The first addendum I'd like to ask is about items and giving PC and NPC's items. I am aware that there is a guide to when to let players have items in both the DM guide and Magic Item Compendium as well as a recommended item list at the end of PHB II but still I feel it is always weird to do equipment both for giving it to PC's and to NPC's. The most common problem I usually have is when is it appropriate to give X item to X PC and what helps balance the campaign so that Y PC doesn't feel like he's not getting as many items that are useful to him as X PC. Also how do you gear for NPC's without making them white-wash repeats of each other; a big problem I had in the past and occasionally still have is that I tend to use the same profile for townsguards, shopkeeps, etc. and then my PC's defeat them and behold it's the same gear they always see on them; I want to be a bit more original on this but I just need a second opinion on whether this is smart. Another thing with my players is that they will never forget to loot a body for gear (which I had to argue the moral integrity of 2 LG characters looting bodies once); this is fine in and of itself until my PC's started to just collect everything from bodies and I mean everything, so much so that I almost stopped giving out bags of holding so that'd they'd understand the weight value of what they were carrying in gear. So my real questions here are what do think is the best way to do giving your PCs gear; how do you make it so that all NPC's are not equipped with the same gear but yet does not make it so that you have to put valiant effort into NPC's you know are just going to die or are otherwise unimportant; and what to do about NPC body looting?
The next question is slightly related to the first as it has to deal with gold and monetary rewards. I admit that my biggest flaw as a DM is handing out gold rewards bc/ while I spend time balancing a fight and calculating challenge rating and exp awards the whole money business is well a second thought (typically I just use the table). This has however become problematic as I have had PC's running around with what should be way too much money for a PC of their level or with way too little of what they should have for their level. So I'm asking what do you recommend or believe works for monetary rewards and how do you typically balance gold gain so that they don't have too much nor too little?
The final question I believe I have is with how to keep a fight balanced; mind you as I said earlier I spend hours pre-testing battles with all roll's at an about average roll before throwing it at them but sometimes your players do things that are unwise or Creed worthy in play. Unwise-Trying to ride a Remorhaz with no ranks in ride or handle animal and not rolling knowledge arcana to find out anything about it first; Creed worthy- Cast a fire spell to melt ice beneath the monster feet instantly trapping it to next turn cast create water at max range above it so 100's of pounds of ice fall on it. I mean we all kind of account for these kinds of things happening but my major problem is getting my players to work together as well in real combat as they do in my pre-test combat. For instance in pre-test I'll have the cleric start off with buff spells, then moving into melee and providing extra support but...in real combat he'll do something like cast a shatter spell at a place concealed in a darkness spell knowing that the way I DM he'll have a percentage to shatter somebody elses very fancy heirloom weapon if he does so, will do so anyway shatter a PC's weapon and leave them both worse off for it; I mean it's great when it succeeds but it's as bad a team play as when a wizard on a team of people with low dex cast a fireball into a 20x20ft room with them all inside it to try and kill one monster that he could clearly see they were handling (this has happened before btw). This has lead to complaints sometimes about combat being too hard but as I've reasoned with my players before it's about team dynamic and while I won't hold you to know other characters strengths and weaknesses or even to get along with the other PC's as well as I'm making them do in pre-test combat I don't feel it is unfair to expect them to at least try and work together and to know YOUR OWN strength and weaknesses and to figure out how you should be applying and working around them with the group (that's one of the funs of DnD after all). If I'm being unreasonable about this let me know but other than that any tips about what I could do to improve their combat situation without making it so that a group of PC's hitting each other would still only escape with the damage they did to themselves that would be great.
Thanks in advance and I look forward to your answers.