So if money can't buy you magical power whenever you've got the cash on hand, what do you do with it?
One of my players asked me that directly. As he said, not trying to argue, just asking, okay, what are we supposed to buy?
Great question. If I'm reining in magic item purchase and that was where money generally went (and your future dream is a shopping scheme), what do you shop for now?
Here is what I visualize money being used for, in a non-domain game situation*:
- weapons (enchanted with basic enchantments** and especially superior mundane weapons)
- armor (ditto, especially superior mundane)
- shields (ditto)
- potions, chemicals, concoctions, etc. (subject to the usual dosage availability)
- minor scrolls
- mundane gear (especially higher-quality gear)
- services (including healing and Resurrection)
- skill training costs
- overspending on upkeep for in-town bonuses to rolls
I'd even expect some bribing monsters (pay X to bypass a fight so you can go get X+1 or 2X or 10X elsewhere), since PCs wouldn't be broke. The PCs did this just to get into the dungeon, for a while, setting the orcs up as guards (and then ruing that every session after).
My ideal is that PCs would be potentially flush with money most of the time, capable of buying the things they need and spending in town as required. I'd rather have guys saying, "I've 75K and I have no idea what I should do with it" instead of "I have a brand new custom-made fine ornate balanced Dwarven Puissance +2 Accuracy +2 Icy Lightning mace with Shatterproof on it and a ring with always-on Dark Vision, and 28 sp. Can someone front me cash for rations? Oh, and upkeep, otherwise I'll crash in the woods and make a Survival roll."
Of course, "buy anything" didn't quite go as planned. If this doesn't, I'll veer the group back onto another route.
* And for what it's worth, if I did have a domain game in mind, I'd:
- ramp up the money a lot.
- ramp up the required loot for XP a lot to match.
- completely cut off magical item purchase but potentially allow hiring enchanters
In other words, I'd scale it all up buy make "build a castle" and "raise an army" viable while kneecapping the ability to buy personal magic power. Instead of looting owlbears for hundreds of coins and buying healing potions and hiring torchbearers, you'd be looting dragons of massive box-cover coin piles and spending it on raising some heavy infantry to help secure your castle.
** Largely Accuracy +1, Puissance +1, Shatterproof, and Continual Light for weapons, Fortify +1 and Deflect +1 and Lighten 25% for armor. Little else.