Saturday, November 19, 2011

Magic Item Prices

Since I published the Majestic Wilderlands, I ran several campaigns using Swords & Wizardry Core. In one of my campaigns the players are starting a point where they can create and buy magic items. One of the things I done is brought over the details of magic when I ran the Majestic Wilderlands using GURPS and other systems. My style since refereeing AD&D in the early 80s has been that Magic Items can be bought and sold. I always treated it similar to historical trading in luxury items. Low power items can be bought in shops catering to the wealthy, while the rest have to be commissioned or bought at elite auctions.

My previous price lists were based on the power levels of various magic item in the system I was using (GURPS, Fantasy Hero, D&D 3.X, etc). And now I am working on a list that reflects Swords & Wizardry. It doesn't need to be exact in the ballpark is just fine. I would like to get folk's opinions on what I come up with so far.

I am currently working on Weapons and Armors

I have the following base categories. I am going to set a +1 weapons as the base cost everything else is a factor. For example if you say that a +1 swords costs 1,000gp then a +5 sword, which is 15x, will cost 15,000gp.

+1 missile .1x
+1 missile weapon 2x
+1 melee weapon 1x
+1 shield 1x
+1 armor 2x

I multiply the above prices by 3 for +2
I multiply the above prices by 6 for +3
I multiply the above prices by 10 for +4
I multiply the above prices by 15 for +5

+5 to Hit and +5 to Damage is the max bonus from any combination

I get the factors by adding the pluses 1+2=3, 1+2+3=6,1+2+3+4=10, 1+2+3+4+5=15.

+1 Damage vs foe is 1/2x
+2 Damage vs foe is 1.5x
+3 Damage vs foe is 3x
+4 Damage vs foe is 5x
+5 Damage vs foe is 7.5x

This adds on top of the base bonus. Again there is a max of +5 damage so a Sword of +3 to hit, +5 vs Undead cost 6x for +3 Plus 1.5x (+2 damage vs foe) for 7.5x. IF you decided that +1 weapons cost 1,000 gp then a +3 Sword +5 Damage vs Undead is 7,500d.

This effect add on top of the base +
Extra Attack 5x
Destroy Undead 10x
Throw and Return to Hand 2x
Light, 15ft radius 1/4x
Light, 30ft radius 1/2x

Flaming Weapon 2.5x
Freezing Weapon 2.5x
Dancing Weapon 5x

Arrow Deflection Armor 10x
Ethereal Armor 15x
Fiery Armor 5x

All of this is going to be incorporated into a follow-on to the Majestic Wilderlands I am calling the Lost Book of Magic. After I finish Scourge of the Demon Wolf and some maps for Tim of Gothridge Manor I will start working on it.


  1. If you're following d&d, the XP value in the DMG is probably derived from the creation costs from the LLB's, the GP value can be interpreted as the sell cost.

    In 0d&d a +1 sword cost 1 month and 1000gp for a wizard to make, in ad&d it's 800gp to make and like what (i forget) 4000gp to buy?

  2. Depends on what you are trying to do there Rob. As UWS is pointing out, by multiplying instead of adding, your system will produce magic items that in some cases will be dramatically more expensive than the suggested costs from OD&D/OD&D FaQ/FFC. That's perfectly grand if you are looking at a different economic base or a system where Magic is even rarer and more expensive than typical D&D.

  3. What about the weapons and armor which are more or less desirable? For example, Chain armor is less desirable than Plate or Leather, because everyone who can get Plate would prefer it and some people can wear only Leather.

    What about a bonus vs. certain foes of better or worse desirability? For example, a sword with a bonus vs. Undead is probably more desirable in most cases than one with a bonus vs. Reptiles, simply because there are more Undead around and they come in higher HD than even the biggest Reptiles. If your game is in a desert, how valuable will a Trident +1, +4 vs. Fish really be?

    Or do you not bother with that sort of thing? I usually just say that more desirable types are more commonly made, and so supply evens out with demand. The Trident in the desert is a curiosity and rarity, so some buyer will pay full price for it.