Artifacts as a Treasure Drop?

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Opinions?

I'm thinking about dropping a beneficial one on my players' heads, and letting it be the start of a long-arcing quest, for the tier.

Can you count an artifact as a treasure drop, according to the table in the DMG (say you roll up a level-15 magic item... "Seal of the Lawbringer" technically fits in the category, since its description is for the tier) or should they be dropped specifically on their own? 

58286228 wrote:
As a DM, I find it easier to just punish the players no matter what they pick, as I assume they will pick stuff that is broken. I mean, fight after fight they kill all the monsters without getting killed themselves! What sort of a game is this, anyway?

 

An insightful observation about the nature of 4e, and why it hasn't succeeded as well as other editions. (from the DDN General Discussions, 2014-05-07)

Rundell wrote:

   

Emerikol wrote:

       

Foxface wrote:

        4e was the "modern" D&D, right?  The one that had design notes that drew from more modern games, and generally appealed to those who preferred the design priorities of modern games.  I'm only speculating, but I'd hazard a guess that those same 4e players are the ones running the wide gamut of other games at Origins.

       
        D&D 4e players are pretty much by definition the players who didn't mind, and often embraced, D&D being "different".  That willingness to embrace the different might also mean they are less attached to 4e itself, and are willing to go elsewhere.

    This is a brilliant insight.  I was thinking along those lines myself.  

 

    There are so many tiny indie games that if you added them all together they would definitely rival Pathfinder.   If there were a dominant game for those people it would do better but there is no dominant game.  Until 4e, the indie people were ignored by the makers of D&D.

 

Yep. 4E was embraced by the 'system matters' crowd who love analyzing and innovating systems. That crowd had turned its back on D&D as a clunky anachronism. But with 4E, their design values were embraced and validated. 4E was D&D for system-wonks. And with support for 4E pulled, the system-wonks have moved on to other systems. The tropes and traditions of D&D never had much appeal for them anyway. Now there are other systems to learn and study. It's like boardgamegeeks - always a new system on the horizon. Why play an ancient games that's seven years old?

 

Of course, not all people who play and enjoy 4E fit that mould. I'm running a 4E campaign right now, and my long-time D&D players are enjoying it fine. But with the system-wonks decamping, the 4E players-base lost the wind in its sails.

Ultimately its up to you as DM. There is no "right" way to drop this into there hands. Whether it's found on the corpse of a gobbo or in a pile of human excrament, the point is that they find it right?
I do not count artifacts as parcel treasure. In my opinion, artifacts are placed in the game by the DM for purposes of the story. As such, they serve the DM, not the player, regardless of the benefits to the PC. However, what I-the-DM count it as is completely independent of where, when, or how they find it.
Here are the PHB essentia, in my opinion:
  • Three Basic Rules (p 11)
  • Power Types and Usage (p 54)
  • Skills (p178-179)
  • Feats (p 192)
  • Rest and Recovery (p 263)
  • All of Chapter 9 [Combat] (p 264-295)
A player needs to read the sections for building his or her character -- race, class, powers, feats, equipment, etc. But those are PC-specific. The above list is for everyone, regardless of the race or class or build or concept they are playing.
I do not count artifacts as parcel treasure. In my opinion, artifacts are placed in the game by the DM for purposes of the story. As such, they serve the DM, not the player, regardless of the benefits to the PC. However, what I-the-DM count it as is completely independent of where, when, or how they find it.



Could not have said it better myself.

As long as the artifact is placed in the players' hands by DM decision and for story reasons (as opposed to the result of a random dice roll), then it doesn't really matter where it comes from. 
Next thing you will tell me Browbeat is bad.
Heck, you could build an entire quest out of the party trying to find out WHY they found the artifact in some random place.

Maybe the previous owner died and whatever killed them didn't understand the value of the artifact. Would the party continue the previous owner's quest in their stead? Maybe they'll have to put up with the previous owner haunting them until they do what they want. Or maybe the artifact can't be used to its fullest until the previous owner's soul is put to rest, if you want to pressure the party into it. (Though I don't recommend the 'do it or else' approach, sometimes it's an effective method.)

That's just a few ideas.
Gunmage, a homebrew arcane striker. (Heroic Tier playtest ready.) GDocs link. (More up to date.)
As others have said, artifacts are outside of normal treasure parcels. After all, they can't sell them, and if the artifact upsets the balance, it can simply move on.

I'm thinking about dropping a beneficial one on my players' heads, and letting it be the start of a long-arcing quest, for the tier.

I've tried to do this, and the players completely missed the point. So, unless you're working with them on this, be prepared for it to fall flat.

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.

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