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Too Much Treasure?


Beginner Box


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

Alright, you can call me a stick in the mud, but I'm concerned that the adventure in the BB DMG (Black Fang's Dungeon) has far too much loot in it.

So I did some math from the Core Rulebook and the Game Master's Guide that came with the Beginner's Box. And the TOTAL treasure from this dungeon should be something around 3,000gp. And more so, the "Character Wealth by Level" claims a lvl 2 character (the dungeon should level the characters) is 1,000gp. This still amounts to 4,000gp for a 4-player party and presuming this treasure carries them to lvl 3 then the total budget could be fudged up to 12,000gp. Instead, the adventure heaps over 20,000gp worth of treasure on the heroes!?!

Won't these characters be severely overpowered moving forward? And worse, won't it set a terrible precedent for the amount of treasure they should receive throughout the Pathfinder world?


Yes, there is too much and too powerful loot in this dungeon. I ran my group through masters of the fallen fortress afterwards and they had barely a scratch by the end. A few lucky rolls for the monsters and some touch attacks occasionally knocked out individual characters but the group was never in any real danger.

That being said, the equipment found in the BB dungeon gives the party a reasonable chance to defeat the end boss (my group did) which is a good way to motivate them to play more.

You should
- use the dungeon as a stand-alone introduction, using the pre-gens. If the group wants to keep playing, have them create their own characters, which resets the loot.
OR
- significantly reduce the amount and quality of the loot (and the reward promised in sandpoint) if you want them to keep using the same characters. This, however will make it almost impossible to actually beat the end boss.


I sort of agree but disagree as well. First off if you're running a 4 person level 1 party through this dungeon they shouldn't level at all since they would each only get 935 exp for it. As for the treasure sure it sets a somewhat un-realistic example for what they should get it's also an introduction to the game. That doesn't even count the fact they may have used some or all of the items they got. Potion of cure light wounds, invisibility, and levitate all got used by the party I ran through it, as well several charges from both the wand of magic missle and the wand of cure light wounds, which you can only get by killing the goblins not talking to them.

The dragon bane longsword is by far the most expensive thing there but also bear in mind that unless you're attacking a dragon it's only a +1 long sword which drops the value by over 6000 that's 1500 split between 4 people.

I also think that they expect that the scroll of new life is going to be used at the end of that dungeon if someone gets one shot by the dragon which considering the power of the dragon isn't impossible if he hits the rouge or wizard.

Finally sure you can modify the rules to take them past level 5 but if you only go by what's in the GM Guide and Hero Handbook that come with the box the amount of things they can buy is limited. Also to get the group I ran through it to level 2 I ran the Beginner Box GM Kit adventure and it has almost no treasure in it at all. Which is part of the GM's job. Maybe their next adventure should be clearing the sandpoint sewers of Giant Centipedes which could have no treasure in it


The reduced ruleset doesn't help, either. Valeros with his shield, 15 dex and the armor you find at the end of the dungeon will easily result in an AC of 21+ because there's no max dex bonus in the BB. If you add the ring of protection or an armor spell, he becomes almost untouchable for the first few levels.

I ended up attacking anyone else whenever I had the chance in the fallen fortress, but the frequent chokepoints in that adventure meant my monsters often didn't have any other chance than to attack him (and fail utterly).


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
Digori wrote:
First off if you're running a 4 person level 1 party through this dungeon they shouldn't level at all since they would each only get 935 exp for it.

You're absolutely correct. I had just done some quick math last night to try and verify amount of treasure. Since treasure is proportional to total XP I hadn't bothered dividing. Then I forgot when I made the post. :]

The scroll of new life leaves the character with a mere 1HP at level 1. For a hero, that's really bad. A rogue or wizard might be able to deal with it; but any class with a d8+ HD is going to be hosed. I was considering making that a "quest item" for a later adventure in the campaign so that it wouldn't count as treasure. Removing that and considering the longsword only as +1 makes things a little more reasonable. That'll be ~8,000gp total. But this is still 2-3x as much treasure as normally allotted.

Blave wrote:
The reduced ruleset doesn't help, either. Valeros with his shield, 15 dex and the armor you find at the end of the dungeon will easily result in an AC of 21+ because there's no max dex bonus in the BB. If you add the ring of protection or an armor spell, he becomes almost untouchable for the first few levels.

That's exactly the sort of problem I was considering without even having done the math myself. This treasure would make it extremely difficult to balance an encounter against these PCs.

So has anyone tried redoing the treasure to keep it in line with what the players should receive? What did you come up with?


I didn't really try redoing the treasure at all. What I did was just increase the CR by one for some of the encounters I expect the PC's to run into and lowered the amount of treasure they recieve as well. As a new GM I figured that would be the easiest to do. Also I don't plan on having my players (all new to pathfinder but not RPG's) go all the way to level 5 anyway. This is more to learn the core mechanics before we start all over with level 1 characters using the Core Rules.

Their next adventure is going to be the ruins of Raven's Watch. Which I personally reduced the amount of treasure they get to keep it as even as possible, for a couple of reasons. One to show that the amount of stuff they got in the first adventure is not "normal", and second to make them limit the amount of single use items, scrolls, potions, etc that they use because they won't know when they get more.

Also since the entire group is now level 2 and has very good stuff I tried to keep the CR higher, most of the encounters are a between CR 2 and CR 3. With the last being CR 4.5 basically.

Also maybe it's just me (and this is in no way a shot at anybody here) I thought it was my job as GM to realize when the party had a little to much stuff to make it harder for them in response and lower the amount of stuff they recieve later


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Well lets take a step back and look a bit further than total value of the treasure here:

First off how many encounters are there in the adventure? Be sure to include traps or anything else with a CR listed -- role playing past something offers experience too.

Hitting level 2 takes 2,000 exp. Each CR 1 encounter should award 135 exp per character and 260gp on the medium advancement track.

That's 14.81 encounters for a level (or 15) approximately. 260gpx15 encounters = 3,900gp per character total.

That's right going from level 1 to level 2 you should gain about 4 times the amount of wealth by level you should have.

"That's crazy! Why does this happen! Do they suck at math?" You think -- but hold on a minute, and think a little farther.

Wealth by level counts all those cure light wounds potions and wands they use up. It counts the scrolls that get broken down into the wizard's spell book. It counts things that will be sold for half price, and alchemical items that are used on the enemies.

In fact at level 1 it's highly likely that you PC's will use up more of their wealth by level per encounter than they will at any other point in their career because they lack the spells, skills, abilities and other fun stuff to avoid needing the disposable wealth.

As such all this extra wealth is supposed to disappear in play through usage, loss, destruction and sales.


Huh... when we did it we totally ignored the treasure, figuring it was just for fluff. We just did the scenarios in a row and totally forgot about the BB.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

Originally, I was going to have use the adventures in the Beginner's Box as a jumping off point for a full campaign. But the more I think about it, the less I want to do that. We'd have to spend our first session generating characters and probably not get to play at all (all my players but one are new to pen-and-paper). Instead, I think that running the prebuilts through Black Fang's Lair, Raven's Watch and one other adventure would be a good 3-5 session introduction and then we could roll up custom characters for a full campaign.

With that said, I'm still a little hesitant. Right now, I'm thinking of turning the scroll into a quest item and removing the Ring of Prot, MW Dagger and +1 Light Steel Shield and making the Half-Plate Masterwork. Of course, ACP doesn't seem to be in the beginner's box (the fighter has a swim check at +7 in scale mail). So masterwork armor would be meaningless... or is it worth adding back in ACP/Max Dex to balance the fighter?

How's that sound?


I would actually just run things as written. What we are doing is adding one or two Core Rules each session. We've added flat-footed AC, attacks of opportunity, ddelayed and readied actions, and combat maneuvers. By slowly adding them, our new players are able to learn as they go. Even the 11 year old can keep up.


are we supposed to divide exp by the number of people on the quest?

Also the fallen fortress quest is for lvl 1 players, so if you are lvl 2 it makes sense that it is pretty easy, add a few tougher opponents if you find things too easy.

I like the idea of adding rules as you go, that'll will make things less overwhelming. It'd be nice to have an idea of which ones to add at what time though


I didn't read the adventures so I don't know if they have the XP already divided or not. Generally you divide the XP by the number of characters.

For us, we started with Flat Footed AC. We added based on needs and complexity. Combat maneuvers were the last thing we added because it gets challenging.

Osirion

Yes, you are supposed to divide XP by the number of players.


Hinkil wrote:
Also the fallen fortress quest is for lvl 1 players, so if you are lvl 2 it makes sense that it is pretty easy, add a few tougher opponents if you find things too easy

They still were level 1 since:

1. Black fang is not even 1000 xp per hero for a 4 player party.
2. I didn't want them to level up a character without ever having created one. I figure leveling up should go much smoother if they know the creation rules.

So yeah, the low difficulty of the fortress was pretty much only because of their equipment. And it's not even only the stuff you find in the cave but also the 1000 gold promised by the mayor. I.e. everyone had a better armor and masterwork weapons.


I was a little concerned by the amount of treasure on offer here also. However, I have only two players at this point, so I kept the loot in to help bolster them up a bit. On future adventures, magic items will be a lot rarer and I have a few ideas of how to do this, what to substitute for them and so on. I'm also wondering if the XP rate is too high, as Level 5 should take a long time to reach ... in my campaign it will make you Top Dog, Superhero, Hero of Myth and Legend.


kingius wrote:
I was a little concerned by the amount of treasure on offer here also. However, I have only two players at this point, so I kept the loot in to help bolster them up a bit. On future adventures, magic items will be a lot rarer and I have a few ideas of how to do this, what to substitute for them and so on. I'm also wondering if the XP rate is too high, as Level 5 should take a long time to reach ... in my campaign it will make you Top Dog, Superhero, Hero of Myth and Legend.

Yes you will need to recalibrate for your campaign then, as your campaign doesn't match with the base line assumptions of the game.

Which is fine by the way -- don't feel that you must do it according to the assumptions in the book... just be sure to realize you are deviating from them and plan accordingly.

There is lots of advice in these forums for running lower level and lower magic campaigns in pathfinder specifically.


For the slower leveling up rate, I was thinking of simply dividing the given experience rewards by 2 and seeing how that went. If they reach level 3 too quickly, I'll likely divide by a higher number.

I've got other rewards in mind that'll do as good stand ins for magic items as well, enabling me to make finding magical items actual quest goals. Its better to put Excalibur in a campaign instead of a bunch of generic Swords +x I feel.

I'll have a hunt around and see what I find on the forums as you recommend.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Unless they kill the goblins (possibly missing out on the +2 to attacks on Blackfang), all they end up with is a dragonbane sword (basically a +1 sword, because what are the chances of them fighting another dragon at this level?) a +1 dagger, some magic armor, and some scrolls. Most of the potions they get are going to get used during the adventure itself. Even the dragonbane sword is basically there so that the players can drive him off before he straight-up murders them.

Qadira

1. First suggestion (for GMs who plan to run the BB:) It's probably possible to swap out the dragonbane sword for crossbow bolts or arrows with the bane (dragons) ability. 17 such arrows have only one-third the cash value of the sword and would be just as... well, actually more effective in that fight (because every PC with an appropriate launching weapon can split the crossbows/bolts amongst themselves.)

2. Second suggestion (for those who've already finished the BB): What I'd do is establish that the Big City (or Next Adventure) lies on the other side of some rough wilderness with plenty of monsters. Presenting several fights in a row with critters that have little or no treasure will allow you to balance wealth-by-level the other way: raising their level to match their wealth.

Grand Lodge

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Having the large amount of treasure is part of what drew my players in and has not let go. I have kept up the same feel as I continued their adventures by giving more treasure than normal. Not Monty H style so much but far more than this range level would normally get and I have warned them next time (non-pregens) it will be a lot less treasure, and there is a snowballs chance in h*ll of finding a magic sword of any type, let alone a dragon slaying one, before level 3 or 4.

They laughed and said that's fine but they liked feeling "rich" while young and really what economy does it break? These characters could have 125k Gold by level 5 but if they stop playing them to make new ones.... who cares? They had fun and they keep coming back, so I call it a win.


It all comes down to what sort of world that you and the players want to be in. The more common place magical items are... the less magical they seem to be. For many people this is fine and my last campaign was somewhat like this. I do prefer the other style though and I'm returning to it for my new campaign, in this style, the players hear rumours of a magical item and it becomes the focus of multiple quests to attain it. If they do, it is far more than a +1 sword, non player characters react to it accordingly and simply unsheathing it can cause enemies to surrender and bloodshed to be avoided. That sort of world is very different, taking inspiration from legends like King Arthur and can be very satisfying to play.


I don't see any problem with the occasional loot-rich dungeon. My players were kicking themselves when they cleared the dungeon, got all the treasure, then right at the end the dragon ate 3/4 of them, including the party treasurer! >:) The lone survivor was left with just a masterwork dagger and a few gp that had been shared out already.


Ravenbow wrote:

Having the large amount of treasure is part of what drew my players in and has not let go. I have kept up the same feel as I continued their adventures by giving more treasure than normal. Not Monty H style so much but far more than this range level would normally get and I have warned them next time (non-pregens) it will be a lot less treasure, and there is a snowballs chance in h*ll of finding a magic sword of any type, let alone a dragon slaying one, before level 3 or 4.

They laughed and said that's fine but they liked feeling "rich" while young and really what economy does it break? These characters could have 125k Gold by level 5 but if they stop playing them to make new ones.... who cares? They had fun and they keep coming back, so I call it a win.

I agree strongly. If you're just playing levels 1-5, you can easily give out (PCs can acquire) twice or more the standard wealth-by-level, without ill effects. Nothing wrong with a world where Level 5 characters are ultimate badasses bedecked in (Beginner Box) magic items! :)


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I think the extreme wealth can be an awesome roleplaying opportunity. Suddenly the PCs are disproportionately wealthy and famous, and in my game's case they didn't slay the dragon but rather drove it away on a murderous rampage in the south.

After boasting too freely at the post-adventure feast, the PCs learned that there are serious tax implications to the loot they found, and that many residents of Sandpoint have issued spurious claims that the treasure the PCs found is the rightful property of Sandpoint residents and was stolen by Blackfang in the first place. At least half of the governing body of Sandpoint is after the PCs for political or financial gain, making the PCs extortion targets. Many NPCs blame the PCs for the horrors unleashed by Blackfang after being driven away but not slain.

There is a saying that friends come and go, but enemies collect. The PCs instant stardom has surely won them many powerful enemies.


It's a very common problem mentioned elsewhere on the board where GMs have padded their players with too much gold/items and subsequently all their appropriately leveled encounters are reduced to one sided fights with monsters being incapable of even hitting them.

I calculated a 27,000gp value worth of treasure from this dungeon but we'll step it back a few notches to show how over the top this is.

To put into perspective 5000gp will buy

A level 1 wizard: 4500gp Wand of Scorching Ray - 4d6 fire damage to one target with 50 shots. Ranged touch attack that does more damage than the dragon's breath!

Level 1 Warrior: 4730gp Full Plate +1, Tower Shield +1, Ring +1. You now have 26 AC, not including other bonuses and cannot be hit by anything level 3 or below unless they crit.

Level 1 Bard: 4500gp Circlet of Persuasion +3 to all your charisma based checks. Bluff, Diplomacy, handle animal, intimidate, perform, use magic device are now around 7 points high total NOT including your CHA mod.

Level 1 Cleric: 4500gp Wand of Spiritual Weapon an unkillable 1d8+1 weapon unaffected by DR flies around attacking with your Wisdom as it's attack mod. With 50 charges you can summon multiple a battle and chase down even flying monsters with ease.

Level 1 Rogue: 3300gp Ring of feather fall, Potion of fire breath. It's now impossible for the Rogue to take falling damage and can breath 4d6 fire breath on multiple targets three times in a fight.

Even 1000 gp will buy a wand of True strike and allow a player to get +20 on their next attack roll.

Or wand of enlarge person changing players 1d6 roll into a 1d8 roll. Maybe even a 2d6 roll into a 2d8 attack.

~~

In order to challenge your players you'll need to set them up to monsters that are significantly higher than them to even chance hitting them (assuming the monster survives first round) which creates a problem where monsters who can hit them, are capable of 1 hit killing your under leveled players.

Run heavily modified or a once off but no way include vanilla in a campaign.

Qadira

Hmmmm i was thinking about getting the begginer box and it seems perfectly fine i guess i can up cr lvl up several notchs


You can never have too much treasure or too much loot.


"You can never have too much treasure or too much loot".
Agreed, but only on low levels.

I probe BB scenario in several times with lone-hero:
1) human wiz, generated by BB players book, he had killed by goblins' King at 1st, I recalled him and then he'd fried in a dragon's flame, other encounters was too easy for him.
2) drow ranger, he'd killed by the dragon.
3) drow wiz, dragon win.
4) one tengus ranger, and... dragon won again.
No one did not return to Santpoint for trade new stuff, so I conclude, I need two or three PCs to hit the dragon, and as GM I must take much more goblins in 1st room, two spiders instead one, reefclaw + goblins (who seek his lost its female with toy), 5-6 skeletons (and one bloody skeleton which regeneate his hp past hour after PC's win - hmmm, it's the same skeleton who was in Solo Adventure, so Black Fang's adventure is the logical sequel). In such case given XP and Treasure looks more tenable.

Sczarni

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

remember just because the treasures there does not mean the players will get it.

1)I know in early adventure paths there were many instances where killing things is not enough to get you the loot. Therefore 150% of the expected loot was included in many books.

2)Also I think dragons themselves are supposed to have a higher amount of treasure than 'normal' encounters.

Its been a while since I read these scenarios, but this may be part of it


Since the Mayor of Sandpoint offered 1000gp to the party (as written), I made it conditional... $700 gold if the players ended the terror of Black Fang, 1000 if they bring back his head. They're only getting 700gp.

As to all the loot in the dungeon - well, they cleaned the place out and were leaving to head back to Sandpoint when they realized they were surrounded. "See, I told you boys all we had to do was wait for someone to come along and do the heavy lifting for us..." a party of 12 ruffians steals them blind and feling lucky to be left alive. Plus it sets up a later adventure when they meet the ruffians again after they leveled up and are stronger.

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