I came into the hobby of DnD (and subsequently, any table top RPG) not so long ago, so it's been a major learning experience everytime I play. However, not all of that is just in the rules that you become more familiar with, but in the techniques you pick up on successfully playing the game.
Recently, it's become a bit of a problem how items have been distributed in my game. It seemed worthwhile, then to share what I've learned so far about actually giving out items in a game.
- Who else can do it?
Alternatively, most games include charts of how "wealthy" adventurers should be at certain levels of advancement. If you give them something far more valuable than they should have at that point, it's quite possible it's too powerful for them to have.
- Shotgun vs. Machine Gun
The frequency of encounters where the item might be used are critical in this. If you only need to fire a gun once a day, then your guys are probably only going to need one bullet a day; anymore than that, and you've probably given them more power than they can handle. On the other hand, if they're firing that gun five times a day, then one bullet is going to limit the usefulness of that gun, although its use could probably be much more dramatic at that point.
- Does it have a downside?
If you play the games, I hope you found the post helpful. If you don't, well, I at least hope you haven't gone into dork overdose; you'll be hard-pressed to find an HMO that covers it.