Responsibility is one of those nouns that sneaks up on you. Your character emerges victorious from the clutches of Amon Ra’s Tomb with a sacred gem. You sell said gem for a fortune. Now the bank gives you a promissory note. Or if you’re lucky, you get stacks upon stacks of gold coins.
Time to party.
Or is it?
Often we take on more goods and items during this time period. Fresh from a game we buy a shiny new set of armor. Or better yet, a small wizard’s tower complete with servants, cooks, and a stable with mules.
Artwork found here.
Notice the last part, servants, cooks, and a stable with mules.
You just gained all sorts of responsibilities.
Every career class, from Assassin to Rat Catcher, Paladin to Murder Hobos… they all buy stuff.
We spend countless hours finding the right weapons, making deals with the game master, and figuring out what gems should be invested where.
But little if any thought goes into the ‘boring’ part of the game. Taking care of what you gain. All those new responsibilities are there for your character to actually use for their benefit. Servants are great, especially if they are a 12 foot tall Minotaur you defeated in battle, but he needs food too.
One can argue that small stuff like this distracts from the main story. It bogs down the story into endless chattering about details which are not important to the fun.
I submit that one can turn this into part of the fun.
Imagine your wizard tower being under siege by a necromancer who wants revenge on the previous occupant. Unbeknown to you, the necromancer has plotted his revenge for years. You wondered why you got the tower for only a single chest of gold.
As the undead horde marches towards the tower where you and your companions rest in the dining hall, you wonder if all this is worth defending?
Artwork credit here.
Even the most vile, backstabbing, greasy, unkempt murder hobo will defend this newfound responsibility. Nobody likes an army of undead marching towards them.
This is where the game master (Dungeon Master for you D&D players) must take steps to incorporate fun into the new responsibilities players have.
Below are some ideas on how to incorporate loot responsibilites into your game.
- The Raid: Send orcs to ransack the players’ new keep. Have local authorities, paid off by a wealthy landowner who owned the dungeon the players plundered, seize back the property. Get the players to care about the new house/fortress/tower they purchased.
- The Quest: Develop empathy between your players and servants. Set up a scenario where a valued servant becomes ill and needs a rare cure from a far away land. A demonologist put a curse on the new treasure chest filled with gold and now you must find the demonologist to lift the curse.
- The Rival: All this newfound wealth has created new enemies for your players. Their elevated status has garnered notice from a wealthy politician. This person might attempt to befriend the party of players only to entrap them somewhere and eliminate a potential threat. Nothing threatens people of power more than others who also have power. Players with newfound wealth that spend it will eventually see someone pay attention.
- The Neglect: If players decide to buy a keep and staff it, but neglect it for a year or more will come back to several nasty surprises. The staff might think of themselves as the owners. Or possibly a disease has taken hold, killing everyone within a week. Now the players might contract it.
Everyone agrees that the number one rule is for players to enjoy the game. If murdering everything in sight without paying the consequences counts as fun for you, by all means enjoy yourself (as long as you are not doing this for real)!
Taking your game to another level involves creating responsibilities and consequences for actions. This is, after all, a simulation. Even if you own your own star ship, the game master and players should understand that some love and care is needed for the upkeep on those hard earned items.
More money, more problems, more opportunities to express your creativity. More chances to create a three dimensional game filled with passion and rewards.