Thursday, November 29, 2018

Very expensive magic / cheaper mundane for DF?

A good chunk of the income from delving in my DF game goes to magical enhancements. The PCs have spent a majority of the loot they've hauled out of Felltower on magic items, magical consumables, and clerical Resurrection and healing of injuries.

So much is needed for magic, it made me wonder . . . what if the mundane was a much better deal? A good henchman costs more than a healing potion.

Also, big piles of loot are fun. Not "fun" in the 7000 gp weighing 700 pounds kind of fun, but enough gold and silver that it's not literally pocket change.


Here is one idea I had for doing that:

Use book-standard GURPS prices for everything, except:

- multiply the costs of all magical items by 10.

- multiply the mundane loot handed out by 10.

- multiply the cost for magical healing by 10.

- keep upkeep, mundane gear, etc. at the book prices.

In other words, magic costs 10x as much, but you get 10x as much money. Even a simple minor healing potion will cost $1,200. But even a simple orc might be carrying $10 x 2d in coins, not $2d in coins.

With a loot-based experience system, I'd simply multiple that by 10, too. You don't suddenly get maximal loot xp bonus with a piddling of cash off of a single orc.


In theory, this would do a few things:

- make mundane gear a more attractive choice.

- make hirelings a more attractive choice.

- give people a reason to spray money around in town - living above your standard of living is expensive, but only a fraction of the cost of a couple of potions. It may cost $150,000 not $15,000 to bring back a dead buddy, but you can live it up in town for less than the cost of the weakest of potions, hire a bunch of hirelings to secure your six or carry loot, and so on.

I think it would make a nice alternative to GURPS's "money is valuable and light" type approach and AD&D's "money is low-value but big and heavy." You'd get the inflation effect of needing (and spending!) a lot of money, but wouldn't actually have less buying power. This is functionally akin to dividing the price of non-magic items by 10, but with the fun of bigger piles of loot.

That would have been a fun thing to try.


  1. I like this general idea a lot, though I'm not sure about the exact numbers.

    In DF Whiterock, I mostly control item power inflation by just not making many good magic items available for sale at all, rather than by making them really expensive. (Typically you need to roll a 4 or less to find anything good. One try per week. No Luck.) That fits the idea of "the good stuff is in the dungeon." But occasionally someone makes a really good roll...

    1. I could limit them, for sure. But it's still worth spending on them, and you really don't get big inflationary hoards, either.

  2. I'm glad you're not going with it, Mo is saving up for an orichalcum shield next... he should have asked the cyclops for one!
    I like the idea, as long as hirelings are plenty... the church has a constant influx of acolytes who need real-time training healing people and vanquishing evil, etc. But not so many that we treat them as expendable.

    1. It's a hard one to retroactively apply.

      It would, effectively, make that orichalcum shield 10x cheaper because you'd have 10x as much money in such a game.

      In any case, you guys have basically treated acolytes as expendable. Also, for all that everyone argues that you do work for the Church of the Good God and thus should have free or reduced-rate healing, access to clerics and acolytes, etc., the vast majority of the delvers are self-serving types with little or no respect for religion except on a transactional basis. That's not conducive to effectively free Patron-age.

  3. Pathfinder 2e has gone from a gold to a silver economy, based on the playest I sat in at GameHole Con. When offered 50gp for the reward for the session, I asked "is that a lot?" It was the equivalent of 500 sp, and prices of a sword or whatever were like 10-20sp IIRC. I mention this to note that Pathfinder at least is messing with the values of stuff.

    More importantly, if you've read the Deed of Paksenarrion, I recall that during a few of the times Paks was injured, they first would basically do triage. Can it be healed or patched naturally. Second string was a potion, and then a spell. There was a comment that the cost of the magical healing she'd just received was huge. So you're in good company.

    More from a cause-and-effect perspective, cutting down the availability of magical healing would very much increase the "risk" part of risk/reward, so your increase of loot value would likely provide the right level of offset.

    1. I don't recall that from the Paksenarrion books. I really them and disliked them, so it's not surprising I don't remember little details like that.

      And really, it wouldn't cut it down in availability. It's just that $15K items would cost $150K, and players would find 10x as much money. So a PC, now, finding loot worth $15K would find loot worth $150K. If that effectively makes it feel more expensive, because you can buy so much more mundane gear, that's fine . . . but it wouldn't actually mean it's more expensive. We're just moving decimal points around, like when I re-conned gold from $100 coins to $20 coins and just gave people 5x as many of them.

  4. Make mundane armor and weapon buffs like Fine etc more commonly seen

    1. How would that help? They'd still be relatively expensive compared to magic.

    2. If it costs 50000 to put puissance 1 on a sword vs 5000, +19 C.F. for very fine sounds a lot better etc

      I guess Fine armor not so much, except for the lowest tier as more 20k is still cheaper than making your armor Fine

      It does make Dwarven on DR 6 plate plus Fortify 1 cheaper than no Dwarven and Fortify 2

    3. I think Kalzazz is saying "it would make", as in, "Instead of everyone jumping on Puisant and Accurate weapons, they'd be investing in Fine and Very Fine".

    4. Ah, that makes more sense. I was reading it as "instead, why not make mundane enhancements more common." It makes more sense now.

  5. If you wanted to do this, I'm sure you could claim economic forces resulting from all the loot harvested from Felltower is causing the pricing shift. I don't thinj that would strain suspension of disbelief much. Maybe the glut of magic items spurs a noble somewhere to equip his levies with magic gear, and that is driving prices up?

    1. I think the weirdness would be when I go into the dungeon and change the value of known loot. But still, it could be done.

  6. Could have added this to your last session report, but I figure it wouldn't hurt to put it in your most recent.

    Could I request a post with Stat writeups for some of your more powerful PC's?

    I'm really curious what a 500+ point lavishly equipped knight like Vyrce looks like or an almost 400 point Scout.

    1. A few people have requested this, but as yet none of my players has consented to it.

    2. @ Sean O'leary:

      Well... just take a 250 point Knight and spend another 250 points on it... ;)

      If I recall from past mentions, Vryce has maxed his ST and HP, has Spider Silk underarmor with some sort of heavy plate, and can Deceptive Attack at -10 with some wiggle room for other minor penalties (so figure his Two-Handed Sword skill is probably about 28-32ish). If while rebuilding this type of Knight you still have points, figure he's upped some other useful skills (Carousing), and picked up other useful Advantages and Attributes (Nigh Vision, more HT, etc).

      You won't be too far off, he is after all on a Template build.


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