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Author Topic: How many covenant items ?  (Read 9498 times)
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Kuenor
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« on: August 16, 2006, 05:16:18 AM »

Hi everybody,

I was wondering how many covenants items and/or magic items do you allow your characters to have. For now, they more or less all have a small magic armor, a covenant weapon or a masterwork weapon, and Aradil's elven cape. During the story they will surely each get a covenant item, but some will surely get two of them. I'm afraid of them being too powerfull for their level. So what's your opinion on this ?
I'm aware that's it's my job to keep things balanced but if I can avoid too much blundering that would be nice.

Thanks,
Kuenor
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arnon
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« Reply #1 on: August 16, 2006, 05:47:42 AM »

In general i think it best for each PC to have only one Covenant Item.

My group by the end of CoS, as far as magical items are concenred, had maybe 2 magical items (spread among 4-5 PCs), each a convenant item. thats it.

arnon
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« Reply #2 on: August 16, 2006, 06:22:34 AM »

Well, I hardly let them have any, much less more than one. And I don't give many common magic items too, not counting scrolls or potions, those I have given them before (like 5 scrolls and about 4 or so potions). I think each covenant item is meant to be seen and used as a relic, meaning the more you have the lesser it's value, so I would hardly give mroe than 1 to a group until 10th level and even after that I would rather give other simple and static magic items than other covenant items.

A good rule is one that makes you feel they are getting what they should, that makes them feel they are being rewarded and that does not make magic loose rarity in the game. Wink
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« Reply #3 on: August 16, 2006, 12:24:18 PM »

I think 1-2 covenant items by level 6 is good.  And these they can keep for the life of the character (and beyond maybe).  I like to "supe up" my covenant items compared to the ones in the books since a lot of them are just not as powerful (even at 12th+ level) compared to simpler magic items from the DMG.  I see covenant items as something powerful, that a character would never discard for any other magic item.  I usually tweak each covenant itme for each character, so it's very treasured.

And then maybe 1 or 2 other magic items which over time magic items will be gained and lost.  I think a PC with more than 4 magic items (including covenant) is a little much, unless the character has the ability to hide their aura's (which is a rather rare ability, but if a character has this ability, it is nice for him/her to have a bunch of not-so-powerful items, items that would normally be discarded just because they are more of a liability than a benefit).

I also have a tendancy to give out more powerful items (in rare numbers) versus lots of little items (like +1 rings of protection).  And I also usually give these items small curses or kwirks (like it can only be activated when the character is at 1/2 their hit point total etc).  This way each item seems more unique and makes magic items seem more powerful than just something that gives a little +1 bonus.  Those little bonuses are more (in my campaign) in the realm of Charms and Mastercraft works.
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Reideen
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« Reply #4 on: August 16, 2006, 02:19:36 PM »

Well...I think you know you gave too much when the players don't treasure their Convent Items anymore. And when that happens...take the convent Items away from them...at best, all of them...then they will see what it means to have one.


But when we're already at it...
Do Convent Items radiate magic ? I mean surely they do, but then again I think I read somewhere that they do not always radiate it.
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PhadeOut
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« Reply #5 on: August 16, 2006, 03:16:38 PM »

Do Convent Items radiate magic ? I mean surely they do, but then again I think I read somewhere that they do not always radiate it.

They do not radiate magic until "activated" by a user.  I can't quote the exact line from the book, but it's there.  I'll try to find it later. 

If I recall, it was the intention of the designer's to have covenant items that could be carried around Legates, so people would use them more.  But, as per the rules, IIRC, they do radiate magic when activated - I just can't clarify what activated means without looking it up lol.
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Bleak Knight
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« Reply #6 on: August 16, 2006, 04:02:25 PM »

In 1st edition, characters who picked up a covenant item and fullfilled the requirements of its minimum level activated it. In 2nd edition, an covenant item is treated as being Innate Magic, and thus undetectable by astirax. It still is only activated when picked up by a suitable wielder, and so is also undetectable by spells such as Detect Magic until picked up by a suitable wielder.
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PhadeOut
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« Reply #7 on: August 16, 2006, 06:01:55 PM »

For Reference, see Page 307 of MN2E.  Second Column on the right.
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« Reply #8 on: August 16, 2006, 09:37:40 PM »

I'm definitely of the 'one distinctive item per character' school Smiley
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« Reply #9 on: August 17, 2006, 08:08:38 AM »

I'll second Dir. One Covenant item per PC is enough and it helps singularize each character in the game and make him unique and different from the others.

I'm also working on some kind of a group covenant item which would work for a group of characters. Might be a nice thing to throw in.
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Shadowmaster
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« Reply #10 on: August 24, 2006, 01:47:07 PM »

We are running CoS currently in my Midnight campaign and a Dworg Defender has the Wodin's Coventant item set and still has no clue that they are magical and doesn't use them, we are at the end of Chapter 4.  Laugh
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Albert
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« Reply #11 on: August 26, 2006, 07:15:48 AM »

I like to include one permanent magic item for each PC, often tailored for that PC. IF the group deside to distribute the items in some other fashion than one for each PC it's their choice, but I wouldn't plan on giving any one of them more than one item. Also if you need to balance things out you could have the items the PCs with only one item has grant more frequent or powerfull powers, while the items of those that have two or more items gain powers slower, or weaker powers, so that overall all PCs has the same amount of magical goodyness.
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« Reply #12 on: August 28, 2006, 12:25:22 AM »

Albert,

In my games some of the items were really not that powerful, so a character might have up to three at level 6.  Of course getting to 6th is a feat in itself.  These might include a warmcloak, or seemingly unstainable clothing (not that it can't be dirtied, just that it could be gotten totally clean) or even the self healing leather padded or studded leather (in other words it would mend after getting hacked up in battle to reamin usable.)

I think it really depends on how powerful the items are and what kind of a campaign you are running. 

You could also use the old DM trick and offset a  PC class weakness to increase character survival while preventing increasing the character class strength.  For instance how many DM's have given their already super evil destructo munchkin Pladin the +5 holy avenger, the 24 dex drow ranger the Elven bow of distance, or the 12th level wizard the ring of wizardry and staff of power and then scratched their heads wondering why the heck the game is too unbalanced and have to resort to puttning all burnt mother orcs in +5 plate to survive past the 3rd round of combat.

Consider giving an item that would help the Dorn Warrior to sneak around a little easier or to hide a bit better, the thief a special dirk that evens up his chances against vardach weilding orcs, or an endurance enhancing item for the channeler.

IORNBORN

What did you decide?
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Albert
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« Reply #13 on: August 30, 2006, 08:18:37 AM »

While that certainly wouldn't unbalance things, and is a very nice way to give magic a little flavour (as in, it's more than just numbers), it also makes magic more everyday. I want enchanted items to be one-of-a-kind, mystical and treasured, and somehow I don't see never-leaking waterbottles or cloaks that regrow tears and cuts doing that. Of course I do some things like you do, I like to add little qualities like that to all items I include in-game, that is, a +2 bonus to something or other is never the only thing my magic items do.

It all depends on how common you want magic to be I guess, in a high-magic world were "everyone" has at least a few magic items, the sort that you described are my favourites. But in midnight I want it to be rare, mystical and powerfull.

Edit:Paragraph for readability
« Last Edit: August 30, 2006, 08:23:36 AM by Albert » Logged
Reideen
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« Reply #14 on: August 31, 2006, 01:02:21 AM »

I see it just like Albert

these small items can be usefull, surely but they don't give the characters the feeling that they really need them. I think a convent Item should be something to rely on, the greater would be the shock if it cease to function for an unknown reason or if it is stolen or something like this.

If you strenghten the characters strong points...than why not attack their still weak points in battle ? Forgett the Paladin with the +5 holy avanger if he doesn't spot the Rogue with his 6d6 (or more) Sneak attack bonus...worse...he doesn't know the one before him is a rogue, too and will soon get flanking sneaks.


ps :

but..until the epics no character of my group will get a better magic item than +2, only if they create it themselves...but the channeler doesn't want to create items ...thats why the players must hope for my generocity.
« Last Edit: August 31, 2006, 01:05:17 AM by Reideen » Logged
Wil_Upchurch
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« Reply #15 on: August 31, 2006, 01:26:53 AM »

I'm thinking the next campaign I run I'm going to give each character their covenant item at a random time, only after they perform some heroic feat or task. That will seem cool, imo, and encourage them to do insane crazy things along the lines of the items they want. But of course, the item that becomes covenant will have to be on hand, so if you want a covenant sword you're going to have to carry it around and use it heroically, which is no small task! Smiley
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« Reply #16 on: August 31, 2006, 12:29:00 PM »

Reideen,

On the whole no items above +2, this is one thing where I disagree.  If you have the book on the Kaladrun's, you will notice that greater masterwork items have a much better place in midnight (along with charms) for those little +1 to +2 bonuses.  Why have a +1 Sword, when a greater masterwork mithral sword is waaaay better than that "oooha magic" sword. 

In my game you would have this scenario: You have a dwarven made mithral sword, forged by the dwarves for their greatest hero = better than any +1 or even +2 sword... Magic has to start where this level of "bonus" leaves off.  Otherwise, it's just junk and it will attract legates like mad when you could have something just as good that isn't even magical.  (You will need the Hammer and Shadow book though for the advanced dwarven forging)

Now a sword that has a +3 enhancement, seems like a powerful "magic item" compared to that perfectly forged dwarven sword.  Of course, it's still up to the DM to decide when these items are appropriate for the characters and for the feel of their compaign.

I never liked the idea that a magic item give such a small bonus... It just doesn't feel like an item that is worth calling magic.  I prefer a more epic and artifact feel to my magic items (well, mainly weapons, armor, staves and rings), rather than something that just gives a little boost...  Also remember, I like giving my items kwirks and little curses that also play into the feel of magic items in the world.
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Albert
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« Reply #17 on: September 02, 2006, 03:00:21 PM »

Covenant Items won't drag Astiraxes and whatnot as bad as ordinary magic items would. So even a pretty weak covenant item would be more welcome than a completely mundane one. You still have a point though, since even covenant items would probably be sought for by the shadow a very weak one might draw so much trouble your way that it's just not worth it. Still, a +2 equalivent, that's pretty powerfull, even if the very best of dwarven craftsmanship can do better.
I think I'll put myself somewhere in the middle here, I'd never consider something much more powerfull than +2 at first, but would certainly consider something more powerfull before the epics. I never do magic items by the book however, first I think of a concept or a theme, then I try to imagine how to work that in-game rules-wise, and then I compare with the tables in the DMG to see that my players recieve about the same gp-amount of magical awesomeness, it's a system that worked great in my dawnforge campaign.
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« Reply #18 on: September 02, 2006, 03:55:59 PM »

Just one thing, in 2nd edition covenant items do not detect as magical for astiraxes at all, regardless of activation or being used, this is because astiraxes detect channeling magic and covenant items have innate magic. They still show on a detect magic, though, as long as they have been awakened.

This means they are far more useful than any ordinary magical item and place them in a different situation from those the party may create during their adventure career.

Defining the item's abilities based on cost on the DMG and story placement is the best choice, imo, a standard covenant item would be far worse than a standard DMG magic item, imo, meaning you are suddenly making them much less important and special.
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« Reply #19 on: September 09, 2006, 10:01:25 AM »

I also faced that kind of issue in my campaign : what covenant item would be appropriate for which player and why would X find an interest in wielding such an item ?

One of my answer was this one : I gave one of my players an appropriate object, perfectly crafted (Hammer and Shadow hasn't been released at the time but it was 'special' masterwork) and I had him awake the weapon as would have done a hero of the privous Ages.
It created a particular link between the player and the weapon but I think this kind of trick should not be overused.

Another of the covenant items around my tables was the reward of a long quest and a staff whose name was only remebered in an old halfling tale. The arcanist was aware of his existence since the first session and when he finally found it, he wouldn't have changed it even for another more powerful or special item.
Creating a link between the players and their covenant items is to me much more about flavour than about rules. Just talk with your players and you will find dozens of different possibilities to link their characters and their items.
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