|#1zombiegleemaxAug 07, 2006 19:14:49||In the future, I'll be running a RL campaign that starts at 5th level. When I decided to do this, I got to thinking about starting wealth and/or the price of magic items. With magic Items being so rare in RL how much should this increase their price? And should it increase their price at all?|
|#2zombiegleemaxAug 07, 2006 19:30:32|
In the future, I'll be running a RL campaign that starts at 5th level. When I decided to do this, I got to thinking about starting wealth and/or the price of magic items. With magic Items being so rare in RL how much should this increase their price? And should it increase their price at all?
I'm playing in a Ravenloft campaign right now. We're levels 17-23 or so roughly. We have the magical items we brought in from other worlds. We have seen no magical items since we arrived in Barovia. For one thing....Strahd takes every magical item in his realm and places them in his vault. Why?
Well if you were harmed by magical items would you risk having them out and about? The same can be said for most other Domain Lords. Why would they not just take all magical items and safeguard them?
The only times we have heard of magical items of any interest to us, they have been held by other powerful beings. Now I'm not saying you have to play this way but it really feels "right" to me. It also makes things like lyncanthropes, ghosts, vampires...etc... extremely scary. These things are even more horrifying when finding ways of harming them are slim.
|#3darkorAug 08, 2006 7:07:57||I don,t like the idea of magical item that can be bought (except for healing potions and the likes). I wouldn't give magical item. Remeber: it is not because you are high level that you have magical objects!|
|#4MortepierreAug 08, 2006 8:04:01||No, don't increase the price. Just decrease the availability.|
In RL, players can't just pay a quick visit to the nearest town and tell their DM that they blow some cash on healing potions and magic weapon scrolls. Well, they can.. except there is no one in said town able (or willing) to sell those to them.
Remember: less spellcasters in RL and those that exist are usually more concerned about keeping a low profile than making profit.
Arcane spellcasters are generally seen as a potential threat by the local darklord and either enslaved or "removed". Divine spellcasters rarely belong to a religious order that put the emphasis on spending one's time enchanting items rather than converting people (and making sure they stay faithful).
That's not to say no enchanted items are produced, quite the contrary, but the "manufacturers" usually keep them for themselves.
That said, there are ways around that restriction. A cleric PC belonging to the Church of Ezra should be able to buy some low-level stuff at major temples, and so would a wizard PC belonging to certain secret organizations...
|#5zombiegleemaxAug 08, 2006 10:47:16||A good thing to start - especially if you are used to DM/play other in other settings, is to get rid of the idea of "Magic Items Shops". They don't exist in RL. That's not to say that you can't buy magic items, but it is a lot harder. |
IMCs, I did it this way :
A PC wanting to buy (or sell - which happened very rarely in my RL campaigns) needed to first find someone who has the item and is willing to sell it. Given the fear/distrust of arcanists (and other spellcasters, depending on domain) by the general populaace, that can be difficult.
And even if the PC finds someone who has the item and would sell it, it would still take trust on the seller's part to part with the item - and gaining that trust would be more difficult the more exoensive and/or powerful the item in question is.
Most of the time, it would be easier have magic items made by some arcanist befriended by the PCs.
The most easy way to get to MI, obviously, is by the appropriate crafting feats.
Minor magic items (like 1st level scrolls or simple potions) could eventually be bought from vistani of the canjar (IIRC) tribe - and even those were often paid not only in gold, but also by other things (like information).
Once the PC are in good standing with a good/neutral church (Ezra springs to mind, but The Morninglord would certainly fit better in Barovia), potions of healing / lesser Restoration and minor wands of healing could be made avaible at either the same or slightly increase prices (say, 10%), depending on the PCs standing with the chruch.
Evil Items or items that requiere evil spells to create, should be next to impossible to get to unless by battle or finding them.
No matter what you do, do not make MI readily avaiable if you want to keep the flair of Ravenloft.
|#6zombiegleemaxAug 08, 2006 14:36:59||What about starting wealth for characters above 1st level. Should I reduce this wealth? Or should I simply rule that players cannot begin play with magic items? Maybe I should handle starting wealth normally, assuming that the characters were just super lucky and found some items?|
|#7zombiegleemaxAug 08, 2006 15:53:01|
What about starting wealth for characters above 1st level. Should I reduce this wealth? Or should I simply rule that players cannot begin play with magic items? Maybe I should handle starting wealth normally, assuming that the characters were just super lucky and found some items?
Well it depends on a few factors. Are the PC's from Ravenloft? What domain? In the campaign I'm playing in each doman has it's own currency. Many of the domain lords print their own form of currency. If you have a gold coin from Azalin's realm and you visit Barovia....they might not honor this currency. Would you really want to flash around that coin anyway and draw attention to yourself from Strahd? Would a commoner dare take coins that aren't printed in Barovia?
We've had to find a smith willing to melt down gold coins from other domains and exchange them at an inflated transfer rate to get local currency. This has kept our funds pretty low.
|#8MortepierreAug 08, 2006 16:55:49|
We've had to find a smith willing to melt down gold coins from other domains and exchange them at an inflated transfer rate to get local currency. This has kept our funds pretty low.
If that was the case, you can bet moneychangers would set up shop at every border town between domains. No lord is stupid enough to kill people for carrying the wrong sort of money when they can make them pay through the nose for that kind of.. ah.. political mistake. Remember, even a darklord's retainers & minions have to be fed and cared for and that takes money (well, maybe not if they're undead but still..)
Actually, yes, there is a darklord that would be stupid enough but then again his domain isn't exactly friendly to foreigners (begins with a F ;) )
|#9zombiegleemaxAug 08, 2006 19:25:48||You seem to be missing my real question. When someone equips a level1 character, they don't take a bunch of gold, go into a shop, and actually buy all that stuff. It's an abtraction of all the equipment the character has aquired up to that point. So why are we talking about coins? What I want to know is how much magic a character should have by the time s/he reaches a certain level. For example, a 5th level character starts with 9000 gp. Should he be able to equip the character so that he has a +1 weapon. In short, for purposes of starting equipment and treasure building, how much more valuable should magic items be?|
|#10rotipherAug 08, 2006 21:59:33||Instead of treating magic items as more expensive, I'd recommend limiting the percentage of "starting wealth" that can be devoted to magic items, when creating a character. For instance, if you set that limit at 10% IYC, that 5th level character would have only 900 gp worth of magic items: ridiculously low for a "standard" D&D game, but perhaps plausible for Ravenloft. Much of the other 8100 gp could still be devoted to mundane, alchemical, and/or Renaissance-grade technological equipment that's useful on adventures; if desired, players could also invest such characters' starting-funds in land, businesses, or other possessions suited to the upper-crust or mercantile backgrounds common in Ravenloft's heroes.|
|#11MortepierreAug 09, 2006 3:12:55|
What I want to know is how much magic a character should have by the time s/he reaches a certain level. For example, a 5th level character starts with 9000 gp. Should he be able to equip the character so that he has a +1 weapon. In short, for purposes of starting equipment and treasure building, how much more valuable should magic items be?
If we're talking "low" level adventurers, then let them have what they want (subject to the limitations of certain items in RL, of course, as defined in the RLPHB). How much wealth is that? 9000 gp? That's barely enough to qualify for +2 weapons or armors. Nothing that would prevent them from getting hurt.
They can't buy any game-breaking item with that kind of money (apart from a Golembane Scarab, which I would restrict). Oh sure, they might be tempted to go for a Periapt of Health. Big deal. As if that was going to save them from all the dangers out there (energy drain anyone?)
In short, let them go for it but keep an eye on what they want to buy and tell them that you can veto what they choose if it endangers the campaign in your opinion. Call it "DM's prerogative".
God knows they'll find precious little magic items during their adventures, so you might as well let them have these. Not to mention that RL monsters have usually less weaknesses than their "normal" counterparts.
|#12zombiegleemaxAug 09, 2006 4:55:56||Thanks fellows. These forums really come in handy.|
|#13john_w._mangrumAug 09, 2006 9:09:29||Keep in mind that if you significantly alter the amount of wealth/treasure/magic the PCs generally obtain during their adventures, you are also affecting the assumed PC power levels taken into account in the Challenge Rating system.|
In other words, if you don't allow PCs to have the recommended amount of loot, then they'll be increasingly underpowered for their level, and monsters/encounters that seem to have an appropriate CR for the PCs may actually vastly overpower them.
|#14gonzoronAug 09, 2006 10:48:21||I say go ahead and let them have it (mainly for the reasons John gave), BUT make them come up with a background for each item, as far as how they got it. (and no, it's can't be "I walked into a magic shop") Also rather than limit them to a percentage of the starting wealth, I would say limit them to a set number of items. IMHO, It's easier to portray low-magic when the few items they have (no matter how powerful) are treated like precious heirlooms rather than commodities. I'd rather see a character have a +2 flaming keen rapier with a name and backstory than a laundry list of forgettable minor items (ioun stones, amulets of natural armor, ring of protection, 20 scrolls, 15 potions etc.) If the sword is the party's only magic sword, it hardly matters whether it's a +1 or a +5 with 3 special qualities, it's still their only magic sword and should be treated as such.|
As an example, a character entered my campaign at level 6 with horseshoes of the zepyhr (a family heirloom), a +1 club (a branch gifted to her by a mysterious fey in the woods), an amulet of charisma (as per the cloak, in the shape of an acorn, gifted by the same fey), a horn of fog (broken! a gift from the priests that trained her, but broken between the time she left them and the time she joined the party.), and a +1 mithril shirt (also a gift from the priests.). None of it is very flashy, other than the horseshoes. Most of the time, no one but her would even notice she has them, but each one is of such sentimental value that the character would be heartbroken to lose them (even the +1 club!). And the little snippets of backstory give me places to hang plot hooks.
|#15zombiegleemaxAug 10, 2006 6:54:06||It can be done several ways; |
Rotipher's suggestion worked fine for me in one campaign (but you need to re-evaluate CRs/ELs).
Gonzoron's approach also works fine, especially if you limit/rule out "flashy" items (like certain weapon enchantments) - or impose RP consequences if they are used within sight of common people.
It also largely depends on the domain of origin / domain you want to play (or start) in.
You can also do this :
The players hand in a very rough "wish list" (e.g. armor, weapon, save booster) for MI, sorted by priority - and you equip them (how it would actually happen if they would play the character from level 1 to starting level).
Or you can make a pool of spefic items which you either distribute randomly on the characters or let the players choose from.
If they start outside of Ravenloft and are fetched by the Mists, you can have them equip their characters as they see fit (although I'd suggest you carefully monitor the flashy items).
|#16dwarfpcfanAug 14, 2006 13:29:30||The best answer Iève ever found with the problem of magic items is to toss away the Dm's guide base money guide entirely . |
Point taken, in Ravenloft magic weapons are historical elements, RpG opportunities, Background tricks.
Before even making the stats to characters, have them write their backgrounds. Read then, think on them, then read them, then think on them again. Once you are statisfied ( probably after asking them to write it over again). Work with your player to figure the character's stats. Then use your logic
If a character is an outlander Paladin of St-Cuthbert. He should logically have, a few magic weapons. I'd say depending on the background and level he could have anything from a +1 to+3 weapon, a +1 piece of armor, and a minor magic item that fits the Character
On the other hand If the character is a Scientist-physicist from Lamordia dedicated to science and enlightment. He should be sorely lacking in magic items, no only is his character background anthesis to their acquisition but his home realm is itself anthethical to magic. To keep fairness and balance however give other benefits of equal value. Contacts, membership of approrpriate organizations like The Van Richten Society, Political ties, membership in business ventures to allow travel. And of course, he could have a number of really useful alchemical devices that could potentially save the party.
Then again a dwarven runewizard from Tempes Falls would be another matter altogether. Not only is he a worker of magic, He's a worker of Ravenloft magic . His equipment should be have been earned through blood and tears. His mystic axe should have been forged in the clan forge with the help of his family. It should be a flavorfull weapon perhaps carrying a curse/benefit such as being a +1 weapon that grants strenght and fortitude but only as long as he upholds the value of the clan.But failing that it might curse him to be weak an impotent. In the same vein, any of the artifices he posseses would have many ramifications. The number of magic items he would possess would be smaller then said paladin but they would be full of taste and flavor. He might even get around with a +2 Flaming, throwing returning dwarven waraxe but that would not be what's important. what's important is that his axe is blazing fury of the fallen kin , an axe forged for the special purpose avenging the victims of a evil ancestor's murderous rampage.
Remember magic is not necessarily items too. A non-magical ranger from Verbrek might instead be a natural werewolf. Just because most lychantropes in Ravenloft are evil, does mean all of then are. This character would use the benefits of his beastly heritage to beat back the rampaging beast that haunt the dark forest of the domain.
Nothing in Ravenloft is simply written on a character sheet. Everything needs background, flavor, logic and explanation...
|#17gonzoronAug 14, 2006 14:24:49||While I disagree with this:|
The best answer Iève ever found with the problem of magic items is to toss away the Dm's guide base money guide entirely .
(because it makes certain classes and monsters woefully unbalanced) I do agree 100% with this:
Remember magic is not necessarily items too.
I don't think I'd go as far as having a lycanthrope in the party as a substitute (unless the approritate level adjustment was used.) BUT.. magic items don't have to have the same form as in the DMG. The RL DMG does go into this a bit, talking about standard items in different, more modern forms.
In my campaign, I have:
- a "prayer bead of healing" in the form of a holy chalice. Drinking water from the chalice serves as the activation.
- a "headband of intellect" in the form of an inherited talent called "the whisper of 1000 voices" which allows the PC to pick up scraps of information from the thoughts of local ghosts, thus boosting his INT (and threatening to drive him insane eventually)
- a "wand of clairvoyance" in the form of an amulet that serves as a mark of office
- "goggles of minute seeing" in the form of non-magical goggles with an array of lenses and mirrors, created by a mechanical genius.
Stuff like this keeps the actual level of magic up without it seeming too high-magical because the actual items seem more mundane than wands with crystals on the end, or silly looking jeweled headbands.
|#18zombiegleemaxAug 16, 2006 0:56:04||The question you should be asking yourself all of the time, especially in Ravenloft is: Is it good for the story? Is it good for the story if your party meets up with a band of what used to be wayward travelers, but they have become stuck in Ravenloft and have given up all hope and they are now willing to sell their once powerful magic items? Could your party's once normal items become magical when they enter Ravenloft? Could your party meet up with a band of thugs that are sellers on the black market? However you cut it, it should be good for the story. |
What is good for your story is really what is important. Just remember that Ravenloft is a demi-plane of wonderous magic and gothic spookiness. There are so many things you can just pull out of nowhere to throw at your PC's, but it should be first and foremost good for the story.
Last and finally. I see a lot of people post on different boards that they are running campaigns in Ravenloft. There is only one piece of advice that I give to that. Ravenloft is a place that is best reserved for those fun little suprises. It should be more like a walk in the twilight zone on a day where the monster from the plane, the librarian who loses his glasses and the living puppet all converge on the same spot. It always feels so much more valuable and fun to me when I use it as sort of a little flare in a long campaign. ie. "After a long hard day of traveling, your bones feel weary and the rain has finally beat its way through your cloaks you stumble upon an inn at the edge of town that seems to be the only one with a vacancy. However unbelievable it may be you and your companions take the last room in the inn.....looking out the window you see what looks to be the remains of a man releasing your steeds. But... you pinch yourself and finally nudge your fellow travelers to give them the news...as you exit the door you notice your not in Kansas anymore."
You see where I am going with this. It can be so much fun, but if there is any advice I can give about anything it is this.
Is it good for the story?
|#19gonzoronAug 16, 2006 10:01:12|
Last and finally. I see a lot of people post on different boards that they are running campaigns in Ravenloft. There is only one piece of advice that I give to that. Ravenloft is a place that is best reserved for those fun little suprises.
Well, to each their own, of course, but a lot of us have had great fun with long-term Ravenloft campaigns. The great thing about Ravenloft is that it can be what you make it. If you want the Twilight Zone, with a self-contained dip into weirdness, that's cool. If I want something more like The X-Files, Buffy, or Dark Shadows, with continuing creepy storylines, that's cool too.
But I'm with you 100% on "Is it good for the story?" That's the key to good Ravenloft, however you slice it.
|#20zombiegleemaxAug 17, 2006 0:19:52||I agree with you. to each is their own. As long as we are all having fun that is all that really matters.|