The same player, the same night as grumbling that inspired the it's magic not science post asked one of the local peddlers of gee-gaws and dood-dads related to magic working asked where he could buy a magical sword or if he could be setup with someone who could make him one. He was put-off that the answer was "no, they are too rare and someone able to craft them has better reasons to forge them than a chest of coins.".
Me-thinks the player doesn't get it. Magic items (at least one with oomph) are special. Magic items are not produced by factories or even in a cottage industry, they are special, expensive and risky because they are magic. A magical weapon isn't just a better more expensive weapon, it's a "magical" weapon.
Now of course one could be mistaken into thinking the guy who sells daily fortunes, ingredients for scroll inks, the occasional spell component, or the odd very minor charm has access to an up-scale market with "the good stuff".... well yes and no. "The good stuff" would be an expensive component, maybe a whole potion, or once a year or so a complete scroll. If the merchant had access to "the good stuff" he wouldn't be selling the small stuff as he isn't living in an industrial consumer society producing magi-tech for various markets.
How many Lamborghini Aventadors would ever be manufactured if they needed dragon's blood, the assistance of a demon, an entrapped elemental, a translation of a verse found in a Mayan temple (on the moon) and a years labor from Bill Gates? A magical weapon isn't just the fantasy world equivalent of a $380,000.00 purchase. It isn't even like dropping $7,000,000.00 for a gold and diamond encrusted model of a Lamborghini Aventador, there is no industry to support the creation of magical weapons because there is a constant danger and a unknown element in magic that just isn't there for expensive individual purchases in the modern real-world.
When your computer breaks Demon's don't come looking for your soul. Some of wealthiest, bravest, and most dangerous men in the world don't have to risk their lives and fortunes to get you the parts for your sportscar. The church doesn't threaten to excommunicate you for buying a diamond studded gucci-watch. All of the above are common elements for magical weapons.
That's why magical weapons are not for sale.
Do you have a threshold (certain or vague) between "magic that will be for sale" and "magic that is rare and wonderful"? And what would be your response to a situation where a character tried to sell a rare and wonderful magical item?ReplyDelete
One shot or very minor might be purchasable, probably easier to have them contracted. of course an alchemist on staff would be handy.Delete
For more powerful items those with the riches would have the power to take the items or compel the use of the items... "Hey great +2 sword you got there, should come in real handy after the knights escort you to the cave of the Vampiric Beholder-headed Hydra". If the government let you keep a fully functional tank, would they let you sell it to just anyone? If you had one of the two or three tanks in the whole country might they not compel it's use for national defense?
As for selling to the less connected or powerful, there isn't a chance of getting a good price for the item. Why sell it when you can walk it on down to level 6 and get more loot? Not willing to do that, someone else will be willing to "borrow" the sword.
They're not for sale for _money_. You never know what diabolical power might be listening for such requests, and offer a bargain with a terrible price.ReplyDelete
Swappi8ng, questing, diabolical bargains definitely.Delete
Can players sell magic items they find? If they're that rare, and that valuable - even priceless - what happens when they want to get rid of that extra Sword+2 they found? And if they trade it, just how much can they expect to get for a priceless item?ReplyDelete
Who would they sell it to? Anyone else with a new +2 sword is a new and improved possible opponent.Delete
How are they going to get an "extra Sword +2" ? My current campaign has 12 PCs and a number of henchmen, it's unlikely there will ever be any extra +2 swords.
They'd have to sell it to a really trusted and rich friend (but then why not just give it to that friend?) or sell it really cheaply in relation to it's real value and undersell it's capacities to reduce complications. Anyone rich enough to buy it would be powerful enough to take it.
+2 was just an example, meant as shorthand for "a permanent magic item they don't have a use for." Or less use for than need for something else. If permanent magic items are priceless, with ownership on par with castles and unique treasures, it's not unreasonable to think it's a valuable trade item.Delete
I can see giving it away as a gift - but you'd expect a lot in return for that kind of gift, even if it's only in the form of loyalty, respect, favors, etc.
As for "Anyone rich enough to buy it would be powerful enough to take it," - well, yes, that applies to a lot more than magic. And makes me think that in this setting, I'd want to keep any magic items I had well-hidden and completely secret if at all possible, to avoid rich-and-powerful folks from just taking it away. If there is rules, laws, and customs that'll stop that, then it's back to "makes a great gift when you're greasing up the local noble to ask him a big favor."
At least that's how I'd see it.
There are laws now that give you property right and yet if you and some bar buddies launched a raid on foreign nation and came back with a cruise-missile you'd have a lot of trouble keeping it or trying to sell it.Delete
The rich and powerful folks are the law.
If magic items aren't at least that special, they aren't very magical. A permanent magical item isn't just a better mundane item it's a big deal and turning one into a pile of cash is really just missing the point.
Gifting for influence and power is certainly a way to go. Even then, be careful.
What I'm saying is, if I try to sell my magic sword to a rich person and they just take it - why don't they just come and try to take it before I offer it for sale? Why do I get to keep it in the first place?Delete
If it's dangerous to try and sell it, it should be dangerous to keep it. Your cruise missile example - you don't get to keep one. It's not legal. So it sounds like magic items are so special that they're effectively illegal for non-rich and powerful folks. Is that the case? If I go down into the dungeon and come up with a magic sword, do I get to keep it or do the R&P folks send some men to take it away from you?
Personally to do "rare and special" just say they can try to sell them, but it'll be hard to find a rich and trustworthy buyer who can afford it. Otherwise, they get what someone's willing to offer. And that there isn't anyone willing to sell to them - and if they find someone, they should worry about why he's trying to sell it. That should be sufficient of an answer without making possession of a magic sword dangerous to yourself. It's like having a Picasso - you can't buy one except in the rare cases someone is actually selling, the price is whatever they ask for, and if you're selling you've got the same problem they do. Lack of buyers, inability to get what it's truly worth.
"why don't they just come and try to take it before I offer it for sale? Why do I get to keep it in the first place?"Delete
They do try to take it. So do other folks that want to become rich and powerful. If you're a vagrant bum living in taverns and camping in the woods you aren't going to get to keep that item as simple property rights, someone else will come to take it. The treasure must be guarded just like you shouldn't leave your Picasso in the backseat of your car.
Was the magic doo-dad originally in found in on of the most insanely dangerous places in the world...gee, I wonder why?The PC probably did come and take a magic item by force or guile, why wouldn't others do the same after the PCs make it easier for them?
Always worry about someone willing to sell you a level or two worth of additional capability.
I understand that, in this campaign, magic is extra rare and considered very powerful; however, instead of thinking about *why* the players would want to sell a magic item, consider the possibilities of *how* to sell it. For all we know, players might be interested in trading their sword for something *they* consider more worthy.ReplyDelete
What would be more valuable, why would it be possible to get enough from the sale of item A to get item B? Why would people who go to the most dangerous places imaginable to seek loot and adventure resolve an desire by an exhcange of funds, why would "they" want to empower possible competition?Delete
It is entirely reasonable to think if I have item A and some other person has item B, if it suits both of our needs, we exchange the items.Delete
"Gifting for influence and power", as you said above in a reply to Peter, is just a euphemism for trade. Certainly not trade of material stuff, but trade, nonetheless.
Sorry it comes off as offensive, I really applaud your idea of making magic items *magical*.
No offense taken. I have no problem with non-abusive topical criticisms and arguments. If a comment is out of line I have a delete button.Delete
I addmit my method for magic items is to keep that which is special, special by bot reducing it to a simple commodity. There is certainly room to treat it differently but not where I want to go for a while (years I hope).
While working on some campaign ideas I was thinking of an idea for magic items and one that crossed my mind was "What if all the magic items (with the exception of potions, scrolls, and a few misc. items) in the game were unique/one of a kind?". With the +2 sword, its the only +2 sword.ReplyDelete