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Re: Power Supplies from Legacy of the Blood 
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Post Re: Power Supplies from Legacy of the Blood
Hello all,

I am new to the forums (and relatively new to Ravenloft itself actually) and I was wondering about the power sources described in Legacy of the Blood. These are the devices used to power the items created with the Create Device feat, but unfortunately there are only four of them mentioned (Battery, Static Collector, Hand Generator, and Biocharger) and they are rather expensive (3000 gp, 6500 gp, 10000 gp, and 10000 gp, respectively).

These prices seem unreasonably high to me and I was wondering if anyone knows of any additional rules (homebrew or otherwise) that would describe other possibilities (preferably with more realistic prices) or outline any guidelines that might allow players to design their own.

In fact, any additional rules concerning the use of the Create Device feat would be very much appreciated.

Thanks very much!

DaRob


Sat Oct 05, 2013 1:08 am
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Post Re: Power Supplies from Legacy of the Blood
Hi DaRob, and welcome! I've moved your thread to the appropriate forum. ("Rules and Troubleshooting" means the Rules of the forum, not the rules of the game.)

Those rules have never been referred to again officially (LotB was one of the last products in the Ravenloft line).

I'm not sure what other home-brewers have done, but I had a tinkering character in my campaign and whipped up these rules:
http://themistway.com/houserules.html (click on the 3rd edition rules, and scroll down to "New Feats.") they seem to work ok.

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Sat Oct 05, 2013 2:19 pm
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Post Re: Power Supplies from Legacy of the Blood
Ooops - sorry about that Gonzoron. Thanks for moving the thread. Thanks also for the link.

The application for Create Device that I really had in mind was for an item creation feat like Craft Trinket from the Kingdoms of Kalamar setting. I think that feat was designed to be like the poor man's Craft Wondrous Item - the cost of the item cannot exceed 1000 gp and it cannot involve the use of a spell over 3rd level (and the function of the item is supposed to be very limited), but the upshot is that the base price of the item is spell-level times 50 gp (minimum 50).

Where the Craft Wondrous Item rules would suggest that something like a magic cigarette lighter (probably Use-Activated, 0th Level Prestidigitation by 1st Level Caster) would cost 0.5 * 1.0 * 2000 = 1000 gp (which is ridiculous), you could reason that the Craft Trinket equivalent is only 0.5 * 50 (minimum 50) = 50 gp. I think that is a perfectly reasonable use of the Craft Trinket feat.

So what I want to explore is an approach to creating nonmagical trinkets using Create Device. I think this might work really well for a nonmagic character in a low wealth environment, but according to the rules about power supplies, that 50 gp cigarette lighter would require (at least) a 3000 gp, 8 lb chemical battery. Surely we must be able to come up with a reasonable alternative, right?

I was thinking specifically of something like a thermocouple battery powered by the burner from a lantern, or perhaps a tightly wound spring in a clockwork mechanism, as an alternatively power supply that would be sufficient to supply charges (or maybe just a single charge) for nonmagical trinkets that only use 0th or 1st level spell effects.

Any thoughts or other homebrew rules I should consider?


Sat Oct 05, 2013 5:17 pm
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Post Re: Power Supplies from Legacy of the Blood
I haven't delved into the details of the pricing in years, but I'd imagine that the power source rules were intended more for game balance than realism. That's why when I did my version, I stuck as close as possible to the existing magic item pricing, because doing otherwise upsets the intended balance.

It may seem ludicrous to require those large gp investments, but (without going back to look at the book now), I expect those investments were intended to balance out some other reason why the non-magical version of those effects would trump the existing magic rules. (whether that intent was carried out successfully or not may be hit or miss, since there are a good deal of shaky rules in the 3e Ravenloft line) If you remove that requirement, just be sure that everything else balances out with a spellcaster of similar level doing similar things.

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Sat Oct 05, 2013 11:07 pm
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Post Re: Power Supplies from Legacy of the Blood
As a note, the DM can choose different prices if he/she thinks they fit the game better. I know I've changed prices.

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Sun Oct 06, 2013 9:02 pm
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Post Re: Power Supplies from Legacy of the Blood
alhoon wrote:
As a note, the DM can choose different prices if he/she thinks they fit the game better. I know I've changed prices.


Oh, yeah! I had a fairly unpopular npc that traveled with the group (after being rescued) and even had attacked other members of the party (elves and the Tempestani don't mix). So as a reminder to their mortality, I killed this person off during an intense combat sequence. What I did not expect was the group wanted to raise this person. They really did not have a lot of money (and they were 7th-8th level) and were scraping together potions and minor magical items they could spare. I was surprised at how much they wanted this man back, I allowed a price cut (but they still were indebted for the services provided, it's a dark world).

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Mon Oct 07, 2013 12:04 am
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Post Re: Power Supplies from Legacy of the Blood
Thanks for the replies. I know that prices should be treated as somewhat variable, but I just wanted to see if anything similar had been done or if anyone could help me guess at some balance issues if I was to propose additional ones.

For instance, I think it is safe we assume that those power supplies in Legacy of Blood were designed for use with wondrous items. So, if using the standard Craft Wondrous Item approach can give some magic item, then Create Device (Wondrous Item) can give you a nonmagical equivalent if you purchase and carry one of the heavy and expensive power supplies with you. A price in the thousands for a magic item that is nonmagical is probably not exorbitant (at least in some cases).

That being said, Create Device is supposed to be applicable to any item creation feat, so what about Scribe Scroll on a low level spell (or any other cheap/disposable arcanum)? Should I still need to spend several thousand gp and attach an 8 lb power supply to a single-use device?

I guess it might be worthwhile to ask if anyone has heard of/thought about how much the ability to create a nonmagical effect is actually worth, relative to the equivalent magical effect.

I suppose this might be similar to the relationship between potions and scrolls - any creature can use a potion but only casters can use scrolls, and that tactical difference presumably justifies (at least in part) the increase in cost by a factor of two, right?


Mon Oct 07, 2013 10:55 pm
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Post Re: Power Supplies from Legacy of the Blood
Also potions can be up to 3rd lvl effects. As for the create device, I would go by rule of common sense of what can be achieved and what not. For example a technological device attached to a power source that grants a single change self isn't appropriate IMO.

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Tue Oct 08, 2013 7:21 am
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Post Re: Power Supplies from Legacy of the Blood
What about those masks from the Mission Impossible movies - sounds like a plausible, single-use, nonmagical Alter Self to me! Hahaha!

Seriously though, one of my favourite parts of the wording of that feat is that the "method of function and design ... are under your control at the
DM's discretion," meaning the DM can control the amount of handwavium required. That is precisely as it should be - I just want some way to power my low-level and single-use devices.


Tue Oct 08, 2013 8:23 am
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Post Re: Power Supplies from Legacy of the Blood
It's done with mirrors and projectors. Unfortunately, the quickly-made and cheap film degrades quickly when exposed to the heat of the projection device. :) (I can do this all day... I love me some non-magical magic.)

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Tue Oct 08, 2013 8:48 am
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Post Re: Power Supplies from Legacy of the Blood
I love it, but I'm still despairing over the need for a 3000 gp power supply (minimum) to run this projector.

So, if there are no other existing rules about Create Device that anyone has to share, then I would ask the community:

1. Could we (i.e., would things remain balanced if we were to) add some new power supplies to the list from Legacy of Blood (which only had the Battery, Static Collector, Hand Generator, and Biocharger) that are designed only to power low-level effect devices?

2. What would be a fair market price / charge capacity for these items?

For instance, would it be fair for me to suggest a Clockwork Motor or Torsion Spring as a power source that would be sufficient to power a 0th or 1st level spell effect? (In terms of stats, Ghostwalk refers to the existence of a desk clock (25 gp, 8 lb, entirely nonmagical, using only springs and gears).)

Could we then have a character take Create Device (Scribe Scroll), to create disposable arcana that are nonmagical, that would be powered by the Clockwork Motor? It would probably:
- store only a single charge,
- need to be wound after each use to recharge it (full-round action? more?),
- take longer to use than the equivalent scroll (double casting time?),
- cause slashing damage if it exploded because of being overwound or damaged, ...

Does that sound fair/balanced/etc.?

[Edit:] I suppose it should also only work for effects with durations less than 10 minutes...


Thu Oct 10, 2013 12:02 am
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Post Re: Power Supplies from Legacy of the Blood
without the books in hand to compare, I can't be sure, but that sounds like a reasonable solution. Scale down the power source to a reasonable price, but also with proportionally scaled limits.

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Thu Oct 10, 2013 9:44 am
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