Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Old School 13th Age: Magic Items

Old School Magic Items in 13th Age

As I continue to work on the megadungeon I find myself wanting to redesign the old school magic items to be more in line with how 13th Age treats it's magic items, but I still want that OSR flavor to them. The mystery of picking up a new sword and swinging it around to see if it's magical. So that means I have to figure out how I am going to cover identifying magic items, as well as the effects of some of the more powerful items and cursed magical items.

Identifying Items

I am going to allow items to be identified with a ritual cast spell accessible by wizards as a level 1 utility spell. Alternatively, PCs can use their 5's on icon rolls in town to identify items (figuring them out with some advice) or 6's inside the dungeon (So that's why the archmage told me that story!). A character could use a 6 in town to guarantee that there is a wizard with a traveling caravan capable of identifying their magic items for them. This would cost 1d6+1 x 100gp per item.

Cursed Items

Curses are a big part of the old school feel, when you put on that girdle and your gender swaps or the sword you found turns out to bite you on the ass when you swing it, is all part of what makes exploring the dungeon a challenge. +Matt Maranda suggested having cursed items negatively impact the escalation die, and I think that is in the right direction. Below are some example magic items from Rappan Athuk that have been 13th Age-ified.

How will we remove curses? Still thinking on that. Zelkor's Ferry doesn't offer any easy way to remove curses, and Rappan Athuk is full of them.

Accursed Platemail of Magic Resistance

Bonus per tier: +1 / +2 / +3
Power: Any magical attack or spell against the wearer must score a natural 12+ or be absorbed by the armor having no effect.
Curse: Any magic spell or effect not stopped by the armors magic has any randomized properties maximized against the wearer, and the damage is increased by 5 x the escalation die.
Quirk: Feels compelled to boast their superiority to wizards and sorcerers.

Betraying Blade

Bonus per tier: -3 all tiers.
Curse: This blade steals the user's chakra when picked up, refusing to be put down or allowing other weapons to be wielded. On a miss, the wielder resets the escalation die to 1.

Cursed Blade of Life Draining

Bonus per tier: +2 / +3 / +4
Power: Once per battle, recharge 11+ - This blade can leave a nasty, bleeding wound. The victim suffers bleeding ongoing damage equal to five times the sword's plus.
Curse: Every round of battle the sword steals life from the wielder equal to the current escalation die's rating. This drain is not noticed by the wielder thanks to the swords overpowering quirk.
Quirk: The wielder of the blade feels invincible and fully refreshed.

Cursed Healing Potion (Champion Tier)

Power and curse: This potion functions like a champion tier potion of healing, except the hit points gained actually fade away 1d10 minutes after being consumed.

Stronger Magical Items

These are a few magic items that are usually game changers in OSR style games, where magic items have a major impact on your PC. I want to avoid having them completely unbalanced, but these items should feel stronger than basic magic items. To compensate, I think the quirks should come into play even stronger for these potent items.

Belt of Giant Strength

Bonus recoveries per tier: +1 / +2 / +3
Power: At-Will: The wearer of a Belt of Giant Strength rolls twice when making strength ability checks and strength skills, taking the better result.
Power: Battle, recharge 16+: On even hit: Deal double damage with a melee or thrown attack.
Quirk: Constantly flexes, prone to challenge others to contests of strength.

Staff of Power (Epic)

Bonus: +3
Powers: The staff of power has many abilities it can access.
Continual Flame: Once per day. Create a heat-less flame that burns as bright as a torch.
Magic Missile: Once per battle, recharge 6+, Magic Missile as wielder's level.
Fireball: Once per day, Fireball as wielder's level. Escalation die must be at 3+ to use.
Levitate: Once per battle, recharge 11+, Levitate as wielder's level.
Lightning Bolt: Once per battle, recharge 11+, Lightning Bolt as wielder's level.
Hold Monster: Once per day, Hold Monster as wielder's level. Escalation die must be at 3+ to use.

Special: A staff of Power can be broken to perform a retributive strike. This deals 300 points of damage to everyone close, 200 damage to everyone nearby. Everyone is allowed to make a save to take half damage. This damage is force damage. The wielder has a chance of being teleported to a random plane instead of taking damage. They must succeed on a 11+ save to be teleported, failure means they are instantly destroyed by the power escaping the broken staff.

Quirk: The wielder of the staff of power feels all powerful, laughing at his enemies and bragging about his unstoppable power.

Vorpal Blade

Bonus per tier: +1 / +2 / +3
Power: On a natural 20, the Vorpal blade severs the head of the target from the neck killing them instantly. This does not work on all creatures, such as ghosts, golems, slimes and oozes. The GM is the final authority on what can die from having it's head cut off.
Quirk: Bloodthirsty, and a desire to eat raw meat.

Weapon of Speed

Bonus per tier: +1 / +2 / +3
Power: On a natural even hit, once per round, you gain an extra standard action.
Quirk: Jittery and amped up, needing to constantly move. To stand still is to die.

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