This is possibly the one thing that can ruin any well planned campaign.
Players care more about what magic items they're going to find rather
than trying to enjoy the storyline. This has plagued more than one
DM during his or her career. But there are ways to get the players out of
1) " What do you mean no magic?" You can run a campaign that has no magic.
It sounds boring, I know, but sometimes it's the only way to break
some people of their greed. It installs roleplaying back into the game
where it was not needed before. (No more potions of E.S.P. to find
out what they're thinking. Players have to get in there and start talking
to peopele to find out what they are thinking!) Now don't get me wrong,
you still have magic users and clerics but because magic is so rare, they
stick out like sore thumbs. Clerics are still all over, but a lot of them
do not cast spells. these types of clerics that could spellcast were
considered touched by the gods. In the beginning of the game, players
don't have allot of magic items anyway, if any at all, but in a world like
this those small little magic items that came in handy for those situations
that took away that tad bit of role playing is all added back now. You might
even be shocked how many in your group enjoy the new break after they realize
what they've been missing as far as in depth roleplaying is concerned.
2) Simply put...restrict the number and power of magical items available
to players. If groups are totally obsessed with nothing more than
unbelievably powerful magical items just don't give them out. Period.
Granted, in some campaigns bigger and better magic items are indeed
useful items in aiding the PC's quest, but then again so are things such
as their thinking skills and the ability to use logic instead of
proclaiming, "I get it's attention and run right up there and attack that
big bastard!" If you have players that actually care about not having
their characters slaughtered this isn't too big of a problem. Just
because a player is equipped with a rather powerful sword that can do massive
damage, that doesn't improve his or her hit points to make him or her invincible
to the damage that the creature can do in return. The player may be
able to deal out a great deal of damage, but be slaughtered by one or two
hits from the hypothetical creature. Players that want to survive adventures
to go on and have more could be equipped to the teeth with powerful magic
yet will think twice before stepping into a dangerous situation.
Experience points is also handed out for a good plan on avoiding a
creature all together. But for those groups who tend to worry
about nothing but the strength of their magical weapons are the ones that
need to have that power restricted for a while. It may help calm them
down a bit when they realize they really do have to suddenly stop and think
of different alternatives.
3) A note on powerful armor and protection devices. Who doesn't want
to have Full Plate +4? In some instances and under the right campaign
circumstances armor such as that may be the only way to actually play the
adventure and give the PC's a chance to survive. But a rule that is sometimes
overlooked or forgotten in the height of roleplaying is the fact that
magical armor and protection devices can lend it's plus as a saving throw
bonus. So I would also consider that when making powerful armor and
say, rings of protection available to players.
These are just worse case scenarios. Most players aren't that terrible
with greed for magic items or abusing their powers. And if they posses them
most usually use them with care and respect. Also DMing for groups
that are a bit on the powerful side can indeed be fun to find suitable challenges
for players and finding that perfect balance to where the PC's nor the DM
are on an overkill scale with one another.
BUT........... If you give it.....don't make it easy....there's a price for
everything. The situations below reflect prices paid for magic item
greed and for that matter experience point greed.
Once upon a time a ranger was adventuring with a group and they happened
into a very strange room with a temple feel to it that seemed to deal with
the elementals and gods of fire. There was this great fire pit burning
in the center of the room. Said ranger and two companions bent to examine
it. One pulled the other away as she began to become unnerved at the
site of small fire fairies or some strange tiny fire beings dancing and playing
on top of the flames. The ranger wouldn't leave, curious to continue
watching the things play. Soon the ranger noticed that under the coals
there appeared to be some sort of metal box laying there. Now, what
better place would it be to hide something of great value than underneath
a pile of burning hot coals? Armed with nothing more than curiosity
and a bit of greed to see what was in the box and ring of fire resistance,
said ranger reached in planning to take what little pain would be received
because of the protection of the ring and quickly jerk the box free of the
coals. <so proves the point of the inability to keep an imbecile's
hand out of fire> Little did said ranger know that there was a great magical
item inside, an intelligent Frostbrand, but the fire pit was also trapped.
Down came a scythe blade and off came said ranger's hand. The
ranger got the Frostbrand, and a hand but not without horrible pain, terrifying
prices, much humiliation, and learned a little about what greed can do.
There was a magic-user once that decided on gaining a little more XP than
normal. The group had come across an incredibly beautiful trident that
did indeed glow with magic. The magic-user announced quite calmly that
the trident would be in her hands when they left. When the magic-user
wrapped her hands around the trident, her face immediately became blank and
she began marching with a great deal of purpose down the hallway to a room
that had contained a pool of water. With no heed for personal safety
into the water she went and didn't appear likely that she was coming up.
A companion valiantly saved the magic-user, but she only fought tooth
and nail to get back into the water and drown. All attempts to free
the trident from her grasp failed and after much fighting struggling and
no other apparent means to bring her under control, her companion a bit
regretfully sapped her across the head into unconsciousness. She then
had to be taken for a remove curse spell to be cast upon her. For the
trident was indeed magical, but it was also cursed. A Trident of Yearning.
This is the best one so far. This particular event happened YEARS ago
when assassins were allowed in old 1st Edition. This assassin was played
by one of those people overly obsessed with great magic items, and our gaming
group quite truthfully was getting tired of the way this guy
played. The DM in this game wasn't me and had gotten a bit disgruntled
with the obnoxious greed of the assassin so he laid a little trap in one
of his dungeons because he knew this player would fall for it hook line and
We entered a room that turned out to be some sort of crypt and lying there
in the center of the room was a coffin. When it was opened there was
nothing inside except a shriveled up mummified hand. <are you catching
on yet?> The assassin made it clear that before anyone could detect magic
on the hand and any squabbling over the hand could be ensued he pulled out
his sword and lobbed off his hand, thinking that we had found none other
than the Hand of Vecna. To his utmost surprise when he grasped the
mummified hand and pressed it to his wrist, not a damn thing happened. It
didn't magically join to his wrist as the legend said the hand would do.
In utter shock and dismay he demanded to know what was going on and
our DM just smiled, looked at him like he was an idiot and shrugged saying
it was just some old mummified hand. We laughed for days over that,
and I suppose to appreciate it as much as we did you would have to have known
the guy playing the assassin.
That's also another great way to deter the avid greed of a magic item hound.
-Back to the fun stuff-