The one and only time I tried LARPing, I was assigned to NPC duty. As a newly-minted ice mephit my job was to accost adventurers, shout “five cold damage” whenever I hit someone with a boffer, and fall over once I’d lost 12 hp. I later found out that this was not my favorite pastime.

I bring it up here because I had one additional duty. I’d been given a small slip of paper that read “healing potion” on it, and was instructed to hand it over to the vanquishing heroes who managed to slay me. Unfortunately, my instructors were somewhat vague on finer points of corpse etiquette. No sooner had I gone down than I hopped back up, dusted myself off, and handed across the treasure like it was a flyer for some hot new DJ.

“Zounds!” said the dude in the plastic lorica. “Ne’er before have I seen the dead so eager to give up their bounty!”

I guess they were supposed to prod me with their boots and say ‘I search the bodies.’ Major faux pas on my part. It is an instructive moment for tabletop GMs though.

You see, I want my players to find the good loot and discover the cool secrets. But at its most extreme, that impulse metastasizes into Monty Haul GMing. Treasure feels more valuable when you actually have to work for it. Making a difficult search check, fixating on a tell-tale bit of flavor text, or lucking out and pulling the right sconce can all lead to cool gaming moments. But at its most extreme, an insistence on “active searching” puts players in the obnoxious position of having to announce “I look for treasure” every five feet. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

I suspect that there’s a happy medium between monster piñatas that explode into magic swords and tight-fisted dungeons that demand Tomb of Horrors levels of investigation. And that of course leads us to our question of the day. How much of the ‘hunting’ do you like to remove from  treasure hunting. Does the key to all mysteries lie in mechanics like passive Perception, or should there be rewards for players who actively investigate their environment? Tell us all about your best body looting practices and room searching techniques down in the comments!


GEEKY GREETING CARDS For a limited time only this holiday this season, we’re bringing back our dice ornament X-mas cards over on Laurel’s Etsy store. We’re also rocking our ever-popular d20 Class prints, now updated to include designs for the Artificer, Warlock, and GM. So come one come all! Whether their alignment is Naughty or Nice, give a geek in your life a happy holiday.


BONUS LOOT! Check out The Handbook of Heroes Patreon. We’ve got a sketch feed full of Laurel’s original concept art. We’ve got early access to comics. There’s physical schwag, personalized art, and a monthly vote to see which class gets featured in the comic next. And perhaps my personal favorite, we’ve been hard at work bringing a bimonthly NSFW Handbook of Erotic Fantasy comic to the world! So come one come all. Hurry while supplies of hot elf chicks lasts!