4E Money just doesn't add up

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I have just returned to D&D after a few years hiatus. So as I settle into 4th ed, I have noticed an issue with the money system. I am the group's DM & they have just advanced to 11th level. I generally come up with my own adventures, but as I said I'm returning after a long break and I'm new to 4th ed. 

So the modules I have hardly give any treasure. My group just found an Adult Black Dragon's lair. The treasure totaled @6000 GPs and included one magic item. Not much if you ask me. When I read the books or look online, I see the prices of magic items. They can get over 3 million GPs for 27-30 level items!!

Now I'm skilled enough to know I can change anything I want. I can add to the treasure horde or cut the "Blue Book" price for an item. But really, the cost of a suit of plate armor is 50 GP?!? It used to take a while to earn your plate as a knight or fighter and now you walk out of fighter school with it.

So the price of a basic meal is the same, but the cost of materials and labor to make a suit of armor has decreased....

Am I just being an old fuddy-duddy or does this really not add up? 
No, you're not taking into account the whole picture. Why does what an item cost need to take into account differences in edition?

4e money works because money=armor+weapons and 4e money is suited to 4e attack/damage/armor values. It's that simple.
Here's what you need to understand: A 1st level character in 4e is roughly equivalent to a 5th level character in a previous edition.

Once you get that, you realize why it make sense for a 1st level paladin to have a set of full plate: he didn't just walk out of "paladin school," whatever the heck that is. He's been an accomplished paladin for some time.
Prices in 4E are set for gamist reasons and are immune to economic, market forces (your campaign may vary, of course.) 30th level items are so staggeringly expensive because under no circumstances do they want your players to have those items, because it will break your game.

I use gold as almost a second xp track, used for buying physical resources, and I don't charge my players for food, lodging or other typical non-game mechanic items.
Prices in 4E are set for gamist reasons and are immune to economic, market forces (your campaign may vary, of course.) 30th level items are so staggeringly expensive because under no circumstances do they want your players to have those items, because it will break your game.

I use gold as almost a second xp track, used for buying physical resources, and I don't charge my players for food, lodging or other typical non-game mechanic items.



Well, they do want you to have those items...eventually. They just don't want people saving up and buying some sword that will break the game.
There's some logic to it. Old AD&D plate armor was just stupid good since it was pretty hard to raise AC and having an AC2 was pretty awesome. In 4e AC is just another defense and plate armor is only one (and generally not the best except for a couple classes) ways to get a good AC. Actually don't be surprised if some characters run around without ANY armor and an AC similar to the paladin. Thus there just isn't the mechanical justification for huge costs for one specific type of armor that may not really be much better than the others. And as CrowScape says, 4e PCs are intended to be more 'out of the box' competent and to pretty well fill their archetype from the start of the game. I'm not sure I'd say they are like 5th level AD&D PCs in all respects, but the 4e fighter is more capable than the average guy you can drag out in the street from the tavern and hand a sword to.

Yes, 30th level items are vastly expensive. Even in 1e the type of items that 18th level PCs usually had were worth vast sums of gold though, or often beyond price at all, being either unique items or outright artifacts. Treasure values rise steeply mostly for a simple reason. It means that the DM can give out pretty decent amounts of treasure and even if he goes crazy and gives out 5x the expected treasure at level X, by level X+5 the difference will be insignificant, so the system is pretty robust and self-correcting.

You're not really expected to run things as a single unified economy for the most part. low level PCs will probably be dealing with the kind of money that might exist in their home town (100's to maybe a couple 1000 gp). Beyond that point they've probably moved on or are richer than anyone in that town, but the city they've gone on to is a different story, they can throw around 1000's of gp but its a pretty big place. By paragon tier where they are dealing in 10's of thousands of GP things are on to the capital of the empire and they're dealing with kings. By the end of paragon and on into epic tier they're the top dogs in their world and the treasures they deal with are beyond normal mortal valuations. They may well be buying and selling stuff and looting the treasures of immortal extra-planar beings.
That is not dead which may eternal lie
So the modules I have hardly give any treasure.

Modules don't know what items your players want, what characters they are playing, and what items their characters can use. The DMG gives a treasure parcel system that tells you what should be given across any given level. Use it to augment what the module provides.

the cost of a suit of plate armor is 50 GP?!? It used to take a while to earn your plate as a knight or fighter and now you walk out of fighter school with it.

Not quite. Although there have been dozens of graduates from each class of fighter school, the PC is the one who made it out of school and landed a job fighting. He's earned enough to buy that 50 gp suit of normal plate armor at level 1. None of the other graduates from the past three years have managed to rise as far as this one. Indeed, some are already whispering the word "hero" to describe him.

Note, that 50 gp is about the same amount a peasant will earn over his entire lifetime.
Here are the PHB essentia, in my opinion:
  • Three Basic Rules (p 11)
  • Power Types and Usage (p 54)
  • Skills (p178-179)
  • Feats (p 192)
  • Rest and Recovery (p 263)
  • All of Chapter 9 [Combat] (p 264-295)
A player needs to read the sections for building his or her character -- race, class, powers, feats, equipment, etc. But those are PC-specific. The above list is for everyone, regardless of the race or class or build or concept they are playing.
So as I settle into 4th ed, I have noticed an issue with the money system.


Ha. The D&D currency has been borked since inception.

I am the group's DM & they have just advanced to 11th level...When I read the books or look online, I see the prices of magic items. They can get over 3 million GPs for 27-30 level items!!


Keep in mind, those epic-level items aren't going to be found for sale (or at all) on the material plane. You're gonna have to go to a planar metropolis like the City of Brass or Union to find that stuff, where they deal in 'astral diamonds' and platinum, not gold. Even then the few level 30 items your group wishes to purchase might happen to be the only ones for sale in those places.

But really, the cost of a suit of plate armor is 50 GP?!? It used to take a while to earn your plate as a knight or fighter and now you walk out of fighter school with it.


As someone else has said, 1st-level characters aren't fresh out of 'adventurer school.' And someone else already mentioned the gamist pricing; looking back to the previous edition, one had to wait a few levels before getting any use out of your proficiency with heavy armor. This made for a weird sitch where high-Dex characters in light armor could out-AC someone who is supposed to be a tank in heavy armor. In 4e, characters start off with the proper equipment for their job right from 1st level, with magic gear being where the real money is at.
If you gotta make sense of it, well, 50 gp is still a ton of money for a commoner.
4e D&D is not a "Tabletop MMO." It is not Massively Multiplayer, and is usually not played Online. Come up with better descriptions of your complaints, cuz this one means jack ****.
Yup, they messed up the economy, no surprise since they messed up the very simple basic math of the game.  Math is hard!  The "fix" has been item rareity and feat tax.

Where before going up +1 in an item cost a significant amount of resources, now it's sorta silly.  You can buy 7 items of the previous tier... or a small country.  +6 plate, or... +5 plate and a full set of +5 items... or... +5 plate and a small country.  Decisions, decisions...

@mikemearls don't quite understand the difference

I don't make the rules, I just think them up and write them down. - Eric Cartman

Enough chitchat!  Time is candy! - Pinky Pie


The parcel system is a part of the problem, keeping "adventurers" poor for the sake of balance.

The point should be made, though, that the DM should put in the parcels that are warrented into the modules he uses, completing the reward schedule with what is already sprinkled in the adventure. Most don't have treasure filled out from the parcel, and mentions all the rewards in them in the mod somewhere as well as what should be put in. Sometimes, it is ommitted, unfortunachally, or misplaced (hard to find) within the pages.
Terms you should know...
Show
Kit Build - A class build that is self sustaining and has mechanical differences than the normal scale. Started in Essentials. Most are call their own terms, though the Base Class should be said in front of their own terms (Like Assassin/Executioner) Power Points - A mechanic that was wedged into the PHB3 classes (with the exception of the Monk) from the previous editions. This time, they are used to augment At Wills to be Encounters, thus eliminating the need to choose powers past 4th level. Mage Builds - Kit builds that are schools of magic for the Wizard. A call back to the previous editions powering up of the wizard. (Wizard/Necromancer, for example) Unlike the previous kit builds, Wizards simply lose their Scribe Rituals feature and most likely still can choose powers from any build, unlike the Kit Builds. Parcel System - A treasure distribution method that keeps adventurers poor while forcing/advising the DM to get wish lists from players. The version 2.0 rolls for treasure instead of making a list, and is incomplete because of the lack of clarity about magic item rarity.
ha ha
56902498 wrote:
They will Essentialize the Essentials classes, otherwise known as Essentials2. The new sub-sub-classes will be: * Magician. A subsubclass of Mage, the magician has two implements, wand and hat, one familiar (rabbit) and series of basic tricks. * Crook. A subsubclass of Thief, the Crook can only use a shiv, which allows him to use his only power... Shank. * Angry Vicar, a subsubclass of warpriest, the angry vicar has two attacks -- Shame and Lecture. * Hitter. A subsubclass of Slayer, the Hitter hits things. * Gatherer. A subsubclass of Hunter, it doesn't actually do anything, but pick up the stuff other players might leave behind. Future Essentials2 classes include the Security Guard (Sentinel2), the Hexknife (Hexblade2), the Webelos (Scout2), the Gallant (Cavalier2) and the Goofus (Knight2). These will all be detailed in the box set called Heroes of the Futile Marketing. (Though what they should really release tomorrow is the Essentialized version of the Witchalok!)
Am I just being an old fuddy-duddy or does this really not add up? 

The expontentially increasing prices for magic items is to ensure that PCs have only level appropriate items, thus promoting play balance (PC's should be finding exponentially larger loot piles as they level up too).

The lowered cost of mundane items is to allow PCs to have any standard mundane item they want, because WotC designed all mundane items to be balanced. DMG p.143 even provides the following rule for creating characters above 1st level: "Mundane equipment is much less important for higher-level characters than it is when you’re starting out. Choose whatever standard adventuring gear you want from the tables in the Player’s Handbook."

Prices are definitely set from a gamist perspective. If you are say, a simulationist (like me) and desire a partially-plausable excuse for prices... well, I suppose the law of supply and demand can always create extreme pricing (especially in a points of light setting). Also, even in our world nations often equip warriors with multi-million dollar weapons, so it's not unfathomable.

Trying to apply realistic economics to DnD magic items is like hitting yourself in the crotch with a hammer- painful and unproductive.  Keep in mind that by Paragon level characters are supposed to be the movers and shakers of the normal world, and in epic level are probably wondering the planes.  A level 27 magic item, if for sale ever, is in a vault in the City of Brass, and you pay with a sack of astral diamonds.  Take just  one of those diamonds back to the village you started in, and everything in town, and the next town, and the next town, and the next town, doesn't add up to the value.  PCs end up trading in an economy of mad wizards, cunning dragons, demon princelings, elemental lords, an tentacled things from the gates to the far realms, and gods know what else when you start trading high end magic around.  Silver pieces don't enter into it.
Adventurers have always been part of a roaming plutocracy.  In 3e you could buy a +4 item, or you could buy a house and live in style for the rest of your life.  Gear costs scale exponentially to ridiculous levels to prevent people from just being able to work hard and save their pennies to buy a new magic sword.  If you don't like the prices, switch over to inherent bonuses and dole out magical gear as desired, because the PCs need something to ensure that they get their math fixes.
Also mundane items are so cheap that scavenging garbage weapons and armor off of the orcs you killed isnt worth the bother.
  Creative Character Build Collection and The Magic of King's and Heros  also Can Martial Characters Fly? 

Improvisation in 4e: Fave 4E Improvisations - also Wrecans Guides to improvisation beyond page 42
The Non-combatant Adventurer (aka Princess build Warlord or LazyLord)
Reality is unrealistic - and even monkeys protest unfairness
Reflavoring the Fighter : The Wizard : The Swordmage - Creative Character Collection: Bloodwright (Darksun Character) 

At full hit points and still wounded to incapacitation? you are playing 1e.
By virtue of being a player your characters are the protagonists in a heroic fantasy game even at level one
"Wizards and Warriors need abilities with explicit effects for opposite reasons. With the wizard its because you need to create artificial limits on them, they have no natural ones and for the Warrior you need to grant permission to do awesome."

 

Thank you all for your replies. Some were vague and others were ludicrous. "..he didn't just walk out of "paladin school," whatever the heck that is." Really? Of course there are schools. Schools and apprenticeships are the way people learn. But most of your replies were helpful. 

baronspam, you're right on the money (no pun intended). 

I've never had a "magic store" in any of my campaigns; in the normal world that is. I have however, had magic brokers. But there are those who would make items. The cost of the items generally is the cost of production as well. When Bruenor crafted Aegis-fang for Wulfgar, he had the materials for he was a king. Does it indeed take the wealth of a king to craft a powerful item like that? Aegis-fang is not an artifact. Although I have had worlds where a plain plus 4 weapon would be an artifact. 

I do believe that not all the items/weapons/armor listed exsist in my world or any world for that matter. I also understand that PCs should not be allowed to purchase anything they want. But when it comes time to get rid of an item because they found a better one, what do they do with the old? 

Now I love to short change my players. When you sell an item to a broker, the broker needs to make a profit when they resell it. And after all, the item is used. And there will be a time that the PCs will want to keep items to give to henchmen.

But my original quandary still remains. Why did WoTC think that any item needed to be worth a million GPs? When a peasant will be lucky to make 50 GPs in a lifetime, what king would want a retired adventurer with more wealth than him living in his kingdom??  
I don't think you are thinking epic enough. Level 20 is where you get your epic destiny, and examples of epic destinies include things like "king". So by the time you are looking at 1 million gold, you are King, or chosen by your god, or whatnot. At that point, you don't just retire to the nearest farm.

However, as a more general point, 4e doesn't try to simulate reality. For instance, you buy magical items at 100% of cost, but the best you can sell for is 20%. I know that sellers gotta make a profit, but there's no auction house or barter system? But, from a GameIst perspective it's fine. If you are looking for a system that has a real life economy, I'd recommend a different system.
Thank you all for your replies. Some were vague and others were ludicrous. "..he didn't just walk out of "paladin school," whatever the heck that is." Really? Of course there are schools. Schools and apprenticeships are the way people learn.



A) Apprenticeships are completely and totally different from schools. Trying to sereptitiously combine the two shows that you are aware of how flawed your original presentation was.

B) In a medieval setting, schools are going to be the exception rather than the rule, and are not likely going to be the source of training for a martial character. I switched it to divine because, well, fighters aren't likely going to be buying plate armor in 4e, seeing as how they don't have proficiency in it. And even with a divine character, schools are going to be the exception, and not really the best fit for an adventurer.

The characters are most likely going to have learned by doing, which means that they will have built up some sort of reputation and acquired the basic gear necessary to effectively do their jobs. If you are thinking that they have just taken off their graduation gowns and picked up their diploma, of course you are going to have problems with how starting gear is handled.

However, as a more general point, 4e doesn't try to simulate reality.  For instance, you buy magical items at 100% of cost, but the best you can sell for is 20%.  I know that sellers gotta make a profit, but there's no auction house or barter system? But, from a GameIst perspective it's fine.   If you are looking for a system that has a real life economy, I'd recommend a different system.



This.


Also, the King might not like the characters living in his kingdom, but what's he going to do about it? When they carry around 1 million gp items, they are in their Epics. They can take on the King's entire elite guard singlehandedly before breakfast, crush his entire army after lunch, and then literally lift his castle into the air and throw it into the sea after dinner.

The King is going to be real quiet and respectful and will most likely realise that he might rule the land, these guys are still his superiors. Being a King is great, but being Epic is infinitely greater. If you don't like that... well I suggest you cap your adventures at level 10, before the characters become too powerful.
Epic Dungeon Master

Want to give your players a kingdom of their own? I made a 4e rule system to make it happen!

Your Kingdom awaits!
Update 5th Sep 2011: Added a sample kingdom, as well as sample of play.
I don't think that wanting a more realistic economy is either unreasonable or on its own necessarily  enough reason to recommend someone look elsewhere for a gaming system. 

As DM'ing goes, treasure parcels are one of the easier things to modify or disregard altogether.  I fully understand why it was done the way it was in 4e, but it simply isn't my preference for running a game world, so I discard it and use my own system.    You have a few different options.  The simplest is to use the inherent bonus mechanic (which is available in the CB) and remove higher level magic equipment altogether from the game world.

Just for the sake of completion, here's what I'm experimenting with.  Incidentally, my method also takes care of the pesky math issues and allows me to avoid using overpowered feats (the scaling bonuses are removed from all expertise and NAD feats) and masterwork armor (heavy armor just always grants half of its enhancement bonus to the base armor value).

I use this chart to approximate the standard (in most cases enhancement) bonus to hit and defense by level PCs should receive based on monster scaling with feat taxes and MW armor removed, which I try to make sure the PCs stay close to:

3-5: +1
6-8: +2
9-12: +3
13-16: +4
17-20: +5
21-24: +6
25-28: +7 
29-30: +8

I either "extend" existing gear that I think is themed appropriately or make up my own to fill in the +7 and +8.  Alternatively, you could just consider it masterwork quality (+1 for superior, +2 for exceptional).  I disregard the scaling costs altogether and either create specialized shops with costs that make relative sense or dispense items through story events and special encounters (I also am playing around with a new Cha based skill called Barter).  It's a little more work, but I feel like it tremendously helps the immersion and flavor of the game world.  I also feel like it helps provide flexibility to progression, which is rather rigid by RAW.

I feel pretty confident in my system above, in that it adds both symmetry and depth to the game, is more realistic, removes the wonkiness of overpowered or nonsensical mechanics operating as band-aids, and is easier than it might seem to implement.  But, of course, the only problem is that it isn't compatible with the CB.  And, if you care less about the other aspects, the inherent bonus is infinitely easier.

edit - What Abdul says below is also true, the exponential inflation of cost makes a modicum of sense even from a realistic perspective if you consider how truly "epic" high level gear becomes. 
Thank you all for your replies. Some were vague and others were ludicrous. "..he didn't just walk out of "paladin school," whatever the heck that is." Really? Of course there are schools. Schools and apprenticeships are the way people learn. But most of your replies were helpful. 

baronspam, you're right on the money (no pun intended). 

I've never had a "magic store" in any of my campaigns; in the normal world that is. I have however, had magic brokers. But there are those who would make items. The cost of the items generally is the cost of production as well. When Bruenor crafted Aegis-fang for Wulfgar, he had the materials for he was a king. Does it indeed take the wealth of a king to craft a powerful item like that? Aegis-fang is not an artifact. Although I have had worlds where a plain plus 4 weapon would be an artifact. 

I do believe that not all the items/weapons/armor listed exsist in my world or any world for that matter. I also understand that PCs should not be allowed to purchase anything they want. But when it comes time to get rid of an item because they found a better one, what do they do with the old? 

Now I love to short change my players. When you sell an item to a broker, the broker needs to make a profit when they resell it. And after all, the item is used. And there will be a time that the PCs will want to keep items to give to henchmen.

But my original quandary still remains. Why did WoTC think that any item needed to be worth a million GPs? When a peasant will be lucky to make 50 GPs in a lifetime, what king would want a retired adventurer with more wealth than him living in his kingdom??  

Well, the theory is level 1-5 characters are probably locally well-off, maybe enough to be able to kick back and retire around level 6 in their village if they really wanted to. Lets assume a peasant makes 100gp/yr basically (that meshes well with the prices, remember most of that won't be disposable income, he's basically subsisting with his family on that money). A +1 item costs 360gp and is 'level 1'. It is remotely possible a peasant might even have one, but unlikely (and not much use to him really).  Wealthier NPCs could plausibly have these items and buy/sell them at need. A +2 item costs 1,800 gp and is a 'level 6' item. This is a pretty good chunk of money but is still within the limits of what plausibly is in the economy of a small town. At this level the PCs are pretty powerful but still really just local boys that have made pretty good. They might be able to retire and live on their money, but they're probably no richer than the better off local merchants or a local knight with a manor.

Even at level 16 a +4 item is 45k gp. This is still quite plausibly the sort of money that could exist in cities and be available to the wealthy lords and great merchant houses etc of a well-off kingdom. The PCs at that level are already reaching the point where they're probably the big fish in their part of the world, verging on legendary. Even a +5 item though is not beyond the realm of what some super rich king or whatever might have (225k gp). At that level the PCs are epic and really rather beyond the bounds of ordinary economics. Nobody in the normal world is really their match and their weapons are effectively legendary and if not actually unique are the kind of thing that is only seen once in a 100 years.

At 30th level the PCs are on the verge of immortality and their weapons are pure ultimately powerful legendary items that are worthy of being carried by gods and demon princes. Their GP values are effectively 'beyond price'. Nobody in the normal world can really afford them, though perhaps the greatest treasure in the world might buy one it is unlikely anyone would have that kind of wealth. If they did they would be something like the emperor of a world-spanning empire, or an ancient 4000 year old dragon with a horde made up from the treasures of 100 normal kingdoms.
That is not dead which may eternal lie
Don't forget that Rituals use money!
Wow, some people can be mean...

I mean someone actually sugested I find another gaming system.  
 
I guess the togetherness of then game went away with 3e huh?

Well, thanks for all you who gave friendly advice... 
Wow, some people can be mean...

I mean someone actually sugested I find another gaming system.  
 
I guess the togetherness of then game went away with 3e huh?

Well, thanks for all you who gave friendly advice... 



One person is a jerk, 10-15 people are nice, and you judge the community based on the one?

On topic:

No version of D&D has had a realistic economy, ever. Gygax and Arneson weren't interested in making a reality simulator. They wanted to give more depth to the tabletop wargames they loved to play. Economics wasn't one of their strong suits.

Most of the other people answering upthread have hit the nail on the head. D&D PCs are heroes right out of the gate. They have already lived through the country bumpkin period and training montage as part of their backstory, and they are now ready to make their marks on the world. By the time they are level 10, they have made a significant local impact, and are ready to be noticed on the national stage. By level 20, they are kings and lords in their own right, famous for hundreds of miles around, and they are beginning to attract the notice of the gods. By level 30, they are well on their way to becoming gods.

The Lord of Fallcrest doesn't concern himself with how much wealth the PCs possess at level 25 because the PCs have grown far beyond the petty, mortal concerns of Fallcrest and have spent the better part of the last year traveling the planes on their own quest for immortality

when it comes time to get rid of an item because they found a better one, what do they do with the old? 

PHB p.223: "If you find a magic item you don’t want to keep, or you find an item that replaces an item you already have, you might end up either selling the item or disenchanting it (with the Disenchant Magic Item ritual; see page 304). This isn’t a favorable transaction for you—the sale price of a magic item, or the value of residuum you get from disenchanting it, is only one-fifth the normal price of the item."

Why did WoTC think that any item needed to be worth a million GPs?

To accommodate exponential gains from levels 1 to 30, which prevent PCs from ever buying something that is inappropriate for their level (i.e. the game is balanced so that you never possess an item whose level is greater than your level +5).

Wow, some people can be mean

That tends to be true of the internet, but fwiw: your own statements seem antagonistic too:
'Thank you all for your replies. Some were vague and others were ludicrous. "..he didn't just walk out of "paladin school," whatever the heck that is." Really? Of course there are schools'
and
"I guess the togetherness of then game went away with 3e huh?"


Wow, some people can be mean...

I mean someone actually sugested I find another gaming system.  
 
I guess the togetherness of then game went away with 3e huh?

Well, thanks for all you who gave friendly advice... 


People told peopel that during 3e too.  I'm sorry people were rude.
Actually, suggesting you play a different game more suited to your tastes isn't neccesarily "being rude".

It's like complaining when you go on a tool forum that someone suggest you use a screwdriver when you asked "how do I pound this screw into the wall with my hammer?"

If a functional economy is very important to you, D&D isn't the proper game. Now, if you want advice on how to make sense out of a D&D economy, we can give that, of course. But just because someone says "try another game" doesn't automatically mean they're being rude.

Anyway, if you have any remaining questions then feel free to ask, and we'll give answers. I think most of them so far have been answered by people, correct?
Epic Dungeon Master

Want to give your players a kingdom of their own? I made a 4e rule system to make it happen!

Your Kingdom awaits!
Update 5th Sep 2011: Added a sample kingdom, as well as sample of play.
Heh... it looks like we've all been taken in. This particular board actually has a genuine troll that constantly generates new accounts to post innocuous 4e questions, hoping to start a 4e flamewar.  Look at his post count. And it appears that he's actually trying to start a fight.

He posted:  "Wow, some people can be mean...
I mean someone actually sugested I find another gaming system.
I guess the togetherness of then game went away with 3e huh?"

In response to: "However, as a more general point, 4e doesn't try to simulate reality.  For instance, you buy magical items at 100% of cost, but the best you can sell for is 20%.  I know that sellers gotta make a profit, but there's no auction house or barter system? But, from a GameIst perspective it's fine.   If you are looking for a system that has a real life economy, I'd recommend a different system. "

As you can see, the replies having pretty much all been nice to him (a rarity on the internet), but this new account claims otherwise, then tries to take another shot at 4e.... on the 4e General board. This follows the trolling pattern I've been seeing.
So the modules I have hardly give any treasure. My group just found an Adult Black Dragon's lair. The treasure totaled @6000 GPs and included one magic item. Not much if you ask me.

Modules do often seem to be light on the treasure side.  Not sure why that is - maybe they assume that the DM will add more customized treasure based on player 'wish lists? - anyway, it's easily compensated for using the treasure parcel system, just make up the difference.

When I read the books or look online, I see the prices of magic items. They can get over 3 million GPs for 27-30 level items!!

Yep.  As in 3e, items are 'balanced' by costing a lot more as they rise in level/power - only this time, it's a /lot/ more, so much so that there's little point in making or 'saving up' to buy items.

But really, the cost of a suit of plate armor is 50 GP?!? It used to take a while to earn your plate as a knight or fighter and now you walk out of fighter school with it.

Yep.  Weapon and armor proficiencies are strictly class features and feats, gold doesn't make a big difference - though, a 1st level, the high cost of some weapons & armor will leave some characters with very little discretionary funds, while others might be able to manage a healing potion or other minor item.

So the price of a basic meal is the same, but the cost of materials and labor to make a suit of armor has decreased....

Adventuring gear in D&D was traditionally priced around a 'gold rush economy,' the idea being that adventurers get huge sums of money, so everyone rips them off.  I guess that maybe doesn't kick in until they find their first treasure horde, now - or maybe not as bad. 

Am I just being an old fuddy-duddy or does this really not add up? 

The 'economy' doesn't add up - because it's all based around the PCs, not around making a sensical simulation of a global or even local medieval economy - but not in the sense you mean.  There's no need for the relative price of meals and metal armor to be the same from one ed to another, for instance. 

It might have worked better if there were a copper/silver/gold economy for real folk and heroic adventurers, and a separate residuum/orichalcum/astral-diamond economy for the high-magic and Paragon/Epic stuff.

But my original quandary still remains. Why did WoTC think that any item needed to be worth a million GPs? When a peasant will be lucky to make 50 GPs in a lifetime, what king would want a retired adventurer with more wealth than him living in his kingdom?? 

Well, it wouldn't make much sense if peasants could be +5 Holy Avengers, would it?  And any King that levied a property tax of some sort would welcome that retiree with welcome arms - and maybe a princess.  Game-wise, though, the million-GP items in 4e are there for the same reason they were in 3e:  items can be made or bought with little more than money.  In prior eds, you couldn't generally buy items at all, and making them required questing for exotic components, burning away points of CON and so forth.  If a pile of money is enough to get you an item, a very powerful item demands a /huge/ pile of money - if it doesn't, the item can end up being acquired when it's still 'too powerful' for the campaign to handle. 

Cost isn't a perfect way to balance magic items, but 3e used it, and 4e declined to abandon it. 

 

 

Oops, looks like this request tried to create an infinite loop. We do not allow such things here. We are a professional website!

Actually Toki, this is the only account I have ever had.


If you look to my original it was, "Am I just being an old fuddy-duddy or does this really not add up? "


I received many answers and thanked everyone. I did say some were vague because they spoke of things I covered in my original post I referred to this comment as ludicrous:


"Once you get that, you realize why it make sense for a 1st level paladin to have a set of full plate: he didn't just walk out of "paladin school," whatever the heck that is."


"Once I get that?" Yes, that's a mean comment. and not acknowledging there are schools where paladins and fighters learn the trade is ludicrous in my opinion.


I then said "But my original quandary still remains." I said that because I still wondered about the outrageous cost of items.


More wonderful replies I thought were mean:


"Trying to surreptitiously combine the two shows that you are aware of how flawed your original presentation was." & "If you are thinking that they have just taken off their graduation gowns and picked up their diploma, of course you are going to have problems with how starting gear is handled."


There were many replies that gave me things to think about and a few that were right on the money. But  not agreeing with someone is no cause for such behavior. I apologize for the way I pointed that out. But even so, my opinion of a reply being vague, mean, or ludicrous does not make me a troll.


Toki,  I would hope that someone "trying to start a fight" as you said I am doing would have a better way of doing so than calling a reply mean...


Thanks again everyone for your comments, even those I disagree with and won't use. And for yours too Toki. It was as funny as your picture...

Hey Toki, I added a picture to my profile. It's a troll! Get it?!?  Tongue Out
Toki,  I would hope that someone "trying to start a fight" as you said I am doing would have a better way of doing so than calling a reply mean...

It would actually be a brilliant trolling technique imho! But if indeed it was simply reading subtext into MeCorva's seemingly polite reply, well, that happens a lot on the internet too. My sincere apologies if I mislabeled you as that brilliant troll I've been trying to track down. The hunt goes on.

Toki, 

   

No worries big guy. I assume by your picture you are indeed a fellow. I must admit that I have in the past played a female elf or two… 

I must also admit that my group just finished the Troll Haunt Warrens mod. I was the DM, so... I guess for a brief time I was a troll. 

"I got better!" 

tl;dr

If you look through the Player's Handbook (PHB) introductory chapter on equipment, it effectively states that the 100gp a character starts in is an abstract, that unless you actually end up with a 100gp inheritance one day, you're more likely to have gained your equipment in another way, but regardless of how you got it -- stole the armor from the smith, inherited it from your ancestors, killed a knight to get it, given to you by the order you have sworn an oath to, etc. -- you got it.

[ You also get free clothing armor (something I keep on forgetting a lot) ;) ]

Also note that while the PHB and other references have images of what items look like, there isn't really a mechanical enforcement on that imagery, so you can easily be wearing plate armor mechanically but fluffing it as elaborate, cumbersome and expensive wardrobes, or even simply roleplay your character as being in loincloth and slow-moving but has very tough skin [although this imagery is best reserved for use with inherent bonuses, IMHO], and started out with less gold than normal.

Any way you fluff it, the end result is the same mechanically: you spend 50 out of your alloted 100 GP to gain a heavy armor called Plate Armor that grants +8 to AC, -1 to speed, and -2 to Strength, Constitution and Dexterity-based skill checks.

Oh and the various references do state that the prices given are the base prices; I'm pretty sure the DM is granted the freedom to have NPCs attempt to shortchange PCs in at least one of three ways:

1. Attempting to haggle for a price lower than the base.
2. Attempting to sell items at a 20% or higher markup.
3. Selling knock-offs.

That doesn't mean the DMs should outright do this, but rather if it helps enhance the scenery then by all means use them (for example, utilizing #3 might be better off done when you have a PC that tries selling knock-offs as well -- it takes a thief to catch a thief, so to speak).
- - - - -
Just to mention this: with Dungeon Master's Guide 2 (DMG2) and a bunch of other references, you can easily run a campaign wherein you don't grant any gold or equipment (hopefully not both) for significant amounts of time, but instead utilize other features like Grandmaster Training, Divine Boons, Reputation, etc. etc. etc.

At the very worst, you could pile up multiple parcels so that players feel that the challenges they went through were worth it, and that the dragon's hoard would feel more hoard-ish...
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This is what I believe is the spirit of D&D 4E, and my deal breaker for D&D Next: equal opportunities, with distinct specializations, in areas where conflict happens the most often, without having to worry about heavy micromanagement or system mastery. What I hope to be my most useful contributions to the D&D Community: DM Idea: Collaborative Mapping, Classless 4E (homebrew system, that hopefully helps in D&D Next development), Gamma World 7E random character generator (by yours truly), and the Concept of Perfect Imbalance (for D&D Next and other TRPGs in development) Pre-3E D&D should be recognized for what they were: simulation wargames where people could tell stories with The Best Answer to "Why 4E?" Fun vs. Engaging
"Once I get that?" Yes, that's a mean comment. and not acknowledging there are schools where paladins and fighters learn the trade is ludicrous in my opinion.



Actually, Paladins go through, "various rites performed when they first become paladins" which include but are not limited to, "days of prayer, vigils, tests and trials and ritual purification followed by a knighting ceremony".  They are initiates, and I suppose in a certain way one might call that a school, but more to the point it is very much a religious training more than a school, specifically.  Also, since a fair amount of their power is imbued into them upon their final ritual (whatever that ritual might be; it is mentioned that not all faiths follow the above mentioned rituals), they are not a mix of training and divine might.  The divine is their might, their sword and shield or whathaveyou enabled by the power of their god. 

Basically, I picture it like how Neo learns kung-fu in The Matrix, with a god standing in for the giant needle in the back of his head. ;)

"I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody." --Bill Cosby (1937- ) Vanador: OK. You ripped a gateway to Hell, killed half the town, and raised the dead as feral zombies. We're going to kill you. But it can go two ways. We want you to run as fast as you possibly can toward the south of the town to draw the Zombies to you, and right before they catch you, I'll put an arrow through your head to end it instantly. If you don't agree to do this, we'll tie you this building and let the Zombies rip you apart slowly. Dimitry: God I love being Neutral. 4th edition is dead, long live 4th edition. Salla: opinionated, but commonly right.
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58419928 wrote:
You have to do the work first, and show you can do the work, before someone is going to pay you for it.
69216168 wrote:
If you can't understand how someone yelling at another person would make them fight harder and longer, then you need to look at the forums a bit closer.
quote author=56832398 post=519321747]Considering DnD is a game wouldn't all styles be gamist?[/quote]

To Kalnaur, and all the others who don't believe in schools. I would offer you this, my humble opinion and a nickel's worth of what I know of the middle ages (from reading, not being there. I'm only 40!)

In the middle ages independent knights would take on a squire. They would teach the trade (fighting and chivalry) in return for service. Knights in service to a lord would do the same, but the lord generally had a master at arms. Someone to teach the men at arms (the lord's guards) how to fight. The knight would often let the master train his squire or take a trained man at arms to be his squire.


In less civilized tribes there would still be someone similar to the master at arms to train the youth in fighting.


Monks learn to fight in monasteries.


During the renaissance there were master of the blade who taught fencing.


I have no doubts there were many who hung out their "shingle" and taught the art of fighting.


This is what I am referring to as "fighter's school."


Priest/clerics school be similar to what our Catholic friends refer to as Seminary. A place to learn the rites of the faith. In the D&D world there would be classes on fighting too. Ever read the novels about Cadderly and Spirit Soaring?


I am truly only offering my opinion on the way PC are trained in the D&D world.


To end any arguments,  this is the way it is in my D&D world. Agree or disagree as you wish.


Oh, here is a question for you nay sayers. When a PC gains a power/feat, how do they get it? Wake up one morning and go "Shazam! Hey guys, guess what I can do now?!?" Or do they stop by the local adventures guild and take a class? See their old mentor? Step on a rake and suddenly play Mozart?


Come on, the rake one was funny...


 


Also, I spoke to a friend and discovered that the DMG2 is for high level DMing. My guys are only 11th level and I have not purchased the DMG2 yet. It may contain more of the knowledge about this 4E epic tier stuff I have yet to learn...

Once again, thank you all for your imput.  

4e economy, and character reliance on magical items, are actually two of my major complaints against the system; is seems to be a fairly common complaint in general. For a long time now I have considered overhauling that aspect of the game with house rules. I mean, warhammer FRPG 3e’s economy/pricing is just so much better. Only problem is, economics is not my strong suite, so I don't know that I could come up with something better. 


Of the top of my head I have considered using the following modifications: use the inherent bonus rules; magic items come in two categories, +1 or +2, and this bonus is added on top of your inherent bonus; magic weapons/implements are given a critical die type, and add that a number of critical dice equal to a characters total enhancement bonus.


Then comes the hard part: working out an economy, and figuring out how to distribute the effects of magical items based on their item level. This is where the common, uncommon, and rare system comes in. +0 magic items are common, +1 magic items are uncommon, and +2 magic items are rare.  Now, the whole idea behind this is to stop the inflation of money. So, basically, characters ought to get a level 1 treasure parcel every level. A level 1 treasure parcel (keeping in mind the inherent bonus rules) gives out 720 gp plus a level 3 and a level 4 magic item. Level 3 magic items are worth 680 gp. Level 4 magic items are worth 840 gp. That is for a group of 5 characters. So, in 1 level a character should receive around 448 GP. Assuming that the size of a treasure parcel should be the same for every level (though, to keep up variety, you would in fact roll randomly using the essentials random treasure rules), a character should have accumulated about the following wealth between level 1-30.


 


1: 448


2: 896


3: 1344


4: 1792


5: 2240


6: 2688


7: 3136


8: 3584


9: 4032


10: 4480


11: 4928


12: 5376


13: 5824


14: 6272


15: 6720


16: 7168


17: 7616


18: 8064


19: 8512


20: 8960


21: 9408


22: 9856


23: 10304


24: 10752


25: 11200


26: 11648


27: 12096


28: 12544


29: 12992


30: 13440


 


The next step, I suppose would be to figure out the ratio between the new amount of money earned and the amount of money a character would have earned under the old system. All rituals and magic items should have their price reduced by that ratio. An uncommon weapon/suit of armour would be worth double its modified price (and is basically an item that grants enhancements of a particular level item and also adds a +1 bonus to hit and damage on top of the items magical properties). A rare item would be worth triple its modified price. Uncommon items cannot be crafted (though they can be bought in some stores at GMs discretion). Rare items can only be found (though they can be sold).


Would this work?  


To Kalnaur, and all the others who don't believe in schools. I would offer you this, my humble opinion and a nickel's worth of what I know of the middle ages (from reading, not being there. I'm only 40!)

In the middle ages



Which may or may not be relevant to any given D&D game, is the thing.  As stated previously, D&D is not intended to be a reality simulator, nor is it intended to be any degree of 'historically accurate' because, well, it's absolutely nothing like real world history.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
If there is not some form of realism to the things that can and should be, then....

To Kalnaur, and all the others who don't believe in schools. I would offer you this, my humble opinion and a nickel's worth of what I know of the middle ages (from reading, not being there. I'm only 40!)

In the middle ages



Which may or may not be relevant to any given D&D game, is the thing.  As stated previously, D&D is not intended to be a reality simulator, nor is it intended to be any degree of 'historically accurate' because, well, it's absolutely nothing like real world history.

I shall add that D&D is alternate history in a way, with magic being a  BIG change;

A world with magic, different races and all may not have chivlary as we knew it, feudalism and all as we knew it! 

Eberron by example, is an example. 


DO NOT FORGET THE BUTTERFLIES RULES OF ALTERNATE HISTORY AND THE KEITH BAKER RULES.

When the history is brought in guys, you should visit also places like AH.com. 
It's not alternate history, it's pure fiction.

Not totaly; first, some teachings from history and alternate history can applies - like the logicla effect of Magic in a setting like Eberron did, and you can also have alternate history of fictional worlds!

There is alternate history of the Warhammer and Star Wars and LOTR universes, by example. 
If there is not some form of realism to the things that can and should be, then....



For the record, my D&D world uses the "world rules" of games such as Legend of Zelda, God of War, Final Fantasy, and such.

For what that's worth to ya. ;)

"I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody." --Bill Cosby (1937- ) Vanador: OK. You ripped a gateway to Hell, killed half the town, and raised the dead as feral zombies. We're going to kill you. But it can go two ways. We want you to run as fast as you possibly can toward the south of the town to draw the Zombies to you, and right before they catch you, I'll put an arrow through your head to end it instantly. If you don't agree to do this, we'll tie you this building and let the Zombies rip you apart slowly. Dimitry: God I love being Neutral. 4th edition is dead, long live 4th edition. Salla: opinionated, but commonly right.
fun quotes
58419928 wrote:
You have to do the work first, and show you can do the work, before someone is going to pay you for it.
69216168 wrote:
If you can't understand how someone yelling at another person would make them fight harder and longer, then you need to look at the forums a bit closer.
quote author=56832398 post=519321747]Considering DnD is a game wouldn't all styles be gamist?[/quote]
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