RtToEE shops

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

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  1. Endarire

    Endarire Ronald Rynnwrathi

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    The "everyone wants and needs" was a rephrasing of an expectation WotC realized and put into the Magic Item Compendium as the "Big Six."
     
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  2. dolio

    dolio Established Member Supporter

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    I think it's pretty unlikely that the situation will be, "craft or suck," in any case. Crafting in the ToEE module is an easy recipe for steamrolling the game. I have built a party that could basically craft everything, and it made the game very easy. I think this might partly be the case for any tabletop adaptation, because ToEE doesn't implement any of the time rules for crafting. Those would push a lot of stuff to only being accessible between adventures (since it takes weeks or months to make).

    While I enjoy Diablo, I also enjoy when D&D games provide more verisimilitude than Diablo does. 'Fun' is not in a dichotomy with 'realism'. In fact, I actually think the most consistently fun parts of Baldur's Gate (the first one) are when your party is relatively low level, and is mostly using mundane weapons. Those are the levels where it seems like most fights actually matter, and you're an underdog in a wider (but not ridiculously powerful) world. Later games still have some engaging encounters, but the whole world has been scaled to ridiculous proportions to make it happen (dozens of beholders and liches under Athkatla). I'm obviously not concerned with everything being super realistic, because D&D just isn't. But that doesn't mean that a 100% gamist position is optimal fun for me (I think there's a convincing case to be made that that was a/the big problem with 4th edition).

    Also, I think, 'what if I pick a useless feat and confuse the loot algorithm,' is a pretty bad argument. At worst you are no worse off than a fixed loot system that you didn't meta-game, and it's a scenario that most people aren't even going to be in.
     
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  3. anatoliy

    anatoliy Established Member

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    Let me repost this again, guys.

    upload_2021-6-12_1-48-47.png

    This is from the module RtToEE for 3.0E.
     
  4. Endarire

    Endarire Ronald Rynnwrathi

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    I agree with more verisimilitude than Diablo being a positive.

    Regarding Verbobonc and RttToEE, I'm for having it act as an easy way for people to buy what they want within the rules. (As GM for a different campaign, I preferred giving people in-game cash to spend on what they wanted so they would be happier.) This module effectively says, "Verbobonc is your magic mart," meaning even +6 stat items or +5 save items or +6 equivalent armor/shields or +4 equivalent weapons or all scrolls and potions and most wands are freely available for purchase. This simplifies things and, again, provides options for players like me that want it. It means craft feats are less vital to parties, but being able to craft stuff still saves cash. It seems more like a fair trade when I can choose to buy an item at X price or spend a feat and X/2 cash and X/25 EXP to make it in the field if necessary.

    A notable advantage of having stuff for sale instead of just dropping it is that if it's for sale, it can't simply be stolen and sold back for a quick profit or immediately equipped by the party. Instead, it's a 'permanent' option to lose cash but gain something else in exchange.
     
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  5. dolio

    dolio Established Member Supporter

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    I don't own the module, but it seems like that leaves some things unanswered.

    The reason that crafting in ToEE makes things easy is that you can get way above the recommended wealth for the whole party. Crafting doesn't just give you whatever item you want. It gives you whatever item you want at half cost (the XP cost basically stops mattering). That isn't a problem if, e.g. your loot is an appropriate quantity of worthless items for your party, and you have to sell it at half price to craft useful items. However, if the game is trying to give you 4X the appropriate number of items so that it has a better chance of giving you something actually useful, or 2X the appropriate number of items so that you can sell them and buy the right ones, then crafting lets you equip yourself with things that are probably 2 or 3 levels higher than you should have.

    Also, it says you could get basically anything from Verbobonc, but it doesn't say how long it would take. Is there just a shop with a rack of +3 Holy weapons of every type? Or do you need to commission a wizard to make it, which takes two months, and Zuggtmoy isn't going to wait for that? That all depends on whether the module is designed so that your options should be more limited at some points, though, and I have no idea if that's the case.

    Edit: I guess also: I personally don't like stores with racks of "+3 Holy" weapons. One thing I do like about BG is that every +2 weapon (before Throne of Bhaal) has a name and backstory, which makes it feel unique (even if it isn't). It has way too many of them, but they all feel like they're not just a commodity.
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2021
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  6. Endarire

    Endarire Ronald Rynnwrathi

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    ToEE for PC barely has any time limits. I only know of one optional quest with a time limit to destroy the Orb of Golden Death. My parties have safely slept for years in-game in the secret spot under the 1F ToEE staircase and been fine.

    In tabletop, agents of the ToEE might be on a set timetable. In this video game version, they wait for the player to initiate everything relevant. Not being very familiar with RttToEE, I can't fairly state if things are on a set time limit.

    By comparison, Pathfinder: Kingmaker is on a continual time crunch: Do this within X days, return to your capital once you have it at the start of each month, etc. I felt the urge to solo the game as a Sorcerer in part just so I could reach level 10 to qualify for teleport ASAP! Being able to warp around the world relieved the pressure of most intended time crunches.

    My reading of the Blurbobonc above is that there are racks and racks of everything available. It's Walmart or Amazon Prime or the equivalent for Verbobonc. If we introduce commissions for items, who makes them? How do we determine that system? Do we pay now and come back after X quest or in Y days? How is it fundamentally different from buying stuff or questing for it? (Having "virtually" anything available to me means now, not later.)

    For the sake of modding convenience, the highest demand stuff should be available (+1 Holy and +1 Keen Holy versions of weapons, +5 cloaks of resistance, etc.) with the more obscure stuff (exotic weapons besides spiked chains, etc.) requiring something else.

    In terms of commissions, what if we could talk to NPCs and bring up a Craft Wondrous/Arms & Armor/etc. menu to show what they can craft and for what price? (Prices are 0 EXP but standard trade prices, I assume.) It seems simpler than making a million item entries for +1 Holy and +1 Keen Holy everything.
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2021
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  7. FDR4PREZ

    FDR4PREZ Established Member

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    Maybe that is the crux of the discussion... I don't like my fantasy games to be too fantastical o_O
     
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  8. anatoliy

    anatoliy Established Member

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    This all comes down into two dichotomy categories: realism vs gameplay.

    Realism
    Big cities have high level NPC, who in turn have high wealth, which in turn leads to hoarding of magic items. This is actually very close to reality. even though mature lord could be weak and unexperienced warrior (Aristocrat class for example), he would still would like to get his hands on some nice shiny stuff.

    Shops would probably not have all kinds of magic weapons and armors. But artisans would most likely craft these items on demand. Very close to realism as well.

    Gameplay
    Gameplay = joy and happiness (loot and winning is dopamine part; power is serotonin part)
    Easy access to magic items would definitively spoil the gameplay. Players want power. But they insanely desire power items, when they cannot get past some difficult encounters.

    Fact - if you have power party, necessity to have power items is very low. Now power party is when you chop enemies like cabbage. Every game designer understand it, and they try to balance it as good as they can.

    So one of key components of VIDEOGAME gameplay is challenge (balance). For D&D 3.5 it is 4 PC of point buy 25 with avg health. And even this structure is normal difficulty. Not challenging. So open question is BALANCE.

    Gary Gygax always thought that level of a PC is mostly determined by gold he finds. Experience come later.

    But what gold is used for? As Endarire and others very well said: for equipment and magic access. This is all trivial, but I want coherent structure of analysis.

    Why Player even want gold? Maybe victory over some bad guys would suffice? Obviously not. We want shiny things.

    In one of my tabletop runs my players found treasure of 10k cash (they were level 7). And most of them were unimpressed. But when they found costly shiny uber sword they were excited. Even though it costs even lower than 10k (sell) and no one could use it (bastard).

    Accidently, MIC random treasure is full of cool but unnecessary things. Most likely it would be sold))

    Power seeking players would wish for money, access to unlimited market and tough challenge. Glory, prestige, collection of evil NPC heads on walls and collection of powerful magic items on stands.
    Joy seeking players would wish for exploration, meeting interesting NPC, diversity of treasure, low challenge combat. Justice, prosperity, negotiations, remorse of evil NPC, etc.

    Gary actually envisioned that PC would eventually build castles (level 10). Funny right?
     
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  9. ithildur

    ithildur Established Member

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    Brilliant points by dolio.
     
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  10. anatoliy

    anatoliy Established Member

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    Buying Equipment
    Postulate: all magic items in a shop is boring and unrealistic in medieval times.
    Power players desire: to have reasonable access to magic items. And not be tedious.

    Solutions:
    1. Limit access to MI by PC level. Good for all. But needs realistic reason.
    2. Unlimited access in a shop. Boring.
    3. Absence of MI in shops; found on loot only. Only PC crafting allowed. Sad for power seeking players. Limiting for versatile players.
    4. Tailored treasure. Unrealistic and patronizing.
    All these solutions could be implemented. I prefer first solution.

    Limit access to MI by PC level options:
    1. Old trade Post. Reasoning - new shop, after previous burned down, which has not yet imported everything from Verbobonc. Come back later.
    2. Adventure Guild in Verbobonc. Membership level depends on PC level. Plus membership level purchase.
    Essentially PC could buy +1 weapon on level 6 and +2 on level 11, +3 on 14th. Adventure Guild could have silver (up to 0-5), golden (6-10), platinum (11-13), diamond (1>=14) membership levels.

    I'm more inclined to go first option, which is easier.
     
  11. Shiningted

    Shiningted I want my goat back Administrator

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    There's another option - completely random loot. To answer Dolio - yes we can script stuff to fit, but we can also script it to be random. Its the worst option, because it satisfies nobody. :D

    Make it your way, Anatoliy - just don't offer every arcane scroll. That's ridiculous, like going to a bookseller and having them say, "yes, we have a copy of every book". Or a car dealer - "yes we have every type of car". Or a jeweller - "yes we have one of every brooch ever designed". Or a pub - "yes we have ever beer in the world". You get the point.
     
  12. dolio

    dolio Established Member Supporter

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    Random treasure works with crafting, as long as you don't fall into the trap I mentioned above. That basically requires you to create crafting parties to transmute the random treasure into something valuable, though. I guess the problem is that there are two cost structures to design around. If you design around crafting, parties that don't craft can at best get 1/2 useful loot. If you design around buying, crafting parties get 2x useful loot. Either way, crafting is way easier, it's just a question of who is facing the designed challenge level. I imagine most modules aren't designed for the craft-everything party.

    I don't think scripting perfectly tailored loot for the party is even a reasonable goal. I was thinking more along the lines of it biasing a random loot system toward something that the party has a better chance of using. Random loot is kind of fun in that you can be surprised about what you get, even if you've played before. But weighting the dice seems like a better way to try to ensure that there is some level of actual utility in the loot. If you just increase the quantity to try to achieve that, it causes problems.

    Also, speaking of castles, that's another potential factor to think about loot-wise. In a pen and paper game, you might need a bunch of surplus treasure to funnel into acquiring/maintaining party strongholds. If that isn't implemented in a PC game, then there's nothing to spend the surplus treasure on except items that make the game too easy (if they're freely available).

    Certainly make the module however you want, though. I've played plenty of fun games where the stores available got better over the course of the game in a way that made no logical sense (like, this big city has the high level shops even though it's right next to the big city with low level shops, because you only go to the former toward the end of the game).
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2021
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  13. Endarire

    Endarire Ronald Rynnwrathi

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    Remember, crafting requires feats. These feats are meant to have benefits. In ToEE, Combat Reflexes, Improved Initiative, the craft feats, and maybe certain others are generally the most powerful in the game, but for me at least, they're the standard of power for a character. For example, a Human Cleric may get Improved Initiative and Combat Reflexes at L1, Craft Wondrous @3, Craft Arms & Armor @6, Quicken Spell @9, Forge Ring @12, Power Attack @15, and Cleave @18.

    If crafting in general isn't notably better than not crafting, then the feats are meh. I like being able to craft stuff on demand as previously stated.

    I also believe that having open access to shops is self-balancing: The only way in the ToEE engine to get these items is with money, and there's some degree of control over how much money is generated. Having open shop access means non crafting parties are in fairer situation compared to craft-heavy parties who can get more of what they want on demand.
     
  14. Endarire

    Endarire Ronald Rynnwrathi

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    Having played a lot of Diablo II lately, something I lamented was the amount of junk to useful gear ratio. I know a buncha stuff in D2 was meant to be sold as vendor trash or ignored, but there was so much junk not even worth picking up to give away as charity to other low-level characters online. (D2 has unofficial loot filters for good reason!)

    This brings me to my next point about crafting: Since ToEE and 3.5 crafting are meant to be 'transmute vendor trash to desirable gear' (or 'recycle aluminum cans into supercomputers' or somesuch to use a more modern analogy), how much of its quantity/presence truly a problem? It may be like getting the item you wanted for Christmas, or getting a gift card for Christmas with the approximate amount to purchase what you wanted. The second is more work on the user's part, but also is more customizable. That's just an inherent part of choice.

    Let's assume that you instead sold that vendor trash and bought the same or similar stuff from vendors. The prices change (meaning you no longer need a crafter with the specific spells, caster levels, and prereqs to make said items) but you pay more in G. In short, it's a different cost intended for a different sort of audience.

    Remember, crafting isn't "all or nothing," though it's usually "a gradual buildup likely leading to lots or nothing." (In some ways it's like level-locked purchased loot.) Just because you have a Cleric with Craft Arms & Armor doesn't guarantee he has the Good domain to be able to make Holy weapons, nor does it guarantee he took it ASAP to be able to craft things ASAP. In part, I like the convenience of self-crafted stuff: It means I check through my crafters' craft catalogs instead of every relevant vendor, and I can do it in safe rest spots away from civilization!
     
  15. hammyh

    hammyh Established Member

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    Ahh, this gave me a chuckle.

    Come on now: If you are planning a good party crafting cleric other than using a dominated or existing npc, it will guarantee that the Cleric will be created with the good domain for that specific use. At level 7, holy weapons are available - 2d6 damage on most everything (most everything in ToEE is evil); Nothing evil is immune, unlike elemental damages. A far better value for damage than any enhancement pluses - both in terms of cost and damage. Law is the other domain that provides another 2d6 damage to quite a few things.

    So at level 7 you are getting insane damage value, and better than most of the lvl 10, 12 wizard bonus damage stuff. Not to mention at 6th level +2 enhancement is also possible.

    In this respect, crafting only limits your cleric domain diversity...if you are going to focus on good craft. Evil or chaotic clerics are a different story, as their unholy/chaos crafting doesn't impact much at all.

    Money is not an issue once you get to that point in ToEE, and the xp loss is a minor inconvenience.
    ________________________________________________
    Don't get me wrong, I'm not against crafting for those that like it. It just doesn't involve any significant compromises. The feat loss is far overshadowed by the magical item bonuses to the character(s).

    Crafting in ye old Pnp was money + time. There were all sorts of complications. Time meant characters got older and older means you went past your prime...etc, etc. Skilled crafters never got out adventuring (too busy crafting awesome stuff) and were too old after making a lot of crap. This is why most players just bought stuff in order to get moving.

    So it's really pointless to argue how the creators imagined this stuff. Ultimately, I don't really know how it should be balanced because in 99% of my ToEE adventures = I just threw the Answering Swords away because they were just too much. But I know many peeps love them.:confused:

    I can remember tons of Baldur's Gate mods that were very well done - except for too many overpowered items. Some players liked it, but for many this overshadowed the nice work done on the adventure progression and ruined the challenge very early on. Some received community feedback well, others not so much.
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2021
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