Continuing from our previous article Zeroing in on Advancement (Admin Team note: This article has been temporarily made private while we revisit the topic), let’s discuss magic items. Just like advancement checkpoints, while treasure checkpoints, unlock lists, and magic item tables allowed us the opportunity to normalize and inject a bit of equity into the game while removing situations where contention arose over an item’s ownership, it didn’t have the same feeling of immersion and, like advancement checkpoints, it was more complex than was intended. So, just like advancement checkpoints, we’ve opted to leave treasure checkpoints behind and find a system a bit closer to our roots.
Find It; Keep It
Just as before, if your group comes across a magic item during a session, you can use it until the end of the session. Where we deviate a bit is what happens to that item at the end of the session. With consumable items, the system remains the same as it has since Season 1; if you find one, someone at the table can keep it.
With permanent magic items, the post-session process is a little different. If an item still has magical properties remaining at the end of the session, (i.e., the characters haven’t used them all up), any player or players may choose to keep the item.
In addition to those found during your adventures, you can also obtain items from renown and, if you’re a member, your faction. These items fill a role that the evergreen unlock list once fulfilled; a basic list of items: +1 weapons, +1 shields, +1 rods of the pact keeper, +1 wands of the war mage, and for those characters with the Safe Haven background feature, a selection of magic rings bearing the sigil of your faction.
The restrictions based on tier and an items Magic Item Table are gone, although only tier 4 characters can possess a legendary item or an artifact. Characters below tier 4 that find such an item instead “unlock” it and may choose to add it to their character sheet after reaching tier 4.
Magic Item Limit
Where the program deviates from previous incarnations and adopts some of the equity facilitated by treasure checkpoints is in the introduction of your character’s Magic Item Limit. So while your character can find any number of magic items during their tenure as an adventurer, they’ll be able to possess only a certain number at a given time. This number is based on that character’s tier.
If at the end of a session, you find that you’d like to keep an item you found, you may. If you’ve already reached your magic item limit, you can choose to permanently replace an item you already own with the newly found item—even ones that no longer have magical properties remaining. So if your tier 1 character really wanted that net, but already had a +1 net, they could get rid of it and keep the better of the two.
There will be situations where items don’t count against your Magic Item Limit (such as common or consumable magic items or story items) or continue to count against it even when the item itself may not have any magical properties remaining (such as tomes, manuals, etc.). We’re still hammering out the final details on these niche cases, but as a general rule, if you’ve got a magic item, it will count toward your Magic Item Limit.
Magic Items as a Commodity
This system will allow us to take what we used as a replacement for “faction charity” in Season 8 and make it a surmountable obstacle. Previously, you could incur a treasure checkpoint debt to purchase a spell scroll needed to return you to life. This, however, left your character with a checkpoint deficit that couldn’t really be overcome until they reached 20th level. Now, in lieu of spending gold to return your character to life or to remedy a select few conditions that precluded that character from playing, your character can now trade a magic item to receive the benefit of any spell—including wish—necessary to return the character to life or to remove any condition or effect that removed the character from play. In order to utilize this option, your character permanently loses a permanent magic item of uncommon or greater rarity in their possession and their Magic Item Limit is temporarily reduced until they reach the next tier of play (or, in the case of 20th-level characters, they reach a certain number of milestones). So, a 1st-level character that dies and can’t afford a raise dead can trade the tattered cloak of lesser nothingness to a priest who will perform the service for him. The character permanently loses the cloak and their Magic Item Limit is reduced until the character reaches 5th level when the reduction is removed and their Magic Item Limit increases accordingly. This option can still be used if the character has no magic items in their possession or if their Magic Item Limit has been reduced to 0—it’s always available to those willing to pay the price.
The Bottom Line
We wanted to return the feeling of immersion that finding magic items once had, with measures of the same degree of control and equity that the treasure checkpoint system afforded—all without the complexity of fractional checkpoints, tiers, tables, and the like. As always, refining this preview is a joint endeavor, and your constructive feedback helps us shape what these rules look like upon final printing.
To come, Zeroing on Seasonality…