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Making Loot Worth More

   Posted by: Wolfgod   in Fantasy, RPG


D20 games occasionally allow you to randomly generate the treasures a given foe will have in their posession.  Though I believe generating the treasure on purpose is better - and giving it some history.

There’s nothing quite as absurd as an old Diablo II graphic, where your avatar slays a swarm of bugs - which promptly drop a chain shirt.  While this wasn’t bad loot, it was kind of an open question as to where the bugs were carrying a chain shirt.  Was each one carrying a single link?  It’s not like they have pockets.  How did they lift it?

Treasure in campaigns should be similar.  It wouldn’t make much sense for a giant octopus to have a few scrolls, for example (unless they were locked in a waterproof chest), or a fire elemental with a bunch of magical robes.

Some of the best loot I’ve ever created for my heroes was custom-made for that hero.  One Fighter in particular got a single sword from a tomb.  The sword had a name, and a history - it had belonged to a great champion from a century before.  The sword had a twin, which that Fighter began questing after for many adventures.  Once the pair was aquired - famous swords, that he’d worked to obtain - these swords were maintained by this hero for campaign after campaign, even after the point where they really weren’t quite powerful enough to be held on to.

In other games, I’ve worked out a backstory for the treasure of a particular monster or hero.  How did they get this loot?  Why have they kept it?  What’s it’s story?

Finally, I started doing one more thing - that probably wasn’t intended by the rules.  I started looking through the loot for things the creature owning it could actually use.  Assuming the foe in question was smart enough and could use it, why wouldn’t they use the +2 Flaming Sword that was in their ‘treasure’?  A PC certainly would.  There’s nothing like a mid-level foe suddenly attacking with an unexpectedly powerful magical weapon or armor - after all, it was in his treasure hoard.

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This entry was posted on Tuesday, September 23rd, 2008 at 12:08 pm and is filed under Fantasy, RPG. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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