On the Generation of Treasure

Current Players should not read this treatise on the generation of treasure.

This is for a upcoming section of the dwarven fortress my group is currently exploring. It is an 80+ room complex (for now) with two lower cavern levels remaining to be mapped.

I have (on average) a five person party, in a first edition game without using the training rules. Supplementing the rules are a bunch of domain activities designed to eat up the player gold, including carousing, research, information gathering, hijinks, and more.

Average experience for a mixed party that is first level to reach second level is about 1750. With five players that's 8750xp. I'm giving 1 experience point per gold piece (with less awarded for weaker encounters - nice bit of text from Gygax there), meaning once I give out 8000 gp the party should gain a level. I'm going to set out 4 times that much treasure to account for a variety of factors listed before, such as henchmen, missing treasure, PC death, and other ways that it can leave the campaign.

The gold total above is a generous amount, especially due to the ability of players to convert gold to experience. I'm shooting high for a couple of reasons; this is game focused on Domain play with relatively early and rapid advancement, and it allows me to be devious with treasure. .

I then take that number (8750 gp) round it up (9000 gp) and multiply it by 4 or the number of the members of the party. (45000 gp) This is how much treasure I'm going to spread around my castle.

As I said, I have 80 rooms. I know that my 1st edition room stocking table says that 20% of those rooms will contain treasure - either loose or guarded by a monster. So I'm going to take my total gold (45000) and divide it by the number of rooms with treasure (.2 x 80 = 16). (45000/16) Means each room should have a total of 2812.5 gp of treasure. I round that down to 2800. Then, since a variety of treasure should be found, I separate that out into parcels. Usually I go for 4-6 parcels (more for lower level characters) but since 28 divides by 7 so nicely and that gives us smaller parcels, I come up with a figure of 400gp per parcel and I should distribute approximately 112 parcels throughout the dungeon.

I picked 7 parcels, because I want a larger variety of treasure and more options to put something valuable in a room that doesn't come up as treasure - often I'll put a silk screen or a rug in an otherwise 'empty room' (i.e. a room without an encounter in it e.g. a 'monster' 'trick/trap' or 'treasure') and that will have value. These values above give the range for this number, but none of the above needs be done - you can just set what you think is an appropriate parcel size! Some guidelines for this and several other generation methods are contained in my DM1: Interesting Treasure document.

Now that I have my parcel size, I draw my map and number all my rooms. Then, I roll on the stocking table. I've already done 27 of the rooms, so I'll roll the d20 for the next 10 rooms.

28: 11 Empty
29: 5 Empty
30: 19 Trick/Trap
31: 10 Empty
32: 15 Monster and Treasure
33: 8 Empty
34: 20 Treasure
35: 3 Empty
36: 11 Empty
37: 1 Empty

30 is actually a secret room, so I'll have to come up with something special for that. For this example, I'm going to focus on rooms 32 and 34.

32 is a small alcove, and it's behind an area where a bunch of deadly monsters have set up shop, so it will likely either be an undead creature, a construct or one of the other creatures that can survive or be found in dungeons listed in Appendix E: Dungeon Monsters from DM2

34 is a closed room in a fairly central area, so it is likely a storeroom of some kind.

To provide more character to these areas, I roll on the random room table to determine the type of room that these extend from. I use the tables from my DM2: Tricks, Empty Rooms,and Basic Trap Design document. I get gallery for room 28 (from which 32 projects) and Treasury for my second roll (from which 34 is a closed door)

For room 32, I pick 'ghoul' as my monster, because it can eat the flesh left from the blood drained corpses in the outer room. I check the treasure type for ghoul. I will design some tactics and interest around the monster, ghouls after all are not mindless, but again, that's not what we're interested in here. I use the Hackmaster stats for my monsters and it says treasure type is B, and T. B as a hoard type contains a variety of items - a chance for everything off the list. T indicates 1-4 scrolls.

ACTUAL TREASURE GENERATION STARTS BELOW.

Using the treasure document, I see that a hoard of type B is a huge hoard, with an average treasure value of 250gp per parcel. I'm going to ignore that and use my value of 400gp per parcel. I see that a 'huge hoard' contains 6+2d4 treasure units. I then roll the dice and get a 1 and a 3, for a total of 10 treasure units. I then roll 10 times on the types of treasure table.

I do not roll on the base value of the hoard table because I'm not using a naturalistic method of treasure distribution or the default parcel value. (I'm using the classic values)

My my. My lucky players:

Jeweled Items: I
Coins: III
Furnishings and Clothing: III
Gems: I
Magic Items: II

This is a somewhat lucky roll, being that the advantage of gems and magic items is that they are not capped by parcel value. I then check to see what the treasure is contained in (roll a d10, get a 1), and got bags or sacks. I think only the coins will be in bags or sacks, and some of the furnishings will likely be something else that holds treasure.I check my 1 in 20 chances for treasure to be trapped or hidden and get an 11 and a 20. Since the treasure is neither trapped nor hidden I go ahead and determine the furnishings first.

Furnishings & Clothing:
I have three parcels, each worth 400 gp for a total of 1200 gp. I want something large that can contain things, and figure any clothing wouldn't be in very good shape. I roll percentiles on the Furnishings table and get blanket, so I keep rolling. My next roll gives me a box, better, but I want more, so one more time. My third roll gives me an armchair. I treat the box as one of those storage ottomans.I read over the list of adjectives and types of improvements to furnishings and come up with the following.

An ornate iron dwarven armchair, with decorative cobalt inlay. (900gp) 65lbs. + Bulky
A hollow slate ottoman with a removable lid, upholstered in woven twill. (200 gp) 35lbs. + Bulky
Covered in a chiffon blanket (60gp)

Coins:
I roll a d12 once for each parcel (three) and get a 9, 11, and 12. Since the last treasure was just a little shy of 1200, I add some value to the sack.

400 gold coins, 200 hard silver, and 80 platinum are in a moleskin sack (10gp) next to the chair.

Jeweled Items:
I roll percentiles and get an aiguillette

The sack is tied with a black cord (made from horsehair) the end of which has a platinum aiguillette studded with 3 very small very fine rubies. (400 gp)

Gems:
I roll on the gem table, starting with a precious stone, (because our parcel size is 400gp). I roll for size and quality. I get a Kunzite with minor inclusions. I roll d300/2+75 for the value of the gem (because gems and artwork are not tied to parcel size) and get 202gp


Inside the ottoman is a single Kunzite gem with minor inclusions (202gp)


Magic Items:
I roll on the magic item table. I get armor and shields and a scroll. Since I'm already giving out 1-4 scrolls (hello ghoul), I re-roll the scroll value and get Miscellaneous magic, bags. I also don't tie magic items into parcel value - I'm using the Hackmaster tables, but any random generation table will work. I use my armor table to make the armor interesting (those are still in progress and not available to the public, my interesting weapon table (one and two) can be found on the blog). And of course I add the scrolls here.

Beneath the gem sits a single suit of human sized iron mail, (Chain-mail +1) anyone who picks it up instantly notices that it weighs nearly nothing (armor bulkiness is -non. Penalties to casting and thief skills still apply but has no encumbrance). Underneath the mail sits a small fleece pouch (Pouch of Accessibility) wedged in-between 3 scrolls (Scroll-protection from lycanthropes, Scroll-Cursed, Scroll-Cleric, spell levels 1,2,4,5,6,6)

Put this all together, and bold (I box in pencil) all the immediately visible things and you get:
An ornate iron dwarven armchair, with decorative cobalt inlay. (900gp) 65lbs. + Bulky. A hollow slate ottoman with a removable lid, upholstered in woven twill. (200 gp) 35lbs. + Bulky. Covered in a chiffon blanket (60gp)  400 gold coins, 200 hard silver, and 80 platinum are in a moleskin sack (10gp) next to the chair. The sack is tied with a black cord (made from horsehair) the end of which has a platinum aiguillette studded with 3 very small very fine rubies. (400 gp) Inside the ottoman is a single Kunzite gem with minor inclusions (202gp) Beneath the gem sits a single suit of human sized iron mail, (Chain-mail +1) anyone who picks it up instantly notices that it weighs nearly nothing (armor bulkiness is -non. Penalties to casting and thief skills still apply but has no encumbrance). Underneath the mail sits a small fleece pouch (Pouch of Accessibility) wedged in-between 3 scrolls (Scroll-protection from lycanthropes, Scroll-Cursed, Scroll-Cleric, spell levels 1,2,4,5,6,6)

5 comments:

  1. I've been using your two documents to add details to my dungeons. They've proved very useful. So thanks for making them :)

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  2. How much prep time would you say it takes you to fill a dungeon with treasure using this technique of yours?

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  3. That is a good question. On average, to stock each empty room, pick monsters, write down stats, determine triggers for traps and secret doors and generate treasure - to create a dungeon that requires no die rolls and just player skill to navigate; it takes about 1 hour per 10 rooms. I spend more time on generating interesting tricks, so another 30 minutes added in every 20 rooms.

    I can generate an 80 room dungeon in about 8 hours that will sustain months of exploration.

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  4. While browsing through this article something you wrote caught my attention: "to provide more character to these areas, I roll on the random room table to determine the type of room that these extend from." So does this mean that you spruce up the rooms that are adjacent to the areas with treasure or monsters? If so, I assume your monster, treasure, and trick/trap rooms are spruced up as well... I guess I'm confused about how you go about determining which rooms are you populate using the Empty Rooms tables.
    I have always just done it randomly because I feel like that keeps players from expecting something nearby when a recognizably detailed room pops up.
    That being said I guess it might help make the areas where your players are going to be spending time more interesting.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know I have a room with an 'empty' or 'monster' result. So I can randomly determine what the room is/was, and that will give me an idea of some of the things that room might contain in addition to the empty or monster result.

      Let's say you get a monster result. And the monster you get is a Ochre Jelly. Well, a room with it sitting out in the middle of the floor is boring as shit.

      See, that room with the monster in it looks just like the empty room. That's where the tension comes from.

      So I roll, and get "bedroom". The ochre Jelly is actually lying flat across the bed, so the description is of a room,:

      "You see a room containing a dresser, a bed with a dirty yellow comforter, and what looks like a locked foot locker at the foot of the bed. The floor of the room is discolored, but appears bare."

      See?

      Delete

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