Buying Scrolls of Regeneration and Resurrection?

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Jard
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Buying Scrolls of Regeneration and Resurrection?

So my campaign has the players based in a class II market.  After a henchman got a VERY bad result on the restore life and limbs table, the conversation turned to avoiding those consequences with Regeneration and Resurrection.

It was quickly determined the cost would never be justified for a henchman, but if I'm understanding this correctly it seems very reasonable for PCs of levels 5-6 like my own.

So, casting a ritual spell is effectively like crafting a scroll or other single use item.  Resurrection is a 7th level divine ritual, therefore it would cost 3,500gp and 3,500xp worth of components to produce.  The rules for selling magic items say that it can be sold for twice it's base cost, or 7,000gp.  In a class II market, there will be 1 of everything costing between 1001gp and 10,000gp.  This suggests you can buy one such scroll per month in a Class II market.

I'm willing to accept that this may be a case where the judge has to use a little more discretion than just what's written in the rules, but I want to make sure I'm not missing anything RAW.  One thing I am noticing is that there's no mention of formula, so I assume crafting a ritual spell never benefits from being made in half the cost and time.  This suggests that, at best, someone selling such ritual spell scrolls would be at best breaking even, although a divine spellcaster with a massive following might squeak out ahead.

This is really more of a question of flavor and worldbuilding, I suppose.  On paper and from a balance paradigm, it seems fine:  A risky resurrect/heal costs 500gp, a guaranteed heal costs 6,000gp and a guaranteed rez costs 7,000gp.  Even someone who can afford such things will be taking a hit to their finances if they do it more than once every few years.  But as far as the scrolls, if this is the correct interpretation, where do they come from?  Is it a case of collectors holding on to artifacts plundered from ancient civilizations for decades before finally managing to liquidate to some unwise adventurers?  Do high level divine casters sell these scroll "at cost" as donations to the church in order to grow their already immense power?

Alex
The Autarch
Joined: 2011-06-30 18:10

You're not wrong, rules-as-written. That said, I think this is a case where rules-as-written probably lead you astray.

A Class II town probably has about 10,000 families and is probably the capital of a realm of something like 250,000 families. So there are probably only 3-4 characters capable of creating ritual-level magic items available, of which probably one is a divine caster. Even if that divine caster worked full time at making resurrection scrolls, he'd make at most one every seven weeks. And it's unlikely he's doing nothing but that.

The problem arises because the rules for item availability don't take into account consumption. A permanent item will last virtually forever, so it's plausible that over time they could accumulate. But a resurrection scroll will vanish when used. When the time to create the consumable is less than the monthly domain turn, the effect isn't too noticeable. You can imagine that there are a large number of clerics creating potions of healing every month. But when you get to items that take longer than a month to create, it becomes nonsensical.

In my own campaigns, I don't allow ritual magic to be bought in markets. My assumption is that ritual magic items are like weapons of mass destruction. (E.g., they are sharply limited in excess of their actual cost. Atomic bombs are 1950s technology that's less complex than your iPhone, but nobody worries when North Korea gets the iPhone.) Between the temples, the tower of knowledge, the empire, and other powerful forces, they maintain control over ritual casting.

If that's too harsh for you...

  • Since it takes approximately twice as long to make a scroll as the apparent supply/demand per month, you could approximately double the cost and say it represents the "auction" price
  • You could reduce availability to once per season
  • You could require they be commissioned, rather than be available at-hand

 

 

Jard
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Doubling the price seems the easiest, though mostly by coincidence.  It would bump ritual divine spells up into the next buying category, of which there's only a 5% chance per month in a class II.  That would probably prompt the players to attempt to commission it anyway, which is another solution.

Honestly, though, part of me does feel it's a little bit odd for it to be that readily available. it feels like something you should have to do a quest(s) for this high level divine caster in order to earn.  We'll see if i ultimately tweak it, but it's nice to have a few suggestions that require minimal work on my part to implement.

Alex
The Autarch
Joined: 2011-06-30 18:10

Doubling the price seems the easiest, though mostly by coincidence.  It would bump ritual divine spells up into the next buying category, of which there's only a 5% chance per month in a class II.  That would probably prompt the players to attempt to commission it anyway, which is another solution.

Honestly, though, part of me does feel it's a little bit odd for it to be that readily available. it feels like something you should have to do a quest(s) for this high level divine caster in order to earn.  We'll see if i ultimately tweak it, but it's nice to have a few suggestions that require minimal work on my part to implement.


-Jard

Right. I suspect if you added the cost of the creator's time into the cost of magic items a lot of these problems would go away. The low-level potions and scrolls would stay inexpensive, but stuff that required 11th level or higher casters would jump up. 

 

Aryxymaraki
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I wonder what would happen if you added the monthly GP threshold for the minimum caster level (times the number of months if it takes more than one month) to the magic item prices when just looking for one on the open market like this.

Alex
The Autarch
Joined: 2011-06-30 18:10

I wonder what would happen if you added the monthly GP threshold for the minimum caster level (times the number of months if it takes more than one month) to the magic item prices when just looking for one on the open market like this.

-Aryxymaraki

Yes, I think that's a splendid idea. Price that in. 

Jard
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that seems a bit punitive compared to the existing magic item comissioning rules.

a +2 shield takes 2 months to craft and costs 30,000gp, (twice base of 15kgp)  but can only be crafted by a 9th level spellcaster.  Using that model would add 12,000gp per month, nearly doubling the price.  For plate armor you'd be adding 72,000gp.

Aryxymaraki
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I think for commissioning items, it would be reasonable to say that the GP threshold replaces the 7,000 gp per month surcharge, so it would be (GP threshold times months) or twice the base cost, whichever is greater (as an additional surcharge on top of you needing to provide the base cost and any required components).

Commissioning items is already pretty brutal, so I'd also be fine with the idea of saying that this applies only to items sitting around on the open market, and not to items commissioned specifically. After all, for the spellcaster, a commissioned item is pretty low-risk; the worst case for them is that they don't get paid. With an item that they made to sell themselves, they're also out the components and base cost if they fail to create it or if it doesn't sell.

(It is also possible that this is a bad idea, I don't know, it was just a thought :P)

Aryxymaraki
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Having thought about this a little more, I think the issue for me is that I would prefer for there to be fewer magic items available for sale and, more importantly, for them to be less reliable. That is, I don't want PCs to be able to walk into town and just buy a +1 weapon of their choice, I think it's more interesting if they have to look at what's available and decide that way.

So my thought for a potential houserule to make magic item purchase less reliable is that, instead of there being that many of each item available, there are that many items in that price category available. So instead of 7 potions of healing, and 7 of this, and 7 of that, and so on, being available in a Class 1 market, there are 7 magic items of value 101-1000 gp.

I have not checked this, but I have a suspicion that the top three categories map reasonably well onto the magic item tables in HFH; common magic items 101-1000, uncommon magic items 1001-10000, and rare magic items 10001+. So my current initial thought is that this table tells me there will be 7 common magic items, 2 uncommon magic items, and a 10% chance of a rare magic item available in a Class 1 market each month, and you can roll to see which ones are available each month. (With probably some Judge discretion guaranteeing that at least a few of the common ones are potions of healing, because those are pretty evergreen, if anyone is making magic items to sell they're going to think about potions of healing).

koewn
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Dunno how this would work out in practice, but, in theory, a settlement is just an oversized Lair - could the possible magical items for sale somehow be generated as lair treasure?

Might be an interesting exercise as a world building tool, in either case.