Enchanted Items

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Faelan Niall
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Enchanted Items

Postby Faelan Niall » Mon Jan 17, 2011 10:25 pm

Anyway I have been plugging away at a new setting for a while, and have been using RQ2 for its framework. One of the biggest hangs up has been magic (typical). For my purposes the way enchanted items work is just too D&D for the setting. So I have wracked my brains trying to figure out a way to do these differently. After much thought I arrived at the point where I stopped looking at the item as a bonus factor, or even something which delivers a typical game effect, instead I started looking at what they are in literature and myth.

Magic items, weapons, armor, are all plot devices, tools to tell the story of the hero more than a way to make them "super". Once I decided to walk down that road I realized that the way I always looked at things was what had always bothered me. So the solution I came up with was something I think people might want to give a try.

Magic items are simply items with names, items with their own destiny or fate in your game, your story, your myth, they are almost minor heroes in their own right. So in the setting I am developing for a future campaign magic items have hero points. That is it. That is all they do, they get hero points. They can spend them just like characters and use them either to protect themselves or their owner.

Last Chance Combat Action: Your blade is blood thirsty and gets an extra action, your armor makes you move faster, your cloak comes to life and strangles your opponent.

Second Chance: your toys are lucky and others need to overcome great adversity to get to you.

Glancing Blow: the item can protect itself or you. That sword is not indestructible its just hard to kill.

Heroic Insight: Plenty of room for a variety of "mental" type items

Heroic Abilities: The item might have access to some heroic abilities and can use them for the player or for itself.

Special Power: Provide a single power. Seven League Boots, Cloak of Invisibility. The duration of the power is whatever the story needs, possibly even ending at the wrong time.

Items get hero points for accomplishing things of note. They should get them about as frequently as characters. And can accumulate as many as any character.

This provides a story driven item instead of leading to the christmas tree effect. The uses of hero points are flexible enough to simulate just about any item in literature or myth without simply providing a mechanical bonus or penalty. I'll post some items as I write them up.

What do you think?
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Dan True
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Postby Dan True » Mon Jan 17, 2011 10:47 pm

Well, if you're playing in a suitable setting then it is a great idea, such as a Viking or "Fairytale" setting where any simple Bladesharp 2 sword would simple ruin the style.

But great idea. Although I will probably stick to the d&d-ish way of doing it, but out of preference. One day I might play a very mythic campaign and then use your ideas.

- Dan
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Sir Gawain
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Postby Sir Gawain » Mon Jan 17, 2011 11:40 pm

Good idea!
I really like it, and I'm going to have a try in my newly started campaign.
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Re: Enchanted Items

Postby ledpup » Tue Jan 18, 2011 2:13 am

Faelan Niall wrote:For my purposes the way enchanted items work is just too D&D for the setting. So I have wracked my brains trying to figure out a way to do these differently. After much thought I arrived at the point where I stopped looking at the item as a bonus factor, or even something which delivers a typical game effect, instead I started looking at what they are in literature and myth.
This is exactly the sort of thing I've been trying to argue for when talking about advancement. i.e., moving away from bonuses and looking elsewhere; the narrative, for example.

A longsword with Bladesharp 3 cast on it doesn't *really* do anything for the player. A potion with interesting and *temporary* effects, on the other hand, really makes you feel like you have an edge - even if it is only for a few hours.

Your idea of enchanted items with nothing but hero points is cool. It's not just a permanent bonus and doesn't necessarily lead to the GM having to respond by upping the difficultly. That is, so long as the item doesn't have a billion hero points and new ones aren't accumulated too quickly.

Nice one.
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Postby Faelan Niall » Tue Jan 18, 2011 2:32 am

Another thing I was thinking about was essentially cooperative expenditure of points. The player can call upon or invoke the blade, but it does not guarantee it will work. Or hidden hero points. Or a mix of these. The item may have a reserve of hero points just for making sure it does not get broken. It might even have a regenerating pool for that purpose. Still working out the exact details, but the core concept is there.
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Postby Antalon » Tue Jan 18, 2011 1:31 pm

Great idea. If combined with the idea that magic items are restricted as to: purpose, target, user or other conditions, it can make items 'magical'. You could try having magic items enable a range of powers which can only be activated by the PC spending their own HPs, and perhaps making a Persistence, Lore (something), Pact or other type of roll. If the player doesn't know what the item does other than by a legend or folklore:

"The sword tyrfing - it always draws blood (grants a bonus CM on spending a HP?) but in the end betrays its wielder (GM Fiat or opposed Persistence verus the swords Ego (to steal a term from other games) or the power does not work"?

Please work up your idea and post / publish it.

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Faelan Niall
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Postby Faelan Niall » Sun Jan 30, 2011 7:19 pm

I refined it somewhat, and have included some examples. The examples are specific to the setting I am working on.

Enchanted items, weapons, armor, are all plot devices, tools to tell the story of the hero more than a way to them with a some sort of bonus, or power. They are simply items with names, items with their own destiny or fate in the myth of the world, they are almost minor heroes in their own right. When an item is enchanted it receives a name, and is imbued with a fate of its own. This is represented by giving the item a number of Hero Points equal to 1/3 POW of the caster. This is the starting point of the item design. From here on it should be treated almost like a character with the player and GM cooperatively building a reputation for the weapon, armor, boots, whatever it is that you are using. Even Unique Powers can be added, but they should not be simple copies of spells, or do extra damage, they should be truly epic. The item grows as its legend or myth grows. It receives Hero Points for fulfilling its purpose just like a character receives Hero Points for completing a story.

Some examples of standard uses for Item Hero Points are presented here, but these are obviously not all of their potential uses. It is recommended that particularly important or powerful items can even have some Permanent Hero Points which regenerate daily, however their use should be restricted to keeping the item in question whole. These should never exceed 1/3 maximum Hero Points for the toughest of items. Maximum Hero Points for an item are limited by the POW of the individual who named the item. Items get hero points for accomplishing things of note and should get them about as frequently as characters. They should also be spent cooperatively between the player in GM

Last Chance Combat Action: Your blade is blood thirsty and gets an extra action, your armor makes you move faster, your cloak comes to life and strangles your opponent.
Second Chance: your toys are lucky and others need to overcome great adversity to get to you.
Glancing Blow: the item can protect itself or you. That sword is not indestructible it is just hard to kill. If the item protects itself, it completely ignores the damage regardless of any conflicting rules.
Heroic Insight: Plenty of room for a variety of "mental" type items
Heroic Abilities: The item might have access to some heroic abilities and can use them for the player or for itself.
Special Power: Provide a single power. Seven League Boots, Cloak of Invisibility. The duration of the power is whatever the story needs, possibly even ending at the wrong time.

Example Item:
Sulhelka (liosalfar. Icy Wind of Fate)
Liosalfar Steel Longsword
Hero Points: 27 Permanent Hero Points: 9
Hero Point Uses: Arrow Cutting, Deflecting Parry, Duelist,
Glancing Blow, Last Chance Combat Action, Mighty Blow, Second Chance, Severing Slash, Sundering Strike, Tireless
ENC 2, AP/HP 12/21
Combat Maneuvers: Bleed, Impale, Sunder (2H only)
Enhancements: Durable, Efficient, Resilient
1H Damage 1d8+2, Size M, Reach L
2H Damage 1d10+2, Size L, Reach L

This is an item which has been around a long time since it has so many Hero Point Uses. Remember an item should grow with the character and the story. Also a single character should rarely have more than one such item, and never three. At that point they will seek a way to move on immediately, get lost, and picked up by another. Even with two items it should be a temporary thing, it will move on in the not too distant future. In general a second item will fall into the hands of a character to fulfill a very specific short term goal tied to the plot of the story. It is not a conscious act on the part of the item, but fate seeking greater diversity.

In the example above the sword is about as powerful a named item as one will find. It has become an integral part of the character, and has a myth of its own. Should the character die, the sword will fall into the hands of someone else and make them great. It has a life of its own. Items of greater power are in the realm of major plot devices, they come to the players hands fulfill their purpose and move back into the mists of legend to wait until they are needed again.

An example of such an item:
Spear of Oaths
This weapon is a Spear similar in size to a halberd with a long two sided cutting and piercing blade gracing its tip. It uses the same statistics as a Halberd. It is unbreakable by normal means. If it were somehow broken (GM fiat/plot point), it would reform elsewhere in a short period of time. The only purpose of the spear is to slay creatures of the void. It will fall into the hands of the right heroes at the right time to be used in great battles. It is empowered by the souls of oath breakers, those who swore to serve the light and instead died in service to the darkness. At any one time the Spear will have up to a thousand souls trapped within. These souls are used to empower blows against void creatures, doing double maximum damage. After being used the soul is reincarnated to see if it will live a better life. The weapon is considered effective, efficient, and its blade has the damage potential of liosalfar steel. Damage 1d8+5.
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Khamulcalle
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Postby Khamulcalle » Mon Jan 31, 2011 12:42 am

This is cool stuff, I really think I will use it when I play :)
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Postby simonh » Tue Feb 01, 2011 11:42 am

I'm working on a Middle Earth campaign, and what I'm working on for the magic system mirrors to a large extent what you're considering for magic items.

My take on ME magic is that it's not independent of normal skills, but is closely linked to them. Rather than take a magical skill in nature for example and buying that up to cast nature magic, or just learning a list of nature spells, the magician would need to build up their nature lore skill really and use that. This means potentially anyone can achieve magical effects if they are skilled enough.

The way I'd power it is by using an analog of hero points or plot points. So instead of plot points being just nebulous anything powers, they are tied into the game system and become the magic system. This would mesh well with should magic item system.

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Postby Faelan Niall » Tue Feb 01, 2011 1:30 pm

simonh wrote:I'm working on a Middle Earth campaign, and what I'm working on for the magic system mirrors to a large extent what you're considering for magic items.

My take on ME magic is that it's not independent of normal skills, but is closely linked to them. Rather than take a magical skill in nature for example and buying that up to cast nature magic, or just learning a list of nature spells, the magician would need to build up their nature lore skill really and use that. This means potentially anyone can achieve magical effects if they are skilled enough.

The way I'd power it is by using an analog of hero points or plot points. So instead of plot points being just nebulous anything powers, they are tied into the game system and become the magic system. This would mesh well with should magic item system.

Simon Hibbs
Neat. I am still fine tuning this. Interestingly enough I am doing a Magic System rewrite as well, which may be similar to what you are doing, or at least part of it. I got rid of Common and Divine Magic, using Sorcery as my stepping off point for the dedicated caster. The part similar to what you are doing is this.

Invocation
Invocation is everyday magic. When a practiced Smith makes follows a specific ritual passed down through generations prior to forging a blade, a woodsman who makes a small offering to the spirits of the wood before hunting, a thief who speaks an ancient rhyme before sneaking through the night, these can all be examples of Invocations if the individual bears his will upon the problem. Everyone can use Invocations instinctively some learn how to truly use it, and learn why it works. It is calling out to the world and bringing yourself closer to it, it is attuning the world to you and you to it. This kind of magic works simply by improving your chances of success with everyday tasks, based on your degree of success with your call for power. With a simple success you spend a magic point for a +10% to the skill involved for a period of POW minutes. With a critical success you spend a magic point for a +20% to the skill involved for a period of POW hours. Any type of ritual will work for these simple castings, though they should always be culturally appropriate or have a story behind them. Invocations may never be used to improve magical skills.

I am going to structure the Magic Item system more. I won't be doing multiple Heroic Abilities for items. It broke one of my design rules for the setting I am working on. Items should never outshine the character. If it can use multiple Heroic Abilities it is a +5 sword in disguise, and that won't work for me.
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Postby simonh » Tue Feb 01, 2011 2:31 pm

Rather than boosting skills, I was thinking more of powering up mundane skills to achieve magical effects or create magic items like the ones seen in Middle Earth. In fact, it's more likely you'd accept a skill penalty and spend points to achieve a magical effect.

So for example Logolas might achieve the effects of a multimissile (very rapid fire) by spending a Magic Point and accepting a -10% ranged attack penalty per additional missile. These effects would be a bit like Heroic Abilities, so there would be a continuum between low level magical effects and heroic ablity type effects using a common mechanic.

I'm planning on using MPs because that ties magic to POW, but make the recovery rate much slower, perhaps only 1 point per day or even longer so that powerful effects take a long time and exhaust you for ages. It's just an outline of a system for now, but it's getting closer to what I want.

Simon Hibbs
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Postby ImaTarget » Thu Mar 24, 2011 10:35 pm

*Arise again*

Hello Faelan Niall, I think your idea is really great. I would like to know if you worked a bit more on it? Seems like a good fit for my upcoming campaign. I was thinking along the same lines, but fear tying too many options to a single item might be too omnipotent. Generally my players are also a bit competitive to each other so it is impossible to have only one guy with the Sword of the Universe. So I am thinking about making basic magic items and additionally having this option as a way of "leveling up" the players weapon/armor once he has bound himself to one by naming it or something similar. No idea about the way to handle this yet though, it will be my first RQ rules game. So any more you have to add to this would be appreciated!
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Postby jarulf » Fri Mar 25, 2011 8:23 am

I really like your ideas Faelan Niall and will start badgering my GM to start using something like this now. :)

I also think they'd make a great article for S&P.
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Postby Faelan Niall » Sat Mar 26, 2011 1:47 am

Thanks.

@ImaTarget: I will dig up my last draft. I decided to switch systems for the setting I was working, since D6 is now OGL and a lot less crunchy. Though I still really like MRQ2, I am not actively working on too much for it at this time. I found myself writing way to much crunch to get it to fit my fluff. I should have it up for you by Sunday.
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Postby ImaTarget » Sat Mar 26, 2011 9:13 am

Thank you, I really appreciate it!
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Postby Faelan Niall » Wed Apr 06, 2011 10:15 pm

Sorry, that was all I had on it. It really is very flexible, and can easily be adjusted to fit the setting it is being used in. I have continued to develop the setting I was working on which inspired this, but mostly as an Open D6 setting though I have continued to tinker with it for MRQ2. When I have more mechanical stuff I will post it.
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Postby ImaTarget » Tue Apr 26, 2011 3:18 pm

Thank you for checking anyway! I will use this as a base to work from.
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Re: Enchanted Items

Postby Captain Brann » Tue Apr 09, 2013 1:50 pm

Hi
came upon this post and thought that's good
I am running a 14th Century campaign and have just worked this out what do you think?

Colada the sword of El Cid
Martín Antolínez took his sword in hand, it lights up all the field, it is so clean and bright, he gave him a blow, he hit him a glancing blow, it broke away the top of the helmet, it cut away all the helmet straps, it tore off the mailed hood, and reached the coif, the coif and the hood all were ripped away, it cut the hairs on his head, and it reached well into the flesh, one part fell to the ground and the other remained.

When precious Colada has struck this blow, Diego González saw that he would not escape with his soul, he turned his horse to face his opponent. At that moment Martín Antolínez hit him with his sword, he struck him broadside, with the cutting edge he did not hit him. Diego González has sword in hand, but he does not use it, at that moment the infante began to shout, -Help me, God, glorious Lord, and protect me from this sword!-


The sword Colada - dislikes those who hurt women, bullies, dishonour, and only works for a good knight.
Hero Points: 10 + 10 Permanent Hero Points which recharge monthly
Hero Point Uses:- Mighty blow [10]; Severing slash [10]; Second Chance - missed attack roll only [1]; Heroic aura [12]
Light - permanent - the swords radiance illuminates 50 yards radius. Lose 1Hero point per hour of use [to stop it being used as a light source]
1H Damage 1d8+1, Size M, Reach M ENC 2, AP/HP 9/15
Combat Manoeuvres: Bleed, Impale, Sunder
With Jesus in your life you have all the love you will need.

http://chrisbrann.wordpress.com/rpg-campaign-stories/
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superc0ntra
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Re: Enchanted Items

Postby superc0ntra » Tue Apr 09, 2013 4:03 pm

I have this old book from Judges Guild called Wondrous Relics made somewhat system-less.
It is a list of magic items in that style.
Faelan Niall
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Re: Enchanted Items

Postby Faelan Niall » Wed Apr 10, 2013 12:42 am

Looks good to me. It essentially provides the extra oomph against important opponents, you know like the ones the bards will sing about.

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