Recently I've been tightening up some of the purchase of permanent magic items in my DF game. Mostly it's because people buying magical items is a large load of time on me. Even given price lists, cost calculations, and simple availability rolls, I still need to be involved in answering cost if it's available, how it works if you get it, how long it takes to get, and then is it available at all . . . and at any time the player might say, "Nah, too much."
But there is also the issue that if I put a magical item in the dungeon, the PCs received a magical item. They might turn it into cash, but it's a cash value that is less than what the item is worth to use - you can't find a magical shortsword and trade it in for an equally magical broadsword, you lose a big chunk of value selling it.
But if I give people money, I'm effectively giving them carte blanche to augment their personal power in any way - it's a wildcard magic item. It's not 20,000 apiece in silver, it's 20,000 silver in cash and magical items of your choice once you get back to town. Ironically this makes cash more valueable than rare magical items because it's more flexible.
On top of that, people then spend themselves dry. Since any coin not spent on permanent magical items that buff your abilities is a permanent reduction in power, people spend everything they can on gear. The best possible magical gear, since it's on a cost-comparative basis with mundane gear.
That was fine early on in the game, when people lacked items and it wasn't clear how long we'd play or the long-term dynamics of "money equals magic items of my choice."
But as we've gone on, the spectre of broke guys in magical plate armor with fine swords gleaming with magical power and belts full of potions living hand-to-mouth and griping about $40/day hirelings being too expensive became a pretty standard development. People generally had broke characters with between $50K and $150K+ worth of gear. They had Maseratis and Ferraris and took up a collection for gas.
I realize this wasn't what I wanted - no one did anything really interesting with money because upgrading gear was too important. Until you have a backup of everything, all Puissance +1 or better, the best magical armor possible, a spare of everything magic'ed up, amulets and rings and bracelets with permanent protective magic on them, and unlimited healing potions you don't want to do crazy stuff like pay for research or splurge on better living in town just to get a few useful but ephemeral bonuses. Even the party animal PCs didn't really live it up, because you're always saving for a special magic item. That's really counter to how I'd like the game to play out.
And like I've advised a number of times - if the game is going where you want it to go, keep going. If not, turn back in the direction you do want to go.
So I dramatically cut back on the magic items you can get freely, reigned in the ones you can special order (and put an availability roll onto special orders - there aren't craftsmages sitting by to forge you a sword and then magic it up), and cut off most of the rest. Upping the price to $20/point across the board helped, too - even minor enchantments are pricey enough to make mundane gear look better. Had I it all to do again, I'd simply say magical items are not available for purchase except under special circumstances - one-off encounters with people selling things, say, or offered in exchange for cash as part of a reward. But too much rides on custom gear now to say you can't get it any more, and I'm okay with that.
But then that leads to a question - what is money for in GURPS Dungeon Fantasy: Felltower?
I'll go into that question tomorrow.