Saturday, September 27, 2014

D&D Rules Comparison 11

Magic Items
(as with monsters I will not be detailing differences in specific item lists or the items themselves)

Magic items are identified by testing or by a high level magic user.

The spell Detect Magic, will not identify an item.  D&D74 is unclear on this point.

Only the Dungeon Master should ever know how many charges a magic item has.  The dungeon master must keep track of them.  (p27)

Weapons with a + or – factor affect both to hit rolls and damage rolls unless otherwise specified.  In D&D74 the effect is usually applied to the to hit roll only.

No two potions ever smell or taste the same – even potions of the same kind.
Potions are stored in glass bottles.
The entire potion must be drunk to work. (Hinted at in D&D74)
Sipping a potion reveals its’ properties. (In D&D74 a magic user is needed to identify)
Sipping poison results in being poisoned.

Drinking a potion while the effects of another potion are active results in debilitating sickness for three turns and cancels the effect of both potions.   Potions having no duration, such as healing, are excepted.

Discussion:  Ruling out that only the DM should know the charges of an item is an interesting idea.  That means that the referee will have to track them, but it will inevitably result in the rather fun situation of the fireball wand that suddenly doesn't work on the hoard of charging orcs.  heh.

Meh on the +/- weapon rules.  Having some weapons that only affect the to hit roll allows more variety in the game.

Potions - the glass bottle rule is kinda cool.  It makes potions fragile and it is reminiscent of the alchemical magic of Blackmoor and Twin cities gaming.  I like the rule, but the idea that they all taste differently seems odd, since taste is one way to identify potions.

The rule that the entire potion must be drunk is  a non-starter for me, but may work for other referees.  Potions with multiple doses was characteristic of Blackmoor (presumably 2d6).  For example, in Supptlement II TOTF (page 37), the potion of growth has 12 doses.

I like that ii is made clear that even a sip of poison will kill.  It makes tasting potions a game of roulette.

The idea that drinking multiple potions will make you sick works okay and importantly fills a gap in the rules.  Personally I prefer to rule they turn to poisonous yellow mist in the body.  Yellow mist, (essentially mustard gas) originated in the Blackmoor campaign when John Snider's wizard left unattended the potions (spells) he was making and they boiled over or whatever and mixed.  


  1. Not providing the players XP for magic items is a huge change. And a very bad one IMO.

    1. Agreed absolutely. They way I'm running things IMC now is pretty close to early Blackmoor. I give monster HP as XP to the person who deals the killing blow and XP to all for prize/magic items found. nothing for gold.