Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Magic Item Reset (VIII): Feet items

We start our look at secondary items with the feet slot. Here is a fine assortment of comfortable boots and slippers for adventurers of all sizes.

Running Boots- Level 3+ Common Feet
Lvl 3 (Heroic); Lvl 13 (Paragon); Lvl 23 (Epic)
Property: You gain a +1 item bonus to speed when you run or charge.
    Level 13: +1 item bonus to speed, +2 item bonus when you run or charge.
    Level 23: +2 item bonus to speed, +3 item bonus when you run or charge.

Wavestrider Boots - Level 5+ Common Feet
Lvl 5 (Heroic); Lvl 15 (Paragon); Lvl 25 (Epic)
Property: During your turn, you can walk across liquid as if it were normal terrain. If you are still on liquid at the end of your turn, you fall in.
    Level 15: You can walk or shift across liquid as if it were normal terrain at all times. You don't fall in at the end of your turn.
    Level 25: You also gain a swim speed equal to your speed+2.

Elusive Boots - Level 7+ Common Feet
Lvl 7 (Heroic); Lvl 17 (Paragon); Lvl 27 (Epic)
Property: You gain resist 5 against opportunity attacks.
    Level 17: Resist 10.
    Level 27: Resist 15.

Slippers of Spider Climb- Level 9+ Common Feet
Lvl 9 (Heroic); Lvl 19 (Paragon); Lvl 29 (Epic)
Property: During your turn, you gain a climb speed equal to half your speed. .
    Level 19: Climb speed equal to your speed.
    Level 29: You gain the climb speed at all times.

Trekking Boots - Level 2+ Uncommon Feet
Lvl 2 (Heroic); Lvl 12 (Paragon); Lvl 22 (Epic)
Power(Encounter). Minor Action. Until the end of your next turn, you gain a +1 power bonus to speed and ignore difficult terrain while walking.
    Level 12: Gain a +2 power bonus to speed, and ignore difficult terrain when you move or shift.
    Level 22: You can use this power as an at-will power.

Slippers of the Escapist - Level 4+ Uncommon Feet
Lvl 4 (Heroic); Lvl 14 (Paragon); Lvl 24 (Epic)
Power(Encounter). Minor Action. You can ignore the slowed condition this turn.
    Level 14: You can ignore the slowed, immobilized and grabbed conditions this turn.
    Level 24: You can ignore the slowed, immobilized, restrained and grabbed conditions until the end of your next turn.

Acrobat Boots - Level 6+ Uncommon Feet
Lvl 6 (Heroic); Lvl 16 (Paragon); Lvl 26 (Epic)
Property: You can use a +4 bonus instead of your dexterity modifier when making Acrobatics checks. 
   Level 16: +7 bonus.
   Level 26: +10 bonus.
Power(Encounter). Minor Action. You stand up from prone.
    Level 16: You can use this power as an at-will power.
    Level 26: You can use this power as a minor action or as an immediate reaction that triggers when you are knocked prone by an attack.

Boots of Shifting- Level 10+ Uncommon Feet
Lvl 10 (Heroic); Lvl 20 (Paragon); Lvl 30 (Epic)
Property: When you shift, you gain a +1 item bonus to the distance shifted.
    Level 20: You also gain a +1 item bonus to speed.
    Level 30: You gain a +2 item bonus to speed and to the distance shifted.

Winged Boots - Level 5+ Rare Feet
Lvl 5 (Heroic); Lvl 15 (Paragon); Lvl 25 (Epic)
Property: You gain a fly speed equal to half your speed, and an altitude limit of 2.
    Level 15: Fly speed equal to your speed, altitude limit 3.
    Level 25: +2 item bonus to speed, no altitude limit.

Boots of teleportation - Level 10+ Rare Feet
Lvl 10 (Heroic); Lvl 20 (Paragon); Lvl 30 (Epic)
Power(At-will) Move Action. You teleport 2 squares.
    Level 20: Teleport 3 squares.
    Level 30: Teleport 4 squares.

As usual, any feedback will be greatly appreciated.


  1. How are you handling NAD Fix items? If you do the math for character NADs, by 30th level, they get +15 through levels, +4 from ability bonus level ups, +3 from feat bonuses, and +6 from enhancement bonus.

    Previously, the existence of common items for head, feet, and waist slots added an additional +1 at paragon tier, and +2 at epic tier (because that's when the cost of said items became trivial enough that anyone could afford them), which covered the gap.

  2. I like what you're doing with these items, but like most houserules, I'd like to reconcile it with the core WotC rules so my players can still use the CB. I'm going to compromise by finding the equivalent official versions of your common items, and adding them to the common list.

    Thanks for the articles!

  3. If you read the NAD fix from an earlier article, Perico fixed up the math without including those items in the first place. When NAD items were brought up Perico gave those items some dr instead of +NADs. It seems Perico got the math right without them and felt no need to mess his system up with them.

  4. About NAD fixes... pretty much what kellinadin said. I talked about the issue of NADs a while ago (in, and then on the comment section I had to be reminded that there were NAD-boosting items around.

    I never liked those items, as they are hidden too deeply in the system to be a practical fix. If you look at my earlier article, the changes I suggested were intended for keeping most of their functionality without screwing up the NAD math I was trying to fix by other means. But what I'd really like to do was to get rid of NAD boosts in items altogether. Thus, you won't see that kind of stuff in my collection.

    As we are on it, those NAD house rules are a bit more complex than what I'm currently using for our campaign. Essentials feats like Superior Defenses allow us to skip implementing something like masterwork neck items. As for ability scaling, we just say that for any NAD, you can use the enhancement bonus of a neck item instead of the corresponding ability score.

  5. You've got acrobat boots set pretty high compared to the original. Per RAW, they are level 2 uncommon boots with a minor at-will that lets you stand up from prone. Your equivalent is 18th level.

    What is your reasoning? I know that the official acro-boots are a no-brainer especially for melee PCs, but 2nd level --> 18th level?

  6. On the one hand, I do consider the original crazily undercosted. Recovering from the prone condition with just one minor action is a strong enough effect to beat 80-90% of the printed item options for the feet slot, regardless of level (though, admittedly, most of these are pretty bad). At level 2, it's a steal.

    Anyway, when designing these items, I decided to use the original material as a source of inspiration (as evidenced by the acrobat boots), but not as a reference for power level. Defining the expected power level for an item is not an exact science, particularly when dealing with a wide variety of effects (as opposed to, say, different ways to boost damage or survivability). As a rule of thumb, for each of my items I asked the following questions:
    - Is it as strong, or stronger, than other items in the slot with lower level/rarity?
    - Does it obsolete any higher level option?
    - Does this effect feel out of place at this level/tier?
    - Will at least one player in the party be happy if this turns out as treasure?

    Again, this is a bit of a subjective call, but I think that the formerly level 2 boots pass this test as a 18-level item. Reliably ignoring an annoying condition is relevant enough for a paragon character, and compares decently to at-will climbing or water walking, or occasionally ignoring a wider range of conditions.

    Another interesting consideration is that my design decision to have every item scale across all three tiers forces me to find slight variations of the same effect for each tier. In this case, the baseline effect of acrobat boots felt good enough for paragon to me, while still leaving satisfying upgrades and downgrades for epic and heroic tiers. Had I chosen to make the power an at-will at heroic, the only reasonable way of upscaling it all the way to epic would have been to add more conditions, eventually combining Acrobat Boots and Slippers of the Escapist in a single item.

  7. OK -- I see the reasoning, though for 8th, 18th and 28th, I'd add in a +1, +2, +3 in acrobatics (as the original had a +1 acrobatics property.

    I like where you are going with these items and I would like to introduce them as a baseline in my game, but I would need to have a real justification for the "nerf bat", as some players would call it. Especially the rogues and such.

    Also, isn't there a 2nd level skill utility power that does the same thing as acrobat boots as an at-will?

  8. Argh, blogger just ate a huge response to this comment. Anyway. Short version: I'm nerfing a lot of things, and upgrading a lot of things, and even introducing a few new items of my own. The ultimate goal is to create an internally consistent set of items, with a reasonably uniform power level, which should be a bit lower than that offered by the best options currently available in the game. The best reasoning I can make for the nerfing of any individual item is this: I think it contributes to making the experience of choosing/finding treasure a bit more fun. I cannot guarantee that the final product will coincide with everyone's tastes, but at least I can assure that I'll put a lot of thought into it - both mine, and of those offering feedback.

    Regarding the similar utility power, I'd suggest the following exercise: which item level would you assign to a piece of gear that granted an additional utility power of level 2? In my opinion, it should be significantly higher than 2.

    Finally, I'll comment on a related topic: Any player who dislikes seeing nerfs to beloved items may also miss continuous bonuses to damage, which are remarkably absent from my item collection. I won't reintroduce old school Iron Armbands anytime soon, but I've planned an article to tackle the effect of my items on a character's damage scaling, including suggestions (via non-item methods) to adjust this scaling, if a group wants to.

  9. I'm looking forward to that last part you mentioned. I am considering utilizing your items as a replacement in my game, but I'll want to see how you deal with the scaling math.

    Personally, as a DM, I prefer the old school "magic is mysterious" idea and I make most every non-common item special. The "commonality" is lower, i.e. common items aren't really "common",and there's no real magic-marts unless you count consumables, potions, totems and charms, or items like that.

    Uncommon items would be like the old legacy items that scale with the user, rares would be the powerful intelligent items (Eye of Vecna, Invulnerable Coat of Arnd), and then greatest are artifacts and relics, like The One Ring, Stormbringer, etc.

    How I am going to handle it mechanically? That is to be seen, but I tell my players to "trust me" and they do. They have already had some neat stuff that is far out in left field.

    Like a set of Matryoshka Dolls that are actually a living family, with each unzipping or unpopping themselves open and their next in line comes out - father, mother, son, daughter, baby -- and each has an odd ability like divination, or herbal cooking, or something like that. Russian/Amish look and style, unpredictable behavior because they are "alive".