Items in Shops?

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Throughout all of my playing D&D, my most memorable event involving a town in a setting/adventure was right when 4E came out. It was the Keep on the Shadowfell adventure, in the fortress-village of Winterhaven. A small little shop. When we all first arrived, a player asked "Can I buy a (whatever it was +1) here?" And the DM replied "I don't know, you'll have to check the shops and see if they have anything you want. So we as a party went to the shop (it might have been the only one there), and the shop only had 3-4 magic items, on display on racks and in a glass case. We ended up purchasing one of them and left. 

It made the town so immersive, it wasn't as much of a "shoulder-shrug" like every single other campaign I played in. In all others, and even ones I've run in the past, the PCs just arrive in town, and if they have the GP to buy it, they can. 

So, this time around, as I've had an extended amount of time to prep for my next upcoming adventure, and I've made an inventory for each town the PCs go to. Each reflecting the type of people in the area, and the types of things that would sell well in that setting. 

Have any of you ever done this before? I also have a friend that exclusively only plays 2nd Ed, and he's ALWAYS done this, he views all the magic items in the books things that he can insert into his setting for the players to happen across, and purchase if they like. Rather than letting the PCs buy absolutely any item that exists anywhere in a little random hamlet.

And with 4e's MASSIVE-MASSIVE amounts of magic items, this seems even more of the right call. I've made sure that any of the weapons/armor that are in my inventories are simply listed as "Something-whatever +2" for example, not stating the specific weapon/armor the enchantment's on, and trying to keep the ones I have listed can go on "Any".
 
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I prefer not to use that approach. After a few levels, a wizard with Enchant Magic Item can essentially turn gold into any item the PCs want. Limiting players who lack that ritual to whatever items a town happens to have on hand seems somewhat unfair, especially considering that it wouldn't be all that difficult to find a plausible reason why the only items the characters are able to find (and not necessarily just at a shop or blacksmith) are exactly the items the players wish to purchase.

But I don't value immersion all that much. My players aren't playing a video game, watching a movie, or reading a story where all the details are laid out for them simply to learn and absorb; they're participating in a shared production, and it's partly their responsibility to help define the details of the game world.

[N]o difference is less easily overcome than the difference of opinion about semi-abstract questions. - L. Tolstoy

Centauri summed it up nicely. Unless your running some sort of 'survival' game I dont see a problem with letting the players buy what they want.
Every item is pretty much at the dm`s disposal why not let the players have the same options?

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Big +1 to Centauri here.

I don't believe in immersion, or at least in the ability of the DM to control it as it is firmly in the realm of someone else's personal perception. However, when people talk about "immersion" part of what they're saying is that they feel connected to the fictional world. You can do that through shared storytelling and get an excellent result that serves both the DM and the players.

So, let's say you want to buy that +1 sword, right? Do it. Mark off the gold and add the item to your character sheet. Then the DM might start the following exchange:

DM: You've got a new sword now? Cool! What's it look like?
PC: It is a very thin blade, forged of a special steel, with an elaborately carved pommel set with a gem. The gem - something about it allows the blade to strike unerringly. I think it's magical!
DM: Who would part with a sword like this? How did you get your hands on it?
PC: I bought it from a nobleman who has recently lost his vast fortune. He sold it to me for a sum of gold.
DM: What was his name? How did he lose his vast fortune?
PC: Sir Torres Alto. He failed to protect his holdfast against an orc incursion and so lost the favor of the Queen.
DM (to other PC): What have you heard about Sir Torres Alto?
Other PC: I heard he has no honor. Maybe he was working with the orcs and they doublecrossed him.
DM: Ohh, nice. Perhaps he got what he deserved. (To another PC) What's going on with those orcs now?
Another PC: They've got a warband 3 days from this town and getting closer.
DM: Sounds scary. What are you going to do about that?

So in this simple exchange, you've established that you have a new magical sword. You've created an interesting NPC out of thin air. And you've given the DM material to write an adventure for you. The world is different now, more dangerous perhaps, and opportunities await. What's even better is that the DM didn't have to sit down and figure out what was stocked in the shop or what mannerisms the quirky shopkeep has. That's stuff the players can determine. By letting them do so, you make them part of the world. I bet the above players are really interested in taking out those orcs now and gaining the favor of the Queen over some dishonorable knight. Hmm, I wonder if the PCs can becomes lords of that holdfast when all is said and done...

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I deal with it slightly differently ... nobody has 'magic items for sale'.  You can't go into a shop and find potions or swords or staves arranged on racks or on shelves with a friendly clerk behind the counter waiting to take fifty pounds of gold from you.  Too little business (99 percent of the population will have no need of magic items, much less ever be able to afford one), too tempting a target for thieves, too difficult to protect.

What you can find is someone who makes items on commission.  You pay the ritualist your money, with that 10-40 percent extra for profit margin, then come back later and he's made the item you've requested.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
Like Salla said

There usually a mage that make an magic item you request. You request an item, then wait a few days, bame.

Of course, it depend on your campaign. Magic could be popular and it's everywhere. There could be a great war and mages were used to make magic weapons for war. There might even be a great magic arms factory that make weapons easier and cheaper.  

I believe PCs need residuum to make magic items, and that's hard to come by, it can't just be bought anywhere. Also the current rules state that only common magic items can be enchanted by PCs.


Because of this, I usually have a shop in the PC's base town selling a handful of magical items. I try to pick ones the players should like.


PCs need something to spend their gold on, after all..

There are some things in D&D which I believe (and thankfully, my players mostly agree) really diminish the level of intensity and excitement of exploring a campaign world. In no particular order and off the top of my head (with my own solutions for them as well):


  • 'Create magic item' ritual
    Never had someone that wanted to make their own items, thankfully. My players are way more interested in finding items and having hard times getting them.

  • 'Brew potion' ritual
    Being able to create all types and manners of potion with a single ritual feels too cheat cody for me. Instead, I treat potions the same way as Alchemical Items are treated. You can obtain recipees for potions and use that to brew them. Adds a lovely component to my BBEG's evil lair. "Cool! I found a recipee for Healing Potions based on Moradin's Triple Ale!" 

  • 'Cure disease' ritual
    Combined, players would be able to recuperate from just about anything just by visiting the lowliest cleric of a healing house. Also too cheat cody. Like with 'Brew Potion', players would have to find a cleric which is actually knowledeable in the disease they want to treat to get 'Cure disease' casted on them for it. Of course, they can then learn the manner of removing this disease themselves as well. I haven't had the need for 'Remove affliction' in my campaign yet, but I imagine that will go similar. Besides, having to scour alleys or rescue a priest for a 'Cure disease' is way more interesting.

  • 'Raise dead' ritual
    Like heck I'm giving my players access to this one off hand (unless one decides he wants a character for which it's thematically appropriate to learn it). If they're dead, they can find some pretty awesome person to cast it for them and even then they should have some kind of difficulty getting the soul back. Recent example, my players had to let Sora Maera revive their gambler while they had to help him win from The Traveller to actually recuperate his soul. They had lots of fun.

  • Being able to buy anything anywhere, as long as it's a player resource listed in one of the books and you have the proper amount of gold. 
    I love Adamaro23's approach to this and might use it in a next campaign. My players usually ask me if they can purchase items in a town and I tell them if it would be easy (just buy it) or pretty hard (there will be some roleplaying/haggling/fighting involved). I personally love Iserith's example as well, though I believe you need a certain type of player for that. And I'm pretty sure that half of my players aren't that type, sadly.



Bottom line is; my players like being immersed and some things that players normally have access too lessen this immersion. They work with me pretty often to help with this and the things above are what we came up with. Shared storytelling would help without having to resort to the above, but that's pretty party-dependent.
Heroic Dungeon Master
Centauri summed it up nicely. Unless your running some sort of 'survival' game I dont see a problem with letting the players buy what they want.
Every item is pretty much at the dm`s disposal why not let the players have the same options?



Would you not say though that part of the role of the DM is to impose some degree of realism? If my players walked into a small villiage and asked me if there was a shop selling magical orbs of foresight (or something like that), I'd immediately reply "you search the town, but no such establisment exists". the solution to their problem might then be that they need to travle to a nearby city (having a couple of adventures on the way) where there is a wizard's guild, or they might have to brave an ancient necromancer's lair where hoards of his undead minions still roam the halls.

I don't think that limiting the players in this way is a bad thing, it's just forcing them to  respond to realistic economic forces. Wine won't be realily available in the artic circle where there are no vineyards, just as steel armour won't be on sale in a hot desert where it isn't manufactured. Giving the players what they want all the time is an example of allowing them to commit the literary crime of deus ex machina - a rare privilage which should be used only at the DMs discresion. Personally, i believe that realism is an enriching component of any story, and I don't see why D&D campaigns should be any different.
So, this time around, as I've had an extended amount of time to prep for my next upcoming adventure, and I've made an inventory for each town the PCs go to. Each reflecting the type of people in the area, and the types of things that would sell well in that setting.

Please post? 

Heroic Dungeon Master
Would you not say though that part of the role of the DM is to impose some degree of realism?



Definitely not. The DM's job is to make the world fantastic and to fill the characters' lives with adventure. He should also be their biggest fan. There are degrees of "fantastic," obviously, but the pursuit of realism in a fantasy game should never be a reason to deny something to the players. It is a means of control - and unnecessary control at that - cloaked in the guise of something that sounds legitimate.

If my players walked into a small villiage and asked me if there was a shop selling magical orbs of foresight (or something like that), I'd immediately reply "you search the town, but no such establisment exists".



It'd be better to just ask, "This town is small, full of naught but dirt farmers and sheep herders. How did you manage to find a magical orb of foresight here?" Then you let the player give you the answer. I bet they avoid saying it was a "shoppe." The answer will likely add some interesting depth to the world and may surprise you. It might suggest the next adventure, introduce an NPC who becomes beloved to the party and last the rest of the campaign, or give you ideas for some future intrigue that you can tie into your overarching plot. Suddenly, this simple village is much more interesting than the DM and other players thought.

I don't think that limiting the players in this way is a bad thing, it's just forcing them to  respond to realistic economic forces. Wine won't be realily available in the artic circle where there are no vineyards, just as steel armour won't be on sale in a hot desert where it isn't manufactured. Giving the players what they want all the time is an example of allowing them to commit the literary crime of deus ex machina - a rare privilage which should be used only at the DMs discresion. Personally, i believe that realism is an enriching component of any story, and I don't see why D&D campaigns should be any different.



It's less enriching than you think. It's more for the DM than it is the players. It's just another form of control and an attempt at instilling a sense of immersion which the DM actually has no control over. (Immersion is totally in the perception of someone else and you can't control that.) I've never seen a player say, "Oh man, that wasn't very realistic," when playing D&D. And you can save the time making the world "realistic" with investory charts and the like and put that effort into other areas to enhance the story better.

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
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I believe PCs need residuum to make magic items,



Incorrect.  Enchant Magic Item uses Arcana as its key skill, therefore Alchemical Reagents (standard equipment, buyable anywhere) or residuum can be used.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
Would you not say though that part of the role of the DM is to impose some degree of realism? If my players walked into a small villiage and asked me if there was a shop selling magical orbs of foresight (or something like that), I'd immediately reply "you search the town, but no such establisment exists". the solution to their problem might then be that they need to travle to a nearby city (having a couple of adventures on the way) where there is a wizard's guild, or they might have to brave an ancient necromancer's lair where hoards of his undead minions still roam the halls.




I think that players can expect that there is a limit to what level and value of magical items they can find in a hamlet, however while their may not be a Ye Olde Magics Shoppe in the hamlet, mostly being farmers, there could be nearby places where magical items can be obtained, a local Manner where some Noble lives, or a wizard who has set up his laboratory outside of city limits to avoid the "legalitys" of his research into the arcane, pr the nearby temple, although small, could be serviced by a priest who lives elsewhere (say a larger city) and who travels to proside over the parish monthly. Perhaps once a month a patrol of the Kingdoms army comes through with a justice of the peace from the city to take care of matters in the outlying areas. So it is possible for some items to be obtainable, even if limited in selection.

 




Merchants trade and travel, Rome used to buy it's grain from Egypt, wines, steel and iron, swords and armor are traded and shipped by merchants, ships and caravans. It would be silly to say that wine wouldn't be in the artic circle because it probably would be stocked in trading posts and traded for seal furs that are shipped back to Europe.


Instead of limiting the character's choices, it gives them the opportunity while traveling to make extra moneys, why just travel to some place when they can buy and transport goods for sales as they do so.
Centauri summed it up nicely. Unless your running some sort of 'survival' game I dont see a problem with letting the players buy what they want.
Every item is pretty much at the dm`s disposal why not let the players have the same options?

Would you not say though that part of the role of the DM is to impose some degree of realism?

Sure. What I would not say is that allowing players (players, mind) access to the items they want is necessarily unrealistic. It's all in how it's handled.

If my players walked into a small villiage and asked me if there was a shop selling magical orbs of foresight (or something like that), I'd immediately reply "you search the town, but no such establisment exists". the solution to their problem might then be that they need to travle to a nearby city (having a couple of adventures on the way) where there is a wizard's guild, or they might have to brave an ancient necromancer's lair where hoards of his undead minions still roam the halls.

First of all, there's a difference between players asking about an item and characters asking about an item. If a player asks if something is in town, it might not have even occurred to the character, and so when it turns out that that item IS in town, it's simply happenstance for the character, and a nice bit of shared storytelling with the player.

Second of all, the approach you state is a good one - for treasure. It's not necessary to use that for items the game assumes the PCs can just purchase or make, because such items are at the characters' level or below. Items one would adventure for would be expected to be 1 to 5 levels above the characters, and therefore worth adventuring for.

I don't think that limiting the players in this way is a bad thing, it's just forcing them to  respond to realistic economic forces. Wine won't be realily available in the artic circle where there are no vineyards, just as steel armour won't be on sale in a hot desert where it isn't manufactured.

Those are corner cases. For most cities, it's not out of the question that they will have items that the players want to buy, or some local equivalent.

Giving the players what they want all the time is an example of allowing them to commit the literary crime of deus ex machina - a rare privilage which should be used only at the DMs discresion.

I'd agree, except that they don't get anything they want: they get stuff at their level or below, which might be useful but probably won't be anything too game changinge. Yes, you're encouraged to rely on player wishlists when doling out treasure, but that still gives you a lot of leeway with what they find when.

Personally, i believe that realism is an enriching component of any story, and I don't see why D&D campaigns should be any different.

Yeah, well, don't get they idea that you're the first person to think that, but also don't get the idea that your idea of reality is the only one that's adequately "real." There are lots of plausible ways for the characters to get the items your players wants them to have. Your "reality" might also be throwing off some core assumptions of the game, as well as your players' fun, which isn't necessarily a problem, except if you don't realize what's happening so you can address it.

[N]o difference is less easily overcome than the difference of opinion about semi-abstract questions. - L. Tolstoy

Something I haven't seen brought up here yet is that fact that there are actually rules that govern magic item availability if DMs are looking for guidelines. I'm not sure about 4.0 but in DMG 3.5 pg 137 in the random town generator there is a GP limit that determines the availability of items. I believe there's also a rule to determine if something is available if it is over that limit but I can't find it anywhere.

A small town of 1000 has a gp limit of 2000, not enough for the players to find magical weapons there but a DM can decide if maybe there's an retired adventurer somewhere in town who would be willing to sell some of his old gear. At that point gather information checks, etc, etc come into play.

This scales all the way up to a Metropolis of 25k or more which has a GP limit of 100,000. I posted in a thread on another board here about one campaign a DM ran where there was a mage's guild in Waterdeep that took the form of an ivory tower crowned with ethereal flame, guarded by iron golems where buyers where waited on by unseen servants and bound outsiders. PCs could buy just about any basic item from them and could commission more or less anything specific they could dream up. That's a realistic resource for a place like that to have.

I think it's a brilliant idea for smaller places though to have a specific list of what exactly is available. Until you get into populations of over 7 or 8 k there are probably not more than a dozen magic users in the town maybe only three or four of which are able to craft magical items. Maybe one of them has a penchant for illusion so his "Emporium of wonder" has only illusory items. Ask him about a wand of fireballs? "If you want evocation, Go and see that barbarian Thorasil over at his pretentious tower "The Eternal Flame". Oh it's magic armor you're after? Well I suppose if you like to hit things then that drunken dwarf Morthan is the one you want. You can find him at the Adamantine Anvil. What? You want one of those? Well yes I've heard of them but, oh, an item like that is only for those that dabble in planar magics. You won't find anything like that here."

As a PC I absolutely love that level of depth to a world and as a DM it's something I always try and strive for. The challenges of the world facing the PCs are not only the monsters and enemies they come across. It's the wilderness they traverse, the politics of the settlements they enter and sometimes, the journies they must take to acquire the resources they need or want. I never thought of coming up with actual item lists for the more expensive things that are available in the shops but I will be from now on I think I will be. It's a brilliant idea.
The way I do it is the players can make items they want within reason(limited to phb 1-3 and nothing past their level).
If they want to go shopping then they may find items past their level, and from books that they can't make items from.

Because of this, my groups tend to establish relationships with every item shop and tavern they can find.  They do still create items, but only for rare things.  Like if one player doesn't have an up to date bonus on one of the big three items, or wondrous items.
I generally have a philosophy "treat 'em mean to keep 'em keen". I think that giving the players whatever they want sacrifices long term enjoyment for short term gratification.

If the group is quite knowledgeable about the game, when they find magical treasure, I might say "you find a weapon, beautifully crafted and glimmering in the lamplight. It's a weapon of level X or lower" and let them pick one they want.
 Yeah, well, don't get they idea that you're the first person to think that, but also don't get the idea that your idea of reality is the only one that's adequately "real." There are lots of plausible ways for the characters to get the items your players wants them to have. Your "reality" might also be throwing off some core assumptions of the game, as well as your players' fun, which isn't necessarily a problem, except if you don't realize what's happening so you can address it.

Don't get me wrong, I'm quite happy to accept that if realism is completely getting in the way of enjoyment, then the realism needs toning down - I just think that if the occasions where an item is available are rarer, it's more rewarding for the players to discover them. I have no hard-and-fast rule about items (I don't keep an inventory for each town) but I can make an on the spot decision about the likelihood of an item being available, and weigh it against the consequences (in terms of enjoyment) of it not being there.

- I just think that if the occasions where an item is available are rarer, it's more rewarding for the players to discover them.

Those are called "treasures." They're different from purchaseable or createable items.

I have no hard-and-fast rule about items (I don't keep an inventory for each town) but I can make an on the spot decision about the likelihood of an item being available, and weigh it against the consequences (in terms of enjoyment) of it not being there.

You can make those on-the-spot decisions with an eye toward saying "Yes, and..." to the players. If just putting it up for sale is boring, put it in terms of having to talk to an interesting NPC or visit an interesting part of town in order to acquire the item.

The a player's enjoyment shouldn't hinge entirely or even mostly on some arbitrary "likelihood" of something being available. Default to making it available, and then focus on how that availability can be made plausible within the game world.

[N]o difference is less easily overcome than the difference of opinion about semi-abstract questions. - L. Tolstoy

Default to making it available, and then focus on how that availability can be made plausible within the game world.

This has the nasy 'shared storytelling' side-effect that it's extremely dependent on the group whether this works. Some groups just aren't meant for it.

It's all fine and dandy if you have players that are respond well to the 'Where would I find this awesome magic sword? A fallen noble sold it to me!' treatment, but not all players are like that. Now, as a DM you can still make up that stuff on your own for every time the players come op with something they need, but this has the danger that the players stop imagining things for themselves at all and has the added danger of them expecting to always have access to whatever they find.
These same players might still be enchanted by the fact that stuff is NOT available. "Ah, course they wouldn't have that here! Okay, another solution. What DO they have?'. I've seen this happen quite a lot and love it.
Heroic Dungeon Master
This has the nasy 'shared storytelling' side-effect that it's extremely dependent on the group whether this works. Some groups just aren't meant for it.



I'm just curious what DMs who don't use this method are afraid of getting as responses from their players. Is it going to be so bad that it wrecks your world? That says more about the DM than it does the player.

I'd also love to hear at least one good reason not to allow players to get whatever magic item they need outside of "realism" in a fantasy game. If you and your players have established that the campaign world is "low magic" and you're using inherent bonuses, fine. Otherwise, I just don't see how giving them what they want affects the game one iota. The "danger" of it is all in the DM's head.

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
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When setting up stores I try and think of the world location that the town is in.  If you have a small town but it's on a major trade route you're going to have an eclectic mixture of items and equipment, maybe even somethings that might get "lost" in a big city market place.  However if they're in a mining town far from any trade route or major city they aren't going to find anything and everything they want.  Not only that the prices for the items are going to be different as well.  A 20gp alchemist fire, something common place in a major city or on a trade route, might cost 50gp in a isolated community because they have no-one to make them there and trade caravans are subject to being ambushed when coming through the mountains.   I know that a template, cookie cutter store would make the game easier for a DM but you loose the idea of a dynamic living world.  

For example in campaign that I'm running, the smithy has gone missing from the small town that the PC's are based from.  As such they can't get items made/repaired.  Now one of the PC's have skills in making Armor and Weapons so they are able to do the work themselves.  As well the woman that owns and runs the local magic shop had to leave town for a week, there for no more healing potions and alchemy items.  The local general goods dealer just happen to have some from his personal stock but at an inflated price.  Of course the shop owner made a deal with the PCs, they did work for him and they got the potions.  

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/23.jpg)

I'd also love to hear at least one good reason not to allow players to get whatever magic item they need outside of "realism" in a fantasy game. If you and your players have established that the campaign world is "low magic" and you're using inherent bonuses, fine. Otherwise, I just don't see how giving them what they want affects the game one iota. The "danger" of it is all in the DM's head.

Well, I can sort of see an issue. For instance, I ran King of the Trollhaunt Warrens for my group. The players wondered about how to deal with the regeneration of the trolls. They wanted to just cut their heads off, when the trolls were dropped to 0, but I wanted a chance of the trolls popping back up after being "killed," so I nixed that. The wizard had no fire spells, so this led them to want flaming weapons. I forget if they had gold to buy them, so I'm not sure if I told them they couldn't buy them. What ended up doing was giving them a side mission that rewarded them with a crate of arcane ritual components, with which they were able to make the desired weapons. I could just as easily have rewarded them with money and let them buy the items.

Having just a couple flaming weapons made certain parts of the module very easy, perhaps easier than intended. I didn't mind, but I could see other DMs bristling over the ease with which the trolls were being dropped.

Another problem I could see is when there are items in a town and the PCs have been asked to defend the town. "Gee, it would be easier to defend you, if you'd just open your armories or compel people to give us any powerful items they might have."

[N]o difference is less easily overcome than the difference of opinion about semi-abstract questions. - L. Tolstoy

Well, I can sort of see an issue. For instance, I ran King of the Trollhaunt Warrens for my group. The players wondered about how to deal with the regeneration of the trolls. They wanted to just cut their heads off, when the trolls were dropped to 0, but I wanted a chance of the trolls popping back up after being "killed," so I nixed that. The wizard had no fire spells, so this led them to want flaming weapons. I forget if they had gold to buy them, so I'm not sure if I told them they couldn't buy them. What ended up doing was giving them a side mission that rewarded them with a crate of arcane ritual components, with which they were able to make the desired weapons. I could just as easily have rewarded them with money and let them buy the items.

Having just a couple flaming weapons made certain parts of the module very easy, perhaps easier than intended. I didn't mind, but I could see other DMs bristling over the ease with which the trolls were being dropped.



In my view, that's a great example of shared storytelling. It added to the adventure in my opinion and took nothing away. And they were rewarded for smart play. (One could argue that it's not exceptionally smart play to use fire on a troll, but you get the idea.)

As for the bristling, that's the DM's problem and one he should deal with right quick. I'm a fan of the characters and I want to see them kick ass. Doesn't mean I won't make it hard, and in this case and as you frequently suggest, killin' piles of trolls don't matter if you don't reach your goals in time. Flaming swords, cool as they are, don't solve every problem.

Another problem I could see is when there are items in a town and the PCs have been asked to defend the town. "Gee, it would be easier to defend you, if you'd just open your armories or compel people to give us any powerful items they might have."



I see this as being rife with opportunity, too. Establishing that the Queen gave you a locket of her hair as an amulet of protection against The Evils That Beset the City is something people are going to remember, especially if they themselves suggested it. They probably won't remember the one they bought in the shop I carefully stocked or whether they had to go two towns over to get it because this part of the world doesn't have amulets for some reason.

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
DMs: Don't Prep the Plot | Structure First, Story Last | Prep Tips | Spoilers Don't Spoil Anything | No Myth Roleplaying
Players: 11 Ways to Be a Better Roleplayer | You Are Not Your Character     Hilarious D&D Actual Play Podcast: Crit Juice!

FREE CONTENT: Encounters With Alternate Goals | Full-Contact Futbol  |  Pre-Gen D&D 5e PCs | Re-Imagining Phandelver | Three Pillars of Immersion | Seahorse Run

Follow me on Twitter: @is3rith

I'm bolding for emphasis, not for yelling.

It's all fine and dandy if you have players that are respond well to the 'Where would I find this awesome magic sword? A fallen noble sold it to me!' treatment, but not all players are like that.

I'm just curious what DMs who don't use this method are afraid of getting as responses from their players. Is it going to be so bad that it wrecks your world? That says more about the DM than it does the player.

I use the method, but sparsely and only if I know my players would enjoy it. The fear isn't in it going so bad that it wrecks the world, the fear is in paralyzing players that do not respond well to the "Yes of course! And now YOU come up with why!"-method. These players exist. I have these players and I still love these players. 

I'd also love to hear at least one good reason not to allow players to get whatever magic item they need outside of "realism" in a fantasy game. If you and your players have established that the campaign world is "low magic" and you're using inherent bonuses, fine. Otherwise, I just don't see how giving them what they want affects the game one iota. The "danger" of it is all in the DM's head.

Or the danger is in both the DM's and the player's experience. Turning your question around; I'd love to hear what you would do when you DM a party that genuinely does not enjoy the 'shared storytelling' technique, but do enjoy the 'forced realism' approach. Do you force shared storytelling upon them hoping (and maybe managing) to get them to enjoy it anyway? Do you decide to forego shared storytelling and spend some time into detailing some more aspects of your world (which, in this case is actually time spent bettering your game)? Do you hand in your resignation to the party telling them this game isn't for you? All valid approaches, but I think the 'shared storytelling'-advocates in this thread are forgetting that the middle of those approaches exists as well and that this isn't solely the DM's decision.
Heroic Dungeon Master
I use the method, but sparsely and only if I know my players would enjoy it. The fear isn't in it going so bad that it wrecks the world, the fear is in paralyzing players that do not respond well to the "Yes of course! And now YOU come up with why!"-method. These players exist. I have these players and I still love these players.



For me, that would have been determined in Session Zero.

Or the danger is in both the DM's and the player's experience. Turning your question around; I'd love to hear what you would do when you DM a party that genuinely does not enjoy the 'shared storytelling' technique, but do enjoy the 'forced realism' approach. Do you force shared storytelling upon them hoping (and maybe managing) to get them to enjoy it anyway? Do you decide to forego shared storytelling and spend some time into detailing some more aspects of your world (which, in this case is actually time spent bettering your game)? Do you hand in your resignation to the party telling them this game isn't for you? All valid approaches, but I think the 'shared storytelling'-advocates in this thread are forgetting that the middle of those approaches exists as well and that this isn't solely the DM's decision.



I do have the benefit of being selective with whom I game. I'll also state that I'll not begrudge a DM and his table their preferred style of play. But what I have seen more often than not are DMs who are afraid to let go of what they perceive as "their turf" to the detriment of the game, both here on the forums and in actual play. And that's a real shame. It's a missed opportunity and one easily realized to great effect.

What I've seen in practice with players who are open but new to this approach is that they're delightfully surprised. "I get to make that up? Cool!" It also gives me a ton of material to work with as DM.

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
DMs: Don't Prep the Plot | Structure First, Story Last | Prep Tips | Spoilers Don't Spoil Anything | No Myth Roleplaying
Players: 11 Ways to Be a Better Roleplayer | You Are Not Your Character     Hilarious D&D Actual Play Podcast: Crit Juice!

FREE CONTENT: Encounters With Alternate Goals | Full-Contact Futbol  |  Pre-Gen D&D 5e PCs | Re-Imagining Phandelver | Three Pillars of Immersion | Seahorse Run

Follow me on Twitter: @is3rith