For the love of order
Experience and Wealth
The campaign starts at the very beginning. You have 0 XP and standard wealth for a starting character. You may roll your wealth or take the average value.
Since XP cannot be used in Pathfinder except to level, I plan to keep everyone at the same XP level and announce when the party has leveled, rather than giving XP awards at the end of each session. I am not firmly attached to this plan, so contact the GM if you have objections to it.
I am planning on using the system described in Complete Gear. While you are welcome to purchase a copy, the salient points are described below and I do not think it will be necessary for individual players to have their own copy for this game.
For the fluff of how it works in the game world, please see the document. Below are the game mechanics.
Rather than having wealth exist as gold, silver, magic items, et cetera, players have Influence Points (IP) with which they can influence items to work more effectively. 1 IP is equivalent to 1 GP in the standard game, so a potion of Cure Light Wounds (cost: 50gp) requires 50 IP.
As the game progresses, players will gain IP similarly to how they gain XP. The IP will roughly follow the wealth by level guidelines, but may deviate somewhat at the GM’s discretion. The value of items (magical and mundane) that a player may possess is limited to the player’s total IP.
There are several reasons behind this, some of which benefit the GM and some of which (hopefully) benefit the players.
- It simplifies keeping player wealth at the expected level. A series of encounters against enemies with no treasure can result in under-equipped players, while a series of encounters against classed NPCs can lead to players with more magic than the game expects.
- Tactics such as Sunder, Rust Monsters and Disjunction are not as disruptive. If the Paladin’s Holy Avenger is sundered, he has lost the weapon until he can mediate for 120 hours, but he has not permanently lost a major source of power.
- The GM can avoid worrying about what items are available at the local “Magic Mart” and players can avoid the frustration of not being able to find the gear that they want.
Buying and Selling Items
Mundane items will generally be available whenever the character is in a location that would be expected to sell such an item. (Weapons and armor can not normally be acquired in the middle of a dungeon, but should be available in any city.) As long as the character has sufficient unused IP, the item can be acquired.
To acquire a magical item, the character attunes a mundane item to himself. In game, this requires meditating with the item for 1 hour/1000 IP invested. Out of game, the characters unspent IP total is decreased by the cost of the item. A character can only mediate in this manner once per day, but can attune several items into related magical objects.
To sell a magical item, the player declares that he no longer wants the time to be attuned to himself. The IP that were spent to attune the item then become available for other items. This can be done even if the item is destroyed or no longer with the character. The one exception is that IP expended to create consumable items can not be recovered after the item is consumed. (This prevents consumables from essentially being free after they are used.)
An attuned item has magical properties only for the character who attuned it. It functions as a non-magical item for character other characters. An item can only be attuned to one character at a time. If a second character attunes an item to himself, the connection to the first character is lost.
Thod is going into a dangerous area and has 20,000 IP available. He wants to be good at offense, so he acquires a MW greatsword (350 IP) and a chain shirt (100 IP). Because he knows the value of a good offense, he mediates with the greatsword for 18 hours, after which it is a +3 greatsword (18000 IP for the +3). The next day, he acquires two potion containers (no cost), fills them with water, and mediates for two hours. After that time, the potion jars now contain potions of Cure Serious Wounds (750 IP each). Thod how has 50 unspent IP, but feels he is ready for his adventure.
Thod heads out and is attacked by orcs. He does great amounts of damage, but is injured, so he drinks one potion of Cure Serious Wounds. A second group of orcs attacks him and knocks him unconscious. They take his sword, armor and potion container and leave him for dead. Thod eventually wakes up and sneaks back into town to recover. Having had all of his goods stolen, he undoes the attuning. He now has 19,250 IP available, since he cannot recover the 750 IP from the potion that he drank. Perhaps he will invest more of that into defensive capabilities. :-)
The orcs have a non-magical MW greatsword, a chain shirt and a potion bottle (not a potion of Cure Serious Wounds). This may put their wealth over their IP limit (although the XP for defeating Thod might increase their IP so that it is not). If that is the case, they can continue using any items that are already attuned but cannot attune more items or change attunements until their wealth is less than their IP limit. (One way to do this is to discard the loot.)
Item creation feats can be used almost as normal. Instead of paying gold for the materials, the character who intends to use the item spends IP equal to the cost of the materials. Items created this way must be tracked, since only half of the normal IP will be recovered if the attunement is dismissed.
For example, Willy the Wizard has Craft Arms and Armor. Fred the Fighter desires to have his MW longsword be made into a +1 longsword. He gives the sword to Willy, who spends two days enhancing it. At the end, Fred has a +1 longsword and has spent 1000 IP. Later, Fred decides it is more important to have magical armor. He dismisses the attunement on the sword and gives his armor to Willy. One day later, Fred has +1 armor and a MW longsword. His unspent IP have increased by 500 (1000 recovered from the longsword and 500 invested in the armor).
Combining crafting and attuning
An item which has been crafted (at half cost) can be attuned to have additional powers. In order to craft additional powers into it, and attuned powers must be dropped before the crafting begins. (They can be added again later as usual.) When adding a power by attuning the item, the IP cost is the difference between the before and after market prices. To convert a crafted +1 sword to a +2 sword by attuning an additional +1 would cost 6000 IP (8000 – 2000).
Failed crafting attempts
If you attempt to craft an item an fail the skill check, the IP involved are permanently invested in the failed attempt.
The party (or less commonly, a few characters) might want to have an item for communal use, such as a Folding Boat. For such items, IP can be spent by several characters in any manner agreeable to all of the players. So long as the total IP equals the value of the object, any character that has invested IP can use the object or dismiss it by withdrawing his IP. Only one of the characters needs to meditate to attune the object.
Expensive Spell Components
Expensive spell components, such as diamond dust, are treated like mundane items. They can be acquired or sold for the IP cost anywhere they are available for sale. However, once used in the casting of the spell, the IP are “locked” into the component and cannot be recovered (much like a disposable item).
If the spell is cast for the benefit of another character, the players can divide the IP cost in any manner that they agree upon. For example, I would expect that the target of a Raise Dead would normally pay the full cost of the spell.
Services (e.g., hiring transportation, hiring a spellcaster to cast a specific spell) will be treated like disposable, shared items. The character(s) receiving the service must contribute IP sufficient to pay for the service. In game, the characters negotiate a price and give the NPC objects of sufficient value to cover the price.
One exception to this is if an NPC is hired to accompany the party more or less as another party member. In that case, XP and IP awards will be divided among the party and the NPC.
Upgrading and “Sidegrading” Items
If an item is upgraded to an improved version, the character must only mediate for a time based on the difference in cost. However, if any properties are removed or changed, the time of mediation is based on the full cost of the final item. For example, if a character has a +1 flaming sword (8000 IP), she can mediate for 10 hours to make it into a +1 flaming shocking sword or a +2 flaming sword (both 18000 IP, net change 10000 IP). If she instead desires to make it a +1 shocking sword (8000 IP but no net change), she still must mediate for 8 hours because the flaming enhancement is being removed.
Similar rules apply for crafted items. Crafting a +1 shocking sword from a +1 flaming sword requires 8 days, the time to craft the full cost.
Permanent Magic Items
Permanent magic items do exist. Creation of such items is entirely at the discretion of the GM; players will rarely (and possibly never) be able to create such items. Many such items are artifacts but some are of a more common power level. Such items may or may not affect a character’s unspent IP total. The GM will give you the relevant details for each item as you encounter it.