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Sunday, September 26, 2010

Clone Project: Magic Items I

I've been digging into the magic item rules next; these are going to take a lot of work. As far magic item creation goes, I'll have to look over the details more, but it looks like the easiest translation is to take the equivalent spell level (or half the HD of an effect normally associated with a creature) and multiply that by the base time to create.
  • single use items take 1 week per level and cost 100 gp per week for scrolls, 250 per week for potions;
  • weapons take 4 weeks for +1, change to months for +2 or years for +3, and cost the same per week as potions;
  • armor takes twice as long as weapons;
  • items with charges (wands and the like) take 2 months per spell level and cost 400 gp plus 400 per week;
  • reusable magical powers (rings and powers other than simple pluses added to weapons or armor) take 2 months plus 2 months per spell level and cost 10,000 gp per spell level.
For random distribution of magic items in treasure, I've noticed a couple things. First, there are roughly four categories of magic items, with a 25% chance for each category: weapons, potions, spell items (scrolls and wands) and protective/utility (armor, rings, and miscellaneous items.) Rather than use a straight percentile table or even a d20-based conversion, which would be too close to the original, I've tried arranging the items on a 3d6 table:

3d6 Item Type
------- ---------------------
3-5 Misc. Weapon
6-8 Sword
9-10 Potion
11-12 Scroll (Wand/Staff)*
13-14 Armor
15 Ring
16-18 Misc

Thus, all the weapons are grouped on one end of the range (8 or less,) armor and the like are grouped on the opposite end (13 or more,) and potions and scrolls split the middle of the distribution. Wand/Staff needs a little trick in this arrangement (hence, the asterisk.) If you roll an 11 or 12 and get double 3s or double 5s, the item is a wand or staff instead of a scroll.

I've done some similar rearranging for swords and armor. The second thing I've noticed is that there's a 75% chance on either table to get some kind of +1 item, which translates to a roll of 12 or less on 3d6. The armor table turns into this:

3d6 Item Type
------- ---------------------
3-12 Any +1
13-15 Any +2
16-18 Shield +3 (no Armor)

Where it says "any", assume odd results are shields and even results are armor, then roll a d6: on a 1, it's actually a matched set of both.

By the rules as written, armor reduces the hit dice of an attacker, reducing its likelihood of hitting, but an equivalent and I think less confusing approach is to add the armor bonus to the target number, which is always 20. +1 armor makes the target 21 or higher, +2 armor makes it 22 or higher. Since there are so few bonuses and they are so low, this seems like a reasonable sacrifice, especially since it means we can avoid subtraction. Magic shields do not add their bonus automatically; if an attack just barely hits, there is a chance a defender with a magic shield can block it: make a Change Situation roll.

Swords can be arranged this way, with the +1 swords in the 12 or less range, but with some add-on capabilities being potentially available:

3d6 Item Type
------- ---------------------
3-5 Sword +1, High Power
6 Sword +1, Fantastic
7 Sword +1, Helpful
8 Sword +1, +3 against narrow class
9 Sword +1, +2 against broad class
10-12 Sword +1
13-14 Cursed Sword
15-16 Sword +2
17-18 Sword +3 or Extreme Power

I haven't come up with formal descriptions of some of the descriptions yet, but a "broad class" is something like lycanthropes or enchanted creatures, a "narrow class" is a specific creature of more than 5 HD, "helpful" swords have a specific low-level power, such as a sensory or divination ability, "fantastic" is some flashier, multi-use ability (like a flaming sword,) a "high power" is a limited use, very powerful effect (like wishes,) and an "extreme power" is an at-will very powerful effect (like life draining.)

I'll have more to say about swords later, as well as the other magic items as I delve into them.

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