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Magic Item Greed!

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 this habit.

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 sinker.  

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.

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