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Question on treasure / wealth

Beginner Box

Reading through the Hero's Handbook and GM Guide, there was some discussion about giving out treasure and PC wealth by level. Now if I give out a piece of treasure worth 1,000gp and the PC keeps it, that's fine but if the PC does not like it or does not find it useful and decides to sell it, it'll be "bought" for 500gp, correct? Does that mean later in the adventure I will need to give out another 500gp-worth of coins or useful treasure or another 1,000gp of not-useful-and-will-be-sold treasure?


generally speaking, if its sold he has "wasted" 500gp, if he would never have used it its not wasted because he would have never used it. This is why you want a good balance between given items and flat wealth (and gems and what not). This also gives you the opportunity as a GM to vary the players in a way that you want. Sure your barbarian has been using great swords since level one, but that +2 flaming great axe is just a tad better than your normal +2 non-flaming great sword. Or your player can sell it and further enchant is great sword. Most groups have even dividing of loot, so unless you tailor your drops 100% to your party then you will have wasted items, and then one person will have "less money" compared to the next. But because they split money evenly it will be impossible to have all of your players equal. Your magic user (if you have one) can always just pick up craft magic weapons or wondrous items to make up the difference, but this can get complicated for new players.

But disregarding equipment, a lot of drops should be other magical items such as potions, scrolls, wands, wondrous items and later in the game staffs. Your wizard might have never picked up "Feather fall" but you could always try to give the party a potions of feather fall in one dungeon and in the next dungeon put a giant cliff in their way- with a lever at the bottom that activates a bridge, They you have to decide who is going to jump down into the cliff to activate the switch and find their way back up. It can lead to some interesting roleplay. And once a consumable is used, you don't need to give them more money- they have used it up just as if they had bought a weapon.

I recommend using the treasure tables to generate treasure, but don't try to force the PCs to have a particular wealth by level. The WBL chart is mostly useful to give an idea if they might be over or under-equipped for their level, which affects what CR of monsters they can take on.

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Games and Geeks wrote:

Reading through the Hero's Handbook and GM Guide, there was some discussion about giving out treasure and PC wealth by level. Now if I give out a piece of treasure worth 1,000gp and the PC keeps it, that's fine but if the PC does not like it or does not find it useful and decides to sell it, it'll be "bought" for 500gp, correct? Does that mean later in the adventure I will need to give out another 500gp-worth of coins or useful treasure or another 1,000gp of not-useful-and-will-be-sold treasure?


I wouldnt fine tune it to that level, but each time the party levels I'd take a quick and rough inventory of their wealth and see if it was in line with the WBL chart. If they had stacks more than the chart suggested was "appropriate" then they'd find the treasure distribution to be a little lean for a few encounters (not nothing, but a bit less than would be expected). If they were behind the curve then they'd find just a little bit more than the rules would suggest for a little while.

It could happen that one PC will be ahead and one behind (if the fighter keeps the magic weapon and the wizard takes a wondrous item and sells it, for example. Also, if the party values treasure differently than the book does). I wouldnt do anything drastic there, but tailor the treasure they found in the next few adventures accordingly - so in the parenthetical example there, the next few bits of treasure might be things a wizard would want (without too many magic weapons or armor the fighter might be tempted to keep).

Things generally work themselves out in the end that way.

Ouch! I've not even considered consumables! Obviously a PC who buys such items and uses them wantonly will be "poorer" than others who buy armor or weapons and rely on spellcasters for healing and buffs.

The easiest way I see to use the WBL is when making a PC at a certain level, then that value is their "shopping budget." But how about for those PCs created earlier?

Another example: For example, a given WBL for a level 4 PC is 6,000gp. A fighter who buys only gear (weapon, armor, rings) and maybe spent 1,000gp on potions will still have 5,000gp worth of gear. How about those PCs then who buy loads of potions or maybe a wizard who always stocks up on some scrolls so he is not limited to only the spells he's prepared for a day? If he spent 4,000gp on these items, he only has 2,000gp worth of gear..... or am I expected to keep track of all the items spent/consumed/cast so as to "add" it in during a wealth-by-level-audit?

I know I can just handwave this and just make sure I generate a treasure hoard that is as "fair" as I can make it for all the PCs involved, but I'd really like to know this for future reference in case my PCs get creamed --- I'd like to be able to know/check if I've been giving them proper treasure.

No, you don't need to consider consumables. A wizard who has 3,000 in consumables is just as rich as the fighter with a plus one weapon. if you look at it the fighter gets +1 damage every hit but the wizard can cast untold more times per day. most parties split payment for group buffs (like wands of cute light wounds or buff scrolls) but for items only for the wizard, he has spent his money, use it wisely.

this is mostly because martial classes and magic classes spend their money differently. Martial spend money mostly on weapons and armor while magic class spend their money on scrolls wands and wondrous items to enhance their casting and make them more consistent. Obviously in longer day encounters (more than seven or so encounters) the wizard will have to use his consumables to keep up with the group. But the fighter will be good all day. On the other hand, in short days the wizard can keep pace or surpass the martial classes that have magical weapons and armor even if they have no items of their own. This is how classes are created. Martial need items for damage and survivability. Magic need items for sustainability and versatility

Wealth by Level has two real uses. One is if you are starting a new character at a higher level. It gives them a target to hit for gearing up.

The second is to give you a very ball-park feel for party wealth. It helps to see if one character is wildly over-geared for his level or to see if the party is wildly under-geared for the party level.

It is never a great system because random treasure isn't exactly equally useful to everyone.

For example, a gnome bard in my game has a +1 shapeshifter-bane dagger as a short sword. It is an 8000 gold weapon, given to him because it is just a dagger, but he doesn't really care about it. He is mainly a spell caster/whip user; he has yet to stab anyone with it.

By pure WBL, he's down 8k from his goal. But realistically, he wouldn't normally want it (I may have mentioned something, in passing, about werewolves coming up soonish, heh) and so it shouldn't really affect his WBL. That's the problem with being too specific with WBL.

I like to use it on the party level. Four level 4 players should have a total party value around 24,000 gold. If it is 30k, that's fine; if it is 20k, that's alright... but if one character has 12k and another has 3k... that may not be ok, depending on the gear. This also solves the party inventory issue (shared resources like potions or wands of buffing). It isn't fair that the Wizard's WBL be spent on wands of Knock.

I'd also only figure the party WBL every few levels as a benchmarking. Tracking it too closely can get ugly.

And I've not even started in on the issues with WBL and magic item creation, heh.

Yep, I got no problem of using the WBL when **creating** a character of a higher level; I just give them that value as their shopping budget, correct?

My confusion comes with having to track it for in-progress characters. A fighter with gear worth 8,000gp is fine, but how do you "keep track" of the consumables used up? That fighter may have 10,000gp a few levels later but the wizard who spent his gold on consumables like scrolls and potions may just have 6,000gp, the same as he had 3 levels earlier.

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