07 November 2011
What if the big draw was the fact that it was magical, instead?
I haven't playtested it, but I can't imagine that there'd be any real problems simply porting it into a game. You could shift the bonuses to attack and damage on to the fighters' base values (so that a fighter who's "supposed" to have a +1 sword and armor could have an innate bonus to attack, damage, and armor class instead), and then have the occasional monster reduce damage if it was struck by a non-magical weapon. Something like how (as I understand it) certain monsters in OD&D simply couldn't be hurt by anything but magical weapons.
So there'd be value in a "boring" magical sword, for example- it'd still have the properties of a "magical" item (being constantly razor-sharp, resistant to breakage, resistant to magical destruction)... but you could have a normal smith create it. Hello, masterwork weapons. Nice to see you again. Why don't you take a seat.
You'd have to modify store-bought adventures and settings a little, sure, but it wouldn't be hard. Just take the boring swords and axes that don't get any cool powers and make them masterwork weapons. Now they're well-forged weapons with a certain value, but it makes sense that there's stacks of them lying around instead of being kept in a box while the enemy warriors are running around with mundane weapons.
In this scheme, there would be two categories of magical weapons and armor: the "regular" masterwork type that's a cut above regular weapons without contributing to power creep, and then "unique" items that are sentient, or return when thrown, or whatever it is they do. And here's the real benefit: The items are important for what they do, instead of what stats they boost.
It's something to think about, anyways.