Sunday, September 5, 2010

Open question: What are your least favorite types of magical items?

For the me that has to be the "mega charged" items like staffs and wands. I find them unbalancing, a bad flavor fit and an annoying resource to track. In play it seems like either the players will use them with abandon blasting everything in sight or horde them for fear of running out of charges. Neither is exactly what I consider fun

Instead I find items like the Rod of Thunder and Lighting or some version of Ebberon's Eternal Wands far more interesting and balanced.

Now this dislike does not extend to "old school" games where items are rare and the wands can be recharged. In those cases its more of a signature item like the White Queen of Narnia's Flesh to Stone Wand or something like that.

Also dare I say, game balance is really not part of old school design and as such, the extreme power really does not matter that much.


  1. In old school D&D, I've gotta say my least favorite 'magic item' is actually the mundane treasure maps on the scrolls table. I've rolled for a magic item, the players should have a chance to get a magic item!

    Maps I'll drop in where I feel like to give them some hooks they may follow as they like.

    For newer d20 style D&D, I agree that wands seem sort of blah. They're a dime a dozen, priced affordably, and they have no real incentive not to use it as much as possible.

    Other than that, I'm not a big fan of the 'tech disguised as magic' items like the Apparatus of Kwalish. Again, I'd rather have something that's really MAGIC.

  2. I kind of like treasure maps but like you I think magic item ought to mean magic item not a mundane map.

    As for the techno magic, that goes back a long time and in most "generic" D&D games it doesn't bother me.

  3. Intelligent swords that take over a PC with nothing in the manner of a warning.

    I HATE them as a player and a DM. It's a role playign game all a player has is a character, stealing the character from the player steals the playing in the game from the player but it doesn't kill the character so it makes playing suck.

    Throw in plenty of warning and I'm not as prone to hate the intelligent sword.

  4. I feel the same way about intelligent swords JD. When I introduce them in most cases in most cases i tend to have them act subtly more like The One Ring than Stormbringer.