Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Is that a lot of treasure?

Just a thought today, nothing really more. I've been reading some adventures recently, for a mix of systems - AD&D, D&D5, GURPS, DCC, and others. I'm more conversant in play with some of them than with others.

One thing that trips me up is - how much is that treasure worth? If someone is paying 250 gp, is that a lot? 500 silver? 2000 copper? Is that a valuable gem worth dying over or just a bit of extra take-home loot?

In games I've played a lot, I can eyeball this. In the ones I haven't, I try to flip around the books and see what that will get you, or what you've expected to spend.

In my own DF game, it's easy enough to relate to weapons and upkeep.

At $150 a week, a full year of upkeep at a normal, fairly pedestrian level of living is $7,800. I've got rules in play for each rough doubling of upkeep to cover lavish living. The top end is $5,000 per week, which is $260,000 per year.

Top-end normal weaponry runs in the high hundreds - and magical weaponry and prefixes on swords and bows can multiply the cost many times over.

Armed with that information, I find it easy to relate to the actual spending value of the money found.

Without it, and without sufficient experience in play, it's hard for me to eyeball.


  1. After years swimming in GURPS, I find the economic systems in many other games to be extremely unrealistic, inconsistent and/or even internally broken. For me, looking prices up breaks the immersion of the adventure. Just my 2 cents.

    1. To be clear, I'm talking about just reading them at this point, not running them. It's just reading, say, "The merchant offers 100 silver!" and knowing if that's fair, a total ripoff, an incredible payoff, etc.

  2. A weeks's cost of living for a couple of hours of work is a pretty good deal even with the risk.

    Probably better pay than being a criminal or mercenary in most parts of the world.

  3. You know... treasure aawarding is always one of those things that's tripped me up. A Pyramid article on that for DF wold be a cool thing. Say if it details how much treasure equals how much general increase in power, how much is used on expected upkeep, etc.

    1. Have you checked DF8? It has a lot of guidelines on treasure and the effects on characters. I think it covers most of that ground - and DF2 covers upkeep (plus DF15, if you're hiring help.)

    2. DF 8 really *is* your friend here. The whole page on "Upgrading Gear" (page 5) is *exactly* addressed to your first question - "How much treasure eguals how much general increase in power". In fact, it outlines thresholds (at $500, $2000, etc) when delvers are usually able to afford upgrades that actually make a difference.

      AND to find an answer to your second question - "how much is used on upkeep?" - you only have to flip back one page to the "Expenses" section (Page 4). So if those are your two main questions, you're in luck!

      Is it cheesy to mention, at this point, that I posted my own system of random tables for DF treasure generation just a week and a half back? I won't link to it - that would *definitely* be cheesy. But it's there, free, if you find it helpful at all.

    3. DF 8 is great for covering "weekly upkeep" and discussing how much PCs will need for Upgrades... but it falls down for me on replenishing consumables.

      It talks around it, but how much should be out there? Enough to replenish 1/2 their consumables? 100% of them? What if you don't know in adcance whether or not the PCs will even use consumables?*

      How do you plan out treasure for an adventure when you don't know how many PCs are coming or what the party will look like? Etc.

      * For instance in the DF games I've played in, the PCs have been loathe to even /use/ consumables... which matches my old D&D days expectations. We used them in emergencies and tried very hard to avoid emergencies.

    4. AH, ok - those are both interesting points. M experience with consumables matches yours - petty much everyone I play with has a strong tendency to hoard, if at all possible. I do it myself, too!

      The question of how to plan treasure when you don't know the size or composition of the party is an interesting one. I've been thinking about that a little, actually, since I've been vaguely considering running an "open gaming table" style pickup game, with (probably) very different players from week to week. (See the sort of madness you inspire, Peter?) So far my planned solution is just to build the dungeon, eyeball the treasure, and then if they find it, they find it.... Which seems a bit like it was Peter's solution, too, though he may correct me on this.

      Peter, I do seem to recall a few posts, back in the early days of Felltower, in which you lamented that you'd put too little treasure into the Dungeon, since the PCs weren't really making any progress after covering costs. Is that right? I seem to remember you then making a decision to be slightly more generous when restocking. Again, I could be misremembering here.

      Anyway, I think that's probably going to be my approach, if I end up running this pick-up game: just eyeball it to start with, and then make adjustments later if it starts to seem like my initial estimates were a bit off.

    5. Hmm. I think I need to get a post up. I really should clean up my stocking and treasure generator rules together but they aren't terribly generic, I am not sure they would suit Pyramid.

    6. I keep trying to adapt the ACKS trade goods to DF, but it's been tricky. It doesn't matter too much in my game, where nobody has high Wealth, but such a system would reward folks with high Wealth since there'd be a big hunk of treasure that has to be sold to have any value.

    7. I think the systems have two basic incompatibilities that make it tricky to merge or adapt them:

      - DF assumes you pull loot out of dungeons, and Wealth is an abstract way of of determining your starting gear and the connections you have in town. With higher wealth you sell things for more automatically. Wealth is an advantage that gives you proportionally more wealth from delves in exchange for less concrete wells to do well on delves. Trading is for NPCs.

      - ACKS (as far as I can tell) assumes trade goods have a basic value independent of the person selling them, and PCs largely sell them for something around that price. Trading is for anyone who wants to trade, and with assumed domain-building that includes PCs.

      It's probably better to wholesale adapt the system, and abandon Wealth as an advantage, or skip it. Wealth in DF is built for looting, not wealth-building, and seems like it will be an obstacle not a help.

    8. Honestly Peter I think a blog post on how you decided how much to stock each level of your dungeon with, even though you didn't know how many PCs you'd be getting, would be an interesting, if maybe short, post to read.

      Unless it was quantum treasure... and then your ideas on how to scale it would be even more interesting.

    9. I posted something just a short time ago:

      Loot, Consumables, and Profit in DF

      I can't give a per-level amount, because I never set it by level. I'd literally have to go and count it all, then list it, and it would tell you little without also knowing how many encounter areas. If I also gave that, well, the PCs aren't aware of how many there are or how much loot was there, or how much is left . . .

  4. "I posted something just a short time ago:"

    Almost perfect. :)


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