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    Default [4E] Magic Item Variant: Styles and Techniques

    Okay, basic system I've worked out, though it probably needs a nice amount of work:

    You get a certain number of "style" points each level. (check table below) You can spend these points to learn various styles. A style gives you a bonus to certain attributes, and many also give you a special technique that you can use along with it. You can only use a single daily technique per day at heroic tier, two at paragon, and 3 at epic.

    There are four categories of styles: Attack, Defense, Mental and Utility. All styles except for Utility styles have an enhancement bonus, usually depending on it's level. Attack styles add this bonus to attack rolls and damage rolls. Defense styles add to AC. Mental styles add to Fortitude, Reflex, and Will. Utility styles do not add to any attribute, unless stated differently.

    You can only have a single Attack, Defense and Mental style active at any time, and it takes a minor action to change from one to another. You can choose which of these styles you want to use at the start of battle, if you have learned multiple stances of the same type. You can have any amount of Utility styles active at any time. You can never benefit from the same style twice, and no two style properties can benefit the same attribute twice.

    You choose what styles you learn each time you level up. You can also re-train a single style you already know to learn a new one, regaining all the points you spent to learn that style. You can also upgrade any styles you already know to a higher level version of itself, as long as you have enough points.

    {table=head]Level|Style Cost|Points Available
    1|360|1,080
    2|520|1,560
    3|680|2,040
    4|840|2,520
    5|1,000|3,000
    6|1,800|5,400
    7|2,600|7,800
    8|3,400|10,200
    9|4,200|12,600
    10|5,000|15,000
    11|9,000|36,000
    12|13,000|52,000
    13|17,000|68,000
    14|21,000|84,000
    15|25,000|10,0000
    16|45,000|180,000
    17|65,000|260,000
    18|85,000|340,000
    19|105,000|420,000
    20|125,000|500,000
    21|225,000|1,125,000
    22|325,000|1,625,000
    23|425,000|2,125,000
    24|525,000|2,625,000
    25|625,000|3,125,000
    26|1,125,000|5,625,000
    27|1,625,000|8,125,000
    28|2,125,000|10,625,000
    29|2,625,000|13,125,000
    30|3,125,000|15,625,000[/table]


    Attack Styles

    Duelist Style---------------------------------------Heroic
    The favored style of a rogue.
    Lvl 3 +1-------------------Lvl 18 +4
    Lvl 8 +2-------------------Lvl 13 +5
    Lvl 13 +3------------------Lvl 28 +6
    Weapon: Light Blade
    Critical: +1d6 damage per plus, or +1d8 damage per plus if
    -you have combat advantage
    Daily Technique: Minor Action. You have combat advantage
    -against the next creature you attack with an allowed
    -weapon on this turn.

    Focused Style--------------------------------------Heroic
    You sacrifice power to focus your mind on landing each and
    and every attack you make.

    Lvl 2 +2-------------------Lvl 19 +5
    Lvl 8 +3-------------------Lvl 24 +6
    Lvl 14 +4------------------Lvl 30 +7
    Weapon: Any

    Heroic Tier Feats

    Adaptive Style
    -Prerequisites: Int 13
    -Benefit: You can switch styles of the chosen category as an
    immediate action, instead of a minor action.
    -Special: You can take this
    feat more than once. Each time you select this feat, choose
    another style category.

    Dual Style
    -Prerequisites: Dex 15
    -Benefit: You can have two Attack styles active at any one
    time. Each attack you make can only benefit from one of these
    styles. For powers that grant multiple attacks, choose for each
    attack.
    -Special: You must be wielding two weapons/implements to
    benefit from this feat.

    Varied Style
    -Prerequisites: Wis 13
    -Benefit: Each style your learn after your first in a category
    other than Utility costs as many points as an item 1 level below
    it. At 11th level they cost as much as an item 2 levels below it,
    and at 21st they cost as much as an item 3 levels below it.



    Basically, this removes WBL and ties "items" directly to your level, which is basically what WBL did anyways. As you can see, turning items into styles is ridiculously easy. Magic weapon and implement types become Attack styles, magic armor types become Defense Styles, and neck slot items become Mental styles. All other magic items become Utility styles.

    Another system I've been thinking of, which would go well with this one, is masterwork weapons, basically like how masterwork armor works. These would replace magic items as "loot", and basically give something like a +1 to +4 bonus to hit and damage. +1 being the life work of a master, +2 being made of a special material like adamantine and forged by a legendary master, +3 being made of starmetal and the progressive life work of a line of dwarves, and +4 being nothing less than a weapon forged out of the cosmos by the god Moradin himself for his champion among mortals. Getting a +1 item would be normal in heroic, a +2 normal in paragon, +3 normal in epic, and +4 would be something you might get at level 30 right before you fight tiamat.

    None of these would be assumed, of course, given out by the DM depending on if he wants the game to be harder or easier, and also just as easily taken away as given. For example, Roy's sword might be a +2 item, and perfectly good to use for the duration of his career, and even if he finds a nice +3 item later, he wouldn't be stabbing himself in the foot if he passed it up out of respect for his grandfather. (Just punching himself in the foot)

    I like this system because it brings back what I think a lot of people liked about the item systems in the older editions, like 2e and before, while keeping the added customization of 4E's item system. And like I said above, it makes the players feel more like it's they themselves that are getting more powerful instead of just having more stuff on them, and frees the game from WBL being needed so much for items and such.

    Of course, this doesn't fit every style of play, and does lose out on some of the OOO SHINY from the normal item system, but there ya go.

    Comments? Fatal flaws? Typos?
    Last edited by AgentPaper; 2009-07-14 at 09:27 PM.
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    Default Re: [4E] Alternative to magic items?

    One thing you could try is to give something along the lines of "stylistic experience", instead of treasure in many cases. Basically, in addition to improving your own abilities in combat, you learned some from your enemy. "stylistic experience" can then be used as treasure to buy magical items, that rather than being magical items, are actually a combat style. Then one would write a named style down, along with its benefits. So at one point, someone might have this:
    Whirling Blades
    +2 weapon
    +3 armor

    later, it might change to this
    Awakened Dragon
    +4 flaming weapon
    +3 armor

    later it might change to this
    Draconic Spirit
    +4 flaming weapon
    +3 armor, with some flight capability.
    Boots that increase jumping capability.

    Then the magical items that a character would have would be of the wondrous variety.

    Of course, you can always switch systems to something less reliant upon magic, it is probably easier. If you do, I would strongly avoid D&D in general, probably going to GURPS, Fudge, or Savage Worlds.

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    Default Re: [4E] Alternative to magic items?

    One thing I forgot to mention, is that artifacts will remain as-is. This is significant, because the way I planned it, any bonuses you get from the artifact weapon stack with all of your item-abilities. I like this, because then the players are actually significantly more powerful with the artifact in hand than not. It also makes it so that, if you have some minor artifact sword that you inherited from your father, it will still be helping you at level 30, and with the way the system works, probably just as much as it did in the beginning.

    And I'm not about to switch systems over something like this. I like the system as a whole a whole lot, especially 4E, and I don't mind putting a bit of work in to make this alternate system, especially if other people like it and are helping.
    Last edited by AgentPaper; 2009-04-04 at 11:53 AM.
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    Default Re: [4E] Alternative to magic items?

    A method I personally like is to make magic items relatively minor in impact (how minor is up to you, really -- a flat bonus works nicely, for example).

    Then, boost player stat-ups to make up for the difference between your magic item implement bonus and whatever you choose.

    Finally, if you strip magic items of their "daily" powers, grant players a handful more utility powers to make up for it.

    Heavy armor works out to a corner case. One option that doesn't seem to work bad is to grant half the (max of str and con) bonus to your AC in heavy armor. In addition, masterwork AC bonuses remain intact.

    A sketch of such a system:
    Magic Weapon: +1 to hit (flat), +1d12 crit damage per tier (type determined by item flavor)
    Magic Armor: Masterwork bonuses, +1 AC.
    Magic Amulet: +1 to all NADs

    Utility Powers: At level 4, 14 and 24, you gain one more utility power. At level 8, 18 and 28, you may replace a utility power with a higher level one.

    Stats: Currently you gain +4 to +5 to your top two stats' modifier as you gain levels in your best stats.

    Change it to +9 to +10 to your top two stats.

    Your third stat modifier currently goes up by +1. Boost it to +6 to +7 or so.

    These extra bonuses should be gotten about 1/3 at level 4/14/24 and 2/3 at level 8/18/28.

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    Default Re: [4E] Alternative to magic items?

    (Moved to first post)
    Last edited by AgentPaper; 2009-05-25 at 01:52 PM.
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    Default Re: [4E] Alternative to magic items?

    Nothing? Not even rabble rousing? Perhaps I should be making a new thread now that I have an actual system...

    At any rate: Bump, still looking for ideas to improve/balance this all. If nothing else, some more feat ideas, possibly style ideas that wouldn't have worked with items.
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    Default Re: [4E] Alternative to magic items?

    Not bad. That said, I do think that leaving in normal +1-+4 weapons kind of defeats the point. I've found that loot being rare at all works well, as players frequently don't take everything apart as excessively, or even walk around with a cart keeping loot. In general, having no magic item economy insures that any weapon upgrades and the like are done without saving up, simply taking an enemies applicable weapon if one is lost. Then any actual magic items are rare, usually only one or two characters will have one, and they seem special again.

    Alternately magic items still exist, but pretty much only weapons and shields, and they only have special effects, no +x bonus. This is better if you want magic items to be more common.

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    Default Re: [4E] Alternative to magic items?

    Quote Originally Posted by Knaight View Post
    Not bad. That said, I do think that leaving in normal +1-+4 weapons kind of defeats the point. I've found that loot being rare at all works well, as players frequently don't take everything apart as excessively, or even walk around with a cart keeping loot. In general, having no magic item economy insures that any weapon upgrades and the like are done without saving up, simply taking an enemies applicable weapon if one is lost. Then any actual magic items are rare, usually only one or two characters will have one, and they seem special again.

    Alternately magic items still exist, but pretty much only weapons and shields, and they only have special effects, no +x bonus. This is better if you want magic items to be more common.
    The way I was thinking was to have only magical weapons and armor, from +1 to +4, but no other benefits. And they're not meant to be a "You're level 11, so I guess I should have the next group have some +2 weapons of the right type" deal. Instead, they're supposed to be like artifacts are already, where you can give them out as a cool reward that will make the players a bit more powerful. Nobody sells them, the best you'll probably find is something like a disenfranchised noble selling his +1 longsword (family heirloom) for a ludicrous amount (and likely in an auction) to try and cover his expenses, or a devil giving the player a +2 executioners axe as part of a "sell-your-soul" deal.

    Artifacts would also exist, and be even more ridiculously powerful, for example a greatsword wielded by the god of war himself, probably with a large number of epic tales told of how he obtained it, would be something like a +6 artifact. The other gods would be jealous with their measly +5 artifacts, if that. As I understand it this is basically how the game used to work, in earlier editions, where having a magic item at all was something special, instead of something players assume they will get. That said, it wouldn't be hard to assume that the players manage to find a +1 item at least in the paragon tier, and a +2 shouldn't be much of an issue in epic.

    Basically, it gives the DM control over how powerful their group is. If he wants a gritty and "realistic" campaign where they players are generally screwed and should have trouble with many bosses, he can simply be really stingy with magic items, or perhaps never even have any at all, at least that the group can use. On the other hand, if he wants a heroic game with the players smashing evil wherever they tread, he could give out items like candy, starting them all off with +1 heirlooms from their daddies, and ending with them being divine champions of the gods each with their own unique +6 artifact weapon and armor of OMG powah.


    That said, it's still just a variant, and won't fit every campaign. At any rate, any opinions on the number of points I set for styles? Too many? Not enough? Does it scale like it should? I admit I haven't played too many games long enough to know how many magic items players can really start with.
    Last edited by AgentPaper; 2009-04-15 at 05:36 PM.
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    Default Re: [4E] Alternative to magic items?

    Intriguing. I don't feel confident judging or commenting on the balance of it, but I like the direction the idea is heading, at any rate. The ubiquity of magic items in most games is something that often gets tiresome and, I find, distracts from more interesting and important things, like the actual characters.

    Quote Originally Posted by AgentPaper View Post
    As I understand it this is basically how the game used to work, in earlier editions, where having a magic item at all was something special, instead of something players assume they will get.
    Well, it definitely didn't work that way in 3.5 or 3.0. I think magic items might have been slightly rarer in 2e, but that was a long time ago so my memory is fuzzy. Whether or not they were necessary in earlier editions, they seemed annoyingly inextricable from the system. This is why Iron Heroes was invented. If you want a D&D game where the PCs are awesome because of themselves and not because of some doodad they're lugging around, Iron Heroes is the way any day. It may not be 4e (it's a 3.5 variant), but there are plans for a new edition in the works.
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    Default Re: [4E] Magic Item Variant: Styles and Techniques

    Really, really cool! My one suggestion: work on the tech tree idea. I think you should have an approach where some styles can only be gotten to by advancing through other styles.
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    Default Re: [4E] Magic Item Variant: Styles and Techniques

    Quote Originally Posted by CarpeGuitarrem View Post
    Really, really cool! My one suggestion: work on the tech tree idea. I think you should have an approach where some styles can only be gotten to by advancing through other styles.
    This is something I want to do, but I wanted to get a nice, simple framework down first. This system also has the benefit of not needing any additional research or game knowledge than what's already in the PHB, as well as allowing players to use pretty much any magic item they want as a style, without any extra effort on the part of the DM to make it into a list.

    I'll see if I can make an example techtree, though, if only to start gauging balance issues and to give a template for others to work with.
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    Default Re: [4E] Magic Item Variant: Styles and Techniques

    One thing you might consider would be, rather than having a separate pool of "points" to allocate for styles, they could be given as rewards (just like magic items), representing abilities learned in battle. If someone doesn't like a particular style they have, or they want to upgrade or what have you, they could pay for "training" in a new style, the equivalent of purchasing an item for its market value. Perhaps this "training" would be more difficult to obtain for higher level styles, requiring PCs to seek out specific, hard-to-find masters of the style, or find/perform some esoteric ritual to imbue themselves with the proper power.
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    Default Re: [4E] Magic Item Variant: Styles and Techniques

    Still not sure how I want the tech-tree system to work, or even if I want to implement it at all. I just can't see how it would be different than how the system works right now, with abilities scaling as they level. It seems pretty much any sort of tech-tree would boil down to a single style that just gets new abilities as the character with it levels up.
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    Default Re: [4E] Magic Item Variant: Styles and Techniques

    Bump. Updated the points cost system, but I still have no idea what I want to do with any kind of tech-tree system, or even if I want one in there. If anyone else has an idea how that would work, I'd love to hear about it, because I'm drawing a blank.
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    Default Re: [4E] Magic Item Variant: Styles and Techniques

    Please tell me there's a typo in Varied Style. Currently it reduces styles by (at most) 1/120th in cost.
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    Default Re: [4E] Magic Item Variant: Styles and Techniques

    Heroic Style Points:
    Code:
        Style    Earned
        Cost:    Points:
     1:   9       +14
     2:  13       +19
     3:  17       +27
     4:  21       +38
     5:  25       +52
     6:  45       +70
     7:  65       +94
     8:  85       +134
     9: 105       +190
    10: 125       +262
    Paragon Style Points use the same chart as the above, as do Epic. (offset by 10 and 20 levels respectively).

    You can buy a Paragon Style Point with 25 Heroic Style Points.

    You can buy an Epic Style Point with 25 Paragon Style Points.

    When you want to replace a technique, you get back 1/5 the purchase price in Style points to spend elsewhere.

    Earned Points is the number of Style points (of the appropriate category) that should be earned in a level. You can just hand them out to the PC if you prefer, use them as rewards, or give them out in training sessions.

    When starting a PC above first level, give them a L+1, L+0 and a L-1 style, and enough style points to buy a style of level L-1.

    (Note: the style cost in the above is the GP value of a style divided by 60 in heroic, 1500 in paragon, and 37500 in epic. The style points earned is just the expected "style point value" of items dropped in the previous level you'd expect to have gotten. Level 1 was extrapolated.)
    Last edited by Yakk; 2009-07-14 at 04:00 PM.

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    Default Re: [4E] Magic Item Variant: Styles and Techniques

    Quote Originally Posted by Djinn_In_Tonic View Post
    Please tell me there's a typo in Varied Style. Currently it reduces styles by (at most) 1/120th in cost.
    Not a typo, but that's a relic from when styles cost an amount of points equal to their level. I will most definitely have to change that.

    Edit: Fixed.
    Last edited by AgentPaper; 2009-07-14 at 09:28 PM.
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