Free loot

29 Aug

We have all been there havent we as a player setting up their wish list or christmas present list and waiting excitedly like a child at christmas as your group downs the boss and open the treasure chests to reveal the item(s) inside. Personally until I played 4th edition I’d always used or gone with the random loot tables which made for some interesting discoveries, such as finding boat tokens in an endless expanse of sand etc.

I guess my first experience of using a wish list was from when I played WoW where occasionally players particularly if I was on a PUG run would reserve loot items their characters could really do with. Failing that before the wish lists came about the loot distribution was sorted  mainly through character discussion and failing that a roll off was used similar to the random dungeon system in WoW. The question is where wish lists are used what does a DM do with loot that no one has wished for? In WoW there were of course add ons which accounted for this situation the most commonly used was EPGP but in a pencil and paper game what can be used in its place?

I heard that some DM’s use a bidding system to distribute the loot which works fine if players have their own individual treasure accounts personally I’m against this as Dungeons and Dragons is supposed to be a team effort and loot in the campaign I play in is a group achievement of course a rogue still might have his or her own private account. There is of course the method of rolling a d20 and seeing who has the highest score a bit like the need and greed rolls on WoW this can work fine if players only roll for items they can actually make proper or the best use of there was too much unnecessary need rolling in WoW which spoilt the game somewhat.

This doesn’t usually effect groups however as it is assumed that you are playing with people who you know at least, and as one of the main themes of the game is co-operation needing everything is never really helpful to a good team effort. I guess however it is up to you and your players to decide how free loot is distributed. I’d love some feedback from fellow DM’s about this if of course anyone is geeky enough to admit they play or DM here. :).

Danny Whyley

DM of Legacy of the Tarrasque.

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One Response to “Free loot”

  1. vobeskhan August 29, 2011 at 2:39 pm #

    Being an old DM (both in age and editions lol) the wish list system has been a new experience for me in 4e, both as a player and a DM.

    As a player it has allowed me to preselect items that I think may be useful for my particular characters skills and powers set. There was nothing worse in older games than fighting your way through hordes of monsters to find the hidden treasure vault and then be disappointed by finding your axe wielding barbarian has done it all for a +2 dagger. Aargh!!!

    As a DM it helps with item placement. Yes there will be the plot central items that wont appear in anyones lists but prove useful in other ways. But it helps when to even out the spread of items across the party fairly when the adventure calls for a level x item and you check your notes and see that player 3 only has 3 items while the others have 4 each, so you choose an item of corresponding level from his wishlist. Though nowadays any unwanted items can be stripped of their residuum and have it used for something else.

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