when treasure was special

33101bersI’m not sure if the term holds any meaning for a modern gamer, but the BG games are what old schoolers would call a “Monty Haul” campaign.  See, there used to be (and has since been resurrected) a game show called Let’s Make a Deal, during which contestants could very easily win a disproportionately generous prize compared to any skill or effort they put forth, which was in contrast to most game shows, where being good at something in competition with others might earn you a more reasonable reward.  This was applied to D&D campaigns, typically run by new or incompetent DMs, where the characters faced the burden of not having enough things to spend their piles of gold coins on, and the tough choices about which magic weapons to take along on the next adventure.

BG is like this, especially the sequel and its expansion.  Finding that first magic weapon in a character’s career used to be a special moment.  In these games it’s more likely something to be sold at the nearest pawn shop for nothing more than a bigger number in the “Gold Carried” box.  The inventory system doesn’t do anything to discourage the OCD habit of nabbing anything of value, either to horde as part of a collection, or simply to sell.

Not counting random treasure, throughout the BG games there are over 100 instances of magical leather armor, not including uniques.  There are well over 50 long swords +1 alone.  What makes this worse is that the generic examples are nothing more than things to be sold, because the best equipment is always a unique item of its kind.  Combined with the stinginess of many item types — there’s only one buckler +1 — and the ridiculousness of a world awash in magic items becomes overwhelming.


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