Out of Game Shopping List for Players

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So I have players who have not quite made the leap of increased dedication that means doing research about equipment/items/stuff on their own, and a reaccurring waste of time during sessions (at least in my opinion) is that they spend in-game time asking me to look up stats/costs/etc of items in shops or stores.

This has made me come to the conclusion that shopping in game (just as OOG) is incredibly boring, and I'm considering posting up an overhaul list of all the items in the nearby town: their costs, what they do, etc. This will take some work, as it is going to be compiling different items offered from the general store, the armory, the archery shop, so on and so forth, but I think in the long run this will be more efficient as it will force the players to do the shopping in between sessions, leaving more time for what matters most in game: watching the barbarian smash skulls.

Anybody have any experience with creating a "items available for purchase" list for players? Other, more efficient ideas? General thoughts?

Also, as a side note, this is our first dive into Age of Worms through recommendations on this board, and both the players and myself are loving it so far. 

Cheers!

*edited for spelling and readability
Currently DMing a 3.5e AoW game one night a week. Players are almost through Three Faces of Evil. If you are considering beginning this campaign using this edition, I can help.
Save yourself the work and abstract the wealth. If someone says they want something, ask them what it does. If that sounds reasonable, ask them how they got it. If that's interesting enough, congratulate them on a awesome purchase/find and get on with the game.

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The "Sears Catalog" method is quite harmless, so long as you make sure the players know you have final approval.
Just hand over whatever books have the awesome inside, and let them go nuts.
Save yourself the work and abstract the wealth. If someone says they want something... congratulate them on an awesome purchase/find and get on with the game.



Wouldn't this create situations where a player comes up with a super cool idea for an item that is too powerful/too expensive for their level and DM has to reject/downsize the capacities of the item, leaving a disapointed, shot-down player?

The whole pricing of items has got my players in a rut too... in the last game one player was shocked that in 3.5e RAW even the lowliest of healing potions are 50gp each, and he expressed his feelings that a three/four digit pricetag on a +1 weapon was insane.

I feel like the players would have great ideas for items, but that the ideas would be too great for their characters. For now, I'm focusing on items below level 5 here, with level three on the next session horizon. Not exactly big spenders or collecters of world-altering items...

 Just hand over whatever books have the awesome inside, and let them go nuts.



There's that whole player dedication thing: I can hardly get them to read their class descriptions, let alone research items for a shopping cart.

Good feedback though, appreciate it. I'm also considering linking them to the Equipment page of the SRD, and saying that all items found on there plus an additional provided list of maybe 10-15 wondrous/magic items are available for purchase throughout the local town.
Currently DMing a 3.5e AoW game one night a week. Players are almost through Three Faces of Evil. If you are considering beginning this campaign using this edition, I can help.
Our group, for the most part, does their shopping/crafting/etc between sessions during down time, Sears Catalog style.  It makes things easier for the DM and gives the players plenty of time to mull over options.  Or not.  The main thing is that it doesn't interrupt the flow mid-game.

Otherwise, I would suggest being creative up the treasure you place in your adventures and let your players figure out what to do with it.  If they can't be bothered to invest in item research, they'll just have to rely on what they find.  At least until such time that they decide to show some initiative. 

As for player dedication, I unfortunately don't have any suggestions.  I would think it would be respectful that, if you are going to play a game, to at least make an effort to learn the rules of the game instead of constantly interrupting said game to ask what the rules are.
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The SRD is a great idea, I like the Sovolier-Sage hyperlinked version.  This is laid out clearly enough that even less dedicated players can get all the info they need for any shopping needs with no effort.  If you copy and paste SRD info into Excel and perhaps add some of your own notation, you can sort things by price or level or region (with regional classes you could assign) to create more specified lists.  That is a lot of work, but even simply using the SRD is a great step.

There's that whole player dedication thing: I can hardly get them to read their class descriptions, let alone research items for a shopping cart.



They should probably reevaluate if they're actually interested in D&D, or would rather just sit around with six friends shooting the breeze every week/month/whatever.

That out of the way: If they don't want to look into what items they could get, they get whatever you give them. If they aren't willing to invest the time in making their own lists of stuff, then make a simple one for them. Put as much effort into it as you think is necessary, and then that's that. Problem solved, and it only took 15 minutes per-level.

Doing the "item store inventory" a la a video-game is also a perfectly valid way of handling it. If the players don't like what's there, that's kind of on them.
They should probably reevaluate if they're actually interested in D&D, or would rather just sit around with six friends shooting the breeze every week/month/whatever.


I would think it would be respectful that, if you are going to play a game, to at least make an effort to learn the rules of the game instead of constantly interrupting said game to ask what the rules are.


Let me make it clear that I didn't mean they aren't dedicated to the game. That's not the issue at all: we are all (as far as I can tell) enjoying the game and all participating in the gameplay. All of my players know the rules, but still rely on me to provide the stats of items. That's what this thread was about: how to easily provide players with a structured way of doing their item shopping out of game so it doesn't take up valuable time.

The SRD is a great idea, I like the Sovolier-Sage hyperlinked version.  This... is a great step.


And that is actually what I ended up doing. There was some initial pushback as (obviously) it's a whole jumble of stats and information, but the players seem to agree that it was a good decision. Now I will have no regrets when they run out of healing potions or rope, as hey, it's on them.

Thanks for all your help guys!
Currently DMing a 3.5e AoW game one night a week. Players are almost through Three Faces of Evil. If you are considering beginning this campaign using this edition, I can help.
Carrot and Stick approach on dedication...find 1 or 2 people who are interested, have them create a wishlist...they get those items on their wishlist in game...research some of the more mundane but funny/useless items...those who dont have a wishlist start getting those items. When they ask, 'Why did he get the sword +2 and I got the Sun Globe?' you can mention that someone had a wishlist and someone did not ;)

One week the rogue found Platemail of Posion +3 or soemthing like that (he was too weak to even carry it) following week everyone magically had a wishlist...amazing how that works...

I think I'd just come up with a list of 10 widely useable, generic, items for each type of shop. Then when they get to a shop it only has 1d4 randomly selected of those items. Scaled to the approperiate +X for their level. Thats it, nothing else for sale. (reroll which items every week or so if they want to leave and come back)


Then, if someone wants something custom tell them they need to look it up in the book between games, and the merchant would probably be glad to make it for them. Explain that you don't have time for them to browse item books mid session though.

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I've had this exact problem in my campaign - one of my players asks if there's a shop in every town, stedding and encampment they wander in to, then insists on quizzing the merchant: "Do you have crossbow bolts?", "Do you have any potions?", "Do you have any weapons better than this one?" My heart always sinks at this last question, because then I have to say something like "the merchant shows you a well-wrought steel dagger. It does blah-blah damage and has blah-blah effect, metagame  metagame metagame...", or a flimsy "you can see this dagger is deadlier than the one you're carrying."

To this end I've done exactly what has been suggested here,  which is to compile a generic inventory for each type of merchant. I will then add a few new items depending on the location, player level etc. I'm loving the idea of running shops outside of normal play, I may give it a trial run in my next session.
Save yourself the work and abstract the wealth. If someone says they want something... congratulate them on an awesome purchase/find and get on with the game.



Wouldn't this create situations where a player comes up with a super cool idea for an item that is too powerful/too expensive for their level and DM has to reject/downsize the capacities of the item, leaving a disapointed, shot-down player?



He did say, "if that sounds reasonable" - you certainly don't have to accept unreasonable requests as-is.  As long as you and your players trust each other and are working together, players trying to take a mile when you give an inch shouldn't be too big a problem.  If they do pick something that's over their level, write it down somewhere, and give it to them later when they do hit an appropriate level - that's more of a wishlist than you had before, and that's progress

In a way, I do kind of like dishing out wacky items to players who don't make a wishlist.  Sure, they may generally be booby-prizes, but it may come back as great fun and a memorable story the day that you think you've got the players painted into a corner they can't possibly escape from, wondering how the game will progress, when suddenly they pull out that goofy item everyone forgot about and use it in an unexpected and creative way.

Just making a list of generic level-appropriate gear, giving it a cool name and description, and handing it out to players who don't have anything on their wishlists might work, though... +X weapons and armor, for example, surely won't go too far out of style even at higher levels.  (The 3.5E DM's guide had a chapter on NPCs, including a series of tables for quickly generating NPCs of various classes and levels, each level and class pre-loaded with generic gear, which would have made a great go-to guide for this sort of thing in that edition.  Sadly, I don't think 4th Edition has and equivalent tool.)

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     The method I use is to hand the players the books and tell them that all items listed as minor are readily available at the stated prices. If they want something better, then they have to expend the time to find it in-game, or role play and pay to have it made.
      This make it easy for them to re-equip with acceptable gear if they need to and its easy on the DM.

We do things in a specific way in our group. All of our DM's have developed a list of standard shop lists that we can choose from, with the expectation that we can customize the list. Magic and exceptional items are rare and hard to find on these shop lists (more so in Kalamar, less so in Eberron).

Aside from that, players can submit requests for whatever they want from the SRD and other sources. The DM can then, over the next few sessions, work those items into shop inventories and treasures. This way, players can get what they want, but enjoy some delayed gratification that makes it sweeter.

Wouldn't this create situations where a player comes up with a super cool idea for an item that is too powerful/too expensive for their level and DM has to reject/downsize the capacities of the item, leaving a disapointed, shot-down player?



If you phrase the denial correctly, no.  You have to explain to them that the item they have chosen is not appropriate but if you can provide similar alternatives that are appropriate they will not be as disappointed and you have set parameters/precedent they now know to follow.

In a 3.5 campaign I am currently in we have a very Sears catalog policy - we have a "fence" that sells what we do not want and gets us what we do want.  And whenever the party acquires a significant amount of gold we go through the DMG magic items section and find what we want.

As to RAW pricing in 3.5 - when you consider that an arcane or divine caster actually has to expend physical resources, time, and even some (potentially significant amounts of) XP to create items (that they will most likely not even be able to use - ala weapons), a +1 weapon costing 1000 gold to buy is not that far off.

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