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Moritz
06-08-2009, 05:07 PM
Does anyone have a particular NORMAL item that they disallow in their game?

Mine would be "Bladed Gauntlets". With the right feats and strength or dex, this weapon becomes totally overwhelming in damage dealing.

Baldwin Stonewood
06-08-2009, 05:30 PM
I really can't think of a Normal type item that I do not permit. Especially, if its in a core book.

In playing DnD, I will not permit one Class - A Duskblade as I feel its unbalanced. But I can not think of a Normal item or weapon that I would not permit.

templeorder
06-08-2009, 07:50 PM
Nope. There's items i make ridiculous to get due to cost or crafting requirements.. but if a PC wants something, never forget it fair game for their enemies as well. Basically my PC's know if they crack their characters out with ridiculous class, power and item combo's.... they will face even worse from me as a lesson - not because i want to beat them down, but because its fair... and just because you can, does not mean you should :)

Aidan
06-08-2009, 08:07 PM
I disallow gnomes. They're a controlled substance in my world. *nod*

Baldwin Stonewood
06-08-2009, 08:16 PM
I disallow gnomes. They're a controlled substance in my world. *nod*

I have a player in my game that would agree with you. Only good gnome is a dead one.

Stabbity
06-08-2009, 09:07 PM
I really can't think of a Normal type item that I do not permit. Especially, if its in a core book.

In playing DnD, I will not permit one Class - A Duskblade as I feel its unbalanced. But I can not think of a Normal item or weapon that I would not permit.


bah, its only unbalanced because i rock at min/maxing:cool:

Arch Lich Thoth-Amon
06-08-2009, 09:12 PM
I was DM'ing a game a year and a half ago where a player said he had a 10 foot unfolding thieves lock picking tool of some sort. I don't recall exactly, except it was actually in the rulebook(3.5E). Anyone know what i am talking about? :confused:

Well, anyway, i didn't allow it in my game. I figured, if it was going to break the rules of common sense and physics, it better be magical... and it wasn't.

Good thread, Moritz. http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/images/icons/icon14.gif

Stabbity
06-08-2009, 09:19 PM
unfolding no clue

10 foot great ax?

Baldwin Stonewood
06-08-2009, 09:44 PM
I was DM'ing a game a year and a half ago where a player said he had a 10 foot unfolding thieves lock picking tool of some sort. I don't recall exactly, except it was actually in the rulebook(3.5E). Anyone know what i am talking about? :confused:

Well, anyway, i didn't allow it in my game. I figured, if it was going to break the rules of common sense and physics, it better be magical... and it wasn't.

Good thread, Moritz. http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/images/icons/icon14.gif

That piece of thieving equipment looks familiar to me for some reason. Sounds like something in the Arms and Equipment or Complete Scoundrel book but couldn't find anything in either book. I only did a quick look though.

Arch Lich Thoth-Amon
06-08-2009, 09:49 PM
That piece of thieving equipment looks familiar to me for some reason. Sounds like something in the Arms and Equipment or Complete Scoundrel book but couldn't find anything in either book. I only did a quick look though.
Those were the first two books to came to mind for me too.

Between us(our players), we had everything every released in 3.5E. It's in one of the books, i just cant recall which.

Baldwin Stonewood
06-08-2009, 09:53 PM
Those were the first two books to came to mind for me too.

Between us(our players), we had everything every released in 3.5E. It's in one of the books, i just cant recall which.

Its probably going to drive me nuts until I find it now. Thanks :lol:
--- Merged from Double Post ---
Thieves' tools, longspoon. Complete Adventurer, pg 123.

modified tools that are mounted on a long, thin handle, enabling the user to reach from 5 feet away.

Windstar
06-09-2009, 06:53 AM
Nope. There's items i make ridiculous to get due to cost or crafting requirements.. but if a PC wants something, never forget it fair game for their enemies as well. Basically my PC's know if they crack their characters out with ridiculous class, power and item combo's.... they will face even worse from me as a lesson - not because i want to beat them down, but because its fair... and just because you can, does not mean you should :)

For me temple hit the nail squarely on the head. Balance can be maintained, I don't think I have ever disallowed a normal item, there were a few homebrew magic items, tho they whee madefollwing the steps in the DMG, that I didn't allow only because I was not there when they did the brewing.

What is wrong with Gnomes? I even allw Kender, when in Dragonlance.

Malruhn
06-09-2009, 08:02 PM
I did it - I broke the cardinal D&D rule.

No 10' poles... unless you are doing NOTHING but outside... and then it was touch and go.

Yeah - I made the rule.

I once went out and BOUGHT a 1 1/4" diameter, 10' dowel. When a person wanted a 10' pole, I made the player hang on to the dowel all evening - even for doing stuff like going to the fridge and getting a soda or going to the head.

My players quickly agreed.

A 6' pole is MUCH better!! And you can fashion it like Merlin's staff!

Baldwin Stonewood
06-09-2009, 08:34 PM
I did it - I broke the cardinal D&D rule.

No 10' poles... unless you are doing NOTHING but outside... and then it was touch and go.

Yeah - I made the rule.

I once went out and BOUGHT a 1 1/4" diameter, 10' dowel. When a person wanted a 10' pole, I made the player hang on to the dowel all evening - even for doing stuff like going to the fridge and getting a soda or going to the head.

My players quickly agreed.

A 6' pole is MUCH better!! And you can fashion it like Merlin's staff!

As a player, I could not imagine carrying around a 10' pole. Probably handy during a calvary charge though.

As a DM, I dream about a player WANTING to carry a 10' pole. Oh, the fun I would have.

emblasochist
06-09-2009, 09:37 PM
As a player, I could not imagine carrying around a 10' pole. Probably handy during a calvary charge though.

As a DM, I dream about a player WANTING to carry a 10' pole. Oh, the fun I would have.

Isn't that really a loaded gun there? In the campaign I hope I start this Friday, there will be nothing that is any published product for 4th ed that I will disallow. Sure, if a player wants to use a 10 foot pole, they're in for some troubles later on in the campaign since a lot of it is inside a massive network of caves, but if they want a 10 foot pole, they can buy one. Or it could be a magic item, a 1 foot pole that extends to 10 feet, say, or something like that.

I just feel that unless a player manages to make something no longer fun for the group, anything they can come up with is fair game. They can test their mettle in overcoming the challenges I put in store for them and if they can beat my campaign by a way I didn't think of, well, good on 'em, as long as they don't completely subvert the plot of the campaign I built, because after all, if I put in about 100 hours on a campaign, I don't want it to end successfully after one night.

Cardboard Tube Knight
06-09-2009, 09:58 PM
I only disallow items if the campaign setting doesn't call for them to be used, like if there is something that couldn't be in that setting.

nijineko
06-14-2009, 01:20 AM
nah, i allow most anything. i can always find a way to cut it down to size, if something starts getting abusive.

Moritz
06-14-2009, 07:29 PM
What about weapons/armor/stuff from the Oriental Adventures? Or what ever 3.x to 4.x calls it.

emblasochist
06-14-2009, 08:36 PM
What about weapons/armor/stuff from the Oriental Adventures? Or what ever 3.x to 4.x calls it.

If my players are willing to convert it to the system that we are playing, I'll allow it, assuming that he/she and I discuss any concerns I have over the balance of the item.

Cardboard Tube Knight
06-14-2009, 08:54 PM
What about the Ferron stuff or whatever, its broken badly, but I guess enemies could have it.

And the Healing belt is slightly broken

emblasochist
06-14-2009, 09:19 PM
What about the Ferron stuff or whatever, its broken badly, but I guess enemies could have it.

And the Healing belt is slightly broken

As a rule of thumb, I don't let my PCs loot a corpse because my PCs are the packrat types that will loot EVERYTHING, and it can degrade from the treasures I planned. However, if something is in the edition we are playing and it is broken, I will sit down with the group before the next game starts and say either you gotta let me tone down this item, or I gotta beef up the enemies you fight. Your choice. However, I believe that once you get into the epic tier, broken items are more balanced because the level 30+ monsters are real *****es, especially the gods/deamon princes.

DM_Running_Farland_3.5
06-14-2009, 09:38 PM
I don't let my players use shields. They never equip them and besides, I think they are silly. They also cannot have squirrel hide armor.

emblasochist
06-14-2009, 09:57 PM
I don't let my players use shields. They never equip them and besides, I think they are silly. They also cannot have squirrel hide armor.

See, I come from the era of saying yes they can try anything they want within reason. So if they want squirrel hide armor, it'll act like cloth, but be a fur coat with maybe one normal cold resistance.

Cardboard Tube Knight
06-14-2009, 10:03 PM
As a rule of thumb, I don't let my PCs loot a corpse because my PCs are the packrat types that will loot EVERYTHING, and it can degrade from the treasures I planned. However, if something is in the edition we are playing and it is broken, I will sit down with the group before the next game starts and say either you gotta let me tone down this item, or I gotta beef up the enemies you fight. Your choice. However, I believe that once you get into the epic tier, broken items are more balanced because the level 30+ monsters are real *****es, especially the gods/deamon princes.

We used to loot all of the bodies and then sell it in town. Most of it was never worth keeping and if they aren't carrying too much, then it shouldn't be an issue.

I mean if they loot, how many fullplates can they really carry?


I don't let my players use shields. They never equip them and besides, I think they are silly. They also cannot have squirrel hide armor.

I used to always have my shield up, I was at like 20 AC because of it.

emblasochist
06-14-2009, 10:11 PM
We used to loot all of the bodies and then sell it in town. Most of it was never worth keeping and if they aren't carrying too much, then it shouldn't be an issue.

I mean if they loot, how many fullplates can they really carry?



I used to always have my shield up, I was at like 20 AC because of it.

My players tend to be fully encumbered from the garbage they pick up that is of no use. Besides, the first thing they could have looted was clubs and clothes from a gang of 29 human rabble. They opted not to add almost 90 pounds of encumbrance for copper per item... Now, if the mob drops something story related, or uses something that is magical that they could disenchant or use, that's a different story. But my players pick up garbage thinking they can find a use for it and decide not to bother looting the crap mobs drop currently. When the mobs drop nothing, there'll be no point to looting anyway. Treasure will be in the dungeon for a reason.

Cardboard Tube Knight
06-14-2009, 10:23 PM
My players tend to be fully encumbered from the garbage they pick up that is of no use. Besides, the first thing they could have looted was clubs and clothes from a gang of 29 human rabble. They opted not to add almost 90 pounds of encumbrance for copper per item... Now, if the mob drops something story related, or uses something that is magical that they could disenchant or use, that's a different story. But my players pick up garbage thinking they can find a use for it and decide not to bother looting the crap mobs drop currently. When the mobs drop nothing, there'll be no point to looting anyway. Treasure will be in the dungeon for a reason.

I tend to just let them if they want, sometimes its not worth carrying it all, but if they want to its their way.

korhal23
06-14-2009, 10:33 PM
The whole looting everything is something I'm glad they've all but done away with in 4E... Items sell for 1/5 of their "value" and most things they'd find wouldn't be worth hardly anything at full price. They take what they want for themselves (usually nothing, as in 4E even if a weapon or armor has special properties when an NPC is wearing it, it may not have that effect for the players and thus reverts to a basic, nigh worthless item) and things of obvious value.

Besides, D&D's economy is inherently flawed. (http://rpgdigest.com/2008/01/31/the-economics-of-the-dd-world/comment-page-1/) Money abounds. Players are swimming in gold by level 5, and look how much it takes to live... mere silver a day, maybe a gold or two if you want to live all fancy like. Players that care to grab all of the "vendor trash" are, frankly, being silly and being unreasonable.

We're playing D&D, not Aftermath! In Aftermath!, you're darn right you're going to grab whatever you can to barter or sell, you'll steal all of someone's food so you can live another few days, if they've got clean water you can really fetch a pretty... well not a pretty penny because there's no money in Aftermath!, only bartering based on needs and wants, in that order, and you'll take every bit of ammo they have that you can carry, possibly even if you don't have a gun that can use it, just because it might be worth something to someone.

In D&D, this behavior (probably taught to players by video games) is, well, out of character and dumb.


Other note... why no shields? That one boggles my mind. Heck, I don't think 4E has shields as being effective enough... they're no different than bracers... just an Arm Slot magic item with a power on it.

Cardboard Tube Knight
06-14-2009, 11:04 PM
The whole looting everything is something I'm glad they've all but done away with in 4E... Items sell for 1/5 of their "value" and most things they'd find wouldn't be worth hardly anything at full price. They take what they want for themselves (usually nothing, as in 4E even if a weapon or armor has special properties when an NPC is wearing it, it may not have that effect for the players and thus reverts to a basic, nigh worthless item) and things of obvious value.

Besides, D&D's economy is inherently flawed. (http://rpgdigest.com/2008/01/31/the-economics-of-the-dd-world/comment-page-1/) Money abounds. Players are swimming in gold by level 5, and look how much it takes to live... mere silver a day, maybe a gold or two if you want to live all fancy like. Players that care to grab all of the "vendor trash" are, frankly, being silly and being unreasonable.

We're playing D&D, not Aftermath! In Aftermath!, you're darn right you're going to grab whatever you can to barter or sell, you'll steal all of someone's food so you can live another few days, if they've got clean water you can really fetch a pretty... well not a pretty penny because there's no money in Aftermath!, only bartering based on needs and wants, in that order, and you'll take every bit of ammo they have that you can carry, possibly even if you don't have a gun that can use it, just because it might be worth something to someone.

In D&D, this behavior (probably taught to players by video games) is, well, out of character and dumb.


Other note... why no shields? That one boggles my mind. Heck, I don't think 4E has shields as being effective enough... they're no different than bracers... just an Arm Slot magic item with a power on it.

We gotta play D&D like its Fall Out 3

korhal23
06-14-2009, 11:10 PM
We gotta play D&D like its Fall Out 3

Apparently.

nijineko
06-15-2009, 01:17 AM
looting and selling the items affects my player's reputation, like so many of their other actions. it also attracts the notice of... all sorts. it sure would be a shame if that 'bad guy's' stuff they looted happened to make its way back into the hands of his/her family after they sell it... especially if the rumors about who did what to whom just happen to get distorted along the way.... and if the family didn't know about the 'bad guy's' other occupation, or decides to cover it up to preserve the individual or family honor. ^^

not to mention the various guilds, organizations, individuals, and governments that might want a cut of the profit. or even to cut themselves into the entire profit, and the characters... out. "strange how that particular group all goes out and a few weeks to months later come back loaded. maybe we should follow them and see where they get it all..."

=D

emblasochist
06-15-2009, 01:42 PM
looting and selling the items affects my player's reputation, like so many of their other actions. it also attracts the notice of... all sorts. it sure would be a shame if that 'bad guy's' stuff they looted happened to make its way back into the hands of his/her family after they sell it... especially if the rumors about who did what to whom just happen to get distorted along the way.... and if the family didn't know about the 'bad guy's' other occupation, or decides to cover it up to preserve the individual or family honor. ^^

not to mention the various guilds, organizations, individuals, and governments that might want a cut of the profit. or even to cut themselves into the entire profit, and the characters... out. "strange how that particular group all goes out and a few weeks to months later come back loaded. maybe we should follow them and see where they get it all..."

=D

My players' reputation would never improve from the garbage they pick up. I had a player pick up a 2 pound wrought iron key ring with a single key on it, that ONLY opened a single door. The door to a jail-cell one of their partymates was holed up in. The door that is now lying on the floor of the jail because they lifted it off its hinges... I'm rather certain that if they could, they'd pick up the door too. And there's nothing special about it; just a standard portcullis-type door...

gajenx
06-15-2009, 03:10 PM
Well for me I do not allow items or things from different campaign settings the game is not in. Otherwise I say it has to be in XXXX book or it is not there, that is items, feats, skill uses, spells and classes.

Mostly the way I have noticed things in the books are they are balanced to their setting but not to any other setting. Like the FR stuff is great in a high magic world and balanced well for it but place the stuff in another place and none of it makes sense balancewise.

Though for the person who disallowed shields I so want to know why really. I used them all the time with my fighters and things to do bull rushes, shield bashing two-weapon combat and things. I just knew they helped me defend as an AC bonus when raised and in the front but would do little to none for sides and back areas of my character.

Baldwin Stonewood
06-15-2009, 05:14 PM
looting and selling the items affects my player's reputation, like so many of their other actions. it also attracts the notice of... all sorts. it sure would be a shame if that 'bad guy's' stuff they looted happened to make its way back into the hands of his/her family after they sell it... especially if the rumors about who did what to whom just happen to get distorted along the way.... and if the family didn't know about the 'bad guy's' other occupation, or decides to cover it up to preserve the individual or family honor. ^^

not to mention the various guilds, organizations, individuals, and governments that might want a cut of the profit. or even to cut themselves into the entire profit, and the characters... out. "strange how that particular group all goes out and a few weeks to months later come back loaded. maybe we should follow them and see where they get it all..."

=D

Although looting in my campaign doesn't influence a reputation, I understand where you are coming from. Guilds, organizations and governments may want a cut of the profit - fencing a a big thing in my current pirate themed game.

DarQuing
06-17-2009, 07:53 PM
I can't think of anything within D&D I'd disallow. If they come up with a homebrew magic item or an item from outside D&D, I'd look it over and then make a judgment, but that's about it.

mnemenoi
06-19-2009, 09:14 AM
Certain era (arquebus) type equipment as well as certain cultural equipment both receive the raised eye in my games. (You want a dwarf with ninja stars and a naginata?) I can occasionally be convinced, but usually not. Not saying that it is not found in the world at large, but Kara-Tur is some distance from the average realms and only so many people visit Lantan.

cplmac
06-19-2009, 10:45 AM
To keep things from getting out of hand, I generally only allow items that can be found in either the PHB or the DMG (and this would be for 2E, since that is the system that I use). The one item that I would not allow, although I have never been asked about getting one yet, is the arquebus. Other than that, if it is in the books, it is fair game. But like has been said previously, if the party can have it, so can their adversaries.

One thing that I do keep tabs on though is the amount of magical items that are in play. I find that if there are too many magical items, it tends to cheapen the appeal of finding them. As my Tsojcanth group has found out, just because it is magical doesn't mean that it is a useful item. Their NPC fighter that they found and took along was killed during a battle with a clay golem because he was wearing boots of dancing. They only worked as such if the party was in melee, so until the one mage was able to start identifying items, they didn't know that these boots were not a good item to be wearing.

As for the looting and selling of the items. I do allow them to do so, but when they sell the stuff, it is at a lot lower price than what it can be bought for. After all, the merchant has to make a living. They had collected up a good bit of stuff (being carried in the wagon that they had, so nobody was having to carry it) and thought that when they got a couple hundred of gold that they were doing good. Nobody had figured out what the regular price of the items would actually be, so they didn't realize that they only got about 1/10th of the "value" of the whole lot.

emblasochist
06-19-2009, 11:00 AM
Certain era (arquebus) type equipment as well as certain cultural equipment both receive the raised eye in my games. (You want a dwarf with ninja stars and a naginata?) I can occasionally be convinced, but usually not. Not saying that it is not found in the world at large, but Kara-Tur is some distance from the average realms and only so many people visit Lantan.

One of the things I have done for my games is told my players to read any source material they want and stat it out for the edition we are playing, which is currently 4th as only one of my group has any of the 2nd or 3.5 editions and we want everyone to have a standard set of options. And since my campaign setting is outside the Mortal Coil on another plane in the cosmos and my PCs all hail from the City of Doors, its not all too unreasonable for anyone with an inkling to make a unique build to do so. If something is inherently flawed with the item that makes it unbalanced against the user my players don't play it, and if its unbalanced against the enemy, I hone it down a bit so it is balanced. My players like the fact that if they can come up with things that the core books don't have and as long it doesn't make the game loose its fun for any of us, including me as the DM, it's ok.

kitsune1842
06-24-2009, 05:29 PM
I generaly go with the idea that if they want it they can have it, and this has gone to a few interesting ideas characters have come up with from time to time (including small vials of alchemist fire attached to the tips of arrows instead of the normal point) but I always reminds them of the thrice used rule.

You use anything 3 times, and the villians have figured out how it works by then.

As for looting, why not? It is normal human drive to take what belongs to the people you jsut killed. That, and it is one of the easy ways to parcle out the rewards like magic items and gold. Of course you have to do it inteligently, your not going to find the shadow steel naginata that someone really wants inside a worg, or on a random goblin...although it could be hidden in the bones of people killed by a tribe of Kobolds you just wiped out.

emblasochist
06-25-2009, 08:06 AM
I generaly go with the idea that if they want it they can have it, and this has gone to a few interesting ideas characters have come up with from time to time (including small vials of alchemist fire attached to the tips of arrows instead of the normal point) but I always reminds them of the thrice used rule.

You use anything 3 times, and the villians have figured out how it works by then.

As for looting, why not? It is normal human drive to take what belongs to the people you jsut killed. That, and it is one of the easy ways to parcle out the rewards like magic items and gold. Of course you have to do it inteligently, your not going to find the shadow steel naginata that someone really wants inside a worg, or on a random goblin...although it could be hidden in the bones of people killed by a tribe of Kobolds you just wiped out.

I don't like the 3 times rule, but if it works for your games, good for you.
Some tricks the party does really break the mold and they shouldn't, in my opinion be penalized for beating my dungeons and traps and encounters that I hadn't thought of, especially since I try to build in like 4 or 5 alternatives to most everything.

As for looting, my PCs haven't found any use for the garbage they pick up as it is, and since I enforce encumbrance, it tends to work out. Besides that, nothing they've fought yet had anything of note equipped or otherwise on their corpse. They haven't been told that they cannot loot the corpses of their foes in all honesty because they haven't tried in the first.

Dytrrnikl
06-26-2009, 11:16 AM
Mighty Bows. There are probably others, but the only truly mighty bow that comes to mind is Odysseus' bow. Seems to me that a bow requiring great strength should be about as common as a Vorpal Sword or Holy Avenger...not very!!

Lucian-Sunaka
06-26-2009, 12:15 PM
That depends entirely on your campaign Dytrrnikl. In my campaigns, nearly anybody (including npc's) that uses strength has at least 16 at base, before race, equipment, and level increases.

Some campaigns just have a higher balance of power than others.

emblasochist
06-26-2009, 12:18 PM
That depends entirely on your campaign Dytrrnikl. In my campaigns, nearly anybody (including npc's) that uses strength has at least 16 at base, before race, equipment, and level increases.

Some campaigns just have a higher balance of power than others.

Or you can just plain play a campaign setting where that kind of stuff is commonplace and its necessary.

CobraKai
06-26-2009, 02:05 PM
I don't like the 3 times rule, but if it works for your games, good for you.
Some tricks the party does really break the mold and they shouldn't, in my opinion be penalized for beating my dungeons and traps and encounters that I hadn't thought of, especially since I try to build in like 4 or 5 alternatives to most everything.

As for looting, my PCs haven't found any use for the garbage they pick up as it is, and since I enforce encumbrance, it tends to work out. Besides that, nothing they've fought yet had anything of note equipped or otherwise on their corpse. They haven't been told that they cannot loot the corpses of their foes in all honesty because they haven't tried in the first.
I agree with you on this I had a DM that would get infuriated when you thwarted a trap or plan he had. Then he'd come up with some unreal monster or trap to get back at you for thwarting his plans.

kitsune1842
06-26-2009, 11:05 PM
I don't like the 3 times rule, but if it works for your games, good for you.
Some tricks the party does really break the mold and they shouldn't, in my opinion be penalized for beating my dungeons and traps and encounters that I hadn't thought of, especially since I try to build in like 4 or 5 alternatives to most everything.


Thing is, I never used the rule as a penelty. I like when players come up with creative or interesting ways to do things. I used it entierly to keep those ideas that could get game breaking from making it too easy on the characters. I have always hated the idea that any game was the GM vs the players, with the exception of Paranoia, because that is no fun.

TheYeti1775
06-30-2009, 02:03 PM
My players' reputation would never improve from the garbage they pick up. I had a player pick up a 2 pound wrought iron key ring with a single key on it, that ONLY opened a single door. The door to a jail-cell one of their partymates was holed up in. The door that is now lying on the floor of the jail because they lifted it off its hinges... I'm rather certain that if they could, they'd pick up the door too. And there's nothing special about it; just a standard portcullis-type door...

:laugh:
Because my group did loot a portcullis door.

We had just took over a cave complex and needed a new door. So when the mansion burnt down where we encountered the some enemies, we kind of looked at each other and took the portcullis door to the main gate. :eek:

Dytrrnikl
06-30-2009, 06:20 PM
Lucian-Sunaka: That depends entirely on your campaign Dytrrnikl...

Emblasochist: Or you can just plain play a campaign setting where that kind of stuff is commonplace and its necessary.

Admittedly, I run fairly gritty games in which mundane things like mighty bows are exceptional items to be treasured; where magic and psionics are present, but practitioners are either feared and respected. I adjusted the spell level format a long time ago, so that 7th, 8th, and 9th level spells weren't attainable until reaching 21st, 24th, and 27th level respectively. Sorry for moving off topic...now back to your regularly scheduled forum...

I'm also not a big fan of the alchemical whats-it and doo-dads introduced in the 3E PHB. They're not very common place if they can be found at all. If they can be found, they have a cost of somewhere like 10x or 20x the listed book value. This induced one or two players to spend skill points in alchemy so that they could make some of those items.