Friday, October 7, 2011
Ultima 4E - Magic Items
I didn't talk much about magic items in the earlier Ultima Campaign posts. They aren't really the focus of the games, especially the Avatar series, but they are a part of D&D so I think they should have a place in the campaign.
For the initial trilogy I think you could use standard 4E gear - see what the players are interested in and let that be your guide at low levels into the teens. For the final fight in U3 the party could discover an entirely new class of weapon called "Exotics" and so at Epic levles I'd say turn it loose -give them the most ridiculous overpowered gear you can find and then make them use it! Perhaps a custom set of artifacts - the Exotic Armor, the Exotic Shield, the Exotic Blade, and the Exotic Bow. They could even be variable form weapons, allowing the players to declare them to be whatever base type of weapon they prefer. It would be an interesting way to go. I might just keep it to the weapon aspect and drop the armor but give every character one. They would also be a good subject for a quest somewhere in the mid 20's as the party realizes they really need harder-hitting gear to fight through the incredibly powerful opponents they're facing now.
What would I make them? Probably a level-whatever +X weapon that deals Radiant and Either Fire, Cold, Lightning, or Acid damage, chosen as a free action by the wielder. Keep it to the classic elemental damage types and you should be good. Leave the Necrotic and Poison stuff to the bad guys.
For the Avatar campaign I would consider placing armor in the shrines, 1 set each, to be discovered as the party locates each one. This means someone ends up wearing the Armor of Valor, someone has the Armor of Honor, someone has the Armor of Spirituality, etc. It might being a player into feeling a little more tied in to a particular Virtue. They could be themed for each class associated with it but I don't think that's essential - why not mix it up a little?
Similarly I might add in a weapon for each Virtue, probably buried at the bottom of the dungeon associated with each. If Dungeon Malice is known to hold the Sword of Compassion then it makes it that much more atractive for the players as a quest - there is a known, tangible reward within, beyond the usual XP's, magic and gold. In a bit of cross-inspiration I would give them names and unusual powers like an artifact and one possible source of inspiration is the Swords series by Fred Saberhagen, recently discussed by James M over at Grognardia. The Sword of Valor might be something like Shieldbreaker, the Sword of Compassion might be something like Townsaver, etc. There's plenty of room for debate on what characteristics would be appropriate for a weapon associated with each Virtue and frankly I probably wouldn't go much further unless I was planning out the campaign in anticipation of actually running it. There are other magic items in the later Ultimas that would be perfectly useable too. A little online research will turn up numerous interesting possibiliiies.