[RPG] How to make spell components relevant again

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The spell components mechanic has always seemed a bit ham-fistedly handled in D&D since 2nd edition. What should be an interesting way of defining a wizard generally becomes "I have my pouch" and eventually becomes "I have the feat that means I don't need the pouch".

At the same time, forcing a wizard to hunt for spider silk every day seems a bit overbearing.

What sort of techniques could be used to make spell components meaningful? How can I reward wizards that go through the extra effort of working with spell components?

Best Answer

What sort of techniques be used to make reagents meaningful? How can I reward wizards that go through the extra effort of working with reagents?

Once reagents are meaningful, they will reward the player for using them. First off, make them part of the game world: A passing wizard asks to borrow some component, a ritual you are attending requires fragments of the attendees hair or skin, monsters can smell certain reagents.

Secondly, once the players are accustomed to spell materials, take them out of the world. They don't have enough guano to last all the way into the dungeon so a trip to the nearest town is required (side quest ahoy!), or a certain component is confiscated in a city because it's known to be part of a banned spell (perhaps the king doesn't want to be impersonated with polymorph).

Thirdly bring it back, get the players a license for component X for the banned spell, or they embark on an epic quest to gain the feat that removes the need for components. They must train with a senior wizard, who sends them on another quest.

The main point in all of this is don't over do any of the above point, otherwise it loses all meaning, and is no longer a rewarding aspect of the game.

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