We're playing D&D 5E. I've got a good party of 4 players. They've completed 4 mini-quests and made significance progress on the first stage of the main campaign. After each mini-quest, I've given them 1 homebrew artifact. I thought it was obvious that each character should end up with one. However the group has each time given them to the same player.

I don't think it is because of his domineering personality (although he is more than a bit domineering). At least two of the artifacts, he even said would be better for another character to use. They still all thought he should take them (one of the few times they didn't do what he said should be done).

What if anything should I do about this? Everyone seems to be having fun, so I'm reluctant to say anything overt. Plus it won't be until the final battle of phase I of the main campaign that the abilities of all 4 artifacts will be actually needed.

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    \$\begingroup\$ So, to clarify, the other players were the ones suggesting they give their items to this player? \$\endgroup\$
    – Ben
    Commented Aug 15, 2018 at 1:48
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    \$\begingroup\$ Are any of the magic items/artifacts sentient? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 15, 2018 at 2:41
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    \$\begingroup\$ Can this player make full use of all 4 items, throughout a single combat? Throughout a single adventuring day? Do you know why the rest of the party wants this player to have all the artifacts? Is it in or out of character motivations? Depending on the answers, there may be no problem to fix. You call them "artifacts", so they sound quite powerful, do these items require attunement? \$\endgroup\$
    – Ruse
    Commented Aug 15, 2018 at 3:06
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    \$\begingroup\$ "What should I do" is a very vague and opinion-based question. If you instead focus your question on how to accomplish a certain goal (e.g. "How do I ensure an equitable distribution of rewards?"), that question may be more answerable. (Subjective questions can still be answered, as long as there's a way to judge a "best answer"; answers should be supported by personal experience or citations.) \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Commented Aug 15, 2018 at 3:13
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    \$\begingroup\$ You should change the title, as is, it sounds like a domineering player is using rogue thievery or has a stronger character that's forcing the other characters to give them loot. People will come here to answer that. Your actual issue is that the other characters seem less interested in the loot. Additional details would also help. Are the less interested players giving items to the more experienced player? Thinking that they will carry them? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 15, 2018 at 6:16

1 Answer 1


Foreshadow the final battle and the need for all four to be used

It depends entirely on the nature of the artifacts, the battle, and so on, to determine how best to do this, but prophecy usually works pretty well. Introduce the idea of four heroes, each with a mighty artifact, as part of the prophecy, and (in vague, poetic terms) describe them being used in unison against the foe.

Or have appropriately wise NPCs observe that the artifacts work well together, and other NPCs speculate on the heroes’ being “destined” to use each, and so on.

But draw it out; leave it be for a while, maybe drop cryptic hints here and there, only getting clearer as the battle approaches. After all, they’re having fun as-is for now, so that’s fine. You have some time for them to get the “proper” idea.

Consider having the artifacts “grow” in ways specific to the characters

Have them maybe respond to a move or spell used by the character the artifact “should” go with, or proximity to that person and their faith/patron/whatever their power source is, or whatever. Have the artifact develop features—minor, probably, but there—that will only work for that person (or at least a member of that person’s class/race/whatever). It will make the “this will work better for you than for me” a stronger case.

Again, draw this out, don’t do it immediately, and don’t be heavy-handed about it.

Plan for how things are going to go if they just don’t listen

You have a battle in mind, where you expect that these artifacts will be used in conjunction. Think about what it means if someone has none of them, and another has more than one: will the one without be able to survive on the battlefield at all? If so, will they be able to contribute at all? Will the one with more than one be able to apply both during the battle, even inefficiently? And if the answer to any of these questions is just a hard no, will there be opportunity to realize that, and transfer the artifact to the appropriate person?

The answers to at least some of these should be “yes.” The players may well end up doing something you consider obtuse, for reasons that seem good to them, and you shouldn’t bank too hard on them not doing so.


You suggest and incentivize the appropriate distribution, but in a way that isn’t pushy or railroading: it fits within the narrative of the game, and allows the characters to come to their own conclusions. And then you prepare for the possibility that those conclusions aren’t the ones you’d hoped for.

And that should maximize the chances of you having the final battle go the way you are aiming for.


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