RtToEE shops

Discussion in 'General Modification' started by anatoliy, Jun 10, 2021.

Remove all ads!
Tags:
  1. anatoliy

    anatoliy Established Member

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2017
    Messages:
    438
    Likes Received:
    118
    I'm struggling a bit about how to make equipment distribution correct in RtToEE. PC start at level 4.

    On one hand Hommlet is now small town.
    As per DMG:
    On other hand from the module:
    So on one hand there is 800 gp limit, equal to Level 3 items from MIC Table 6–3: Item Levels by Price chart. On other hand traveling to Verbobonc should be considered trivial.

    That is why I think there should be some compromise. which should be fun, rational and reasonable.

    Old Trading Post should allow buying magic items equal to PC level. The narrative would be "We are growing business trading with Verbobonc, and are expanding fast. Come back soon, perhaps new items would arrive."

    Brother Smyth would supply weapon and armor. Up to 800 gp meaning only masterwork. But I think we should spice up him a little.

    Make him do Craft Magic Arms and Armor on demand (he took Cleric levels). But either simply extract XP from a PC and half of base cost; or extract double XP and half of base cost; or XP and full price; or full XP and 1.5 of base price.

    To have + 1 weapon:
    • Wait until level 6 and buy in Old Trading Post.
    • Wait until level 5, take Craft MA&A by a Wizard and make him do it.
    • Use Brother Smyth to do it for a price.
    Crafting price by PC of +1 weapon is XP: 80, GP: 1000.

    This would need to be play-through, but - Ideas?
     
  2. Sitra Achara

    Sitra Achara Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2003
    Messages:
    3,152
    Likes Received:
    273
    I am in favor of restricting sale of magical items, so it feels special when you loot it from that boss encounter.
     
    FDR4PREZ and anatoliy like this.
  3. anatoliy

    anatoliy Established Member

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2017
    Messages:
    438
    Likes Received:
    118
    Another interesting things to add to Brother Smyth are Weapon Crystals from Magic Item Compendium (page 245).

    upload_2021-6-10_22-9-43.png

    upload_2021-6-10_22-12-44.png

    CRYSTAL OF ENERGY ASSAULT
    • least (masterwork) : +1 damage, cost: 600 gp, item level 3
    • lesser (+1 weapon) : +1d6 damage, cost: 3,000 gp, item level 7
    So quite cheap +1 damage to masterwork weapon. And on level 7 PC could have +1d6 additional damage to any +1 weapon.

    To compare crafting - Frost and Shock property is accessible from caster level 8, Flaming - from 10th CL. Moreover PC could take some other properties like Keen.
     
  4. FDR4PREZ

    FDR4PREZ Established Member

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2007
    Messages:
    407
    Likes Received:
    65
    Would you still create characters at level 1 and the starting shopmap work some magic to get your guys up to level 4?

    Or will the character creation process be changed so you can select all the skills and feats accumulated for levels 1-4?

    Is it possible to start the game at level 1 and do some side quests to get up to level 4 before the meat of RtToEE is introduced? Not necessarily the same type of FedEx quests as from ToEE, but some real adventure(s).
     
    anatoliy likes this.
  5. anatoliy

    anatoliy Established Member

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2017
    Messages:
    438
    Likes Received:
    118
    In my tabletop games players prefer to create high level PC rather than climb up via low-level dungeons from level 1 to level required by a adventure.

    Currently I see this as party would receive 24k XP. It is level 4 for 4 PC XP. It is easy and straightforward.

    Party would also receive 5k GP per PC.

    Personally I prefer RtToEE to be as close as it could to written sources. At least at first.
     
    _doug_ and FDR4PREZ like this.
  6. Endarire

    Endarire Ronald Rynnwrathi

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2004
    Messages:
    746
    Likes Received:
    77
    Since RttToEE says Verbobonc is nearby and Verbobonc is already part of ToEE via modding, what about just letting them visit there too? Disable the late game ToEE quests and you're mostly set!

    With rare exceptions, I don't like the notion of equipment in general being rare and special: It encourages parties full of full casters with the craft feats so everyone can get their wanted/needed items. It just means that the classes that generally need the items the most (physical characters) are hampered the most since the casters can compensate via having the right spells. (The first time I beat ToEE, I was so frustrated at not being able to reliably hit that I made a party of all Wizards who spammed fireball and magic missile. After farming our way to level 5 for fireball, the game was easy, and we didn't "need" gear in the traditional sense.)

    As for the starting shop, make all new characters get the minimum EXP for level 4 and the expected cash per character upon entry. Include relevant gear, like masterwork and mithril items and scrolls/potions of level 2 spells.
     
    anatoliy likes this.
  7. anatoliy

    anatoliy Established Member

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2017
    Messages:
    438
    Likes Received:
    118
    Having Verbobonc in RtToEE is interesting idea. Even with stripping of all quests. But essentially the idea would be the same. Having Verbobonc as large city would grant access to "all" magic items. And obviously it is much more work with low outcome.

    I also agree here with Sitra:
    But I still convinced that having access to magic items based on level on party is moderate and reasonable option. Come on, +1 weapon from level 6? It is quite late.

    Moreover PC could have nice +1 weapon in ghosted Nulb on CR 6 tough ghost.
    +1 ghost touch longsword

    As for XP - I think it is reasonable to grant 24k XP on a party. So if Player would choose 5 or 6 PC it would increase difficulty substantially.

     
  8. Shiningted

    Shiningted I want my goat back Global Moderator

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2004
    Messages:
    12,359
    Likes Received:
    237
    Yeah, but its finding the happy medium between "only loot" and "allow them to buy everything" - the latter is unrealistic and cheapens the leveling process (you don't have to worry about what spells to take or crafting feats if you can just buy anything) while the former greatly restricts how you will create your PC: if the boss monster has a magic longswrd, and you can't buy anything else, then you are probably going to have a fighter with WF & WS Longsword every single game (like people almost always plan for Scather). Which is suboptimal.
    No-one said you have to use all of Verbobonc.

    Why not use the 'original' Verbobonc map - the NG starting vignette map? This allows for a few doors, they link to a few shops, very little work and a controlled outcome?

    Anyway, I have not read RttToEE so I can't say much :) I just like striking a happy medium - though it did get me thrown out of a psychics' convention.
     
    anatoliy likes this.
  9. anatoliy

    anatoliy Established Member

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2017
    Messages:
    438
    Likes Received:
    118
    I really like the idea @Shiningted !

    The only downside of it is restricted access to magic items per level reasoning. If the big city has everything money could buy, what would be reasoning of limiting it to a PC?

    Nevertheless it is open issue. Let's see how it will go.
     
  10. Sagenlicht

    Sagenlicht Established Member

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2004
    Messages:
    176
    Likes Received:
    36
    I actually think this sums it up perfectly.

    For a single playthrough looting is more fun, for replays variation and therefore more options are better. At least in my opinion.
     
    anatoliy likes this.
  11. dolio

    dolio Established Member

    Joined:
    May 30, 2005
    Messages:
    196
    Likes Received:
    30
    How scriptable is loot?

    It seems like a big portion of the problem with loot in PC games is that it isn't tailored to actually be useful to the party like it can be by a DM. You have to build your party around the known loot rather than vice versa, or the game has to make way too much available (either in loot or stores) to cover a reasonable variety of parties. Could, in principle, a significant reward be generated by looking at the feats and equipment that the party already has, and trying to give them something that works for that? Like, you find a magic version of something a party member has weapon focus in.

    I guess there are a lot of sources of "loot" that would be unrelated in their difficulty of customizing in this way. Like, dialogue is one thing, and picking up equipment of enemies you defeat is another. Scripting an enemy to use different equipment, which might require changes in build, might be quite tricky, but scripting a dialogue reward might be merely tedious.

    Another option might be to have the trader act as an intermediate for actually exchanging items rather than just being a store. So, at the cost of a fee and some time, they can find someone else to exchange your magic longsword with something that's more useful to your party. That might still feel a bit more special than just having them have a complete array of generic +N magic weapons for sale (which is what makes magic items ultimately seem mundane in my experience).
     
    anatoliy likes this.
  12. Endarire

    Endarire Ronald Rynnwrathi

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2004
    Messages:
    746
    Likes Received:
    77
    I like the ToEE Brother Smyth system where everything has a masterwork version. (Other merchants also have mithril and darkwood/exotic material versions of some items.) This way, people can craft what they want.

    As for 'reforging' or exchanging items, what happens if you have an expensive crafted or part-crafted item (+1 acidic axiomatic keen guisarme) and want to exchange that for a spiked chain version? Do you need a million predefined items to account for every combination?

    ToEE already has the somewhat elegant solution of providing some basic loot (but, in my opinion, far too little) and letting/helping PCs craft the rest. These ToEE mods of mine summarize the situation fairly well: I want a variety of items easily available to me (at least the 'basics' of masterwork/darkwood/mithril/+1 weapons and armor of every type, and at least 1 easily buyable scroll of every Wizard spell in the game), because anything easily available will be built toward.

    ToEE and the 3.5 system have a tremendous amount of options (even just with weapons and armor and shields in the ToEE engine so far), and some options are clearly superior. The Swords of Answering (Scather & Fragrarch) are just so good that people build characters and parties around them. Same thing for the holy weapons found in ToEE (+1 Holy Longsword, +1 Holy Guisarme, etc.) In short, loot can't be special because people will build characters around power once they know what's happening, and plenty of items are simply better than others. (Polearms are simply the best overall weapons in the ToEE engine due to their reach and their ability to get bonus attacks per turn with Combat Reflexes. The Swords of Answering provide a close second.) This leaves us with some combination of these options:

    -Baseline loot (masterwork, exotic materials, +1 stuff only): Craft or die/suck.

    -Baseline loot with minimal upgrades kinda like in ToEE: A lesser version of craft or suck.

    -Baseline loot with notable armor/weapons of each type: More work since every weapon and armor type needs something special (gnome hooked hammers, bastard swords, daggers, handaxes, slings, etc, tower shields, large shields, wooden shields, bucklers, full plate, chain shirts, etc.)

    -Notable equipment of each type with no baseline loot: Ug. This caused the Co8 crew make the Brother Smyth quest for masterwork everything.

    -Choose X of Y rewards: Black Jay already offers a "pick 1 of 3" quest reward items. Mind you, I normally pick my reward then sell it because I don't use it for its primary purpose. This philosophy could be "get a +1 Holy Longsword or a +1 Holy Longbow or a +1 Holy Longspear or a scroll of every level 5 Wizard spell programmed in so far."

    -Dynamic/scripted loot: It may work, but at this point, why not just make vendors offer all the loot instead? I may have a Fighter with Weapon Focus: Longbow, but that as a mistake or a pregen character: I want him to use a guisarme instead.
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2021
    anatoliy likes this.
  13. Endarire

    Endarire Ronald Rynnwrathi

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2004
    Messages:
    746
    Likes Received:
    77
    What classes need what items?
    Since we're referencing the Magic Item Compendium, what classes need what items?

    -Everyone wants and needs stat boosters (+STR for melee, +DEX for everyone, +CON for everyone, and +casting stat for casters).

    -Everyone wants save boosters (cloaks and vests of resistance).

    -Wizards and spellbook users want and need scrolls. (Just make all scrolls of all appropriate spell levels easily buyable and not unique - like in stacks of 10 - so players can make parties of Wizards, Archivists, etc. Having more consumables buyable encourages people to buy and use consumables so people aren't just hording their stuff and never using it.)

    -People want some buyable consumables. For example, wands of cure light wounds and mage armor and benign transposition (and maybe also magic missile depending on the caster level) are level 1 wands likely to be useful throughout a campaign and stuff I would likely buy.

    -Everyone wants and needs magic armor and shields. Darkwood bucklers and mithril bucklers are most notable here.

    -Everyone wants and needs some sort of magic weapon. Martial characters (Fighters, Rogues, Rangers, Barbarians, Scouts, etc.) benefit more from having weapons available they can use that casters typically won't: That is, martial weapons (guisarmes, handaxes, greataxes, longswords, longbows, shortbows, bastard swords, kukris for dual wielders, etc.), as well as exotic weapons (spiked chains, gnome hooked hammers), and simple weapons that casters tend not to use (daggers). At a later level, caster weapons can drop.

    -For the crafters, they want easy access to base materials (mithril chain shirts, darkwood/mithril bucklers, masterwork weapons/armor/shields) so they can make what they want and often feel like they're ahead of the power curve.

    -Every party will likely want and need masterwork tools (masterwork merchant scales).

    -Some people want or need other things, like items that cast summon or charm spells X times per day, or convenience items (helm of teleport, helm of read magic, etc.)

    -Beyond this, everyone wants and maybe also needs items which help them do their jobs better beyond these basics. Things like a Badge of Valor for Bards for +1 to Inspire Courage, or a Chaucible of Fell Power for Warlocks to increase their eldritch blast damage.

    -Bags of holding are useful in ToEE, and I haven't used them yet, but I assume they're viable.

    In Short
    Just like in real life, D&D 3.5 assumes PCs have access to a thriving economy and will wisely buy things to suit their party. Each character's and party's needs and wants may differ, and may change over time.

    As previously stated, people will build characters and parties to make use of the most convenient and most powerful options once they're known. Trying to make loot 'special' (scarce) just means some builds suffer while a standard Wizard/Cleric/Druid party with craft feats doesn't care as much and simply makes what it wants - or skips loot entirely and casts spells to destroy everything while naked. (The first time I beat ToEE was with a 5-Wizard party that spammed fireball and magic missile.) The characters that need the items the most are non-casters, and they need to have a variety of items readily available and in abundance for them to enjoy the game.

    When I first played Baldur's Gate, I was disappointed because itemization options for non-casters were so rare. I came from Final Fantasy and Diablo where item upgrades normally came every hour or two if I was following the plot and succeeding. I liked Wizards in BG and stuck with them in large part because they could spam magic missile from level 1 for damage and not continually miss like the other characters. They were also the one class that had the most items to gain, scrolls. I later realized that Clerics and Druids and divine casters had an even better deal in that they knew all their spells without searching, but that initial thrill of getting new stuff was there for me. One of the authors of Diablo said that he made this game because the best part of any D&D campaign was newer and better loot.

    If we are in the very unlikely case that loot is in such abundance that craft feats are unwise to take, that just means we have enough items of enough variety to suit a variety of characters and playstyles, such as 8 Monks or 8 Fighters. This is a very good thing! Considering how crafted items work in ToEE's engine, it seems unlikely that someone would purposely make +1 Holy and +1 Keen Holy versions of every legal weapon, but even then, there's use to having a Cleric in the party with the Good Domain, because maybe you simply want it for roleplay or/and mechanical reasons.

    I leave you with the example of a buffet: While some people complain about eating too much, if you eat at a buffet, you're expected to like it and leave happy because you got what you wanted in abundance. If you didn't get what you wanted, it's likely because you were too full from getting something else you wanted. I consider this a very good thing.
     
    anatoliy likes this.
  14. Endarire

    Endarire Ronald Rynnwrathi

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2004
    Messages:
    746
    Likes Received:
    77
    @anatoliy
    To rephrase what was said above, if you're making a module, you aren't making it for one party, you're making it for all parties. What if I have an all-Fighter party that specializes in Dwarven Waraxes, Gnome Hooked Hammers, Light Crossbows, Halberds, Glaives, etc.? Will I be disadvantaged compared to an 8-Fighter party that has a variety of melee weapons like Longspears and Longswords and Kukris?

    RPG modules explicitly or implicitly tell GMs to tailor items and rewards and challenges to fit their party, but if you're making a video game, you're making it for a wide audience. I liked ToEE because I could solo it with a Duergar Rogue who had base 3 in every stat. (Furnok's Ring of Invisibility is the most useful item in Hommlet!) I could also accept or reject items for sale/pickup, and use NPCs or my characters as I chose. I had a lot of agency because there was a wealth of choices. As I mentioned or implied above, providing all these options doesn't guarantee that one player or party will use them in one playthrough or ever, but across many parties and players (tens, hundreds, thousands, or more), they're likely to be used if they're viable enough.

    Ultimately, this is a game which is meant to be fun more than it's meant to be realistic. If Hommlet and Verbobonc just so happen to have more stuff available to purchase than the module authors anticipated, that's likely a very good thing because you're accommodating more players and making it fun for them. Regardless of how 'realistic' this scarcity may seem, you're also dealing with players who have grown up in a world of abundance with quick or instant gratification - the Internet, Netflix, Amazon Prime 2 day delivery, restaurants that customize food to customer preferences, etc. It just makes sense to players that they can play their way.

    If you want players to be able to play "their way," they need a broad range of viable options, meaning in this context they need a broad variety of items for purchase (especially starting early game) with enough quantity to support a party of 8 dual wielders of that same weapon, 8 Wizards who all want that spell in their spellbooks, and player psychology that says, "I will never use my last consumable item/charge, but I may use my 'spares.'" Players also tend to want to either experiment, play optimally based on personal experience and guides, or just pick something convenient with minimal thought to its long-term consequences because research and planning to them isn't fun. If you don't account for these extremes, players are likely to believe that they did something wrong, or the game is bugged/badly made, or just lose enthusiasm for the game because now they need to play the author's intended way (sometimes called "the one true way") and lose their agency as players.

    In general terms, scarce items promote smaller parties so that everyone gets the most valuable resources. It's already easier to gear a 2-man party than a 5-man party, and a 2-man party will level faster to get access to the better spells sooner, spells that are generally more powerful than extra permanent party members. If there's exactly one Ring of Freedom of Movement in the game like there is in Baldur's Gate, and this effect is very valuable, the optimal party size becomes 1.

    For another Infinity Engine game example, I point you to my experiences in Icewind Dale: Enhanced Edition (IWDEE). I soloed the game on the highest difficulty (Heart of Winter or somesuch) as an Elf Fighter/Mage/Thief. This game is a game of scarcity: There's approximately one copy of every arcane scroll in the game, and if I had more than one Wizard in the game, I would have likely felt foolish for not doing the research. Call me lucky if you wish, but I was glad I could still learn every spell with my one man party.

    To clarify, there is a viable range here. We've talked about viable things being too scarce as a problem - and it can be - but on the other extreme is giving away so much power so easily and early that it reduces player enjoyment. Giving everyone in a party of 8 a +1 Holy Longsword just for entering Hommlet is overkill and not fun since it leaves little room for player growth. While some people have been concerned that making expensive high-level loot available to all from the beginning is simply bad game design, it offers a safety net to ensure certain gear is easily available with in-game currency (IGC), it makes IGC valuable for major purchases, it lets players know that this stuff exists, and it's useful for encouraging players to keep returning to these vendors to check their inventories and chat hem up. It lets people make meaningful choices between what to buy sooner - more cheaper stuff or that expensive item they just saw in that shop. In some ways, there's less a feeling of randomness that comes with finding certain rare items: It removes the question of, "Was this item just randomly given to me because I'm level _ or it's on loot table _ or because I'm class/build _?"

    In terms of sheer quantity, it's OK to have spares of many or most items: They're held as spares or sold as vendor trash to make things the party wants and needs. The planes are flooded with masterwork, mithril, darkwood, and +1 items. They're probably also dense with +10 or higher weapons and armor. There's only one Orb of Golden Death - at least to my knowledge - and for good reason: It's a plot item that shouldn't be duplicated. It's also an exception to the notion of many or most items being available in high supply.

    Regarding leveled loot, this felt metagamey to me. Completing quests and advancing time to get certain rewards is very much in character: Just see the quest Brother Smyth Needs Head for a handy example. If it just so happens that these quests are best done at level X, then so be it. Remember that determined players will find ways to do stuff ahead of schedule, like kill the Emridy Meadows Hill Giant & Bear at level 1 with grease and entangle and ranged weapons.

    Finally for now, remember that D&D is fantasy, a genre built upon magic. In other words, D&D is a game about magic: Magic items, magic spells, magic creatures, magic locales, magic circumstances, and magic consequences. it needs an ample abundance of these things for a variety of player and character types to remain fun.
     
    anatoliy likes this.
  15. FDR4PREZ

    FDR4PREZ Established Member

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2007
    Messages:
    407
    Likes Received:
    65
    Wow, that is a lot of "everyone wants" thrown around... Don't count me in that group.

    I did not come from Final Fantasy or Diablo. I've never played either of these, but I have played other cRPGs - just nothing new recently.

    My D&D paper sessions were mainly Basic and 2nd Ed. We used 3.5 for a little bit before our band dispersed, so I never really played much with this rule set until finding C08 and playing ToEE.

    But I have stated in other threads here => I've never crafted - anything - and never created a scroll or potion. I also find it rather silly and dumb that you can walk into a medieval shop, in a poor town, and the merchants are just swimming in magic items and have unlimited coin to buy your junk.

    You do make many good points, but I will add this:
    I've never used either of these.

    I've never used either of these

    It can be special for the players that are not uber players.


    I've never used a polearm in ToEE, but I've tried it once in the SGoS zmod recently.
     
    anatoliy likes this.
Our Host!