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Zaq
2011-10-27, 01:05 PM
So, we all know the conventional wisdom. Your enchanted pointy sticks should be +1 [adjective] [adjective] pointy sticks of [adjective], not +4 pointy sticks. It is usually implied, though not always stated, that the reason for this is that a single casting of Greater Magic Weapon every day will bring up the boring numerical part, giving you a pointy stick with an effective bonus much higher than you would otherwise have.

But let's say that you don't have GMW.

Maybe your party arcanist is a Beguiler, or perhaps a Sorcerer who just didn't have room to take GMW. Maybe you don't have a Cleric, or your Cleric just does not understand the concept of party buffing and won't listen to reason. Maybe you don't have any primary casters at all. The reason isn't important. Let's assert that you're in a GMW-less party of such a level where the usual "just cast GMW on your pointy stick every day, buying the Wizard a Pearl of Power if he complains" wisdom would apply. How does the balance shift?

Now, I know that magic weapons have diminishing returns, especially when you're just getting another +1 to hit and damage out of them . . . and the higher-level/more expensive [adjective]s that you can stack on to a weapon do things that are much more interesting than just +1d6 damage. It's hard to put a damage rating on Illusion Bane and/or Illusion Theft, after all, to say nothing of the effective to-hit bonus that something like Impaling gives you. That said, there is merit in being able to hit, and in a party without a GMW caster, it's not a guarantee that you'll have a stack of to-hit buffs up all day every day. Where, in your personal opinion and experience, would you draw the line? Do you feel that another +1 to hit and damage is never worth the incremental cost, GMW be damned? Do you find that it's worth having a +2 or even +3 weapon, since bonuses to hit and damage are always useful, while [adjective]s can be situational? In short, thoughts?

hex0
2011-10-27, 01:09 PM
There is always the Kensai PRC.

Zaq
2011-10-27, 01:12 PM
Not quite what I'm talking about. I'm talking about the relative value of plusses and adjectives in a GMW-less environment, not how to get GMW without GMW. We're assuming, a priori, that there is no GMW. That's the point.

Tvtyrant
2011-10-27, 01:12 PM
Holy sword can get you a +5 weapon, Inspire Courage,Heroism and Greater Heroism grant similar bonuses.


I see what you want now. I don't know, if you removed all the ways to get +something weapons you would make non-casters weaker and casters would stay about the same. Especially since they can take the form of a Balor and gain a free +5 sword.

Zaq
2011-10-27, 01:13 PM
Do I need to change the title? Is that what's throwing people off? Because that's really not what I mean.

marcielle
2011-10-27, 01:21 PM
I think the OP means you have no access to THE EFFECT, not just the spell in particular. Quite frankly, unless you are facing things with AC through the roof, the adjectives still win. A martial character has 20 BAB + STR/DEX+ a items of relevant stat enhacement.

Random example, the Guardian Naga is CR 10 with 18 AC.
Your average meelee will have 10 BAB + 3 STR + 1( from weapon) + Str increasing weapon(+2)= 16 to hit

A Cloud Giant(CR11) with 25 AC might be harder to hit but by then you have another BAB and might be able to afford a better Str enhancer. so that still more than half. And let's not forget modifiers like charging's +2. Barbarians have even less to worry about with Rage.

Pretty much, the powers of adjectives > extra 5% chance to hit and 1 damage. Also, extra to hit is worthless against miss chance anyway since the main reason you are taking it is near irrelevant, whereas, adjective will still adjective when you hit.

Diefje
2011-10-27, 01:32 PM
The way I understand it, to overcome DR/+X you need to have a straight +X enhancement bonus on that weapon, and special ability equivalence enhancement bonus doesn't actually work.

Other than that, I'd argue that a +1/+1 is just as situational as other enhancements (if it's easy to hit, then a d6 energy dmg would be better than a flat +1).

Dimers
2011-10-27, 01:39 PM
So, we all know the conventional wisdom. Your enchanted pointy sticks should be +1 [adjective] [adjective] pointy sticks of [adjective], not +4 pointy sticks.

Ridiculous. Simply ridiculous.

They should be +1 [adjective] [adjective] pointy sticks of [noun or noun phrase], of course.


the higher-level/more expensive [adjective]s that you can stack on to a weapon do things that are much more interesting than just +1d6 damage. ... Do you find that it's worth having a +2 or even +3 weapon, since bonuses to hit and damage are always useful, while [adjective]s can be situational? In short, thoughts?

I play mostly with DMs who don't tell me what kind of monsters will be in the campaign, at low to mid levels, with fractious players who aren't incredibly interested in inter-character synergy, using partial-BAB fighting characters. My choices for magic weapons are pretty conservative and assume no GMW. I do like larger plusses, but I think that's largely a product of my situation; I'd rather have a wide variety of special abilities stacked on, but accuracy forbids it.

Zaq
2011-10-27, 01:41 PM
Ridiculous. Simply ridiculous.

They should be +1 [adjective] [adjective] pointy sticks of [noun or noun phrase], of course.



Noooo! My linguistics cred!

gbprime
2011-10-27, 01:59 PM
My players crave the larger plus values. Why? Because I break stuff.


An attacker cannot damage a magic weapon that has an enhancement bonus unless his own weapon has at least as high an enhancement bonus as the weapon or shield struck.

So a +1 greataxe CAN sunder a +1 Flaming Holy Bane spiked chain, because they're both enhancement bonus +1. (All those things added to the spike chain affect ONLY the base price. The tables make that very clear.)

Players in my campaign are used to the fact that they need a backup weapon and that they should not build a character around a single piece of equipment...

FlyingScanian
2011-10-27, 02:01 PM
The way I understand it, to overcome DR/+X you need to have a straight +X enhancement bonus on that weapon, and special ability equivalence enhancement bonus doesn't actually work.

That is for 3.0. In 3.5, there's just DR/Magic, which is punched through with any enchanted weapon...

Vladislav
2011-10-27, 02:05 PM
Depends on the character. If I'm a Duskblade with a +5d6 Shocking Grasp or Vampiric Touch attached to every attack, I'd rather have the accuracy. I'd rather be extra damn sure I'm going to hit with my +5d6 Attack of Doom than add yet another +d6 to it.

If the damage is mostly weapon damage, I'd rather have the special abilities.

Person_Man
2011-10-27, 02:17 PM
In general, I would still skip the minor enhancement bonuses in favor of enchantments. It's fairly easy to get bonuses to hit from Flanking, higher ground, Aid Another, Charge, Knowledge Devotion, various forms of Smite, X to Y bonuses in general, etc., and magic weapons are ridiculously expensive.

But there might be specific cases where the minor bonus to-hit would be superior. For example, lets say that you're an UberCharger. When you Charge/Pounce, you deal enough damage to kill virtually any ECL appropriate enemy, as long as you hit. Now, I would argue that in this case, you're probably better off just investing in other non-weapon magic items, because magic weapons can be so expensive. But if you're given a choice between a +5 Greatsword and a +1 Greatsword of Adjectives, then I would go with the +5 Greatsword.

ericgrau
2011-10-27, 02:29 PM
Other enchantments are still better. Without GMW I still wouldn't go above a +2. In fact I don't think GMW is that great of a spell until you hit level 12 and get it up to +3.

Keld Denar
2011-10-27, 03:31 PM
If you convert apples into apples and compare, its actually kind of interesting.

[theorycraft]
+1 gives you +1 to hit and +1 to damage. Assuming a 2handed weapon, that means you can use Power Attack (everyone with a 2hander has PA, right?) to convert the +1 to hit into +2 damage. That means that each +1 gives +3 damage for anyone with a 2hander + PA.

Flaming gives +3.5 damage, average. This is slightly higher than the +1, but different. Its elemental in nature, which means that it is highly subject to even the minimum of elemental resistances. Its also a non-static bonus to damage, which means that it won't multiply with various abilities. The +3 damage from PAing for the +hit is of the same "type" of damage as the rest of the weapon damage + str + other mods is. That means that its VERY unlikely to be subject to DR unless the wielder of the weapon has almost no chance to overcome that DR. So, for 2handers, while elemental damage has a slightly higher top end, its also MUCH harder to negate. It also multiplies delightfully on a crit.

Unfortunately, when you try to compare things like Holy or Wounding, the math becomes a little murkier. Wounding results in the loss of 1 Con per hit. Its a +2 equiv, which means we have to compare it with +2, which is +6 damage after PA. In order to do 6 damage "per hit", you need to be fighting a foe with 12 or more HD (a 12 HD creature loses 12 HP per 2 Con damage, so 1 Con damage is ~6 hp for a 12+ HD creature). About the time you can expect to face a 12 HD creature, you can probably expect to have a +3 equiv weapon. Holy is a little harder. Its +7 average damage (contrast to +6 from PAing with a +2 weapon), which, like flaming, is a little higher. Plus, many things you'll typically be fighting are evil, so you get the +2d6. Then there is the ability to bypass DR. If you fight an outsider with DR 10/Holy, each swing is effectively getting +17 damage, not +7. That makes is MUCH better than a +3 weapon, which is still only sitting at +6 damage. Spellstoring is another one. Common Spellstored spells are Shocking Grasp and Vampiric Touch. At max CL, Shocking Grasp is 17.5 damage once and Vamp Touch is 22.5 damage. That means that 6 hits in a fight makes a +1 weapon better than Spellstoring with Shocking Grasp, and 8 hits makes a +1 weapon better than Spellstoring with Vamp Touch (neglecting the fact that you get the temp HP from Spellstoring).

Thats all factoring in 2:1 PA. A character using a 1handed weapon (or a pair of 1handers) is less likely to have PA, and will be getting straight +1 damage per plus. This means that the damage you get from +equivs is generally MUCH higher than the damage you get from another straight +1. Then again, the classes that typically use 1handers are also classes that typically don't have full BAB and need the extra +hit. After all, an attack that doesn't hit deals 0 damage.

My suggestion: Generally, for most characters, there is one enhancement that is REALLY good for the build, be it Keen, Spellstoring, Wounding, etc. Get a +1 weapon with that enhancement, and then start building your +enhancement up from there. IE: Start with a +1 weapon, then upgrade to a +1 Keen weapon, then upgrade to a +2 Keen weapon, then a +3 Keen weapon, etc. Once you fill your enhancement bonus, consider adding other perks, or just stop investing money in your weapon and look for bonuses elsewhere.

JaronK
2011-10-27, 05:05 PM
I think Martial Discipline Focus for the +3 to hit is going to be better than any +1. And really, it's the effects I'm after, not the straight numerical bonus. So even without Greater Magic Weapon, Tooth of Leraje, or whatever... even if I've got an Ancestral Relic and thus can pick whatever I want... I still don't really go above +1. The only exception might be for a poison based build where I'm using the Assassination enchantment, because that uses the bonus a lot more. Otherwise, I'd rather spend the money on other things, like magical tools and such.

JaronK

herrhauptmann
2011-10-27, 05:40 PM
If there's no GMW, and the MiC is allowed, you should consider going to a +3 weapon just for the greater weapon crystals.

A +3 weapon with a greater true death crystal is about 28k. A +1 Ghost touch+strike weapon however, is a lot more. Ghost touch is a +1, as is the ghost strike. Total cost of 18k.
But the +3 with crystal will hit a bit more often, and when he's not fighting undead, can swap the crystal for something else. Perhaps a greater demolition crystal (an extra 10k, but that's a whole extra creature type to sneak attack/crit)

deuxhero
2011-10-27, 05:50 PM
Maybe your party arcanist is a Beguiler, or perhaps a Sorcerer who just didn't have room to take GMW.

Runestaff is your best option then.


your Cleric just does not understand the concept of party buffing and won't listen to reason.

If they refuse to cast a standard action that lasts all day outside of combat (I'm assuming "reason" would include a PoP to make it so it doesn't even cost a spell slot), they are a hazard and waste of treasure. Remove them.

Dimers
2011-10-27, 10:31 PM
Oh, one other situation in which +5 was nice -- last game I played in, the party wanted a frontliner with low money and crazy AC. I made a kensai with an imbued quarterstaff and put defending weapon on one end of it, since the DM decided the two ends' enchantments didn't have to be the same as each other. So that got me another +5 AC instead of +5 to hit and damage, and that in turn made the party happy.

Yeah, a bit of an edge case, again. :smallamused:

ILM
2011-10-28, 03:55 AM
Straight answer, gut feeling: +3.

Thought-out answer: depends on which abilities I want on the weapon. I seldom want more than abilities that total of +5, so I guess theoretically I could go with a +5 weapon [of X, Y, Z totaling +5]. However, the cost of that relative to my wealth is usually prohibitive. I think the highest I've ever gone was a weapon totalling +7 . So if I wanted abilities amounting to, say, a +6, I'd just stick with that +1. If I really need more to-hit or damage over that, at that point I can get it cheaper from elsewhere.

So basically, I could see myself getting a straight +3 weapon, but if I wanted a real weapon that did stuff other than cut particularly well, I'd probably stick to +1 as soon as the total of the properties I'm tacking on reaches +4 or so.

Clearly, I can't see a situation where I'd be willing to pay for that +4 or +5 enhancement bonus, ever.

Coidzor
2011-10-28, 05:34 AM
More useful abilities and things that I can do with it are more important than a miniscule to-hit value, as if I'm weak enough that a +2 or +3 bonus over what i have is relevant, I'm dead without Batman there to save me. Or Divine Intervention.

faceroll
2011-10-28, 07:11 AM
In my experience, the small buffs to accuracy are more valuable than the other enchantments you can get on it. The energy damage enchantments are resisted by everything. Keen or impacting can be pretty good, depending on the weapon. Colliding is useful if you can't power attack (like a bow or whatever). It's also a good way to get more damage on a weapon while keeping your to hit up- +4 colliding is more damage than +5 energy.

Bane weapons are way too specific. Holy weapons tend to be strongest of the enchantments, simply because most things are evil.

Of course, if you've already optimized the snot out of your strength score with exotic races, then the little bonuses won't help a whole lot.

Basket Burner
2011-10-28, 07:47 AM
So, we all know the conventional wisdom. Your enchanted pointy sticks should be +1 [adjective] [adjective] pointy sticks of [adjective], not +4 pointy sticks. It is usually implied, though not always stated, that the reason for this is that a single casting of Greater Magic Weapon every day will bring up the boring numerical part, giving you a pointy stick with an effective bonus much higher than you would otherwise have.

But let's say that you don't have GMW.

Then you proceed in exactly the same way, except that your party is screwed not because of the lack of GMW, but because of the lack of all the other things that come with GMW classes. As an added bonus if they ever wise up, you haven't wasted any money.

Tokuhara
2011-10-28, 08:55 AM
Hence why I play a Spell-to-Power Erudite and make my party's equipment.

My party's Fighter is always happy when I make him the Crystal Sword of Dragonslaying and the Armor of the Unseen Shield (Homemade Magic Items)

Person_Man
2011-10-28, 09:07 AM
As a side note, this thread perfectly illustrates why I hate the churn of Diablo-like equipment collection in many games. I do not care about nor do I want to track or use equipment which provides a minor bonus, and constantly have to trade it out for equipment which provides slightly better bonuses. If something is not noteworthy enough that you would include a description of it in a novel depicting your character's adventures, then it's not noteworthy enough for me to want to write it down on a character sheet. But obviously YMMV.

Basket Burner
2011-10-28, 09:36 AM
As a side note, this thread perfectly illustrates why I hate the churn of Diablo-like equipment collection in many games. I do not care about nor do I want to track or use equipment which provides a minor bonus, and constantly have to trade it out for equipment which provides slightly better bonuses. If something is not noteworthy enough that you would include a description of it in a novel depicting your character's adventures, then it's not noteworthy enough for me to want to write it down on a character sheet. But obviously YMMV.

That disqualifies almost every magic item worth using.

Tokuhara
2011-10-28, 09:38 AM
That disqualifies almost every magic item worth using.

Smart DM's change the name of these Magic items and tag a backstory on them. My tip is keep it short.

Lazy DM's hand these items out too frequently

Cieyrin
2011-10-28, 10:16 AM
Straight Enhancement bonuses really dependent on your native attack bonus, as Average BABers like Rogues and Swordsages get a lot more mileage out of making sure their high damage attacks connect then Barbarians and Fighters do, who tend to have more to-hit bonuses going on. Hell, any initiator should probably consider bonuses or getting the Discipline enhancement to help make sure their strikes land, especially since they're only making that one attack when they use a strike typically.

As for Greater Weapon Crystals, they're a very niche case which, again, comes down on Precision attackers who tend to be Average BABers, for which they'll want the higher enhancement to shore up their lower attack bonuses, as the law of averages tends to be against them more than it is against Pouncers and other Full BAB characters.

Urpriest
2011-10-28, 10:31 AM
The way I understand it, to overcome DR/+X you need to have a straight +X enhancement bonus on that weapon, and special ability equivalence enhancement bonus doesn't actually work.


I can't see where in the OP Zaq says he's talking about 3.0.

Basket Burner
2011-10-28, 11:01 AM
Smart DM's change the name of these Magic items and tag a backstory on them. My tip is keep it short.

Lazy DM's hand these items out too frequently

Adding some fluff to it doesn't change the fact that the moment you find something better it's gone. Adding some fluff to it does lead people to the false impression that magic items are something other than a basic tool of the adventuring trade.

And hands them out too frequently as opposed to what? Handing out junk loot no one wants that will just be sold off for half or otherwise ignored?

Tokuhara
2011-10-28, 11:05 AM
Adding some fluff to it doesn't change the fact that the moment you find something better it's gone. Adding some fluff to it does lead people to the false impression that magic items are something other than a basic tool of the adventuring trade.

And hands them out too frequently as opposed to what? Handing out junk loot no one wants that will just be sold off for half or otherwise ignored?

You're better off, in my experience, just handing the players gold. No items at all available. This way, the party can get whatever magic items they want.

Basket Burner
2011-10-28, 11:14 AM
You're better off, in my experience, just handing the players gold. No items at all available. This way, the party can get whatever magic items they want.

That description implies you can't buy whatever you want though.

Tokuhara
2011-10-28, 11:21 AM
That description implies you can't buy whatever you want though.

I'm just saying that in my experience, giving out raw gold is better long-term than magic items.

This isn't saying I don't hand out magic items, I just don't hand them out willy-nilly.

If the party kills a chump mob, they get gold. If they face a humanoid-ish miniboss/BBEG, I may hand out a magic item, usually an entire step above the average wealth level (such as giving a single +2 Longsword to a lvl 2 party)

Basket Burner
2011-10-28, 11:27 AM
I'm just saying that in my experience, giving out raw gold is better long-term than magic items.

This isn't saying I don't hand out magic items, I just don't hand them out willy-nilly.

If the party kills a chump mob, they get gold. If they face a humanoid-ish miniboss/BBEG, I may hand out a magic item, usually an entire step above the average wealth level (such as giving a single +2 Longsword to a lvl 2 party)

The problem with that is the obvious question of "What are the enemies using?"

Which is why I give enemies whatever makes sense for them to have. And if that happens to be an upgrade for the party great, if not it can go to the vendor and be used to buy an upgrade. But either way it's nothing special, so let's focus on the more interesting parts of the game instead of devoting more time that you need to make sure that you can play it.

Tokuhara
2011-10-28, 11:31 AM
The problem with that is the obvious question of "What are the enemies using?"

Which is why I give enemies whatever makes sense for them to have. And if that happens to be an upgrade for the party great, if not it can go to the vendor and be used to buy an upgrade. But either way it's nothing special, so let's focus on the more interesting parts of the game instead of devoting more time that you need to make sure that you can play it.

My party actually likes my way of Magic Items, since it lets them buy the items they want. Occasional magic item handouts (mundane items are a different story. 9 times out of 10, the party doesn't strip the corpses if they get 5 gold/orc chump) add a bit of a larger reward for a tough fight. I also make homebrew items that do "fun" things, like a Choker of Fireball that casts fireball as a standard action centered on the wearer. It was fun to watch the party's Warblade run into melee and use the item in a mob

Chronos
2011-10-28, 01:11 PM
Person Man, I can see what you're saying, but on the other hand, in Lord of the Rings, the barrow-blades the hobbits got would probably translate just to short swords +1, and that was still plenty for them to be considered notable.

On the topic of theorycrafting, here's another comparison to make. The Martial Discipline enhancement is pretty much always a +3 to hit for a ToB character (as long as you're usually in a stance from your preferred school), at the cost of +1 equivalent, and the Collision enhancement is always a +5 to damage, at the cost of +2 equivalent. Put them together, and you have +3 to hit, +5 to damage, where the equivalent plusses would just be +3/+3.

And that's just for raw numbers-- There are so many other abilities which go so far beyond just numbers. And besides, there is the role-playing consideration that Person Man mentions: It's so much more fun to hit something with a flaming sword than with a sword that just does a little bit more swordish damage.

Kinslayer
2011-10-28, 01:55 PM
Person Man, I can see what you're saying, but on the other hand, in Lord of the Rings, the barrow-blades the hobbits got would probably translate just to short swords +1, and that was still plenty for them to be considered notable.

But in Lord of the Rings, there aren't all that many better swords out there. Frodo gets his uncle's old Sting (+1, Orcbane), and Aragorn gets his Anduril (replacing... a normal sword?), Gandalf also has an ancient elven blade, who's name escapes me at the moment, and as far as magical weapons go... that's about it.

Tokuhara
2011-10-28, 01:58 PM
But in Lord of the Rings, there aren't all that many better swords out there. Frodo gets his uncle's old Sting (+1, Orcbane), and Aragorn gets his Anduril (replacing... a normal sword?), Gandalf also has an ancient elven blade, who's name escapes me at the moment, and as far as magical weapons go... that's about it.

Gandalf's Sword (Probably a +2 Holy Orcbane Longsword) is Glamdring, the Foehammer. That sword alone has the single best sword name in LotR history. Anduril, the Blade That Was Broken and Narsil, the Broken Blade are all cool, but Foehammer just sounds dirty

herrhauptmann
2011-10-28, 07:33 PM
Gandalf's Sword (Probably a +2 Holy Orcbane Longsword) is Glamdring, the Foehammer. That sword alone has the single best sword name in LotR history. Anduril, the Blade That Was Broken and Narsil, the Broken Blade are all cool, but Foehammer just sounds dirty

There's also it's companion blade Orcrist. However, that one is resting in the tomb of Thorin Oakenshield under the lonely mountain.