upset at banned books

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I recently banned the Magic Item Compendium from my campaign. I allowed it for several months, but as the players acquired more and more gold, and are buying more items, I find some of the items in it to be broken at various levels, from "a bit" to "severely."

I won't go into details about which ones, since I know that the definition of "broken" varies from DM to DM. The important thing is that I thought of them as broken.

For a while, I just had the rule where I needed to approve each item from the book, but that started to take too much time. I had hoped that the players (all of whom are experienced and who never played in a campign since the book came out) would be able to filter out the broken items themselves (they know my DM style pretty well). But no, if something seemed too good to be true, or too good to be that cheap, they wanted it. I got tired of being bogged down with "what about this? that? this?" and just banned the whole book.

Now, I'm not asking "CAN I do this?". I know I CAN. But if everyone likes the book, should I? At what point should my personal discrepancy for "broken" be forced against what the players want? Have you done anything like this, or had it done to you? How did it turn out?

I will make a note that all the players are mature. Nobody's threatining to quit or any such nonsense. This isn't a "save my campaign" type deal.
I personally allow it, even though some pretty nice and effective ones are in there, because I want my players to have fun. If they win easily I'll ajust my challenge.

My friend, who is a pretty experienced DM doesn't agree with me on this though and he only allows DMG items on sale. He likes the compendium, but only gives the items away in loot and as special items. This also works pretty well.

However you want to use the book, don't complain about it. You are the DM, you are in charge.
I allowed it for my last campaign and quickly learned my lesson. It's not allowed in any of my current or future campaigns. There are too many items that cost next to nothing that, in my opinion, take away a good number of challenges. While a good DM can make a challenge suitable to even a PC weighted down with magic items, the line, "Oh, I have such and such which allows me to do such and such x number of times per day," got old really fast.

With judicious use of this book, any class can basically plug their holes with exactly the right item for very little gold and often do the work of other classes for them. At one point, I asked one of the PCs, "Why do you even have the rest of the party travelling with you if you can do everything yourself?"

While I'm sure the DMG has plenty of "broken" items as well, I certainly find there to be more of them in the MIC, at least in regard to my campaign.

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If you don't want them to randomly pick things you can ban it to them. Then you go through and decide what you want to be available and sell stuff to them. You decide what items are available and how much they cost. That's they way every DM I've ever played with has done it.

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

There is a nice little self created divide here. Shame there can't be more acceptance instead. I feel that is where the future of the game should be.

All this vitriol, pushing away, retroactive retaliation, and preemptive striking needs to stop.

I keep trying but some won't let things go. Will you?

 

Because you like something, it does not mean it is good. Because you dislike something, it does not mean it is bad. Because it is your opinion, it does not make it everyone's opinion. Because it is your opinion, it does not make it truth. Because it is your opinion, it does not make it the general consensus. Whatever side you want to take, at least remember these things.

I recently banned the Magic Item Compendium from my campaign. I allowed it for several months, but as the players acquired more and more gold, and are buying more items, I find some of the items in it to be broken at various levels, from "a bit" to "severely."

For a while, I just had the rule where I needed to approve each item from the book, but that started to take too much time. I had hoped that the players (all of whom are experienced and who never played in a campign since the book came out) would be able to filter out the broken items themselves (they know my DM style pretty well). But no, if something seemed too good to be true, or too good to be that cheap, they wanted it. I got tired of being bogged down with "what about this? that? this?" and just banned the whole book.

Now, I'm not asking "CAN I do this?". I know I CAN. But if everyone likes the book, should I? At what point should my personal discrepancy for "broken" be forced against what the players want? Have you done anything like this, or had it done to you? How did it turn out?

How are the players getting the items? Are they thumbing through the book, checking the amount of gold their characters have and just adding the item to their sheet and subtracting the gold if they can afford it?

Or do you have a system in place whereby they gain the items by going to a "magic merchant / crafter" or whatever and having the item created, possibly with some added costs or with some items simply unavailable or unable to be safely crafted?

Maybe there might be a way for you to put the brakes on things by having more NPC involvement (and therefore your de facto approval or disapproval on an item to item basis) when a character wants a certain magic item.

As far as what we have done in our campaign, any character can get any item of +3 or above from the approved books only with DM participation - - players just let the DM know what they want to get for their character and the DM comes back to them with a cost and any edits or adjustments. He does so through an NPC from the Arcanists' Guild, which handles acquisitions and crafting of magical gear in the characters' home city in our campaign. It is a decent system and keeps it all "in-game" as well. Sometimes players grumble a little about having things unavailable immediately, or when some items have some minor tweaks to them, but by and large, it works for us.
I recently banned the Magic Item Compendium from my campaign. I allowed it for several months, but as the players acquired more and more gold, and are buying more items, I find some of the items in it to be broken at various levels, from "a bit" to "severely."

I won't go into details about which ones, since I know that the definition of "broken" varies from DM to DM. The important thing is that I thought of them as broken.

For a while, I just had the rule where I needed to approve each item from the book, but that started to take too much time. I had hoped that the players (all of whom are experienced and who never played in a campign since the book came out) would be able to filter out the broken items themselves (they know my DM style pretty well). But no, if something seemed too good to be true, or too good to be that cheap, they wanted it. I got tired of being bogged down with "what about this? that? this?" and just banned the whole book.

Now, I'm not asking "CAN I do this?". I know I CAN. But if everyone likes the book, should I? At what point should my personal discrepancy for "broken" be forced against what the players want? Have you done anything like this, or had it done to you? How did it turn out?

I will make a note that all the players are mature. Nobody's threatining to quit or any such nonsense. This isn't a "save my campaign" type deal.

Don't ban the book because a few of the pieces are broken. Consider what allowed the Broken things to get in the game. If its that you allowed all the items to be got at a Magic Items R Us, don't blame the book because in that case you caused the problem. If you gave out a bad item or 2 as treasure that is probably not knowing the book, most DMs make mistakes like this all the time. Before banning the book outright you should really make sure all the items you are having problems with are being used correctly. To often have I heard DMs blame a book because they don't run one thing right. I taught several previous DMs of mine that if you run the pieces all correctly you rarely have a balance problem unless the Player reaches for to much or is being to stubborn.

The one thing I suggest you do before you ban the book outright, post a list of the items and what they did that caused the problems. Give the other posters here a chance to either address the problems or know what problems said items can cause. We don't know everything but we can probably fix most of your problems if we had some info. Besides most items aren't as breakable as an item from the DMG called "Candle of Invocation'.
What is the most broken type of candle anyways? In alignment, I mean?
I use it by requiring them to ask me about specific items, and then I may adjust prices or availability.

I don't know that any items in particular are "broken", but a lot certainly change the dynamics of the game. While I might run a "high magic" campaign, I am not interested in running a "magic-saturated" campaign where everyone has something in every slot, and often with multiple effects (using the magic stacking effects rules).

I would prefer they keep their magic items simple as well -- because I've seen (just by my own use of the book as a player in another campaign) that once you start collecting all those per-day, charged, special-situation items it can get very complicated and tough to remember what each thing does, and when, and how often, and how much. Specifically the Wondrous Items.

I like most of the items, but only in moderation. So, they can't just buy most of those things in stores, though occasionally I put one in as loot.
http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75882/19670890/Keep_on_the_Shadowfell_Character_Errata
I generally don't ban the MIC or any other items right off. But I do tell my players when they head to town to shop "we can handle this 1 of 3 ways."

1- We can simply say anything under 1k is avaliable and on display for sale. Easy to find and buy. Items sell for 1/2 listed value. Anything else needs custom crafting, ill let you know how long it will take, it is available.

2- I can roleplay each purchase and each shopkeep. Keep in mind anything under 1k is on display, anything else is probably going to take time for custom crafting. Any item under 2k sells for 1/2 value, anything over and we can roleplay it out. (will probably be quite near 1/2 value)

3- I can roleplay each shopkeep, and then you can do all the purchasing and selling on your own. Items for 1k or less are on display, everything else needs crafting. Items sell for 1/2 listed value.

For any item over 1k, I tell the players "Not only do you guys not know what this will cost from this given shopkeep, but he has tons of variables, show me the item in the book, and I will let you know."

I them look the item over, if it is something I don't want in my game, I simply say "he can not make this and does not know who could." If it is an item I am fine with, I have them roll charisma checks. Depending on their roll it usually takes Xd4 days. X= result of the check. (Cost of the item can also modify the time required. Usually +1 day for every 50k)

DC >1= 10
DC 1= 6
DC 5= 3
DC 10= 2
DC 15= 1
DC 20= .5 (or just d2)
DC 30+= Next morning gaurenteed.
No auto success or fail, no take 10 or 20.

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I personally have not banned it and my goal when I am a PC is to plug all my holes. I see no reason in a game or real life to have a weakness.
As a DM I can find a weakness in any build. The guy who is a good archer cant normally fight to well in melee. Caster, even clerics don't fight so well or avoid getting hit without buff time.

To the OP: Instead of banning the book how about saying why you are having problems with specific characters. Some of the more experienced players/DM's may be able to help you out strategy-wise.

After edit: That persist idea can be countered with dispel magic.
I allow pretty much any gear from any source. The players have strictly limited funding, I usually prefer to run games within 10% of the expected wealth by level in the DMG. I've found that if I keep to the wealth allowance in the books, only allowing slightly extra for spell components and expendables, it works out quite well.
I allow pretty much any gear from any source. The players have strictly limited funding, I usually prefer to run games within 10% of the expected wealth by level in the DMG. I've found that if I keep to the wealth allowance in the books, only allowing slightly extra for spell components and expendables, it works out quite well.

I am am cutting back on the wealth for this campaign to see how it works out, but I have never banned an item, only the splitting enhancement.
I can't imagine letting people pick magic items. Never in a million years would I let someone do that.

If I was feeling really generous, I would let them randomly roll for a weak item at level 3, a medium at 6, and a strong at 9. If they didn't like what they got, they could sell it in game, or trade it for magic of 1/2 value.

Of course, if they rolled something I didn't like, I'd just make them get something else.

Picking / making magic items sucks in my opinion. All magic items in my game world are lost or being used. They don't sit around, waiting to be bought.
Picking / making magic items sucks in my opinion. All magic items in my game world are lost or being used. They don't sit around, waiting to be bought.

Where did they come from?
http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75882/19670890/Keep_on_the_Shadowfell_Character_Errata
I don't even allow my players to look through the books for magic items. That leads to a level of metagaming I'm not willing to let happen in my game.
There is no rule that states that allowing certain items, classes, spells, etc., from a particular book obligates you to allow the entire book. You decide what items can exist in your world, how much they cost, and the details of their creation. The MIC and DMG provide guidelines, but they are not supposed to be catalogs.
As a player, I've always enjoyed the coming upon random things part of the game. I don't like to buy my magic items because that's boring, I think. Give me something random and I'll make the best I can with it.

As a DM, I like giving out magic items tailored to the campaign. Certain things make sense in certain dungeons, and so on. You can do this even using the wealth-by-level guidelines and still have it make sense. To have players just buy these amazing and rare items off the rack tends to break with the continuity of "amazing and rare."

I always keep an eye out for things players might want or need... But I think keeping internal consistency is better than giving up being DM and playing St. Nick.
Kouk, read my entry in the magical artifact design competition, a lot of them in my game made themselves.

I've never been happy with the idea that they simply replace technology and medicine, and that they can do or boost whatever you want. It is boring.

If I had a mage that wanted to make magical items in my game, I'd work real close with him, make it extra hard, and it would have to be really good.
Angry Elf, that's awesome, I like your style.
If you don't want them to randomly pick things you can ban it to them. Then you go through and decide what you want to be available and sell stuff to them. You decide what items are available and how much they cost. That's they way every DM I've ever played with has done it.

/thread

Seriously. It's that simple. Since when has a DM ever opened up a book and said "have at it" and not regret doing so? In my experiences 9 times out of 10 either the party has to find a mage of sufficient level to BUILD the items they seek, or decide who gets what out of the treasure they find. Only the trinkets and cheap items usually <1000gp are for sale in "magic shops" even in high fantasy/magic campaigns. Every once in a while I may throw them a bone and catch them by surprise just for fun.
I recently banned the Magic Item Compendium from my campaign. I allowed it for several months, but as the players acquired more and more gold, and are buying more items, I find some of the items in it to be broken at various levels, from "a bit" to "severely."

No lie, bwana. In our campaign, we have agreed that ordinary shopping will be limited to core items.
Just b/c a pc has the required gold to buy a given item doesn't mean its' on sale in a shop somewhere.

I mean.. (this has never happened but it's an example), if ALL the pc's in my party pooled ALL their gp together to buy say... the fighter a +5 flaming burst sword or something...
no.. not happening, it's not for sale, the local magic user doesn't have one, isn't powerful enough to MAKE you one, and doesn't know where to find one...
Problem solved.
although I have rolled randomly for treasure and had the pc's (and myself) be nicely surprised, my lil rule is if i roll for treasure i take what I get if it's extremely good (for hte pc's) fine they get 2 keep it, but there's been equal times where they kill some horrific beast.. an find.. like a potion and 2 scrolls lol.
Man, if you guys are limiting magic item, especially Cranewings, who rolls for items. I can't imagine your players surviving in shackled city or one of my campaigns, without serious dice fudging, which is a lot worse than selected magic items.
Angry elf what do you do when they buy their own copies of the books?
BubSutan, I never regret it, all you have to do is limit their gold, and if you don't want a magic shop perse, just remember the world has been along for a long time, and I am sure the thieves guild has a black market setup, and for a price they can obtain what the players need.
Cranewings if a player focuses on magic items you would really have to bend the rules to stop him from making what he wants or make your won rules.

To each his own, and if the players are happy/willing to accept it that is their choice.
another solution (I did this for YEARS just was a standard thing) I didn't have mageshops/magic item shops in my campaigns.
A player wanted an item? Fine, he had to find it or make it, or find someone who could make it for him.
last year or so i've added in mage shops, but they don't have everything under the sun, usually basic items (potions of curing etc.) scrolls maybe some wands and stuff b/c really if you think about it whats to stop a evil mage from walking in 'yes id like to buy that staff of power please... here's the required gp' and then use said staff to just TAKE everything else from the shop.
just my thoughts on the subject, but as the DM you have final say in whats for sale and whats not, you don't have to give in to every player demand just cuz 'me wantee magicy item ooo powerful'
man, i LOVE the MIC. have you looked at the DMG items? no, not what they do - how much the useful ones cost! the MIC offers a lot of low-price, low-power but still cool and effective magic items (admittedly, some of them are priced very, well, aggressively, but that's alright).

if you are worried, though, i would allow them only to buy things from the DMG, and would give out a lot of the things that i think are not-broken from the MIC as treasure (less 'fluid' gold, perhaps, but at least the game won't be so crazy). besides, if you take a long look at the MIC and know your players really well, you'll be able to pick things for them that they'll really like, and there won't be any problem (plus that's good for building player-dm trust)
If you can't convince them, confuse them. -Harry S Truman
For all the strict 'no magic item DM's' out there: The players are meant to have magic items. Without them they end up weaker at high levels.

At the 'flaming sword' DM: Saying it just isn't there isn't a very good option IMO. Why don't you just tell the players, as a friend, that it's a bad idea to put all eggs in one basket? If they are anything near sensible they will understand and change plans.
For those of you who are saying "No magic shops, you have to find some one to make the items for you or who already has it," that is exactly what happens when the PCs go on a shopping trip in a city with a high enough gp limit.

On the topic of the MIC: I think it definitely has some power creep in it, in addition to the simple fact that more reasonable options=more potential power. I've found that just having patience regarding the approval process of non-core materials is a pretty good way of getting your players to quit asking about broken stuff. If you are consistent in what you deny, they will eventually get the hint.

It also helps if you occasional have a night of gladiator fights where you are bashing builds against each other rather than characters, no hold barred. That will get the desire to use stupidly broken stuff out of their systems to some extent.
For those of you who are saying "No magic shops, you have to find some one to make the items for you or who already has it," that is exactly what happens when the PCs go on a shopping trip in a city with a high enough gp limit.

I didn't exactly mean no Magic shop but I did mean that Magic shops shouldn't have everything from every book. It would be just to much exp points sitting on the walls of the store. Exp enough for some 20th level wizard somewhere to have made it to 40th level if he hadn't made so many darn magic items. Gp limits would have nothing to do with it. Some items though wouldn't be availible at all. +6 stat items would either come as treasure or have to be made upon order. Items like humanoid bane weaponry require a trip to an evil Magic shop which wouldn't be publicly known about as would most evil magical items. Basically some items would have to be baught off the black market. Custom Items would reguire the knowledge of the location of a Skilled enough Artificer. The Artificer would also reguire more money then a standard item and several magic items to drain the energy out of to make the item twice. Meaning while I would allow a lot of stuff to be in my games, even custom items, an adventuring party would have to spend a lot of time to get the gear they wanted.
/thread

Seriously. It's that simple. Since when has a DM ever opened up a book and said "have at it" and not regret doing so? In my experiences 9 times out of 10 either the party has to find a mage of sufficient level to BUILD the items they seek, or decide who gets what out of the treasure they find. Only the trinkets and cheap items usually <1000gp are for sale in "magic shops" even in high fantasy/magic campaigns. Every once in a while I may throw them a bone and catch them by surprise just for fun.

I tell players to "Have at it" all the time. I've yet to have it be an issue. Then again, I also review character sheets every time someone goes on a shopping spree or levels, so I know their character's abilities and limitations. If it's not on the char sheet, or on another approved sheet of paper (sometimes they run out of space, or they prefer to rewrite it so it's easier to read on larger lines), they don't have it/can't use it. If I don't know about it, it's null and void.

Then again, my npcs also utilize items from the same books, occasionally sunder equipment, and will throw out MDJ at the higher levels if the players start doing the same thing. My players know that whatever they can do, there's an npc/group of npcs who could/can do it as well. It keeps them from running slaughterhouse style through backwoods communities killing everyone and stealing anything.

Edit: Then again, I also throw multiple separate encounters at my PCs, so their limited per-day use items have to be judiciously used, in case they need it later on more than they do at that moment.
The MIC is a very powerful book. You need to make sure that characters check with you on items instead of banning books. Also, if a character wants an item, make a quest out of it. That way the PC'S will know the difficulty to obtain one item and will think twice about which item they want. Banning books will only cause static between the PC'S and DM. Hope i can help.
McPoyo, I think your edit hit that jackpot. If you throw [highlight] MULTIPLE ENCOUNTERS PER DAY[/highlight] at the PC's, the MIC loses a decent amount of power. And that is why it is actually quite balanced. That was the main thing the MIC was balanced around, multiple encounters. Same thing with a lot of things. A good amount of Power Creep goes away with [highlight] MULTIPLE ENCOUNTERS PER DAY[/highlight].
I don't have magic shops in my world, therefore the players don't bother to look up psionic or magic item prices.

Once in a great while they will find a traveling merchant who has magic or psionic items and the PCs will likely buy a couple.

I will give the PCs items I see fit for my campaign as treasure/booty. If they kill a monster, I decide the treasure. If they wipe a thieves guild, I decide the treasure. Letting/Allowing players rifle through the DMG or the MIC can only lead to player frustration. Quick and easy access to magic items lessens their value.

The DM should be in complete control of any magic items the PCs obtain. If the players complain they don't have enough magic items, trickle some more their way but don't send them to a superstore!
Now, I'm not asking "CAN I do this?". I know I CAN. But if everyone likes the book, should I? At what point should my personal discrepancy for "broken" be forced against what the players want? Have you done anything like this, or had it done to you? How did it turn out?

I have never had magic shops. If the group wants s/g they make it (if possible) or adventure for it. They are adventures not merchants. Each item then is special. NEVER had a problem with this approach for 30 years.
I have never had magic shops. If the group wants s/g they make it (if possible) or adventure for it. They are adventures not merchants. Each item then is special. NEVER had a problem with this approach for 30 years.

Ditto
Some people might consider this an "old school" approach but I think it best way to go.
I don't understand why people say the players won't survive. For one thing, it isn't like they are without magic items.

I just don't let them pick him.

I ran a dragon lance game where the party killed, of course, High Lord Verminard. There were only three players and they decided to let the paladin have all of Verminard's stuff.

There isn't any magic item stores, but if evil npcs have them, sooner or later a strong and tactical group will come by them.

The problem with letting people build / buy what they want is that they can boost a desired stat or skill beyond reason. They natural abilities of the classes are good enough, except that a little combat boosting isn't a bad thing.

A rogue with a bag of holding, boots and a cloak of elven kind, and a belt of dexterity is just bbbboooorrrriiiinnnngggg....
I also don't have magic shops, and players didn't have any problems surviving/winning without hand-picked gear.

Besides, all real longswords +1 are found in the treasure chests at the bottom of the dungeons.
Here's another DM with no magic shops. The PCs can usually buy potions (mostly curative), and lower-level scrolls and wands, and that's pretty much it.

What magic items they get is up to me, but I will listen to input. If a player really wants a specific item and tells me OOC, it will probably show up as treasure (usually being used by something they have to fight first).

Never had a problem balancing party strength in this regard, and over the course of a long campaign, I tend to be a little on the generous side anyway. I also make sure that items pop up that suit the specific characters. A party with no monk won't find a monk's belt, but a party with a druid will find some nice druidy stuff.

To the OP, like others have said, don't ban the book outright. Look through it and see what items are appropriate for your game.
As long as they have the gold for it, there should be a way to get the item. They may have to do gather info checks, go on a side quest, and whatever else a DM might think of, but unless the item is broken I will find a way to give it to them, and will continue to do so until the items allow them to run around unchallenged at their play level.
and will continue to do so until the items allow them to run around unchallenged at their play level.

It's pretty boring to have no challenges...
I can't imagine letting people pick magic items. Never in a million years would I let someone do that.

If I was feeling really generous, I would let them randomly roll for a weak item at level 3, a medium at 6, and a strong at 9. If they didn't like what they got, they could sell it in game, or trade it for magic of 1/2 value.

Of course, if they rolled something I didn't like, I'd just make them get something else.

Picking / making magic items sucks in my opinion. All magic items in my game world are lost or being used. They don't sit around, waiting to be bought.

What happens if a PC takes Craft Wonderous Item, or a similar crafting feat?
At the 'flaming sword' DM: Saying it just isn't there isn't a very good option IMO. Why don't you just tell the players, as a friend, that it's a bad idea to put all eggs in one basket? If they are anything near sensible they will understand and change plans.

I think it's totaly viable...

A +5 Flaming burst sword is a pretty powerful and specific item... what are the odds that a Shopkeep in (insert city here) has EXACTLY that item? Or even knows where to get it?

Obvously... the bigger and more magic-centric the country/city/shop... the more likely that they have a sword LIKE that, or know where/how one could aquire one.
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