My opinion is magic items were out of control in 3.x so they had to hit people over the head with this development. It's really a no-brainer what they are trying to accomplish which is more character balance over their career. Hopefully this will regulate treasure better economically too.
I've read posts from numerous people who thought that magic items were out of control in 3rd edition. Myself, I don't really understand how it is any different than previous editions. The tables are different but I don't see a change in the game in regards of what characters receive. The only thing I noticed is how they tacked on all of these abilities to weapons and armor. When 3rd edition came out, I found myself missing the way it was in 1st edition, unique potions and scrolls of protection. I prefer armor and swords to be simpler as they are in 1st edition, not so flashy where every item has 1-2 extra abilities. Is this what folks are referring to when they say 3rd edition was out of control? Are people suggesting that magic became more powerful than the characters because of all the choices available in 3rd edition, that I can see.
The only other factor I can see that might make a differance is the slow progression for levels I have in my campaign (much slower like 1st edtion). If anything, one would think that it would create a bigger magic problem because the characters are around a lot longer and have more opportunities to find magic. I always did hate the concept of "My character has this wonderful +1 sword". (A few levels later) "Now I found a +2, so I'll trade, sell, give away, even throw away this useless, lowsy +1 blade of mine." (A few levels later) "Oh wow a +3 sword, hey who wants this +2 backup weapon?" (A few levels later) "Yes, now I have a +4 sword, I'll just sell this old hunk of +3 junk". Anyway, you probably get the idea. I don't really have this problem now but I sure remember having it back in high school. _________________ Eileen of Greyhawk, Prophet of Istus, Messenger of the Gods
Maybe not related to the article, but one of the other ways magic is out of control in 3.x is in magic item creation. Not only is it cheaper to make items, there is zero risk involved. Spending XPs is hardly a risk. In 2e at least you had a success roll that if failed required you to start over again. I can count on my hand how many magic items my players made in 1e/2e, but in 3e once they got to the right feats (especially Craft Wondrous Item) they just made anything they needed rather than wait for the off chance theyd find or buy one (since i am stingy on item trade).
That is one thing 3.x had right was you couldn't craft a magic item more powerful than your level allowed and in most cases you made them at the lowest caster level needed anyhow. I am eager to see how item crafting works in 4e. It could heavily influence my decision to run it (which has already severely taken a hit with the races and classes).
... not so flashy where every item has 1-2 extra abilities. Is this what folks are referring to when they say 3rd edition was out of control? Are people suggesting that magic became more powerful than the characters because of all the choices available in 3rd edition, that I can see.
Yes, this is part of the 3rd Edition problem. Characters that can craft magical arms and armor can make +2 vicious elfbane cold bursting longswords for their fighter friends. The cost is exponential in 3rd Edition. But, cost did not deter players because they'd cash in other items to get the cold they needed to buy or create the precise magic item they want. I learned that some of the problem in 3rd Editions magic items was in the rules for creation. I think they should have been tighter and caster levels should have been higher.
And yes, the strength of some items often out paced the level of characters. It usually unbalanced encounters, because some magic items artificially adjusted character level upward.
I loved Living Greyhawk's system of Open or Closed for magic items (and everything else, too). It really curtailed some abuse.
I've been fortunate in that my players have not gotten it into their heads that they need to make all sorts of magic items in our 3.5e game, but there was no concern whatsoever before when characters had to be at least 9th level or above(levels varied by class and items to be created) to create most magical items. At that point in our 1e/2e game, my players were willing to dabble with magic item creation(rings and wands being the most popular choices).
This new system sounds like it has some merit, but it will only have merit if restrictions are put on the actual manufacture of the itmes. At this point we don't have the whole picture, so it is not worth further comment. _________________ - Moderator/Admin (in some areas)/Member -
Sounds like I dodged another bullet. It didn't even dawn on me (and it should have) that part of the 3rd edition problem was characters being able to liberally create magic items of their own. In our campaign no one has shown an interest in crafting magic items, they simply wait for it in the game. No imposed house rule here, just the style of players I have.
I never really had a problem with magic item creation in my high school days either, instead it was a matter of PCs having to much. DM's styles change and we adapt, eventually you learn how to balance things they way you want. I guess since I have gotten to that point, it made me ask "There's a problem with magic items?" I should have considered what younger difficulties younger groups have. I try and not meddle with my daughter's group unless she comes to me with complaints.
Looking back into it, the creation rules I think are poor. Clearly the cost issue of current items is all goofed up, that was discussed earlier in regards to the paizo contest. Things I hope that WOTC does fix....
1. The cost of making magic items. They addressed this and went for simplicity, everything has a level attached to it and they all cost the same for that level, regardless of what you make. Simpler was good, but a little to generic for me.
2. I'm ok with taking feats to make magic items, but I think that they should be reserved for higher level characters. If you want something made you'd be more apt to go to someone for it at low to mid levels. I would opt for magic armor, swords, and the like to be made by people of level 12 or higher.
3. I think magic items should grow with the character's levels rather than be something you replace as you get more powerful, such as armor and swords. I don't care for the upgrade idea. I know Weapons of Legacy has things like this in it, I just haven't taken the time to read it yet.
4. I like to see some suggestions in 4th edtion which offer ways to avoid PCs stockpiling magic items. I don't use their progression for XP, perhaps when you do use their fast progression, this isn't a problem.
With our slow advancement rate it would be a problem, but we went into it looking for a solution. The whole campaign is very religious oriented so when we find things we don't care to keep or no longer want, we willingly give it to the church. I reward the players with Faith Points in return. They use Faith Points to prevent an untimely death, use them to actually get an answer to a prayer, that sort of thing. Haven't had any game balance issues yet and we have been using the rules for quite awhile. Even without Faith Points, I am blessed with players who would still give their excess magic to the church for nothing in return.
5. Getting back to creation feats, I would like to know exactly what someone goes through to create a magic item, not just the cost, the spell cast, that sort of thing. Perhaps several examples posted in the DMG that actually explains what the wizard did during all of those days it took to create the item in question. This is an area where the fluff is missing.
Hopefully 4th edition will address these issues. I also liked Morts reminder that there was a chance of failure for making magic items back in the day. I guess I never played enough 2nd editon to realize this. I think we were like 5th or 6th level when when 3rd edition came out. _________________ Eileen of Greyhawk, Prophet of Istus, Messenger of the Gods
I never like WoL as the penalties applied as the weapon became more powerful seemed unfair and the specific ceremonies to activate more powerful abilities seemed counter-intuitive.
If you scratch the negative aspects and just have an item that scales with the pc (possibly spontaneously introducing new abilities in combat, then it's a good idea.
WotC did articles on Legacy versions of the weapons from White Plume Mountain which was quite interesting.
I am definitely going to ask my pcs to pick their favourite items for conversion to 4.0, some of which I will upgrade for free in the conversion as a sweetener. I'm goig to persuade them to flog the superfluous ones.
I'm also toying with the idea of giving most potions (and possibly scrolls) a shelf life.
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