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Altrunchen
2016-03-27, 03:03 PM
Introduction:
I was playing a Mario game a while ago and noticed how the magikoopas had these magical rods that they shot magical blasts out to hurt Mario. Seeing this got me wondering if it might make for a good addition to a D&D weapon for mages. So I statted some out, calling them war-rods (since I couldn't think of a better term) and included them in some games. So far it's been a pretty successful addition and hasn't become game-breaking. With that in mind, I figured that I would post here about them so that maybe someone else could benefit from it.


http://www.mariowiki.com/images/thumb/7/79/Magikoopa_Artwork_-_Super_Mario_3D_World.png/220px-Magikoopa_Artwork_-_Super_Mario_3D_World.png
Where I got the idea from.


Concept Description:
The core idea here is a magical rod that shoots out magic blasts and deals generic damage. The magic has to be targeted in order to hit and has a limited range, one that is shorter than that of any bow or crossbow. What's more is that only people who are capable of casting magic are able to use it. They need to already be a mage, or to be sensitive to the weave in order to make use of these.


http://www.zeldalegends.net/gallery/categories/A_Link_to_the_Past/Official_Art/Items/b-rods.jpg
Something visually similar to what a war rod looks like.
War-Rod
Simple Light One-Handed Magical Ranged
Critical: N/A
Range: 30 ft.
Range Increment: None
Type: Magical



Size:
Cost:
Damage:
Weight:
Hp:


Fine

Varies

Varies

0.0625 lb.

Varies



Diminutive

Varies

Varies

0.125 lb.

Varies



Tiny

Varies

Varies

0.25 lb.

Varies



Small

Varies

Varies

0.5 lb.

Varies



Medium

Varies

Varies

1 lb.

Varies



Large

Varies

Varies

2 lbs.

Varies



Huge

Varies

Varies

4 lbs.

Varies



Gargantuan

Varies

Varies

8 lbs.

Varies



Colossal

Varies

Varies

16 lbs.

Varies




Physical Description:
War rods are treated as light, one-handed simple weapons. A war rod is usually about 1.5 feet in length, has a cylindrical shaft, and has a stone sphere mounted on one end. The color of the sphere or of the shaft is inconsequential and is purely aesthetic. Smaller or larger War Rods can be crafted but size has no effect on the amount of damage dealt, though it does effect accuracy. This means that the size of the war rod only effects the attack modifiers but does nothing for the damage modifiers. They are most commonly made for medium-sized creatures.

That being said, there is no requirement for a specific length as long as it's at least 1.5 feet (18 inches) in length for a medium sized creature (use this ratio to judge sizes for differently sized creatures). And the object at the end need not be a sphere. In fact the appearance of a war rod is entirely up to the designer's imagination and their crafting ability. It also depends on how much money they're willing to spend on it.

If it is easier for making the calculations of the dimensions of a war rod then once can use the proportion: 25% of the user's height. As needed.

Usage:
To use a war rod the wielder must make a ranged touch-attack against a target within 30 feet of their current position. To activate the weapon they must will the weapon to fire while holding it with their hand (no mage hand allowed) and while pointing the rod (sphere-first) at the target. Upon doing so a magical bolt of energy will leap forth from the sphere on the end, blasting the target (if they hit). This takes a standard action and provokes an attack of opportunity. War rods do not have charges or limited ammunition. The type of damage dealt is generally akin to that of a magic missile for damage reduction purposes. But some war rods are made to be aligned with a particular element.

The skill Use Magical Device does not apply to war rods and bears no impact on their efficacy.

To clarify, the damage type dealt by the war rod is untyped magical damage. The damage dealt by the spell Magic Missile is of the same variety.

Damage, Accuracy, and Cost:
A war rod has a base damage dice based on the power level of the rod. In addition to this base damage dice, there is the ability to grant the war rod bonuses to hit and to damage. Doing so increases the price of the war rod.

Note to DMs: If you want to make these harder to get or want to alter the prices for balance sake, then you need only adjust the base price. The enhancement costs are percentage based to make this easier to accomplish.


Table: Base Damage Dice and Base Cost


Category:
Damage Dice:
Base Cost:


Lesser
1d4
4000 gp


Minor
1d6
6000 gp


Mezzo
1d8
8000 gp


Major
1d10
10000 gp


Greater
1d12
12000 gp


All prices in the above table are for war rods with a +0 to both attack and damage.



Table: Enhancement cost increases




+1 Attack

+2 Attack
+3 Attack
+4 Attack
+5 Attack
+6 Attack
+7 Attack
+8 Attack
+9 Attack
+10 Attack



+1 Damage

+20%
+30%
+40%
+50%
+60%
+70%
+80%
+90%
+100%
+110%


+2 Damage
+30%
+40%
+50%
60%
+70%
+80%
+90%
+100%
+110%
+120%


+3 Damage
+40%
+50%
+60%
+70%
+80%
+90%
+100%
+110%
+120%
+130%


+4 Damage
+50%
60%
+70%
+80%
+90%
+100%
+110%
+120%
+130%
+140%


+5 Damage
+60%
+70%
+80%
+90%
+100%
+110%
+120%
+130%
+140%
+150%


+6 Damage
+70%
+80%
+90%
+100%
+110%
+120%
+130%
+140%
+150%
+160%


+7 Damage
+80%
+90%
+100%
+110%
+120%
+130%
+140%
+150%
+160%
+170%


+8 Damage
+90%
+100%
+110%
+120%
+130%
+140%
+150%
+160%
+170%
+180%


+9 Damage
+100%
+110%
+120%
+130%
+140%
+150%
+160%
+170%
+180%
+190%


+10 Damage

+110%
+120%
+130%
+140%
+150%
+160%
+170%
+180%
+190%
+200%



Range:
A war rod always has a maximum range of 30 feet. It has no range increment when fired. However, it can be thrown for 1d2 damage and only as a projectile can it have a range increment of 30 ft.

Critical Hits & Failures:
A war rod is incapable of a critical hit since it's only a blast of magic. However, it is possible to have a critical failure with a war rod. Most of the time it involves either dropping it, hitting oneself with the attack, or even breaking it.

Material Stats:
All war rods have a hardness and an hp rating. It is possible to destroy them with non-magical objects. Use the following formulas to determine the material properties of each war rod. If a war rod is broken, then it cannot be repaired and the magical enhancements on the object are lost forever.

Hardness = 10 + Total Enhancement Bonus

HP = 10 + Total Enhancement Bonus

Crafting:
Only people who have received at least 4 years of special training are capable of making war rods. And those people must learn from a master. Texts do exist that detail how to do it, but if one is teaching oneself how to make these then it takes 8 years of learning plus the costs of experimentation and so on. The information below details how to make one of these.


Table: Base Rod Crafting Requirements:



Level:
Gp Cost:
Xp Cost:
Craft DC:
Crafting Time:


Lesser
3000
500
15
2 months


Minor
5000
1000
25
4 months


Mezzo
7000
2000
35
8 months


Major
9000
4000
45
16 months


Greater
11000
8000
55
32 months




Adding enhancement bonuses only increases the costs, crafting DCs, and crafting times of war rods. To calculate this, add up the enhancements together and multiply by 10. The result is the total enhancement bonus and the percentage increase of the base costs and crafting times. An example is if you want to make a +10 attack and a +10 damage war rod, then the enhancement bonus is +20, therefore you must increase the costs and the crafting time by 200%.

Cost Increase Percentage = Total Enhancement Bonus * 10

Elemental Enchantments: If you want a war rod to deal a particular type of damage (like acid, fire, sonic, ice or the like) then it immediately increases the costs and the crafting time by 50%. This also applies to war rods that are purchased instead of crafted.
I may add or subtract to this as time goes on. But for right now I think this will suffice.

Special Thanks:
Libro (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/member.php?129163-Libro)
Guigarci (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/member.php?63520-Guigarci)
VoodooPaladin (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/member.php?81849-VoodooPaladin)

Altrunchen
2016-03-30, 07:29 AM
I'd love to get some feedback about this. So please post your questions, comments, and concerns. :)

Libro
2016-03-30, 02:25 PM
I'd love to get some feedback about this. So please post your questions, comments, and concerns. :)I know little about magic item creation, but I'll lend my 2 coppers. My commentary is bolded within quote below:


Introduction:
I was playing a Mario game a while ago and noticed how the magikoopas had these magical rods that they shot magical blasts out to hurt Mario. Seeing this got me wondering if it might make for a good addition to a D&D weapon for mages. So I statted some out, calling them war-rods (since I couldn't think of a better term) and included them in some games. So far it's been a pretty successful addition and hasn't become game-breaking. With that in mind, I figured that I would post here about them so that maybe someone else could benefit from it.

Concept Description:
The core idea here is a magical rod that shoots out magic blasts and deals generic damage. The magic has to be targeted in order to hit and has a limited range, one that is shorter than that of any bow or crossbow. What's more is that only people who are capable of casting magic are able to use it. They need to already be a mage, or to be sensitive to the weave in order to make use of these.

The Mario games are but a few of the many games I have not played, but I think I understand the concept. Do the last few lines above mean UMD does not work with them? If so, it would be a good idea for it to be stated directly.

Physical Description:
A war rod is usually about 1.5 feet in length, has a cylindrical shaft, and has a stone sphere mounted on one end. The color of the sphere or of the shaft is inconsequential and is purely aesthetic. Smaller or larger War Rods can be crafted but size has no effect on the amount of damage dealt, though it does effect accuracy. They are most commonly made for medium-sized creatures.

If the underlined part above refers to size modifiers to attack, it could be clarified to be more understandable.

That being said, there is no requirement for a specific length as long as it's at least 1.5 feet (18 inches) in length for a medium sized creature (use this ratio to judge sizes for differently sized creatures). And the object at the end need not be a sphere. In fact the appearance of a war rod is entirely up to the designer's imagination and their crafting ability. It also depends on how much money they're willing to spend on it.

Maybe say 1/4 of a creature's height instead of giving a ratio for calculations? It would make the math simpler.

Usage:
To use a war rod the wielder must make a ranged touch-attack against a target within 30 feet of their current position. To activate the weapon they must will the weapon to fire while holding it with their hand (no mage hand allowed) and while pointing the rod (sphere-first) at the target. Upon doing so a magical bolt of energy will leap forth from the sphere on the end, blasting the target (if they hit). This takes a standard action and provokes an attack of opportunity. War rods do not have charges or limited ammunition. The type of damage dealt is generally akin to that of a magic missile for damage reduction purposes. But some war rods are made to be aligned with a particular element.

It may be a good idea to state untyped damage or force damage. Both already exist, and would be simpler for GMs and players to handle.

Damage, Accuracy, and Cost:
A war rod has a base damage dice based on the power level of the rod. In addition to this base damage dice, there is the ability to grant the war rod bonuses to hit and to damage. Doing so increases the price of the war rod.

Makes sense to be able to enchant them further. As an idea, maybe permit other weapon enhancements to be added to them using the same pricing system.

Note to DMs: If you want to make these harder to get or want to alter the prices for balance sake, then you need only adjust the base price. The enhancement costs are percentage based to make this easier to accomplish.


Table: Base Damage Dice and Base Cost


Category:
Damage Dice:
Base Cost:


Lesser
1d4
4000 gp


Minor
1d6
6000 gp


Mezzo
1d8
8000 gp


Major
1d10
10000 gp


Greater
1d12
12000 gp


All prices in the above table are for war rods with a +0 to both attack and damage.



Table: Enhancement cost increases




+1 Attack

+2 Attack
+3 Attack
+4 Attack
+5 Attack
+6 Attack
+7 Attack
+8 Attack
+9 Attack
+10 Attack



+1 Damage

+20%
+30%
+40%
+50%
+60%
+70%
+80%
+90%
+100%
+110%


+2 Damage
+30%
+40%
+50%
60%
+70%
+80%
+90%
+100%
+110%
+120%


+3 Damage
+40%
+50%
+60%
+70%
+80%
+90%
+100%
+110%
+120%
+130%


+4 Damage
+50%
60%
+70%
+80%
+90%
+100%
+110%
+120%
+130%
+140%


+5 Damage
+60%
+70%
+80%
+90%
+100%
+110%
+120%
+130%
+140%
+150%


+6 Damage
+70%
+80%
+90%
+100%
+110%
+120%
+130%
+140%
+150%
+160%


+7 Damage
+80%
+90%
+100%
+110%
+120%
+130%
+140%
+150%
+160%
+170%


+8 Damage
+90%
+100%
+110%
+120%
+130%
+140%
+150%
+160%
+170%
+180%


+9 Damage
+100%
+110%
+120%
+130%
+140%
+150%
+160%
+170%
+180%
+190%


+10 Damage

+110%
+120%
+130%
+140%
+150%
+160%
+170%
+180%
+190%
+200%



Range:
A war rod always has a maximum range of 30 feet. It has no range increment. It can be thrown for 1d2 damage and only as a projectile can it have a range increment of 30 ft.

Maybe change to "A war rod always has a maximum range of 30 feet when fired. It has no range increment when fired. In times of emergency, it can be thrown for 1d2 damage with a range increment of 30 ft."

Critical Hits & Failures:
A war rod is incapable of a critical hit since it's only a blast of magic. However, it is possible to have a critical failure with a war rod. Most of the time it involves either dropping it, hitting oneself with the attack, or even breaking it.

Ray/touch spells are capable of making critical hits on a natural 20. Giving it the ability to make critical hits, albeit with a low multiplier, shouldn't be game-breaking.

Material Stats:
All war rods have a hardness and an hp rating. It is possible to destroy them with non-magical objects. Use the following formulas to determine the material properties of each war rod. If a war rod is broken, then it cannot be repaired and the magical enhancements on the object are lost forever.

Hardness = 10 + Total Enhancement Bonus

HP = 10 + Total Enhancement Bonus

Crafting:
Only people who have received at least 4 years of special training are capable of making war rods. And those people must learn from a master. Texts do exist that detail how to do it, but if one is teaching oneself how to make these then it takes 8 years of learning plus the costs of experimentation and so on. The information below details how to make one of these.

The time seems a tad high... I understand it's meant to be a limiting factor, but there may be better choices, such as a special material or ritual.


Table: Base Rod Crafting Requirements:



Level:
Gp Cost:
Xp Cost:
Craft DC:
Crafting Time:


Lesser
3000
500
15
2 months


Minor
5000
1000
25
4 months


Mezzo
7000
2000
35
8 months


Major
9000
4000
45
16 months


Greater
11000
8000
55
32 months




Adding enhancement bonuses only increases the costs, crafting DCs, and crafting times of war rods. To calculate this, add up the enhancements together and multiply by 10. The result is the total enhancement bonus and the percentage increase of the base costs and crafting times. An example is if you want to make a +10 attack and a +10 damage war rod, then the enhancement bonus is +20, therefore you must increase the costs and the crafting time by 200%.

Cost Increase Percentage = Total Enhancement Bonus * 10

Elemental Enchantments: If you want a war rod to deal a particular type of damage (like acid, fire, sonic, ice or the like) then it immediately increases the costs and the crafting time by 50%. This also applies to war rods that are purchased instead of crafted.

I am not experienced enough to comment on pricing, but they seem like something I would use in a campaign. Hopefully what I've said is of use.

MoleMage
2016-03-30, 02:55 PM
I ran a homebrew item line called Spellstones once that were similar to this. How I played them was that they had to be charged by a spell of N level (depending on type of stone, between 1 and 4) with an appropriate descriptor, and then for the rest of the day they could be used to make ranged touch attacks of that energy type dealing 1d6 per level damage.

I found that for the most part, spellcasters were perfectly willing to give up the one spell slot, but almost never actually used the thing because there were better things they could be doing with their action by the time they could afford the item.

Altrunchen
2016-04-03, 12:51 PM
I know little about magic item creation, but I'll lend my 2 coppers. My commentary is bolded within quote below:



I am not experienced enough to comment on pricing, but they seem like something I would use in a campaign. Hopefully what I've said is of use.

Many thanks for your feedback! You made some very good points and I made sure to implement some of your suggestions. :)


I ran a homebrew item line called Spellstones once that were similar to this. How I played them was that they had to be charged by a spell of N level (depending on type of stone, between 1 and 4) with an appropriate descriptor, and then for the rest of the day they could be used to make ranged touch attacks of that energy type dealing 1d6 per level damage.

I found that for the most part, spellcasters were perfectly willing to give up the one spell slot, but almost never actually used the thing because there were better things they could be doing with their action by the time they could afford the item.

I think I understand what you are saying. Why do generic damage when you could cast Black Tentacles? I getcha.

The way I see it, these are like side-arms for mages. Like a pistol for a soldier. It may not be their main form of attack or their go-to means of fighting, but it's better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it. Basically if somethings running up to a mage and they can't flee, they can use one of these instead of burning a spell. Or if they run out of spells entirely, they still have a means of defending themselves and being useful in combat.

Gildedragon
2016-04-03, 04:50 PM
They seem similar to a warlock's blast and scepter; or a rod that allows one to use a reserve feat.
Make them one handed or light weapon instead of describing the size

Altrunchen
2016-04-03, 07:00 PM
They seem similar to a warlock's blast and scepter; or a rod that allows one to use a reserve feat.
Make them one handed or light weapon instead of describing the size

Aha! Thanks I forgot to mention that part!

nikkoli
2016-04-03, 07:02 PM
I would also make enchanting them work like regular weapons, rather than making it have a percentage increase to the original cost. You can get a d12 +10 attack with a +10 to hit for 24k, it would be a like 4th step back up, but it would be pretty effective against mooks. If you wanted a +10 enhancement to hit and damage on a regular weapon it would cost a metric tonish of gold, unsure how much that is of the top of my head, but I know a +5 regular weapon is well above 24k.

Altrunchen
2016-04-03, 07:15 PM
I would also make enchanting them work like regular weapons, rather than making it have a percentage increase to the original cost. You can get a d12 +10 attack with a +10 to hit for 24k, it would be a like 4th step back up, but it would be pretty effective against mooks. If you wanted a +10 enhancement to hit and damage on a regular weapon it would cost a metric tonish of gold, unsure how much that is of the top of my head, but I know a +5 regular weapon is well above 24k.

I had a feeling someone might mention that. The reason I didn't do the normal enchanting system is because quite frankly I've never had to use it and so I haven't really learned how to do it yet. No one in my sessions has ever wanted to craft a weapon, yet. So I figured that if you made it percentage based and adjusted the base prices how you wanted then you could easily find a price point that would make things balanced.

Because yeah, a +10 weapon of any other kind would require a boat-load of cash.

So I think that the percentage system here works because then if a DM wants it to be harder to get one, they don't have to make a bunch of conversions for each cell. They need only adjust the base price.

VoodooPaladin
2016-04-04, 02:31 AM
I like the idea of giving magical combat power to characters due to non-magical training and resources. It's the kind of thing you'd think would be easier to do in D&D, what with its prevalence in fantasy.

But one math thing: if I read the enhancement table correctly, (and I very well might not be) then a +5/+5 Lesser Rod is the same price as a +0/+0 Mezzo Rod. That's borked, completely. Any ideas on how to deal with it?

Altrunchen
2016-04-04, 06:05 AM
I like the idea of giving magical combat power to characters due to non-magical training and resources. It's the kind of thing you'd think would be easier to do in D&D, what with its prevalence in fantasy.

But one math thing: if I read the enhancement table correctly, (and I very well might not be) then a +5/+5 Lesser Rod is the same price as a +0/+0 Mezzo Rod. That's borked, completely. Any ideas on how to deal with it?

Let's see. A mezzo war-rod is worth 8k gp. A +5/+5 lesser war rod is also worth 8k gp by my current system. So yeah there is a problem there, good catch.

At most a mezzo war-rod can do 8 damage. At most a +5/+5 lesser war rod can do 9 damage. The mezzo has an average damage of 4.5. The lesser +5/+5 has an average damage of 7.5. So we need to deal with a 100 gp worth of difference for the max damage and a 3 point difference for the average damage.

This is a problem. But I'm not sure how to fix it just yet. If anyone has any ideas, please let us know. Perhaps we can brainstorm and come up with a solution?

Gildedragon
2016-04-04, 12:08 PM
On attack and damage: is this a normal ranged attack or a ranged touch attached; rays are usually the latter but since this doesn't say...
Also magic missile's damage is typed. It is force damage.

On naming: the usual convention is: least lesser minor major greater
Mezzo while adequate is a bit odd when it is put against other magical items.

For pricing I'd go for using the standard weapon table, and treating it as a ranged weapon.

The damage dice differences seem to be not dissimilar to weapon size categories; though it might be worth cutting down on the number of varieties. Only the lesser, mezzo, and greater are really worth it (dice damage increase isn't worth that much compared to a flat +5 to damage)

Since these are really similar to a warlock's eldritch blast maybe taking a cue from the blast can help differentiate the grades of the weapon: either the difference being how much of an enhancement bonus they have (a greater rod has a native +5, a least a +1), their maximum enhanceability (not recommended), or the level of spell they can hold.

That last idea comes from seeing the rod less like an eldritch blast and more like a portable reserve feat. A spellcaster loads it up with a spell, and the rod activates dealing damage depending on the spell level loaded; at any point, as a standard action, the spellcaster can use up the sacrificed slot to cast from the rod as if it were a wand (which renders the rod inert until loaded up again). A least rod can hold up to 1st level, a lesser up to 3rd, minor 6th, major 9th, greater 9th and can hold a back-up
Special enhancements can be that when a certain spell or [spell descriotor] is loaded in, the ray gets a bonus
A fiery rod would deal it's attacks as fire damage, if a [fire] spell is loaded up then it has an 18-20 crit range...
An icy rod would slow a target if hit with a [cold] descriptor spell
A rod of light would make the target glow
A healing rod can deal positive energy healing damage
Etc etc

VoodooPaladin
2016-04-04, 02:09 PM
This is a problem. But I'm not sure how to fix it just yet. If anyone has any ideas, please let us know. Perhaps we can brainstorm and come up with a solution?

Since it's percentile cost increase, have the damage enhancement be +1dX, where dX = the damage die of the weapon. So a +3 damage increase would total to 4d4 damage for a Lesser, but 4d8 damage for a Mezzo, and the rather impressive 4d12 damage for a Greater.

Attack enhancements are actually kind of redundant, since ranged touch attacks with simple weapons are hard to dodge. If the Rods were regular ranged attacks, they would be more attractive.

If the attacks stay Ranged Touch, maybe attacks with the Rod shouldn't factor in your BAB? Then the attack bonus would be a replacement for BAB progression in the attack calculation.

Gildedragon
2016-04-04, 02:49 PM
Since it's percentile cost increase, have the damage enhancement be +1dX, where dX = the damage die of the weapon. So a +3 damage increase would total to 4d4 damage for a Lesser, but 4d8 damage for a Mezzo, and the rather impressive 4d12 damage for a Greater.

Attack enhancements are actually kind of redundant, since ranged touch attacks with simple weapons are hard to dodge. If the Rods were regular ranged attacks, they would be more attractive.

If the attacks stay Ranged Touch, maybe attacks with the Rod shouldn't factor in your BAB? Then the attack bonus would be a replacement for BAB progression in the attack calculation.

I was going to comment on how weaponlike spells use BAB+relevant modifier, like weapons do, but then I remembered there is nothing that increases a spell's attack roll like a weapon's enhancement bonus.

That could also be a functionality of a war rod like item, a targeting rod of sorts. A basic rod is a masterwork weapon that adds +1 to hit and can be enhanced as a ranged weapon.