LFR campaign standards/ access

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How do you want the access system to be handled in LFR?

One of the main goals of 4th edition was allowing players to make their characters the way they wanted by not limiting their options.

Magic items are now found in the players handbook.

One of the most confusing parts of the LGCS was access and keeping track of what was in and out.

Should access to these be fully open?

How would you like the LFR campaign document to handle access?

I say open completely for all PHBs and the FRCS. Once a new PHB comes out it becomes legal in 3 months. That should be enough time for people to have become familiar with it.

Things outside the PHB should be handled by a set policy rather than on a case by case basis that ends up generating a huge confusing and capricious open/ closed access list.
It already appears that magic items are restricted by level from the get go. So that will fit into LFR much better. The only time to worry about access and restrictions is when the fluff books and PHB 2 etc come out.
It already appears that magic items are restricted by level from the get go. So that will fit into LFR much better. The only time to worry about access and restrictions is when the fluff books and PHB 2 etc come out.

Aside from rings being restricted to Level 11 for one and 21 for two, no magic items are restricted.

Instead they have a "suggested" level for balance and pricing guidelines.

(LFR rules may, of course, vary)
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Aside from rings being restricted to Level 11 for one and 21 for two, no magic items are restricted.

Instead they have a "suggested" level for balance and pricing guidelines.

(LFR rules may, of course, vary)

The recommended levels on the items would be very convienent for LFR to restrict things etc
I'm hoping that gold is set like it is in Living Greyhawk (you usually know how much gold you are getting from a module before you play it), but access is opened up a lot (IE magic mart). I'm not a big fan of the "access lottery", because all it does is punish honest players and reward dishonest players.
The recommended levels on the items would be very convienent for LFR to restrict things etc

Without details on how magic items are revised it makes it difficult to draw any conclusions....but then speculating is half the fun.

My basic rule of thumb is that a permanent item > charged item > spell.

So I would rank items by tiers.

I suppose one restriction would be:
The tier after you gain access to a spell, you gain access to a charged version of the spell.
The tier after you gain access to a charged version of the spell, you gain access to the permanent version of the spell.

i.e.

So a first level spell is available as a scroll or potion at 3rd level and a permanent item at 5th.

A rough equivalent would be a +1 atk/+1 dam spell. Magic Weapon is available at first. Scroll or Oils of Magic Weapon would be available at 3rd. Finally, +1 weapons would be accessible at 5th.

Or maybe a variation in that 'access' = can use. So maybe you buy the +1 weapon at 4th level but you cannot wield it as a +1 weapon until you hit 5th level.

Bah, sounds like too much bookkeeping and more rules. Let's keep the LFRCS short, say oh...10 pages. :p
I'd like to see open access, based on approved books. Everything in the PHB and DMG should be open for example, while an Eberron specific book may not be appropriate for an FR campaign.

Limiting magic items to the suggested level might be a good idea given the nature of the campaign.

But other than that, we should have as few "meta-game" rules as practical.

Allen.
Speaking only for myself and my personal preferences, my hope is that LFR can find a way to enable and enact what the designers of 4e D&D envision as the "typical and best D&D play experience." Other than allowing people in a worldwide organized play campaign to come together and play D&D, I want to get out of the business of telling people HOW to play or creating a dizzying amount of extra campaign documentation.

Obviously, there is some gray area of reality within that black-and-white idealism. There are always decisions, no matter how large or small a campaign, that the DM must make. And the campaign staff is going to have to make and enforce those decisions. But the closer we can get to simply saying, "Just play the game using the published rules," the better.

Shawn
Global Admin - Living Forgotten Realms
I've been seeing a lot of calls for opening up access, and..that's great and all, but I don't like what those suggestions would seem to do to the reward structure of the game.

In Living Greyhawk, for instance, completing an adventure could grant access rules items. In my opinion, this was a great way of giving players something more for an adventure than just a pack of gold and experience points. I've had some of the ARs that basically granted nothing to anyone, and that never feels good.

Now, that isn't to say that there aren't better ways to reward players out there. The favors that gave free upkeep or a special ability that you could use a certain number of times (free one-shot Time Stop!) were great. Meta-org related favors could also be great. I even have a favor or two that raise my character's abilities inherently, although those are understandably rare.

I prefer the second category of rewards, but I think that they can only take you so far. Not every adventure record (or the LFR equivalent) can have that sort of thing, I think. It would start feeling silly after a while if it did, anyway.

I also disagree that limiting access to items and other rules options rewards cheaters and punishes honest players. I don't worry about what the cheaters are doing...they're not playing the same game that I am. In terms of what limiting access (appropriately) does for the honest players, I feel that it makes a better game because there are things to win out there. I wouldn't like the game as much if I could get absolutely any rules option I wanted and the only thing I ever needed was experience and gold. I guess some people hate the access hunt, but it'd be a lesser game for me without.

The near-constant agony of never being able to find the right items is part of the fun in Living Greyhawk for me...especially if it's occaisionally accompanied by finding something I've been wanting for a long time. My Spellsword finally got Twilight armor access!

Obviously there needs to be a balance. Withholding all access until the right items are found can be overly restrictive just as much as granting all access removes the access reward structure completely. I thought that the year 7 LGCS did a good job in this area...there were plenty of basic items to fit the overall needs of almost every character, but there were still lots of items to seek out.

In the end, I think that some sort of Closed list is almost inevitable. Restrictions against rules items that don't belong in the Realms or against evil-aligned material is something I'm assuming at the moment, and power balancing will need to occur at some point down the road. Hopefully the Closed list can be kept relatively small, however.
Obviously there needs to be a balance. Withholding all access until the right items are found can be overly restrictive just as much as granting all access removes the access reward structure completely. I thought that the year 7 LGCS did a good job in this area...there were plenty of basic items to fit the overall needs of almost every character, but there were still lots of items to seek out.

I've always thought that a good compromise would be to shamelessly steal something from the Eberron campaigns - the idea of expansion slots. Every X levels, pick any Limited rules item and it becomes Open for that character. If X is set at the right point, then you still can't have everything you want without found access, but you can be assured of getting the things you really want, and you're not totally hosed because you missed that one mod written by an author who agrees with you about what things are cool to have access to.
My personal preference is very similar to Shawn's, try to use the published rules and just the published rules as much as possible. Keep campaign standards short and to the point. From what the WotC R&D people said at DDXP, they really seem to want RPGA to use the game rules as is, without a lot of not allowing stuff or changing stuff or limited access. I think many players may be pleasantly surprised.

Still, one never knows what future publications might come out and what they might contain. Later publications often include R&D experiments, where they want to try something out. I daresay the campaign will deal with those future curve balls as they come.

I can't say that I am personally in favor of setting RIGID (and publicly announced) standards for how much gp, xp you will gain in a standard adventure. That just seems so mechanic to me. 4E will guide us regarding gp, xp and magic items, but I am not personally adverse to having a few adventures being a little easier with lighter rewards and a few adventures being a little tougher with more generous rewards. If kept in balance, it would average out.

All of the above were personal viewpoints, which may or may not reflect final LFR policy.

Keith
Keith Hoffman LFR Writing Director for Waterdeep
What I'd like to see opened up is what I can play online. My local group I play with weekly doesn't want to run RPGA or play RPGA games. The local RPGA group doesn't play at times or locations that is conducive to me attending. That is just my problem because I live away from the city and have small children. They seemed to complain alot about thier LG going away and were saying I'm not going to play those new campaigns. I'm not sure if that is still the dominant feeling because no one has brought it up recently. Thus even if I do get more time once I move into the city this summer it still may not help me.

On the other hand I have online friends that I play Xen'drik Expeditions with once a month or two. I only have one or two modules to choose from because you cannot play cores online. We have never run out of things to do because of the limited play time but I've also never experienced the core storyline either.

Once LFR comes out I'd like to talk the online group into switching to that and going from the start. It is strange to see me type this since I love the Ebberon setting. However I cannot find anyone to run it for me to play. Thus I'm always running when I have a lot more fun playing then GMing. Since I'm the only one GMing right now I may have enough pull to get this going. However if I'm going to get stuck only experiencing one set of the story because of some prejudice against online play I'd be really disappointed.



Another thing I'd like to see is a database tracker for story objects and character information. One where the information is typed in and then you could print out ARs. Even better you wouldn't need them anymore because the information is stored in a database somewhere and you can just print out a summery of what you have done. That would be awesome. I'd pay to have that ability.
If the DDI tools work as advertised, with LFR, I think those who want to play on-line with friends around the world will be much pleased.
Keith Hoffman LFR Writing Director for Waterdeep
My personal preference is very similar to Shawn's, try to use the published rules and just the published rules as much as possible. Keep campaign standards short and to the point. From what the WotC R&D people said at DDXP, they really seem to want RPGA to use the game rules as is, without a lot of not allowing stuff or changing stuff or limited access. I think many players may be pleasantly surprised.

From what I could gleem from youtube it sounded like this idea is very useful. I'm guessing that most of the experiments will be in the form of DDI magazine content and not books. Once it hits a book it sounded like it was going to be set way for doing things. That may be an optimistic view of the situation but I can dream.
Another thing I'd like to see is a database tracker for story objects and character information. One where the information is typed in and then you could print out ARs. Even better you wouldn't need them anymore because the information is stored in a database somewhere and you can just print out a summery of what you have done. That would be awesome. I'd pay to have that ability.

If it could be counted on to work reliably...

RPGA has been using the online character tracker for the D&D Campaigns since 2003, and there continues to be issues with it. Yes, paper ARs are more cumbersome, but at least, if my character's records are wrong, I only have myself to blame.
"Of course [Richard] has a knife. He always has a knife. We all have knives. It's 1183, and we're barbarians!" - Eleanor of Aquitaine, "The Lion in Winter"
If it could be counted on to work reliably...

RPGA has been using the online character tracker for the D&D Campaigns since 2003, and there continues to be issues with it. Yes, paper ARs are more cumbersome, but at least, if my character's records are wrong, I only have myself to blame.

I agree. I don't want to have to count on the DB system working correctly, or have to count on a DM or a convention organizer getting the info recorded correctly online after the fact. If you are at the table and get handed the AR you at least have a minute to reveiw it, and make sure it's right. There is too much that can and does go wrong with an online database.
What I worry more about is losing them. I've got a giant stack for my wife's Xen'drik stuff right now and we don't even play very often. I would hope with the new database that the DDI is using there should be a reliable way to store the information that is contained on the ARs. I guess one way would be to have the paper ARs but also track it online would solve my problem but if there is an error you can revert back to the sheets. Anyway I'm sure they have something in mind that will work.
The best way would be ARs that are printed and handed-out post-game but also virtual ARs on the website. When the event is reported the DM checks off what favours you have.
If you lose your ARs you can print them.
If you're traveling you can just take print-out copies or go online.
They might even have a "resize" option so you can only include text that applies to you (favours you have, item access you got) and print the sheet out half-size on a 8.5x11 sheet allowing you to have 2 ARs per page. 4 if you double-side.

You can imagine the benefits of quartering your stack of ARs.

Access though... I'd like a more realistic method where you had to divide-up treasure opposed to the method of "everyone sells everything and then you buy it back at regular market price". It might be better to dump item access and just have everything done through favours.
With items being less important to balance of NPCs there's less reason to have found items.

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If it could be counted on to work reliably...

RPGA has been using the online character tracker for the D&D Campaigns since 2003, and there continues to be issues with it. Yes, paper ARs are more cumbersome, but at least, if my character's records are wrong, I only have myself to blame.

Really? Where is it? I'd like to check it out.
Really? Where is it? I'd like to check it out.

Sign into your RPGA account, and click on the "Character Tracker" link. Unless you actually play Xen'drik (or played MoH or LotGR), there won't be a whole lot to see, but you can create a PC.
"Of course [Richard] has a knife. He always has a knife. We all have knives. It's 1183, and we're barbarians!" - Eleanor of Aquitaine, "The Lion in Winter"
Access though... I'd like a more realistic method where you had to divide-up treasure opposed to the method of "everyone sells everything and then you buy it back at regular market price".

Well, that was the "cert" system that Living City and other campaigns used, and that LG used at first. The problem with it is that it leads to (a) squabbling between players, (b) uneven wealth distribution between PCs, and (c) higher-level PCs that can "trick out" the new PC of one of their friends by giving that new PC a bunch of certs that they don't need anymore.

Maybe there's a way to do it that doesn't lead to those problems. I'm just not aware of it.
"Of course [Richard] has a knife. He always has a knife. We all have knives. It's 1183, and we're barbarians!" - Eleanor of Aquitaine, "The Lion in Winter"
The best way would be ARs that are printed and handed-out post-game but also virtual ARs on the website. When the event is reported the DM checks off what favours you have.
If you lose your ARs you can print them.
If you're traveling you can just take print-out copies or go online.
They might even have a "resize" option so you can only include text that applies to you (favours you have, item access you got) and print the sheet out half-size on a 8.5x11 sheet allowing you to have 2 ARs per page. 4 if you double-side.

You can imagine the benefits of quartering your stack of ARs.

I have a hard time getting people to reliably report the games I play in now when it's comparatively simple to do. Even a slight complexity bump seems to pose most people an impossible roadblock - I think about half the Xen'drik tables I've played in have had reporting problems.

If it weren't for the fact that it won't work, your idea is great.

It will admittedly quarter your stack of ARs, since you'll be missing so many of them.
I have a hard time getting people to reliably report the games I play in now when it's comparatively simple to do. Even a slight complexity bump seems to pose most people an impossible roadblock - I think about half the Xen'drik tables I've played in have had reporting problems.

If it weren't for the fact that it won't work, your idea is great.

It will admittedly quarter your stack of ARs, since you'll be missing so many of them.

I'm sorry you have problems with the reporting. I'm not sure why that would be. The online part is so simple. I do it as soon as the game ends. It takes about 5 minutes tops. My problem is sorting out all the adventure journals. No one has them done right or on time when they show up. Then there is my recording on them. That is where the pain is on my game. Of course we are playing at my house. I'm sure if I was at a store playing the reporting would take longer due to me not sitting there with the computer on while running.
In the end, I think that some sort of Closed list is almost inevitable. Restrictions against rules items that don't belong in the Realms or against evil-aligned material is something I'm assuming at the moment.

Well, we wouldn't want to stop players from playing evil characters or silly dragonborn that just suddenly appear out of no where in the realms. Thats what 4th edition is all about. Tiefilings, dragonborn, evil paladins and demon worshiping warlocks.-jk....I hope

I am hoping that a clear "no evil" policy will still be around. I have run enough games to know that all evil friendly campaigns self destruct. With alignment gone it will be a more complicated policy to enforce. They will have to make a laundry list of what exactly is evil and what isn't.

Hopefully access can be dealt with in a simple way. Really no matter what you have access to you can't become too broken because there are only so many body slots and each character only has a set amount of money. I am more worried about the rules being simple so new players don't get scared away than I am about "game balance".
Well, that was the "cert" system that Living City and other campaigns used, and that LG used at first. The problem with it is that it leads to (a) squabbling between players, (b) uneven wealth distribution between PCs, and (c) higher-level PCs that can "trick out" the new PC of one of their friends by giving that new PC a bunch of certs that they don't need anymore.

Maybe there's a way to do it that doesn't lead to those problems. I'm just not aware of it.

Yeah, that's why I said "like" in italics.
It might work if certs were non-transferable. And if there were always 6 items per table and everyone got one.
But not every mod would have certs and not every table would work with people getting certs. But this might be offset by gold. Take the cert and get a discounted item or ignore and get more gold.

But probably wouldn't work in practice.

I have a hard time getting people to reliably report the games I play in now when it's comparatively simple to do. Even a slight complexity bump seems to pose most people an impossible roadblock - I think about half the Xen'drik tables I've played in have had reporting problems.

If it weren't for the fact that it won't work, your idea is great.

It will admittedly quarter your stack of ARs, since you'll be missing so many of them.

Yeah that is a problem, but mostly with local DMs. Just need to encourage people to report and remind them of the Reward points and such.
But with a hard copy after the game it removes this problem, the online would be a back-up.

And the system could be easy (it'd have to be simple and graphics lite for WotC to do it). Just a series of check boxes. This favour, check. Not this favour, blank. Mods could come with a record sheet at the back for DMs to record who got what.

Nice and simple. If you can order a pizza online you can report a mod.

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Yeah, that's why I said "like" in italics.
It might work if certs were non-transferable. And if there were always 6 items per table and everyone got one.
But not every mod would have certs and not every table would work with people getting certs. But this might be offset by gold. Take the cert and get a discounted item or ignore and get more gold.

But probably wouldn't work in practice.

If everyone gets one - why have certs at all (as seperate from the AR).

Yeah that is a problem, but mostly with local DMs. Just need to encourage people to report and remind them of the Reward points and such.
But with a hard copy after the game it removes this problem, the online would be a back-up.

And the system could be easy (it'd have to be simple and graphics lite for WotC to do it). Just a series of check boxes. This favour, check. Not this favour, blank. Mods could come with a record sheet at the back for DMs to record who got what.

Nice and simple. If you can order a pizza online you can report a mod.

I don't know if you've ever reported a Xen'drik Expeditions event, but those aren't that complex. I certainly have never had any trouble accurately reporting XE events I've run... played in is another matter entirely.

The thing of it is, an online backup is only good if it's an actual backup. If it's known to be unreliable, then that's a cascading problem. If nobody ever relies on it then people are going to care less about reporting quality, which means the system will be unreliable, and...

The only way to get it even close to quality would be to actually have consequences for conventions that screw up or don't post results in a timely manner. And that seems vanishingly unlikely.
I want to see access to core features and items as open as possible, with restrictions only appkied to new stuff introduced via modules, or to expansion material that might not be appropriate to the campaign. Let treasure be gold and resalable items (at full price, or close to it), with standard items, and ones accessed via modules, freely buyable. Let restrictions on gold available be the limit on what can be purchased.

Even rings should be buyavle at low level - they just won't function if the character's level is too low.

There should be little need for tracking. items and access.

Interesting treasure would be roleplaying items - named weapons and items with histories, favors, well bred mounts, etc., not unusually powerful items. The player should be able to freely develop character concewpts; modules should reward with items that link the PC to his adventure history and supply him with the wealth to advance his PC in the direction of the player's choice.

Tom Bollis
If everyone gets one - why have certs at all (as seperate from the AR).

Well, I was thinking everyone gets a different item. There are seven or eight different items in the mod and each person picks one but no doubles.

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Well, I was thinking everyone gets a different item. There are seven or eight different items in the mod and each person picks one but no doubles.

There has been too much inter-player conflict at the tables when such have been divided up in the past, and ill will towards the players who consistently got the better items. And it lead to unbalanced wealth.

With characters from different tables getting the same items and playing together later, it is simpler, fairer, and nearly as realistic to allow PCs to duplicate the choices of others at the table - just assign a total value to each PC and indicate what they find available to take and/or purchase from.

Specific items should be less important for unusual game mechanics in the new system (wands, rings, etc. should be more generic, augmenting character abilities, rather than being used for specific magic effects).

Tom Bollis
I want to see access to core features and items as open as possible, with restrictions only appkied to new stuff introduced via modules, or to expansion material that might not be appropriate to the campaign. Let treasure be gold and resalable items (at full price, or close to it), with standard items, and ones accessed via modules, freely buyable. Let restrictions on gold available be the limit on what can be purchased.

Even rings should be buyavle at low level - they just won't function if the character's level is too low.

There should be little need for tracking. items and access.

Interesting treasure would be roleplaying items - named weapons and items with histories, favors, well bred mounts, etc., not unusually powerful items. The player should be able to freely develop character concewpts; modules should reward with items that link the PC to his adventure history and supply him with the wealth to advance his PC in the direction of the player's choice.

Tom Bollis

Yeah, this would work well. As a few of the Admins have pointed out, the more it can be "read the Core books" the better. The only things I see as needing special access are those that need adjudication. Say some special access (not sure what is going to replace PClasses) that needs you to have "Done a grand service to the elves." You've gotta document that somewhere before you can run around gaining the benefits of Ruathar (for instance).

If someone were cracked enough to offer access to a moonblade to an elf, this would be another example needing very careful adjudication. Don't won't the player "accidentally" transfering access to the moonblade from his human cleric of Bahamut to his elven fighter who just happens to be from the correct family.
Well, I was thinking everyone gets a different item. There are seven or eight different items in the mod and each person picks one but no doubles.

Isn't that basically just asking for everything BAD about certs to be implemented, and everything good about them be removed? Kind of a worst of both worlds deal?
Well, that was the "cert" system that Living City and other campaigns used, and that LG used at first. The problem with it is that it leads to (a) squabbling between players, (b) uneven wealth distribution between PCs, and (c) higher-level PCs that can "trick out" the new PC of one of their friends by giving that new PC a bunch of certs that they don't need anymore.

Maybe there's a way to do it that doesn't lead to those problems. I'm just not aware of it.

One way to do it would be to have a "loot" section (akin to the items purchased section) on each AR, which specified exactly which item(s) that PC was taking from the adventure (and initialed by the DM). This would solve problem C, since the loot would be tied to the ARs and thus character specific.

Problem B, as far as I'm concerned, isn't a problem; in the long run the distribution of wealth will average out. Some characters may get lucky or unlucky, but the same is true for everything else regarding the game, so I don't particularly see why it's important that everyone get equal shares from each adventure. Last time I looked, D&D wasn't communist. ;)

Problem A is the real issue, and I don't see a way around it, other than hoping that the player base is mature enough to realize that this is a game (yes, it's a vain hope, I know). The only possible ruling here is that the DM is the final arbiter as to who walks away with what, but even that is only a half solution, and would merely change the target of the player's ire.

That said, I would still prefer a loot based system rather than an "access" based system. "Access" should refer specifically to items which can be readily purchased in major cities, and thus available to everyone. Beyond that, favors and loot should make up the bulk of the spoils from any given mod.
Problem B, as far as I'm concerned, isn't a problem; in the long run the distribution of wealth will average out. Some characters may get lucky or unlucky, but the same is true for everything else regarding the game, so I don't particularly see why it's important that everyone get equal shares from each adventure. Last time I looked, D&D wasn't communist. ;)

No, it won't even out over time.

Players who are more insistent/outgoing will accumulate more loot on their characters, and players who are more shy/willing to compromise (or back down to avoid confrontation) will accumulate less loot on their characters. The divide will get worse over time, not better. I saw it at almost every table in LC, and in the first year of LG.

The only way to prevent it, on a case-by-case basis, is to have a person of the first type (such as me) who believes in fairness first - who will battle toe-to-toe with the "gimme"s out there to make sure the quiet guy gets the item that he deserves. And you can't count on that happening very often. :P

Where loot does even out is in a home game, where a DM will be monitoring the whole works the whole time.

Mike
(a) squabbling between players, (b) uneven wealth distribution between PCs, and (c) higher-level PCs that can "trick out" the new PC of one of their friends by giving that new PC a bunch of certs that they don't need anymore.

One way to do it would be to have a "loot" section (akin to the items purchased section) on each AR, which specified exactly which item(s) that PC was taking from the adventure (and initialed by the DM). This would solve problem C, since the loot would be tied to the ARs and thus character specific.

This is still a tracking problem, and the PC with the extra items can still lend them to the other PC when they adventure together. It's the tracking that's the main inconvenience here.
Problem B, as far as I'm concerned, isn't a problem; in the long run the distribution of wealth will average out. Some characters may get lucky or unlucky, but the same is true for everything else regarding the game, so I don't particularly see why it's important that everyone get equal shares from each adventure. Last time I looked, D&D wasn't communist. ;)

Highly unlikely that modules will consistently have distinct loot of the same value for each PC. What happens if some loot is missed? What happens if some items are desirable to multiple PCs, while others are just wealth, not useful to most? The experience with years of such systems in the past was that 1) distribution of value did not average out, and 2) distribution of useful items not only did not average out, but many got items for which they had no use, and did not get the items that were available that were very useful for them.
Problem A is the real issue, and I don't see a way around it, other than hoping that the player base is mature enough to realize that this is a game (yes, it's a vain hope, I know). The only possible ruling here is that the DM is the final arbiter as to who walks away with what, but even that is only a half solution, and would merely change the target of the player's ire.

Experience shows that all ways of dividing the items are flawed. Random distribution, player vote, DM choice, auction, and other methods and combinations have been tried.
That said, I would still prefer a loot based system rather than an "access" based system. "Access" should refer specifically to items which can be readily purchased in major cities, and thus available to everyone. Beyond that, favors and loot should make up the bulk of the spoils from any given mod.

The fairest system is for the PCs to get equal shares by value and to be allowed to take that value in treasure (and use existing wealth) to take what they want from what is available, allowing duplication between PCs at the table, just as it is allowed with PCs from different tables. Consistent history between pCs is impossible if they don't always play together, so don't worry about it.

Where players get something distinct, it should be from individual actions within the module, such as winning a competition, where there is no decission required as to who gets it after play, and the PC's share of the loot should be adjusted accordingly if it has much monitary value.

Unusual items that become available through the module should be equally available to all ("access" in LG terms), but standard items should not require access.

Totaling the wealth obtained from modules and comparing it to the total value of possessions shoild be sufficient tracking of most of a PC's possessions. Any change that doesn't significantly change net worth shouldn't matter, except for roleplaying items, like favors, prizes, memberships, etc.

Tom Bollis
Players who are more insistent/outgoing will accumulate more loot on their characters, and players who are more shy/willing to compromise (or back down to avoid confrontation) will accumulate less loot on their characters. The divide will get worse over time, not better. I saw it at almost every table in LC, and in the first year of LG.

This is not a "Problem B" issue but rather a "Problem A" issue. That is, the imbalance is a result of squabbling. Eliminate the squabbling (by fiat! :D ) and this goes away.

This is still a tracking problem, and the PC with the extra items can still lend them to the other PC when they adventure together. It's the tracking that's the main inconvenience here.

Lending happens now; the idea here was to tie the items to a specific character to prevent someone from *giving* them away, as was possible with certs.

Highly unlikely that modules will consistently have distinct loot of the same value for each PC. What happens if some loot is missed? What happens if some items are desirable to multiple PCs, while others are just wealth, not useful to most? The experience with years of such systems in the past was that 1) distribution of value did not average out, and 2) distribution of useful items not only did not average out, but many got items for which they had no use, and did not get the items that were available that were very useful for them.

Experience shows that all ways of dividing the items are flawed. Random distribution, player vote, DM choice, auction, and other methods and combinations have been tried.

The fairest system is for the PCs to get equal shares by value and to be allowed to take that value in treasure (and use existing wealth) to take what they want from what is available, allowing duplication between PCs at the table, just as it is allowed with PCs from different tables. Consistent history between pCs is impossible if they don't always play together, so don't worry about it.

Ideally, the items undesired would be sold, and a shares system such as the one you mentioned would be used to divide the remaining loot. From a paperwork/adjudication standpoint this is /hard/, and I cannot off the top of my head think of a good workaround, but that would be the idea.

Unfortunately, I really dislike duplication. I've never really bought into the "6 bozos" theory of Living Campaigns, preferring to view the story as the collective actions of many many actors; as such, the duplication of items (even key plot items) and the access rules from LG are breaches of the 4th wall, and if possible I would like to find a way to do without them.

Where players get something distinct, it should be from individual actions within the module, such as winning a competition, where there is no decission required as to who gets it after play, and the PC's share of the loot should be adjusted accordingly if it has much monitary value.

I, for one, would like to see a greater incidence of "unique" items (items available to only a single player) in the campaign. One of my major gripes with the access rules from LG was that, in the end, things boiled down to an AR hunt in order to get the access you wanted. This, really, is the crux of my wish for some kind of more realistic loot rules - I'd like to be able to feel that the items my character owned resulted from barging into some NPC's lair and taking said item by force.

I guess what it all comes down to is that I'm a simulationist type gamer, and thus would like the loot distribution to more accurately reflect that, instead of trying for some sort of "fair" system ("fair" in scare-quotes because there really is no such thing).

If I really had a choice in the matter, I would say that division of items must be handled /in-character/, up to and including blows to deal with differences of opinion regarding who gets what. The powers that be, though, having decided (rightly) that my tolerance for (and, indeed, fondness of) party in-fighting places me in the minority, and that allowing such would detract from the experience of the game, have (probably for the better) ruled out any such system. This does not, however, mean that approximations of that system cannot be found; certainly there are some better than LG's rather clunky system, even if I do not know what they are.
Unfortunately, I really dislike duplication. I've never really bought into the "6 bozos" theory of Living Campaigns, preferring to view the story as the collective actions of many many actors; as such, the duplication of items (even key plot items) and the access rules from LG are breaches of the 4th wall, and if possible I would like to find a way to do without them.

Unfortunately for you, your preference does not correspond with reality. Every table of a module is a different enactment of a story element, with each player, the DM, and the module text having different versions of what has gone before, and each player taking away a different version of the outcome. If someone gains a "unique" item at one table, another gains it at another table, and no one does at a 3rd, while some players have not yet experienced the insident. A table forms for another module with multiple copies of the unique item, someone who says the item was never found, and someone who won't encoubter it until later. There is no simple, unique flow of history. You can only avoid duplocation and other 4th wall complications by always playing with the same PCs in modules that assume identical outcomes as you remember, which is not how Living campaigns are expected to go. Duplication exists. Contradictory character histories exist. Accept it.
I, for one, would like to see a greater incidence of "unique" items (items available to only a single player) in the campaign.

I want to see no unique items in a Living campaign that comes from standard adventures - every player should have a chance at the same rewards, without being in competition with every other player in the campaign, not knowing the outcome of an adventure until it is determined who gets the unique item (or it only going out to the players of a single table at a single con). Anything truly unique would have to be a special benefit for a special event, not a reward for a standard module.

I guess what it all comes down to is that I'm a simulationist type gamer, and thus would like the loot distribution to more accurately reflect that, instead of trying for some sort of "fair" system ("fair" in scare-quotes because there really is no such thing).

Their is such a thing as a fair system. There is no way of implimenting your unique simulation ideal in a Living campaign - it requires an independent stand-alone simulation unaffected by what others do at other tables, and having no effect on others.

Tom Bollis
I agree with Shawn and RanielK. It should be easy...follow the core rules is simple and easy. Where RPGA might diverge a bit is in the "special" rewards. Benefits from actions possibly specific items that unless you go through an RPGA adventure you won't see or possibly need, yet something that makes playing LFR enjoyable and a bit unique in its items/benefits/"favors". There was something that always appealed to me about an opportunity such as...you have the "Reward Well." You can buy a well in X town and have free water and possibly charge others to use it. (Simple example in this case.)

My concern with open however is the town size issue. While I am lucky enough to be around Waterdeep, what of those people in the Dales or some small POL. Will they get the same access to equipment (likely they should) but is that how it works based on the basic rules? Until I see the Core books, it will be hard to tell...maybe its as simple as you get basic items and anyone anywhere can get up too X (enchantment) but other magic, etc. might have a different requirement.

Simple is great. I would like to see those special rewards/favors continue. That is where a good record would be useful.
Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch'intrate. "Abandon all hope ye who enter here." A child of 5 could understand this, someone bring me a child of 5.
It is remarkable how much The Black Flails avatar look like the real life Black Flail.
Except for the spear its spot on.
There is no simple, unique flow of history. You can only avoid duplocation and other 4th wall complications by always playing with the same PCs in modules that assume identical outcomes as you remember, which is not how Living campaigns are expected to go. Duplication exists. Contradictory character histories exist. Accept it.

"Avoid" and "minimize" are two entirely different things. In so far as considering solely the instantiation of the module present, there /is/ a unique history; one that persists until the gamers leave the table. If the module happens to say "the party comes across the Dire Flail of Kobold Defenestration," then for the purposes of that mod and those six players present exactly one copy exists.

There is no way of implimenting your unique simulation ideal in a Living campaign - it requires an independent stand-alone simulation unaffected by what others do at other tables, and having no effect on others.

Once again, I am well aware of the fact that, globally, the ideal situation is impossible. This does not mean that good approximations do not exist; as I said above it is entirely possible to generate a self-consistent story if you limit your considerations to the time period between when the group sits down to start playing and when they get up to leave.

Further, it is in the spirit of the game that as many transactions be handled in-character as possible; every time you abstract something in favor of a metagame resolution, the story is broken. Thus, barring the problem of squabbling between players, a loot system is preferable to any other treasure divvying method.

Unfortunately, squabbling between players is a real issue, and one for which I have no answer.

My intent here is not to say that "this is the way it should be done" or to claim that my answer is better than any others. My intent here is merely to try to frame the debate, and to hopefully identify the /kinds/ of solutions to the issue that we should be looking for. I assume that most of us here are in agreement that the access system from LG was clunky and needs to be overhauled.
I assume that most of us here are in agreement that the access system from LG was clunky and needs to be overhauled.

Item-wise, the only problem I had with it was things NPCs use not showing up on the AR, and items showing up on the AR that you couldn't afford to buy and which you couldn't go back later and get (Storm Tower Spear at APL2, I'm looking at you). I'm not sure getting to fight over the Unique Weapon du'Jour is any better. And by that I mean I think it's a cure infinitely worse than the disease.

Losing access to nonunique items because you didn't buy them within 3 ARs was kind of weird as well. I don't think certs address that problem either though.

People already do weird things chasing after AR items that can only be gotten by one person, much less ones that come with lootz attached.
I don't feel like the current LG system is any sort of perfect creation that is above modification but, most of it's flaws lie in how it can seem unrealistic in how items and favors might get divvied amongst the players at the table. In order to feel "realistic" there would basically need to be inter-party debates over loot distribution.

Frankly, I and many players want no part of that headache. It brings greed to the forefront and can create bad feelings between players. It also tends to put players more interested in story at odds with those more interested in building their character to win. Adding a 15 minute(or longer) discussion to the end of each module where some players will frequenly walk away dissatisfied or angry is what needs to avoided.

If there is a better way, lets hear it but, I'll take a contrived system over one that is more "realistic" but not fun.