Sunday, November 30, 2014

Magic Items in Legend Quest

I’m not sure that everybody out there understands how enchanters in Legend Quest work. This goes for the folks who play it as well as the folks who don’t. So let me lay it out there.

In the Legend Quest rule book, and then expanded in Book of Wishes and The Alchemist’s Lab, we actually laid out how magic items get made. In laying out how the items are made (cost of materials plus the cost of labor), we lay out exactly how much it costs for alchemicals and enchantments. But it’s far more than that.

The rules lay out how difficult it is to learn to cast those magical spells to create those items. In so doing, we not only listed how expensive the items (actually the spells that create them) but also placed a clear cap on the power. How did we do that? Well, any GM who has created some starting level characters and some starting to mid-range enemies for his/her players will know exactly how powerful an enchanter could be. In Fletnern I have NOT made up every enchanter in the world, but I have set a level cap of this: There are no enchanters above power level 5. Even those guys who do have Pow 5, most of them are hidden away in the island city of Rimmim, so trying to get specific magical items can be very difficult to obtain.

OK - Some of the numbers: Starting characters start with 250 character points to build their characters. A typical adventure grants you around 25 character points in experience. So a 500 point character is one who has been on about 10 adventures (fighting forces typically equal or more powerful as they are). Guys who stay home - I usually give them about 10CP per year for “offsite experience”. A power level of five in enchanting magical power costs 320 character points. Figure that guy will need to have at least 100 points in attributes and must have another 100 points in skills that do not directly affect his enchanting. The Strength enchantment spell takes 25, and enhancing his abilities with that spell would be 5/10/20/or 40 points. So just to cast a power level 5 strength enchantment, which would put a human on par with a troll, would require at least 550 points. Assuming he is not an adventurer (and what enchanter is?), that means that he would have needed to spend the majority of his 55 years of life doing pretty much nothing other than cast the strength enchantment and learning how to cast it, and he cannot do anything else of value. To get to a power level 6 would require another 320 points meaning he might be able to pull it off during his 87th year - not likely. That’s how we restrict the power level of magic.

Now - There are ways around this, but even my simplistic explanation here isn’t all that realistic. This guy would only have a 60% (ish) chance of success, so it isn’t exactly realistic or the best way to do things. Yes - Of course there are ways to enhance things, especially with magical talismans and other enchantments, but you are still going to be having trouble getting above five power levels.

Look - We’re not here to bore you to death with numbers. We’re hoping you’re still here. The point is more that there should be and need to be limits to what can be done. But let’s also look at the other side of things - The points can also tell us that this 55yo enchanter could be less powerful but having far more spells - spells that might be valuable in the community (or even if those spells are not directly combat related). This is one of the many reasons that Legend Quest supports magic items that are not directly combat related.

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