imagination, don’t you? Your game is over for the evening and your players are happy as alligators in the New York City sewer. They finally defeated the dragon/evil gangster/alien menace. Goodie for them. Now they are all looking at you to hand out their characters reward- gold pieces, magic items, advanced technology…whatever. Here is another great opportunity for you to screw up, so don’t. Take my advice and reward them sparingly but fairly.
If you heap tons of cash and experience points on them, they will think you’re a chump and push for more and more every game. If they have to fight three Black Wizards and an army of trolls for ten copper pieces and a used Q-tip, they ain’t gonna be happy either. Like any good Jedi, you have to bring balance to the force.
Most new GMs screw this up by handing out lots of swag early in a campaign because they want the characters to get the gear needed to go on to the next level where the “real” adventure is. Problem is- players grow to expect such bounty every time they push over a street thug. Before too, long your party is made up of uber-macho super heroes who easily bat aside, or buy away, any threat you throw at them. The players get bored and your game dies a slow death. If you try to fix this problem half way through the campaign, you will find them wondering why the “real” adventure involves pocket change and the
“preliminary” game yielded gold plated, platinum sports cars.
Keep it fair and keep it simple. Give a reasonable reward for the successful completion of each game scenario, and leave it at that. Your players will not feel ripped off, and you will be able to keep some measure of control over the direction of your campaign. Believe it or not, they will actually appreciate the modest swag that they earned more than the buckets of gold that you just let fall in their laps. There, was that such a hard thing to figure out? I didn’t think