Balancing Forge Armor/Weapon

Discussion on game mastering Earthdawn. May contain spoilers; caution is recommended!
JBF
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Balancing Forge Armor/Weapon

Post by JBF » Mon Feb 24, 2020 12:36 pm

Hi,

I am coming back to GMing years and years after I have been a player, and starting a new group. One point I have questions/concerns about is regarding the balancing the game with magical items. One "argument" I used to sell the game to my players is the rich universe and how compared to a basic D&D there is so much backstory behind each of the heroic fantasy tropes. I described the thread items system and how it creates a real relationship between character and magic items, by having them research to untap the potential instead of just "consuming" items with ever increasing bonuses like in D&D... And then I realized : how does the weaponsmith with its forge weapon/armor fit into this without breaking the game balance ?
Simple example : I take the first "Warden" thread item in the companion : the blade of Almemvor. The thread of rank 8 will increase its damage to Rank 9, i.e +4 compared to the base value of the weapon. To do so a character will have to ahieve circle 8, invest significant time, money and legend point to research key knowledges and weave threads... exactly hat I described to my characters...

But in the meantime, a circle 4 weaponsmith could with forge weapon achieve a very similar result on a off-the-shelf broadsword (of course there would be a cost involved, and you could actually also forge he thread sword, but still most of its bonus would come from a simple talent, instead of being by its legendary status)

Any thoughts on how to balance that with deleting the weaponsmith altogether from the game ?

Bonhumm
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Re: Balancing Forge Armor/Weapon

Post by Bonhumm » Mon Feb 24, 2020 1:32 pm

Threads items are usually much more than just 'more damage'. No matter how good the Weaponsmith is, he cannot forges bonuses to talents (or even actually GIVE access to a a talent), improve things like PHY/MYS/SOC Defenses, improved initiative, allowing karma on some stuff etc. The value of a +1 to any defense is priceless and much better than just sticking one more nail in your bat.

So yes, forging weapon can increase damage but that's about it. Add to it the prohibitive cost AND the time it takes to do (once the character gets attacked by some ruffians during the week he left his broadsword and chainmail at the forge, he might hesitate to do it again in the future) and that's makes forging nowhere as good as Thread Items.

The limited duration (1year and a day) is also a downside. Keep good track of the time and I can guarantee you the players will forget about it and suddenly lose their bonuses in the middle of the Liaj jungle, weeks away from the closest forge.

Slimcreeper
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Re: Balancing Forge Armor/Weapon

Post by Slimcreeper » Tue Feb 25, 2020 1:14 am

You can forge thread armor and weapons in 4th, right?

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Mataxes
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Re: Balancing Forge Armor/Weapon

Post by Mataxes » Tue Feb 25, 2020 1:22 am

Slimcreeper wrote:
Tue Feb 25, 2020 1:14 am
You can forge thread armor and weapons in 4th, right?
Yes. This is reverting some changes back to earlier editions, where it was always possible.
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Aegharan
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Re: Balancing Forge Armor/Weapon

Post by Aegharan » Tue Feb 25, 2020 7:04 am

JBF wrote:
Mon Feb 24, 2020 12:36 pm
To do so a character will have to ahieve circle 8
It would probably take a lot of time to gather the Legend Points, but a first circle character could also weave the rank 8 thread.

JBF
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Re: Balancing Forge Armor/Weapon

Post by JBF » Wed Feb 26, 2020 12:22 am

[/quote]
Aegharan wrote:
Tue Feb 25, 2020 7:04 am
JBF wrote:
Mon Feb 24, 2020 12:36 pm
To do so a character will have to ahieve circle 8
It would probably take a lot of time to gather the Legend Points, but a first circle character could also weave the rank 8 thread.
Right, I was taking the shortcut that your best talents have usually a rank close to your circle, but yes it is not necessary

Aegharan
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Re: Balancing Forge Armor/Weapon

Post by Aegharan » Wed Feb 26, 2020 9:43 am

JBF wrote:
Wed Feb 26, 2020 12:22 am
Aegharan wrote:
Tue Feb 25, 2020 7:04 am
JBF wrote:
Mon Feb 24, 2020 12:36 pm
To do so a character will have to ahieve circle 8
It would probably take a lot of time to gather the Legend Points, but a first circle character could also weave the rank 8 thread.
Right, I was taking the shortcut that your best talents have usually a rank close to your circle, but yes it is not necessary
Especially on Thread Items my experience is that some are kept below circle to not halt progression too much (especially nearing the strong talents on 6th/7th circle), while some powers are reached earlier.

Add in that a thread weapon can also be forged and you got the balance back :-)

Lursi
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Re: Balancing Forge Armor/Weapon

Post by Lursi » Thu Mar 05, 2020 6:34 am

Question from a player:

Can you wear fernweave above an blood pebble?

I said yes in previous editions because you could always get armor penetrating hits and it has not been too strong.

Nowadays it is pretty tough when a 7th circle weaponsmith upgrades both items to +6 and that character has two digit armor values.
Of all things I lost, sanity I held dearest.

Lursi
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Re: Balancing Forge Armor/Weapon

Post by Lursi » Thu Mar 05, 2020 7:05 am

Ah, what about shields? Is there anything a weaponsmith can do to pimp his shield?
Of all things I lost, sanity I held dearest.

Aegharan
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Re: Balancing Forge Armor/Weapon

Post by Aegharan » Thu Mar 05, 2020 8:25 am

Lursi wrote:
Thu Mar 05, 2020 6:34 am
Question from a player:

Can you wear fernweave above an blood pebble?
I'd go with no. Technically yes, but only the highest bonus counts. So initiative penalty from blood pebble and the respective highest armor Boni...
The only stacking armor-wise is Obsidian's natural armor and another living armor on top.
Lursi wrote:
Thu Mar 05, 2020 7:05 am
Ah, what about shields? Is there anything a weaponsmith can do to pimp his shield?
He can craft a thread item shield. Other than that, no. Shields no longer offer PA/MA, but defense increase. And they're strong enough as is, especially with a friendly Elementalist nearby :-)

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