PC's home base

prosfilaes

Adventurer
I was pondering a hypothetical new campaign, where the PCs would be exploring a strange new magical island. Due to the nature of the world, there'd be no Heward's Handy Haversacks or Portable Holes, so they have to find someplace to store their treasure; either in the hands at someone in the port city (where such caches have been known to disappear on a civilization bound ship with keepers who were satisfied with being merely rich for the rest of their lives) or leave it secreted somewhere in the wild.

And then what? Anything you do here as DM can be unfair and unfun, except for the boring leaving it alone. If you steal it, the players may rightly feel that it was arbitrary and there was nothing to do about it. Making a set of rules and letting the players see the rolls might help. Would most players be okay with the "hunt down the thieves" adventure and inevitable continuing lack of certainty? What if the players get paranoid about security to the point it interferes with the game?

It's a lot like a number of evil DM situations. I read one here on ENWorld, about a little girl at home base getting turned into a vampire. I said, "they should have known better" and then paused; they should have known better than what, have any close relation with any low-level character, lest the DM do bad things to that NPC?

When there's someone or something left at home base, how do you handle the potential kidnapping, murder, envampiring, or theft in a way that is realistic and fun for everyone?
 

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steeldragons

Steeliest of the dragons
Epic
An interesting quandary and one, I think, gets hand-waved quite a bit to simply save everyone the bookkeeping elements.

There are a couple of options, imho.

1) The first and, I think, most obvious, is to simply not be a RBDM. Or, if that is "unfun" for you, then don't be an RBDM in this particular area. Namely, leave the "home base" alone.

2) Let the players set up a home base. Hire hirelings/retainers, which presumably they trust, they treat well (and, yes, pay well!) to maintain their allegiance and secure their homestead. Doesn't have to be a battalion of 0 lvl fighters. A trustworthy butler and/or maids/manservants who see to the day-to-day running of their base, keeping the pantry stocked, clean linens for when the group comes back for a decent night's rest in a real bed, all of that.

If the players are going to that trouble, then I suggest, just leave them alone. Can someone break in? Sure, I guess...if you want a little excitement on the homefront. But where's the sense if the heroes aren't THERE to possibly thwart it? How is nabbing their loot while they're not looking going to further, dare I say "better", the story?

3) The other is have them find (i.e. "give them") a base of their own, outside the city. An old fort or something, just far enough outside of town that the locals leave it alone, that's become a hive of humanoid villainy.

They clear it out and its theirs.

Hire or find or (better yet) rescue a couple of yokels for upkeep, whose loyalty will not have to be questioned. And then they just have a workable starting "base" that they shouldn't need to worry about.

I don't know what level of PCs you're talking about, but they ought to at least be able to "detect evil" (maybe a little ESP/detect thoughts?) on the people they hire. Make sure they're not innately sinister/out to get them.

And if you go with the rescued hirelings thing, then just let them be loyal...and useful around the homefront (collecting rumors and news they hear down at the marketplace, knowing who/where the best silversmith is to appraise that lovely candelabra you just nearly died for to bring back, making sure mounts are well-treated, shoed and ready at a moment's notice, food on the table, etc. etc.).

If the characters put in the time and effort to forge good relationships with certain NPCs...then I say, let them have it worry free. Not every (nor even MOST) NPC needs be a secret servant of evil.

As they increase in fame and power, of course the evil forces that be will become aware of their "home base". But then, as they increase in fame and power, they ought to be able to take steps to further secure their homestead....hire additions guards, magical protections (applied by themselves or some hired wizard to do it for them), build up fortifications, whatever.

If I, as a player, set up this whole thing only to come back from a dungeon foray to be told that all our stuff was taken in the night, I would be thoroughly...displeased...not my character, me the player.

And yes, hunting down the thieves might be a nice side line adventure...I suppose. But probably would seem more a railroading annoyance than anything else. If there is some other story arc going on that the party is pursuing and the theft has nothing to do with it...then why did it happen?

Don't get me wrong, I am all for the "reality of the world" going on around and in spite of the characters. But for something like this, a home base is supposed to be a safe haven. They're putting their lives on the line by just geting out of bed in the morning. Let them have a space to keep their stuff. Especially if/since you are taking the "handy carrying stuff magics" off the table.

If the players set it up, let them have it...most of the time. Don't have things happen to it (other than, like, Jeeves telling you you had a visitor/messages while you were away)...so long as the company is paying attention and taking care of their base and staff.

Just a few suggestions/things to think about.
Hope some of it helps.

Have fun and happy base-building.
--Steel Dragons
 

Vascant

Wanderer of the Underdark
Depending on a few things, your group may be a bit spoiled. So keep in mind what is fun for my group may not be fun for yours. Are these things really that normal where it has to be stated "there'd be no Heward's Handy Haversacks or Portable Holes". Also if you keep track of what is put in it I wouldn't be to shocked to find yourself over the limit.

Now this part comes down to personal style I think so not going to state what you should do, merely will state what I do. I am always writing notes in a composition notebook for the campaign, if players leave something behind and I make a note of what and where, also at the time will come up with a small table of what happens to it (This I kind of flesh out as time goes by but it is based on that area and if they are staying in the area you can use this table for a few other things as well). based on what precautions the players take, stuff may be there and may be gone, good luck. The key here is my players know it is based on random luck if their stuff is there or gone. Now do they want to track down there hidden items? That's up to them and could be an interesting evening or evenings.

If they have an actual base of operations, this is where it gets tricky. Based on precautions, the area and enemies I usually come up with a time table of whats going to happen around the base, also important there is a chance the would be thieves fail. I also need to stress much like a bag of holding, there are rules and laws concerning home ownership, nothing like being a land owner to get a group of adventures into politics.

One of the smartest things I learned as a DM is that if I always make my decisions based on actions of the players and never just a wave of the hand, I seldom go wrong or "unfun" because there is always a way for such things to be recovered. Not sure how good you are at just winging it because it may be a few sessions of that, also just because they are not doing what you planned out (exploring some cave some place else) does not mean they are not having fun :)

As stated, this is what works for my group.
 

Hand of Evil

Adventurer
Epic
Have them start an Inn/Tavern that can act as a Guild Hall of adventures. This is an investment, later thay can buy ships or have their good shipped out.

Guild Halls can be fun, because it allows characters to invest in other characters being run in other games, with the Hall getting a % of the take + the cost of setting up the adventure. It is also a great place to provide training, after adventure, for leveling up. It also provides a pool of NPC to draw from.

But then, a "MAP OF MANY PARTS" leading to the players treasure is not a bad idea either.
 

Gilladian

Adventurer
In the last campaign I ran (Ptolus), the PCs got hold of a house over a nice entrance to the sewers/dungeons. They rescued some folks from a necromancer, and kept several of them as personal retainers.

They turned the house into their own personal residence and eventually a pretty substantially guarded manor. Several times I had "bad things" happen around/because of the house. Once, a petty villain who really disliked them spied on them. He got their alcoholic housekeeper drunk, bribed her to tell him lots of stories about the PCs, and then wrote really bad songs about the PCs (he was a bard/journalist). They got played in several local pubs, and drew much unwanted attention onto the PCs, including a break-in by some thieves.

Later, a necromancer spied on them, and they had to chase him off several times; they had to be on watch for quite a while with that one. Even later still, a nasty rogue and his henchmen tried to break in, and did succeed in starting a fire in a secondary building; their watchman had been bribed to look the other way.

In every case, the villains were responding to actions of the PCs. It was never the first move in their relationship. And they only exploited weaknesses that the PCs KNEW about. The drunk housekeeper was a problem they'd dealt with a couple times. She got pensioned off, finally. The bard eventually got run out of town and told never to come back on pain of death. The thieves who tried to burgle the house got lured into the hands of the city watch. Finally, the henchman who was bribed had several times been cowardly, had "failed" several earlier times to be observant and alert (was found asleep on the job once), etc... so they knew he was either incompetent or on the take.

I believe in playing fair with the PCs. If you want to turn a child into a vampire, make SURE there's evidence that the vampires are interested in her. Give the PC's chances to stop it from happening. Don't spring it as a "done deal".

Oh, another example; in my current campaign one PC owns a small farm. He has hired on tenants to run it while he adventures. One tenant family is a group of hobbyts. IMC many hobbyts are good folks, but a few turn to a life of crime. These are going to plant a field full of something similar to opium poppies in a back pasture. Since Jasper completely failed to make any attempt to screen or investigate the tenants he hired, I figure this is fair game. If he pays attention, he may be able to figure out who they'll be selling to - the local thieves' guild. He knows several of them, and one of them may even give him a warning that something's "going on"...

Play fair, always give the PCs room to see that something's coming, and never do something just plain mean. Those are my rules!
 

Desdichado

Adventurer
Is actually holding on to that treasure what makes the game fun for your players?

I think maybe you should think a bit outside of the box. The gathering and hoarding of treasure probably is just a means of "keeping score." If you can find another way to do that, then who cares if there even is any treasure or not.
 

Wednesday Boy

The Nerd WhoFell to Earth
I think the first and foremost recommendation is to know your players. Some players like having hardships and some detest it. Personally speaking, I want the GM to throw hardships my way but in a fair manner. Don't purposefully try to burn the players but if it'll increase the drama and excitement of the story, definitely hit them at home. (And if your players like troubles, follow Gilladian's advice. As a trouble-liking player it was spot on.)
 

Herobizkit

Adventurer
One option my DM offered to me cracked me up because it was fantastic.

We were in an outlands-type area, somewhat far from normal civilization. A local merchant held the monopoly on trade between the towns and villages that dotted the area. He also had a fairly large retinue of caravaneers and guards.

The merchant offered me a "deal". He would safeguard any treasure I found in his underground vault for a one-time cut of 10% of whatever I deposited... every time I made a deposit.

This was a "contract" between my DM and I that said "I won't mess with your stuff, but it's gonna cost you."

Given that my PCs were building rep and some powerful enemies, that was a great deal.
 

prosfilaes

Adventurer
Is actually holding on to that treasure what makes the game fun for your players?

I think maybe you should think a bit outside of the box. The gathering and hoarding of treasure probably is just a means of "keeping score." If you can find another way to do that, then who cares if there even is any treasure or not.

I saw this as connected to a larger issue, that of the "look, an NPC the PCs care about; let's do horrible things to them!"

In the case of this campaign, though, that would be part of the draw. The PCs would be characters from low-magic, mundane monstered lands thousands of miles away, coming to a place with piles of treasure newly exposed for the taking, protected only by monsters and traps. You could have a backstory involving who you're collecting treasure for, or what type of treasure you're looking for, but it's not a setting for characters with subtle goals.
 

Halivar

First Post
Would you ever have the PC's stumble upon the BBEG's fortress while he's away, waltz in, take the loot, and walk right out without so much as a by-your-leave?

No. That's never fun. Likewise, any break-in's should take place while the PC's are there to do something about it.
 

It's not a binary choice of "leave it alone" or "you're a rat bastard DM."

Nothing in your world should be as boring as a safe box in the middle of town in the game of Diablo, whether it's the inn they stay the night in or where they stash their loot. Don't go out of the way to screw the characters, but their home base should be populated with people with goals and ambitions and whose lives continue even when they're not on stage.

Presumably the players won't hand over the keys to their loot to the boozy evil-curious borderline personality guy who can't help flipping through forbidden tomes he comes in contact with. But if you wanted to make the players have to recover the guy who has access to the vault from kidnappers who wanted to get at the PCs' treasure, or simply blackmail them, that's part of playing characters in a living world.

That said, the best way to resolve wealth issues is to spend it. Unless your characters are going to leave this island and retire to become investment bankers, they should be more interested in what their money can do for them in the near term and given opportunities to turn it into stuff they can kill other stuff with.
 


prosfilaes

Adventurer
Would you ever have the PC's stumble upon the BBEG's fortress while he's away, waltz in, take the loot, and walk right out without so much as a by-your-leave?

Why do you say "stumble upon"? You don't think rich adventurers have professional thieves watching them? Are you saying that if the PCs carefully staked out a BBEG's lair, the BBEG would never leave? Whether or not the BBEG is present or not (and there's been adventures where he's not, like S3), it's never waltz in, take the loot and walk right out. And if PCs don't make at least a token attempt at security (which I will give them fair warning about), so it's not waltz in, take the loot and walk out, I will have thieves take their stuff and not feel the least bit guilty about it.
 

haakon1

Adventurer
I let player characters -- particularly if they have a cleric, monk, or paladin to vouch for them -- bank their money with churches.

The church doesn't act as an ATM system -- you can't deposit in one place and withdraw in another and there are neither fees nor interest -- but it does protect their money and keeps records, so if it were somehow stolen (which would be a boneheaded move by the thieves), they'd get their money back from the larger church organization. Unless the records were destroyed too.

I've never seen a reason to mess with that arrangement, though.
 

Hand of Evil

Adventurer
Epic
I let player characters -- particularly if they have a cleric, monk, or paladin to vouch for them -- bank their money with churches.

The church doesn't act as an ATM system -- you can't deposit in one place and withdraw in another and there are neither fees nor interest -- but it does protect their money and keeps records, so if it were somehow stolen (which would be a boneheaded move by the thieves), they'd get their money back from the larger church organization. Unless the records were destroyed too.

I've never seen a reason to mess with that arrangement, though.

;)

Never! Churches, sorry, we saw your money being used for the greater good! Money given to the church is always considered a donation and we thank you for your providing help to soooo many.

Or

Cleric Joe...he left a number of weeks ago, something about taking over his father's estate. It was a shame to see him go but sometimes I just don't think he had given up the material.

:D

This is just a plot hook for any adventure!

Mason jars in the back yard or the walls, it is the only way.
 

Pentius

First Post
If it were me, I'd run the campaign, and there would be danger to the PCs' treasure hoard. However, they would have hints about it, maybe even very direct hints, if they seemed not to get it. If they choose not to place any safeguards on treasure after being told it isn't necessarily safe as is, they get to lose it. I'm a fan of the "Are you SURE? Bad stuff may happen." and then doing it if they persist school of Dming.
 

haakon1

Adventurer
Churches, sorry, we saw your money being used for the greater good! Money given to the church is always considered a donation and we thank you for your providing help to soooo many.

In My Campaign, a Lawful Good church isn't going to screw its own membership, especially members whose ability to get things done (and income, and donations) dwarfs that of most of their membership.

Your campaign may vary, of course . . .
 

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