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Friday, August 26, 2011

Magic items in the Barbaric Frontier

One of the iconic features of all D&D-derived games are magic items. So it seems apropriate to say something about them in the context of my campaign. So as you my gentle readers may have noticed Barbaric Frontier is quite low-magic setting, with no "ye old magick shoppe" thing in it, and main civilisation's "burn the witch!" attitude towards the magic, I came to the conclusion that I will have quite a big problem concerning treasures and in general loot earned through the course of upcoming campaign. Only gold? meh, that's plain boring. So I thought, heck, I'll shoot some nice magic stuff their. But not the way It looks in a typical D&D campaign. I thought about the concept of magic stuff that have it's orgin in the Earthdawn game(well and sorta transposed to the d20 thing in Midnight campaign setting in the way of Legacy Weapons IIRC). So getting to the point - most of the magic items that my players will come across at first won't have any magical bonus in it. First they will have to be "attuned" to it by spending some XP on it. However, once acquireing  It won't be possible to "attune" it straight away by spending already earned XP. To do so one will have to earn some XP having in mind the attunement of the magic item. After that first bonus will be available for the PC. Each level, PC will have the opportunity to get more "attunned" to the magic item, and doing so achiving more bonuses and special features from it.

Here's an example

Hildugrun, the "Blood drinker", sword of long forgotten hero of the north, whose pride and greed brought him to his demise.

1st - +1 "to hit" bonus, 1d4 sanity loss(both wielder and enemy)
2nd - +1 damage bonus, 1d6 sanity loss, save vs. fear for beastmen
3rd - +2 "to hit" bonus against beastmen, 1d8 sanity loss
4th - +2 damage bonus against beastmen. 1d10 sanity loss

Oh hell it a very long post, so sorry.
Ah and sorry for my poor english.


  1. I love the concept - definitely adds more flavour and good goals for PCs to figure out what they have and how to use it. It also lets you create magic items without necessarily knowing all their powers yourself.

  2. It also reduces the number of magic items, so that an adventurer won't look as the proverbial "christmas tree".

  3. Good point. Another aspect: certain items might "withold" powers unless used by a certain class. Like a warlord's sword might allow 2 "levels" of attunement to a non-fighter (or a fighter who doesn't match a certain background or description).

    I really like this idea--eager to see some more examples.

  4. Thanks for your insightful thoughts, I will use them in my campaign If you don't mind. As for more examples- more are to come.

  5. Thank you for the idea. With your permission, I'd like to incorporate it into an S&W campaign I'm devising at The Bastard's Blade.

  6. Of course you have it, it's my pleasure that my posts can be useful:).