Comments on: The Next D&D Homebrew: Ending Magic Item Dependency http://www.neuroglyphgames.com/the-next-dnd-homebrew-magic-item-dependency A D&D 4e Blog Dedicated to Dungeonmasters & Players Thu, 21 Aug 2014 02:51:25 -0400 http://wordpress.org/?v=2.8.4 hourly 1 By: Editor-in-Chief http://www.neuroglyphgames.com/the-next-dnd-homebrew-magic-item-dependency/comment-page-1#comment-40035 Editor-in-Chief Tue, 13 Mar 2012 19:36:43 +0000 http://www.neuroglyphgames.com/?p=6826#comment-40035 @Dave W - I had considered the monster modification solution, but as a DM, I already have enough on plate preparing adventures and organizing games without having to fix each and every monster I want to use - although admittedly, I do make alot of my own monsters and reskinned versions anyways. But I figured the Inherent Bonus solution (or The Hero Bonus, if you use the quick method I proposed) was an easy one for the characters to handle on their end, and meant that if I did use a stock monster from MM3 or later books, I would not have to tweak all it's attacks and defenses. @Alphastream - I never noticed that the Inherent Bonuses were in DMG2 - thanks for pointing that out! I was thinking they were mainly used in DSCS but it's good to know that they made them part of the mainstream ruleset. @Dave W – I had considered the monster modification solution, but as a DM, I already have enough on plate preparing adventures and organizing games without having to fix each and every monster I want to use – although admittedly, I do make alot of my own monsters and reskinned versions anyways. But I figured the Inherent Bonus solution (or The Hero Bonus, if you use the quick method I proposed) was an easy one for the characters to handle on their end, and meant that if I did use a stock monster from MM3 or later books, I would not have to tweak all it’s attacks and defenses.

@Alphastream – I never noticed that the Inherent Bonuses were in DMG2 – thanks for pointing that out! I was thinking they were mainly used in DSCS but it’s good to know that they made them part of the mainstream ruleset.

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By: Alphastream http://www.neuroglyphgames.com/the-next-dnd-homebrew-magic-item-dependency/comment-page-1#comment-40034 Alphastream Tue, 13 Mar 2012 19:28:23 +0000 http://www.neuroglyphgames.com/?p=6826#comment-40034 Inherent Bonuses first appear in the DMG2 (p.138, A Reward-Based Game), should some readers have that book but not (shame) own the DSCS. In my own games I find that the balance I want is really simply achieved by: - Inherent Bonuses - Magic items are extremely rare (once per 5 levels or so) and primarily utilities that are interesting or shore up a PCs' areas rather than providing stacking or character-build options. - Use Dark Sun defenses (about 2 lower than normal) - Use Dark Sun level damage for monsters (a bit above MM3 levels, adjust to taste) - Keep encounters at no more than party level +2 unless your group is particularly strong. We use a fairly similar system with the <a href="http://www.baldmangames.com/aoamain/" rel="nofollow">Ashes of Athas organized play campaign</a>. We use inherent bonuses, reward very little magic and have no wish lists, we limit campaign material (including Dragon), and as a result the combats are very challenging at party level +2. We have basically found we can't ever use level+3 and we routinely TPK our first playtest tables (though we are getting better at toning things down). It's the reverse of my experience authoring for other mid-heroic organized play. The best part is this is all pretty core. There are no crazy rules to remember, just lowering monster defenses and increasing monster damage. Inherent Bonuses first appear in the DMG2 (p.138, A Reward-Based Game), should some readers have that book but not (shame) own the DSCS. In my own games I find that the balance I want is really simply achieved by:
- Inherent Bonuses
- Magic items are extremely rare (once per 5 levels or so) and primarily utilities that are interesting or shore up a PCs’ areas rather than providing stacking or character-build options.
- Use Dark Sun defenses (about 2 lower than normal)
- Use Dark Sun level damage for monsters (a bit above MM3 levels, adjust to taste)
- Keep encounters at no more than party level +2 unless your group is particularly strong.

We use a fairly similar system with the Ashes of Athas organized play campaign. We use inherent bonuses, reward very little magic and have no wish lists, we limit campaign material (including Dragon), and as a result the combats are very challenging at party level +2. We have basically found we can’t ever use level+3 and we routinely TPK our first playtest tables (though we are getting better at toning things down). It’s the reverse of my experience authoring for other mid-heroic organized play. The best part is this is all pretty core. There are no crazy rules to remember, just lowering monster defenses and increasing monster damage.

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By: Dave http://www.neuroglyphgames.com/the-next-dnd-homebrew-magic-item-dependency/comment-page-1#comment-40033 Dave Tue, 13 Mar 2012 19:13:29 +0000 http://www.neuroglyphgames.com/?p=6826#comment-40033 It's ironic how many blog posts I've seen about this problem in 4e, when 3e also makes assumptions about the magic items a character of a specific level will have. It even says so explicitly in the 3e DMG. The only difference is that in 4e it's easier to figure out what those assumptions are numerically. As a result, we now have nice solutions (like yours) to this problem, but only for 4th edition. =) It’s ironic how many blog posts I’ve seen about this problem in 4e, when 3e also makes assumptions about the magic items a character of a specific level will have. It even says so explicitly in the 3e DMG. The only difference is that in 4e it’s easier to figure out what those assumptions are numerically. As a result, we now have nice solutions (like yours) to this problem, but only for 4th edition. =)

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By: toomanykades http://www.neuroglyphgames.com/the-next-dnd-homebrew-magic-item-dependency/comment-page-1#comment-39981 toomanykades Tue, 13 Mar 2012 09:55:46 +0000 http://www.neuroglyphgames.com/?p=6826#comment-39981 Maybe I haven't read the DMG properly and lets face it I certainly haven't read it cover to cover or maybe I just don't know how to play dnd4E properly but I have never dished out magic items like this when I DM. I didn't even know you needed to. As I read more about older editions I realize my group, with me as DM, is playing some amalgam of all the editions without us even realizing. We just do what makes sense for the story and use the 4E rule books when we need to consult something. I reckon it's up to the DM to make sure the party live or die. If I'm balanced and fair they will get a challenge and if they make bad decisions they will suffer. My group knows they can die and its up to me to keep them alive through monster tactics. Heck some weeks we only have 3 folk at most playing. A leader, and two strikers but I can balance the encounters/skill challenges to be difficult or easy depending on the story. I'd feel a bit removed from the game if all I did was quote from the book when it came to rules. I think a DM needs to be more interactive with their decisions. Being a DM is about building social skills to balance all the wants and desires, fears and phobias of your group and having them enjoy sitting round a table each week for a few hours. If you get them talking about the story points in between weeks, or when you're out of the room, then you've succeeded. Maybe I haven’t read the DMG properly and lets face it I certainly haven’t read it cover to cover or maybe I just don’t know how to play dnd4E properly but I have never dished out magic items like this when I DM.

I didn’t even know you needed to.

As I read more about older editions I realize my group, with me as DM, is playing some amalgam of all the editions without us even realizing. We just do what makes sense for the story and use the 4E rule books when we need to consult something.

I reckon it’s up to the DM to make sure the party live or die. If I’m balanced and fair they will get a challenge and if they make bad decisions they will suffer. My group knows they can die and its up to me to keep them alive through monster tactics. Heck some weeks we only have 3 folk at most playing. A leader, and two strikers but I can balance the encounters/skill challenges to be difficult or easy depending on the story.

I’d feel a bit removed from the game if all I did was quote from the book when it came to rules. I think a DM needs to be more interactive with their decisions.

Being a DM is about building social skills to balance all the wants and desires, fears and phobias of your group and having them enjoy sitting round a table each week for a few hours. If you get them talking about the story points in between weeks, or when you’re out of the room, then you’ve succeeded.

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By: Dave Wainio http://www.neuroglyphgames.com/the-next-dnd-homebrew-magic-item-dependency/comment-page-1#comment-39967 Dave Wainio Tue, 13 Mar 2012 06:20:34 +0000 http://www.neuroglyphgames.com/?p=6826#comment-39967 I haven't crunched the math yet, but it occurs to me that the other way to approach the problem is sinply modify the monsters. The characters don't have to change anything that way. Sure, without a bonus listed to use instead of a magic item, the highest bonus item might look like the best choice. But a reverse chart of a reduction to defences and to hits by monster level could be easily produced. I'm just thinkingthat there is enough to track and calculate on a character sheet anyway so why not hide the system change behind the DM screen so to speak. I haven’t crunched the math yet, but it occurs to me that the other way to approach the problem is sinply modify the monsters. The characters don’t have to change anything that way. Sure, without a bonus listed to use instead of a magic item, the highest bonus item might look like the best choice.

But a reverse chart of a reduction to defences and to hits by monster level could be easily produced. I’m just thinkingthat there is enough to track and calculate on a character sheet anyway so why not hide the system change behind the DM screen so to speak.

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By: Jess http://www.neuroglyphgames.com/the-next-dnd-homebrew-magic-item-dependency/comment-page-1#comment-39964 Jess Tue, 13 Mar 2012 05:57:56 +0000 http://www.neuroglyphgames.com/?p=6826#comment-39964 I think this is a great idea, and is similar to something I've done in my campaigns, though I structured it a bit differently. I completely agree that being tied to magic items holds up the game, and prevents the flexibility in magic items that D&D should have. I've implemented a house rule that allows the ability to upgrade magic items to the next "level", letting the items scale along with the characters should they desire to retain their weapons for aesthetic or thematic reasons. In addition, this gives the game the flexibility to be low magic, with limited access to magic items, or at least at shift in focus from magic items to other things, like rituals and alchemical items. I think this is a great idea, and is similar to something I’ve done in my campaigns, though I structured it a bit differently. I completely agree that being tied to magic items holds up the game, and prevents the flexibility in magic items that D&D should have. I’ve implemented a house rule that allows the ability to upgrade magic items to the next “level”, letting the items scale along with the characters should they desire to retain their weapons for aesthetic or thematic reasons. In addition, this gives the game the flexibility to be low magic, with limited access to magic items, or at least at shift in focus from magic items to other things, like rituals and alchemical items.

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By: Michael http://www.neuroglyphgames.com/the-next-dnd-homebrew-magic-item-dependency/comment-page-1#comment-39957 Michael Tue, 13 Mar 2012 04:27:40 +0000 http://www.neuroglyphgames.com/?p=6826#comment-39957 I remember back in the era of 3.x, when Wizards released their d20 Modern ruleset, that the classes (Fast Hero, Strong Hero, etc) all gave varying levels of defense bonuses. In addition, you simply just got a bonus on damage roles equal to half your level (If I remember correctly). I really liked how there was no BS mechanic for making weapons better or deal extra weird types of damage in a gritty, modern setting and instead the party focused on getting *different* items or a *variety* of weapons and armor. I'm not a huge huge fan of 4e but I think this houserule goes a decent way towards fixing some of the linear-numbers bloat that it represents. Good work. I remember back in the era of 3.x, when Wizards released their d20 Modern ruleset, that the classes (Fast Hero, Strong Hero, etc) all gave varying levels of defense bonuses. In addition, you simply just got a bonus on damage roles equal to half your level (If I remember correctly). I really liked how there was no BS mechanic for making weapons better or deal extra weird types of damage in a gritty, modern setting and instead the party focused on getting *different* items or a *variety* of weapons and armor.

I’m not a huge huge fan of 4e but I think this houserule goes a decent way towards fixing some of the linear-numbers bloat that it represents. Good work.

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