Tuesday, April 19, 2011

LFR, Consumables, and You

Treasure bundles and item rarities represent two facets of the most adjusted element in recent LFR updates: treasure. I'll be looking at this issue from several angles over the next few days, but today I'm going to focus on consumables, including potions and ammunition. Until the dawning of 2011, players spent significant amounts of gold on these items, building both utility belts and arsenals for their PCs. The utility belt often included various flavors of Potions of Resistance, Regeneration, and Clarity. Rangers in particular would load of up with Dual Arrows, Freezing Arrows, and Lightning Arrows to dramatically change the tenor of a fight with a flurry of money.

The LFR Campaign Guide Version 2.0 (released 27-Jan-2011) contains updates for magic items rules. A PC still has a limit of 30 found item slots over his career, with one slot earned per experience level. Several rules pertaining to consumables immediately stand out. Per page 10 of the LFRCG, "If you don't want any of the available Treasures, you may instead find a Common or Uncommon permanent magic item of your choice from a player resource." This means players may not choose ammunition (or other consumables) as found items unless the items are specifically listed as possible Treasure. Also found on page 10 of the LFRCG, "Consumables, such as potions and ammunition, do not count as found magic items." So when a player selects a consumable as a reward, that item does NOT cost one of his 30 found item slots. The ownership limits by rarity rules (pages 11 and 12 of the LFRCG) apply to permanent items; consumables are not limited in this manner. Lastly, per page 12 of the LFRCG, a PC "...may have more than one copy of an Uncommon consumable." So a PC may freely select any consumables offered as treasure without spending found item slots, worrying about item rarity, or avoiding duplicate items. A PC may NOT, however, simply choose any consumable not explicitly listed as a possible treasure item.

Under the existing LFR Campaign Guide, only common items may be freely purchased by PCs; see page 12 of the LFRCG (first paragraph on the right-hand column), thus uncommon ammunition and potions may NOT be purchased without a story award granting access. This will severely limit both utility belts and arsenals, as PCs will slowly (or not so slowly) whittle their existing repositories away without ready means of replenishment.

So how do you monitor this situation as a DM? First, you need a general idea of what items from these categories are still freely available (see the lists at the end of this article). If PCs use or seem to have many consumable items NOT from this list, perhaps a quiet conversation after the session can resolve the issue. "Hey Fred, I couldn't help but notice you went through 11 arrows of doom in that last fight. Way to have your party's back, but what are you going to do now that you can't buy those arrows in the campaign?" It's entirely possible that players will be unaware of the rules changes pertaining to consumables; this is our chance to educate.

Second, you can remind players when you hand out xp, treasure, and story awards; it can be a simple statement: "Alright, you've earned 9,600 XP for 5,000 gp, and an item from the following; remember, if you choose to buy consumable items for future games, they must be selected from this list unless you have an unused story award stating otherwise."

Remember, it's not about being confrontational and it's very likely not about cheating; it's about being fair and educating our player base. Stay mellow and have fun - the record keeping will almost take care of itself.

* as of 19-Apr-11 there are NO common consumables

* as of 19-Apr-11 there are NO common consumables

* Potion of Eladrin Shape
* Potion of Water Walking
* Potion of Elven Fleetness
* Potion of Friendship
* Potion of Healing
* Potion of Vitality
* Potion of Recovery

* as of 19-Apr-11 there are NO common consumables

* as of 19-Apr-11 there are NO common consumables

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