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    Adept Greytalker

    Joined: Apr 26, 2002
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    Sat Dec 23, 2006 1:17 am  
    Greyhawk becoming too high-powered?

    These quotes are lifted from another thread and reposted here to avoid hijacking the original thread.

    Vormaerin wrote:


    But what you don't find in (early) GH materials are dozens of archmages in a single city, entire nations of half fiends, or military units of hundreds of footsoldiers equipped with magical swords, or sky cities, or the world revolving around transnational conspiracies instead of nations. Yeah, there's a bit of that already and its steadily been ramped up over time. But that's generally what folks mean by 'GH is low magic'.


    DwarffromNyrond wrote:
    Excellent replies indeed. I myself don't feel that Greyhawk needs to be enhanced with regard to magic and fantasy. My current group completely understands why I generally restrict classes and they certainly understand my take on magic items (magic is hoarded by those powerful or clever enough to keep it). The question is not what we should do with our current players, but what can we do to make WoG more attractive to the younger generations who are hooked on video games and epic level fantasy at low levels. They see lowly undead and yawn. They see ghouls and yawn. Wights, Wraiths? The charcters still get saves. Vampire? Please, who hasn't faced one of those? Now the fun doesn't start till we open up the book of Aberrations and combine it with the Book of Vile Darkness, throw in the latest edition of some demon or devil guide and then and only then do we have the beginnings of a game. Geez, munchkin powergaming or not, enough is enough.


    You have no idea how much this means to me. See, this, THIS is what drives me nuts about 3E; magic items being easy for mid-level mages to create, open trading and commodification of magic like it's some cheap consumer good and not something to be cherished for its own sake, easy min/maxing and multiclassing to maximize fighting ability without thought for character development, characters with CRs ranging from 21 on up...

    I know all this depends in part on the DM, but it's built into the rules, and the rules inevitably influence the character of the game to some extent, as do the published adventures written by the likes of Sean K. Reynolds.(shudders)

    This is what I'm worried about...is Greyhawk getting too influenced by this power-gaming trend, where +1 swords are treated with contempt, giants, illithids and aboleth are routinely powerful wizards, fighters or clerics, forcing you to jack up the PCs' power levels appropriately so they can stand up to these menaces?

    I always thought that being 6th level actually meant something, as did acquiring a magic sword or shield, even if it was just a humble +1 item-because you had something that most other warriors, even those who reached 18th-20th level, would never get to wield in their lifetimes. Most adventurers would die at the hands of orcs, chimeras, giant scorpions, or even simple cave bears and wolves, without ever really becoming famous or successful, as the monsters usually win out against the adventurers.

    I'm sorry for the rant, but it all leads to the question I'm about to ask: Is Greyhawk going in the wrong direction? Should its direction be changed? Can it be changed? Where can/does/should Greyhawk fit in this day and age?
    Master Greytalker

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    Sat Dec 23, 2006 1:49 am  

    Well, I'm not sure that Greyhawk is going in *any* direction at the moment. I suppose the loose association with the Adventure Paths is pushing it towards the high end, since those by definition are "0 to 20 in 12 easy steps" campaigns.

    The big change in GH power ratings occurred a long time ago, with the publication of From the Ashes, Ivid the Undying, and that group of products. That moved the high end stuff from obscure corners of the world to front and center in some places.

    Third edition rules do favor a higher powered campaign, but there's nothing that requires you to use them that way. Sure, the published adventures (from the few examples I've perused) do seem to push for the abuse (imho) of prestige classes and very rapid levelling. But that's something easily controlled by the DM.

    Plenty of folks have played GH that way all along. Its not like that style sprung out of thin air "in the younger generation". It was alive and well in the 80s, too. I saw plenty of it when I was helping run regional gaming conventions in western NY back then.

    I guess I just don't see a problem with how others play the game, munchkin or not. Its not the way I run my games and the players I have like that. The players that don't like that, find other DMs to play with. And I don't foresee another round of GH sourcebooks coming out, so I can't say that I'm concerned that the 'direction' of GH being wrong.
    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Sat Dec 23, 2006 10:16 am  

    Ive never played 3e before, but from what ive seen reading different modules and living greyhawk material, it definately looks like power gaming in the extreme. The stuff you use to read way back in dragon magazine #35 about the perils of a monty haul campaign seem like the norm...
    I play a mish-mash of 1e and 2e with lots of home rules. My campaign is very slow in advancing levels and very low in magic.
    A 5th level character with a +2 shield brings awe from others at the table...
    But in the end it doesnt really matter how (un)powerful your characters are, just as long as everyone has fun...
    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Sat Dec 23, 2006 11:15 am  

    I guess the problem is that if it is this element that appeals to a new generation of gamers, then the game has to adapt to those tastes to survive. Many people want to see GH supported much more strongly (me among them), but if it was, many folk would complain at the adaptation factor that is simply necessary for the product to continue to be relevant.

    Persoanlly, I like the idea that GH should have as many unique elements as possible (the power level of characters, low magic, all the stuff that most people have quoted hundreds of times previously); perhaps the system needs some new element that would cater to the flavour of the gritty, low magic themes that we love so much, some sort of mechanic that would replace the need for +5 vorpal swords but still appeal to a generation of (presumably) ritilin dependant power rangers.

    I don't know, people like to beleive, regardless of their generation, that they are truer to their hobby than others, that they are playing the more sophisticated version of the system (which is why the term munchkin even exists), perhaps GH needs to be marketed as such (the FRCS describes itself as a product only for advanced gamers, go figure?). Also, the blood, gore 'shades of grey" and political intrigue inherent in the feel of what is a classic GH adventure should perhaps be exploited in some sort of mechanic. These elements should be a reward unto themselves somehow.
    Journeyman Greytalker

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    Sat Dec 23, 2006 12:08 pm  

    Overslave wrote:
    perhaps GH needs to be marketed as such (the FRCS describes itself as a product only for advanced gamers, go figure?). Also, the blood, gore 'shades of grey" and political intrigue inherent in the feel of what is a classic GH adventure should perhaps be exploited in some sort of mechanic. These elements should be a reward unto themselves somehow.


    That is a very interesting idea. I think the greyness, blood, gore and political intrigue should be promoted. I would love the idea of a series of adventures where the party is working for an employer and he turns out to be an illithid. Shocked Smile The problem is, everything the group has been doing promotes the destruction of a specific evil (only so that the nefarious plans of the illithid will come to fruition). Now there's the rub. I admit there's nothing stopping me, the DM, from creating such a story, but it would be nice if we had an official adventure that all players could turn to and use. Folks like Erik Mona are busting their bottoms trying to get us stuff, but what else can we do to promote the WoG?

    I Miss the Wild Coast,
    Dwarf from Nyrond

    * A while ago I asked for help finding info on Hardby, and you folks directed me to Dungeon magazine. I found the issue and although my poor party did miserably within that city, they L-O-V-E-D it and wanted more. As one player said, "Damn, I wouldn't mind dying every session as long as I died in a city like this!" The questions arose, "...does WotC have more writings on different cities? Let's see that map! What about Rauxes? Blue? Hoohill? Molag? What's in Iiiistivan? No Istivin? What's Chendyll like? Hey who are these Pale guys? Are they ghosts or something? Vast swamp? How vast? What about this Greyhawk City?"
    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Sat Dec 23, 2006 6:49 pm  

    The question of power gaming not only comes from the players wanting to be superheroes and quickly but the DM allowing that sort of game. I grew up with 1st Ed and started playing pre DM's guide, my DM was a wiz at making off the cuff rules and decisons, it kept the game flowing and players came back for more, we had no EXP values so we made it up at first it was to much and we leveled far to fast. I gues my point is the game itself does not have to be entrenched in rules and people who quote them and hold up the game. The game itself belongs to the people playing it and they will normaly make house rules or ignore certain rules as they choose. I think there is a quote "Its a DM's GUIDE" the emphasis is guide, how many optional rules do you know?.
    I have ventured a little into 3rd ed and 3.5 and found it to be a very well written and thought through piece of work, however I do feel its aimed at getting the younger player hooked with quick gain. I had a Druid PC who gained 2 levels in one evenings play.... to fast I felt cheap and that I had not earned it, the group I was playing with then went on to talk about how powerful they had become ascending to become deities and had done so in the space of a year. My best ever character in 1st ed took the best part of 10 years playing to make 11th level and dam I was proud of him!.
    I DM AD&D now based on 1/2 ed and numerous house rules, we play weekly and have been running a game for 8 months now and the players have only just made 3rd, to slow maybe but they seem to enjoy, I have 100% turn out for 5 players I think thats pretty good. The biggest thing for me is we enjoy it and thats what its all about the game rules are there to create a framework the rest is up to those playing. How you fill in the bits... well thats what its all about for me, its my game and I enjoy it in that form. So I shall now get off my soap box and pray to the great WoTC for forgiveness. Thing is they dont care as I still buy there stuff they just want the money!!!! Cool
    Master Greytalker

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    Sun Dec 24, 2006 1:18 am  

    My campaign has been running for 15 years - and some of the characters have been there from the beginning and are now levels 9-13 which is the traditional high level from good ol 1e.

    I struggled with 3e xp - I was mortified at how quickly they seemed to be progressing so I quickly started to divide all xp by at least 4. You can still give low ad-hoc awards for role-playing, good ideas etc

    Even then, I've noticed that they are now powerful enough to cause some serious damage if they decided to go on a rampage in Hommlet. More worrying is that the CG cleric of Olidammara has realised that he can be CE without changing his deity - yikes.

    It is becoming more difficult to convince them that they have to respect the law (it's so true that power corrupts). But they are now powerful enough to infiltrate the Slave Lords, take on GDQ, RtToEE, etc and I'm also trying Age of Worms by upping the villains at the low end and lowering the vilains at the top end

    Still not sure that they have any hope of surviving the final battle if they are less than level 20 so might have to seed in the other lower level mods in between. We have enough mods to last another 15 years by which time I hope they will be epic.

    Our email campaign is level 7-12 with many of the same pcs but that plot is already going epic with the theft of Hunger - yowser.

    If you want your pcs to have a long and legendary career rather than one season before cancellation, reduce the xp awards and rarely leave magic items lying around. Simple!
    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Sun Dec 24, 2006 6:48 pm  

    PaulN6 wrote:

    It is becoming more difficult to convince them that they have to respect the law (it's so true that power corrupts). But they are now powerful enough to infiltrate the Slave Lords, take on GDQ, RtToEE, etc and I'm also trying Age of Worms by upping the villains at the low end and lowering the vilains at the top end



    My GM believes that NPCs should have realistic and reasonable responses to player character actions and activities. Players should not be allowed to run amok among the NPCs and get away with outrageous behavior just because they are the PCs. If you spit in the constable's face, expect to go to jail. Resist arrest, and expect to get your **** kicked, a bounty put on your head, or worse.

    If I am on a cliff face, and a peryton knocks me unconscious, the very real question of "what happened to my swords," comes up. In a recent game, my character got knocked OFF the cliff face, and her swords went flying. Fortunately, sharp eyed PCs were able to spot where they landed, and I was able to recover them. But the potential of losing my crunchy bits is always there.

    Last year, my character got in a fight with an NPC she thought was trying to murder her. Another PC came to her aid, and my character got away without getting caught, but the other PC didn't. The Baron fined her elven chainmail and Rod of Lordly Might as punishment for disturbing the peace, and injuring the NPC. One might say, "no fair, not that other player's fault," and might be right: but the rule of realistic responses by the forces of law and order brings home the message: be aware that what you do has potential consequences. Enforce that with players, and they will understand there are limits to what they can do.

    Even if they are "evil" in alignment, there are limits. Eventually, the folks you tick off are going to organize and put bounty hunters on you. You reap what you sow.

    Theala
    Black Hand of Oblivion

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    Mon Dec 25, 2006 12:50 am  

    Call it 3e creep. The rapid leveling is the main culprit. There are simply more high level classed npc's as presented in the current material, whether they are commoners, experts, warriors, etc. As people add detail to the World of Greyhawk, including its inhabitants, there will be more and more skilled npc's appearing where they were heretofore unknown. I don't think this is a bad thing at all. Nations and power groups in particular will have more than a few high powered servants/members, and sometimes lots of them.

    Look at the former Great Kingdom lands for instance. There is a huge amount of high level, high powered npc's in those lands, and I don't just mean the rulers. Notably this has nothing to do with 3e creep either. After years of war, assassinations, and political subterfuge, the scum has risen to the float on top of the sewage there, and what was unable to rise has been flushed with the rest of the turds. It is an eat or be eaten environment, so I would expect not only those leaders who remain to be some pretty dangerous individuals, but the same goes for those who serve them. Constant war and violence leads to experience levels, and so Ivid the Undying presents quite a few high powered npc's, all written prior to 3e.

    My perception is that more high fantasy and more magic/wealth has been steadily creeping into GH material, and D&D in general. What I consider to be classic Greyhawk adventures have more in common with pulp stories than anything else, but pulp is not something that newer authors are writing. I don't know if this is because they are not familiar with it, don't have an appreciation for it, or are just writing more in the style of what is currently the ďacceptable normĒ. In GH, magic should be a more misunderstood and mysterious thing than it is in other worlds. Magic is rare and always viewed as powerful (even when in game terms it really isn't all that powerful). Magic, any magic, is reality altering, and therefore powerful. The level of magic in current GH is not a so much a function of 3e as it is the choice of the writers. And it isn't just the level of magic that has exploded. Too much money is found which makes not only magic but expensive equipment available, such as full plate armor, unique material armors/weapons, masterwork items, etc. The current model of leveling fast, ending the pcís career in 10-15 adventures, and then starting it all over again with a new group of pcís is a large part of the problem. To maintain this pace, the money and magic needs to flow fast and furious. The problem for me is that this, in my opinion, is contrary to the feel of Greyhawk.

    It is not uncommon for people to forget what made something great in the first place. The main thing to remember is that it can always be fixed.
    Adept Greytalker

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    Mon Dec 25, 2006 10:23 pm  

    Cebrion wrote:


    My perception is that more high fantasy and more magic/wealth has been steadily creeping into GH material, and D&D in general. What I consider to be classic Greyhawk adventures have more in common with pulp stories than anything else, but pulp is not something that newer authors are writing. I don't know if this is because they are not familiar with it, don't have an appreciation for it, or are just writing more in the style of what is currently the ďacceptable normĒ. In GH, magic should be a more misunderstood and mysterious thing than it is in other worlds. Magic is rare and always viewed as powerful (even when in game terms it really isn't all that powerful). Magic, any magic, is reality altering, and therefore powerful. The level of magic in current GH is not a so much a function of 3e as it is the choice of the writers. And it isn't just the level of magic that has exploded. Too much money is found which makes not only magic but expensive equipment available, such as full plate armor, unique material armors/weapons, masterwork items, etc. The current model of leveling fast, ending the pcís career in 10-15 adventures, and then starting it all over again with a new group of pcís is a large part of the problem. To maintain this pace, the money and magic needs to flow fast and furious. The problem for me is that this, in my opinion, is contrary to the feel of Greyhawk.

    It is not uncommon for people to forget what made something great in the first place. The main thing to remember is that it can always be fixed.


    Hmm, so this is all Sean K. Reynolds' fault?

    I might have known.

    :P

    Seriously though, great post. Real insightful, and it pretty much explains why I can't stomach most 3E material-I just know that the characters are going to be Epic-level or nearly so, with +1 swords and amulets of armor being ridiculously common, and full of NPCs that make my 7th-level characters look like ants by comparison.
    Black Hand of Oblivion

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    Mon Dec 25, 2006 11:49 pm  

    Sean K. Reynolds?!!! Laughing

    I know you are joking, but Sean isn't responsible for writing all D&D or Greyhawk material. Sean just happens to be in the spotlight the most lately, and so the critiques of the community focus on his work. He does catch an inordinate amount of crap though. I like to see material from many authors. Some of it I like, some of I don't. I imagine most people are that way. There is a big difference between critiquing material and critiquing an author anyways. I prefer to stick to the material.
    Master Greytalker

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    Tue Dec 26, 2006 12:10 am  

    Besides, he didn't write all that Carl Sargent era stuff that first started pouring high powered stuff into everyday parts of Greyhawk. I don't think its any one author's fault, though some are more or less contributory. The company as a whole has moved in that direction and its naturally going to utilize authors who like that kind of thing.

    Besides, its not like all the new material is bad or something (some of it is, some of it isn't). Even with it, GH isn't running at the power level of places like the FR or Ebberon.

    I'm much more concerned about terrible cultural design work, like the (imho) awful treatment of the Olman in SB than about how they equip NPCs in adventures or if they add places like the Cauldron of Night to the game world. Its a lot harder to fix the former than to tweak the latter.
    Master Greytalker

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    Tue Dec 26, 2006 6:37 am  

    As I have in similar threads, I feel compelled to point out that there are significant differences in the rules and scales in 1st ed and 3rd ed. WOTC took great pains to try and perserve some of the standards (such as a abilities that run from 3 to 18); but these are very different systems. The differences are subtle; give the impression of being the same, but they are not.

    In 1st ed, owning a +1 sword was a big deal because it could change a character's fate. +5 was reserved for the highest of levels, 18th. Level's beyond 18th were only myth, and 18th was basically rumor.

    In 3rd edition, the whole system has been rescaled. A +1 sword is not as highly valued because it does not really affect all that much, and it is still expensive. A 4th level warrior is still going to kill your 1st level fighter, even if he has a +1 sword. By 8th level, neither is going to notice, because it does not significantly affect play.

    Example: An 8th level fighter with a 16 strength and weapon focus/specialization has a +12 to hit. A +1 is nice, but doesnt really add all that much.

    Levels have also changed significantly. Yes, people go through levels quickly, but where 12th level used to be a really high level (the king might be 12th, if he were really powerful), it is only a midway point now. While this may appear that this creates "super-powered," characters, I would argue that the 12th levels of 3rd ed can not do a great deal more than the 8th levels of yore.

    What 3rd ed did do is put the leveling on a much more even growth pattern, within each class and among the classes. IIRC, in 1st ed, there were large and arbitrary power points where a class was suddenly much more powerful than its peers. Mages were also significantly more powerful than anyone else at high levels. While this may fit some DMs concept of "reality," in a game world, it fits few player's desires in a game. So yes, the scale now reaches easily into the mid 20th levels, but I think that Mordenkainen has remained relatively similar in power. There are more marks on the ruler, but the ruler is not any longer than it was.

    Monsters are considerably more powerful. Again, not in total power (with some exceptions) but in comparison to levels. A troll is a troll, in 1st ed or 3rd ed. However, in 1st ed they were rending 5th level persons, in 3rd ed they are after 8th level players.

    I dont think GH has really increased into High Fantasy or High Magic. I think overall that this element has remained fairly constant. I think that the changing of it's base mechanic has caused some alterations, but not nearly to the extent you beleive, CSL. You and I have differed on this in the past, and I suppose we will always differ on it. Such is the way of the world.
    Master Greytalker

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    Tue Dec 26, 2006 8:49 pm  

    The fact that 3e makes magical items less significant is an entirely different problem, I think. Other than the various adventures in Dungeon and a few "revisit the nostalgic locale" books, there isn't much in the way of 3e impact on Greyhawk proper.

    The real change/power up was in the 2e era with GH Wars, From the Ashes, and the sourcebooks like Ivid the Undying and Iuz the Evil. Those changed the setting itself and added a lot of magical/supernatural 'oomph' to the front and center of the world.
    Master Greytalker

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    Tue Dec 26, 2006 9:24 pm  

    It is worth noting that in the DMG1, somewhere near the table of magic items, it says something like "when an item is found, cross it off the table", meaning just about every magic item was unique. There seemed to be an original intent to have only ONE broom of flying, ONE ring of warmth, etc., in the CAMPAIGN!

    That being said, anyone who has gone through the modules realizes that things like +1 swords WERE excedingly common. If your levels came from modules, even in 1st edition, by fourth level anyone who COULD use a sword had at least one +1 sword, and was trying to figure out how to get rid of them for something better.

    Most of my low-level play was in modules, and it was a standard practice there not to take any mage in the party that did not have access to Detect Magic. When you are banged up enough to retire, you throw everything you've got so far, all the armor and weapons collected from everything you've killed, into one big pile and DM it. There is bound to be SOMETHING magical there that you can take, all of the normal items are left behind.
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    Master Greytalker

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    Tue Dec 26, 2006 10:23 pm  

    Loot for the PCs has always been pretty hefty in D&D and GH is no exception to that. The only thing that 3e has changed in that regard is they seem to have made vastly more NPCs into 'leveled' characters with that kind of loot.
    Black Hand of Oblivion

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    Tue Dec 26, 2006 11:45 pm  

    "The only thing that 3e has changed in that regard is they seem to have made vastly more NPCs into 'leveled' characters with that kind of loot."

    I agree with you completely Vormaerin, and I think this is the main thing about the current material that is the most obvious example of the up-scaling of power in D&D in general, and by default Greyhawk.

    As to authors, I wouldn't point to Carl Sargent either. Each of the writers has contributed to the overall picture of things that we now have. Sometimes things gel; sometimes they donít so well. Regardless of who wrote what, there will nearly always be something you like, and something you don't like. Now, on the part Iíd rather talk about.

    There is a quote from a 1e book that I am very fond of. I think it is from the 1e DMG, in some section talking about npc's. For some reason I seem to recall it has to do with the rank of Captain in a military organization, but I could be WAY off. The part of the quote I recall goes something like this:

    "...and will be of unthinkably high level (at least 6th!)."

    What I like most about this quote (and hopefully I didnít butcher the quote too badly) is that it really gives a sense about what is the norm, and what is "unthinkably high level".

    As to the almighty +1 sword, in 1e if you ran into something that could only be hit by a +1 or better weapon, then that sword was VERY powerful. Likewise in 3e+, if you run into something with DR X/Magic, then that +1 sword is pretty useful too. DR5/Magic is not so much of an insurmountable thing, but DR 15/magic certainly is (but this is rare to nonexistent). The scary thing in 1e was that if you actually ran into something that was immune to damage from normal weapons it was supernatural in some way. It takes magic to battle the supernatural. I myself really like this take on things, and it is something that I try to play up in my campaign with.

    Iíll call it ďMagical SaturationĒ. In my view, Greyhawk is not greatly saturated with magic. For every 100,000 people, how many +1 weapons are there? How many +2 weapons? How many of any item? The rarity of things is key for me. Adventurers might come across magic all of the time because of what they do, but what about the average person? The view of the average person is what the baseline is in any fantasy world, not that of adventurers. Big cities might have more magic, but it is still not readily available to the average person. The average schmuck doesnít have some heirloom +1 sword hanging over his fireplace in case some orcs raid his cottage, or a potion of healing handy for when his son gets kicked in the head by the familyís plow horse. Neither of those things is readily available to most people. I like it that way, and it seems to me that is the way of Greyhawk. This is however just my view. Different people do things how they want to.

    The feeling that I currently get from what is out there is that, just because itís a fantasy world, magic and the supernatural are a regular part of everyday life. For me this has never been true of Greyhawk. The level of magic in my campaign has fluctuated over time, sometimes drastically, but I always find myself coming back to this original vision I have developed over time; this being that magic is a rare and wondrous thing(yes, magic = plot strings galore!). Even the simplest of magical items can be used to author great events, in the right circumstances. I like how that fits with Greyhawk.
    Master Greytalker

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    Wed Dec 27, 2006 1:30 am  

    Cebrion wrote:
    There is a quote from a 1e book that I am very fond of. I think it is from the 1e DMG, in some section talking about npc's. For some reason I seem to recall it has to do with the rank of Captain in a military organization, but I could be WAY off. The part of the quote I recall goes something like this:

    "...and will be of unthinkably high level (at least 6th!)."

    What I like most about this quote (and hopefully I didnít butcher the quote too badly) is that it really gives a sense about what is the norm, and what is "unthinkably high level".


    FYI, this is from DMG, p. 39, "ACQUISITION OF MAGIC-USER SPELLS":
    Quote:
    Inform those players who have opted for the magic-user profession that they have just completed a course of apprenticeship with a master who was of unthinkably high level (at least 6th!).
    Master Greytalker

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    Wed Dec 27, 2006 3:11 am  

    Cebrion, I think that you have hit upon a key point. Magic is often more of a requirement in 3e, the DR system. It is also more availalbe. A +1 sword is more available than it was, generally, because they are less important.

    If a bocman is sitting in his cottage, wondering if his 40 acres is going to be enough to feed the family this year and he looks up to see that +1 sword hanging above the mantle and thinks "hmmm.. that should sell for a great deal, and that ruby in the hilt should add a bit more. And I can buy land at 10gp an acre... sold!" With that amount of gold (2,000 for sword, 300 for the ruby x 80%) the crofter can acquire 184 acres. Or he can acquire 100 acres and hire someone to help run it.

    So, I agree with Cebrion that there is not magical saturation in GH. I will say that the entire Royal Guard of Keoland probably all has +1 or better swords. I do not think that it affects the setting or even the play nearly as much as some apparently do.

    I do like the leveling of NPC's. I have added more to this system for my own use, but I will add a new thread.
    [/quote]
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    Wed Dec 27, 2006 3:54 am  

    Cebrion wrote:

    As to authors, I wouldn't point to Carl Sargent either. Each of the writers has contributed to the overall picture of things that we now have. Sometimes things gel; sometimes they donít so well. Regardless of who wrote what, there will nearly always be something you like, and something you don't like.


    I don't wish to give the impression I'm bashing on Carl Sargent. I just think that he was the focal point of a major paradigm shift in GH 'fantasy level'.

    I agree that every author has good and bad points. Its not like I whole heartedly adopt everything EGG wrote in his TSR days, much less afterwards. But then, that's one of the things EGG wholeheartedly espoused back in the day, too. Greyhawk is the DM's campaign, not the company's once they start running it.
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    Wed Dec 27, 2006 9:54 am  

    Piffle.

    Break out your copy of Temple of Elemental Evil and check the amount of magic in that. It has not one, not two, but three rods of smiting. I've run it three times, and each time there has been enough magical loot to equip not merely the PCs with arms and armor, but enough surplus in case they decide to free and employ every 0-level git held prisoner, along with the few higher level NPCs available.
    Or crack open your copy of Secret of Bone Hill with the ring of air elemental command that just needs to be activated.
    Pick up Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth and claim an artifact. (You'll hardly notice the paranoia.)

    What has changed?
    The lack of any acknowledged trade in this sheer mass of loot. My old campaigns always ran up the lists of junk, surplus, and random irrelevant trinkets that the PCs would accumulate and constantly forget to use. Potions and scrolls in the dozens, errant wands, and other random items, gathering dust in bags of holding and the like. That is changed in 3.5 to PCs selling that stuff and getting half the value in things like wands of cure light wounds that they expect to use with casual abandon during adventures, plus a few permanent items more appropriate to their class every now and again. Hardly a game destroying concept, and definitely not something a DM needs to fear. If anything, it provides a chance for the DM to go for some variety in treasure, placing more unique items he wants the PCs to be able to use, or covering for a missing "iconic role" type with magic.
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    Wed Dec 27, 2006 12:12 pm  

    Not quite sure what you are objecting to. Its well known that the published adventures are rather Monty Haul in nature and don't follow the advice given in the DMG about campaign management of magic. But the discussion isn't about how much magic the PCs have, really. After all, they are going to out of the way places that are by definition outside the bounds of normal society.

    I am specifically referring to the changes in the amount of high powered 'stuff' in the foreground. But even looking just at magical items and the like shows a definite upward trend. Take for example the village of Diamond Lake. It has some 70+ magical items in the possession of various villagers. That's not counting potions, scrolls, wands, and other consumables.

    Added: If that's the kind of power and equipment that random villagers in a minor community have, then what kind of stuff do the actually important people in the world have? The knights and lords who govern such places?
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    Wed Dec 27, 2006 2:27 pm  

    Why is that a problem?
    Are these 1st level NPC commoners with magic items? Or are they medium level NPCs with various trinkets? What is the overall value of what these NPCs have that makes knowing they have all those items a problem?
    Taking your comment from the other thread and breaking out my copy of The Secret of Bone Hill, the 315 person village of Restenford includes:
    24 Fighters 7, 5, 4, 3, 2 x11, 1 x9
    15 Cleric 6, 4, 3 x2, 2, 1 x10
    2 Fighter/Clerics 2/1, 1/1
    1 Fighter/Magic User 1/1
    3 Druids 7, 3, 1
    1 Thief 2
    10 Magic Users 9, 4, 3 x3, 2 x4, 1
    2 Illusionists 3, 2

    That is 58 NPCs with PC levels out of 315 inhabitants, ranging from 1st to 9th level. Only 5 are over 5th level, so they'd be in a bit of trouble if Diamond Lake attacked, but they've still got some hefty magical action going on, with 13 arcane casters and 20 divine casters.

    As for magic:
    Arms 15
    Armor 10
    Other 22
    Strangely, none of them have potions or scrolls.
    A bit light compared to Diamond Lake, but then one of those items is a mace of disruption, and another is a ring of djinni summoning.

    So overall no, I don't see this massive explosion in magic that people are saying exists. There's a bit more, but that is mostly due to the concept that PCs are supposed to burn through 200-500 gp of consumables per level per level, so consumables are a bit more common as treasure. Other than that, I think people just overlooked a lot of the raw loot available because the majority of those NPCs were never relevant as more than casual encounters if someone insisted on role-playing every night in the bar, and every shopping trip for ordinary gear.
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    Wed Dec 27, 2006 3:41 pm  

    ***Thanks for the quote reference DMPrata!!!***

    Sam: Yes, Restenford in particular is freakishly overpopulated with classed npc's. Even pre-GH Wars Elredd, a town known for having lots of adventurers around, wouldn't come close to Restenfoprd's percentage of classed npc's.

    I think the greater part of the npc level thing has nothing to do with pc classes at all, but with the npc classes. A 5th level Expert Sage is more skilled in battle than a trained soldier (warrior 1, or even fighter 1), as is the 5th level Expert Cobbler. Beware the decrepit sage's Walking Stick of @$$-WHOOPIN', or the Cobbler's Tacking Hammer of DOOM!!! And you better be of unthinkably high level (at least 6th!) before you consider messing with the local bartender and the nail-studded club he keeps under the counter! Happy

    Well, the reason for this is the skills system of course, but itís not really the skills system that is flawed, itís the npc classes. As you need more levels to have a higher Craft skill, or Knowledge skill, or Profession skill, or any number of other skills for tradesmen and other commoners, you automatically also add, even if only slightly, BAB and hit points. Forget the number of 1st-3rd level pc classed individuals in town- fear the trade guilds!!! Wink

    The commoner npc classes would benefit from having the hit points gained per level dropped down to d2, or even just 1 hp gained per level, with a base starting amount of 3 or 4 given(whatever the average person with no level would start with). The BAB would use the Wizard chart as usual for classes that have little or nothing to do with fighting. This would give rise to the 10th level Master Craftsman with Elite stats maybe having 26 hit points, a +5 BAB, but also with feats for Skill Focuses, and accessibility to high Skill ranks. Even with this hamstringing of the commoner classes, a really skilled tradesman is something not to mess with if you are a low level punk, but a gang of thieves or raiding humanoids will still be a real threat to them.

    One thing I notice about newer games is the lack of item destruction. Nobody talks about it. Maybe people don't use it because there is no convenient chart (people do like their charts!) to roll on for all of a pc's gear when they fail that saving throw against the black dragonís acid breath or whatever. The older modules had lots of treasure, but holy crap did that stuff disappear when you failed a save, giving rise the phrase (at least in my campaign) of "All your items are GONE!!!" ToEE had lots of treasure, and the Nodes were chock full of it if you had the protections to wander there and gut them, but probably a full ľ of the treasure found in ToEE by my players went *POOF!* due to failed saves and the dreaded item saving throw chart. Still, they emerged well equipped.


    Last edited by Cebrion on Wed Dec 27, 2006 3:57 pm; edited 2 times in total
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    Wed Dec 27, 2006 3:42 pm  

    Thank you very much for the very interesting-and very gratifying-responses to this thread. I find myself strongly agreeing with Cebrion, although Vomaerin and Anced_Math both make very good points. Even if Gygax himself did not follow his own advice in the DMG when he wrote modules, the advice is there nonetheless, and it very strongly affected my view of Greyhawk.

    I intensely dislike the "magical saturation" as Cebrion pointed out, the great increase in the number of NPCs who have levels and magic items as pointed out by Vomaerin, and Anced_Math's describing how magic is both more necessary and more prevalent in 3E. I do not like any of these trends.

    Anced_Math, perhaps I should say that what I dislike about the prevalence of magical swords is the principle of the thing; the supernatural is part of legend and lore, and races like giants or centaurs might interact with the humans and elves of some realms, but they are not a regular part of everyday life. You are, of course, more than welcome to run your own games as you see fit, but I must say that I prefer the lower-level, fewer-magic-item style that Cebrion seems to favor.

    Dealing with creatures like perytons can often be handled by oil of sharpness or impact, which temporarily enchants non-magical weapons. I think potions and oils are rather more common than other magical items because they are inexpensive to make in both time and effort, compared to other items like scrolls, wands or permanent items, enough so that wizards and priests can sell these things to adventurers and raise extra money. That doesn't mean they come cheap, though.
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