Sunday, 11 September 2011

Building Legendary Treasure

When working on the Legendary Treasures series, Stefen and I used the following guidelines to control our design. We did not always stick to these guidelines but they are framework for building legendary items.

Each legendary weapon, armor or shield has a number of requirements that the character must possess in order to attune the item and gain access to its legendary abilities.t

Generally this includes:
- one or two feats
- one or two skills at 4 ranks or less.

Race is sometimes included as requirement if the item has a strong racial enemy or origin. Additional class abilities are seldom used unless multiple options are available. Such as one of specific domian, mystery or bloodline. We never wanted to pigeonhole a legendary treasure to strictly one class.

- All legendary treasures begin with a +1 enhancement bonus. By the time the character has reached level 20 the treasure's total enhancement bonus should not be more than +5.

The 10 levels of progression generally it look something like this

1) +1 weapon/armor/shield
2) A spell-like ability (3/day; 1st-2nd level), supernatural ability, feat, other bonus
3) A spell-like ability (3/day; 2nd-3rd level), supernatural ability, feat, other bonus
4) +2 weapon/armor/shield (may have property)

5) A spell-like ability (3/day; 3rd-4th level), supernatural ability, feat, other bonus
6) A spell-like ability (3/day; 4th-5th level), supernatural ability, feat, other bonus
7) +3 weapon/armor/shield (may have property)
8) A spell-like ability (3/day; 5th-6th level), supernatural ability, feat, other bonus
9) A spell-like ability (3/day; 6th-7th level), supernatural ability, feat, other bonus
10) +4 weapon/armor/shield (may have property)

Other patterns are allowable but these give us a good starting point.

Kevin Video asked on the Purple Duck Games forums:

Finally, I don't see it on the weapon pdfs (correct me if I'm wrong) where it says whether or not you pay additionally for a weapon to be upgraded. For instance, at 20th level, you have a +4 weapon (eg +3 flaming greataxe). What if I want to make that a +5 flaming burst greataxe? How much does that cost me? If I get it done early, and it's a +3 keen flaming burst greataxe at only level 10, does it become a +5 greataxe when I hit level 20?

In my campaign I have not had this come up. I think if my players wanted to do it I would allow it on an enhancement cost basis. 

So let's say they are currently at level 14 and have attuned the heartwood staff from Legendary II: Legendary Weapons. At there current level this weapon is a +3 revitalizing quarterstaff; revitalizing has a +42,000 gp addition and the +3 has it costing 18,000 gp. So this weapons as of right now would be worth at least as much as a +5 weapon. If my player wanted to upgrade it to +4 revitalizing then they would need to come up with 22,000 gp to move it from an effective +5 to and effective +6. When the weapon would have naturally leveled up to +4 vitalizing it would instead become a +5 revitalizing. 

Since the weapons level up naturally, I've never had a player ask this but I think that is how I would handle it.

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