Magically Informative Loot

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Magically Informative Loot
« on: June 03, 2011, 10:09:28 AM »
How does Loot work, exactly?

They search the bodies, and the GM tells them what gold and gems the monster had.
OK.

Quickly and trouble-free.
OK.

"Something you find has useful information (or has magic about it)."
Strictly worded, if there's nothing to find, there's no information or magic.  Or if they just find 5 GP, then those coins have magic or information.

Is that the intent?  Assuming not, then maybe it ought to read "You find something that..."

As for that, information isn't that hard, but "has magic about it" is harder.  Some advice would be nice.  What does "has magic about it" mean?  And there's not a giant chart of potions and scrolls and minor magical trinkets, so what sorts of magical things might they find, especially if they choose that option often?

I suppose I can muddle through, but any insight would be appreciated.

Re: Magically Informative Loot
« Reply #1 on: June 03, 2011, 11:55:44 AM »
i think the idea is you are not supposed to have predefined loot for your monsters, or at least have some options.
the item can really be anything you want it to, it has magic about it but is not necessarily magical itself. maybe it is a scroll or potion, maybe its a coin with some minor enchantment put on it by an evil sorcerer. maybe its a fetish bag given to the orc by a shaman! the last two would give the party new adventuring hooks or more information about what lies ahead. (there is an evil sorcerer in these parts, perhaps we should cleanse the land of his foul magicks! or, we must be on our guard, these orcs have the backing of a powerful shaman...)

agony tends to run very low magic games so perhaps i have been conditioned into this, but i think finding a magic sword or necklace on every single orc raiding party doesnt really make much sense. in the end, though, its up to you and your players on how prevalent you want magic items to be. (in our game we have several magic rune keys that we dont really know what to do with...)

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agony

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Re: Magically Informative Loot
« Reply #2 on: June 03, 2011, 12:34:32 PM »
I, uh, agree with Ben.

The two sessions we ran with the new loot rules kind of seemed off to me.  I like the idea of not having pre-determined treasure with an encounter but the group chose something magical each time.  I'm of the mindset that magical items should be special and unique and have a history.  Hard to improv when that's what you magic items to be and someone says "come up with one, now."

I guess, the best idea seems to be to have a list of magic items ready to drop in whenever it makes sense.  I still don't like that the group is finding a magic item 2-3 times every session.  It will be like D&D before you know it.

Re: Magically Informative Loot
« Reply #3 on: June 03, 2011, 12:48:20 PM »
Our magic has been pretty low key.  A fetish that points to an elder god, a knife that thirst for elvish blood, a scroll with writing no one can read, etc...

Using an item has invoked custom moves to keep things interesting.  There are no +1 swords in our game.

Re: Magically Informative Loot
« Reply #4 on: June 03, 2011, 02:33:54 PM »
Our magic has been pretty low key.  A fetish that points to an elder god, a knife that thirst for elvish blood, a scroll with writing no one can read, etc...

Using an item has invoked custom moves to keep things interesting.  There are no +1 swords in our game.

Nice! Great ideas.

Re: Magically Informative Loot
« Reply #5 on: June 03, 2011, 04:25:13 PM »
I think the key is to remember that the move says "or" and also "about it" rather than "you find magic shit, hurrah!" and that the GM is the one who gets to decide and explain. The PCs say "I want some info or magics" and the GM will either improvise a clue or the like or will give up some predetermined magic awesomeness.

It's a way to access and bolster an existing loot situation, rather than replace it wholesale with randomness and player-control.

Re: Magically Informative Loot
« Reply #6 on: June 03, 2011, 05:14:38 PM »
Well, it doesn't say "or".  The player can pick magic the player can pick info.  Often it's hard to come up with regular magical things that aren't lame, is all.  Saintandsinner's idea of vague, potential plot hooks is a good one, but it's still challenging.

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sage

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Re: Magically Informative Loot
« Reply #7 on: June 03, 2011, 08:25:46 PM »
SaintAndSinner is completely on the right track. Consider "magic" as permission for the GM to do something weird. The players are basically saying: "it's alright if you make a little trouble for us, we want interesting events to occur!"

This is actually just a minor re-skinning of John Harper's scavenge move from the custom moves chapter of Apocalypse World. It's interesting, as it's a move that toes a thin line of player v. GM authority. Because of that, we've thought about rewrites, but let me explain why it is the way it is for now.

Loot is such a part of the game that it needs at least some guidance, preferably a move, around it. We had some earlier versions of this move that gave the player a lot more authority, but that didn't really work. The GM has authority over the world, the move can't give the players direct authority over that. But it can direct the GM.

This move is one of those places that Dungeon World forces magic to be pervasive. If you want a game where magic isn't pervasive, this is something you'll have to change (and hey! we have a custom moves chapter now that gives you some advice on how to do that). Like SaintAndSinner says, magic doesn't mean +1 sword, or even something beneficial. It means something strange and magical and weird. Let your imagination run wild.

There's a reason that none of the magic items in the book just give +1. I need to add this to the text somewhere, but: a Dungeon World magic item is NEVER just a +1. +1s are mundane, they come and go. Magic works intelligently and interestingly. It changes how you do certain things, or opens up new possibilities.

If you're having a hard time coming up with magic or information, refer to your fronts. Give them something that portends a impending doom (information) or will prepare them for it (magic), or is just a bizarre effect of it (magic).

Re: Magically Informative Loot
« Reply #8 on: June 07, 2011, 12:43:31 PM »
I would think that "information or magic about" could be sort of like a combination of appraise and detect magic.  Why yes, a wizard has touched this recently or those sure are 5gp but look at the mint, they're from the kingdom of Blicken so you know that the bandit king has been raiding farther West...

Re: Magically Informative Loot
« Reply #9 on: June 07, 2011, 12:44:19 PM »
I would think that "information or magic about" could be sort of like a combination of appraise and detect magic.  Why yes, a wizard has touched this recently or those sure are 5gp but look at the mint, they're from the kingdom of Blicken so you know that the bandit king has been raiding farther West...

Nice.

Re: Magically Informative Loot
« Reply #10 on: June 15, 2011, 04:19:27 PM »
So, I'm curious about this:

Quote
You only Loot when you already know there’s something valuable and you’re rooting around to get the most of it. You might Discern Realities to search an ancient laboratory for something useful but you Loot the goblin barracks once you’ve cleared them out, or the corpse of the sell-sword you just put down.

To me, it seems like this restriction is unnecessary, maybe even a little boring.  The way the loot move works, it's already entirely up to GM whether there's anything valuable or not.  If I loot, the GM tells me about gold and gems, then I roll, and then I might get information or magic.  But is seems like there's room to use the move even when there isn't any gold and gems.  And magic, as discussed here, isn't necessarily valuable or even safe.

So why not let me loot when I don't know if there is really anything valuable, per se?

Like, we're attacked by a crocodile, and it doesn't have a red cent on it.  Why not still let the party search the corpse?  Maybe there's the remains of another monster in its gullet, and that tips us off to another threat in the area.  Getting that information will take time and/or trouble, and it even opens up the possibility of rolling a miss and getting in real trouble, so it's not like it's ever going to be uninteresting to loot.*

It also leaves the chance of the GM surprising the party with a little treasure after all: "Actually, yeah, there's few gold coins in its gut, un-corroded by the the stomach acids.  It must've eaten someone pretty recently, for those to still be in there ... wonder if there were survivors?"

It feels a little odd for the party to want to search the corpse, but to have to know there's something valuable there already.  Maybe there are coins in its gut?  Probably not, but how the hell do we know without searching first?  I suppose a Discern Realities roll could be searching, but why not just Loot?  That move seems like a better fit for the task.

* Unless, admittedly, I'm just hell-bent on finding some valuables in this crocodile's guts, and the GM tells me, no, nothing valuable there.  And then I hit a 10+ and pick that the looting is fast and trouble-free.  That would be pretty dull.  But there I'm being kind of stupid, really, risking trouble for very little likely reward ... I'm not going to hit a 10+ every time I do that crap.
« Last Edit: June 15, 2011, 04:27:31 PM by Michael Loy »

Re: Magically Informative Loot
« Reply #11 on: June 15, 2011, 04:26:46 PM »
I would say it makes total sense if you are DMing and your players are carving into every corpse of every creature they slay, and those creatures eat treasure. Then, yeah. Why not?

Re: Magically Informative Loot
« Reply #12 on: June 15, 2011, 04:30:22 PM »
That's not the point.  If the monsters aren't eating treasure on a regular basis, the loot move still lets interesting things come up when the party searches 'valueless' corpses, by letting them hit the information and magic options.

Or rather, according to the quoted text, it doesn't let those things come up.  But why not let it happen?

Re: Magically Informative Loot
« Reply #13 on: June 15, 2011, 04:35:07 PM »
That's not the point.  If the monsters aren't eating treasure on a regular basis, the loot move still lets interesting things come up when the party searches 'valueless' corpses.  Or rather, it doesn't let those things come up, according to the quoted text.  Why not let it happen?

I'm just not sure I buy the Loot anywhere, anytime argument.

Loot seems like a move best reserved for those times when loot being there would be appropriate, based on the DM's agenda/principles I guess.

Otherwise, I loot my trash can. What's in it? Oh, 7-9, I guess there's magic or useful information there. :)

If we're opening up the Loot move to be more free-form, I'd want a clause in there (similar to Open Your Brain in AW), that let's the GM say something like, "You've found all there is to find." And, that might be nothing.

Re: Magically Informative Loot
« Reply #14 on: June 15, 2011, 04:52:57 PM »
That's an excellent point, Michael.