View Full Version : Magical Weapons, Armor, Misc.. economy

06-14-2011, 10:34 AM
Hey all,
I was wondering what the norm is on magical items in the 3.5 edition realm. I know it varies depending on the campaign but I'm just looking for a base to work off of. I've been advised that I may be a little light on giving out magical items. I was told by one of my players that a 5th level toon should have a minimum of two magical items. Also by another that they should be able to walk into a weapon merchants and find magical items to buy. Now.. I'm new to the 3.5 edition and I'm trying to keep an open mind. Guess I'm abit old school and even as a player never really thought that I would be able to walk into a shop and find a magical weapon there.. not saying there isn't a chance just not a good one. Once again, I'm looking for some opinions. Thanks in advance.

06-14-2011, 02:36 PM
The main thing you need to be sure of is what kind of campaign do you want to be running, magic rich/high fantasy or magic poor. There's nothing wrong with either kind and both have their place. The main thing you have to be sure of is how comfortable you are with each type of campaign.

I prefer to run high magic campaigns, but that's just me. I believe the DMG has guidelines for the amount of magic to give out per level, but I could be wrong. If they are in the DMG, that would be the average amount, neither high nor low, so you could adjust it to what you prefer.

06-14-2011, 08:54 PM
In every every game, every world, every edition, and every system I've played - they tell me I'm too stingy. So, at least players haven't changed that much.

I do think that 3.0 and 3.5 more so do have a greater dependence on the magic item escalation as players get toward higher levels. There are guidelines in the DMG for wealth per level. I do also believe that players should not be able to purchase an item worth more than 49% of their total wealth per level. Magic item availability does depend on the world make. Of course availability also depends on where they are (such as the gp limit of the town or city they are in). I generally give them a % to find any given item based on the area they are in, their level, and how common the item. It might be easy to find a +1 long sword, but don't think you are going to run down to Ye Olde Magic Shop to purchase a large keen +3 silvered Ninjato of harmonic balance! That leads to finding a wizard/craftsman who is willing to make the item for them. That takes time, money up front, sometimes favors, etc.

I carefully place items they will find, never just a random roll. I also like to use items that scale in power as the character does, or items that are intelligent with a high ego. That way, players can't just run out and sell them to the highest bidder.

06-14-2011, 09:33 PM
The way I have set up my campaign world, I stick pretty closely to the GP value per level in the DMG/Core Rulebook.

I have LOTS of magic salesmen (and women!) - but most sell snake-oil - useless crap that does nothing at best (and is bad for you in the worst cases). There are lots of shysters looking to make a quick copper by selling things like rings of feather falling that only work once (if that), and such. What I have done, that may be different, is that I have LOTS of one-shot magical items available... loads of potions and such, and one-shot charms and talismans that may or may not perform as advertised.

You won't find a real, "Ye Olde Majick Shoppe" in my world - there won't be any uber-cool large keen +3 silvered Ninjatos for sale, and not only that, when you come in with one, they will probably either not want to buy it, but they'll probably barter for the sale (I'll take the ninjato, you get 475 healing potions, no more than 12 per month, until the contract is complete). Folks don't have thousands of gold pieces available to buy stuff like that!

There ARE smiths and artificers that can and will make stuff to order, but you won't get a "+1 longsword" - you'll get "Malruhn's orc-fang" and such.

BUT - this is MY campaign. Yours may well be different.

06-15-2011, 01:55 PM
As a player, should I be concerned with not having ample gear when it comes time to battle with mobs out of the Monster Manuals. I would suspect that based on the general rules, if you have a party at level 10 fighting a monster with a CR of 10, the MM likely figures that the party of 4 is actually geared accordingly. If the average of gear at level 1 is +0 and the average gear at level 20 is +5, then I would think some sort of semi-linear progression is somewhat necessary if for nothing else than to keep up with Monster CR progression. I know that using the 0-5 stat bonuses can oversimplify it because there are many other stats that are used but I think that it helps illustrate my basic point.

06-18-2011, 01:02 AM
This is also where PC Intelligence (as well as Player metagaming Intelligence) comes into play.

I have dragons in my campaign world. If you ask the right people, they can tell you where one has its lair. You may go there if you wish.

At first level, you will be a tasty snack in less than a full round. At 20th, odds are you will be richer.

The choices are for the Players to make. Kinda like real life... there's a big building - it's your choice to jump off. Are you prepared or not?

06-18-2011, 01:17 AM
most people follow something close to the wealth per level for overall equipment value, and no single item greater than x% of said wealth. usually 50% or thereabouts. ultimately it is your decision. when starting a higher level, i let people pick whatever equipment they can afford, even if they blow it all on a single item. they usually find themselves of limited options when the shiny hammer they bought has to deal with screws, nuts, torque wrenches, key holes, and numerous other non-nail issues. i have yet to fail to figure out an appropriate balance for everyone, the equipment, and the encounters.

06-28-2011, 04:42 AM
This is also where PC Intelligence (as well as Player metagaming Intelligence) comes into play.

I have dragons in my campaign world. If you ask the right people, they can tell you where one has its lair. You may go there if you wish.

At first level, you will be a tasty snack in less than a full round. At 20th, odds are you will be richer.

The choices are for the Players to make. Kinda like real life... there's a big building - it's your choice to jump off. Are you prepared or not?

Deep metaphor- to jump off a building or not? Strong argument in there somewhere about some vague, non specific idea. Also thanks for clarifying that low level characters will not fare as well against dragins as high level ones- that really clears things up!

06-29-2011, 08:30 AM
So coming from the player's perspective, it's perfectly acceptable to not have a (somewhat) linear progression of gear as we level up? If the guidelines set forth in the Monster Manuals award treasure and loot; usually treasure, what's the point if not to buy gear to upgrade? I suppose not every PC is motivated by adventuring and seeing the world, but I have no reason to hold onto money as it only weighs me down. I'd gladly trade that gold for a nice shiny new weapon, armor, ring, etc...

07-01-2011, 08:48 PM
@ dougefersheezy
I would hope that you have a little faith in your DM. Most DM's are not an adversary to the player, but a facilitator of fun for all. They craft their world and will make sure you get what you need at the appropriate time. Not all worlds are magic heavy, and this could be impacting your vision. I have played in worlds where potions and minor magics were common, but there was a great empty divide finally capped by artifacts. In such worlds building armies and empires was the best use of gold. Perhaps if you gave us a little more info on your particular plight, we could better help.

07-02-2011, 10:48 AM
@ rabkala
I do have the utmost confidence in my DM. We tend to spend a 70 / 30 split between roleplaying and battles as it is so it's not like gear is my main focus. I have a ton of fun with the roleplaying portion and honestly, I don't have much experience in the combat portions yet. This is my second character in the setting and I've only been in one battle so far. Since I'm just starting out at 5th level, I don't really have anything for gear. I did have some trouble with being effective and it's likely attributed more to me having terrible rolls more than anything else.

I suppose I was just more concerned with the progression. I can already see that my character and another are behind a bit with the gear (the price to pay for starting a new character. I'm okay with that), but I also worry that if nothing is available to purchase, what would the point be for having money or treasure? My character is a free spirit and has no desire for wealth or power. His main motivation for gear would be to be better at surviving so he can see more of the world.

When I was making posts above, I really wasn't concerned with MY character since he's only been around for one play session. I really wanted to check in with you guys to see what you think from the players perspective on gear progression. I have all the confidence in the world that my DM would make it work no matter what the gear is.

07-02-2011, 06:35 PM
I think many people would like Magic to be something very significant and unique. Magical items lose their quality of awe and reverence in many high magic worlds. They become almost mundane with their casual workaday usage, just another item in a long string of meaningless implements.

People value items more if they are hard won and rare. Many of the games I have played in became less fun for me because they seemed too free and Monty Hall like. Characters strike one as being just the sum of all their magical items.

If the Dm is not being careful, encounters could get out of hand due to things like damage reduction and creature powers that are too much to overcome without magic. In such cases, I wouldn't think it out of line to bring it to the Dm's attention. Most of the games I run tend to be high magic due to player wishes. In those games a fifth level character would have a few minor wondrous items and probably a couple +1 items by that point. If the players are particularly good and successful, maybe a bit more...