Results 1 to 1 of 1
  1. - Top - End - #1
    Titan in the Playground
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Gender
    Male

    Default Balanced Low Magic Item System

    I frequently see DMs posting about their low magic or low wealth campaigns and all the problems that causes. Or players who run into issues because they don't know about certain +X gear b/c it's obscure and complicated. This is my attempt to help them. Players get less treasure yet imbalance is avoided by replacing it with Ability Points that they spend whenever they level up. The idea is that the PC's strength comes from his inherent supernatural skill rather than his gear. This also cuts down on book keeping when handing out treasure and makes it easier for new players to improve their character, as treasure is now limited to more flavorful items rather than +X items.

    1 Ability Point equals 1,000 gp. For example you could give 1/3 as much treasure but give players 2/3 the expected increase in wealth-by-level (divided by 1,000 gp) in Ability Points to spend whenever they level up. The wealth by level table is in the DMG. It is not included here for copyright reasons. The bonuses you can spend Ability Points on are on the tables below. Unlike other points, Ability Points may be saved until the next level up, within reason. You may want to include other abilities based on +X magic items from non-core books.

    Player Ability Point Tables
    Spoiler
    Show

    Ability Score Boosts
    Enhancement bonuses do not stack with each other. Increasing an inherent bonus requires you to pay the full cost of the new bonus, not the difference. Unlike other abilities, an inherent bonus may not be retrained.
    {table] Point Cost | Ability
    4 | +2 enhancement bonus to any ability score.
    +12 | Improve one ability score enhancement bonus from +2 to +4
    +20 | Improve one ability score enhancement bonus from +4 to +6
    28 | +1 inherent bonus to any ability score
    56 | +2 inherent bonus to any ability score
    84 | +3 inherent bonus to any ability score
    102 | +4 inherent bonus to any ability score
    130 | +5 inherent bonus to any ability score
    [/table]

    AC
    {table] Armor AC Boost | Armored Point Cost (cumulative) | Unarmored Point Cost (1) (cumulative) | Mage Armored or Unarmored Point Cost (2) (cumulative) | Armored or Wild Shaped Cost (3) (cumulative)
    +1 | 1 | 1 | 2 | 16
    +2 | +2 | +2 | +6 | +9
    +3 | +3 | +3 | +10 | +11
    +4 | +5 | +5 | +13 | +13
    +5 | +6 | +6 | +14 | +15
    +6 | +7 | +7 | +18 | N/A
    +7 | +9 | +9 | N/A | N/A
    +8 | +10 | +10 | N/A | N/A
    +9 | +14 | +11 | N/A | N/A
    +10 | +18 | +13 | N/A | N/A
    +11 | N/A | +13 | N/A | N/A
    +12 | N/A | +14 | N/A | N/A
    +13 | N/A | +15 | N/A | N/A
    +14 | N/A | +18 | N/A | N/A
    [/table]
    All of the above are enhancement bonuses to armor. They are lost when the condition given in the column header (armored/unarmored) is no longer met.
    (1) Does not stack with armor bonuses
    (2) Stacks with mage armor, but not other armor bonuses
    (3) Armored AC may be upgraded to Armored or Wild Shaped AC by paying the difference of the total point costs. This ability also grants the druid the ability to keep his normal armor bonus while wild shaped, in addition to the enhancement bonus.

    {table] Point Cost | Ability
    1 | +1 enhancement bonus to shield AC
    +3 | Increase enhancement bonus to shield AC from +1 to +2
    +5 | Increase enhancement bonus to shield AC from +2 to +3
    +7 | Increase enhancement bonus to shield AC from +3 to +4
    +9 | Increase enhancement bonus to shield AC from +4 to +5
    +11 | Increase effective enhancement bonus to shield AC from +5 to +6 (1)
    +13 | Increase effective enhancement bonus to shield AC from +6 to +7 (1)
    +15 | Increase effective enhancement bonus to shield AC from +7 to +8 (1)
    [/table]

    {table] Point Cost | Ability
    2 | +1 deflection bonus to touch AC
    +5 | Increase deflection bonus to touch AC from +1 to +2
    +6 | Increase deflection bonus to touch AC from +2 to +3
    +10 | Increase deflection bonus to touch AC from +3 to +4
    +14 | Increase deflection bonus to touch AC from +4 to +5
    +18 | Increase deflection bonus to touch AC from +5 to +6
    [/table]
    (1) The actual enhancement bonus to shield AC may not exceed +5. A druid may keep his shield AC bonus (both base and enhancement bonus) while wildshaped by paying for 3 shield AC upgrades, but without the AC benefit.

    Saves
    {table] Point Cost | Ability
    1 | +1 resistance bonus to all saving throws
    +3 | Increase resistance bonus to saving throws from +1 to +2
    +5 | Increase resistance bonus to saving throws from +2 to +3
    +7 | Increase resistance bonus to saving throws from +3 to +4
    +9 | Increase resistance bonus to saving throws from +4 to +5
    [/table]

    Misc
    {table] Point Cost | Ability
    18 | Gain Energy Resistance 10 for one energy type of your choice: fire, cold, electricity, sonic or acid
    +24 | Improve one Energy Resistance from 10 to 20
    +24 | Improve one Energy Resistance from 20 to 30
    30 | +1 caster level, may only be taken once, does not give more spells known
    6 | Blinding Speed (as epic feat, haste any 5 rounds per day, uses/day is stackable)
    [/table]

    Skills and Turning
    {table] Point Cost | Ability
    11 | Turn undead as if 4 levels higher
    4.5 | "Persuasion": +3 competence bonus to charisma-based checks, including turning checks and skill checks
    2.5 | +5 competence bonus to spot, climb, jump, swim, hide, move silently or escape artist checks (pick one)
    +7.5 | Increase competence bonus from +5 to +10 for climb, jump, swim, hide, move silently or escape artist checks (pick one)
    +12.5 | Increase competence bonus from +10 to +15 for hide, move silently or escape artist checks (pick one)
    20 | Lucky: +1 luck bonus to all ability checks (including turning checks), skill checks and saving throws
    30 | +1 competence bonus on all attack rolls, ability checks (including turning checks), skill checks and saving throws
    [/table]

    Sudden Metamagic
    Sudden metamagic allows the caster to spontaneously apply metamagic without increasing the spell level. Sudden metamagic requires two free hands to cast, or one hand if the spell normally has no somatic component. Spontaneous casters must still take a full round action to use sudden metamagic. It does not grant the actual metamagic feat, nor require it. It may be used to modify a spell augmented by regular metamagic, comparing the spell's adjusted level to the sudden metamagic level limit.


    {table] Point Cost | Ability
    9 | Sudden Empower level 0-3 spells, 3/day
    32.5 | Sudden Empower level 0-6 spells, 3/day
    73 | Sudden Empower level 0-9 spells, 3/day
    3 | Sudden Enlarge level 0-3 spells, 3/day
    11 | Sudden Enlarge level 0-6 spells, 3/day
    24.5 | Sudden Enlarge level 0-9 spells, 3/day
    3 | Sudden Extend level 0-3 spells, 3/day
    11 | Sudden Extend level 0-6 spells, 3/day
    24.5 | Sudden Extend level 0-9 spells, 3/day
    14 | Sudden Maximize level 0-3 spells, 3/day
    54 | Sudden Maximize level 0-6 spells, 3/day
    121.5 | Sudden Maximize level 0-9 spells, 3/day
    35 | Sudden Quicken level 0-3 spells, 3/day
    75.5 | Sudden Quicken level 0-6 spells, 3/day
    170 | Sudden Quicken level 0-9 spells, 3/day
    3 | Sudden Silent level 0-3 spells, 3/day
    11 | Sudden Silent level 0-6 spells, 3/day
    24.5 | Sudden Silent level 0-9 spells, 3/day
    [/table]

    Extra Spells
    "Spell Recall": The abilities below let a prepared caster (not spontaneous) recall any spell that he previously expended. Recalling a spell takes a standard action. It must be exactly the level stated, not lower. The last ability is the exception to this rule.
    {table] Point Cost | Spell Recalled
    1 | 1 level 1 spell per day
    4 | 1 level 2 spell per day
    9 | 1 level 3 spell per day
    16 | 1 level 4 spell per day
    25 | 1 level 5 spell per day
    36 | 1 level 6 spell per day
    49 | 1 level 7 spell per day
    64 | 1 level 8 spell per day
    81 | 1 level 9 spell per day
    70 | Any two spells of different levels per day, each spell must be level 6 or lower
    [/table]

    {table] Point Cost | Ability
    20 | Double your 1st level arcane spells per day; does not double bonus spells, can only be taken once
    40 | Double your 2nd level arcane spells per day; does not double bonus spells, can only be taken once
    70 | Double your 3rd level arcane spells per day; does not double bonus spells, can only be taken once
    100 | Double your 4th level arcane spells per day; does not double bonus spells, can only be taken once
    [/table]

    Misc Notes: Unless otherwise stated an ability may be taken more than once to grant more uses per day or to apply a bonus to a different score. However bonuses to the same score from the same source or of the same type do not stack. You may retrain any ability you wish but only half the point cost is refunded. All of the above abilities are supernatural and thus are suppressed in an antimagic field. Druids lose the above abilities while wildshaped, except where otherwise stated.

    Optional Variants
    Crafting: With less items to craft, crafting feats get shafted. You may want to give players more from them, perhaps giving two feats for the cost of one. Or give crafting players a discount on their Ability Point costs in certain areas, to represent their improved understanding of the items they craft.

    Weapons: You might also want to take away magic weapons beyond a +1 and convert more wealth into Ability Points. In that case give the player the option of spending points on enhancement bonuses or +1d6 damage. This bonus damage is not multiplied by critical hits. Creatures with multiple (3-4?) energy resistances take only half damage from weapon bonus damage. If a creature's alignment is not opposed to the PCs' (i.e., usually if the creature is non-evil), consider that when counting energy resistances. The problem with this variant is that now you need to figure out how to handle caster items like staffs and robes.

    Utility Items: You may wish to find mundane replacements for utility items or avoid encounters that require them. This would let you further reduce the magic items and treasure in your campaign. But IMO these are the most interesting magic items and should be left in.


    Examples of non-core items to consider converting:
    Spoiler
    Show

    runestaffs (MIC)
    ring of arcane might (CA, MIC)
    gemstone of heavy fortification (draconomicon)
    ring of theurgy (CA)
    vest of the archmagi (source?)
    wild clasps (MIC)
    eternal wands (MIC?)
    circlet of rapid casting (MIC)
    belt of battle (MIC, overpowered?)
    Last edited by ericgrau; 2010-12-29 at 01:24 PM.
    So you never have to interrupt a game to look up a rule again:
    My 3.5e Rules Cheat Sheets: Normal, With Consolidated Skill System
    TOGC's 3.5e Spell/etc Cards: rpgnow / drivethru rpg
    Utilities: Magic Item Shop Generator (Req. MS Excel), Balanced Low Magic Item System
    Printable Cardstock Dungeon Tiles and other terrain stuff (100 MB)

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •