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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Default Wealthless Players

    So in a new campaign I'm thinking of running the players will be living in a world where magic does everything & people just sort of live boring blissful lives. Constructs form the basis of the army & combat is something people do as a hobby. Mages are people of exalted standing & are treated as royalty (even though the most common of citizen is treated to most any whim they can think of mages rank higher) Apart from a few spell component garden-farms that people or constructs work as a way of not being bored, there is little to no idea of currency.

    So this magical paradise gets annihilated. (plot happens)

    The players & refuges then must live in a wilderness that hasn't seen "civilized" man for a millennia or so.

    Long story short, the players will not be in a world that
    1) Truly understands trade & barter
    2) Has access to a standard of currency

    I don't doubt that I can find ways to reward them & such but I was wondering if there was a guideline or something for rewarding characters without giving GP

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    Ogre in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Wealthless Players

    Food or other essentials that one needs to survive.


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    Default Re: Wealthless Players

    Have whatever caused the apocalypse a side effect (or purposeful cause depending on what the Event was) of altering plants and animals. Plants and animals parts can be used for various "magical" things, i. e. potions and oils, but not necessarily limited to 3rd level. They have intrinsic value allowing players interesting choices of using them for their effect or gifting them for services rendered.

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    Default Re: Wealthless Players

    Surviving magic items and artifacts?
    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    Grod's Law: You cannot and should not balance bad mechanics by making them annoying to use
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    • D&D in M&M-- Balancing 3.5 by porting it lock, stock, and barrel into a more balanced system.

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    Ettin in the Playground
     
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    Surviving magic items and artifacts?
    Definitely this. If the recently-destroyed society was based entirely around using magic to overcome scarcity, then obviously the most valuable commodity by far would be the surviving scrolls, wands, and other magic items.
    Revan avatar by kaptainkrutch.
    Quote Originally Posted by Cirrylius View Post
    That's how wizards beta test their new animals. If it survives Australia, it's a go. Which in hindsight explains a LOT about Australia.

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    Default Re: Wealthless Players

    What system are you using? Because D&D breaks down if you pull the rug out from under its blissful unrealistic economy.

    I'd recommend FATE 3e (Spirit of the Century, which has a free SRD and PDF, and Dresden Files, which doesn't have a free semi-genericized version, but is better written and has a magic system, although the magic is unbalanced), or Cortex RPG (generic system, just got it and I love it).

    In any case, I'm guessing barter would quickly spring up. The ramifications of this would be similar to Emberverse, which due to a time distortion effect, suddenly has all industrial and modern era technology, plus steam engines, guns, and explosives, stop working entirely. Bows and crossbows would be highly valued, as would arrows and bolts, with axes, hammers, and knives being next most important, then swords too long to act as knives being least important but still valued.
    Last edited by Hiro Protagonest; 2012-10-06 at 06:22 PM.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Wealthless Players

    Okay sorry for not explaining a bit further,
    Pathfinder with limited 3.5 in it

    I will be letting a few (i.e. a ton) relics be recovered before the collapse of the mega(magical) city the characters lived in.

    The world is a bit like Judge Dread but was a magical paradise, not a urban slum.

    The Wilds (i.e. the vast unchecked land outside the megacity) is full of all the stuff in the Monster Manuals without the encounter rules, the party could theoretically have to hide from a hydra at level one.


    I have been thinking of replacing spell requirements for crafting with bits & bobs from monsters as long as it is a well reasoned replacement for the spell (like a dragon's fire gland for a flaming sword)

    My problem is keeping powerful relics out of their hands until level appropiate times. Logically NPC's might not care so much if someone wants to borrow this "weak, mundane" Axe of Thunderbolts & Goblin Punting. Also if you look at the opposite of that spectrum, if the NPC's now value the item, they would almost be fanatical about hording it's now unique & terrible power.

    How would the impact of such a broken economy work if they happened to find a civilization out in the Wilds that has a system of currency?

    How do I handle player choice when it comes to powerful items? A normal character would just buy & sell to get gold to buy the thing he really wants. The characters in this world would be S.O.L. though

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    Ettin in the Playground
     
    RogueGuy

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    Default Re: Wealthless Players

    Everything has a value. You can't eat a +1 sword.

    Fist thing first. When the walls come down two things are important about an item. First, it will help keep you alive. Second, it will work multiple times.

    A potion is worth no more than it's effect. Trading it for some service is completely reasonable.

    A magic sword is worth all the times it will come in handy during combat. It should only be traded away for something of lasting effect. A lasting safe shelter may be just as treasured.

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    Firbolg in the Playground
     
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fouredged Sword View Post
    A magic sword is worth all the times it will come in handy during combat. It should only be traded away for something of lasting effect. A lasting safe shelter may be just as treasured.
    Yes, but its a well known fact that any adventurer worth their salt will keep the +1 sword and sleep in a ditch.
    π = 4
    Consider a 5' radius blast: this affects 4 squares which have a circumference of 40' Actually it's worse than that.


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    Flumph

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    Quote Originally Posted by nedz View Post
    Yes, but its a well known fact that any adventurer worth their salt will keep the +1 sword and sleep in a ditch.
    When your entire job description is "trudge through caves and stab big scary monsters", the +1 sword is a) an essential tool of the trade, and b) one of the few things keeping you from being monster-chow.
    Quote Originally Posted by Emperor Tippy View Post
    By level 20 though, you aren't capturing a wizard. A character lives to level 20 by being the most ruthless, lucky, capable, and paranoid bastard around. A wizard is throwing around a 30+ Int score and has, entirely in character, planned contingencies for his contingencies. He may well be running around with flat out total immunity to harm, he does not walk outside without an entire bevy of defensive magics around him and enough magic items to buy himself a nation.

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    ElfRangerGuy

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    Default Re: Wealthless Players

    You may need to revert to a simpler system of boons and rewards. If the players help out some townsfolk or rescue the princess, the thankful person or persons give the players something in return or do them a favor. Since the value of products and services is not standardized, there may be some variation in the quality of the boon as each person has to decide for themselves what they consider to be a worthy gift and what they can afford to give away.
    "Nothing you can't spell will ever work." - Will Rogers

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    Quote Originally Posted by Krellen View Post
    Remember, Evil isn't "selfish". It's Evil. "Look out for number one" is a Neutral attitude. Evil looks out for number one while crushing number two.

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    GreenSorcererElf

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    Default Re: Wealthless Players

    I second the use of substituting magic items.

    You might want to tailor the magic items to ones your group will use, like a flaming axe for a melee warrior. Also try to use more permanent or rechargeable magic items over ones with limited uses by the middle to high levels. For example: an Eternal Wand (Spell Compenidum, Magic of Eberron) of Bull's Strength will go a longer way than potions of the spell, which you won't have to continually give out or create.
    Last edited by Libertad; 2012-10-07 at 12:13 AM.



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    Ogre in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Wealthless Players

    Dan Simmons' books Olympus and Ilium deal with that. Essentially, technology has advanced so far that people have forgotten how to read. They spend all their time going to parties while the literal infrastructure of their society slowly disintegrates.

    Check out my blog!

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    Troll in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Wealthless Players

    Bottle caps, man, bottle caps.

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    Firbolg in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Wealthless Players

    This is an ideal setting for implementing Magic is Special.
    In other words they only have a few items, but they are all very powerful, albeit quirky. They will have rescued some stuff which is of little use to them however.
    π = 4
    Consider a 5' radius blast: this affects 4 squares which have a circumference of 40' Actually it's worse than that.


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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Wealthless Players

    Last time I ran 3.5/pathfinder (when the later had just came out).
    It was a 1000 years since the humans lost the war. "1000 years ago it was a time for heros.... and 1000 years ago those hero's failed. Now it is a time for hero's again, and if they once again fail then even the trace that remains will be extinguished."

    Basically humanity has been reduced to a food source.
    When I say humanity i mean dwarvemantiy, elfvanity etc. All people were mudbloods, except the PCs who were throwbacks.
    Kept in fenced slums, by a bestial race called the Cron.

    There was no magic, all knowledge was lost, all items destroyed.
    To make up for this, because dnd assumes a particular wealth curve.
    I gave everyone the benefits of Vow of Poverty, but without the restrictions.
    They could have all the items that wanted,
    but the best items that existed were Masterwork.

    The in game logic behind the vow of poverty benefits in this case, is not that they are blessed for there faith,
    (Indeed what is there to believe in in this world, no doubt the Cron killed and ate our gods with the last of the priests.)
    But that if you are still alive then you are one tough dude, especially if you manage to get to a level where the benefits stack up.

    The rough thing that vow of poverty was is a table listing benifits you get at certain levels.
    It was things like: AC bonuses, extra feats, +2 bonus to your choice of stat, damage reduction.




    I can't remember which 3.5 book Vow of Povery is from. I think book of exhalted deads of some thing like that.
    There is nothing on earth that we share; it is either Valjean or Javert!

    "A wizard can in fact be thought of the custodian to a familiar, a terrifying beast that charges its foes, slashing them to shreds while delivering their master's touch spells and bestowing upon their masters incredible bonuses to their hp or skill checks. A wizard is nearly powerless without one."

    Need to find a God? or Spell or Feat?

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    Firbolg in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Wealthless Players

    Quote Originally Posted by oxinabox View Post
    Last time I ran 3.5/pathfinder (when the later had just came out).
    It was a 1000 years since the humans lost the war. "1000 years ago it was a time for heros.... and 1000 years ago those hero's failed. Now it is a time for hero's again, and if they once again fail then even the trace that remains will be extinguished."

    Basically humanity has been reduced to a food source.
    When I say humanity i mean dwarvemantiy, elfvanity etc. All people were mudbloods, except the PCs who were throwbacks.
    Kept in fenced slums, by a bestial race called the Cron.

    There was no magic, all knowledge was lost, all items destroyed.
    To make up for this, because dnd assumes a particular wealth curve.
    I gave everyone the benefits of Vow of Poverty, but without the restrictions.
    They could have all the items that wanted,
    but the best items that existed were Masterwork.

    The in game logic behind the vow of poverty benefits in this case, is not that they are blessed for there faith,
    (Indeed what is there to believe in in this world, no doubt the Cron killed and ate our gods with the last of the priests.)
    But that if you are still alive then you are one tough dude, especially if you manage to get to a level where the benefits stack up.

    The rough thing that vow of poverty was is a table listing benifits you get at certain levels.
    It was things like: AC bonuses, extra feats, +2 bonus to your choice of stat, damage reduction.




    I can't remember which 3.5 book Vow of Povery is from. I think book of exhalted deads of some thing like that.
    BoED indeed, but VoP is a bit OP if no one has any equipment anyway, or ever will by the sounds of it.
    π = 4
    Consider a 5' radius blast: this affects 4 squares which have a circumference of 40' Actually it's worse than that.


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    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    Flumph

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    Quote Originally Posted by ghost_warlock View Post
    Bottle caps, man, bottle caps.
    /tangent

    It always made me feel like a dirty hobo when I realized my Fallout character was running around with 10,000+ bottle caps, scrounging garbage off of corpses, and sleeping on a torn dirty cot in a shanty. And he was one of the rich ones.
    Quote Originally Posted by Emperor Tippy View Post
    By level 20 though, you aren't capturing a wizard. A character lives to level 20 by being the most ruthless, lucky, capable, and paranoid bastard around. A wizard is throwing around a 30+ Int score and has, entirely in character, planned contingencies for his contingencies. He may well be running around with flat out total immunity to harm, he does not walk outside without an entire bevy of defensive magics around him and enough magic items to buy himself a nation.

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    Eldritch Horror in the Playground Moderator
     
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    Quote Originally Posted by nedz View Post
    BoED indeed, but VoP is a bit OP if no one has any equipment anyway, or ever will by the sounds of it.
    OP? Hardly. Remember that D&D math assumes equal WBL. At its best, the VoP never exceeds 75-80% of WBL if its benefits are translated directly into items, so if no one has any equipment anyways, then giving free VoP just means they can actually fight instead of meekly walking up and cutting their own throats in front of the enemies.
    Quote Originally Posted by GungHo, on Battletech
    The Atlas is also goofy but it has that whole "Stay Puft Marshmallow Man" menacing smile thing going for it. The guy who drew that one up was obviously taken to the Nutcracker when he was a child... and he was screaming in terror the entire time.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Enterti, Cogidubnus
    Glyphstone, out of all the playground I think you scare me the most...
    Quote Originally Posted by Zombimode
    Glyphstone, you are an evil person :D

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Glyphstone View Post
    OP? Hardly. Remember that D&D math assumes equal WBL. At its best, the VoP never exceeds 75-80% of WBL if its benefits are translated directly into items, so if no one has any equipment anyways, then giving free VoP just means they can actually fight instead of meekly walking up and cutting their own throats in front of the enemies.
    Well if the VoP character has 75-80% of WBL and every one else has 0% of WBL then they are clearly ahead of the game. I would expect that the encounters would be designed assuming a balanced party, which clearly this isn't. The other option is that everyone takes VoP, after all why not ?
    π = 4
    Consider a 5' radius blast: this affects 4 squares which have a circumference of 40' Actually it's worse than that.


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    Eldritch Horror in the Playground Moderator
     
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    Quote Originally Posted by nedz View Post
    Well if the VoP character has 75-80% of WBL and every one else has 0% of WBL then they are clearly ahead of the game. I would expect that the encounters would be designed assuming a balanced party, which clearly this isn't. The other option is that everyone takes VoP, after all why not ?
    ...because that's what happened, according to the poster? VoP was given to everyone, for free, making them equalized.

    To make up for this, because dnd assumes a particular wealth curve.
    I gave everyone the benefits of Vow of Poverty, but without the restrictions.
    They could have all the items that wanted,
    Last edited by The Glyphstone; 2012-10-07 at 01:39 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by GungHo, on Battletech
    The Atlas is also goofy but it has that whole "Stay Puft Marshmallow Man" menacing smile thing going for it. The guy who drew that one up was obviously taken to the Nutcracker when he was a child... and he was screaming in terror the entire time.
    Spoiler
    Show

    Quote Originally Posted by Enterti, Cogidubnus
    Glyphstone, out of all the playground I think you scare me the most...
    Quote Originally Posted by Zombimode
    Glyphstone, you are an evil person :D

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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Wealthless Players

    I did briefly contemplate VoP (even thinking about homebrewing & modifying it), but I do want to give my character's magical gear & things would quickly get out of hand.

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Glyphstone View Post
    ...because that's what happened, according to the poster? VoP was given to everyone, for free, making them equalized.
    OK, My bad.
    I really must learn to read one of these days.
    π = 4
    Consider a 5' radius blast: this affects 4 squares which have a circumference of 40' Actually it's worse than that.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Slipperychicken View Post
    When your entire job description is "trudge through caves and stab big scary monsters", the +1 sword is a) an essential tool of the trade, and b) one of the few things keeping you from being monster-chow.
    Especially when some monsters resist mundane weapons.

    Quote Originally Posted by nedz View Post
    This is an ideal setting for implementing Magic is Special.
    In other words they only have a few items, but they are all very powerful, albeit quirky. They will have rescued some stuff which is of little use to them however.
    I agree. I would aim at diminishing the number of magic items, but making them more powerful.

    Now I'm not 100% sure what your question truly is: do you want to know how to keep the game playable without magic items, or how to give them magic items. Maybe clearing that up would help us help you.

    Personally, I would do one of two things: either (a) use Weapons of Legacy, i.e. magic items that become more powerful as you gain level, although you have to do certain rituals at some point so you become more in sync with the item (plot hooks); or (b) give them the bonuses as is, to their person rather than as magic items: either make a skill tree a la video game RPG, based on acceptable gear at each level, or just straight out give them extra bonuses when they level (e.g. at level 3, you would get +1 armor, so you get a magical +1 to AC).

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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Wealthless Players

    I want to be able to give them magic stuff
    I want them to have a choice. I need a way to be able to let them decide what they want within a scarce environment. There choices should be limited, but I don't want to take away all choice.

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    Then I would definitely go with upgradable magic items. Give them magic items, and then give them some currency that allows them to upgrade it: instead of gold pieces, give them some magical particle that can be used to improve your magical items. Regardless of what this currency is (souls, crystals, plants, monster parts), PCs can then complete a certain ritual to improve their magic items, for a cost.

    Mechanically, it is exactly the same: instead of selling their +1 sword to buy a +2 sword, they pay in [insert currency] to improve it, and instead of it being in town, they actually are in [whatever place you need to be at for the ritual].

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    Quote Originally Posted by yougi View Post
    Then I would definitely go with upgradable magic items. Give them magic items, and then give them some currency that allows them to upgrade it: instead of gold pieces, give them some magical particle that can be used to improve your magical items. Regardless of what this currency is (souls, crystals, plants, monster parts), PCs can then complete a certain ritual to improve their magic items, for a cost.

    Mechanically, it is exactly the same: instead of selling their +1 sword to buy a +2 sword, they pay in [insert currency] to improve it, and instead of it being in town, they actually are in [whatever place you need to be at for the ritual].
    I like this idea, in fact I may steal it
    Replace gp costs for casting with some specific material, the gp are just an abstraction of this anyway. Taken all the way this might involve side quests, on which YMMV.
    π = 4
    Consider a 5' radius blast: this affects 4 squares which have a circumference of 40' Actually it's worse than that.


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    Quote Originally Posted by yougi View Post
    Mechanically, it is exactly the same: instead of selling their +1 sword to buy a +2 sword, they pay in [insert currency] to improve it, and instead of it being in town, they actually are in [whatever place you need to be at for the ritual].
    [PC raises sword to Druid circle in front of the biggest tree of the forest]

    PC: "O wisest elder shamans, perform the Ritual of the Flaming Blade, infuse my weapon with the power of fire, to vanquish Baron Von Evil and his minions!"

    Druid: [wryly examines sword] "Seven grand. Take it or leave it"

    PC: "But... I have no-"

    Druid: "You some kinda retarded? Listen, kid, we got bills to pay, and we 'aint exactly running a charity here. Cough up the dough, or get out, 'fore I have Smokey here pull yer head off" [motions with head toward a rather fierce-looking Dire Bear]

    PC:
    Last edited by Slipperychicken; 2012-10-08 at 03:17 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Emperor Tippy View Post
    By level 20 though, you aren't capturing a wizard. A character lives to level 20 by being the most ruthless, lucky, capable, and paranoid bastard around. A wizard is throwing around a 30+ Int score and has, entirely in character, planned contingencies for his contingencies. He may well be running around with flat out total immunity to harm, he does not walk outside without an entire bevy of defensive magics around him and enough magic items to buy himself a nation.

  29. - Top - End - #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slipperychicken View Post
    [PC raises sword to Druid circle in front of the biggest tree of the forest]

    PC: "O wisest elder shamans, perform the Ritual of the Flaming Blade, infuse my weapon with the power of fire, to vanquish Baron Von Evil and his minions!"

    Druid: [wryly examines sword] "Seven grand. Take it or leave it"

    PC: "But... I have no-"

    Druid: "You some kinda retarded? Listen, kid, we got bills to pay, and we 'aint exactly running a charity here. Cough up the dough, or get out, 'fore I have Smokey here pull yer head off" [motions with head toward a rather fierce-looking Dire Bear]

    PC:
    *pulls out a small bag of gold*

    "Here, this is seven thousand copper worth of gold."

    Edit: And actually, if the player didn't get seven thousand gold on the last adventure, he doesn't have to pay a thing. The enchantment is his reward.
    Last edited by Hiro Protagonest; 2012-10-08 at 03:20 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by yougi View Post
    Then I would definitely go with upgradable magic items. Give them magic items, and then give them some currency that allows them to upgrade it: instead of gold pieces, give them some magical particle that can be used to improve your magical items. Regardless of what this currency is (souls, crystals, plants, monster parts), PCs can then complete a certain ritual to improve their magic items, for a cost.

    Mechanically, it is exactly the same: instead of selling their +1 sword to buy a +2 sword, they pay in [insert currency] to improve it, and instead of it being in town, they actually are in [whatever place you need to be at for the ritual].
    This is what I'd do. I actually run most of my games without currency these days, since I feel like it's just an abstraction that only ever really needs to be used for RP. For that, I assume they have enough money for things like inns, food and transit, but items aren't really bought in shops, they tend to be quest rewards, and upgrades at shops usually require some kind of quest as well.

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