RtToEE shops

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

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  1. Shiningted

    Shiningted I want my goat back Administrator

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    For anyone who missed it, the last few posts in THIS thread also discuss the same issue (I tried some cunning moderating but seem to have lost the knack, alas).

    Now, this endless chatter seems to have reached a natural conclusion - Anatoliy can have his wealth-by-level approach, this will limit powerful loot to the satisfaction of those of us who want verisimulation, and Endarire can - how did he put it?
    He can craft to his hearts content, and get his overpowered gear even earlier than normal, as Dolio's analysis points out.

    I love a happy ending.

    People can of course keep going round and round if they like, I'm certainly not shutting anything down and such chatter is useful (up to a point...) for thinking about choices we make in modding. But I will say this:

    Modders have to make choices, as previously pointed out. And aside from the fact they have to cater to ordinary players - not min-maxers, or soloers, or whoever, just regular players - they also have no capacity to influence the game beyond their initial modding. Ergo, and I shouldn't have to say this but apparently I do, PnP experiences of, "well my players craft themselves +5 socks asap and the game is better for it!" only make sense because the GM then subsequently takes this into account and caters the game to reflect it, whether deliberately or subtly. Indeed, this is what GMing is.

    A modder, though, can do no such thing, he can only make his mod according to his initial choices and release it. (Leaving aside excruciating micro-managing via script, which doesn't bear thinking about). So, if the players choose to craft, well, that's fine, but as per Dolio's analysis (and probably everybody's experience), they give themselves a massive advantage in doing so.

    Again, that's fine. But the modder can't, and shouldn't, assume this will happen. He can only balance the game via what he is selling, or what loot he is giving. He might restrict loot so the player can't afford the GP cost of crafting, but then they can't afford to buy anything either, so they just don't get to have anything either way, and everybody loses.

    So he has to give something. But to avoid flooding the game with overpowered items and the obvious problems it raises - eg:
    something like the wealth-by-level guidelines will have to be adhered to. If not those exact 'rules', then some sort of consistent approach.

    Moreover, the modder - that is, the modder not of new spells or new weapons or a Binks and Wedge mod (was that its name?) or 0rion's nonsense, but a modder of new modules and new content in that sense - almost certainly is making his mod to tell a story, at least on some level. And thus the 'realism' aspect is important, because he is trying to create a narrative, and a small village with the aforementioned, "racks of +3 Holy Keen items" detracts not just from the modders attempts to create challenge, and balance, but also from his attempts to create at least some sort of consistent fantasy setting. So that approach doesn't really work on any level.

    Anyway, that's my $0.02. It's Anatoliy's call, and if he includes a Verbobonc locale where you can indeed buy everything, that's fine because by isolating it, the players who want to can also avoid it. It's like the module writers had actually thought of that sort of thing....

    But then, EGG knew what he was doing when he said the traders had, "70% chance of ring mail, 50% scale mail, 30% chain mail, 10% banded mail" etc. D&D was NEVER intended you could just get everything you wanted all the time.
     
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  2. dolio

    dolio Established Member Supporter

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    This is a tangent, but I think it's interesting how subtle some of the old-school balancing factors can be, and thus they get ignored in more current play out of convenience.

    I think a good example is material components. I totally understand not wanting to keep track of every material component for every spell individually. However, often when I read about some 'broken' spell in some theoretical character optimization scenario, I go and read the spell, and it has some weird material component that people are probably ignoring because it isn't listed as costing anything. But, like, what if you don't just have an unlimited supply of dragon scales, or children's tears or whatever just because there isn't a 1GP+ market price listed for them?

    How 'broken' is Polymorph if you actually have a limited supply of empty cocoons, and need to spend days searching forests for a new one every time you want to cast it? Suddenly it's something you can't just whip out a couple times a day; you need to save it for when it counts.
     
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  3. Endarire

    Endarire Ronald Rynnwrathi

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    @dolio
    A spell component pouch and the feat Eschew Material Components each effectively do the same thing - they let you ignore spell components with no G cost, or with a 'trivial' G cost.

    This also brings us to another point which we've discussed in this thread by different terms, expectations. For me, if my character has an ability, my expectation is that I can use it reliably within the rules. For your aforementioned "empty cocoon" example, there are RAW ways to easily ignore this cost, and spell components - as one example - are largely a flavor inclusion in 3.x. For another example, on the rare occasion I played a spontaneous caster, I never had them take identify as a spell known because of the explicit 100G cost per use, and the expectation that I wouldn't use this spell enough as a spell known to warrant its spell known cost.

    For another example, consider the 3.5 core feat Whirlwind Attack. I have never taken it, and I've never seen it taken by any character, though I heard in ToEE for PC someone took it = and I was amazed and surprised. Why? Consider its great cost of 4 feats that could be put to better use elsewhere.

    Alternatively, what if I made a character specifically to use one ability? Many 3.5 Druids build specifically for Wild Shape, but I could be a Sorcerer built for polymorph. These cocoons may be house ruled to require a nontrivial cost, but I could theoretically spend hundreds or thousands of G to be able to negate the 'expected rarity' aspect of this material component, and then we're back to the previous situation of people being concerned about how powerful polymorph or ability X is.

    For another note about expectations, consider how various playstyles have been mentioned in this thread. I was surprised when FDR said he never crafted gear nor used the Swords of Answering, while various old games and personal experiences taught me, "You will optimize to the greatest degree possible or you will suffer!"

    By extension, maybe pre-WotC D&D by RAW was intended to be very random. (I'm unsure. I barely played D&D pre-3e.) WotC changed a lot of that by including magical and psionic craft feats to PCs, explicitly listing buying/selling/crafting prices for items and services, ensuring all casters got spells known at every level, and so on. Maybe someone at WotC simply didn't like the randomness of not being able to play the character they wanted due to RNG. Maybe they realized that, when choosing between the randomness of, "Does my Fighter have level-appropriate gear due to RNG?" and "I destroy everything with my innate Sorcerous casting because I don't need items!" they chose to let more players decide what they wanted to play and how by removing the unneeded RNG.

    Previously, I mentioned that purchased item availability by level felt metagamey to me. It still does, but I'm more OK with it because it's similar in essence to crafted gear that's available by caster level. Items are still level-locked according to different criteria, and having the crafting and buying options makes more people happier. I agree with the 'let's satisfy more players this way' approach. (We agreed on this point, Ted! Alleluia!)

    (We apparently became very passionate in our essays regarding 3.5 and ToEE itemization.)

    @anatoliy
    From a mechanical standpoint, if you want to give players easy access to various craftable items in Verbobonc and elsewhere, we need an engine modification that lets us use the craft feat menus of NPCs where PCs play the NPCs' price (like full market value) but with 0- EXP. This way, we don't need a million item combination protos.
     
  4. Shiningted

    Shiningted I want my goat back Administrator

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    No, Endarire, we don't need either of those things. You need to stop expecting the game to be created to your specific expectations.
     
  5. Endarire

    Endarire Ronald Rynnwrathi

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    I proposed that solution as a seemingly simpler way to account for a great variety of items of various stats without needing to make a million (or an otherwise very large amount of) protos. If you have a better mechanical solution to this problem that still allows for great item customization, share it!
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2021
  6. ithildur

    ithildur Established Member

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    If for no other reason than variety/contrast, it would be nice to see a campaign where loot/wealth/powercurve is more challenging (and ultimately imho more interesting) than the unrestricted flow of wealth and power TOEE campaign can become (especially with additional options available to players with C08 and Temple+). At some point it starts to feel like the poor npcs/monsters don't have a prayer; this was after all a very modest/limited campaign meant for lvl 1-10 party with a relatively small range of crafting options. Today, a semi competent player utilizing many of the new options of C08/Temple+ (both wonderful projects, to be clear) can blow the game open pretty easily without trying, where by mid lvls their pockets are bulging with coin, every slot has a tailor crafted item, and the difficulty of most encounters are trivial.
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2021
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  7. Sitra Achara

    Sitra Achara Senior Member

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    An idea I had to somewhat restrict crafting is to cap the amount of physical GP that shopkeepers have. That way past a certain point you'll only be able to barter (rather than sell) and your total crafting worth would be bounded.
    If I added this it'd be a house rule of course, under difficulty options.
     
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  8. Sitra Achara

    Sitra Achara Senior Member

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    Alternatively, the total crafting worth itself could be capped. E.g. it could be presented as a finite resource ("crafting days") as a simple abstraction for the fact that you can't afford to dick around crafting stuff for half a year while the forces of evil are gathering.
     
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  9. anatoliy

    anatoliy Established Member

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    Although this is mostly done when a module is completed by "polishing" alpha, I suspect RtToEE 3.0 printed adventure is easy difficulty for number of reasons.
    • RtToEE is designed for 3.0
    • Is designed for tabletop, not videogame with reload option.
    • Does not take into account new powerful classes and features.
    • Accounts average PC builds (point buy 25) and not power gaming (pb 32 or hundreds of dices rerolls).
    That is why I'm considering different balancing difficulty options:
    • Easy: option would allow Player to play the game as written.
    • Normal: increase NPC abilities by 2 (or 4), HD by 1 or 2, SR by 2 or 4 etc without increasing CR.
    • Normal: make caster NPC to summon difficult monsters at the beginning of a encounter.
    • Normal: change some guards NPC to use tripping weapons and feats or disarm.
    • Normal: add grease "bombs" or smoke etc for some NPC, this is from Dragon magazine.
    • Normal: add some 1st level NPC reinforcements to high battles of sorcerer or cleric or bard to cast nasty things like grease, command (drop), lesser confusion or Tasha’s Hideous Laughter. CR increase is minimal, but impact is substantial.
     
  10. anatoliy

    anatoliy Established Member

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    Agree completely, good point!

    I actually thinking about first quest of Moathouse where evil dudes are trying to excavate major artifact. They are trapped by nasty juvenile dragon at the surface. As soon as PC would clear out the entrance to the Moathouse the clock starts ticking. If PC would go away to sleep more than some specific time then dudes would get out and End Game.
     
  11. anatoliy

    anatoliy Established Member

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    @Endarire proposed nice idea about NPC crafting on demand. So how I see it.

    Crafting by NPC, difficulty:
    • Easy: full XP cost and full base price by a PC;
    • Normal: double XP and full base price by a PC;
    Crafting NPCs:
    1. Smythy cleric 5, Craft Magic Arms and Armor. Craft weapon +1, and armor +1 and other CL5 enhancements;
    2. Burne wizard 10, Craft Magic Arms and Armor, Craft Wondrous Item, Craft Wand. Accessible later in the game.
    3. Spugnoir wizard 7, potion maker, Brew Potion, Scribe Scroll, Craft Wondrous Item, Craft Wand. Needs rescue from Moathouse. Grants 30% discount on arcane potions afterwards.
    4. Zerosh Nubric wiz 5, scroll maker, Scribe Scroll.
    5. Calmer Clr3. Will sell divine potions, scrolls and services. No crafting.
    6. Canoness Y’dey Clr10. Will provide high level services. Will grant free Holy property on one weapon upon reaching a quest. Not decided yet which.
    Burne will craft +3 weapon. But Holy property should be restricted. It's too powerful.
     
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  12. Shiningted

    Shiningted I want my goat back Administrator

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    This is a good idea and certainly in line with module and DMG expectations, but I find in games that do it, its an annoyance. but certainly worth thinking about.
    Also a good idea, but...
    Players already self-regulate one way or the other. This seems to me to be more something that should be imposed, but only in content designed for it - which is of course what Ithildur was saying. (It would make an interesting addition for KotB because that was a module written with no crafting in mind, and is only for lower level players, but that's a seperate issue).
    Heh, I had just written something it's probably better I didn't post when you wrote this.

    Yes, it is a nice idea - indeed the idea of getting NPCs to do stuff, like hiring Burne to scribe a scroll or Furnok to open a chest, has been touted by many players over the years and is both a good idea and consistent with the DMG. The idea was never the problem.

    If you're willing to do the work to allow crafting like this, Anatoliy, then God bless you.

    And yet, I have images of Johnny Carson holding an envelope to his forehead and saying, "I want more..."
     
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  13. Daryk

    Daryk Veteran Member

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    Limiting NPC crafting doesn't really restrain PC crafting in any way.
     
  14. Endarire

    Endarire Ronald Rynnwrathi

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    @anatoliy
    Thanks for that prospective crafter list. I suspected Verbobonc also had crafters.

    I assume Burne, being a Wizard, also does scrolls. If he's a Wizard10, he has enough feats (normal and bonus) to do scrolls, potions, wondrous items, arms/armor, wands, and one more of CL10 or less if he wants (likely rods).

    For some reason, I imagined Hruda to be the herbalist/crafter of the Cuthbertian Nulb duo while Y'dey was the melee priest.
     
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  15. Endarire

    Endarire Ronald Rynnwrathi

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    Remember, St. Cuthbert has no Good domain. (His ToEE domains include Destruction, Law, Strength, and War.) Thus, no Cuthbertite priest(ess) like Y'dey could by RAW craft Holy weapons. I'm unsure how Y'dey could confer a Holy weapon enchantment, though she could have some premade Holy weaponry.
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2021
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