Imagine the scene– the players kill the big boss of the dungeon, bust down the door to his hidden vault, check for traps, unlock the chest, and open it to find a glowing magical longsword; only to then simply toss it in the Bag of Holding with all the other stuff. Then they just offload …
One of the reasons I am going back to D&D 5E with the boys is to cut down on magic, and the effects of magic. When I first started playing Pathfinder, and saw the Magic Item tables, and creation tables it was a whole new world to me, we never had that kind of thing back in my days of playing AD&D. So I and the boys kind of got carried away. We all had fun with it, they had some pretty awesome items by the end.
And this article in particular describes the Denver game I am in, we don’t get gold as treasure, we get scads of magic items that we then turn around and sell off. It lacks a certain something to play that way. And I like to describe the effect when a player casts Detect Magic is roughly like trying to identify the tone of a single instrument at an orchestra, the background noise should overwhelm any attempts to find something else.
As a result one of my vows with this new campaign with the boys is to greatly reduce the number of magic items that are out there. And what they do get will more often be one off items, like potions or scrolls. Master work items, instead of being magical, that sort of thing. I would like to think that I can come up with a story behind the permanent items, but that likely won’t happen often.
I think that it would be more interesting for the players to rely on what they can do without the items. Instead of thinking of their characters as ‘the Cleaving 2 hand sword guy’ or the ‘tank with +4 armor’ I want them to feel that it is what their characters can do that wins the battles. It will also encourage them to try other things to win, think about flanking, surprising, double teams, assisting, movement; think of novel uses for spells, instead of just repeating magic missile, fireball, cure wounds, ad nauseum.
Really what this article is about is creativity, introducing it into your games. And getting away from running a video game with paper.