September 4, 2013
Making A Magic Sword
A while back, I talked about the release of Prometheum Exxet for Anima: Beyond Fantasy. The book is basically a magic item compendium, and since then it has served me well in making my players drool over what now might await them in the enemy’s treasure trove. Of course, one can always have too much of a good thing, and a part of me worries about the other side of the treasure coin offered by this book, as well as many others for various different systems that include magical and technological marvels; item creation.
Something else included in Prometheum Exxet are rules/guidelines for players to go about creating their own custom magical items. They include various skills that can be used for this purpose, from Forging to Rune writing, Alchemy, and more, as well as various abilities that can be placed into objects, giving them power, and a plethora of magical components that the players can draw power from to “charge” these objects. Now, from a purely “fluff” outlook, this is wonderful. It allows players to motivate themselves to take up various quests in order to find these components, to further learn the craft of enchanting. It gives players goals they can work toward, and lets them feel awesome when they finally accomplish them, which I wholly support. Unfortunately, it’s the “crunch” of this dynamic that it risks bogging down the game. Anima: Beyond Fantasy has never been a loot driven game in the same way that other role-playing games like Dungeons & Dragons or video games like Diablo are loot driven. Anima focuses more on the character themselves, and what they are able to achieve with their own abilities and talents. When one of those “talents” turns into being magical item creation, soon every player in the group is not satisfied until everything down to their knickers is enchanted in some way, giving them some greater bonus (though I am not sure what enchanted underwear might do for them).
On the other hand, I hate telling my players “no.” If they earn something, such as the ability to craft magical items through their Occultism ability and their magical prowess, then I feel obligated to allow them to do so. They have worked for it, after all. It seems rather cheap to take away the reward for their devotion and hard work just because I am afraid of what it will do to the overall game. I could easily make finding components for enchantment hard to find, but when players slay a great dragon and wish to harvest its heart, blood, fangs, horns, etc. for reagents, how can I say no? They have beaten the dragon, after all. To the victor goes the spoils, and all that. Of course, I could just not have them fight a dragon, but where is the fun in that. It is a fantasy game after all, and dragons are the most iconic fantasy monster out there. I mean, who does not want to fight a dragon?
There is no easy answer for this issue, for my games or anyone’s. The best advice I can offer is to know yourself, your gaming style, to know your players and theirs, and to accommodate for both. If you think you are giving players too much, then tone it down. If they want more, then encourage them to work for it, but do not just dangle it in front of them like a carrot on a string. It is just a game, after all, and as long as everyone at the table is having fun, you are doing something right.
Image Credit: Thinkstock.com