View Full Version : D&D Design & Development: Magic Item Levels

PnP News Bot
12-03-2007, 06:24 PM

Check out this new article Wizards of the Coast posted recently:

Design & Development: Magic Item Levels (http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/drdd/20071203)

Magic Item Compendium marked the first time levels were given to magic items. See how this concept is being implemented in 4th Edition.

12-03-2007, 06:44 PM
Hmm.. I'm kind of ambivalent about assigning level values to magic items. But, I'm a little hesitant about using level values to determine cost. First and foremost because it seems more arbitrary based on what this article is saying. One designer's idea of how valuable an item's power is could be drastically different than another's. It may not be perfect, but honestly, the method currently used that bases the cost on the individual effects of the item seems like a better method. I hope they have some more guidelines in the 4th edition DMG to help formulate out what an item's "level" is...

12-03-2007, 08:40 PM
I wish I could read the article, but I'm not signing in and giving the devil my email address. :)

But, in previous games, I often would assign levels to magic items of my own design.

Digital Arcanist
12-03-2007, 09:23 PM
I don't agree with assigning levels to an item to determine cost either. Magic items are treated differently in the MIC than they used to be.

A holy weapon in a campaign involving unholy foes would be much more valuable than an anarchic weapon but they have the same levels and the same price.

As far as :fat loots" go I usually just give art, gems, and money with the occasional item that won't unbalance game-play.

This new system they proposed is convoluted.

12-04-2007, 08:55 AM
It mainly comes from my exposure to Neverwinter Nights. In designing the modules and playing in that game, everything was level restricted. So it gave me a lot of field testing of such ideas. And for the most part, it works out game wise.

For example:

In my game, (the) Archon's Sword of Holy Might (Bastard Sword) can be found within the temple of Termador atop Mt Cathateriac. It is a +5 Holy Avenger, Intelligent, +3 Wisdom, and +2 Charisma. It is also level restricted to 14+. And it's an artifact (remember, no mundane magic items in my world). Therefore more difficult to wield. The main reason I do this is because the players (will) know of this item. And though they are not evil, some of them are neutral and they may decide to go raid the temple (we have a potentially very skilled rogue in party). They can probably obtain this weapon at level 8-10. My players seem to play very smart and some are experienced with how I operate as a DM.

Now, this example occurs in many places throughout my world. There are artifacts on exhibit or they exist in private residences as trophies.

Without limiting the level by which players can use items, it prevents me from turning around one day and seeing how my 9th level players have items that should be held by a 19th level character. And then my 'low magic world' is suddenly useless against them

Digital Arcanist
12-04-2007, 10:48 AM
Bah....the tribe of Storm Giants guarding the temple should be enough to your lowly adventurers from obtaining the sword...

12-04-2007, 10:53 AM
Heh, It's a temple where many go to pray. An open public location.

Digital Arcanist
12-04-2007, 11:12 AM
so they're on retainer.....

12-04-2007, 06:20 PM
Just to be clear, what is being proposed in the article is not restricting an items use by level, but assigning a cost and being able to measure the impact of giving the item out to the party. If, somehow, a 3rd level character got his hands on a 15th level magic item, he'd still be able to use it.

12-04-2007, 06:35 PM
A cost? What sort of cost? Are we talking gold or experience or <other>?

I saw something once where it detailed the player to make a certain roll vs DC to use high level magic items. It's also seen in some scroll usage for higher level.

12-04-2007, 06:45 PM
"Fourth Edition D&D improves that useful tool by explicitly linking a magic item's level to its price. For example, all 9th-level magic items now cost the same number of gp to craft or to purchase." - wizards.com

"Ultimately, assigning levels to magic items sends a message to players and DMs: Here's when this item is most appropriate for your game. Once that information is in your hands, of course, it's up to you to use it as best befits your game!" - wizards.com

From what they said in this article, it doesn't sound like there are any restrictions on use based on level. Although, I assume that some items may have special requirements like that.

12-04-2007, 06:54 PM
Oh, that's nice making the cost the same across the board (craft/purchase).

What about items that are class specific? Any mention to those?

Yeah, I've made a few of those too :)

As seen in: Click Me (http://www.mxtreme.mushpark.com/mo/newmagicitems.xls)

Which is an excel spreadsheet of most of my magic items in game.