Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Giving Out Treasure, Part III - How I Build My Hoards

So I finally sat down and finished my throughts on Giving Out Treasure.

Here are Part I
Part II

How I do I generate my hoards?

First, I generate the size of the hoard. I made my own system, based on 3d6 and the GURPS wealth levels. It's a pretty rough system and it's got some flaws (like, as-yet insufficient testing) so I won't post it. But suffice it to say I determine how wealthy a hoard is with dice modified by the usual - depth, threat, etc.

That gives me a total value for the hoard, for all components - magic, money, gems, etc.

Selecting the Contents

Then I turn that into treasure manually, with some rolls off the hugely fun but somewhat time-consuming tables from Dungeon Fantasy 8 (although the author is working on that).

I put in straight value of coins and gems and jewelry, straight value of magic (because the default assumption is use, not sale), and double value of gear or odd goods (because sale value is roughly half, by default). My working idea is that the value is the actually realizable value of the treasure, not its on-paper pricing. If a barrel of wine is worth $500 but sells for $200-250 for a typical delver, I value it at $250. That also nicely means that delvers with superior Merchant skills, reaction bonuses, and wealth can get even more value out the hoard. That changes a higher Wealth level from "realize more of the true value" into "realize more value than was effectively there in the first place." I like that, because my theory I need to place amounts based on how much they need, and if I do that based on full value I'm only providing sufficient reward for high-Wealth delvers, and that is counter to my goal.

I really put them in by feel and what's guarding it - rust monsters don't have magic (steel) swords, gargoyles in my games are magpies so it's all shiny stuff, hobgoblins might have more supplies and weapon spares than ready cash because of their militant nature, weak monsters tend to have small, concealable stuff they can hide from tougher monsters, etc. But this takes some time - I sit with my calculator, my dungeon key document open to the room, and I add in stuff and subtract out the value from the total.

The good part is hoards are idiosyncratic and unique. The bad part is they're time consuming to do, and probably reveal a lot of my biases instead of those programmed into the Treasure Types by some other guys back in 1972.

But that's how I build my treasure hoards, at least until Matt finishes his automatic hoard generator.


  1. I'll take your biases over someone else's any day. I also now know that I need to stack some more Merchant on Galoob!

    1. It won't help - we've abstracted out the "roll Merchant to get a better deal!" thing as lots and lots of dice rolls that won't gain much treasure. We did that briefly and it added a lot of bookkeeping time to the end of the session for a tiny gain in treasure. So while that's true in plain DF, it's not in mine. I just keep it in mind that my system should work universally.

      If you want more take-home wealth, get Wealth!

    2. That makes sense. I'm down with expedient rules that take away some of the tedium without adding much fun. Just need to see if Wealth is worth the points for Galoob, I guess. Will have to get Body Sense and Swimming first, though, because reasons...

    3. Hohoho! Are we planning to risk the teleportation room again? ;-)

    4. Heck no! But that doesn't mean that reading about everyone almost dying didn't teach me that Galoob needs at least one rank of such critical skills to be prepared in the case of an emergency. If those two skills aren't on Mr. Punch's list of everyman skills, I think maybe they should be. I respect and fear Peter's devious craftsmanship (even though the teleport room was DEFINITELY their fault).


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