Treasure Hoards need to be more realisitc

Treasure: Reality vs D&D

It drive me up the wall that D&D comes no where near reality when rewards are available.

The  Indian Temple with its six treasure vaults is rolling in upward of 20 billion gp worth of treasure. A single item from that hoard:



  • Foot Tall one ton Gold Statue of Vishnu encrusted with 1000 diamonds (10,000,000gp+)


That kind of wealth should be in the Lairs of Dragons and under Temples everywhere...instead dragons seem to have the equivelent of the poor box by the front door.
The Citadel Megadungeon: http://yellowdingosappendix.blogspot.com.au/2012/08/the-citadel-mega-dungeon-now-with-room.html
Yeah, unfortunately to do this they would need to completely separate wealth from character power, which is something the D&D developers have yet to figure out how to do.
Or they could make Character Power harder to attain...

2,000xp level 2
30,000xp level 3
400,000xp level 4
5,000,000xp level 5
60,000,000xp level 6
700,000,000xp level 7
 
The Citadel Megadungeon: http://yellowdingosappendix.blogspot.com.au/2012/08/the-citadel-mega-dungeon-now-with-room.html
Or they could make Character Power harder to attain...

2,000xp level 2
30,000xp level 3
400,000xp level 4
5,000,000xp level 5
60,000,000xp level 6
700,000,000xp level 7
 



I'm not sure how that would fix the problem of wealth being linked to character power at all. If anything it would make wealth/magic items far more important as people hardly ever leveled.
And completely separating wealth from character power severely devalues the value of treasure as a reward anyway. That's not to say that there aren't some player/character combinations for which generic rewards that doesn't have much influence on adventuring is something that they're at least somewhat happy to get, but overwhelmingly the reason that arbitrary treasure is a good reward for players is because it has intrinsic value within the context of the game. Again, I'm not saying that treasure without mechanical impact is completely valueless as a reward, but it's dramatically less valuable. (The two main things that are exciting for players to get are things with intrinsic value (like a better sword or money you can spend on a better sword or XP) and things with emotional value (like something specific that serves as an emotional payoff built up over a period of time - oftentimes the satisfying death of a heinous enemy is this kind of reward..) "Pile of gold or art objects that can only really be sold for a pile of gold" is in general sense not usually something that has much emotional salience; it's a good reward historically because it has intrinsic value. Take that away and you can make treasure "more realisitic", but you also make it something that people just don't care about very much.
Dwarves invented beer so they could toast to their axes. Dwarves invented axes to kill people and take their beer. Swanmay Syndrome: Despite the percentages given in the Monster Manual, in reality 100% of groups of swans contain a Swanmay, because otherwise the DM would not have put any swans in the game.
Treasure: Reality vs D&D

It drive me up the wall that D&D comes no where near reality when rewards are available.

The  Indian Temple with its six treasure vaults is rolling in upward of 20 billion gp worth of treasure. A single item from that hoard:



  • Foot Tall one ton Gold Statue of Vishnu encrusted with 1000 diamonds (10,000,000gp+)


That kind of wealth should be in the Lairs of Dragons and under Temples everywhere...instead dragons seem to have the equivelent of the poor box by the front door.


I'm sorry, but how many treasure hoards in the (real) world are there like that? More than one, no doubt, but I don't really see it as the kind of thing characters should expect to find every adventure.

That aside, the only point of treasure is to buy things. The real world has lots of very expensive things you might buy, but the dnd world not so much. If a first level adventure nets the party a million gp, what are they supposed to do with it, and why would they ever need any more?
Just out of curiosity, in the real world, how much money did the guys who found that statue make from it?  Because I bet it's absolutely nothing.  Dungeon delving in the real world earths up priceless artifacts that are confiscated by governments and put on display in museums.  That would be really lame if it happened in D&D.
Next isn't going to tie wealth with level. there's talk about guidelines for differnt campaigns wealth ang magic systems being dialable More or less as you choose. 

The packet describes a modest coin award of 50 gp per level per day, or 500gp a day at 10th level.  This is miniscule compared to what that same character would earn for a 5 day adventure in 3e it would take 12 days to earn the same coin as a single 10th level encounter as it is now in the playtest.

Magic items are entirely optional and we should see that in the october playtest. 
**** your realism. I want D&D to be fun, not realistic.
Khyber is a dark and dangerous place, full of flame and smoke, where ever stranger things lie dormant.
Just curious, but how does the party rogue plan on getting that one-ton statue out of the dragon's lair?  I imagine that he'd pop out as many of the gems from their settings as he could and leave the statue.

We have prices for gems.  Or we will.  Or you can make up a number.

I am curious how you got this temple's treasure value in gold pieces.  Doesn't India use the rupee?  Is there a Rupee to Gold Piece currency exchange of which I'm unaware?

In regards to the xp chart, I'll pass.  I prefer a faster leveling curve.  Even 4E was too slow for me.  I didn't want to do 10 encounters per level.  I eventually just gave up the xp value and told my players when to level.  They get money.  They get a ton of money.  In fact, they have a bag of holding devoted to carrying their money.  I'm looking forward to getting that under control again without having to resort to handing out astral diamonds at level 6.
Eh, treasure is a crappy rationale for adventuring anyways. In most in game economies, a single +1 magic item is worth more than you average person can make in a lifetime.  So really, after your first dungeon delve you would be pretty much set up for life, if money was your goal.
Eh, treasure is a crappy rationale for adventuring anyways. In most in game economies, a single +1 magic item is worth more than you average person can make in a lifetime.  So really, after your first dungeon delve you would be pretty much set up for life, if money was your goal.



Except more is better. Who wants to live like a peasant for 200 years, when you can go on more adventures and accumulate enough wealth to live like a king for 200 years?

However, saving the innocents/village/hamlet/kingdom/world is a much more powerful and realistic motivator for adventuring.

Back on topic: The economy of D&D is there to provide a means of upgrading a player's equipment. That's it. Since Magic Items have prices, giving away too much treasure unbalances the game.


If I want pervasive realism, I'll put the dice down and go outside.
D&D does not need an economy that mirrors the real world. I find that trying to impose a realistic idea of treasure hoards onto creatures of pure fantasy is an exercise in pure silliness. 
If you'd like, look at it this way: Every treasure hoard WAS that monumental at one time. Unfortunately parties of adventurers over the years have come and gone, filling their sacks with a lifetime of richs, until only a scant pile remained.

If you're reading this there's a good chance you should be wearing a helmet, consequently I really can't bring myself to care about your opinion.
If I want pervasive realism, I'll put the dice down and go outside.
D&D does not need an economy that mirrors the real world. I find that trying to impose a realistic idea of treasure hoards onto creatures of pure fantasy is an exercise in pure silliness. 



Wizard: "Hmm, well let's see here. A quarter of the Dragon's Horde's gold is composed of gold coins from the Kingdom of Gygland between the years of 899 and 990. At that time the King of Gygland was debasing his gold coins by a variable amount. I will need to weigh each individual coin to determine the actual value of each coin. Luckily, a third of the gold coins are from the Duchy of Axland from the year 770. According to my "Yee Olde Financial Tome" Axland debased their currency by only a fraction of a percent of the total weight, which will thus make each coin worth .978 of our gold pieces. A fifth of the gold has been smelted into a gigantic oblong nugget. The center appears to be hollow. I do not have any data concerning the value of such an item. I will have to spend two weeks in town studying this fascinating piece. The rest of the gold was stolen from local bandits and thus each gold coin is worth .51 of a normal gold coin from our homeland. Now, on to the artwork. According to "Ye Olde Art Collectors Monthly", a forgery of this Vanduf painting sold in Axland for 20,000 of their gold coins, which equates to 19,560 of our homeland's currency. The copper statues are of little value but can be melted down into copper bars and sold to Gygland, who currently has a shortage of copper. I estimate that we will earn nearly 1,981 of our home land's currency by selling the bars..."

Is that isn't fun, I don't know what is! Wink


Is that isn't fun, I don't know what is! Wink



Accountants and Dragons? You might be on to something.....
Nice to see the realism kneejerk is still in tip-top shape.

There's a difference between adding in tiny bits of realism and making D&D a reality simulator.  Loot has always been one of those things that broke the immersion for me, in nearly every RPG I've ever played.  There's definitely room to make it smoother and less jarring, yet still satisfying.

Please, don't dismiss efforts to improve the game just because they happen to include your favorite buzzword.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
That may be, mand12, but I'm having trouble figuring out what it is that yelowdingo advocates.  Is he saying that first-level PCs should be able to find 12 million gp in treasure in a temple basement guarded by, say, a few dozen guards?  I can't really figure out what it is he means by this or how he thinks such a game would look.
Back on topic: The economy of D&D is there to provide a means of upgrading a player's equipment. That's it. Since Magic Items have prices, giving away too much treasure unbalances the game.

This assumes that magic items have prices, which is not guaranteed to be a feature of DDN.  Especially if they are aiming for an older generation, this one design point could mean a lot.

The metagame is not the game.

Plus, if that Indian temple was overrun by goblins or somethings, the locals would very likely frown on a gang of adventuring idiots looting the place clean after murdering all the goblins.

"Where are you taking our sacred statue?"
"It's okay, we killed all the goblins!"
Rather than complain that not every temple in D&D isn't brimming with gold, you should be grateful that the temples in D&D don't all mirror real world temples - bone dry of treasure. Realistically, the Earth is looking at a ratio of what? 1:10,000,000,000 temples with gold to temples without gold?
If you're reading this there's a good chance you should be wearing a helmet, consequently I really can't bring myself to care about your opinion.
How many temples even have anything more valuable than a PA system?
Back on topic: The economy of D&D is there to provide a means of upgrading a player's equipment. That's it. Since Magic Items have prices, giving away too much treasure unbalances the game.

This assumes that magic items have prices, which is not guaranteed to be a feature of DDN.  Especially if they are aiming for an older generation, this one design point could mean a lot.



Magic items had prices in 1e.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
Magic items had prices in 1e.

I'll take your word for it, and admit that it weakens my point significantly, but it's still not a guarantee of prices for each item.  

Didn't price used to matter because it determined the XP value?  I'm mostly going on second-hand stories, but if it was the case, then unless they revive that practice, it seems unlikely that it would influence the decision of whether to include prices in the next edition.

The metagame is not the game.

Some sort of magic-item value needs to be somewhere, for a DM to have any idea how much the party can get for old +1 swords they've had laying around redundant for several levels.  The only real alternatives are a return of mandatory "donation" gimmicks or a "poof! it's gone!" fiat, both of which do little but annoy players.

PCs wreck local economies.  That's just what they do.
Some sort of magic-item value needs to be somewhere, for a DM to have any idea how much the party can get for old +1 swords they've had laying around redundant for several levels.  The only real alternatives are a return of mandatory "donation" gimmicks or a "poof! it's gone!" fiat, both of which do little but annoy players.

PCs wreck local economies.  That's just what they do.



I'll trade you three blanket and a goat for that. Barter systems are so underused.

PCs wreck local economies.  That's just what they do.



This. So many times, this.
To try and assume that PCs are going to find real-world-equivalent treasures that are real-world-equivalent value is to also assume that every little village and hamlet they come across is full of people willing to dish out eleventy-million GP for the crap the PCs don't want. What these uber-millionaires are doing living in the squalor of a pig-farming village is a question that shouldn't be asked, it seems.

If the PCs find 10,000,000 GP in a dragon's hoard, by all rights they should stop adventuring and each build mighty castles with hundreds of servants and spend the rest of their days with no concerns other than how long to grow their fingernails. They don't (and won't) do this, though. They go spend it in every town, village, and city with the proper vendors, thus making those people millionaires (yet they stay and continue to run their shops for some reason).

Here's the weird truth of it all: The D&D economy is a myth. There IS no economy. There is a metagame system of collect and trade that exists only so the PCs can acquire better equipment so they can kill more things, take their stuff, and continue the collect and trade metagame. The "economy" the PCs use exists entirely outside of the in-game economy of each city and town. To suggest otherwise is daft, and goes against even the thinnest veil of "realism" or, more importantly, basic logic. 
^ Not necessarily true. There is the unwritten premise that characters are supposed to be the goodly and mighty heroes that save the day. So if the players kill off a gaggle or orcs and take however much gold, being good, they might come back to the poor burned down village and rebuild it for the farmers and at the same time buy them new livestock. 

That's what I would expect a Paladin to do instead of running off to buy the newest geegaw.

 
Divorce gold from character power.  Hell divorce gold amounts from game mechanics all together.  That way I can give  the players the ammount of gold I want to.  They can be piss poor mercenaries scraping by on pennies using their only avaliable skills set (seriously the best answer to the why do adventurers adventure is that it is all they are qualified to do in an agrarian & artisan medieval world).  Or ridiculously rich nobility who don't even keep track of the ammount of money they have and instead keep their records in land owned and castles built. 
  So really, after your first dungeon delve you would be pretty much set up for life, if money was your goal.



Truth of the matter is the more you have the more you spend. Until you get to stupidly rich levels.

One thing that has to be remembered is that the PCs *should* find a town/city with some merchants capable of performing high-value transactions at some point. Maybe they start in a little hamlet, and find only a few dozen gp each adventure, but they likely will seek out a large city with rich merchants once they accrue large amounts of gold.
And this all assumes the game has a specified rate of acquisition. From what I've seen of the playtest, it seems the game will have a completely flexible "money level", which can range from "desperate treasure seekers staving off poverty" to "insanely rich nobles" without much change to the game formula. And this doesn't affect magic item/character power either, because 1. magic items can be set to "unbuyable", and 2. even if magic items can be purchased, their design ensures that they will have a minimal impact on the character's power. As long as you don't sell +3 items at a dime a dozen, it doesn't matter how much money the characters get. And if you are practically handing out magic items, ask yourself whether or not the opposition can buy those same items. Giving the orcs a few +2 items balances out if the party is armed to the teeth with +2 items as well.
I don't really understand the argument to "divorce gold from character power." I can see the argument against having wealth-by-level guidelines incorporated in the rules, and I can see the argument against magic item shops.

But still. If I find a million-gp treasure, how can that not make me powerful? I can build a castle and hire an army to do my bidding. And surely I should be able to buy some magic items at some price somehow. If not, I can always just send my army to kill the guy who has one and take it. On a lower scale, an extra 1000 gp would let me buy a whole lot of healing potions... that by itself would make me stronger.

I'm all for the DM having flexibility to deal with this stuff however the campaign makes sense, and maybe that is all people are really saying. But the idea that lots of treasure won't make your character stronger seems hard to imagine.
Magic items had prices in 1e.

I'll take your word for it, and admit that it weakens my point significantly, but it's still not a guarantee of prices for each item.  

Didn't price used to matter because it determined the XP value?  I'm mostly going on second-hand stories, but if it was the case, then unless they revive that practice, it seems unlikely that it would influence the decision of whether to include prices in the next edition.





AD&D magic items have both gold piece sale values and experience point values.
 
What AD&D did that none of the other versions do is require the player character to use the monies they acquired for things other than upgrading equipment. You had to train for each new  level gained. This cost money and time in game. You had henchmen hirelings and followers to maintain and pay for. You needed to waste huge sums of money for spell research and maintaining a place to store your gear or the massive library a magic user or cleric needed to do any kind of magic item creation You also had to pay the lord of the area and the leaders of your church and had to constantly worry about thieves robbing you blind. 

After an adventure the players were nearly as poor as they were when they bagan adventuring. If the treasure types of the monsters used in an adventure yielded poor treasures or the DM rolled badly there could be serious cash flow problems. 

Name level characters were expected to put down roots and build strong holds. Monks, paladins, and rangers were required to give away any money they had above what they needed to train for their next level and to maintain their equipment and the npcs they had in their employ. Thieves and assassins needed to pay guild dues or be left without their services, or worse.

The last thing a player could do was to go into some random shop and and expect to be able to buy a magical item. Hell, finding someone to actually buy your excess magic could be an adventure in itself.

I still use most of these methods of reducing player wealth. It helps when you've rolled up a particularly valuable hoard and want to get it out of the game. I like generating random treasures, it makes it easier to blame it on the dice when things are a little sparse.
Or they could make Character Power harder to attain...

2,000xp level 2
30,000xp level 3
400,000xp level 4
5,000,000xp level 5
60,000,000xp level 6
700,000,000xp level 7
 

And with that, he vanished like a will-o-wisp.  Or was he ever really here at all?

But seriously, I love this XP progression.  You only need 20,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 xp for level 20 (or almost half the total number of stars in the universe, according to Wikipedia!).  It could be the first edition of D&D to represent monster XP using scientific notation.  "Sweet, we killed the Balor!  They are worth five point seven times ten to the twentieth experience!"

I didnt get into the other parts of the Indian Temple Treasure Hoard description because I felt they couldnt possibly be realistic - 



  • 52 sacks of Diamonds (D&D Diamond 1cn/10,000gp) 400cn/sack = 208,000,000gp

The Citadel Megadungeon: http://yellowdingosappendix.blogspot.com.au/2012/08/the-citadel-mega-dungeon-now-with-room.html
Divorce gold from character power.  Hell divorce gold amounts from game mechanics all together.  That way I can give  the players the ammount of gold I want to.  They can be piss poor mercenaries scraping by on pennies using their only avaliable skills set (seriously the best answer to the why do adventurers adventure is that it is all they are qualified to do in an agrarian & artisan medieval world).  Or ridiculously rich nobility who don't even keep track of the ammount of money they have and instead keep their records in land owned and castles built. 



They did that in Star Wars Saga. After level 6 or so, wealth became meaningless for characters because they didn't constantly need newer and better gear. DDN could easily do this as well but I'm not sure how popular it would be.
PCs wreck local economies.  That's just what they do.

Running gag.

"Adventurers are in town Norma! Quick, put out the sign saying "Eggs: 10 platinum each'!"
Given the indian Temple constitutes not only donations and tithes but loot siezed from surrounding (weaker) kingdoms in banditry, war; and trade over 500+ years it constitutes a nations wealth which makes more akin to what PCs should be aiming at when they establish their own Empire.

The Treasure is now at 2 lakh Crore (44 billion dollars gold) with an artefact value of 10 lakh crore (220 billion dollars).

So 44 billion/1500 dollars an ounce x 16 ounces per pound =  469 . 333333 million pounds of gold. In D&D (50 gp/pound of gold) that exchanges to 23,466,666,650gp.

Adventurers looking to reach the kind of level appraoching Emperor should be forced to achieve that kind of wealth (even if it is in land and slaves and castles and forests and mines). 

Recommended Experience Progression Table
2,000xp----------------------------------------------level 2
30,000xp--------------------------------------------level 3
400,000xp-------------------------------------------level 4
5,000,000xp----------------------------------------level 5
60,000,000xp---------------------------------------level 6
700,000,000xp-------------------------------------level 7
8,000,000,000xp-----------------------------------level 8
90,000,000,000xp---------------------------------level 9
 

It just means they need to put a D&D economic value on an empire. 
The Citadel Megadungeon: http://yellowdingosappendix.blogspot.com.au/2012/08/the-citadel-mega-dungeon-now-with-room.html

What I get from this is:  Lets go back to 'swingy' treasure.


 


In the 'old days' - treasure were randomly rolled - and you could get fabulous wealth from a relatively low level encounter; or you could get  a miserly return from a horde of dangerous creatures.  Only in the very long term did this balance out.   A goblin lair of as few as 40 goblins could hold up to 3 jewels, any of which can be worth tens, if not hundreds of thousands of gold pieces (along with up to 12,000 cp, up to 6,000 sp, up to 4,000 ep, up to 6 gems and maybe even 2 magic items.  On the other hand, a lair of hundreds might have no treasure at all.  Both are possible - and most fall somewhere in between - if the DM rolls the dice fairly.

Technically - it was even possible to find such a piece of jewelry lying unguarded in a level 1 dungeon room (although most DMs would probably stop short of that - or, more creatively - make it part of an ongoing story).  But it's possible (random dungeon generator, 20 on d20 (treasure only); 95-97 on percentile (1 piece jewelry/ level).


In contrast - the modern approach is to carefully regulate gold output to make sure that you don't upset the careful balance of the game.  That may be the safe approach.  It may make it easier to DM if you don't have to worry about filthy rich PCs.  And it may even be necessary in the 3.x/ 4E approach which allows PCs to make or buy magic if they have the cash (another reason I don't like allowing either to be easy).


But there is a lot to be said for the chance at that big score - that huge horde that makes the PCs fabulously wealthy.   It's more fun, it fits the literature better and - as the OP is trying to point out - it has a real world precedent.

Carl

That may be, mand12, but I'm having trouble figuring out what it is that yelowdingo advocates.  Is he saying that first-level PCs should be able to find 12 million gp in treasure in a temple basement guarded by, say, a few dozen guards?  I can't really figure out what it is he means by this or how he thinks such a game would look.


Honestly?  I have no idea what he wants either.

I am simply objecting to the "REALISM!!! NOOOO!!!!" yelling that shuts down any productive discussion.


Personally, I'd like to see loot as part of the world, and have that part of the world be consistent.  If the towns are full of people scraping by in pseudo-medieval destitution, there shouldn't be a magic sword in Random Goblin Cave #8315 that's worth enough coin to feed everyone in the town for a year.

Loot needs to be detached from assumed character progression - that's the first step.  Bounded Accuracy does most of the work here.  The loot then needs to be consistent with the world in which your PCs reside.  That's all sorts of wishy-washy, and can't be engineered on a system level.  It rests solely in the realm of guidance.  Perfect for the DMG, but there won't be a "right" answer.


Loot doesn't have to be "real" but it does have to be consistent.  Whatever your fantasy-reality is, it should be a reality.  Even if it's not like mine.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition

...
Personally, I'd like to see loot as part of the world, and have that part of the world be consistent.  If the towns are full of people scraping by in pseudo-medieval destitution, there shouldn't be a magic sword in Random Goblin Cave #8315 that's worth enough coin to feed everyone in the town for a year.
...
Loot doesn't have to be "real" but it does have to be consistent.  Whatever your fantasy-reality is, it should be a reality.  Even if it's not like mine.



Absolutely.


And the first step is to get players to understand the difference between "value" and "What can I sell this for".


Just because the players find a statue worth a million gold - that doesn't mean there is anyone willing to give them a million gold for that statue.  Essentially, they are trying to pawn something worth a fortune - but how many people are there willing to actually pay a fortune for such a thing.  They need to go and find a buyer to get anything close to its value.  Otherwise, they are lucky to get a fraction of its alleged value.


ON a semi-related note:  I've always wondered how every Tom, Dick and Harry shopkeeper can tell when an item is magical.  It seems to me that only an idiot vendor would ever buy allegedly magical items from an adventurer.  They should pay for what they can see - they can probably tell that its a masterwork quality item.  That's it and that's what they will pay for.  Unless the PC can demostrate that it is more  (and even then, the limited market means a steep discount on purchase price) - that's the most anyone will offer them  - and if the PCs want more they will have to find a buyer themselves.  .