except for that.


Either you change that immunity to non magic weapons into a resistance or improvise something to let them fight those statues.

I'd say 1 rare, maybe, if they were buying all the pizzas, three uncommons, and as many commons as they want (healing potions or potions of climbing are all they can get anyway).

According to the item rarity charts, you have a 1% chance of getting a very rare on an Easy or Average encounter, and only have a 10% chance of finding a very rare on a Tough encounter.

I believe I remember someone who had done the math, and that very rares and higher, a PC actually had a pretty good chance of not encountering at all.  You've got to remember that the books actually spell out "anything above Rare is something that very powerful people would love to get their hands on".  I mean, there's that burrowing hammer and all that other stuff.

Giving the party 4 (or possibly 5) Very Rare items would probably cause you to need to change the "what is difficult encounter" tables by a lot.

Now, if that's what you meant to get into, it's all good and fair.  But I wouldn't do that in the playtest (and if I did, you'd bet I wouldn't be complaining about how "magicy" everything is...
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.
I would say that as a GM you could give the party 1-several uncommon magic items, and 1-2 rare ones maybe, to simulate what they found in previous adventures.

Getting to pick your own magic item is incredibly overpowered as you can tailor a character for one. 
Here's my idea: Start with no magical items at all, even though you are 14th level - just to see how it works out.


Well, this kind of defeat's the point if the DM and the players all want to start with magic items.

According to the item rarity charts, you have a 1% chance of getting a very rare on an Easy or Average encounter, and only have a 10% chance of finding a very rare on a Tough encounter.

I believe I remember someone who had done the math, and that very rares and higher, a PC actually had a pretty good chance of not encountering at all.


I don't know about that. If they are level 14 characters and you go through about ten average enconters per level, that's 130 average encounters, so averages would say that you would have one Very Rare item, and that doesn't even consider the possibility that you hit some tough encounters in there. If you swapped out 30 average encounters for 20 tough encounters (I think that's the ratio, right?), probability says that you get another two Very Rare items (working on your description of 10% for a tough encounter).

I would agree that 4-5 very rares by level 14 might be a bit tough though, so I would suggest to the OP to find a way to get group Very Rare items, find a reason why only certain PCs would have very rare items, or just don't include Very Rare items at all.
If you lok at p. 2 of the MI pdf, it lists the recommended character level for artifact at 11+.  Going from the loot dropped in the caves of chaos, everyone in the party should have magic armor (or some of the 500gp mundane armor) and a magic weapon by about level 4.

If you go buy the DM guidelines of 12.5gp per level per encounter, you will make exactly 11572 gp, 8 sp,  and 3 cp.  That is enough for five very rare items, two legendary items, or an artifact by the low prices.  And at least five rares or two very rares at the high end.

Edit:  Here is the math if anyone is interested:
 And that is not counting the expenses the party may have had during their adventuring career for services such as healing/resurections/bribes/inns/being stolen from etc. And assuming the party has never been captured and lost all their gear, or the fighter had to drop his magic armor for surviving a swimming test(I know there are no rules for that).
 Its a very neat table, but I would personally only use it as a guideline. 3.5 and 4e had an attitude of "if it has a price its available on any street corner" and I think from what Ive read that the creators want to move away from that. But just because they want to move away from that it of course doesnt mean that we all have to agree.

 Im running a game where the players started at 11. I decided to give them 1 very rare to rare item each that has a story connected to it to make it special: The knight (background) has the family full plate +1, The wizard has his trusted staff, the thief a bag of holding containing all things useful etc and that has worked really well. They are treasured possesions now instead of a rules nesceserry evil, and I kind of like that being raised on 3.5-4ed its a welcome breath of life.

 
Logical fallacies aside, if your party loses all their loot, you better give a way to get it back.  Realistically, you are never going to see expenses over 1,000 gp on mundane items over the course of an entire campaign, and that is only if you buy good armor.  

Your very rare +1 Plate is going to cost at least 7,000 gp.  That kind of blows away the uncommon bag of holding (200-500 gp).  Huge difference in balance there.  There better be some great stuff in that bag.
Lucky i have players who care about having fun more than balance so its not an issue. And yes when they met demons the thief reached in to his bag to find something to overcome the damage resistance. And seeing as the game is balanced around them having nothing i can't see why I "better give a way to give it back" if it's not part of the story being played? I come across like a mean dm, but im not. If a player demands items/gold because of a 3rd party spreadsheet I probably would become it though.
 So to make my statement clearer: The sheet shows what the characters COULD have had of money (and only money) not what they SHOILD have now.
You are confusing could and should.  According to the DMG, they should make just over 11.5k gp from level 1 to 14.  They could have anything or nothing.
"There’s no assumed amount of gold, jewels, magic items, and other treasure for D&D adventures."

... And just below that on p. 13 of the DM Guidelines:

"You can think of treasure on an encounter-­by-­encounter basis. By this way of thinking, a good target is 12.5 gp per character per level for an average encounter... For an easy encounter, use about 7.5 gp per character per level. For a tough encounter, you can give out about 25 gp per character per level."

So ... a "good target" would be the numbers from the chart above.  12.5 gp per level per encounter.  Even if you went all easy encounters or hard encounters, there isn't much variation (easy is a bit less, and tough is a bit more).
... And just below that on p. 13 of the DM Guidelines:

"You can think of treasure on an encounter-­by-­encounter basis. By this way of thinking, a good target is 12.5 gp per character per level for an average encounter... For an easy encounter, use about 7.5 gp per character per level. For a tough encounter, you can give out about 25 gp per character per level."

So ... a "good target" would be the numbers from the chart above.  12.5 gp per level per encounter.  Even if you went all easy encounters or hard encounters, there isn't much variation (easy is a bit less, and tough is a bit more).



This is still beside the point. This is money and has nothing to do with magic items... unless you assume that you can buy them in the magical 7/11 then it has no impact on this topic.


Moving the goalpost is a logical fallacy.  If you want the guidelines for giving out magic items that is on p. 3 of the Magic Items pdf.
Linking to logical fallacies is a logical fallacy: yourlogicalfallacyis.com/appeal-to-autho...

Looking at p3 and your spreadsheet;
120 avrg encounters = 1 v rare, 4 rare and 18.5 uncommon magic items + the 12k gold.
This is party wide as its based on encounters.
The magic items also has to allow for any scrolls and potions though you do get 2 for 1.

But that you translate money for items is a personal choice in your group. Others may agree and do the same but no gmt should feel any pressure to do that.

Sorry for my brief replies I am using my phone rather than a nice computer and keyboard.
You don't seem to understand logical fallacies, maybe logic just isn't your thing.  Today yours would be to-quoque.  The numbers are based off individual xp per encounter not group xp, go do the math yourself instead of bumbling around beating a dead horse.
I played around with the radom magic item tables, tweaked them so that it was much less likely to get items outside the suggestions for your level and came up with roughly the following:

A PC over the 20 levels of their career, will encounter:
38 Common Items (pretty much a non-issue right now since the only options are consumables)
9 Uncommon Items
3 Rare Items
1 Very Rare
1 Legendary

(Note that I upped the distribution of Very Rare and Rare so that everyone gets a really neat toy at some point)

So to Answer the original post

For a starting character at level 14 - as many as 7 uncommon items could be appropriate (based on current tables)
No more than 2 rares, 1 would be fine
no very rares or legendary
I agree with those numbers, but as pizzamancrr has pointed out that doesnt account for the huge heap of money they also could have accumulated and what that can be used on. I think i would probably just give them the money in some way or form (a 5000g artwork, the deed to a mine, a small holding, a huge treasure chest or pouch of diamonds) and let them use it in game.... good plot hook as well: "you have a shitload of valueables... now spend it without getting mugged and ripped off"
 
 Better give my players some more stuff and money