Posted by : David Guyll February 19, 2011
|It's probably just the orange light |
bulb from the Pulp Fiction Briefcase.
4th Edition operates under a very different assumption: players are supposed to furnish wish lists to the DM, so that he/she can tailor valuable rewards in a more...appreciable manner. Wish lists are kind of a touchy subject with 4th Edition, as it's the first one that I recall explicitly telling the DM to ask for them. Some people take it to mean that the DM should only dole out the items that characters specifically ask for, which can be fine--especially if you are running one-shots, or games where the players cannot easily sell/disenchant/enchant their own loot--though I take a more relaxed stance.
See, as a DM it can be difficult for me to remember what each player has, what their character can use, and what the character wants. To me, a wish list is a way for me to quickly reference all of these things when I'm generating treasure rewards. I try to keep my treasure logical and thematic, so player's aren't always going to get the exact thing that they want, and my players know that. When I was running At The Mines Of Madness, one of the players wanted a specific kind of magical scimitar. I don't remember what it was now, but I ended up giving him a byeshk sword, which was A) a weapon he could use, and B) really useful considering that they were fighting wall-to-wall aberrants.
What he wanted? No. Useful? Hell yes. It's because 4th Edition is the first D&D edition that I've played where the players really don't need treasure in order to overcome obstacles, that this is something I feel a lot safer doing. In past editions, you might have needed a magical sword to overcome a creature's damage resistance, and if you went further back, some were immune to weapons without a sufficiently high enhancement bonus. In 3rd Edition, items with static bonuses to ability scores are virtually mandatory. Not so anymore, as characters are mostly defined by their class as opposed by their magic item suite.
Recently a fellow player and I decided that our group should post character information on Google Docs so that the DM would have an easy and convenient way of tracking our personalities, goals, journals, and...wish lists. As a player, this is something new for me. Unfortunately (fortunately?) there's a lot of items in the game, and I'm playing a class that I've never played before (cavalier). I've decided to meet the DM halfway, literally by filling out roughly half of my own wish list with a few items and leaving the rest blank, so that I can be better surprised (which is how I suspect a lot of players do it).
Anyway, that's my thoughts on wish lists: use them as guidelines, not set-in-stone instructions. Try to cater to the character's needs, but don't sacrifice the integrity of the game if it doesn't make sense.