Disenchanting magic items

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Apparently, according to the preview on magic items and the economy, PCs can now disenchant magic items in order to gain a substance called residuum, which is used to enchant new magic items. Looks like the "D&D is being turned into WoW" crowd win this round. Regarding most of the MMO influence on D&D, I really don't care as long as it's geared toward creating a better D&D game, however I don't really see the benefits in a tabletop RPG of doing something like this... it adds a level of formulaic artifice to the setting that I think takes some of the fantasy out of it.
Odd. I've been doing the exact same thing for magic items since second edition - I even have allowed players to "steal" enchantments from one item and add them to another (with a suitable transfering cost).

Asto formulaic - we'll have to see the rule first. ;)
it adds a level of formulaic artifice to the setting that I think takes some of the fantasy out of it.

1. Anything the Pcs have is formulaic by definition.
2. Magic being codified doesn't make D&D less fantastic, just internally consistent. Humans aren't going to stop codifying the laws of there universe just because those laws let them pull balls of fire out of there bums.
I've been allowing them to trade away enchantments if they have Craft Magic Arms and Armor so looks like they get a free feat to burn now.
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I really like it, it is a ton better then seeing a rogue lugging back suits of armour and weapons. Instead it is a pocket full of enchanted rubies and a vial full of shavings from a suit of armour coated in magical resin.
People could already do this in Eberron via the artificer. How is this specific to WoW?
People could already do this in Eberron via the artificer. How is this specific to WoW?

Shh. Stop using logic - it upsets the logic-challenged.
Shh. Stop using logic - it upsets the logic-challenged.

You have the opportunity to participate in reasoned discourse regarding a subject that you're clearly passionate about, based on your contribution to these boards, and this is your choice? To call me logic-challenged? I expected better from you; I've had more productive conversations with a four-year-old.
1. Anything the Pcs have is formulaic by definition.
2. Magic being codified doesn't make D&D less fantastic, just internally consistent. Humans aren't going to stop codifying the laws of there universe just because those laws let them pull balls of fire out of there bums.

Win.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
You have the opportunity to participate in reasoned discourse regarding a subject that you're clearly passionate about, based on your contribution to these boards, and this is your choice? To call me logic-challenged? I expected better from you; I've had more productive conversations with a four-year-old.

Well, he was calling the '4e=Wow' crowd logic-challenged, since the Artificer (pre-4e) could do the same thing, yet people are claiming that 4e stole it from Wow. Whichever side of that fence you fall on ... well, that determines whether or not he was talking to you.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
Hm... I think though that while the artificer was able to pull it off in the past the original setup was first in an MMO or other computer RPG. Of course who knows where that will trace back to in the end.

It's a good idea though. I've been working it into my houserules since 2nd ED. A formula off the bat will just make things better.
Well... At least we got custom avatars....
Heh, I thought "WoW" when I read that part of the article as well, although I've seen similar systems and houserules regarding disenchanting magic items for benefit prior to WoW's release.

I do agree that I do not like the flavor of "residuum" or in gamist terms, enchanting mats. I never really like a lot of DnDs 'logic' behind magic either. Residuum to me seems like another example of DnD phlebotinum. Magic can do anything, including creating mansions, tangible edible food and sentient or at least artificially intelligent beings from nothing essentially. I vastly prefer a magic system that is more metaphysical. Pulling a rabbit out of a hat is a trick(or in the case of DnD a mansion, cottage, etc). Shooting a lightning bolt from your hands is magic.

I wouldn't mind a disenchanting in order to swap enchantments, or disenchanting to build up a pool of enchanting points (similar to Unearthed Arcana's craft point variant) at all. I don't like the tangibility of DEing items to get mats that are, presumably, physical in nature.

It isn't a matter of similarity to WoW, or being gamist per se, but a matter of a personal aesthetic that I don't like, and have never liked in DnD.

I did however, fully enjoy the rest of the article, and the so far vastly superior write up on economy, and the magic item trade in general. Especially specifically portraying the magic item trade as something other than the Ye Olde Magick Shoppe corner store of computer/console RPGs, despite the rules not actually being any different in functionality.

It also appears that magic items have a unified cost based on their level, unlike in 3e, where Item A could be 3x the cost of Item B despite being the same level. It appears to fortunately be on the low end of the spectrum as well. Twice the value of a 5th level magic item is 5k gp. In 3e there aren't too many items of 5th level that are 2.5k gp that I can recall off the top of my head. Even 1st level magic items in 3e seem to be around 2k gp on average.

I'm glad (if)that they have brought magic item costs within a realm of common sense in comparison to trade goods (assuming their price doesn't fluctuate too much) and other mundane and even specialized or superior equipment. Potions that adventurers drink like tap water being equivalent to the value of bottle of fine and rare vintages in RL adjusted terms (based on the weight of gold; a cure moderate wounds potion costs 6lbs of gold, or ~$50k) was silly. I'm holding my breath hoping that level 3 PCs are no longer the equivalent of millionaires in real world terms.
okay, I've read the excerpt, and I'm generally happy again with everything but maybe I missed something, if you allow the OC's to keep the magic items and lets say you have more than 4 PC's isn't the party getting short changed if they keep the magic items and not sell them by the time they level up?
Humans aren't going to stop codifying the laws of there universe just because those laws let them pull balls of fire out of there bums.

Is this a new Human racial feat? :D
It seems more like a backup for when the party cannot readily access merchants to sell/buy new stuff, or if the setting does not support such a concept for whatever reason.

Say I am in the middle of a barren desert with no city in sight. This way, I can continue to upgrade my existing gear and not be stuck with stinkers that outgrew their usefulness 2 lvs ago just because my DM can't/won't insert a magemart in the game.
Well think of it like this. When a item is disenchanted the energy of that enchantment is stored with another cheap item, like maybe a shard of quartz. After that you can use the magic that was stored in the item for other things.

I remember in Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance you could break down magic items get gems that reflected the properties of that item. This isn't much different, just less restrictive in the use.
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okay, I've read the excerpt, and I'm generally happy again with everything but maybe I missed something, if you allow the OC's to keep the magic items and lets say you have more than 4 PC's isn't the party getting short changed if they keep the magic items and not sell them by the time they level up?

How do you mean?

If you have more than the assumed number of PCs in a party, you probably increase the wealth doled out by the same percentage. If the treasure table calls for giving 100gp to 4 PCs but you have 5, then give 125 gp to maintain the equal shares.

If they are keeping the items (and getting good use out of them) then they are almost always ahead in the game in terms of "wealth per level." Selling things drastically reduces your total value.


Anyway ... Magic Item creation already had a "formulaic" component to it, just look on page 285 of the DMG.

By using these dinky "residuum" (it is residual magic, but super-exotic because it has two U's! :rolleyes they just explain a way to create magic items without any personal expenditure of power. You just swipe magical power from some other item to make creation much simpler/faster/cheaper or whatever it is.

Magic Item Creation will no longer take XP, so other than gold and some chanting they wanted something else involved as a tangible component to crafting items.
http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75882/19670890/Keep_on_the_Shadowfell_Character_Errata
(it is residual magic, but super-exotic because it has two U's! :rolleyes

Nothing against your post in general, but I thought I'd mention this now, because I can imagine it coming up repeatedly in the next while: residuum is a real word (which puts it one up on the long-standing D&D favourite, "dweomer").

-Magpie
If you have more than the assumed number of PCs in a party, you probably increase the wealth doled out by the same percentage. If the treasure table calls for giving 100gp to 4 PCs but you have 5, then give 125 gp to maintain the equal shares.

Do you even need to go to such an extent?

More PCs mean that the party will take longer to gain a lv, because each PC gets less xp. This means that they will as a party, go through more encounters, which in turn results in more treasure for them.

Shouldn't it be self correcting?
yeah but don't they have a table in terms of exp rewards for party sizes 4-6. Come to think of it, was there a table for treasure rewards for the same thing. I may have invalided my question in terms of treasure rewards if they also show how much treasure certain size parties should have.
Nothing against your post in general, but I thought I'd mention this now, because I can imagine it coming up repeatedly in the next while: residuum is a real word (which puts it one up on the long-standing D&D favourite, "dweomer").

-Magpie

I don't think I was saying it wasn't a "real" word, it is just something almost nobody (in America at least) has ever heard before. They could have called it residue, but they thought that this made it much cooler.

Wikipedia seems to know what Dweomer means, though that could be entirely fabricated I suppose.
http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75882/19670890/Keep_on_the_Shadowfell_Character_Errata
Do you even need to go to such an extent?

More PCs mean that the party will take longer to gain a lv, because each PC gets less xp. This means that they will as a party, go through more encounters, which in turn results in more treasure for them.

Shouldn't it be self correcting?

The "bundles" are not all equivalent in value for each encounter. So, the DM would still have to do a bit of thinking to determine at what point the percentages are correct if the tables only assume 4 characters.

Because there is the assumed 10 encounters and 10 treasures total, there's probably some formula you could use to jack up the monetary rewards to accommodate for differing numbers of characters without changing the numbers of magic items (possibly a more complicated decision to alter the number and type of magic items).
http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75882/19670890/Keep_on_the_Shadowfell_Character_Errata
If enough interest is shown, I would imagine they would put out an article on D&D insider with tables for different party sizes once 4E comes out.
If enough interest is shown, I would imagine they would put out an article on D&D insider with tables for different party sizes once 4E comes out.

I suspect you're right.
http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75882/19670890/Keep_on_the_Shadowfell_Character_Errata
Nothing against your post in general, but I thought I'd mention this now, because I can imagine it coming up repeatedly in the next while: residuum is a real word (which puts it one up on the long-standing D&D favourite, "dweomer").

-Magpie

"Dweomer, is the Old English word meaning 'witchcraft' that derives from the Old Norse term dvergmál literally meaning 'dwarf talk' (dvergr dwarf + mál talk), referring to the secret knowledge of magic among the Norse dwarves."

So says Reference.com, for whatever that's worth.

I liked the article. It seemed like the systems it presented would do their job well.

(BTW, if the PCs are slaughtering merchants for their loot, the DM just has to count that "treasure" against future "bundles". Very simple).
Do you even need to go to such an extent?

More PCs mean that the party will take longer to gain a lv, because each PC gets less xp. This means that they will as a party, go through more encounters, which in turn results in more treasure for them.

Shouldn't it be self correcting?

Probably not, because you want to make the individual encounters larger, rather than increase their number. If you normally have a 600 xp budget for an encounter for 4 characters, you should probably increase it to 750xp for six, otherwise the encounter will be too easy.
Disenchanting magic items sound like an interesting alternative to the "magic mart" universe. Now, I have some theories to put forth about the ritual:

They mention that you can either make characters more reliant on Rituals by removing Material Component Costs, or more reliant on merchants by removing the 10-40% markup. If changing these values tilts the system in favor of either technique, I assume that the standard system is balanced so that either way is an equally effective way to replace magic items.

This leads me to believe that the standard costs for disenchant+enchant are equivalent to the 10-40% markup. For simplicity sake, let's say that disenchanting has a material cost of 25% of the sale value of the item being disenchanted.

So, let's say the characters have five +2 daggers (5th level) they want to convert into a +1 flaming greataxe (also 5th level). They can either try to sell the daggers for 200gp, and buy the axe for 1100-1400gp; or they can disenchant the five daggers for 50gp each (250gp total) and then use the accumulated residuum to enchant a greataxe.

Sounds about right?
You have the opportunity to participate in reasoned discourse regarding a subject that you're clearly passionate about, based on your contribution to these boards, and this is your choice? To call me logic-challenged? I expected better from you; I've had more productive conversations with a four-year-old.

I'd already posted a logical rebuttal to your knee-jerk reaction in my initial post. Was it uncalled for? Possibly. That you happened to fall into the category of logic challenged in your OP is not my fault.
You have the opportunity to participate in reasoned discourse regarding a subject that you're clearly passionate about, based on your contribution to these boards, and this is your choice? To call me logic-challenged? I expected better from you; I've had more productive conversations with a four-year-old.

Either you weren't privvy to the actual facts about the history of the concept or you bypassed logic to arrive at the trite 4e=WoW stance. One or the other.
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Residuum isn't an entirely bad idea, mainly because it gives us a way to get away from the gold piece economy once and for all with a quick house rule.

Basically just have all magic item trades be for residuum, not gold. So your PCs can spend gold on strongholds and such and their residuum can be their magic item currency.
Adjusting the treasure lists for different tables is easy. Since the default is five members, you're going to be increasing or decreasing rewards by a multiple of 20%.

If you pick two lines of a table whose indices add up to 11 (2 and 9, 5 and 6, 1 and 10) that's 20% of the overall reward. So for each extra member, pick two lines that add up to 11 and give the extra reward. Remove any two lines adding up to 11 for each member below 5.
I thought the assumed number was still 4 PCs in a group.
http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75882/19670890/Keep_on_the_Shadowfell_Character_Errata
"Dweomer, is the Old English word meaning 'witchcraft' that derives from the Old Norse term dvergmál literally meaning 'dwarf talk' (dvergr dwarf + mál talk), referring to the secret knowledge of magic among the Norse dwarves."

The OED says otherwise (short version: there's dweomercraeft in Middle English, and a few similar Old English words like gedwimer/gedweomer, but none of them made it to Modern English), but I'm willing to put it and reference.com into a cage and let them fight it out with spiked etymologies.

Back on topic, though, as someone who's never had magic item shops in games, I like the idea of enchanters extracting the essences of items in order to make new ones. Better yet, I want to see a moment like this:

Standard Mysterious Stranger: "You there! Is it true that you found Danscellis, the blade of Prince Mauros the Uncorrupt, key to the restoration of the Empire of Ivory Wings?"
PC: "Ummm... yeah, but I kinda... melted it down. But this new sword is way sharper!"
SMS: "So much for that prophecy. Sometimes, I wonder why I bother."

-Magpie

Edit: Bonus game-related language geekery: http://phrontistery.info/disq6.html
The thing that confused me most about having to disenchant magic items to enchant others...is where did all these magic items come from in the first place? One presumes that this residuum wasn't something that was sitting around at the dawn of time that people used to craft the very first magic items. Theoretically, one has to be able to make magic items without having to disenchant another magic item first...right? o.O
The thing that confused me most about having to disenchant magic items to enchant others...is where did all these magic items come from in the first place? One presumes that this residuum wasn't something that was sitting around at the dawn of time that people used to craft the very first magic items. Theoretically, one has to be able to make magic items without having to disenchant another magic item first...right? o.O

Ahh .. the question about magic item abiogenesis.

Hang on while I intelligently design something.
The thing that confused me most about having to disenchant magic items to enchant others...is where did all these magic items come from in the first place?

I'm going to take a wild guess on this and say that 90% of all magical items are created by NPC's. The end result is a system where PC's get to trade magic of equal value and level, without delving into item creation rules or unbalancing factors.
The thing that confused me most about having to disenchant magic items to enchant others...is where did all these magic items come from in the first place? One presumes that this residuum wasn't something that was sitting around at the dawn of time that people used to craft the very first magic items. Theoretically, one has to be able to make magic items without having to disenchant another magic item first...right? o.O

As I read it, residuum is an alternative to material components for creation rituals. As such, the magic in the items naturally comes from other source, but it can be reused by being converted to residuum.

Batteries are about the best analogy that I can think of. Electricity exists naturally, but not naturally in the form of batteries. We create batteries which contain a way of generating small amounts of electricity. We can then put them into a device to power them, and at a later time remove them to power something else. Now there are of course several levels where this analogy falls apart(batteries dieing comes to mind), but I hope it is clear enough(I'm half asleep though so I can't tell).
Ahh .. the question about magic item abiogenesis.

Hang on while I intelligently design something.

I find this joke so clever, I am left wondering what it is doing here on the internet.:D
I find this joke so clever, I am left wondering what it is doing here on the internet.:D

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Well... At least we got custom avatars....
Residuum isn't an entirely bad idea, mainly because it gives us a way to get away from the gold piece economy once and for all with a quick house rule.

Basically just have all magic item trades be for residuum, not gold. So your PCs can spend gold on strongholds and such and their residuum can be their magic item currency.

As DreamingFlame touched on, such a system only gets away from the gp economy if gold is also unable to purchase items or purchase residuum. Otherwise, you're still gimping yourself whenever you spend it on things other than more items/residuum. I admit that if the price of the residuum is set very high then the loss is mostly ignorable anyways, but it's still there.

People just don't buy castles in 4e. They have to buy items to adventure with so they can level up as wizards/clerics and learn the "Create Greater Castle" ritual and then make the thing magically.

However, I personally think that I'll be going in that direction: have magi-marts be restricted to existing only in moderate sized cities or larger, and let ritual crafting handle the rest. Magi-marts won't be eliminated entirely on the grounds that even if the ritual enchanting/disenchanting doesn't cost GP to perform, not everyone will have the skills for it, so there will still exist some market for magic items among those who can't make them but do have the gold to spare. It'll just take larger cities for that kind of market to appear (the same as any other specialty product).
Apparently, according to the preview on magic items and the economy, PCs can now disenchant magic items in order to gain a substance called residuum, which is used to enchant new magic items. Looks like the "D&D is being turned into WoW" crowd win this round. Regarding most of the MMO influence on D&D, I really don't care as long as it's geared toward creating a better D&D game, however I don't really see the benefits in a tabletop RPG of doing something like this... it adds a level of formulaic artifice to the setting that I think takes some of the fantasy out of it.

The only comment I'll make on the video game debate is that it's irrelevant. The relevant discussion is one of whether the rules provide a fun tabletop RPG, not what other game it most closely approximates.


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