Friday, June 20, 2008

PHB - Equipment

This was a large chapter, and I'm slow, and busy, and ... well, anyway, here are my opinions.

1pp = 100gp? Why. The. Hell. Why on earth would you change such an iconic part of D&D? If, as Griff suggested, money is more prevalent (to adventurers, anyway), then add more units, such as the astral diamond. But why change the platinum piece? Changing magic in an ongoing world is one thing -- some cataclysmic event, yadda yadda; but what, hyperinflation hit Faerun, and the Waterdahvian rupee and Cormyr peso got revalued? Just bring back electrum pieces and shoot me.

That being said, the things I can spend with my gold pieces and over-valued platinum pieces is interesting. With armor specialization being broken up more than in other versions, the various types of armor are more appealing, or at least considered. I like that the higher-end materials needed for Paragon and Epic armors innately provide more protection.

Most of the weapon specialness has been taken away, moved into powers that focus on weapon groups. I think that's okay, because I always forgot which weapons could trip, which could disarm, which had reach, etc... The weapon sizes have been simplified a bit from the player's point-of-view, even if halflings are getting screwed for their size. We still haven't figured out the advantage to being Small in 4e.

I think we universally agreed that the Standard Adventurer's Kit is a good idea, easing the purchasing of a character's starting kit. The "gear" list is still too long for me -- I never know what I might need, and find I either fill up on useless stuff, or run out of money trying. Still, it's there for those who have the foresight to buy that rope.

It's nice that the price of magic items is directly tied to the level of the item, making that easy to figure out. But, this means that items are restricted to exactly their 30 levels, whereas the older 3e rules could have some static values added in when you add a little ability here or there. And this is what I'm finding lacking in the magic items of 4e.

I know that they wanted to reduce the reliance on magic items, and boy have they ever. The armor and weapon selection is arguably decent, but the other equippable items are meager. Nine rings? Four potions? What game are we playing here?

I definitely liked the consistency of "theme" across items. Armor always gives a plus-bonus to AC, of course, and weapons to attack rolls and damage rolls. But now, ever neck item gives a Fortitude/Reflex/Will bonus. And the idea of the kind of power that an item can give you seems to be a little more enforced than it was in 3rd edition, where it was more of a suggestion.

The Daily powers on many of the items, whether armor, weapon or other, are what took me a while to get my head around. You look at these Daily powers, and almost every one of them seems to be better suited as an encounter power. But what I had to realize was that the primary ability of the armor is the AC bonus, or to the weapon the attack bonus, and that these Daily powers were just something to spice it up and increase the price a little. If you subtract the base price of that +1 Curseforged Armor, you can see how much you're paying for that Daily power, and if it's worth it. And I think in most cases, it is. But when you first look at the Angelsteel Armor and see that it has a Daily power, albeit an until-end-of-encounter one, it's still 105,000gp (sorry, 1050pp) and hard to justify -- until you see that it's also at least +4 armor, which is 450pp of it.

Over all, I'm disappointed with the magic item section, with both its paucity and its lack of instructions on creating your own. There are no hints on figuring out the relative value of abilities you might want to create, nor instructions on how to stack abilities onto an item if you so chose. What if I want a ring of true seeing that gives a +3 item bonus to Perception? What's that worth?

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