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Building a magic item creation system


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Inspired by this post:

I am sure that there is some system in Fantasy Hero (of some edition) that we can subvert to make a decent Item Creation system that talks about money costs.

 

The goal of this thread is to build a magic item creation system which can be used in most styles of fantasy. Basically, it's a thread to build a magic item creation system, not a thread on magic item creation systems; a subtle but important difference.

 

An point-by-point outline for discussion and contribution will be maintained here in the first post. It should be added to, modified and removed from based on discussion in this thread.

 

The current outline consists of:

 

1) The system should adapt to low-fantasy and high-fantasy.

1a) Axis 1: How much money the characters have. More powerful magic items are more expensive.

1b) Axis 2: A sliding power scale, (from 1 to 5?), that caps which magic items are available and how powerful they can be.

2) A generic cost structure using levels of: Dirt Cheap, Cheap, Moderately Affordable, Moderately Expensive, Expensive, Outrageous

2a) A generic cost system, based on X * The cost of the enchantment, where the cost of a "Dirt Cheap" enchantment is based on average wages in the area.

 

Q&A:

 

Q: Why not just use HERO System?

 

A: The magic item creation system will use HERO System. However, HERO System does not, and cannot, handle in-game pricing in monetary units, or setting-specific details. A magic item creation system can address that need, for a large subset of fantasy campaigns.

 

Q: What do you mean by "Magic item creation system"?

 

A: A system which defines how a character (not a player) gets from components to a magic item, what powers that magic item has, and what type of item (wand, potion, scroll, weapon, shield, etc.) it is, as well as how much that item costs, at least in general.

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I like this.   Edit: An idea to go with this. You could have setting templates, that multiplied the cost of certain powers by Y. For example, "Costly Teleportation" to multiply the market price of a

Maybe something that hooks into the Optional Money System, or otherwise uses descriptors rather than money amounts.  Dirt Cheap, Cheap, Moderately Affordable, Moderately Expensive, Expensive, Outrageous.  In fact, given the difference in money systems between worlds, I'm not sure we can do anything but this.  

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Maybe something that hooks into the Optional Money System, or otherwise uses descriptors rather than money amounts.  Dirt Cheap, Cheap, Moderately Affordable, Moderately Expensive, Expensive, Outrageous.  In fact, given the difference in money systems between worlds, I'm not sure we can do anything but this.  

Hmm...provide a conversion table ("Dirt cheap: 1-15 silver pieces.") for a "standard" pricing, and make it clear the standard pricing is entirely optional?

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For a Fantasy game, I provided approximate examples for what different coinage would buy, on almost an order of magnitude scale:  The cheapest coins bought meals, the next paid for a private room.  Coins of the next type would buy a weapon, the highest paid for suits of armor. 

 

A similar scale to what Chris Goodwin suggested, but the low end would probably be higher on the base scale.  Purpose or reuse will have an effect on cost too. Single use temporary items would be bottom end, then charged/reusable, then permanant items, possibly with another sliding scale for "power level" of.  A one-use total invulnerability is not as good as a permanent but minor protection, most of the time.

 

Chris.

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Maybe something that hooks into the Optional Money System, or otherwise uses descriptors rather than money amounts.  Dirt Cheap, Cheap, Moderately Affordable, Moderately Expensive, Expensive, Outrageous.  In fact, given the difference in money systems between worlds, I'm not sure we can do anything but this.  

 

I would suggest the following type of formula (Spellbook Games has/had a PDF with the cost to hire someone to do work for you)

Dirt Cheap = X * average daily wage for average person in the area

 

So lets say the average daily wage is 2 silver pieces.  And you have decided that the cheapest magic item is going to be a luxury for the average person then the X should be 100.  So the cheapest magic item would be 200 silver pieces.  For the average person they would never save up enough to buy a magic item.  But for an adventurer that is pretty common.

 

Then just scale up from Dirt Cheap -> Outrageous by changing the multiplier (X).

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I would suggest the following type of formula (Spellbook Games has/had a PDF with the cost to hire someone to do work for you)

Dirt Cheap = X * average daily wage for average person in the area

 

So lets say the average daily wage is 2 silver pieces.  And you have decided that the cheapest magic item is going to be a luxury for the average person then the X should be 100.  So the cheapest magic item would be 200 silver pieces.  For the average person they would never save up enough to buy a magic item.  But for an adventurer that is pretty common.

 

Then just scale up from Dirt Cheap -> Outrageous by changing the multiplier (X).

I like this.

 

Edit: An idea to go with this. You could have setting templates, that multiplied the cost of certain powers by Y. For example, "Costly Teleportation" to multiply the market price of all teleportation magic items (whether they use Teleport or not) by some number.

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Anyone have any suggestions on how to setup a systematic way for mages to enchant items.  The Grimoire is fine for potion making.  I would like to hear how people are handling magic item But the method described in the Grimoire for Magic Item creation is less than satisfying.

 

Basically I would like to see a beginning apprentice enchanter have the ability to create minor/cheap magic items.  And then work up to the big stuff.  I have thought about using a VPP and then individual creation spells.

 

The controls on keeping the mages from becoming the "Ford Factory" of magic items would be time it takes to prepare (at least 1 week per 10 active points in the enchanted item - not the creation spell) and cost.

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If you want to build a spell to create an item, the Differing Modifiers rule under Usable On Others can work pretty well, and it's one of the options listed in Fantasy Hero.  Another option is to use Power Skill: Enchant Item (which is more or less the spellcasting Skill for imbuing magic into an item).  With either of these methods it's certainly appropriate to require Extra Time, expensive materials, and so forth.  

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Anyone have any suggestions on how to setup a systematic way for mages to enchant items.  The Grimoire is fine for potion making.  I would like to hear how people are handling magic item But the method described in the Grimoire for Magic Item creation is less than satisfying.

 

Basically I would like to see a beginning apprentice enchanter have the ability to create minor/cheap magic items.  And then work up to the big stuff.  I have thought about using a VPP and then individual creation spells.

 

The controls on keeping the mages from becoming the "Ford Factory" of magic items would be time it takes to prepare (at least 1 week per 10 active points in the enchanted item - not the creation spell) and cost.

This thread is for the very purpose of creating a system for making magic items.

 

However, and this is a fine hair, it is not a place to discuss systems of making magic items, nor a place to discuss various rules-constructs for making magic items.

 

In short, it is a specific thread, not a generic thread, and general magic system questions do not go here.

 

Edit: The tone of this post seems to maybe not be the way I meant it. I meant it solely to clarify the purpose of the thread.

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This thread is for the very purpose of creating a system for making magic items.

 

However, and this is a fine hair, it is not a place to discuss systems of making magic items, nor a place to discuss various rules-constructs for making magic items.

 

In short, it is a specific thread, not a generic thread, and general magic system questions do not go here.

 

Edit: The tone of this post seems to maybe not be the way I meant it. I meant it solely to clarify the purpose of the thread.

 

Ah... I will stay more on topic :-)

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My "system."

The beauty of HERO is "You can do anything."  So I hate to overly limit players other than via campaign limits on DC's, defenses, etc.

 

Making a Magic Item on Lostorum is, essentially, as simply as spending the XP points after approving the item with the GM (me.)  But that does not, obviously, reflect what may be occurring in the game-world; it does not simulate or address how the character makes the item nor does it give a price, time to complete, etc.

 

In addition, "magic items" tend to have lots of limitations meaning you get a lot for a few points.

 

First, I base everything off of Active Points vs. Real Points so far as figuring out the Time to Build, Skill Roll, and Monetary Costs.

  • Monetary Cost = (Total Active Points of all Powers) * (Total Limitations + 1) * 5 GP
  • Time to Build (in total Man-Hours) = (Total Active Points of all Powers) * (Total Limitations + 1) 
  • Skill Roll Penalty = (Total Active Points / 10) + (Total Limitations + 1)

The total limitations on the item becomes a cost multiplier on the AP for this purpose:  A 60 AP power put into an item with -1 worth of limitations ends up with a x2 cost multiplier; -2 total limitations and the multiplier becomes x3.  To build such an item would require 60 x 5 * 2 = 600 GP worth of materials; it would require a total of 60 * 2 = 120 total hours of construction time (which can be reduced by having multiple crafters and such), and the skill roll would need to be made by at least 8 under (necessitating extra time, assistance, or tools to increase your roll.)

 

Note that this has not been heavily tested and likely comes in far cheaper than D&D prices for minor items, but far more expensive for major items with more than one ability.

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First proposed rules for the system:

 

Time: Requires 1 day of constant work (or one week interruptible work) per 10 Active Points in the power.  Increase by one step down the time chart for permanent items.

 

Ingredients: Requires 1 "hard to get" component per 25 Active Points in the item.  Something specific made, creature killed, rare import, etcetera that limits production of the item.  In a high-magic campaign that supports component shops, the cost of component is 5 times multiplier.

 

Chris.

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I once wrote an Adaption of the Item Creation System from a SciFi RPG (not yet translated to english). Here is it:

http://www.herogames.com/forums/index.php?/topic/79619-crafting-system/

Please re-read the first post. This is not a thread for discussion of magic item creation systems in general.

 

Alternately, if you intended your link to contribute ideas to the discussion at hand, please remove the link and replace it with on-topic suggestions using those ideas, or describe the ideas you wish to contribute from the link

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Please re-read the first post. This is not a thread for discussion of magic item creation systems in general.

 

Alternately, if you intended your link to contribute ideas to the discussion at hand, please remove the link and replace it with on-topic suggestions using those ideas, or describe the ideas you wish to contribute from the link

Okay, from the system I copied I get the following ideas:

First you need to quantise the Complexity of an Item. All other steps you do will be affect by how complex the item is. If you have no way of measuring it, you will not get anywhere.

 

The Complexity should define a sort of minimal dififculty. So that complex stuff actually needs a certain skill level. You won't send a guy with 2 weeks course in Progrmamign to make a OS.

The Complexity also defines the time it is needed to make the item.* Time can be cut linerry by using more workers. Note that more workers also mean bigger chance somebody screws up a roll**

The Complexity also defines the cost of the finished item.* Note that traders might still variate from this price.

Raw materials for building items should cost a fraction of the final items cost. 1/2 an 1/3 are common. If there is a chance of failure, the cost for raw materials should be lower. Ideally there should be a chance of failure, that allows some more variation in prices.

Some actions take less time and skill point investmant than others. Repairing is a lot faster/cheaper to learn then Building the item. Before you build it you might have to design it or find a existign plan for it.

 

*Differenty classes of items (guns, rifles, armors) take different multipliers here. One might take Complixty Time Minutes, the others Might take Complixty times Days or Weeks. Also, characters should be able Trade increased difficulty for reduced time.

 

**You know why Windows has so many bugs that they bring 6+ updates out every month? It's giant piece of work, on wich hundereds of programmers have worked. Non Programmers will have a hard time even understanding the scale of writing an OS.

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Okay, from the system I copied I get the following ideas:

First you need to quantise the Complexity of an Item. All other steps you do will be affect by how complex the item is. If you have no way of measuring it, you will not get anywhere.

 

The Complexity should define a sort of minimal dififculty. So that complex stuff actually needs a certain skill level. You won't send a guy with 2 weeks course in Progrmamign to make a OS.

The Complexity also defines the time it is needed to make the item.* Time can be cut linerry by using more workers. Note that more workers also mean bigger chance somebody screws up a roll**

The Complexity also defines the cost of the finished item.* Note that traders might still variate from this price.

Raw materials for building items should cost a fraction of the final items cost. 1/2 an 1/3 are common. If there is a chance of failure, the cost for raw materials should be lower. Ideally there should be a chance of failure, that allows some more variation in prices.

Some actions take less time and skill point investmant than others. Repairing is a lot faster/cheaper to learn then Building the item. Before you build it you might have to design it or find a existign plan for it.

 

*Differenty classes of items (guns, rifles, armors) take different multipliers here. One might take Complixty Time Minutes, the others Might take Complixty times Days or Weeks. Also, characters should be able Trade increased difficulty for reduced time.

 

**You know why Windows has so many bugs that they bring 6+ updates out every month? It's giant piece of work, on wich hundereds of programmers have worked. Non Programmers will have a hard time even understanding the scale of writing an OS.

Thanks. I'm trying to keep the thread focused, and that is a good chunk of ideas to digest over.

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1b) Axis 2: A sliding power scale, (from 1 to 5?), that caps which magic items are available and how powerful they can be.

 

Suggestion:  

 

1: Trivial.  A few Active Points, maybe up to 1/4 the campaign max Active Points

 

2:  Minor.  Up to about 1/2 the campaign max Active Points.  

 

3:  Average.  Up to the campaign max.

 

4:  Powerful.  Up to 2x (or however much) the campaign max.

 

5:  Artifact/Relic.  Anything higher than Powerful.  These probably won't be created during the normal course of play by player characters.  Think Eye of Vecna, Mace of St. Cuthbert, Spear of Longinus, Excalibur.  

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Suggestion:  

 

1: Trivial.  A few Active Points, maybe up to 1/4 the campaign max Active Points

 

2:  Minor.  Up to about 1/2 the campaign max Active Points.  

 

3:  Average.  Up to the campaign max.

 

4:  Powerful.  Up to 2x (or however much) the campaign max.

 

5:  Artifact/Relic.  Anything higher than Powerful.  These probably won't be created during the normal course of play by player characters.  Think Eye of Vecna, Mace of St. Cuthbert, Spear of Longinus, Excalibur.  

The problem with that is that in-game effect is not always the same as Active Points. For example, Life Support; Longevity (Immortal) is 5 Active Points.

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System that I've tinkered with in the past:

 

Permanent Items (Weapons, Armor, Rings, Rods, Wondrous Items): AP Cost x100 GP to craft (Thus enchanting a sword to grant an extra 2d6 Killing Damage for 0 END would cost 4500 GP to craft)

 

Consumable Items (Wands/Staves with Charges, Potions, Scrolls): AP Cost x1 GP to craft (Thus a potion that grants 10 rPD and 10 rED for one minute would cost 30 gp to craft)

 

If the Real Cost is less than 25% of the Active Points, then the item does not require rare/expensive materials.

 

If the Real Cost is between 26% and 50% of the Active Points, then the item requires a difficult to find component.

 

If the Real Cost is greater than 51% of the Active Points, then item requires a rare component.

 

Finding Components:

 

Difficult to obtain: increases the crafting cost by 50%

Rare: doubles the crafting cost

 

As I said, I've tinkered with it but really haven't done much with it as most the players in area want to play DnD (see this thread: http://www.herogames.com/forums/index.php?/topic/88035-hero-for-dummies/ )

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There are several considerations to be made here:

 

1: How are items enchanted?  Is it with a specific "Enchant Object" spell?  Is it enchanted during the items creation through powerful rituals that imbue the object with power?  Does enchantment require special components/materials that are themselves magical in nature, or are capable of storing magical energies?

 

2: Can mundane objects be enchanted after their creation?

 

3: How complicated is the enchantment?  Does it take a long time?  Is it taxing on the enchanter and/or item forger?

 

4: Can items be enchanted anywhere, or does it require enough ambient magical energies that enchantment can only be performed at certain locations such as Ley/Dragon lines, Nexus points, special temples or altars or a specially created magical forge/laboratory?

 

5: Who can be involved in the Enchantment?  Someone must create the item (if that's necessary) so the object creator needs to be there.  Can the object be created and Enchanted by the same person?  Can multiple Enchanters be involved to imbue the item with even more power?  Will blood or energy sacrifices add more power to the ritural/enchantment/spell?

 

6: What determines if the Enchantment is successful?  Is it a Skill Roll?  A series of Skill rolls?  A successful item creation roll (Weaponsmith) AND a successful magical skill roll (Power skill) to imbue the item during creation?

 

7: What happens if the object creation skill roll is a failure?  Will the object and enchantment be ruined?  Will the enchantment set into the object, but the object is flawed and ultimately doomed to failure at some unnamed point in the future?

 

8: What if the Enchantment attempt was a failure?  Does it spoil the attempt to create the object as well?  Does a corrupted enchantment set within the object.  Does the enchantment become a curse to affect the items weilder?  Is all the collected magical energy to be used in the enchantment released in an explosion that could potentially kill all participants involved? (I'm partial to all of the above are possibilities)

 

9: Assuming there are multiple "Realms" of magical talent (Necromancy vs Wizardry vs Divinity vs Psychic etc) do they all require different enchantment methods?  Necromancy requiring blood sacrifices to the lords of death and spirit entities summoned and trapped within the object?  Divine objects must be dedicated to the appropriate deity and held at a holy place for long periods of time to absorb the essence of the divinity in question?

 

10:How is the economy of scale determined, and what enchantment determines how much an item is worth?  Is it based on material cost/rarity?  Difficulty to create the object?  Prestige on who the enchanter and forger are?  How long it takes to enchant the object?  Likely all of the above plus some mitigating factors?

 

I think it's rather obvious what I'm going for with my line of questioning:

 

I believe it is relatively impossible to develop a concise magic item creation system without first developing a concise magical system to attach it to.  A "generic system usable by most systems" is not possible, because there are far too many variables and specifics involved in the creation of even a simplistic magic system and ALL of these variables must be taken into consideration in the creation of any accompanying item creation system.

 

I'm not saying you shouldn't try, I'm just saying that don't get discouraged when you don't succeed.

 

After which point I would then challenge you to first come up with a concise magical system and then create an Item creation system to go along with it.

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True.  But one must have rules in place before deciding when and how to break them.  

 

Or are you proposing special effect based power ratings?

 

Chris.

No; just pointing out the obvious for the record.

 

@NuSoardGraphite: Most of that can be abstracted away - And what I got from that is somewhat different than your conclusion, and that is that what we may need is a system for creating magic item creation systems, and build a specific magic item creation system from that; for that second step, we may indeed need a magic system.

 

So, up for vote:

 

Considering NuSoardGraphite's concerns, what steps if any should first be taken before continuing with this thread?

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