marycatelli (marycatelli) wrote,

the DM vs the writer, on magic objects

Novels don't lend themselves as well to a plenitude of magical objects as a game does.

In a game, there is no Chekhov's gun. If you give the party a horn of bubbles, the players will not object that they never find a use for it. Readers will object that it's silly up to the point where the rescued princess plays on it and is surrounded by "cursed" bubbles while the adventurers (who can fight) fight off the bad guys while she's protected.

Furthermore, the readers expect it to have some significance. Why did someone create it? Was it a misfire of an intended object? Is it valued for its protective value, which does drain drama AND lose an opportunity for a character to be clever? Players will just accept objects.

And a DM can throw lots of items at the party and hope that they will come up with new and surprising ways to use them. And if they don't, well, that's not something that should (or can) be revised out.

And that's not getting into how the objects need to have drama. They can't all be the One Ring but they need significance, and to reflect on the plot and the character arc with their powers and other traits. There's a limit to how many objects like that you can fit in.
Tags: fictional history, plot devices, role-playing games, the dm vs the writer, theme, world-building: magic (objects)

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