Sunday, May 30, 2021

DF Felltower: Loot Thresholds Change

We're officially switched from the "hybrid" method for loot thresholds to the one described in DF21.

So instead of this:

Method 3

Required Profit (Tiered, 100, then 50 point spread)
Up to 249 Points: $100 each (1/5 Struggling)
250-349 Points: $200 each (1/5 Average)
350-399 Points: $400 each (1/5 Comfortable)
400-449 Points: $1000 each (1/5 Wealthy)
450-499 Points: $4000 (1/5 Very Wealthy)
500+ Points: $20,000 each (1/5 of Filthy Rich)
Every Additional 100 Points: x10

. . . we're using this:

Method 2 (aka the rules that made it into DF21)

Required Profit (50 point spread)
Up to 249 Points: $100 each (1/5 Struggling)
250-299 Points: $200 each (1/5 Average)
300-349 Points: $400 each (1/5 Comfortable)
350-399 Points: $1000 each (1/5 Wealthy)
400-449 Points: $4000 (1/5 Very Wealthy)
450+ Points: $20,000 each (1/5 of Filthy Rich)
Every additional 50 points: x10

This does mean the PCs need to take home more loot. Very suddenly, the big boys will need more loot.

Yes, yes indeed.

I have been putting a lot of loot in the dungeon. I've gone back multiple times and upped it. There is a lot. The PCs haven't been able to track down so much of it.

So be it.

I'm just tired of 325-350 point delvers taking home $200 and getting 4 xp for it. They could literally explore one new room, and each kill one sword-armed orc and sell his sword and shield at 40% and get 5 xp. 20 delves, 20 rooms, 20 orcs, and 100 xp. Eh. That's my fault. So is 400-449 point PCs taking home $200 and getting 2 xp a session. 449 point guys solo killing one orc and heading home with his gear shouldn't be getting any XP, nevermind 2 points for loot.

I can see the point of players who have trouble locating loot. But they've spent a good chunk of time not being very effective at finding loot, and a fair bit of time generating 5 xp from searching 1-2 new places and divvying up loot finely so most or all of the PCs get 4 xp for loot from selling scrap, assorted weapons taken from fodder foes, and a few bits and bobs from here and there. And that's from PCs routinely spending huge amounts of resources to get that loot, and then divvying it up to maximize XP.

I'm okay with unequal loot distributions, but it's annoying just how often a miserably poor delve is "good enough" for guys with 70, 80, 90 xp over starting.

I had briefly considered saying loot couldn't be unequally distributed, but it's not really the issue. The issue is being able to get full xp for a session for getting a disappointing amount of money for a disappointing amount of scrounged loot. PCs shouldn't routinely be hauling home scrap, selling random old weapons, and taking home pocket change and turning it into significant permanent power gains.

Will you add more loot? Will I be adding more loot? Not really. I already put in a lot - but the PC's habits have been built around minimizing risk while maximizing the ability to take home just enough loot. So be that, too . . . just that this means $20K for the really high point PCs and $5K for them to even get 2 xp. There is a lot of loot to be found, and while it's not necessarily easy to be found it's out there and it is known . . . but avoided, because it's risky. This is yet another push towards risk. The game is really geared to tactical caution and strategic risk-taking, but it's played wuth tactical risk-taking and strategic caution. This may help.

How did your players react when you discussed this? We didn't. I just up and decided this. I'd been thinking I mis-set the XP thresholds for years, now, and I finally made the decision.

Any other big ideas? Maybe. It might be interesting to do XP for loot based on 3 sub-tiers. Instead of 4 xp for full loot and 2 xp for 20%-99% of that, 0 below that, you could do 4 xp for meeting your threshold, 2 xp for meeting the next threshold down (ranging from 1/2 to 1/5 of your level), and 1 xp for the level below that. So 250 point guys could get 4 for $200, 2 for $100-199, 1 for $1-99. 450 point guys would be 4 for $20K, 2 for $4K, 1 for $1K. That one I will put up to the group.

Something like that couples really well with awarding XP based on the total, not the split, too - but I don't want high-point delvers essentially dragged down by bringing along henchmen or lower-point PCs. That would bother me even more than the split-to-the-single-dollar handouts my players do to maximize the xp gained by the group.


  1. Personally, I really like the 3-Tier xp threshold a lot. The idea that the old loot from before still works but isn't sufficient is appealing to me. Yes, going and killing a few orcs is a good way for low point guys to get loot. But if you take any PC from the group, each of them (MAYBE excluding a caster or two [emphasis on maybe]) could easily dispatch 5+ orcs solo. That still feels deserving of something, if only 1xp.

    1. Let's talk about that amongst the group. It's not as simple as 20%, but it's an interesting way to deal with it. But it's worth thinking if it's worth it.

      It just might end up with people trying to get slightly more swords than before just to get 1 xp for some 500 point guy, though, which is a bit of a concern.

  2. Perhaps the problem is that they get XP for scrap. If XP for loot represents increase in reputation for doing things that impress the masses like coming home rich, then perhaps you should consider excluding money obtained from selling mundane gear. Classify items as treasure and not-treasure, and only allow the money gained from treasure to count. Thus you might say coins, gems, jewelry, and magic items are always treasure and mundane gear is never treasure unless it is ornate or has some specific modifier(s). It never feels good to me playing D&D that players will slaughter a band of humanoids or bandits, take back 40 crude short bows and leather armors, sell them, and get 10x more XP than defeating dozens of humanoids. I think the same applies to your game. Coming back with a legendary sword or ornate plate armor is one thing, but 20 broken spears and 12 rusty swords should not given ANYONE experience. In my opinion.

    1. I'll have to look at how to implement that, but I think that's an idea really worth exploring. I'll get endless "Just checking if this particular bow is special" but it might still be the way to go.

    2. It might complicate your end game tallies since you allow distributing loot unequally for XP calculations. Now they may bring in $10,000 in a session but only $8,000 of it might be XP-worthy "treasure" and the rest was from selling dungeon furniture and orc swords. So the distribution to characters now has two factors, loot worth XP and loot to just fill your purse. They could allocate $2,000 of "treasure" to one player and $200 of "treasure" to another to fulfill the XP threshold requirements, but that $200 guy might also get $900 of non-XP salvage. It could be annoying with your players being so intent on meta-gaming the heck out of the XP system, but I think "Just checking if this particular bow is special" won't be much of a problem. At most they waste encumbrance carrying it back, have it checked by a pro who says "nah, I've still got 50 of those from your last trip." Or you could just come right out and tell them when they find it what is treasure and what is salvage: "You loot the orcs and find 12 leather armors, 4 crossbows, 8 double-bladed axes, and 4 swords. One of those swords stands out as extremely finely decorated." Boom, they know that sword gives XP and the rest is just plain old gear.


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