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View Full Version : True Might of Steel (Feats and Special Materials)



Behold_the_Void
2007-02-01, 05:34 PM
First, as a note. What is presented here will give an extraordinary boost to fighter classes that rely little or no magic. I am well aware of this and will discuss why I feel they should be balanced later on. I will also need some help with the pricing, it's not something I feel should be in the hands of low-level parties. So, to begin:

Rivane and his partner Sera sat at the corner table in the Trollsbane Alehouse, so named for its brew so potent it can lay low a troll.

"So, what's the next job?" Sera asked, an open spellbook on the table in front of her. "I need to know what to prepare."

"We're attacking a cabal of necromancers," Rivane said. "I think there are about five of them to deal with."

"Five!?" Sera nearly shouted, drawing stares from the other patrons.

Glaring, she lowered her voice. "I'm good, but I'm not that good."

"Don't worry," Rivane said. "My commission was finally finished."

"What did you get, another pointed stick?" Sera asked sarcastically.

"In a manner of speaking," Rivane said as he reached into his bag of holding and withdrew a huge, leaden case. Placing it on the table, he opened it. Immediately, Sera drew back with a hiss, grabbing her book off the table as she did so. Rivane smiled.

"Pure Zynshyr alloy forged by the dwarven master smiths. The sharpness of the blade matches that of any well-enchanted blade, but it possesses not one speck of its own magic. Indeed, as you may well know..." Rivane said.

"It nullifies all magic it touches," Sera hissed.

Zynshyr is a rare and extremely valuable metal found deep within the greatest mountains. It has all of the properties of steel, but weighs half again as much. However, the greatest property of Zynshyr is its effect on magic. Magic that targets someone clad in Zynshyr armor is nullified, magical protections fall by the wayside when assaulted by a Zynshyr blade. The favorite of warriors who know they will be facing wizards in the near future, Zynshyr eliminates a warrior's weakness to petty wizardly tricks, giving them a definitive edge in combat.

Zynshyr

Zynshyr adds many special qualities to both armor and weapons. Light armor confers a 33% chance that any arcane, divine, or psionic spell/power targetting the wearer will fail. Medium armor offers a 66% chance of failure, and Heavy Armor fully protects the wearer from any form of magical or psionic attack. A buckler or small shield confers an additional 15% chance of spell failure, and a heavy shield confers an additional 30% chance of spell failure. Tower shields confer a 50% chance of spell failure. This stacks with the armor's protection.

Spells that last for more than one round, regardless of their nature, are negated after the first round of their effectiveness, while the armor may have failed to block the initial effect it almost immediately neutralizes the spell, preventing it from lingering. Zynshyr makes no distinction between a beneficial and harmful spell, it affects all magic the same. In addition, Zynshyr armor and shields still grant armor bonuses against magical touch attacks.

Zynshyr armor does not negate the properties of magical weapons, the quick pass of blades is not enough to surpress their offensive properties.

Zynshyr weapons have the ability to ignore magical protections. Any magical protections such as Stoneskin or Mage Armor are rendered completely ineffective to Zynshyr's touch. Enchanted armor and shields still function normally, the quick pass of blades is not enough to surpress their protective properties. Furthermore, light weapons have a 5% chance of dispelling one of the randomly chosen spells currently active on the target. This increases to 10% with one-handed weapons, and 20% with two-handed weapons. This is completely random, and does not differentiate between beneficial and harmful spell effects. This property also has the ability to dismiss a summoned creature to its home plane with the same percentage chance as it has to dispell a spell effect.

Zynshyr ammunition is considered to be especially potent. Zynshyr arrows ignore magical protections such as Wind Wall and Protection from Arrows, and have a 5% chance of dispelling a random active magical effect on the target, like light weapons. On a confirmed critical hit, the ammunition will lodge itself in the target, conferring two additional effects. Every round there is a 5% chance (cumulative with each embedded ammunition) of having a magical effect on the target dispelled. Furthermore, each time the target attempts to cast a spell, they must make a concentration check with a DC of 10+5 per embedded ammunition+spell level to prevent the spell from failing.

Spells that conjure permanent objects are unaffected by Zynshyr after casting. This includes spells such as the orb spells that can be fired into an anti-magic field without adverse effect, or any other spell that can continue to function within an anti-magic field.

Because of the nature of Zynshyr's magical nullification, no magic items worn or wielded by someone who is also wearing Zynshyr armor or wielding a Zynshyr weapon will function. Likewise, no spells can be cast while wearing Zynshyr.

Zynshyr's properties can be blocked by a case of lead or adamantine of at least twice the thickness of the Zynshyr in all directions. This allows for Zynshyr to be, for example, stored within a bag of holding or portable hole, or carried in one's pack without suffering any adverse effects. When contained in such a way, Zynshyr may be affected by spells such as teleport and dimension door, which bring the entire case with them.

Aside from its special qualities, Zynshyr is treated as a masterwork item for all other intents and purposes. The weight of a Zynshyr item is the base weight of the item multiplied by 1.5. Zynshyr's properties are ineffective against epic or godly magic.

Type of Zynshyr and cost modifier:
Ammunition: +275 gp
Light armor: +10,000 gp
Medium armor: +15,000 gp
Heavy armor: +20,000 gp
Weapon: +8,000 gp
Shield: +7,000 gp

Feats

Craft Superior Arms [Item Creation]


Prerequisite:
8 ranks in Craft (Weaponsmithing)

Benefit:
You are able to craft such masterful weapons that they can equal enchanted weapons in terms of raw power. Enhancing a weapon takes three days for each 1,000 gp of the price of equivalent magical features. To enhance a weapon you must spend 1/25 of its featuresí total price in XP (due to the amount of effort and raw force of will required to make a truly superior item) and use up raw materials costing one-half of this total price.

The weapon to be enhanced must be a masterwork item that you provide. Its cost is not included in the above cost.

Superior weapons do not count as magic for the purposes of overcoming damage reduction.


All Superior items have their price multiplied by 1.5 before the process is undergone.

You can also mend a broken superior weapon if it is one that you could make. Doing so costs half the XP, half the raw materials, and half the time it would take to craft that item in the first place.

Craft Superior Armor [Item Creation]

Prerequisite:
8 ranks in Craft (Armorsmithing)

Benefit:

You are able to craft such masterful armor and shields that they can equal enchanted armor and shields in terms of raw power. Enhancing a suit of armor or a shield takes three days for each 1,000 gp of the price of equivalent magical features. To enhance a shield or suit of armor you must spend 1/25 of its featuresí total price in XP (due to the amount of effort and raw force of will required to make a truly superior item) and use up raw materials costing one-half of this total price.

The armor or shield to be enhanced must be a masterwork item that you provide. Its cost is not included in the above cost.


All Superior items have their price multiplied by 1.5 before the process is undergone.

You can also mend a broken superior shield or suit of armor if it is one that you could make. Doing so costs half the XP, half the raw materials, and half the time it would take to craft that item in the first place.

Craft Epic Superior Armor [Item Creation] [Epic]

Prerequisites:
Craft Superior Arms, Profession (Blacksmith) 28 ranks, Craft (Armorsmithing) 28 ranks.

Benefit:
You can craft superior arms that exceed the normal limits for such items.

Superior Epic weapons do not count as epic for the purposes of overcoming damage reduction.

Craft Epic Superior Arms [Item Creation] [Epic]

Prerequisites:
Craft Superior Arms, Profession (Blacksmith) 28 ranks, Craft (Weaponsmithing) 28 ranks.

Benefit:
You can craft superior armor that exceed the normal limits for such items.

Applicable Enhancements for Superior Items

As with magic weapons, standard superior weapons and armor can have a total accumulated enhancement bonus of +10, and follow the standard regulations of magical items. In addition, there are a select number of special abilities superior weapons and armor may have, due to their nature. Note: Bows and other ranged weapons may not be made superior.

Weapons
Keen: +1
Mighty Cleaving: +1
Throwing: +1
Adamantine: +1
Cold Iron: +1
Silver: +1
Wounding: +2
Speed: +3
Vorpal: +5

Armor
Bashing: +1
Fortification, Light: +1
Fortification, Moderate: +3
Fortification, Heavy: +5
Reflecting: +5

All enhancements are treated the same as their magical counterparts, except that they're assumed to be through extremely skilled crafting, as opposed to magic (example: A superior speed weapon is so well balanced it passes through the air with incredible ease, a superior vorpal weapon is so sharp that a well-placed blow can split a man in fullplate in two). Adamantine, Cold Iron and Silver enhancements involve weaving enough of the metal into the weapon so that it can overcome the appropriate damage reduction, although it doesn't involve enough of the substance to give it the full properties.

Note: All enhancements, be it from bonuses or special abilities, count as magical for the purposes of enchanting a weapon. Enchanting a superior +1 weapon is a useless endeaver, as it will simply give it magically qualities that it already possesses. Raw enhancement bonuses overlap, so it is possible to have a +3 superior weapon be enchanted to +1 normally, but it will still be treated as a +1 weapon, albeit now magical and able to acquire magical abilities. Likewise, special abilities still count for the maximum enchantability of a weapon, a superior keen longsword +5 is still only applicable for +4 worth of special abilities, be they from superior workmanship or magical enhancement. As with raw enhancement bonuses, enchantments that do the same as the superior workmanship (such as keen) overlap and do not stack.

Discussion:

Yes, I realize that the Zynshyr is extremely good. I'm further aware that the superior item crafting makes it even better. I'll address the possible problems that I thought of when I was coming up with the idea, and why I don't feel that they really are a problem.

Problem 1: Fighters can now defeat wizards easily.

I don't particularly see this as a huge problem. People are always going on about how Fighters have no chance against wizards. I feel this evens the score. Just like a wizard can win against anything if they prepare correctly, a fighter who knows he's going up against a wizard can likewise plan accordingly. And even then, the wizard still has the option of flight, which the fighter will not have. Futhermore, the wizard can teleport, which again the warrior cannot. Finally, the wizard can polymorph into something appropriately nasty if they have to. Wizards can still do enough to counteract this, although Zynshyr weapons in particular limit their options (Wall of Force/Forcecage can easily be broken through, for example, and polymorph might be removed from the wizard with a well-placed arrow). However, damage reduction can negate this.

Finally, I didn't make this with the expectation of arena combat. In an adventure setting, this can be very useful for a warrior who is going up against many magical foes, but it's not the be-all and the end-all (see below).

Problem 2: Why would any warrior NOT use Zynshyr?

Sometimes, magic is superior. Even with the enhancement abilities presented with the superior item feats, Zynshyr cannot duplicate magic, epic, holy, unholy, anarchic or axiomatic. Damage reduction can hurt, and being immune to magic isn't much good when you can't hurt your enemy.

Furthermore, against certain enemies, you'll really want more of the options that magical equipment allows. The balor is a prime example of this, you probably don't want to be going toe-to-toe with an enraged demon from the Abyss without the many tricks enchanted items can afford you.

Zynshyr is not, in my opinion, overpowered. It gives a mighty boost to fighters and gives them a great option that they can prepare for any mage-heavy battles, but it doesn't give them an instant "win" ticket that a lot of wizard spells do. This just gives warrior-types a very good fighting chance.

I am, of course, open to suggestions on balancing issues, but I will try to stay as true to the original flavor as possible.

Icewalker
2007-02-01, 10:25 PM
I love it!
a few ideas:

superior weapon and armor crafting should take a little more than 8 ranks in craft, and making non-magical superior weapons should be harder than making magical ones.

Behold_the_Void
2007-02-01, 10:31 PM
I've increased the price of superior items by 1.5 times normal price, which, in turn, increases the experience cost. The reason I have 8 points in an applicable craft skill is that that's the equivalent of being a 5th level character, which is the base prerequisite for the Craft Magical Arms and Armor feat.

Oh, and things may be changing in the intial post, I keep going back and editting in things I forgot.

mabriss lethe
2007-02-03, 01:54 PM
Zynshyr reminds me a whole lot of otataral (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Otataral) in the Malazan Books of the Fallen by Steven Erikson.

Behold_the_Void
2007-02-05, 02:22 AM
I'm not surprised, a magic-nullifying or magic-absorbing ore is a pretty common fantasy convention (though I've never heard of Malazan before now). Honestly, I'm surprised that there isn't one for D&D already. Cold Iron appears to have some basic properties of it, but it really doesn't capture the spirit beyond being a pain to enchant.

Geneticist
2007-02-07, 03:08 AM
I like it. There really aren't that many ideas for balancing the fighter that involve making the fighter better against magic instead of giving him more abilities. One idea I've had is that maybe magically summoned creatures struck by a zynshyr weapon are banished back to their native realm?

Behold_the_Void
2007-02-07, 11:43 AM
That idea definitely has merit. Summoned creatures would likely be dispelled by zynshyr, so I can see where that would make sense. I'll add it in.

Helgraf
2007-02-08, 03:35 AM
I'm not fond of the burrowing/lingering quality of the ammunition; but otherwise it seems an interesting project.

Doctari
2007-02-08, 09:35 AM
The embedding property of the ammo is simply too good.

Also the cost for the weapons needs to be significantly increased. We're talking about a material that will cause level 9 spells to crumble away.

My two cents anyway.

TimeWizard
2007-02-08, 11:22 AM
As much as I love the concept, it just isn't fair to wizards to have 100% spell failure chance. Also, what about AoE spells like fireball? does it only not effect you or does it simply fizzle?

anyhoo, I like the idea. Tweak it a bit and i'll be behind you wholeheatedly.

TempusCCK
2007-02-08, 11:54 AM
I've been using something like this in my campaigns for some time, though I usually just make it an item enchanted with dispell magic and antimagic field.

As for the 100% spell failure chance, looking at some of the upper level spell lists, I feel no qualms about a wizard not being able to use things like Power Word Kill and Wail of the Banshee against anyone.

Behold_the_Void
2007-02-08, 12:35 PM
As I said in the original post, I personally do not see the problem with making them immune to higher level spells. Wizards are STILL able to do a lot to the warrior. There are the orb spells, the fact that they can fly, dominate on other monsters, polymorph, etc. etc.. It severely limits their options yes, but as it stands now, Wizard can Forcecage any Fighter and win. I don't think that that should happen.

I'm more than willing to raise the price, the pricing was one of the things I struggled most with. I just need to know what would be considered fair.

The embedding property of the ammunition is rather good, and I'm still not completely sure I'll be using it, so that can be removed from it without any real difficulty. At higher levels it can pretty much completely cripple any caster, after all.

Spells like Fireball do not affect you. There's no real point in having armor that resists magic if most of the spells still work against you. Chain Lightning would fizzle and stop on you, fireball just won't affect you at all.

Mewtarthio
2007-02-08, 08:00 PM
Does it stop all magic, or just those that allow SR? I'm guessing the latter, but you should clarify it.

Behold_the_Void
2007-02-08, 09:10 PM
Does it stop all magic, or just those that allow SR? I'm guessing the latter, but you should clarify it.

I thought I had.


Zynshyr adds many special qualities to both armor and weapons. Light armor confers a 33% chance that any arcane, divine, or psionic spell/power targetting the wearer will fail. Medium armor offers a 66% chance of failure, and Heavy Armor fully protects the wearer from any form of magical or psionic attack.

Morty
2007-02-09, 04:29 AM
Well, great idea and good thinking. Non-magical means of stopping magic is something I've been thinking about myself.
And, BTW, what about making zynshyr generate Antimagical Field somehow? Like, if you put enough of this metal in corners of the room, it becomes antimagical.

Rumda
2007-02-09, 04:57 AM
what would happen in a room with the walls made out of zynshyr....

Doctari
2007-02-09, 08:22 AM
I thought I had.




I can't imagine the wizards of the world being ok with this being around. And by not being ok with it I mean banding together, polymorphing into dragons and trolls and laying waste any place that produces this.

And even if the mages are ok with it you'd think the gods would have an issue with a metal that can stop all their works and take steps. (Balors, mariliths and solars, oh my!)

I think it would be ok if it mimiced spell immunity (except that it would be against all spells that allow spell resistance and ignores the 4th level limitation).

Or maybe if it didn't ignore the 4th level limitation.

I guess at the end of the day it's your campaign and you can do what you want but given the power of this metal at this point it would be more valuable then mithril/adamantium/"star metal"/platinum/diamonds. Kingdoms would wage war to controll it and whole generations of wizards/clerics/sorcerers/bards would dedicate their lives to it's nullification or destruction.

I would suggest:

Light Armor/Shield grants spell immunity (as the spell) to all spells of 3rd level and lower.

Medium armor/Large shield grants spell immunity (as the spell) to all spells of 6th level and lower.

Heavy armor/Tower shield grants spell immunity (as the spell) to all spells of 9th level and lower.

Priced however you feel is fair.

Light weapon: Ignores all magical protection (with the exception of natural armor/size bonus to armor granted by spells such as polymorph) each hit has a 5% chance of dispelling one of the spells (determined randomly) on the target.

Medium weapon: Ignores all magical protection (with the exception of natural armor/size bonus to armor granted by spells such as polymorph) each hit has a 10% chance of dispelling one of the spells (determined randomly) on the target.

Large Weapon: Ignores all magical protection (with the exception of natural armor/size bonus to armor granted by spells such as polymorph) each hit has a 20% chance of dispelling one of the spells (determined randomly) on the target.

Ranged Ammunition: Ignores all magical protection (with the exception of natural armor/size bonus to armor granted by spells such as polymorph) each hit has a 5% chance of dispelling one of the spells (determined randomly) on the target.

In addition on a confirmed critical the ammo will lodge into the target and due to it's particular qualities will disrupt the targets magical abilities (if any). This has 2 unique effects:

Each round there is a 5% chance (cumulative with the number of missles lodged into the target) that one spell the target has cast on themselves is dispelled (no roll required).
The target must make a concentration check to cast any spells while any missle is lodged in them. The DC for this check is equal to 10 + 5 per missle + spell level (E.G. Mage A has 3 arrows lodged in him. He wants to cast a fireball. The concentration DC is 28.)Priced as you see fit of course.

Behold_the_Void
2007-02-09, 11:29 AM
The wizards of the world probably aren't OK with it, but I can imagine that people developed the ability to work metal long before they developed highly advanced magical abilities, so it's likely that use of this metal would have already been reasonably widespread beforehand. At which point, wizards banding together may happen, but that would require them to get it away from warlords who possess it, which would be difficult.

I can understand this being a highly contested metal (the pricing I'm still unsure of and it will likely become more expensive), and that was kind of the point. More than just a balancing mechanic, the idea of a metal that can nullify magic has shown up in many different fantasy mediums, and in addition to giving serious aid to the fighter, it can lend itself to any of the situations you mentioned and more.

The basic idea behind this is it is something akin to a personal anti-magic field. It's much more believable for fighters to have this equipment than to have an item of permanent anti-magic field, in the case of the weapons allowing them to pierce magical defenses making them more useful than toting around a permanent antimagic field that the Wizard can fly out of range of and wind-wall.

I can and likely will clarify that this has no effect on the gods, (divine magic of course still being suppressed). Epic spells could probably also still function under their effect.

I like the percentile more than the spell level protection for the armor because it still protects light-armor characters from even 9th level spells in exchange for a lowered effectiveness. I really like what you put for the weapons though, I think I'll adapt that in (plus it's a lot simpler and more concise description than what I used). I especially like the embedding on a critical.

As far as Zynshyr generating an anti-magic field, it does to some degree. I look at it as an extremely short-range field that pretty much just protects whoever's holding it.

In the room with Zynshyr walls, for example, you could still cast magic, you just couldn't use that magic to get out as it'd fizzle upon hitting the walls.

Black Mage
2007-02-25, 04:13 AM
I thank you for making this. I am now stealing it for my campaign. Whether or not the resident spell casters like it. One of the balancing factors to this metal in armor form is the inability to recieve magical healing during combat. And out of combat you have to remove the armor just to make sure the cleric can cast a cure spell on you. It's not just harmful magic that can't affect you, buff spells also fizzle and die on you too.

All hail the Void! *Bows*

jlousivy
2007-02-26, 01:04 AM
I think a % chance of failure is ok, however 100% is a little much. Heavy+tower shield should be 80% max. There's no reason a lvl 1 commoner with full plate made out of this (just assume he has it i know he couldn't afford) would suddenly be immune to all epic magic, and all the spells of a divine rank 5454459098345 diety.

I like the idea, i just think that it is overpowered. Mantle of Spell Resistance = 91,000gp and thats only against SR spells. Which that SR is pretty easy to get around.

In short, i just think the % should be scaled down. I do like how it doesn't differenciate between the magics though.

Behold_the_Void
2007-02-26, 01:16 AM
I think a % chance of failure is ok, however 100% is a little much. Heavy+tower shield should be 80% max. There's no reason a lvl 1 commoner with full plate made out of this (just assume he has it i know he couldn't afford) would suddenly be immune to all epic magic, and all the spells of a divine rank 5454459098345 diety.

I like the idea, i just think that it is overpowered. Mantle of Spell Resistance = 91,000gp and thats only against SR spells. Which that SR is pretty easy to get around.

In short, i just think the % should be scaled down. I do like how it doesn't differenciate between the magics though.

It doesn't work on Epic/Divine Spells, and enough of it should block any earthly magic.

Also, SR enhancements I don't like, I tend to find them overpriced and useless. Something to remember about SR though, you can still use other magical equipment with it. This negates ALL magic. Good or bad.

jlousivy
2007-02-26, 01:40 AM
I highly agree with the SR enchantments, by the time you can afford them, they are only really useful against -3 CR than usual opponents.

Some of it doesn't make sense- like mage armour not working, but enchanted armour working? In both situations the blade passes through at the same speed.

As for the summoned creatures -- i'd give it the % chance instead of the 100% chance, as for gated creatures, i'd use the % chance to remove the buff(dominate monster) or the like.

Behold_the_Void
2007-02-26, 02:49 AM
I was actually going to go back and revise the rules on summoned creatures to make it more percentile-based, just haven't had the opportunity to do so. I'll do that now.

The way I figure Mage Armor vs. Enchanted Armor is like this. Mage Armor creates a wall of magical force to block you in the form of armor. Magical Armor is tempered with magic to make it stronger, hardier, and more resilient. A zynshyr weapon by its very nature punches through the force that Mage Armor creates, but it isn't enough of a hit to completely disrupt a permanent, embedded enchantment meant to increase the qualities of an armor.

jlousivy
2007-02-26, 02:58 AM
Ahhh i c, i've always concidered magic armour.... to be basicly masterwork armour with a 'magic coating' But if i am understanding you correctly, the magic and metal are basicly meshed together in a way sorta similar to coal + iron = steel, and then i'd agree that the magic armour should apply otherwise I'd see mage armour working. However, the question that comes to my mind is that 'haste' grants the person a +1 dodge bonus and is concidered magical in all regaurds, is it affected by the sword? I'd rule no seeing how it's a dodge bonus so... it helps you dodge the blow rather than block it.

Behold_the_Void
2007-02-26, 12:20 PM
Haste would likely still work unless the protection is stripped away, but that's up to the DM.

nivek1234
2007-02-26, 08:32 PM
My first inclination on the chance to negate spells is a little too high. However, I do not know how balanced it would actually be as I have yet to play with such an armor. I could see some people changing that effectiveness to be the chance for arcane spell failure of armors (making full plate + tower shield = 95% chance of failure). Just my 2cp.