December 26, 2011

A second look at Table 8: Magic Items

This table shows the costs to use the various types of magical items.  Magic users can't use normal armor, so they obviously do not need to pay the 5% to use magical armor.  Magic users can use magical robes and clothing because those are Miscellaneous Magic Items, just like the boots and cloaks.

I basically ignored Mr. Crabaugh's magic item table once I saw that he was using a single category for Potions/Rings and another for Wands/Staves/Rods.  Mine is divided into more item types and has different costs.  I find it interesting that we both arrived at a total cost of 70% for a class who can use all types of magic items.  I hadn't noticed that until a moment ago.

Table 8: Magic Items
Weapons - +5%
Armor - +5%
Potions - +5%
Rings - +5%
Protection Scrolls - +5%
Misc. Magic Items - +5%
Staves&Rods - +0% (but these often have class restrictions)
Wands - +10%
Divine Scrolls - +10%
Arcane Scrolls - +20%

I can imagine all sorts of magic item restrictions for various custom classes.  If Robot was a class I doubt they could drink potions.  A class of walking octopodes ("Walktopus"?) might have trouble wearing magic rings, or not; I guess it depends on the DM.  How about a class of limbless psionic worms who levitate and use telekinesis to wield weapons?  I bet they have trouble using magic rings.  There are a lot of options out there, that's why I wanted more categories.

I can think of two ways to make a class unable to use any magic items (and pay 0% on this table).  They could have an anti-magic aura, but I imagine that would have a rather high cost on the Beyond Human Abilities table.  The other would be to give the class some kind of allergy to magic.  I think I would set the cost of a magical allergy ability to 0%.  It would be like a free Detect Magic ability due to the rashes and uncontrollable itching when a magic item gets too close, but spells cast against them might do extra damage and even healing magic might send them into fits for a time.  I'm not sure how fun it would be to play such a class, but to each their own.

I set Staves&Rods to 0% because of a single item, the Rod of Cancellation.  I think a class that can't use any magic items should still be able to use a device that un-magics items.  If there is a Rod of Cancellation I don't see why you can't have one in the form of a staff or pole.  Some magic items you want to un-magic from a distance, right?

Overall I've kept the costs on this table pretty low.  I considered raising the costs for cleric and magic user scrolls in order to lower the costs of their spell casting tables.  Putting the cost of single use scrolls at about 1/10th the cost of daily spellcasting seems fair to me, but if your campaign setting has an abundance of scrolls you might like to adjust those costs.

Looking over all this again, I have found a couple of improvements I should make.  I'm raising the cost of using magic weapons to 10%.  A lot of monsters require the use of magic weapons to hurt them.  I think that being restricted from using magical weapons is more of a detriment than being restricted from using potions, or magic armor.  The other change is to lower protection scrolls to 0%.  I believe that all classes should be able to use the warding scrolls, even the guys with magical allergies.  You could rationalize it by ruling that the warding scrolls are non-magical writs and contracts that have been signed via magic by demi-gods or demon lords.  Reading them aloud (or presenting the scroll to the monster?) causes those powerful entities to fulfill the agreement by protecting the reader.  Or not.  Maybe you want those protection scrolls to be highly magical, and those PCs who are illiterate or allergic to magic will just have to suck it up and go uncompensated for not being able to use them.  They can probably just stand next to their buddy while he reads it anyway.

So, here are the changes.

Weapons are raised to 10%
Protection Scrolls lowered to 0%

Not a big change, but moving that 5% could matter to some pacifistic class who never uses any weapons.  I bet they'll deserve it.  I'll go edit the original post now.

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