Sunday, October 30, 2016

Filthy Lucre

Monsters Traps and Treasure, the three cornerstones of fantasy adventures.  Today I'm going to discuss the third: Treasure.

Treasure comes in all sorts of forms.  From simple coin to marvelous magical items. Traps and monsters present a difficulty to adventurers, so why not their treasure as well?  Some ideas for treasures to liven things ups a bit.

Wizards.  Magic users both good and evil are probably packing their A game on them.  Their home be it a hut or a tower probably has their half completed, discarded, and otherwise incomprehensible pursuit of knowledge and/or power.  So this is really a great time to go crazy with those random treasure charts.  From bizarre ingredients that probably don't interest anybody (except the magic user in the party!) to obscure items that made perfect sense to the old conjurer, but you'll never know because your rouge was just a bit too good at that sneak attack. 

Old coins: Piles of coins in forgotten tombs.  For simplicities sake, most games use a base 10 coin system with copper silver and gold.  When they find old treasure though, have it be in some ridiculous coinage that no one accepts any longer.  For simplicities sake you can say that X many coins = 1 gp of value.  While some parties will avoid taking piles of copper because it just isn't worth the weight value.  They will probably take unknown coins until they get back to town and find them having low value.  (of course you can just as easily flip this and have them be rare and valuable to some collector)  Either way though the coins just can't be "spent" without having to be sold, or melted down for their base metal value.

Sure it has a value, but you can always charge them for someone having to melt it down or exchange it etc.  This can also be a great (read:evil) way to manage some player wealth if they hall out a ton of coins to find them having almost no value.  You can also do this for foreign coins and so forth, you can easily justify skimming 10% off the value of any coins found as an usurer's fee. 

Foreign coins: Similar to the old coins, you can find coins from a foreign land that cannot be immediately spent.  The party will have to choose to hold onto the coins in the event they travel to that area, or will have to pay an usurer to convert the coinage to what they can spend locally. (10% is a good fee.)

Crystal, Porcelain and other fragile items.  You're party has found an exquisitely carved crystal statue easily worth a kings ransom half way though the dungeon.  Now they have to protect this super fragile object while they continue on- or have to turn around and return to town to ensure they can exit with their prize.  Of course this is a great thing to include after their entry route has been closed off or collapsed, so forward is the only way.

The baseball card.  In the movie Goonies the kids find the body of Chester Copperpot, while looking for the pirate treasure. In his wallet is a Lou Gehrig baseball card worth a small fortune in and of itself.  The don't realize the value and move on.  Include some item of great value placed innocuously in a dungeon, and the party should ignore it.  After they get to the next town etc. show them similar (or the same) item as being of immense value. 

Magical items:  Magical items can serve a wonderful duel purpose.  It can be treasure, but it can also be a trap.  After all, magical items are made by wizards whose purpose and rational are known only to them, and not everything need be as it seems.  A sword laying about may be the obvious +1.  While I'm sure no one would complain about it, what about a wizard who was experimenting on pacifism.  The sword still grants +1 to whomever uses it, but after a week of possession, the sword the user must make a save to initiate combat, give a -1 modifier to the save for every additional week.
The magical item might be part of a collection of items.  The magical item restores health, later the players can find the chambers that suck the life out of prisoners that fuel the magical item they have been using.   Let your imagination run wild.

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