I have turned the discussion over to Dungeonmum for today, since she seemed to be really into it. She has a question for all the ladies out there....
Zak has very kindly asked me to guest post following the first Female Roundtable questions. I'm not sure what I can bring to the table but I'll do my best here.
Reading back through the comments (they're still coming in, there's 25 thought provoking questions so a lot of material), what jumped out at me were the answers to the question:
What would the ideal treasure look like?
Take a look at these responses:
The ideal treasure, for me, is specific. I hate winning generic loot. I want to find character treasure, not game treasure. (Alicia)
The ideal treasure would not be tons of gold or gems. I much prefer artifacts, something I can use that not everybody has (me)
Sparkly...jk. Something that has special relevance to a character or a party member that shows that the DM isn't just throwing treasure around because they should but because they are actually concerned with how loot effects character development and plot. (XO~Sarah)
I want the treasure to be kind of cool now, but to suggest how it could be very awesome later on. For example, several months ago, the PCs acquired three soul-berries. You eat it, and you get a soul. They have been debating for months about how to use the berries. Could they defeat the demon leader by giving him a soul? How could they get him to eat the berry? That's way more interesting than a magic sword. (Though one of our players just sacrificed his awesome magic sword to close up the hellmouth that, er, the PCs created.) (replayable)
The ideal treasure is unique and adds something new to the game. Treasure with souls of past owners is always fun. (Lis)
Something unexpected but useful/awesome. (Pixiedragon)
Weird shit my GM has made up, things that don't exist in the books, and have some kind of personality to them. (not insofar as they've got to be intelligent- they just have to have flavor.) (Amsel via Inktea)
I like power and influence and knowledge more than physical items. Books, I guess. (Mandy)
Seeing as you cannot 'win' D&D (or any other RPG) treasure is the short-term gain (not counting XP and stat improvements). What seems common amongst these answers is the desire for something unique. The reward for an adventure, looking at replayable's answer, would be yet more adventure, or at least something that takes the adventure in a certain direction. Gems and gold are very pretty and you can buy lots of stuff, but ultimately if your bunch of PCs are to be off adventuring every weekend are they really going to be able to appreciate those mansions piled with loot and masterpieces? If adventuring is what it's all about then gold and diamonds are pretty much worthless. And nobody has said anything along the lines of 'A plus 2 sword' or a 'wand of magic missiles' – they want something that's never gone before. Perhaps you don't even know what it does, but one day you'll find out.
Now I don't think rolling on treasure tables is necessarily the answer (unless the GM is going to make them up himself) – in our group the ten year old pine gnome statue and bracket mushroom headband will go down as the most memorable treasure of all time for the wrong reasons. Likewise I don't think that what we're after is something to make adventuring more easy, that kills the bad guys quicker – what's the point in taking away the challenges? Wandering into a room knowing you'll live and the baddies will die is utterly yawn inducing and enough to make you want to stop playing, in my book. I guess the DM needs to tailor-make the treasure based on the campaign and the individual PCs, but above all, the PCs have to earn it.
As an aside, I don't think 'women do this and men do that' (despite my answers to the previous questions, that was more 'I do this and my fellow players do that'), there is enough division of opinion in the (largely male) general RPG community to draw me to the conclusion that all people have different ideas regardless of gender. I have no doubt that if these questions were aimed at men (or just people in general) there would be similar responses about non-generic and unusual treasure. But I'm glad to see a little pocket of the blogosphere of discussion aimed at female gamers, only because I don't come across them all that often and it's nice to see what other women get up to when they're playing.
So, for the next round of discussion, I will use a standard piece of equipment from the DM's bag for my next question:
If your character put on an ordinary belt which they found in a haul of goodies that turned out out to be a girdle of femininity/masculinity (changes the gender of the wearer, can only be restored on a wish 50% chance, there is also a 10% chance that all gender will be removed from the wearer), would you play on, in the knowledge that your stats would be unaffected, or would you do everything in your power to remove the curse and revert the PC back to their original state? How would you feel about playing a sexless or hermaphrodite PC? Would a hulking brute of a man continue with the same personality in a sylph-like damsel, and vice versa?
I'd be interested to know if you'd feel different about different characters you'd run. Think of all the characters you've had lately (in any game) and imagine them switched or de-gendered. Does that suck for certain ones more than for others? Why or why not?
And, as always, guys: quiet for now.