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Some backstory:

This month’s Blog Carnival – hosted here at Campaign Mastery – is on the subject of “Making The Loot Part Of The Plot”. There’s a reason for that – Johnn & I were debating what makes the best subjects for carnivals shortly after we last hosted one. His contention was (in essence) that the best carnivals focussed on a relatively narrow topic, while I held that a carnival that was capable of multiple interpretations and was more inspiring in theme would garner more and better submissions.

Ultimately, we reached the point of challenging each other to back up our assertions, but past history didn’t provide enough evidence either way to reach any firm conclusions. Since Johnn wanted our sister-site, Roleplaying Tips to host a month of the blog carnival anyway, and the following slot was also up for grabs, we decided to put it to a back-to-back test.

Along came Assassin’s Amulet, and the whole plan got kicked into a cocked hat, as every opportunity that was available got subordinated to the marketing and promotional needs of that megaproject. Johnn was able to change the planned subject of Roleplaying Tips’ carnival at the last moment – in fact, after I had written CM’s entry for the carnival! – and the rest of the story you know.

So here we are, a comparison without a referant. Good thing we both insisted that the subjects be worthy topics of a Blog Carnival…

Making The Loot Part Of The Plot

In “old school” GMing, as exemplified by the few commercial modules that I had purchased and by the games that I had played, the Loot was a payoff and a bribe to the PCs to keep adventuring – simultaniously a score-keeping mechanism and a tool to enhance and upgrade PC capabilities, a byproduct of the adventure. This model was later adopted by computer-based RPGs like Diablo.

One of the first changes that I made to my DMing style was to attempt to go beyond that model, making the Loot an essential part of the plotline. It’s ironic that in modern times, one of the biggest complaints that I hear about new players coming into the game is that they have this same attitude, deriving from their computer-based gaming experiences. Tabletop RPG’ers have no-one to blame for this situation but themselves.

So, what sort of specific subjects am I hoping to see in this month’s Blog Carnival?

  • Loot as an aid to tone setting
  • Loot as a plot seed
  • Conecting adventures through loot
  • Types of treasure – non-material rewards
  • The consequences of possession
  • Connecting Treasure to campaign history
  • The difficulty of maintaining mystery concerning the capabilities of loot
  • You have it, they want it – people who want to share the wealth
  • Treasure maps – making and interpreting them
  • Writeups of rare knicknacks & other mundane treasures
  • The valuation of loot
  • 101 uses for a monster carcass
  • The impact of rarity on value
  • Loot placement
  • Safeguarding the loot – the art of trap emplacement
  • Original Artefacts
  • The impact on campaign history of Artefacts
  • Loot that’s not for everyone – treasures that require skill to utilise
  • Indirect Buffing of characters
  • The power of plus 1
  • Tightening Focus in loot capabilities vs Smaller more generic abilities
  • Power Standards in Treasure Ability
  • Loot Superstitions
  • The absence of Loot – reducing payouts without annoying players
  • The economics of Loot

….the list just keeps growing

And, of course, here at CM, we’re still in Assassin’s Amulet mode – so I’ll be talking about Legacy Items. But I also have something to say on most of those topics – and nowhere near enough time to get to all of them in the month. In fact, it occurs to me, looking over that list, that there’s room out there for a blog that does nothing BUT talk about loot in all it’s manifest forms…

I look forward to reading the posts!

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