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Thread: Material Components (Spells & Magic Items)

  1. #1
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    Material Components (Spells & Magic Items)

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    Does anyone here cares for their Mages to have the proper Material Components for their spells? Or it is something that is considered standard and never role-played?

    I would guess Magic Item Creation will require a little more effort, and at least a One-session adventure will be needed to acquire the "Fancy/Strange/Mystical" material component needed.

    While exploring my 3.0 PH, I only found these 3 spells to require a not so easy to get Material Component: Displacement, Evard's Black Tentacles, Secret Page.

    One idea I've been playing in my mind (from the LotR movie) was for all Wizards to have a Rod or a Wand (from Harry Potter), which could be lost in a Wizard Duel. Such personal item would be optimum when crafted by the Mage himself, getting the raw material would be a quest to die for.

    Anyway, I was disappointed by not finding any Dragon Scales, Phoenix or Roc feathers, Eye of Beholder, etc. in the spell Material Component lists.

    (Off Topic, reply in different Thread Please) I wonder if a female player would get offended by a ritual with a "Beautiful Young Virgin Sacrifice" or will suggest that "Any women" sacrifice would be less discriminatory. Being political correct is getting harder these days.
    Saluti
    Carlos

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    If you're running a not so combat heavy campaign, being a stickler for material components is 100% fine by me. But, for my tastes, calling out the party mage's player for not keeping track of how many ounces of bat guanno he has & in what belt pouch is a bit excessive.

    I do however, think that in the case of "epic spells", spells with costly components, or a spell that is a main plot hook for a adventure or campaign.

    And I've recently started using "power components" such as vile/exaulted components, like a demons heart, angels tears, etc- items that effect the spells DC, or caster level. When you have a PC that carries a jar with the heart of a Vrock in it, he's badass... he deserves that +1 CL to cast a spell with the evil descriptor!

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    I would suspect that most DMs/mages are fine with just having the mage carry around a spell-component pouch for any components less than 1g, and consider keeping it stocked something that the wizard/sorcerer is handling in the background, much like melee types are keeping their blades sharpened.

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    I think it was a bigger problem in earlier editions where DM's were encouraged to make things hard for players in such ways. I have played with DM's who were extremely irritating about material components. They were the same ones who insisted on refiguring weight and encumbrance every time you picked something up.

    Most DM's I know (myself included), only keep track if it is an expensive or extremely rare component (like precious gems or virgin hearts).
    Most men lead lives of quiet desperation.


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    I usually just deduct like 10g from the mage character everytime we have a combat to account for material components. If he has a spell that requires a some expensive component then I make a note of it for future use. I try not to worry about spell components during the game. I have in the past given the opportunity for mages to gather special components that empower or enlarge a spell as if they used the feat. As a mage I once collected the tears and blood of a deva chained to an altar as the price for her freedom. I sold the tears for like 10000 gold pieces and used the blood to uber-charge some spells and craft a weapon which I sold for another 5000 gold pieces.

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    I don't concentrate to much on worrying about spell components. About the only time I might really worry about it is if the party was in a dungeon/remote area for a long period of time, couple of days/weeks. At that point, I'd have the spell casters begin to run out of said components, unless it was something they could find in said area.

    Beyond that, I don't want to waste game time worrying about components.

    But that's just a personal preference!
    Skunk
    a.k.a. Johnprime



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    There are only two times I worry about spell components:

    Costly components: The cost factor is supposed to be a balancing factory for the spells slightly higher power level, and I like keeping things mostly balanced.

    Plot related: Specifically, "OH NO, you just lost your component pouch for Reason XXXXXX. You need to keep track of what you have until you find a replacement." (replacement included taking another mage component pouch)

    I don't count spell book pages either if things are withing reason.

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    that is why I love...

    ..to slight of hand spell component pouches as a rogue. Nothing like the badass mage saying, "and now you will meet your doom", only to start fumbling for their material components (this is probably why I usually waste a feat on Eschew Materials, and tattoo my must have spells on my body (if I don't get spell mastery from some source).

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    got to agree with most of the responses so far. I usually, as DM, try to keep players on the straight and narrow for expensive spell components like diamond dust. You would not believe the number of times I have had players cast ressurection or stone skin only for me to point out that they have not purchased any diamond dust.

    In the new low-magic campaign that I am starting in a few weeks I am going to be introducing power components to beef up lower level spells. If anyone has alternative power components for lower level mages or ones specific to level 1 and 2 spells please feel free to share.
    like a mithral dart worth 1 gp per magic missile dart allows it to be empowered or something ... so casting magic missile to get 5 missiles empowered costs 5 gp. now if mithral can only be acquired from clannish dwarves who hate non-dwarves we have a nice little roleplaying element to getting the power component.

    as anyone had any experience in 3.x D&D with actually keeping track of how much fits in a spell component pouch? e.g. fireball involves a tiny ball of sulphur and guano - just how many tiny balls fit in a spell pouch? Is it important on a long (multi-day) dungeon crawl to think about this stuff? Or is that getting waaaaay too technical for modern D&D?
    Last edited by ignimbrite; 12-29-2007 at 05:36 AM.

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    Mages are complicated enough to play without getting spell components exactly right. And there's enough going on in any given session that I as a DM don't want to babysit a spellcaster to make sure they're sticking to the book.

    Basically, I leave the level of detail they stick to up to the player... some people like digging into those kind of details, and if it floats their boat, why not indulge them?

    I like the idea in focusing the complexity on the spell component pouch. If they have it, and are getting regularly stocked, they're good. If they lose it, they are in trouble (unless they can come up with a good enough reason why they have bat guano in their cloak pocket).

    Developer for Darkage Warlord, a Pen & Paper Games exclusive Medieval Wargame.

    If you are in the DC metro area and like to trade D&D minis (1.0 or 2.0), please send me a PM!

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    The group I used to DM were a party of "Butchers", whatever Magical or Semi-Magical creature they killed, they skinned and collected every single body part that they thought could be sold at the market.

    But why keep all those if they seem not to be used by the Mages (at least according to the rules).

    So I was wondering if anyone set an adventure based on collecting the Material Components required fort the ritual needed to stop the Tarrask / Gargantum Dragon / ____ Evil Lord.
    Saluti
    Carlos

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    World of Warcraft?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dimthar View Post
    So I was wondering if anyone set an adventure based on collecting the Material Components required fort the ritual needed to stop the Tarrask / Gargantum Dragon / ____ Evil Lord.
    Sounds like a good idea, especially for your players since they seem to like cutting things up! I'm sure if you wanted help to come up with an adventure based on this premise the folks here would have plenty of good ideas.

    Developer for Darkage Warlord, a Pen & Paper Games exclusive Medieval Wargame.

    If you are in the DC metro area and like to trade D&D minis (1.0 or 2.0), please send me a PM!

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    I really don't care about <=1gp items, but 100gp pearls are quite the commodity!!

    I also reward PC inventiveness.

    I once had the misfortune to imprison the whole group without any equipment. The sorcerer just smiles - until he realizes that he needed his material components. After they plan the escape (which included spectacular spells from the sorcerer!!), he tells me what he intends. Using rules he made up on the spot, he launches into: "I have no amber rod and wool, but I do have paper sandles and a woolen robe. I begin shuffling my feet on the paving stones to gather a static charge. Lightning bolt is a lower level spell, but I don't know if this will work, so I am going to cast it as if it is a 5th level spell - taking about one full turn in the casting time (10 minutes!!). I will approach and touch the metal on the gate to activate the spark at the culmination of the spell.

    The guards thought he had lost his mind as he said strange words (that were obviously not any normal spell!) and wandered back and forth. They were all looking over the palisade when the spell went off.

    Cue the huge explosion. The assembled masses surge forward to break through the damaged gate and overpower the few guards left alive... to come back to the sorcerer... sitting in a smoldering scorch-mark, hands blackened to the elbows, hair like Yahoo Serious (try Google if you don't know), and a confused look on his face.

    The PC got a new 5th level of Lightning Bolt that made Chain Lightning, took 10 minutes to cast and did damage to the caster as well.

    Oh yeah - he also got these real cool permanent scorch marks on his forearms that made his hands ebon-black.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Malruhn View Post
    The PC got a new 5th level of Lightning Bolt that made Chain Lightning, took 10 minutes to cast and did damage to the caster as well.

    Oh yeah - he also got these real cool permanent scorch marks on his forearms that made his hands ebon-black.
    While not "going exactly by the rules", that was a good bit of improvisation on the part of the GM, you. I applaud your success at making what I'll bet was an extremely fun and memorable game!

    I'm guessing your players still talk about that game session on occasion, don't they?
    Skunk
    a.k.a. Johnprime



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