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    MonkGuy

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    Default Get rid of magic items on PCs [3.5]

    As a first time (3.5 anyways) DM in my 4th session, my players fought an Astral Deva. They had a grudge against this Deva, and went to great lengths killing him. So They leveled and I gave them some treasure.

    The Party: all Level 12
    Human Rouge
    Human Rouge 5 Assassin 7
    Human Bard
    Human Cleric
    Human Wizard
    Dwarf Fighter

    None optimized, just Core books

    Having played 4.0, and needing some valuable treasure, I gave them Astral Diamonds, not knowing what they actually did. 100 pounds of Astral Diamonds. We later looked, and according to 4.0, that is about 500,000,000 gp.

    Now, one session later, there are only 4 of the 6 players there. They manage to trade their loot for 1,000,000 gp, due to a stupid mathematical mistake on my part. So there goes one chance to get rid of my problems. Then those four split 700k between themselves, and plan to later split the remaining 300k between all 6.

    They all went to town, and +5 is the new +2. I am faced with four well armed PCs. The cleric has an AC of 40, the Wizard has the robe of the archmage, and the Bard and Rouge have some nice buffs between themselves.

    Now, they just teleported into the police station. In a town where they are wanted. Why? I'm not sure.

    The question is thus: how to get rid of their items without
    a) going back on the story
    b) giving them gold for it
    c) looking like a total *******

    They do know that I intend to correct their imbalance, but I would like it to be an in game fix.
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    Ridureyu's Avatar

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    Default Re: Get rid of magic items on PCs [3.5]

    Rocks fall, your items die?
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    Default Re: Get rid of magic items on PCs [3.5]

    You should have killed it with physics and/or economics.

    1. Who has a million GP?

    2. How do they carry the equivalent of a million silver dollars?

    3. Who makes all these +5 items? Why did you allow those craftsmen to exist of you didn't want the players to get the items?
    Last edited by Stupendous_Man; 2008-12-08 at 06:42 PM.

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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    MindFlayer

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    Default Re: Get rid of magic items on PCs [3.5]

    Well, you can just eliminate two of the players right off the bat by declaring a no-cosmetics policy.

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    MonkGuy

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    Default Re: Get rid of magic items on PCs [3.5]

    It was a Balor. He had the gp
    Perfectly sane, for a given definiton of sanity.

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    Default Re: Get rid of magic items on PCs [3.5]

    anti-magic field over the whole station, justified because they have several wizards and sorcerers in the prison and thats the only thing keeping them there.

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    MonkGuy

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    Default Re: Get rid of magic items on PCs [3.5]

    can you teleport into an AMF?
    Perfectly sane, for a given definiton of sanity.

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    Default Re: Get rid of magic items on PCs [3.5]

    Quote Originally Posted by Dark Herald View Post
    It was a Balor. He had the gp
    Only because you let him have the GP...

    Learn the lesson. You control what they have access to.

    As for getting rid of it, hey, they're in a police station. If they cause problems, say the said problems result in a jailbreak. Several high level rogues break out and see a quick, easy way of getting lewts...
    Last edited by Stupendous_Man; 2008-12-08 at 06:53 PM.

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    Default Re: Get rid of magic items on PCs [3.5]

    Hmm... Are they flaunting these items? Because if they are a group of high level rogues may very reasonably take an interest in obtaining unusually powerful items from a party which is much too low a level to possess them.

    This gives them a chance to deal with the problem, the rogues are more concerned with money than killing the party and is a perfectly acceptable NPC reaction.
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    Default Re: Get rid of magic items on PCs [3.5]

    You don't need to get rid of the items, per se. You just have to increase the difficulty of encounters because they're so well equipped.
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    Halfling in the Playground
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    Default Re: Get rid of magic items on PCs [3.5]

    Make a special kind of Rust Monster, only instead of it instantly destroying items made of metal, it dumbs down magic items. I've done this with my group that I occasionally DM and they didn't seem to mind, as long as they still have more then they did before they spent the loots.

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    Halfling in the Playground
     
    MonkGuy

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    Default Re: Get rid of magic items on PCs [3.5]

    Thanks for all the help that has come already.

    Remember though, as fun as it probably is to poke at someone who, admitedly, made a big mistake, it really isn't why I posted this here. There's no need to teach me a lesson, as It has already been learned. I just thought that some outside insight might be usefull.

    And this has been a rather high magic/society campaign, so 1 million gold isn't that far out there. Not from a CR 20 monster with access to spells like Wish or Genesis.
    Perfectly sane, for a given definiton of sanity.

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    Default Re: Get rid of magic items on PCs [3.5]

    Try talking to your players, and tell them you goofed.
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    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: Get rid of magic items on PCs [3.5]

    I had this happen once. Instead of taking their items, I followed along as they decided on a series of crazy and wacky high-powered adventures. But they tended to get a whole lot of XP and not so much GP. This was after I explained that I didn't really mean for them to actually get 500K each on 9th level characters ... and they thought it was fine and we should just keep going.

    Basically they leveled way up and it matched their wealth level after about 4 sessions. Now with 18-20th level characters they were kind of irritated that most things weren't a good challenge. They decided to run through Myth Drannor, hit a dead magic zone, and were eaten by some random demons. It was kind of funky but it was their move, and it definitely wasn't a Rocks Fall kind of thing.

    On a side note, it is kind of lame that your players split up party treasure like that. In my opinion, and how people I've played with generally did it, if you were part of the danger that gained the gold you get a share. But unless you're simplifying it sounds like the people who weren't there got shorted about 20K each even if the 300k would be split only between the two. But it will be split between all 6 again? That's ridiculous.

    So how does this jive with your situation? Well each PC of the four got 175K each. Even if you had things cost double book price when you buy them (you do this, right?) that's effectively 90K book price in magic. And that's ... not quite enough to bump from +2 weapon and +2 armor to +5 of each.

    The cleric having AC 40 is troublesome of course. But note that the jump from +5 weapon to +6 weapon is harsh and they're going to be sitting with +5 for a long long time. The wizard having one solid magic item? Not a big deal. I guess what I'm saying is it could be worse.

    I think you should contact the other two PCs outside of the game and mention that the others split up party loot early and shafted them. Let the players argue about it. People might need to sell something back to give everyone an even share. And the wasted money in the trade-out will help you a little.

    They are planning on killing everyone in the rat hole town that shunned them and put up all those nasty wanted posters. Let them. It's just one more set of powerful enemies they'll have to deal with eventually.

    So look at this as a learning experience. The players get to realize that Monty Haul doesn't run a very fun game, and you understand better the importance of checking what treasure does before you hand it out. It's all cool.

    EDIT: Clarity.
    Last edited by Tacoma; 2008-12-08 at 06:55 PM.

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    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Get rid of magic items on PCs [3.5]

    Have a high level cop drop a Mage's Disjunction on them.

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    Optimystik's Avatar

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    Default Re: Get rid of magic items on PCs [3.5]

    Quote Originally Posted by Glyphic View Post
    Try talking to your players, and tell them you goofed.
    Enough of your logic and reasoning.

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    HalfOrcPirate

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    Default Re: Get rid of magic items on PCs [3.5]

    Quote Originally Posted by Tacoma View Post
    I had this happen once. Instead of taking their items, I followed along as they decided on a series of crazy and wacky high-powered adventures. But they tended to get a whole lot of XP and not so much GP. This was after I explained that I didn't really mean for them to actually get 500K each on 9th level characters ... and they thought it was fine and we should just keep going.

    Basically they leveled way up and it matched their wealth level after about 4 sessions. Now with 18-20th level characters they were kind of irritated that most things weren't a good challenge. They decided to run through Myth Drannor, hit a dead magic zone, and were eaten by some random demons. It was kind of funky but it was their move, and it definitely wasn't a Rocks Fall kind of thing.

    On a side note, it is kind of lame that your players split up party treasure like that. In my opinion, and how people I've played with generally did it, if you were part of the danger that gained the gold you get a share. But unless you're simplifying it sounds like the people who weren't there got shorted about 20K each even if the 300k would be split only between the two. But it will be split between all 6 again? That's ridiculous.

    So how does this jive with your situation? Well each PC of the four got 175K each. Even if you had things cost double book price when you buy them (you do this, right?) that's effectively 90K book price in magic. And that's ... not quite enough to bump from +2 weapon and +2 armor to +5 of each.

    The cleric having AC 40 is troublesome of course. But note that the jump from +5 weapon to +6 weapon is harsh and they're going to be sitting with +5 for a long long time. The wizard having one solid magic item? Not a big deal. I guess what I'm saying is it could be worse.

    I think you should contact the other two PCs outside of the game and mention that the others split up party loot early and shafted them. Let the players argue about it. People might need to sell something back to give everyone an even share. And the wasted money in the trade-out will help you a little.

    They are planning on killing everyone in the rat hole town that shunned them and put up all those nasty wanted posters. Let them. It's just one more set of powerful enemies they'll have to deal with eventually.

    So look at this as a learning experience. The players get to realize that Monty Haul doesn't run a very fun game, and you understand better the importance of checking what treasure does before you hand it out. It's all cool.

    EDIT: Clarity.
    This. Don't punish PCs for your mistakes, punish PCs for their mistakes.

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    Default Re: Get rid of magic items on PCs [3.5]

    Quote Originally Posted by Dark Herald View Post
    It was a Balor. He had the gp
    Remember, you aren't the only one who make the mistake that resulted in them getting double the GP worth out of the sale.

    The balor did, too.

    I imagine the balor is going to be highly displeased when he realizes the error he made. And seek restitution in some form. Now, for the sake of your players (and its own convenience), it might have some quest for them to complete, instead of handing over half of the astral diamonds (which they no longer have) or simply slaughtering one of them. Ideally this quest would, like Tacoma suggested already, have a lot of XP and not a lot of GP involved.


    Alternatively, that's a lot of wealth for a single astral deva to have personally. Almost certainly destined to some higher purpose when the PCs attacked. Is the higher celestial authority responsible going to take issue to the PCs carting all of it off? Is it going to demand restitution, in the form of correcting the issues they caused by interfering with the plans of the heavens? You could probably start a long adventure from this....

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    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: Get rid of magic items on PCs [3.5]

    The diamonds were destined for the Astral Deva's brother's fiancee. You see, it was their grandmother's ring, and she had put in her will that the first of the two swashbuckling and freewheeling Deva Boys to settle down and get married would get to present the ring to his wife.

    His brother and the fiancee are rather upset.

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    Default Re: Get rid of magic items on PCs [3.5]

    Well, first of all, when they return from their next delve I would tell them that, thanks to some unarguable phenomenon caused by suddenly flooding the market with coin, the value of precious metals is dropping fast (and they should invest in trade goods, like chickens and spices!). You could gradually move the decimal point one place or two on their cash to account for this "inflation."

    Then you might want to gradually reveal as you are able that their super duper items are cursed. How else would they be on the market? They were fools to think that items that valuable would be sitting around unprotected in a common merchant's shop. They were instead placed there on purpose by some BBEG who is maniacally cackling as he sees the curses begin to develop. Feel free to incorporate some amusing effects of the curses such as changes in the characters' physical appearances.

    Or instead of cursed, they are made with low-grade materials - as they continue to use them the edges of the blades get chip and notches on them, the stitches in the leather come undone, gradually decreasing the bonus. If the characters are smart they will realize their super-items are wearing out and that they should save them for emergencies instead of breaking them on lesser foes. It will also soften the blow give them some time to realize and get used to idea that their items will eventually be useless.
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    Default Re: Get rid of magic items on PCs [3.5]

    I have a few questions. First, they teleported into the middle of a police station you say? Well, what are the characteristics of this police station? What about the town?

    Second, what level of npc would you expect to be present in this town/police station? What level of npc would be less likely to be present? What level of npc has a slim chance of being present? And what level of npc has no reasonable chance of being present? You get where I am going with this?


    Based on the information you gave I can only assume the party teleported inside the police station because they think they are hoss now and want some revenge even at the cost of common sense. They blatantly appeared in the middle of a police station in which they are wanted! That right there gives you pretty much free rain to enact some consequences on the party those of which could also solve your current problem.

    I know the DMs I've played under would never let the party boldly appear in the middle of the residence for the authorities seeking them out WITHOUT some serious repercussions. I mean if they went in under different circumstances or with at least some level of strategy other than, "Yea baby it's payback time!" I could see possible success with little or no consequences but that's not the case.

    Remember as powerful as they get, you are still the most powerful entity in the game...

    If you wait and try to deal with the problem over time with specific actions (masked or unmasked - the players will realize your intent) designed to eliminate their wealth you are liable to make a few of them get bent out of shape.

    Your best bet is to handle it swiftly and to use their actions. You made a mistake sure but they did as well by just teleporting into the middle of the police station. They gave you an out I say use it!

    Honestly, you could say the cops were ready for them as they hired a few psychics/future-seers to determine their whereabouts and in the process found out they were coming. Then capture them and disperse the items you don't want them to have to the psychics/seers as payment or whatever. People in jail don't need robes of the archmage!

    If that seems too mean then have the cops mark their items as the last thing they do before they get wiped out and have one of them escape to send word. Now they are in a different predicament. Sure they don't have a town after them but instead they have a kingdom after them with an easy way to identify them! Sure they can work toward getting their items unmarked but the only person/people who can do it charge a pretty penny.


    I like the idea of the AMF in the police station the best. It makes the most legitimate sense.

    I think people here aren't trying to teach you a lesson so much as they are trying to get you to realize YOU hold the power. Your party shouldn't expect to be able to hang on to that level of wealth at their level.

    So best ways to handle it:

    1) Use their actions against them
    2) Introduce BBEG to deal with it
    3) increase difficulty of encounters and lay off loot for a while

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    Default Re: Get rid of magic items on PCs [3.5]

    New BBEG appears! A warlord that fires disjunction bombs into countries and then conquers their significantly weakened cities, persuading people to surrender. The PCs suddenly need a new strategy, because nothing magic is left standing.
    Quote Originally Posted by Inevitability View Post
    Greater
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    1. Describing basically the exact same monster but with twice the RHD.
    Quote Originally Posted by Artanis View Post
    I'm going to be honest, "the Welsh became a Great Power and conquered Germany" is almost exactly the opposite of the explanation I was expecting

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    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: Get rid of magic items on PCs [3.5]

    I don't get the "they're too low level and thieves will just beat them up and take the stuff".

    Take it from the perspective of a thief. He didn't get that high level by taking a lot of stupid risks. And all he has to do is try to knock over one party of "obviously overwealthed people" who are actually too high-level for their gear and are a little under-wealthed. Suddenly he'd dead forever because PCs hate thieves (who aren't them) and eat their bones.

    So unless the party is wandering around like a college football team high off blow, beers, and a recent win, people shouldn't attack them unless they would have attacked them anyway. And they wouldn't have because the DM wasn't going to do that.

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    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: Get rid of magic items on PCs [3.5]

    Quote Originally Posted by Flickerdart View Post
    New BBEG appears! A warlord that fires disjunction bombs into countries and then conquers their significantly weakened cities, persuading people to surrender. The PCs suddenly need a new strategy, because nothing magic is left standing.
    I think a more effective BBEg strategy is taking one rank in Diplomacy and convincing the king to give him the country. Then he goes to the next one.

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    Default Re: Get rid of magic items on PCs [3.5]

    Quote Originally Posted by Tacoma View Post
    I think a more effective BBEg strategy is taking one rank in Diplomacy and convincing the king to give him the country. Then he goes to the next one.
    Being effective isn't the point. Making an interesting enemy is the point.
    Quote Originally Posted by Inevitability View Post
    Greater
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    1. Describing basically the exact same monster but with twice the RHD.
    Quote Originally Posted by Artanis View Post
    I'm going to be honest, "the Welsh became a Great Power and conquered Germany" is almost exactly the opposite of the explanation I was expecting

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    Default Re: Get rid of magic items on PCs [3.5]

    There was a special trap from the Tomb of Horrors. It was a teleporter that teleported living matter (such as PCs) to one location, and non-living matter (such as their items, but also undead an constructs) to another. The net result is a bunch of PCs with no items.

    From there, give them some gold to rebuild their arsenal.

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    Default Re: Get rid of magic items on PCs [3.5]

    Have people attack (preferably at night) them trying to get loot. On several instances. With sci-fi weapons. This kind:

    Or alternately have the next person have some sort of resource they can't use, be powerful, and be a recurring villain. My personal favorite is the magic mercury pool, just because it lets you have them bring along a certain amount of mercury which decides their power, meaning its not total GM ad-hoc, as well as making it dangerous to counter attack(where they have the entire pool).
    I would really like to see a game made by Obryn, Kurald Galain, and Knaight from these forums.

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    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: Get rid of magic items on PCs [3.5]

    Tomb of Horrors is a good way to say goodbye to a group of players who you have this passive-aggressive anger toward, the last game session you play before quitting.

    Otherwise it's an expression of how bad Gygaxian gaming can be.

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    Default Character wealth and character power

    One million gold pieces is 10 tons of gold, if I've done my math right.

    If you want to be remotely realistic, then high-level characters aren't going to carry their absurd amounts of wealth around in the form of actual gold pieces, or trade for highly valuable items with gold pieces, because there would be way too many gp to conveniently transport or even count. At that point, they should be using gems or bank notes or whatever, as appropriate to the setting.

    I mention this because you describe characters trading valuable gems for "1,000,000 gp" and then using that to buy equipment, instead of using the gems as currency directly.

    Maybe you just meant that they traded some special magical gems for normal trade good gems or something.


    But on the general subject of how to deal with overpowered characters in 3.5E: Level adjustments. See, if all characters of the same ECL are roughly equally powerful, then the game becomes far more balanced. That really ought to be what Effective Character Level is for. So... determine ECL based on how powerful characters are, including the power they get from items. The RAW method, where fixed amounts of LA are associated with particular races and templates, and characters of a given level are expected to all have roughly the same amount of wealth, is dumb. Having to continually track character wealth and compensate for deficiency or excess based on an arbitrary ideal level is an unnecessary burden on the DM. LA should be based on how powerful a character is, which depends on so many things that you really do get better results by determining it in an entirely ad-hoc fashion than you do by trying to be all formulaic about it.

    This way, you can have characters who deviate from the WBL guidelines. You can have a Fighter and a Druid balanced against each other, because the Fighter has more levels. You can even feel free to let characters obtain extra spell-like abilities or extra arms or other weird things via whatever means. They won't level up super-quick by fighting things several levels above them if they only level as fast as characters several levels above their hit dice. Just determine how much characters should be able to do at each level, and then set ECL equal to actual power level based on those guidelines. This is how LA should work. Listed LAs should be treated as guidelines, like the guidelines for magic item pricing, and the fact that the rules don't say this is a serious failing.

    To better accommodate bumping character levels up or down whenever you feel like balance is getting out of whack, XP should only be totaled for one level. E.g. once a first-level character has 1030 XP, he pays 1000 XP to level up to level 2, and his XP total goes down to 30. Once he gets 2000 XP or more, he can pay 2000 XP to level to level 3. This method also makes level loss from raise dead, level drain, etc. simpler. You don't have to muck with XP totals, just reduce the character's level by 1. If he was less than 1000 XP from leveling up, that means that now he has enough XP to buy his lost level right back, and that's fine, he does that immediately for no actual change in level. (E.g. a level 9 character with 8100 XP gets killed and raised, so now he only has 100 XP, but he's still level 9.)

    Some characters may wind up with negative LA with this method. This is fine. LAs don't even have to be whole numbers. If you judge a character to be right about between 6 and 7 in power level, you can call him ECL 6.5 and have it cost 6500 XP for him to level up.
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    Default Re: Get rid of magic items on PCs [3.5]

    Create the Economic Inevitable. Anytime the worlds economic forces are incredibly imbalanced the Economic Inevitable comes and destroys the excess currency/imbalances. Should be easy enough. Make a whole bunch of them attack the group.

    You could also go the un-storied rout with rust monsters and moths.
    Last edited by Yodaman23; 2008-12-08 at 09:32 PM.

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