A Quick Way To Make Awesome Rewards

Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #0922

Saw a great tip on Twitter from Mike Shea the other day:

Graphic of section divider

Adding a daily spell to a magic item
is a great way to make it both
thematic and mechanically useful.

Graphic of section divider

This is an awesome method to customize and enhance treasure.

You could also surprise players with cool boons like this. The magic pool, mysterious portal, or grateful fey enchants an item long forgotten on a PC’s equipment list.

I’m inclined to award utility effects. Mere attack and damage bonuses are wonderful during moment of acquisition, but fade soon into the player’s amorphous pool of plusses.

However, give a character a cool new ability, and you give them a new way to engage.

Utility effects also help you avoid combat inflation and maintain balance.

Use All Sources

I’d consider everything in your rules book fodder for limited-use magic item enhancements.

Spells give you an instant pool of dozens or hundreds of options.

But also look at feats and special abilities an item might imbue.

Look at senses and rules governing survival, movement, and social encounters.

Also mine all those neat monster abilities!

Add Fuel

You might consider adding a cost to using the effect.

Whether the character can use it hourly, daily, or by the minute, each use draws on some energy source.

Perhaps the 10 foot pole imbued with Thundercrack needs to be treated daily with an oil made up of exotic ingredients. Quest fodder!

Theme It Up

You know the player wants to use their new boon.

Examine your encounter plans and put yourself in their shoes. If you were them in this situation, how would you want to use it?

Then tweak your situations so there are several opportunities to make your player happy. 🙂

Also consider tying the item and boon into a theme, as per Mike’s suggestion.

There are three possible components. Item, effect, and fuel. Rather than making each random, tie them together with a strong pattern, metaphor, or theme.

The party has a bard who plays the drum. You give the wizard’s pole the Thundercrack boon with the idea the bard could perform to recharge the effect. This involves a lot of noise, so it’s tricky recharging the pole in the field sometimes.

You also decide to toss in some sound-sensitive foes as ongoing threats. Now wizard and bard can team up.

You also pit foes with sonic attacks against the PCs. Not only to give them a taste of their own medicine, but to offer the possibility of alliance or strategy. In your journeys today, think of some quick and cool rewards you could create this way.