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D&D 3E
New Weapon Special Ability: Transmuting (+2 or +3 Ability) As a… 
11th-Jan-2007 02:11 pm
Bitch Please - peanuts
New Weapon Special Ability: Transmuting (+2 or +3 Ability)

As a swift action, the wielder of this weapon may trasmute the alloy to a different material. An iron sword can become Cold Iron, Adamantine, Alchemical Silver or Mithral.

I thought this wopld be cool. Essentially, rather than carrying around three weapons for your damage reduction overcoming needs, you could just add this ability to your weapons and trasmute it as the situation calls for. The only real problem I see with this is you can save a couple grand on enchants for Cold Iron weapons, but not a game breaking amount.

11th-Jan-2007 07:20 pm (UTC)
Sounds cool. =)
11th-Jan-2007 07:21 pm (UTC)
I've seen something similar. I don't know if it is home-brew or something my DM found elsewhere. Its shown up in a few different campaigns, but the same DM, so I don't know. And he has an extensive collection of splatbooks, both Wizards and others.

A +2 enchantment that causes weapons to adapt to the alchemical proprties necessary to damage the target of the weapon.

(So, if you hit someone with DR Cold Iron, the first hit is normal, but for the second and subsequent hits the weapon is treated as Cold Iron. You can then beat on creatures with Cold Iron DR and bypass until 10 rounds pass since you last hit one, when it reverts to untyped, or you hit someone with a different alchemical DR, when it switches).

11th-Jan-2007 07:59 pm (UTC)
I like it!

One question: would the shift in properties be a free action by the wielder, thus requiring the wielder to know what sort of weapon he needs?
11th-Jan-2007 08:02 pm (UTC)
It would be a swift action (only once per round) so it might still require some trial and error if you don't know what you're fighting.
11th-Jan-2007 08:33 pm (UTC)
Do magical enhancements stack? Adamantium gets an inherent +2 bonus, so would a +3 transmuting broadsword(masterwork, +5 or +6 adjustment) become a +1 adamantium transmuting broadsword? If you transmusted it to alchemical silver would it do 1d6-1 +3 damage?
11th-Jan-2007 08:41 pm (UTC)
Admantine doesn't get an inherent +2 bonus, it gets the normal +1 bonus to attack for being a masterwork weapon. It just bypasses hardness less than 20.

A +1 Transmuting Shortsword could become:
+1 Adamantine Shortsword (1d6+1 damage, 19-20 threat range, bypasses <20 hardness, bypasses DR/admantine),

+1 Alchemical Silver Short Sword (1d6 damage, 19-20 threat range, bypasses DR/alchemical silver),

+1 Cold Iron Short Short (1d6+1 damage, 19-20 threat range, bypasses DR/Cold Iron) or

+1 Mithral Short Sword (1d6+1 damage, 19-20 threat range, and weighs half as much) [no, I don't know why you'd want to do this]
11th-Jan-2007 08:40 pm (UTC) - Not sure if I'm keen on this (no pun intended)...
If I were to use this, I'd make it a +3 ability (or even +4) and make it a standard action to activate. If I recall correctly (as I don't use swift actions) most other magical weapons with a bonus ability, such as flaming, require standard actions. If you want to make it faster, then a +4 would be appropriate. Either that, or require that the creator have a masterwork weapon of each material (in addition to steel) as part of the enchantment. As a variant, your player could acquire one or some of said alternate materials to make the enhancement bonus less -- e.g. if you use just cold iron and mithril, then it's a +2 ability. It's cheaper, but not as versatile.

Also, I'd have Spell Focus(Transmutation) as a requirement for this enchantment.

Now, here's why I wouldn't use it -- it takes the edge off of fighting something with a keyed DR. For me, it's no sin if my PCs don't have the exact make of weapon to take down a critter -- it's part of the challenge. There's other tactics to dealing with DR as well (one being to boost the Fighter who then starts Power Attacking like a maniac). Even if the characters don't know in-game what they're dealing with, a PC with a good Knowledge skill (based on the critter) can trump that.

The sense of satisfaction when my players have when they take down something like a construct with out an adamantine weapon is worth it.
11th-Jan-2007 08:48 pm (UTC) - Re: Not sure if I'm keen on this (no pun intended)...
True, but material composition is only one type of damage reduction. There is still base damage type (slashing, bludgeoning or piercing) and alignment based DR.

I made it a swift action because a +2 special ability means its going to cost at least 18,000 gp to get this ability put on a weapon, and will only have the effect of three different +1 weapons, which would only cost 6,000 gp. Making it a swift action gives it a slight advantage over just keeping three weapons and drawing whichever one is appropriate. I suppose as the game progresses to high levels the price of upgrading three +1 weapons would be greater, but I've never really seen someone upgrade a special material weapon that much, they are just there for utility.

I was actually thinking a DC 20 Craft (Alchemy) check to perform the enchantment :-p
11th-Jan-2007 08:41 pm (UTC)
Tome of Magic, p 155: Shadow Striking ability
Weapon instantly adjusts to overcome any DR including material or alignment-based.
Price: +3
12th-Jan-2007 05:27 am (UTC)
Beat me to it. lol By... quite a few hours... >.>
11th-Jan-2007 08:50 pm (UTC) - playing devils advocate
ok as a player I think that could be good but as a DM I hate it. Part of the fun is the whole"holy sh*& am i glad i picked up that adamantine short sword just for cases like this" it simply removes a whole set of challenges for the pc,s from the game,and everyone who is playing with you will have a weapon made like this.Personally I find that the most frustrating thing for a dm is that after leve 12 the whole thing starts falling apart and it becomes hard to find something challenging for the pc,s that doesent involve instant death . and damage reduction is so much fun because now my gruops rediculouse fighter who has found items to boost everything up and allways maxes out his power attack and could feezably kill a 14th l npc in one hit has to work a little harder. something to keep the tank buisy so the rest of the party doesent decide to make lunch while he does all the fighting for him!
ok im going to stop ranting now
11th-Jan-2007 08:54 pm (UTC)
Looking at Mike's comment and nviii's research, I have to agree with Mike. If I were to allow this in my campaign, I'd want the alchemical change to require at least a standard action. And weapon alignment properties would carry all the accompanying disadvantages. (Did you want to attack that Archon? And you're good-aligned? That's what a negative level feels like.)

I'd also give some sort of impressive backstory to such a weapon feature. Maybe something githyanki-like on the Plane of Shadows feels proprietary about such blades.
11th-Jan-2007 10:49 pm (UTC)
Overpowered and undercosted even at +3. As you get past level 10 a big part of some monsters ability to survive is DR. By bypassing that DR pretty much at all times you will trivialize some encounters. Just from exp as a GM I would not allow this, part of the fun of some monsters is learning how to overcome them.
11th-Jan-2007 11:45 pm (UTC)

What chemical properties does the weapon have? Does it actually aquire the attributes of the metal, thereby granting it extra hitpoints and hardness?

That would utterly defeat sundering, making this much more potent than intended.

Tack something onto it such as a lowered hardness and less hitpoints, due to its shifting nature (something that makes sense to me) and it's slightly better.

I would also have it not be a perfect match. The transmuting metal could mimic the intended metal, but not be a perfect copy. It would, rather than bypass DR, treat it as X points less (the number is a little variable, but more than 2 or 3 and you're kinda pushing it).

That, in my mind, would make it worthy of a +3 enhancement cost, but I still wouldn't allow it in any game I ran.
12th-Jan-2007 03:39 am (UTC)
Not in my game, buster.
12th-Jan-2007 04:28 am (UTC)
Congratulations! You've reinvented the Metalline enhancement from the Underdark book. +2 enhancement, allows you to change the metal your weapon is made out of as a standard action.

Considered by many to be grossly imbalanced, but I have seen a metalline kensai's weapon Sundered because he forgot to switch it back to Adamantine...
12th-Jan-2007 05:24 am (UTC)
I'm pretty sure many people consider the SRD entry for a house cat to be grosly imbalanced :-p
12th-Jan-2007 06:36 am (UTC) - No, Colin's got a good point
... it is an unbalancing enchantment, even with the modifications I mentioned previously. Not only that, but other folks here (twyst976, akitrom, et al) have had similar opinions.

I haven't seen many creatures that have DR keyed to a type (e.g. piercing) and a material. Most combinations seem to revolve around material and alignment.
12th-Jan-2007 02:05 pm (UTC) - Re: No, Colin's got a good point
Oh, yes: it was also considered just plain off the scale when combined with Morphing, which allows you to change weapon type.
12th-Jan-2007 02:48 pm (UTC) - Re: No, Colin's got a good point
I was kidding :-p

Although I will say. Given 3 metal compositions commonly used in DR (Adamantine, Cold Iron and Silver), 3 types of damage (Slashing, Piercing and bludgeoning) and 4 alignments (Law, Chaos, Good and Evil) there are 36 possible combinations of DR. An enhantment letting you get over a small subsect of those isn't really all that powerful.
12th-Jan-2007 02:57 pm (UTC) - Re: No, Colin's got a good point
And I have to ask again, how many creatures have combination DRs? Most outsiders do (usually material and alignment), but other than that, I can't think of any.

The most common DR types are based on material or if the weapon is magic as far as I've seen. Having a character that can chew through such opposition can muck with the party balance. If all the characters have such weapons, it makes it more difficult for the DM to come up with balanced encounters.
12th-Jan-2007 03:40 pm (UTC) - Re: No, Colin's got a good point
I dunno, they are getting ready to put out Monster Manual 5 (with such fearsome creatures as the Blink Wallaby and Dire Paramecium!) so I'm sure there are a plethora of monsters that have interesting and unusual defenses.

I'm still new to this whole DMing thing. Maybe it will change over time but as long as my PCs are having fun I don't much care if I have to work a little harder to make the combats balanced. After all, I can always Rule 0 in special defenses to make a particular baddie more challenging.
13th-Jan-2007 01:19 am (UTC) - Re: No, Colin's got a good point
I agree that it is imbalanced, but that can always be overcome by a smart DM. I'd let it in my game with some tweaking. Later if I felt it was unbalancing things too much I'd A) customize creatures to have multiple resistances, B) customize creatures to have morphing resistances, C) bring in some sundering/disarming specialists. :)

Some other things that could be done to balance it is to have it scale. Maybe when it overcomes a type of resistance, the wielder becomes susceptable to the same or an "opposite" type. Or maybe it takes time to "warm up". First round with a hit, normal. Second round with a hit overcomes 5 points of resistance. And so on. *shrug* I always try to let players be creative. But that also means that I can be creative as a DM too.
13th-Jan-2007 02:34 am (UTC) - Re: No, Colin's got a good point
Customizing to counter an unabalancing element can be seen as targeting -- and in a way it is.

Devry, if you're new to DMing just stick with the rules as they stand, but take notes if you and your group agree or disagree on any sort of house ruling. While the bottom line is to make sure everyone's having fun, dealing with fallout from a bad/unbalancing idea is never a good time for the DM.

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