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Making magic items more unique

DMH

Master of Mutant Design
Validated User
That is cool. The only thing I find a bit weak is the second deed. Is slaying an entire family worth just one additional point of Inspiration? I would think a bonus to interactions (advantage on Charisma checks) with all dwarves (and others?) that were enemies of the DeVir and possibly entering an alliance with said peoples would be more appropriate.

But overall, that is a very cool artifact.
 

DoctorWildstorm

Shaman of the Earth
Validated User
Things get more interesting when heroes make their own stuff, but D&D has historically been kind of terrible about letting the equivalent of Sigurd forge his own Gram. D&D's more along the lines of "if you can talk the party wizard into making your magic sword for you, otherwise go get a commission job from an NPC." And at that point, the story of how you got your cool thing is really the story of how you got the money to pay for your cool thing: it might still be an interesting story, but it's a step removed from the cool thing itself.
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What about a quest for parts? Monsterhunter style maybe? To make a weapon or whatever with qualities beyond hits good , takes hits, or casts a spell your party member can already cast you need special ingredients.
This makes looting several steps more gross though. And using parts from sentient creatures ...
 

Dagor

Registered User
Validated User
What about a quest for parts? Monsterhunter style maybe? To make a weapon or whatever with qualities beyond hits good , takes hits, or casts a spell your party member can already cast you need special ingredients.
This makes looting several steps more gross though. And using parts from sentient creatures ...
It's also not really terribly interesting in itself. "You must complete these fetch quests three, ere your magic staff you see..." Grinding is grinding whether you have to do it in an MMO or at the table.

Never mind that if there's enough demand for exotic components, some form of market for them would logically seem to be all but bound to spring up in an attempt to make money by meeting it, kind of short-circuiting the whole "quest" bit at least part of the time. ("Hmmm, cockatrice feathers? Why, you're in luck, I just bought a few in surprisingly good condition from some other adventurers just the other day...!") Which isn't something that would particularly bother me -- in fact, I think it could serve as a springboard for adventures just as well as if not better than the tired old "components only count if you've gathered them in person" song and dance number --, but this thread has already been pretty good at demonstrating that tastes will vary.
 

ESkemp

Registered User
Validated User
In my experience, the quest for parts is interesting if the players are themselves the ones defining what parts are potentially viable, because then it's a matter of trophy-hunting or commemorating their struggle. The old classic of making magic armor out of a dead dragon's hide was popular with some players because you have a memento of this great victory that also gives you a mechanical bonus.

So if you had a system where, say, the fighter is capable of forging magic weapons sans wizardly assistance, then you could wind up with said fighter proactively seeking out things he wants to fight, or coming up with magic item ideas based on adventures the rest of the party is on. Not once have I ever seen a fight against a behir without the PCs wanting to take some kind of trophy, and in multiple cases they asked about making lightning-based magic items.

But if the DM's the one providing a predetermined shopping list, then no, that's not going to be as engaging for most groups. (Though some might well enjoy Shopping Challenges. People play other games with fetch quests of their own free will, and sometimes a group just wants a simple and straightforward target mandated by someone else because it's been a long Wednesday and they don't want to think about it too much.)
 

ezekiel

Follower of the Way
Validated User
In my experience, the quest for parts is interesting if the players are themselves the ones defining what parts are potentially viable, because then it's a matter of trophy-hunting or commemorating their struggle. The old classic of making magic armor out of a dead dragon's hide was popular with some players because you have a memento of this great victory that also gives you a mechanical bonus.

So if you had a system where, say, the fighter is capable of forging magic weapons sans wizardly assistance, then you could wind up with said fighter proactively seeking out things he wants to fight, or coming up with magic item ideas based on adventures the rest of the party is on. Not once have I ever seen a fight against a behir without the PCs wanting to take some kind of trophy, and in multiple cases they asked about making lightning-based magic items.

But if the DM's the one providing a predetermined shopping list, then no, that's not going to be as engaging for most groups. (Though some might well enjoy Shopping Challenges. People play other games with fetch quests of their own free will, and sometimes a group just wants a simple and straightforward target mandated by someone else because it's been a long Wednesday and they don't want to think about it too much.)
The balance I try to strike between these is to avoid a rigid list, using a "conceptual" list instead. I gave my players a set of marvelous pigments at level 1...but they were dried out and mostly unusable in that state. (The Wizard identified them by drawing a tiny flower doodle; it became real but was flimsy and not actually a flower, more like an organic pipecleaner-like thing shaped like a flower.) In order to reconstitute the pigments, they needed an appropriately strong solvent; I listed distilled Jinnistani alcohol, water from a spring that had never seen the sun, or the tears of a roc as possible options. (And then, forgetting, I included a spring that had never seen the sun in the very next dungeon. Oops!) My players have largely responded well to this method, though not all methods work for all groups.
 

Matrix Sorcica

Embodied Movie Quote
Validated User
I actually really like this approach, though it does raise some questions for me. For example, imagine someone gets a "Sword of Fire" or something. It's reasonable to allow them to use it to do things like cut through doors (lightsaber), shed light, etc, but an obvious use is to do extra damage to a foe. I guess at some point you need some guidelines on what kinds of things an item can do and how powerful those things are. Maybe it's based on the rarity, like a rare item can do an extra 1d8, while a legendary can do an extra 1d12.

Then I start going down the rabbit hole of generalizing a framework for what items can do and it gets onerous pretty quick.
Luckily, such a framework has already been designed for you.
 

Calypso

Bunny With a Glock
Validated User
What about a quest for parts? Monsterhunter style maybe? To make a weapon or whatever with qualities beyond hits good , takes hits, or casts a spell your party member can already cast you need special ingredients.
This makes looting several steps more gross though. And using parts from sentient creatures ...
My approach to this is to allow characters to gather "interesting bits" from monsters, and then later they can create a formula. They have to justify how a particular ingredient is thematically relevant to the thing they're crafting. So a red dragon scale for a shield of fire resistance? Of course! A red dragon scale for your Frostbrand? Mmmm, no.

This way, they don't have to go on a quest for a specific thing, unless they really want, say, a Cloak of Displacement and don't have a displacer beast hide. They can also sell their ingredients on the market, to supplement their cash. So that displacer beast might not have had any coins, but they can sell its hide for a few gold. Those red dragon scales might get them from a couple hundred to a couple thousand gold, depending on the dragon they came from
 

Calypso

Bunny With a Glock
Validated User
That is cool. The only thing I find a bit weak is the second deed. Is slaying an entire family worth just one additional point of Inspiration? I would think a bonus to interactions (advantage on Charisma checks) with all dwarves (and others?) that were enemies of the DeVir and possibly entering an alliance with said peoples would be more appropriate.

But overall, that is a very cool artifact.
That's fair, I went back and forth on that. I'm not really sure how powerful +1 max Inspiration and +1 inspiration per long rest really will be. It probably isn't as good as the Lucky feat. Maybe I should make it more like that. Or it could even just grant the Lucky feat.
 
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