Help Pricing New Magical Implements?

Hey all!

I’m designing a custom urban fantasy setting, and the implements as they existed don’t really fit the way magic works, so I’m designing new ones. I have the effects mostly locked down, but I’ve never been very good at pricing equipment. Anyone who can help come up with some good prices would be most appreciated!

As a side note, I’ve upped the difficulty on a lot of the different magic actions. Attacks and Healing are base Hard, for example, and Barriers are base Average. Although a lot of extra effects are now upgrades instead of extra difficulty, as well. Also, a character can use two implements base, and can take a take a talent to increase that, so the general effects are a bit weaker, too.

One final change is that to cast a spell, you have to suffer a number of strain equal to the final difficulty, not just a flat 2. So an Easy spell is less strain, but a Hard or more difficult spell is higher strain cost.

We’ve got four types of implements, each of which comes in three strengths:

  1. Channels
    Channels add Boosts or remove setbacks. They only work on certain spells, based on what type of item and what material they’re made of so you may need to buy several to be ready for every occasion, although I want PCs to be able to spend extra to be able to have them made out of multiple materials, so they could be more versatile. The basic threshold is that a channel will generally fit for one or two spell actions, and be a perfect fit for those actions for one of the four magic skills.

The general gist for Channels is as follows:
Channel Strength | Can be used for the spell | Perfect fit for the spell
Basic | -1 Setback | +1 Boost or -2 Setbacks
Standard | +1 Boost or -2 Setbacks | +1 Boost and -2 Setbacks
Advanced | +1 Boost and -2 Setbacks | +2 Boosts and -2 Setbacks

  1. Foci
    Foci are basically the opposite of Channels, they aren’t spell-specific, they can be used on anything, but work best for the person they were designed for (I’m thinking, what, a +50% boost to price for being designed for the PC?). If the focus is designed for you, it gives a -1 Setback and a +1 bonus to attack spell damage. The general effects are as follows:

Focus Strength | Damage Boost | Cumulative Effect
Basic | +1 | +1 Boost
Standard | +2 | Difficulty Downgrade
Advanced | +3 | Ability Upgrade

  1. Lenses
    Lenses are sort of like the existing rings, but a bit more specialized. Basically, each lens is designed to cast a specific spell with a specific skill, with all extra effects added on. The strain cost for the caster is based on this fully-built, very specific spell, but then the lens drastically reduces the difficulty. Basically a way to share a specific spell with someone who’s not as good at that magic skill as you are.

They are very specific, as in, if you’re doing a Transform spell, you have to pick the specific animal it transforms you into. However, there’s an option to allow them to be more flexible, if you provide a material component. In the example of a Transform Lens, you could add an eagle feather to let it transform you into an eagle, some wolf hair to transform into a wolf, etc. Again, maybe +50% cost for this benefit? I’m not sure!

Lens Strength | Cumulative Effect
Basic | Completely Downgrade difficulty, -1 Difficulty (Min. Average)
Standard | -1 additional Difficulty (Min. Easy)
Advanced | -1 additional Difficulty (Min. Simple)

  1. Reservoirs
    This is the simplest, they’re basically magical batteries. They reduce the strain cost for a spell, but Despair (or [TT], if the spell still had a strain cost) can be spent to make them less effective until recharged.

Reservoir Strength | Max. Strain Reduction
Small | 1
Medium | 3
Large | 5

They’re recharged either by suffering wounds or strain (2 to charge to 1, 4 to charge to 2, etc.), by charging it with external energy, like plugging it into a wall socket or throwing it in a fire (assuming it’ll survive) for the same number of scenes (or less, for high-energy sources), or by waiting one day times the level you’re charging it to (pick one for each reservoir).

Also, their are single-use versions of each size, too. I’ll need prices for a single-use small, medium and large reservoir.

So, to recap! Here’s the list, and I’ll update it with any prices we decide on.
Channel, inferior – 250 credits
Channel, average – 500 credits
Channel, superior – 1,000 credits
Focus, basic* – 300 credits
Focus, standard* – 600 credits
Focus, advanced* – 1,200 credits
Lens, basic – 250 credits
Lens, standard – 500 credits
Lens, advanced – 750 credits
Reservoir, small (single use) – 10 credits
Reservoir, small – 100 credits
Reservoir, medium (single use) – 30 credits
Reservoir, medium – 300 credits
Reservoir, large (single use) – 50 credits
Reservoir, large – 500 credits

I would like to help, but I really don’t have any ideas of costs.

LENS: Comparing to Terrinoth, it’s around 350 to 400 cost per reduction in difficulty. Perhaps use that as a base for these. But, you’ve upped some base difficulties. Thus drop the first tier to around 250, then double each level? As for the Lens, Basic is 250, Standard 500, Advanced 1,000? 750 for Advanced?

CHANNEL: The Magic Scepter of Terrinoth costs 350. But, it adds a Boost AND adds 2 damage to spells. However your channels can do slightly more then just add a single Boost, depending on if they are a fit for the spell. So, again perhaps 250 for Basic, 500 for Standard, and 1,000 for Advanced? 750 for Advanced?

FOCUS: These seem even closer to the Magic Scepter. So, 300 for Basic, 600 Standard, 1,200 for Advanced? 1,000 for Advanced?

RESERVOIR: These seem to be the weakest. 100 per Strain Reduction? That makes Small 100, Medium 300, Large 500.

Again, I’m just shooting in the dark. But, I was cringing each time I came back here and didn’t see any input! :blush:

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Hey, it’s a place to start! Thanks!

I’ll plug those in as initial values, and if anyone else has any thoughts on why they should be higher or lower, I can adjust from there.

Oh, also, I just remembered: since most of these aren’t fixed as to what kind of item they can be, I wanted to have a pricing model for if someone wanted to combine multiple into a single object.

For instance, a channel, focus, and reservoir all in one (the different features are still used separately, however). I was thinking adding the prices of all features together, then multiplying by the number of features? Does that seem too high?

EDIT: Oh, and an additional but related question: how many dollars (US, roughly present-day) would you think 1 “credit” translates to? It probably won’t be an exact value, but a range? $5-$10? More? Less?

I think that would be too high? There are some Implements in Terrinoth that do have multiple abilities. I think it might be ok just to add the prices together?

I thought this was listed someplace, but I couldn’t find it.

I opened up Android and looked at weapon prices. A Pistol is 300. A real pistol in the US can be purchased for $250 for a cheapo, to $500 or more for something better. So that makes a “credit” worth $1 or $2. Looking at a Sword in Terrinoth gives you a price of 200. At $1 per credit, that’s $200, while $2 makes it $400. You could make an argument for either. A simple Spear is 110, which is kinda pricey even at the $1 per credit, let alone $2.

So, I think you could argue either $1 or $2 per credit. So, why not keep it simple and go with the prices are equal to US modern dollars?

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Huh, I wouldn’t have thought the conversion rate to dollars would have been that simple. That’s convenient!

Now that I have a starting point, I can start looking at fine-tuning. The first thing that jumps out at me is the reservoirs. While I agree that a small reservoir isn’t worth much, the medium and large ones are actually pretty powerful, especially the large ones. The big limiter on how much magic a character can do is the strain cost, and they eliminate most or all of it for a bunch of bigger spells.

Do you think we should up those costs? Like, maybe medium up to 600, and large up to 1,500 (I basically just doubled and tripled the prices). 1,500 might seem like a lot, but it basically removes all strain costs from magic until a Despair is rolled, and even then it still removes almost all strain costs until further Despairs happen.

Thoughts? I’m goin over the others in my head, too, but that’s the first thing that jumped out at me.

That sounds good. I hadn’t considered that. I have a house magic system that has replaced Strain cost with a different mechanic.

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Without going into any specifics about the power/effectiveness of each item, really what you should be thinking about is the internal economy of you setting/campaign.
Basically, their prices do not exist in a vacuum. They’re only relevant relative to the spending power of your PCs.
Think about how much starting cash the players will have, and whether these are itwms you want them to be able to afford at CharGen, or qhether they should be aspirational items to save up.
If the latter, think about how these prices compare to the earning potential of the PCs in game. Should they be affordable after 1 episode? 2? Would wanting them encourage the players to attempt to earn more, though criminal activities?
Then there’s the fluffy aspect (and whether the cost informs the fluff, or visa versa?), how easy/hard are these items to craft? How difficult to obtain are the materials? How legal/illegal is it all?
Obviously a lot of the answers will be highly dependent on the individual players, but it’s all worth baring in mind.

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