Thursday, January 25, 2024

Describing PC Levels or Weapon with Pluses in-game

 In-game trying to find a way to describe to somebody a weapon or other item with bonuses, or a character level, was always weird. There were not many ways around it. You just meta-described out of game and that was that. At least it's what I did. 

As far as character levels it seemed easier to describe a magic-users. And I don't mean using the dumb names for levels like prestidigitator and charlatan or whatever. I would just have the mages guild use designations for members such as "Ah yes, Peldifferous is a "mage of the 7th circle" or something like that. Spell ability is a good in-world judging gimmick for MU's. For example the Mages Guild in my main city of Tanmoor restricts even the lowest tiers of membership to 4th level or higher (there can be some exceptions for third level, such as a glowing recommendation from a high-level member). Easy enough to test them by having them show proof of appropriate spell ability. I remember having to do this in a Skyrim quest and it was pretty cool.

Of course, some old school classes, such as druids and monks, had some non-spell ability level requirements there probably had to be martial tests for at later levels. 

For most other classes; fighters, thief/rogue or whatever, you had to abstract it a bit. How they perform their craft out in the field or what not. Reputation. 

Mr. Satan is an example of how 
imperfect the system can be.

But for weapons and items that give pluses I no longer sweat it. I've recently started just letting characters understand what the numbers mean. An amulet of Extra AC that is +1 is almost useless. But a +5 one is certainly something you want to count on in a big battle. A shield with such even more. A plus 1 sword is about the same as an exceptionally crafted one, but a +3 is decent magic. It makes a difference.

A character only needs experiment a little to understand its magical quality. "Hey, I think this dagger is +2." 

Any other abilites the item may have is another matter. However its done, identify spell or what not, I don't really like to spend a lot of time on more minor items. If they have some kind of meaning beyond a little help in battle, I spend more time on it. But "hey, it seems like it is maybe a +3 axe" and getting on with the game is usually good enough for my players. And a little metagaming sneaking in never hurt anybody. YMMV.


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