I'm not sure what I think about the whole "You can buy any magic item at any time even in a remote village" concept, which seems to be the standard in the groups I've seen. Do any of you run stuff more like it would be in a standard video game, where one shop might only carry weapons up to +2, plus one or two more specific rare items, and the the characters may never see a shop with magic armor until they go to a certain city? If so, how do your players react? I'm thinking of running things this way for an upcoming campaign.
I gave to each of my city the Max level of item they can buy there. The highest level is 10. Beyond this, they gotta find it, earn it, etc.
This is something I determine at the outset of the campaign. In Eberron, it's fairly easy to get your mits on what you need. In Dark Sun, it's nearly impossible. The key is to be consistent and explain why it is the way it is and the alternative methods by which they can expect to obtain gear to keep up with the power curve. As long as players can count on or at least plan for things, they tend not to mind as much if you limit access to purchasing items. Transparency works. Never let it be a surprise unless it's a story element.
A lot of it is just refluffing. Instead of buying it from a "store," perhaps it is a reward from their patron for a job well done. Or they buy it off the black market... with strings attached. That sort of thing. Or the church entrusts them with it and its use for a period of time.
The truth is, a lot of people like to make a big deal over versimilitude and whatnot and make players jump through all sorts of hoops in the name of flavor. And that's just fine if it's fun for your group. But most of my games are not focused on mercantile errands or where items come from unless my story is strongly dependent on such concerns. In my opinion, it just detracts from time we could be spending doing more interesting things. So, whichever method you choose, I recommend you make it simple and don't spend too much time on it at the table. You can always work as a group to come up with storytelling reasons why something is so.
I was thinking of something as simple as item shop handouts that change every couple of weeks. They can spend a couple of minutes talking to the storekeeper if necessary, getting some rumors which lead to minor quests while they are at it.
The availability of buying items is very game world dependent. I've been in campaigns that run anywhere from "buy anything in any village" to "you can't buy magic items at all". Either way works find as long as you spell it out up front and don't use it as a way to nerf characters.
4e characters are often very dependent on getting the right items for their characters, because a lot of their effectiveness comes from weapon properties working well with their natural abilities. As DM, if your not going to give the characters the ability to buy and sell magic items, you have to insure that the right items for the characters are in the loot. Of course, Darksun and other campaign worlds that use inherent bonuses are less dependent, but it still matters.
In most of my campaign worlds you can buy and sell magic items, but only in towns and cities. In a towns there is usually one or two weapon/armor merchants who also deal in magic items, and have a random selection of low level ones on hand. In the cities, there are stores where you can buy Heroic level items, but for Paragon and higher you generally have to work through a dealer and it usually takes some time. If nothing else though, you can find somebody to make one for you if you have the money.
There is no one item "shop" in my campaign. Sure, there may be a few merchants that stock some of the more common, low-level wares. But, once you get to high-heroic, the players are dealing with brokers, collectors, retired heroes, cash-strapped royalty, eccentric wizards, and numerous other miscellaneous sources of items, all collapsed into a black box unless I think of something particularly interesting for the item they want to buy.
If they have significant downtime between adventures, their shopping sprees may consist of pursuing local legends and whispered rumors to track down their items. The challenge of actually finding these items is negligible for heroes of their stature, so no point in crafting an adventure out of it (again, unless it's something particularly interesting and relevant to the campaign's plot).
But, that's how I encourage my players to think about these things. The notion of a "shop" is just to let them know that their hard-earned treasure can be spent with a minimum of fuss, not to make them think there is a physical location that just so happens to have everything they will ever desire on hand.
I don't have magic shops, but I do have magic universities, wizards guilds, reliquaries, craftsmenshops, etc. They work on commission. You give them money, they build your item, come back tomorrow.
So it's kinda like having a videogame style item store except it makes perfect sense to have them.
The way my DM treats it is that any shop can have a magic item in, but often it's reserved for big spenders or people who ask for it. Even then, it's an exception rather then the rule.
That being said, we have not been to any magical univercities yet and that thumb of rule applies to human settlements. Elves have more misc magical items, rarely combat use but for living and Dwarfs have better craftsmanship and so fourth.
Magical shops without context is like having a shop which sells weapons of mass destuction, it doesn't make a whole lot of sense and it's really advertising to theives.
As both Crow and Plu said, there are no "magic item shops" - who or where you acquired your new item from may well be different every time you buy an item.
It could be something you commissioned from the local hedge wizard or mages' guild, or something you got from an adventurer one of your contacts knew back in the old days and you had to travel down to the coast during your downtime between adventures to find him in whatever seedy tavern he was renting a room above.
There are no magic item shops, but what does exist is the possibility of somehow acquiring whatever bit of magical equipment the character happens to be looking for without needing to kill monsters to get it. Depending on what it is or if I have time during the game, it may not necessarily be simple or easy to get it, and may require some kind of in-game activity, but you can get it if you have enough gold.
Post Your Reply
Please login to post a reply.