Inherent Items

Usually on Mondays, I do a write-up of the session I ran last night, but we didn’t play so I’ll talk about something else.

I have to say, as a DM, I think I’ve nearly perfected magic items in-game.  I call it Inherent Items.  The players were skeptical at first, but I think they’re coming around.  If you’re a player of mine, comment, tell us what you think (there’s xp in it for you).

Inherent Items

  1. Use Inherent Bonuses
  2. Award XP, standard rules, at the end of every session (even if you don’t use XP).
  3. Players can spend their XP toward purchasing magic items at every extended rest.
    1. The effect of any item isn’t because the item is special, but because the player is cool.  It’s not the item that has the power, it’s the player.
    2. An items effect will happen regardless of what the player wields (within reason of course).  It’s not the item that has the power, it’s the player.
  4. Players get full value when trading in magic items.
  5. “Real” magic items exist, though are extremely rare.
    1. Real items supersede “Inherent Items” when equipped.

So, pros and cons (which is which, you tell me).

  • The inherent bonuses keep the players from needing to worry about +x on their items, so they can usually just buy the cheapest item for its benefit and move on.
  • At higher levels, the xp vs. item curve is extreme, keeping players from readily buying epic equipment (they’d have to save for a while).
  • Full trade in value on items compensates for the curve and allows players to “hot swap” items at each rest.
  • The changes available at each extended rest give players something to do out of game, more than just once per level.  This keeps interest throughout the week, but creates more work for the players.
  • Having super rare “real” items eliminates handouts, allows for wish lists (of epic equipment), and provides quest seeds (how do you get the item? who else knows? do you keep it on your person? hidden? etc.).

Any other pros and cons you can think of?  Concerns?  I’d love to hear what you think, and love it even more if you subscribe!


About j0nny_5

Mid-thirties and work a full-time job in beautiful northern Colorado. In my free time I play D&D, video games, and walk my two beautiful Bouvier des Flandres.
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7 Responses to Inherent Items

  1. boccobsblog says:

    I like this concept. It gives the player more control over what is “bumped”, too often have I given an item that received little praise. Great post!

    • j0nny_5 says:

      I’m glad you “liked” it! I can tell you its made my job as a DM a lot easier, I too am guilty of giving out lame gear. Nearly every week the players are talking about this item or that item they’re getting soon, showing me they’re really involved with their characters out of game now. A couple have mentioned needing/wanting rings, but are unable to afford them. I call that ammo.

  2. GashIx says:

    The idea makes it similar to MMO’s, like EverQuest. When I was playing EQ regularly, I was able to look up items I felt my character would need or want, and make plans to acquire them. At this time, I have not known all the rules, being the new goblin to the group, but by getting into the playing, it makes me understand what I may be lacking and what I could use to enhance it. It also allows me to cater to my individuality as a player.

    • j0nny_5 says:

      Items are a player resource, that’s why they’re in the Players Handbook. The DM is usually just the middle man keeping the player from the build they want one item at a time. I adjust encounters enough that I’m not too concerned with the power that may come from a player having a”perfect build.”

      To continue with the MMO analogy, how much loot that dropped did you actually keep? What would you say the sell vs. keep ratio is? Well, that ratio doesn’t work in my world… it works in very few worlds at 20th level. Remember a commoner makes 1sp a day. What town is going to be able to spend 1000 gp (lvl 10) let alone 25,000 gp (lvl 20) on anything? It could become a campaign in and of itself just trying to find buyers for loot. I could write all day about the economy of D&D, but suffice it to say, it doesn’t work for me.

  3. Gashix says:

    It depended on the item what was kept or deleted. 99% Of the items received from raids were no drop, hence non sellable. Some items were saved (and carried) for the clicky powers they had, the type of weapon they were, the “awesome” factor to wow others, or sentimental reasons. I would have had a little more jingle in my bank account and it would have prevented me from having to grind money camps.

    When I get to the point of wanting to trade up, it will be nice to get full value to spend on other things.

  4. Akmenos says:

    I have loved this concept once I got used to it. The only con that I can think of, is that since we started accumulating XP at 16, it would be nearly impossible to ever buy those epic level rings, or other item powers that just don’t exist until higher levels. And some of them aren’t really any better or more powerful than others, they just simply don’t have low level versions. But of course, the potential for handouts exists and therefore can solve the issue. Starting this idea straight from lvl 1 may also help alleviate the problem slightly.

  5. Pingback: Adventure: Much Ado About Zvomarana | Standard Action

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