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D&D 3E
Unfair loot? 
13th-May-2007 12:51 am
kobolds ate my baby
Ok, here's the deal. I might have a bit of a fondness for some more fun, but not necessarily useful pieces of loot for my players. They get their greedy little hands on more things like rods of prestidgitation than +5 vorpal katanas of painful death.

But this time I might have taken it a bit too far. Perhaps, this is where you come in. Advice me please.

Now the party is currently at level 3 - 4.

This piece of loot they've picked up is a ring. One half of a set of rings of friend shield

Friend Shield

These curious rings always come in pairs. A friend shield ring without its mate is useless. Either wearer of one of a pair of the rings can, at any time, command his or her ring to cast a shield other spell with the wearer of the mated ring as the recipient. This effect has no range limitation.

Moderate abjuration; CL 10th; Forge Ring, shield other; Price 50,000 gp (for a pair).


The other half of the set... Well... I recon that will turn up eventually. When, if going by game mechanics 50,000 gp in the hands of the PC isn't completely OTT in terms of character wealth per level. (until then, I can have a bit of fun. Since one of the PCs have decided to wear it inspite of it being an unidentified magic ring. If he keeps wearing it *grin*. Perhaps it might be that at some point he'll manage to activate it by misstake and take half of the BBEG's damage, and vice versa.)

So, am I being completely unfair here? Not giving them something that is useful for them now.
They have no idea what they've picked up yet. So I've got plenty of chances to change my mind and turn it into something generic like a ring of protection +1 or similar.
Comments 
13th-May-2007 12:46 am (UTC)
The pair is worth 25,000 GP in the hand, just costs 50,000 GP in the bush. A pair would be worth more than the "expected" wealth input to an 11th level character or a four character 4th level party. One is worthless by itself: right now it is just a plot token.

Once they can detect magic, you will have to decide its power, and when they first get in a fight you will have to decide whether it is a Ring of Protection or not.
13th-May-2007 04:17 am (UTC)
I rarely if ever give them magical items at all in my campaign, so I don't consider it unfair at all lol.

They'll appreciate it later, maybe. Until then, the can have fun trying to figure out what it is?
13th-May-2007 04:45 am (UTC)
I wouldn't worry about it, I am sure they will have one hell of a time trying to find its mate and that will be many levels of fun. Of course, what it should be in the description is that it should be set for two people... If one dies, the other fails until the rings can be reset to new owners or something along those lines. Then again, a random shield showing up every once in a while might be entertaining as well...

In the end, it is your call. It isn't a campaign unhinging event so I wouldn't worry about it.
13th-May-2007 05:25 am (UTC)
I'd suggest changing it to something more appropriate for their level. Not only is the item useless (and you can't activate MIs by mistake), but it's also worthless. Anyone willing to buy will want to have it properly identified to be sure, and if it's useless who would want it? Granted this ring in particular might have some historical value, but that's highly subjective.
17th-May-2007 01:41 pm (UTC)
The cleric or wizard identifies it as an abjuration that is very powerful relative to their level. Rogue attempts to activate blindly, stupidly wondering what harm it could do.

Could happen.

Overall, I think it is potentially fantastic plot hook.
13th-May-2007 08:01 am (UTC)
I'm in favor of gag items, but it better not have been figured into their loot totals. A single ring is worthless, so they should not have recieved it instead of a useful 25k item. If it isn't figured into their loot totals, then it's a plot device. If it is, you've short-changed them.

The other problem is, when is this other ring going to show up? A 50,000gp encounter reward isn't appropriate until at least level 16, even on a double treasure critter. And that's assuming that the critter's only equipment is a ring, which it is civilized enough to use, but uncivilized enough not to have any other equipment on it.

Last thing - IMHO, your adventurers should not be getting MORE gag items than useful ones. OOC, players have a tough enough time finding loot that they'd actually use, rather than going back to town and jumping through all the hoops that already bar them from their ideal equipment. IC, what kind of moron thinks, "Okay, dark scary dungeon, certain death, what I need here is a Rod of Prestidigitation!" It had to get there somehow.
13th-May-2007 10:39 am (UTC)
IC, what kind of moron thinks, "Okay, dark scary dungeon, certain death, what I need here is a Rod of Prestidigitation!" It had to get there somehow.

Well, I don't have dark scary dungeons of certain death that have no other purpose than being a dark scary dungeon of certain death. They might be dark scary dungeons of certain death - once the party of valiant heroes come across them. But they were once someone's home, had a purpose other than just being a dark scary dungeon of certain death, even contain things like kitchens and privvies. If by now defunct, and over-run with nasties - of certain death.
That's how more mundane items, like the rod of prestidgitation, get there. Left behind by the original inhabitants.
13th-May-2007 08:36 am (UTC)
No, you're not being unfair at all. I do recommend you work out who owns the ring's mate, and how they can be found. And start by figuring out why the pair was made. Husband and wife, mother and child? Merchant and bodyguard? Then figure out why the party would want to relinguish their half, and ways of persuading them.

Last and certainly not least, who else is looking for that ring, and why.

Scenario: The ring is one half of the Rings of the Watchful Gate. This being a pair of rings created to protect the twin heroes Baruk and Harron of the ancient city of Shur. Lost for centuries with their deaths at Berut Plostai, it just recently turned up in the hands of the Saldin adventuring party. At last report one of the rings was stolen by a sneak thief, who has not been seen or heard from since.

Modify as you see fit.
13th-May-2007 08:36 am (UTC)
No, you're not being unfair at all. I do recommend you work out who owns the ring's mate, and how they can be found. And start by figuring out why the pair was made. Husband and wife, mother and child? Merchant and bodyguard? Then figure out why the party would want to relinguish their half, and ways of persuading them.

Last and certainly not least, who else is looking for that ring, and why.

Scenario: The ring is one half of the Rings of the Watchful Gate. This being a pair of rings created to protect the twin heroes Baruk and Harron of the ancient city of Shur. Lost for centuries with their deaths at Berut Plostai, it just recently turned up in the hands of the Saldin adventuring party. At last report one of the rings was stolen by a sneak thief, who has not been seen or heard from since.

Modify as you see fit.
13th-May-2007 02:31 pm (UTC)
I dunno I would consider it a useful cursed item. What do I mean?

The way the rings work is that you cast shield other. How about every so often he suddenly gets 1/2 damage from attacks. He believes its the ring but can't figure out how to use it.

Of course the other ring bearer is suddenly getting sick and hurt without a reason. This in itself would make an awesome adventure. Esspecially if it's like a princesses wedding ring or something like that. Or you can run it the opposite way. The ring can belong to an important savage group of barbarians who inflicts wounds on themselves once a week...which would cause your PC to get hurt once a week.

Either way that would be damn interesting.
13th-May-2007 02:36 pm (UTC)
Doesn't so much matter what you give them, as long as they're each somewhere around the estimated wealth/level chart in the DMG.

The Ring of Friend Shield is utterly useless though. Can't even sell it. It'd be like selling a can on a really long string, and you don't know where the string leads or who has the other can.
17th-May-2007 05:31 am (UTC)
Could someone post the details for the spell 'shield friend'?

Maybe I'm misunderstanding how the spell works (gleaning from everyone's posts), but if I was wearing that ring and I was randomly taking damage for no good reason, that ring would get sold faster than you could say "cha-ching" even if there were times that it might have been shielding me.
17th-May-2007 01:12 pm (UTC)
The spell is shield other, even if they call the rings friend shield :)

Shield other:

This spell wards the subject and creates a mystic connection between you and the subject so that some of its wounds are transferred to you. The subject gains a +1 deflection bonus to AC and a +1 resistance bonus on saves. Additionally, the subject takes only half damage from all wounds and attacks (including that dealt by special abilities) that deal hit point damage. The amount of damage not taken by the warded creature is taken by you. Forms of harm that do not involve hit points, such as charm effects, temporary ability damage, level draining, and death effects, are not affected. If the subject suffers a reduction of hit points from a lowered Constitution score, the reduction is not split with you because it is not hit point damage. When the spell ends, subsequent damage is no longer divided between the subject and you, but damage already split is not reassigned to the subject.
17th-May-2007 01:46 pm (UTC)
The thing is, the only time you might potentially take damage is if you activate it. If the other party activates it, they get your damage.
20th-May-2007 03:08 pm (UTC)
Ok, here's what I'd do under the same circumstances: Let him keep his "worthless" ring. Make it relative crap when appraised (say worth no more than a few gold) which might persuade him that trading it in isn't worth the bother (after all, most buyers will purchese something for less than what it's worth to make a profit). If he decides to wear this ring, maybe the other ring is already in the possession of someone. Maybe this someone is already wearing it, not knowing what it is. Maybe this someone happens to take damage. Or maybe your player doesn't take damage next time he's hit, and just perhaps the owner of the other ring is seeking him out, thinking he's being cut/wounded/etc. because of your player.
You see where I'm going with this? I would have a field day.
If he gets the ring identified, perhaps because the ring is without its mate, it only identifies as a Ring of Shielding or similar item. This might deter him from cashing it in, assuming you'd like the ring to stay in the game.
21st-May-2007 04:23 pm (UTC)
Good ideas.

Currently, I am leaning toward if and when they get back to civilisation and do get it identified/appraised with the rest of the loot.
They will find out exactly what it is. The NPC doing the evaluation offering them a few hundred gold because the curiosity value and because it's an attractive ring made from precious materials.
The NPC will also enquire if they have the other ring. On the premise that together, he knows just the right buyer for something like that and that together they'd be worth a small fortune.

Then it's up to the players if they want to cash in and get a few hundred gold now, keep hold of it - just incase that other ring would turn up, or go for an active hunt for it.

(Oh, and he's already wearing it. :) )
23rd-May-2007 10:18 pm (UTC)
Anonymous
Could be a whole adventure unto itself. And I gotta ask...who has the other ring? :)
23rd-May-2007 10:22 pm (UTC)
Freakin' anonymous crap. That was me. Didn't sign in when I posted.
Another point: during their trek to find the other ring, it's possible someone else might steal it from the NPC who has it. Or perhaps kill, then steal.
Ok, the DM in me is going nuts over here. I might have to try this in my campaign.
24th-May-2007 09:14 am (UTC)
Could be, at this point anything could happen. :)

Now for who has it, that's going to need some backstory I'm afraid. If you're really interested you might want to go get a cuppa or something. This might be long.

Back? Good, then let's start.

The setting (homebrew)
Crecent bay is a 'newly' discovered continent on the far side of the world from the empire the PCs come from. By newly I mean that it was discovered a couple of hundred years ago, but the wheel of the empire turns slowly and it is only recently that there have been a push to settle this new continent. Until some 30 years ago, the only presence in CB was an empire garrison.
Now that emigrants are arriving in an increasingly rapid rate as the responce to the empire's efforts to settle CB around this garrison a town have grown up.
No indigenous sentient humanoids have been discovered on this continent. No natives, just abundant wildlife.

Now, things aren't quite right in CB, it isn't quite what was promised before the emigrants boarded the ships. Sure the continent is all there, lush and fertile. The problem is that it is a region of the empire that is run directly under the central government. While the rest of the empire is made up of more or less selfgoverning provinces, the central governement is ill equipped to handle provincial business.
Everything takes forever and a day to happen in CB. Including things like register those promised land grants.
Yadiyada... in short there is great civil discontent, even revolt, civil war, brewing when the PCs arrived.
Of course they got involved in this whole situation, they're PCs after all.

Right now, when the found the first ring... They were headed out into the wilderness, to try and sort out rumours about a second empire garrison. A secret one hidden away in the mountains.
The would be revolutionaries would rather be prepared if there are reinforcements coming to the CB-town garrison's help should hostilities would break out. (Not counting the reinforcements from the empire itself - but those are months and months of sea journey away.)

So trekking through the winderness, our intrepid heroes comes across ruins, remaints of an ancient civilisation. This continent have had at some distant past harboured people, advanced people.

It is in these ruins they find the first ring...

Now this so called secret second garrison, are a group excavating another set of ruins, trying to unlock the secrets of the powers of this ancient civilisation for their own nestrafarious purposes. While they once were indeed sent on empire business there, they are not working for the empire any longer. Quite the reverse...

The second ring of the pair, is in another set of ruins. Yet undiscovered. So it's more or less a matter of who gets there first. Although, being the DM... unless they decide to sell that ring for a few hundred gold, well... it won't be the PCs. Because I'm evil like that.

Although, I have decided on if they do get the pair - and decide to sell it. Who the buyer is. The head priest of Nerul back in CB-town. Just because I've already brought him in, and I'm rather keen on my little priest of Nerul with a keen interest in gardening in his spare hours. Someone, depending on how things goes, might end up as a BBEG later. Or an ally to the party. That has not yet been decided.
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