Monty Haul Campaigns

At the other extreme, the problems of too much treasure are not so easily solved. Here players may enjoy the game--and why not? Their characters are doing quite well. They have sufficient money and magic to best any situation the DM can devise.

However, the DM seldom has the same enjoyment. He is faced with the task of topping the last lucrative adventure. He must make each adventure a greater challenge than the last. While this is true for all DMs, it is grossly exaggerated for the DM who has given out too much: How do you top the adventure where the fighter got the Hammer of Thor or some equally valuable item?

Invariably, the players reach a point where they, too, become frustrated. Everything is the same--"Oh, we did this before," or "Ho-hum. Another Sword of Instant Monster Destruction." Soon there are no challenges left, because the characters have earned everything in the book!

Fixing such a situation is far from easy. The first thing to do is to stop giving out so much treasure in future adventures. Even this isn't as simple as it sounds, since players have already had their expectations built up. Imagine playing for months or years in a world where you routinely find 5 magical items and tens of thousands of gold pieces each adventure and then, one day, finding only two or three magical items and a thousand gold pieces! Still, painful as it may be for players, cutting back on future treasure hauls is a must.

The second part of the fix is far more difficult--remove from the campaign some of what has already been given. Most players won't voluntarily surrender their goods and equipment just because the DM made a mistake. The inventive DM must be inventive, resorting to new and bizarre taxes, accidents, theft, and anything else he can think of. Use a given method only once and be sure to allow the characters a fair chance. Nothing will upset and anger players more than having their characters jerked about like a dog on a chain.

Sometimes the situation has just gotten so far out of hand that there is no way to bring it back under control. For example, because the DM has given out excessive magic, the players have near-godlike powers. They have used wishes to exceed ability score limits and enhance their classes with permanent abilities. They have fashioned other-planar stronghold impervious to anything. They have reached the point where they are dictating the structure of the game to the DM. There is only one cure--starting over.

Require all the characters to retire, and begin anew with 1st-level characters, being careful not to make the same mistakes again. The players may grumble and complain, but if the DM is fair, the complaints should eventually be overcome. To this end, the DM may even want to set the new characters in a different part of his campaign world, one that has not been explored before.

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