I’m curious. Magic item ubiquity in your Rolemaster or Shadow World game.


I’ve followed several forum threads on the “commonness” of magic and magic items and thought I would ask people what they would consider as an average magic item kit for various professions at 5th lvl.

In general, in your game, what would the following have for magic or bonus items (but be specific on item and bonus, power or ability):

5th lvl Fighter

5th lvl Magician

I’m on the rarity end of the spectrum, plus I use a lot of single use magic items and roll for breakage on items. If I were starting players at 5th lvl I would do something like this:

Fighter. +10 non magic superior armor. +15 weapon. 2-5 single charge items (a mixture of protection or healing). maybe a Daily II item (offensive spell) if the group is small or it needs some skill diversity.

Magician: x2 PP multiplier. 2-4 Daily I-IV items (around 5th level spells for protection and attack). 2 Charged Items. 50 pp’s in storage (essence crystal)

My spell users have far fewer spells than traditional RM, so I add basic capabilities through daily items and charges. I generally provide a good level of PP’s, but I use unpredictable Essaence effects  (in our encounter tables) so casters face gain/loss of PP’s or increase in casting failure.

11 Replies to “I’m curious. Magic item ubiquity in your Rolemaster or Shadow World game.”

  1. At the moment, my players are at 5th level, they are kitted with mainly +10/15 items one or two each…some daily items and x2 or 3 multipliers….some of them have potent items +30 ,
    magic weapons.

    This is balanced on the backdrop of playing our campaign with basic rules (Arms, Char, Spell Law + companion 1 rules only)…

  2. After a number of campaigns, my players know the “giving” of magic items better than myself, and will complain or suggest when they think it is time to get some gear upgrade.

    Apart from starting items, which are only given if they spend background/talent points on them (they almost never do), I’d say:
    Lvl 5 Non Spell User:
    +5 Magic Main Weapon, +5/+10 non-Magic secondary weapons.
    Some +5 Magic item for a specific task
    Maybe 1 o 2 daily up to lvl 5.
    +5 Magic Armor, maybe extra bonus for some specific penalty
    +5 Magic Shield

    Lvl 5 Pure spell user
    +5 Directed or spell casting item
    Some +5 Magic item for a specific task
    Maybe 1 o 2 daily up to lvl 5.
    +5 DB item (cloak, ring, boots)
    +1 or +2 spell adder

    I only give x2 pp multipliers around lvl 8.
    By lvl 10 most have a x2 pp multiplier and a bunch of +10 magic items.

    That is apart from any quest specific item gained from the adventures, which could be more powerful.

    As you can imagine, they can always discern when an item they find is “in the book”. Since Terry’s Shadow World adventures tend to include items quite more powerful than what I normally give.

    But we have very high starting stats, with most characters having at least one “Pick” from the RMCIII Innate Stat Abilities since lvl 1.

  3. My players are also 5th level right now.

    They have no permanent magic items but they do have a few single use items. They have a scroll of life giving and a potion they looted from an evil alchemist that they believe will make them invisible. In the past they have had a bag of walnuts that when you crack one open it casts utterlight. They were forced to return the unused nuts to their patron at the end of that particular quest. They have a +10 non magical short sword but no one knows how to use it and they have had a ‘cursed’ ring that gave a -25 against all Mentalism RRs.

    They do have some healing herbs but they have not been replenishing their supplies so these are becoming depleted.

    The characters have encountered many more magic items but have either walked past them and not recognised them or they have been the sort of thing that one cannot cart around such as magical door ways.

    I am just about to start giving out the first magical items.

    There are no out and out fighters in the party. The most offensive are a warrior mage and an elemental warrior. The sort of thing I may give them would be a weapon that had a daily spell such as blur or aura built in. That will give a bit of extra DB or a weapon a concussion ways spell as a daily spell to give a bit of healing. I may consider giving these a +1 adder.

    The rest of the party are pure or hybrid casters and I will start to give out +1 and +2 adders and some daily items.

    No one is going to get a multiplier until at least 10th level.

    People have fewer lists in my game as I do not allow any additions to spell gain rolls. I do actively encourage spell research so my players tend to have more first and second level spells than most. This makes powerpoints go a little further than may be the case in other games.

    I like to put the emphasis on my players to create their own magic items in the form of Rune Mastery and Symbols rather than on me to hand out goodies.

  4. Peter, you are stingy! But this is interesting…it sounds like everyone is around a +1 DnD equivalent at 5th lvl. While 5th lvl RM and 5th lvl DnD are far different, it sounds like we all trend to underpowered magic item settings.

  5. So, no-one going for the up to AD&D 2nd Edition method of having magic items spontaneously generate in dungeons then? (In D&D 3.x/Pathfinder they also spontaneously generate in magic shops in towns; honestly, who has ever bothered to make magic items in a D&D game?)

      1. Well, not as such, but it always seems that way. Any older, and many newer, dungeon is full of magic items, yet no-one ever seems to make them. In the Pathfinder game using the standard rules, any settlement of thorp size (50 people) or above will have magic items for sale – not just owned but actually up for sale! Sure, these may only be 1d4 items worth at most 50 gp in a thorp but still…

        1. that’s why I’ve stuck with RM all these years. I don’t have time to play multiple systems and everytime I feel nostalgic and play old school DnD or pathfinder I want to scream with the absurdities.

  6. Yes, I wouldn’t say you are near the rarity end Bri; you look more generous to me.

    At 5th level, I would expect most characters to have a +10 item or two (magical or non-magical), another couple of +5 items, and maybe a daily use item. I guess I am on the stingy side!

    1. My players wouldn’t call me generous–they usually get looted when they lose a fight and I use my own breakage system so they have equipment attrition. They have a habit now of keeping flashy items under wraps when they go into populated areas.

  7. I’m the same way for a bit of stinge as an RM(2) GM for items:
    Every 5 levels gets a bump in initial range of bonii of +5.
    Levels 1-5 can find/purchase +5/+10NM or up to +5M items.
    Levels 6-10 = +10/+15NM or +10M
    Levels 11-15 =+15/+20NM or +15M(Mithril+)

    I like higher magic campaigns so spell users use PPs at the rate of 1PP until lvl 6 when spells cost 6PPs, until lvl 11 where that is the new base cost for spells of this range in lvl.
    To that I allow realm stat bonii adds to multiple spell lists learned, no matter how many ranks are put into list portions.
    More often than not, this allows spell casters to own a few spell lists by gambling on minimal DP spending.

    Still, my players tend not to minmax like their GM probably would! 😉

    Sometimes, material qualities can make things higher bonus(ed) at lower levels but these would be quest-based rewards more often than not.

    Good topic!

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