Over at the premier Dungeons & Dragons message board site, member Michael Morris offered a neat little idea (here) on how he builds his D&D world. It’s so good that I haven’t been able to keep it out of my mind as I work to expand it, so here goes …
In every D&D setting the most precious bit of treasure is always magic items. In these settings magic can be infused into all sorts of things from swords to sandals, your characters are always stumbling into one thing or another.<IMG hspace=10 src="/images/32905-30753/gdmoonthumb.jpg” width=300 align=right vspace=10>
That leads to a problem every now and again — sometimes adventurers can’t use everything they find. Actually, it’s not just “sometimes” it’s a lot of the time.
So, the adventurers lug all those goodies from wherever they found it, take it to a town and sell it.
The question is who do they take it to? Who has that kind of cash to buy up every magic dagger, special potion and odd-sized piece of mystical armor that shows up at their doorstep?
And even more perplexing — how do they keep someone else from stealing it?
Michael Morris had the perfect idea: Dragons.
He suggested that the entire magic-trade, the world across, is largely brokered by dragons, namely the metallic dragons.
These monsters have the cash on hand, the ability to protect their investment and the desire to make it all work.
Since metallic dragons are good-aligned, they naturally want to make sure that they redistribute magic items to equally good individuals. It just makes sense that they want this.
Likewise, even a fairly young, inexperienced dragon is a match for most adventurers. Even if one particular dragon isn’t, messing with one is sure to bring the wrath of a more powerful one. That takes care of their security issues.
Additionally, dragons are highly mobile, so they could certainly engage in trade with one another. Namely if Dragon X gets a hold of a +5 halberd, he can trade it with Dragon Y. Then Dragon Y can sell it to the warrior he knows is specialized in the use of the halberd.
To top it all off, this helps fix a problem with of a lot of D&D monsters, namely why good adventurers would ever need to interact with good-aligned monsters. When these good creatures are in charge of key things like magic items or planar travel or healing abilities, then it gives the story-telling DM a chance to use them to make the game a little more about role-playing and a little less about killing and looting.
Image can be found here.