Friday, October 26, 2012

Special Materials

Alright, so lately I've been thinking of the whole wolf-iron upgrade as a viable alternative to unreliable magic weapons. The basic concept of the upgrade system is that instead of +10 worth of magical abilities, each weapon can fit 8 (10 if the weapon is masterwork) points of upgrade. The system is a carbon copy of the magic item system as each magic ability is valued at +1-5 and each upgrade is valued at one or more upgrade points.

Now a +1 enhancement bonus to a weapon starts at 2000 marks and scales up till it hits +5. The price increase sizable each plus, with +5 coming in at 50000 marks. The wolf-iron upgrade follows the same progression, as you increase the wolf-iron content of the steel/wolf-iron alloy, you increase the enhancement bonus and the cost. I kept the costs the same with the logic that you can cut them to 1/3 by building the upgrade yourself. But that doesn't really help character that don't want to spend eighty days making a dagger.

There are two crucial elements I forgot though (aside from some players not wanting to bother with Craft skills). The first is that wolf-iron does not count as magic in terms of penetrating damage reduction. The second is that the value of the masterwork enhancement bonus to attack rolls is only 300 marks, and can be reduced to 1/3 of that by building it yourself.

Realizing this has led me to consider reducing the costs of the wolf-iron upgrade for weapons. Except I am not sure how to plot out that value. One could make the argument that the attack roll bonus from masterwork is half the ability, so a bonus to damage rolls should cost another 300 marks. Perhaps we could say a non-magical +1/+1 enhancement bonus is valued at 600 marks, and compare that to the 2000 mark value of the magical version and just divide the costs of +2-5 by 3.3 (2000 divided by 600 = 3.3) and call that the costs. For some reason though, I feel like Paizo would say a bonus to damage is worth more than a bonus on attack rolls. I dunno.

I think what I need to do is overhaul the upgrade system. Perhaps a tiered system of non-magical pluses with the enhancement bonus being quality based and the material providing special abilities and determine how good the quality of an item can get.

For instance, stuff like bone or stone is limited to masterwork (+1/+0), bronze is limited to good quality (+1/+1), wood and iron are limited to fine quality (+2/+2), steel is limited to very fine quality (max of +3/+3), springsteel is limited to exceptional quality (max of +4/+4), and wolf-iron is limited to flawless quality (max of +5/+5). Armor would have a similar breakdown of material and qualities. Then the materials would also have their special abilities, like the ultra lightweight and flexibility of springsteel decreasing armor penalties and the ultra hard and dense nature of wolf-iron ignoring object hardness.

I think this system is more versatile and more sensible. With the current system, you basically cannot make upgraded light armors with increased armor bonuses. There is no 100% wolf-iron leather armor with a +7 bonus to AC. It also makes the special materials special, but doesn't force an agile character like Eran to carry around big dull gray kukris that weight six pounds a piece if he wants to deal more damage.

Anyone have any thoughts on this idea?

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