Thursday, August 30, 2007

Another +5 Vorpal Blade of Vanquishing? Ho hum.

I've been noticing a bit of discussion on magic items in the DnD 4e forums, and it's got me to thinking. More than that, I've actually been re-evaluating my personal feelings on magic items and loot in general.

Now, I will admit, I am hopelessly addicted to multi-classing. I also have a tendency to continue re-hashing and refining the same character concept through several incarnations (thanks to untimely deaths) well past what would be considered sane by my fellow players. I just know that this time I'll get it right.

I am also a total loot whore.

When the bad guy has fallen one of the first things I want to do is search for valuables. Then it's the obligatory casting of detect magic (best cantrip ever!). I'm sure that Crwth can run the routine by rote with or without me in the room. And I hate myself for it.

Even back in the AD&D days of the 80s and early 90s, I was always on the hunt for bigger and better weapons, armor, rings, and cloaks. The more pluses or abilities the better. I loved it. Even as a DM, I had a strong Monty Haul leaning.

Then with 3rd edition we began playing our way through the official campaign series that was released along with the first books. Overall, a great series of modules but in my eyes it was burdened with one fatal flaw. The total and utter lack of magic items.

I don't know if they were written before magic items were added to the DMG but my 8th level ranger was running around in a masterwork chain shirt and wielding a +2 bastard sword. A masterwork chain shirt! For the love of jeebus! At 8th level! No wonder a couple of treants made short work of us.

Now the 4e developers are hinting/promising/threatening to return to those miserly roots. They want magic items to be less important, particularly at higher levels. They're going to dumb down the magic items in the game to the point where if we find a single magic item hidden amongst the loot, the entire party will still be pleased.

My first reaction was horror. Followed quickly by a sharp pain radiating from the left side of my chest. They should be adding more magic items to the game, not less. If first level characters now get to start with 30+ hit points then why not toss them a couple of +1 items? Maybe something with "vorpal" in it's name.

Then came the introspection. And some hard questions. I pride myself on being a sound tactician and a creative min/maxer when it comes to character generation. But am I too dependent on having magic items to get past tough encounters? Is banking on having that Ring of Freedom becoming a crutch to get around flaws in my own designs?

It sickens me.

So now I see this new 4e approach to magic items as a breath of fresh air. I look forward to the day where getting that first +1 weapon, or a +1 ring of resistance, or a bag of holding is a joyous rarity. Even for my 8th level ranger.

In fact I'm gonna turn over this new leaf right away. I'm gonna ask my DM to start cutting back on the loot right now. I won't whine or groan with disgust the next time a monster has nothing but a couple of coppers and some toe nail clippings. I won't jump all over the next thing that radiates a magical aura. I'm going cold turkey baby!

I feel better already.

1 comment:

Crwth said...

After spending all of that time rolling up loot for the current adventure? I'll be damned if I'm going to throw it all away... you're going to take your loot and you're going to like it, mister!