Friday, August 10, 2012

One Trick (a Day) Ponies - or - Finding Common Ground Between Always On Powers and Charges For Rule Breaking Abilities

Damn, that was a long as post title.

Anyway, as the weekend is upon us, and as I am geised to procure a new magic item per week on this blog, I got to thinking about the rules managing magic items in most OSR games. They aren't really written anywhere, but they are there.

Permanent, always on power - +1 sword, rings of protection, magic armor, gauntlets, belts, robes and the like. Generally, the item is worn or wielded.

Charged Items - item usually recreates a certain spell and uses 1 or more charges per use. Upon expenditure of the last charge, item is usually rendered powerless and useless.

One use items - potions and scrolls are the most popular such items

X Times per day items - became fairly popular in the 3X edition of the game. Usually duplicates a spell effect. It is similar to a charged item with less charge, but it regains those charges every new day. In 1e, these types of powers were often attached to intelligent swords and artifacts.

So, here's what I'm thinking - An item that can be used once per day to replicate the ability of another character class. The charge is only used up if the use is successful. Otherwise, the PC can attempt to use it again (I might rule that a roll of a 1 on the attempt uses up the power without gaining any benefit for that day).

So, Cyris the Fighter, who finds himself in possession of St. Bertran's Holy Chalice, may use it to replicate one Paladin type power once per day (the power would be cast at the lowest level the power is available - usually level 1)

Rathman the Ranger finds Backbiter, a magic short sword that allows him to attempt a backstab as a thief (using Rathman's attack bonus  - if successful, the blade's damage is doubled).

Just some thoughts as I think about this weekend's mission :)

1 comment:

  1. Re: "X Times per day items - became fairly popular in the 3X edition of the game."

    No way! They were ALWAYS popular. Have a look at the DMG.

    A quick and far from comprehensive glance readily reveals such wonders as:

    ring of shooting stars
    ring of elemental command
    ring of human influence
    alchemy jug
    arrow of direction
    bag of tricks
    beaker of plentiful potions
    cube of force
    figurines of wondrous power
    helm of teleportation
    horn of valhalla
    mirror of mental prowess

    so many artifacts

    the unusual swords tables (specifically the "Sword Extraordinary Powers" table).

    And that's just the c1979 DMG...


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