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    Default Simple fix to underpowered NPCs

    It's well known that (especially at higher levels) NPCs are weaker than monsters of the same challenge rating, due to having much less gear than PCs of the same level. The reason enemy NPCs have lower WBLs than PCs of the same level is because otherwise, the players would loot all their gear, which would be far more treasure than a normal monster would give. As a compromise, the DMG suggests giving NPCs more treasure than a normal monster, but much less than a player. Unfortunately, this makes NPCs easier to defeat that normal monsters, AND they give more treasure.
    To fix this, I propose the following: give NPCs un-loot-able gear. The following enhancement can be applied to any magic item that is NOT intelligent. The enchanted item must be of the following types: armor, weapon, potion, oil, ring, rod, staff, wand, or wondrous item. (bolded since people keep missing it).

    Vanishing
    This effect mimics a remote form of intelligence (it does not actually grant the item true intelligence). The item has a sense of loyalty towards its owner. When sold, the item recognizes its new master. If a pre-existing item is enchanted into a vanishing item, the owner of the original item is still the owner of the enchanted item, regardless of who enchants it. This "loyalty" does not grant the item any bonus to attacks, or any other powers it may possess. However, the item's master may, as a free action, instantly destroy the item. He does not need to be holding the item, nor be close to it, so long as he is on the same plane. The item is not simply damage or dispelled--it is completely erased from existence and cannot be recovered in any way short of divine intervention. Additionally, when killed or knocked unconscious, the owner may erase the item as an immediate reaction. A vanishing item must be able to fit in a sphere with volume at most 1 cubic foot/caster level of the enchanter.
    If a vanishing item contains extradimensional storage space, its contents are not erased, but rather released in the spot where the item was.
    An anti-magic field does not prevent the item from vanishing, though it suppresses the items other magical properties. This is to prevent the PCs from "anchoring" the item when they kill its NPC owner, then taking the item out of the AMF and effectively getting too much gear.
    Faint Transmutation, CL 5th, Erase;
    Price: Increase total market price by 1%


    When you use NPCs as monsters in an encounter, give the NPC gear totaling the value as the WBL for a player of the same level. However, most of it is contained in Vanishing items. The non-vanishing part of the treasure should be worth the normal treasure amount for an encounter of the NPC's challenge rating (or double standard, if you find it appropriate).


    Now, for NPCs, this works fine. But there might be a potential for PC wizard cheese. Under normal use, a player would almost never want to have this on their items (why would you want to destroy your own magic items?) But since this forum is better at finding cheese than I am, I thought I'd submit this to see what y'all came up with. The purpose of this adjustment is to allow NPCs to be legitimate opponents for the players. This was NOT intended to be used on items which the players possess. The minimal cost increase is due to the fact that I didn't see why any players would ever want to use it. So if you can find a reason for players to use vanishing items, let me know.
    Last edited by 137ben; 2011-08-27 at 08:43 AM.
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    Default Re: Simple fix to underpowered NPCs

    It's a very awkward solution. Being able to destroy the item even on another plane of existence, no save, is probably the equivalent of Wish ...for a 1% price increase? Yeah, seems very forced.

    Just give your NPCs more Oils of Magic Weapon and less actual magic weapons, and you'll be ok.
    Last edited by Vladislav; 2011-08-15 at 01:10 PM.

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    Default Re: Simple fix to underpowered NPCs

    What possible reason would a run-of-the-mill NPC have for having these items? Once they're dead, what do they care if their body is looted? The only situation I could see this actually being used in is if an army was well-supplied enough for foot soldiers to have magic gear that they didn't want to fall into enemy hands. But what kind of army is that rich?

    Not to mention I could see Wizards enchanting sections of wall with this and then causing the wall to vanish. Or trying something similar.
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    Default Re: Simple fix to underpowered NPCs

    I tend to just give them level-appropriate gear bonuses as an innate bonus rather than equip them so heavily. Tossing on Vow of Poverty bonuses for their level works pretty well.
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    Default Re: Simple fix to underpowered NPCs

    Quote Originally Posted by Welknair View Post
    What possible reason would a run-of-the-mill NPC have for having these items? Once they're dead, what do they care if their body is looted? The only situation I could see this actually being used in is if an army was well-supplied enough for foot soldiers to have magic gear that they didn't want to fall into enemy hands. But what kind of army is that rich?
    It's not intended for random commoners to have (heck, run-of-the-mill NPCs don't have ANY magic items). It's intended for a high level NPC who was sent to fight the PCs. They don't want their enemies to get substantially stronger from looting them, do they? I pretty clearly explained the meta-game reason for giving it to NPCs...
    I suppose it is for the same reason that level 19 NPCs all have the same amount of treasure

    Quote Originally Posted by Welknair View Post
    Not to mention I could see Wizards enchanting sections of wall with this and then causing the wall to vanish. Or trying something similar.
    Ah, this could be an issue (that's why I put this on the forums, so that y'all could detect abuseable cheese). Of course, unless the PCs own the wall, the wall would not be loyal to the player, and would only disappear if the building owner wanted it to (I'll edit the text to make this clear). However, this raises the question of why an intelligent opponent doesn't enchant the floors of their dungeon/castle, and erase the floors, causing the PCs to fall. As a solution, the item being enchanted must fit in a sphere with a volume no more than 1 cubic ft./caster level of the creator.

    Being able to destroy the item even on another plane of existence, no save, is probably the equivalent of Wish ...for a 1% price increase? Yeah, seems very forced.
    Huh? For one thing, I SPECIFICALLY SAID you have to be on the same plane. Secondly, you are destroying YOUR OWN ITEM. The item is loyal to you, so it intentionally fails its saving throw.
    Last edited by 137ben; 2011-08-15 at 12:27 PM.
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    Default Re: Simple fix to underpowered NPCs

    Quote Originally Posted by 137ben View Post
    It's not intended for random commoners to have (heck, run-of-the-mill NPCs don't have ANY magic items). It's intended for a high level NPC who was sent to fight the PCs. They don't want their enemies to get substantially stronger from looting them, do they? I pretty clearly explained the meta-game reason for giving it to NPCs...
    I suppose it is for the same reason that level 19 NPCs all have the same amount of treasure
    If I were the mercenaries, I would feel very concerned if my employer thought that my chances of success were so low as to make contingencies for when I'm killed. I may rethink my previous life choices...

    Quote Originally Posted by 137ben View Post
    Ah, this could be an issue (that's why I put this on the forums, so that y'all could detect abuseable cheese). Of course, unless the PCs own the wall, the wall would not be loyal to the player, and would only disappear if the building owner wanted it to (I'll edit the text to make this clear). However, this raises the question of why an intelligent opponent doesn't enchant the floors of their dungeon/castle, and erase the floors, causing the PCs to fall. As a solution, the item being enchanted must fit in a sphere with a volume no more than 1 cubic ft./caster level of the creator.
    Well what determines who the owner is? If you pick up a random rock, is it yours? What if the rock was in the land of a noble? Is it the noble's rock? Would the noble get a mental message when the enchantment is completed, notifying him of the fact that he can destroy a rock? What if you claim the rock for yourself? Have you "Conquered" the rock? Or does it remain loyal to the noble until he gives it to you? What if you kill him? What if ownership changes after the enchantment has been completed? What if an item is mutually shared?
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    Default Re: Simple fix to underpowered NPCs

    Didn't the drow of earlier editions have items and special materials that lost all their magic/melted/vanished in sunlight, for the very same reason?
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    Default Re: Simple fix to underpowered NPCs

    Quote Originally Posted by 137ben View Post
    It's not intended for random commoners to have (heck, run-of-the-mill NPCs don't have ANY magic items). It's intended for a high level NPC who was sent to fight the PCs. They don't want their enemies to get substantially stronger from looting them, do they?
    That's why they're not going to be fighting the PCs straight on, but rather stealing their equipment...

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    Default Re: Simple fix to underpowered NPCs

    Quote Originally Posted by Welknair View Post
    If I were the mercenaries, I would feel very concerned if my employer thought that my chances of success were so low as to make contingencies for when I'm killed. I may rethink my previous life choices...
    Point taken. Of course, all assassins recognize that there is some chance of failure...

    Quote Originally Posted by Welknair View Post
    Well what determines who the owner is? If you pick up a random rock, is it yours? What if the rock was in the land of a noble? Is it the noble's rock? Would the noble get a mental message when the enchantment is completed, notifying him of the fact that he can destroy a rock? What if you claim the rock for yourself? Have you "Conquered" the rock? Or does it remain loyal to the noble until he gives it to you? What if you kill him? What if ownership changes after the enchantment has been completed? What if an item is mutually shared?
    DM discretion determines who the owner of an item is. As stated several times, this is not intended for use by PCs. The owner of an enemies magic armor can be assumed to be that enemy. If there is a reason you can think of as to why a player would enchant a random rock so that they could destroy it whenever they want, thrill me.
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    Default Re: Simple fix to underpowered NPCs

    Quote Originally Posted by 137ben View Post
    If there is a reason you can think of as to why a player would enchant a random rock so that they could destroy it whenever they want, thrill me.
    What if they use the rock to kill someone by throwing it at them? When the clerics and diviners come trying to determine who the murderer is using the weapon as a starting point, you could just cause it to disappear. (Hey, disappearing bullet!)


    Really it was just a random example.


    Or there's a large rock lodged in the road. You enchant it with this. When a wagon is passing over it, you cause the rock to disappear. The wagon is stuck. Plunder as you see fit.


    The ability to make items disappear on command is very powerful. If I were a PC I'd certainly try to exploit it.
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    Default Re: Simple fix to underpowered NPCs

    I believe it was Rokugan Campain setting boko that had the idea of some magic items being spiritual. Its the persons belief in the spirits and their ancestors that make the item magic not the item's own qualities.

    So a farmer might possess a luckstone but its only luckstone in his hands. The spirits won't work the magic for anyone but that farmer. Many people may possess some magic item.

    This doesn't work for fully armed mercs though. Really your goal is to be able to fully arm enemy NPC's to attack the PC's without giving them any treasure. There are better ways to do this, such as having the enemy group buff up before attacking the PC's outnumbering the PC's with lower level NPC's. Vexing Flanker and a bard can do wonders for mooks hiting PC's well above their level. I've had PC"s walk into a room fully buffed and right into a wall of dispel magic which strips half or more of their defenses. The buffed NPC's of a lower level and greater numbers then start causing some major pain.
    The other answer is of course, just lower the CR of the NPCs as appropriate.

    But if your looking to booby trap magic items curses work well. Lets say your fighting the Red Wizards. I can see them equiping there minions with magic items that lower their resistances to enchantment spells cast by red wizards.
    Last edited by Lord Vukodlak; 2011-08-15 at 02:42 PM.

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    Default Re: Simple fix to underpowered NPCs

    Quote Originally Posted by Greenish View Post
    Didn't the drow of earlier editions have items and special materials that lost all their magic/melted/vanished in sunlight, for the very same reason?
    Essentially drow magic items were maded by weaving in a magical energy that permeated the underdark. It was called the faerzress. It was essentially a game mechanic for the drow to have awesome magic items while in the underdark or during a nighttime raid but deny PC's any loot from it.

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    Default Re: Simple fix to underpowered NPCs

    I'd say the answer isn't to make NPCs not have as much loot, but to make them be substantially more difficult than monsters of the same level, so that the players have to earn said loot.

    I mean, if it can be done with kobolds at 6th-12th level, surely it's possible even at high levels with higher-level NPCs.

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    Default Re: Simple fix to underpowered NPCs

    Wait why not just do what neverwinter does? (Or I assume it does, I haven't played online or made my own content). They give the creatures magic items but only some of them drop and are available to players.

    If thats too "Video gamey" for you. Just re fluff the items they normally would have with a magic buff, template, etc.
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    Default Re: Simple fix to underpowered NPCs

    Quote Originally Posted by Welknair View Post
    What if they use the rock to kill someone by throwing it at them? When the clerics and diviners come trying to determine who the murderer is using the weapon as a starting point, you could just cause it to disappear. (Hey, disappearing bullet!)


    Really it was just a random example.


    Or there's a large rock lodged in the road. You enchant it with this. When a wagon is passing over it, you cause the rock to disappear. The wagon is stuck. Plunder as you see fit.


    The ability to make items disappear on command is very powerful. If I were a PC I'd certainly try to exploit it.
    The rock is to big to enchant
    Do you have any ideas to discourage PCs from using this (or to make it impossible for them to do so?)
    Another advantage to using this system is that sundering looks like a more attractive option (though its still not great)...we just have to prevent the PCs from using it.



    Quote Originally Posted by Silva Stormrage View Post
    Wait why not just do what neverwinter does? (Or I assume it does, I haven't played online or made my own content). They give the creatures magic items but only some of them drop and are available to players.
    That's basically what this is--a slightly less video-gamey way of preventing all of their items from dropping.
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    Default Re: Simple fix to underpowered NPCs

    Quote Originally Posted by 137ben View Post
    The rock is to big to enchant
    Do you have any ideas to discourage PCs from using this (or to make it impossible for them to do so?)
    Another advantage to using this system is that sundering looks like a more attractive option (though its still not great)...we just have to prevent the PCs from using it.
    Cu ft/CL. All you need is one wheel down. Totally do-able.


    Fixing it is quite the problem. A good starting point would be specifying that it could only be applied to weapons, armor, and other magic items. Not random objects.
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    Default Re: Simple fix to underpowered NPCs

    I DID start by saying it could be applied to any MAGIC item. Edited to make that clearer.
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    Default Re: Simple fix to underpowered NPCs

    Quote Originally Posted by 137ben View Post
    I DID start by saying it could be applied to any MAGIC item. Edited to make that clearer.
    Well that would certainly stop me and my rock hijinks.
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    Default Re: Simple fix to underpowered NPCs

    Yea, I shoulda mentioned it earlier
    So, any more loopholes people have found?
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    Default Re: Simple fix to underpowered NPCs

    Depends how late in the campaign. But sovereign glue with this enchantment could be all sorts of trouble. Need some rocks to fall and everyone to die. Just glue a second ceiling to the roof in your hallway and bait the trap. Walls that fall apart because the glue holding them together is suddenly gone. The wagon hole is even easy with this. Just glue a lid on your hole and take away the glue when the wheels are there. At will disappearing sovereign glue would make this already pretty utilizable item smell like swiss.

    But for even cheaper fun, A Quall’s Tree Feather Token. Instant tree than instantly not. For only 4 extra gp it adds a whole lot for it. Save a dryad by planting it in her now burnt down grove then threaten to remove it again. Cause the tree to grow under something than make it disappear as the object now falls 60 feet.

    EDITS as i come up with them: if you can convince someone to steal your folding boat you now have the perfect trap to dump them and their armor into the water.
    Or how about putting your head through this ring gate. What happens when those disappear and your head is now 99.9 miles from your body.
    Any item that gives you flight left as a trap for the BBEG. He flys he falls.
    Bull rush someone into a Portable Hole. Now they are gone from existence.

    I would add this to every magical item I own. There is no end of uses, and if it comes down to it, who cares if i own items after I die. Also the tree is my favorite.
    Last edited by Mangles; 2011-08-25 at 07:59 AM.
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    Default Re: Simple fix to underpowered NPCs

    Quote Originally Posted by Mangles View Post
    Depends how late in the campaign. But sovereign glue with this enchantment could be all sorts of trouble. Need some rocks to fall and everyone to die. Just glue a second ceiling to the roof in your hallway and bait the trap. Walls that fall apart because the glue holding them together is suddenly gone. The wagon hole is even easy with this. Just glue a lid on your hole and take away the glue when the wheels are there. At will disappearing sovereign glue would make this already pretty utilizable item smell like swiss.

    But for even cheaper fun, A Quall’s Tree Feather Token. Instant tree than instantly not. For only 4 extra gp it adds a whole lot for it. Save a dryad by planting it in her now burnt down grove then threaten to remove it again. Cause the tree to grow under something than make it disappear as the object now falls 60 feet.

    EDITS as i come up with them: if you can convince someone to steal your folding boat you now have the perfect trap to dump them and their armor into the water.
    Or how about putting your head through this ring gate. What happens when those disappear and your head is now 99.9 miles from your body.
    Any item that gives you flight left as a trap for the BBEG. He flys he falls.
    Bull rush someone into a Portable Hole. Now they are gone from existence.

    I would add this to every magical item I own. There is no end of uses, and if it comes down to it, who cares if i own items after I die. Also the tree is my favorite.
    The rocks, ceiling, tree, and boat are all ineligible for this enchantment, sorry. (this was brought up earlier in the thread).
    As for the flight item, I might rule that the BBEG now owns the item, since you gave it to him. Or he just wouldn't pick it up. But even if neither of those choices appeal to you, a BBEG who can't fly or teleport is kinda pathetic anyways, since the PCs can fly.
    As for the portable hole/bag of holding, you can delete the portable hole, but you can't delete its contents.
    EDIT: the glue is also too spread out to enchant, since it must be contained in a sphere with a volume of 1 cu ft/CL, and it is spread out along the entire ceiling.

    So sorry, none of your cheese attempts work
    Last edited by 137ben; 2011-08-25 at 09:13 AM.
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    Default Re: Simple fix to underpowered NPCs

    Possible simpler approach:

    Monsters who derive their effectiveness principally from PC class levels take a -1 penalty to CR. Thus, a hobgoblin wizard 10 is a CR 9 opponent, for example. Monster who derive their effectiveness principally from NPC class levels treat all such levels as non-associated, meaning that CR increases by 1 per 2 NPC class levels. Thus, a hobgoblin adept 10 is a CR 5 opponent.

    Let's just recognize that good gear increases CR, and that its absence likewise reduces it.
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    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Simple fix to underpowered NPCs

    My suggestion would simply not use NPCs against high level PCs. PC classes are suposed to be stronger than "normal humans". While you do have tables for 20th level commoners, I don't think you should have them running around or in armies. They should be the common folk, and the PCs should be fighting monsters or other equalliy powerful characters (with PC class levels).
    It avoids problems like finding a 18th level peasant. How did he earn so many levels? Why didn't he just took levels in a common PC class? As a rule of thumb, "powerful" npcs are limited to the E6 rules, and even then, most of them rarely goes past 3rd or 4th level, upon reaching adulthood (young adults would range from 1 to 2 levels, tops).

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    Default Re: Simple fix to underpowered NPCs

    I calculate my NPCs by the following formular:

    CR = Commoner / 6
    + (Arist./Expert) / 5
    + (Adept/Warrior) / 4
    + PC-Classes / 2
    + Player Character Level appropriate wealth / 2

    Thus there can be poor but skillful NPCs and I know their CR.
    The formular is easily to adjust for monstrous NPCs and the idea of "associated and nonassociated class levels" (The later get reduced to Level/4 until Level = CR)

    Examples:

    A Human Warrior 6 / Fighter 4 with equipment worth about 20,000 gp.
    6/4 + 4/2 + 7/2 (the appropriate wealth for a level 7 character is 19,000 - close enough).
    = CR 7

    Elf Fighter 1 / Wizard 8 with 5400 gp worth of equipment:
    1/2 + 8/2 + 4/2 = CR 6.5

    Ogre Mage Warrior 2 / Cleric 3 (nonasso.) / Battle Sorcerer 5 (asso.) with 66000 worth of stuff:
    8 (Monster CR) + 2/4 + 3/4 + 5/2 + 11/2 = CR 17.25
    (Or, probably a bit less to account for the sub-optimal multi-classing).

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    Default Re: Simple fix to underpowered NPCs

    Quote Originally Posted by Roderick_BR View Post
    My suggestion would simply not use NPCs against high level PCs. PC classes are suposed to be stronger than "normal humans". While you do have tables for 20th level commoners, I don't think you should have them running around or in armies. They should be the common folk, and the PCs should be fighting monsters or other equalliy powerful characters (with PC class levels).
    It avoids problems like finding a 18th level peasant. How did he earn so many levels? Why didn't he just took levels in a common PC class? As a rule of thumb, "powerful" npcs are limited to the E6 rules, and even then, most of them rarely goes past 3rd or 4th level, upon reaching adulthood (young adults would range from 1 to 2 levels, tops).
    Yea, this is meant for NPCs with PC class levels. Using the core rules, even NPCs with class levels have much less treasure. I don't know why anyone would use a 20th level commoner, as it would not make for an interesting encounter.

    @Maraxus: Nice system. I'm gonna try testing its accuracy
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    Default Re: Simple fix to underpowered NPCs

    I can't see how any of these wouldn't work under your constraints. 1) They must be a magical item. Check on all of these except perhaps the tree that Quall's Tree Feather Token summons. Check two they must fit into the 1 cu/cl

    The glue would easily be contained within the sphere when enchanted. Then spread out along whatever surface it is used on. And i never said to enchant the rocks or trees just the glue. Quall’s Tree Feather Token is a wondrous item not a tree itself. It turns into your 60 foot dismissible tree which is a valid argument depending if you consider the tree part of the token or just a summoned effect.

    Dismissing a ring gate half way through would definitely kill someone depending on how it was done. Where would the portable holes contents end up when u dismiss the hole? In no dimension land with no anything probably.

    The whole point is to reduce the wealth that can be taken from NPC's so if the BBEG can steal your flying carpet without you being able to dismiss it than how come the PC's can't steal any items.
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    Default Re: Simple fix to underpowered NPCs

    Quote Originally Posted by Mangles View Post
    I can't see how any of these wouldn't work under your constraints. 1) They must be a magical item. Check on all of these except perhaps the tree that Quall's Tree Feather Token summons. Check two they must fit into the 1 cu/cl

    The glue would easily be contained within the sphere when enchanted. Then spread out along whatever surface it is used on. And i never said to enchant the rocks or trees just the glue. Quall’s Tree Feather Token is a wondrous item not a tree itself. It turns into your 60 foot dismissible tree which is a valid argument depending if you consider the tree part of the token or just a summoned effect.
    It isn't a magic weapon/armor/potion/ect, though, and
    Dismissing a ring gate half way through would definitely kill someone depending on how it was done. Where would the portable holes contents end up when u dismiss the hole? In no dimension land with no anything probably.
    Wherever the outside of the portable hole was. E.g., If you are carrying a bag of holding, and dismiss it, then the contents will be expelled right next to you.

    The whole point is to reduce the wealth that can be taken from NPC's so if the BBEG can steal your flying carpet without you being able to dismiss it than how come the PC's can't steal any items.
    Because when they defeat the NPC who has it, that NPC destroys it immediately (that's why they get to do so as an immediate action), before the PCs can take it.
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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Simple fix to underpowered NPCs

    It isn't a magic weapon/armor/potion/ect, though, and
    They are wondrous items though, and as such allowable by your rules.

    Wherever the outside of the portable hole was. E.g., If you are carrying a bag of holding, and dismiss it, then the contents will be expelled right next to you.
    This is never stated anywhere. The ambiguity leaves it open for abuse.

    Because when they defeat the NPC who has it, that NPC destroys it immediately (that's why they get to do so as an immediate action), before the PCs can take it.
    So does this mean as soon as the PC's touch the item it becomes theirs as ownership? What if it is stolen but the thief is seen. What if someone draws the NPC's sword out of his scarab. Where do you draw the line? once again leaving this not fully explained is what allows people to abuse it.
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    Default Re: Simple fix to underpowered NPCs

    Quote Originally Posted by Cheesy74 View Post
    Tossing on Vow of Poverty bonuses for their level works pretty well.
    I banned +x items (enhancement to attack, deflection, natural armor, enhancement to armor and shield, resistance and attributes) from the game, but characters gain that flat bonus as innate abilities, based on level. In other words, it becomes a level dependent bonus based on HD (like feats and that increase in attributes).

    The game supposes that characters are going to have these bonuses anyway, and this helps significantly npcs (and monsters btw).


    However, for less worries about it, giving npcs the numerical bonuses of VoP works pretty well AND enables the npcs to have "nice" magical items (say, amulet ot tears?) instead of cloak of resistance AGAIN.
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    Default Re: Simple fix to underpowered NPCs

    Quote Originally Posted by Mangles View Post
    They are wondrous items though, and as such allowable by your rules.
    Hmm, I guess if they applied a cheap enchantment first...
    better fix that. No more wondrous items.

    This is never stated anywhere. The ambiguity leaves it open for abuse.
    Um, yes it is?
    Vanishing
    This effect mimics a remote form of intelligence (it does not actually grant the item true intelligence). The item has a sense of loyalty towards its owner. When sold, the item recognizes its new master. If a pre-existing item is enchanted into a vanishing item, the owner of the original item is still the owner of the enchanted item, regardless of who enchants it. This "loyalty" does not grant the item any bonus to attacks, or any other powers it may possess. However, the item's master may, as a free action, instantly destroy the item. He does not need to be holding the item, nor be close to it, so long as he is on the same plane. The item is not simply damage or dispelled--it is completely erased from existence and cannot be recovered in any way short of divine intervention. Additionally, when killed or knocked unconscious, the owner may erase the item as an immediate reaction. A vanishing item must be able to fit in a sphere with volume at most 1 cubic foot/caster level of the enchanter.
    If a vanishing item contains extradimensional storage space, its contents are not erased, but rather released in the spot where the item was.
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    So does this mean as soon as the PC's touch the item it becomes theirs as ownership?
    Depends. If it was lying in a dungeon for 1000 years and is abandoned, then yea, sure. If they grab it from an opponent with improved disarm, then no.

    Where do you draw the line? once again leaving this not fully explained is what allows people to abuse it.
    Have you honestly never seen a DM make a judgement call?
    I can't possibly describe every situation in your campaign. the fact that it is vague is what makes it NOT abusable. It's the DM's call, not the PCs.
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