Thursday, January 8, 2009

Artifacts vs. +1 Daggers

Although our preferred play styles and the games we enjoy tend to be very different, Jeff over at Jeff's Gameblog always has great posts that get me thinking about my own play style and campaign setting. In his last post, he mentions Artifacts from an old D&D Supplement and that got me thinking about magic items in general in my own campaigns. I like the idea of doing away with most magic items - the rods, staves, wands, swords, shields and armor, rings, etc. I'd keep single use items like potions and scrolls, but any other magic item I introduced into my game would be an Artifact. So, the +5 Holy Avenger would be in there, and probably some very powerful Wizards Staff, but these would be legendary items that would be much whispered about. They would require an extensive quest in and of themselves to obtain, not just randomly discovered. I'll have to go through all my old DMG's and pick and choose some favorite Artifacts to include and come up with some decent history. 

EDIT: this ties in nicely (for me, not the players) with my Brotherhood of Valar who's duty it is to protect these Artifacts. So not only are magic weapons rare and hard to find, now you've got an entire group of people who's sole purpose is to keep these things out of your hands. 


Anonymous said...

This style of play doesn't really work in D&D. It only takes a cursory glance at the monster manual to see that monsters come with a full assortment of immunities and defenses that require magic items, and at an eaaly level. Then look at their attacks and realise that PCs need an assormtent of magic defenses to survive.

Artifact only magic weapons means retooling every monster and every encounter and DMing D&D is a lot of already.

Getting new magic items is part of player progression, a tangible reward, something cool.

I suggest you have a look at something called E6, a way of playing D&D that caps class levels to 6. For Everybody. While minor magic items can be found as the maximum caster level is 6 so anything powerful must have been crafted by dragons, titans or even the gods! Read the whole thign over at Its the only way I'd ever play or DM a low magic D&D game.

Either way let us know how play works out.

Michael Huxley said...

I've seen a little bit of E6; it didn't leave much of an impression, although this is just from a look-through, not from actual play.

Yes, low magic D&D is a pain in the ass; which is why I'd do this with Castles & Crusades, you get far fewer encounters where magic items are required to survive the encounter. Also, I had the idea of including weapons that "grow" with the characters, so that the weapon the character uses the most slowly becomes a magic weapon and increases in power, as the character increases in power. I'm just trying to come up with a way to implement this. I heard Weapons of Legacy has something like this in it, but it's D&D 3rd Edition so it's probably far more complicated than it needs to be.