Equipment that psychologically changes how the player behaves

When playing Pillars 2, I was really disappointed in their talking sword, I found it fascinating but yet a huge missed opportunity.

For those who haven’t played that series, they have Soulbound items which are powerful magic items that require certain things to be done to unlock their next tier of powers. For example, “Apply debuffs 30 times”, or “Kill x enemies”, etc.

Also for those who haven’t played that series, XP from combat only comes from unlocking bestiary entries gradually. After a bestiary entry is fully unlocked, you no longer get any XP from that kind of enemy. This means that combat against sentient humanoids aka “kith” (ie. the playable races) usually doesn’t result in any XP, only the (usually garbage) items that they drop. So you’re not punished at all for taking the peaceful route to resolve conflicts.

So anyways, I was playing Pillars 2 with my usual preferred style of “chaotic good” - I would generally be nice and help people, but I don’t mind killing or stealing if it doesn’t do any harm.

Then I find the talking sword, Modwyr. It’s a Soulbound item, but it also has a series of quests associated with its backstory. To continue the quests (and unlock its tiers of power), all of the requirements revolve around killing kith. Suddenly my chaotic good nice character, whilst still generally good, became a bloodthirsty belligerent who would take ANY excuse to start a fight and murder as many bad guys as possible. And go out onto the high seas looking for pirates to kill “in self defense”. And the usual “drunken bar confrontation with asshole villagers” subquests instantly became bloodbaths.

I thought it was extremely cute how this item and its unlock requirements basically seduces its players with its dark urges, just like how you might imagine it would affect the ingame character. Sure, I didn’t have to go all murderhobo and just unlock things slowly, but I was eager to get the higher tiers asap.

Then you complete the weapon’s quest chain, unlock the final tier of power, and all of that goes away. The thing just becomes a regular magic sword (even if you choose to keep it as a talking sentient weapon), and all the player-behaviour-altering incentives are gone. It would have been nice if there was a route where you could obtain a temporary buff if you killed people, or even a debuff if you haven’t killed anyone for a while, to keep this aspect of the sword in the game even after the final tier.

So anyways, thanks for listening to my story. I think it would be cool in Wrath if we had some items (sentient or otherwise) that can incentivise, tempt, or otherwise warp the player’s behaviour into something they might not have originally planned for, in a meta RP sort of way.

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Well there are, in a way.
What I mean is: there are weapons / shields / armours / ammotype (for long range weapons) what give something “extra” if you use them or if you manage to get let’s say an critical hit with using them.

Naturally not every single item (even magical one) have these but I personally find them fun and they did change the way how I played in Alpha test.

One way is: you might have companion who have allready skills and abilities for certain way (let’s say using certain weapon/armor/shield type) and these items might add something “extra” for them. Like you might get healing, speed or other bonus spell for small amount of time when using certain item and when something happen (like you get hit or you hit someone).
They might effect one enemy or group of enemies, or youself or your allies.

Some might just add something up. Like an 100% normal shield what just have an spike in it. So if (and only if) you choose to actually use it for an attack you make extra damage with it (or if for what ever reason you have allways wanted to wear 2 shields at same time it is possible now…)

Not saying that every item would be 100% “must have and use it for my PC now” effect but more the merrier. And I really REALLY loved how I notised that you now have multiple options for you PC and your companions with different type of items to choose different routes to play the game. Not just one “THE” best build what you need to build or you will lose.

For example I was able to use one of my companion (full shaman build) as front line fighter with quite high AC and good damage even before any buffs. True it needed items and some greater (mythic) powers but still. (After all if you are not monk who would be front line fighter naked using only fists?)

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Oh, I don’t mean changing how you do gameplay, obviously items will change your gameplay. I mean items that will change your RP decisions.

I enjoyed that system as well. The one I really liked was the metamagic/spell building in Tyranny. Obviously, they can’t just apply that to the pathfinder ruleset. But it was pretty awesome being able to tweak every aspect of your spells. The only downside is that it relied on lore and you couldn’t get enough of it at the end of the game.

It would be nice to have more humorous cursed items laying around. Like the Helm of Opposite Alignment, the Book of Perilous Journeys, the Chatter Ring, or maybe even a homeage to the classic Girdle of Masculinity/Feminity.

But more importantly: any Witch of good standing ought to have a broom! And luckily for us Pathfinder has the Broom of Animated Attack. Making that cursed item a no-brainer to be included for Ember. Make it so Owlcat~ :broom:

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You want to implement Quidditch ? :laughing: