The Dreaded Party Loot Split


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So we got some new players in the group and they fit the dynamic quite nicely so far. However, when loot makes an appearance it's almost a free-for-all. Our group usually just takes note of what's there and when the adventure is done (unless an item really is needed) everything gets divvied up.

My proposed method was to simply put the item as a community item if it becomes a point of contention or just turn it into gold value.

So I'm wondering what some of you guys do or would in such a situation?

Scarab Sages

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This may seem harsh but any single loot item contention should be resolved with, "You two want it. You two figure it out." I mean adults should be able to handle that. If they aren''t adults, then it is time to learn a life lesson.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

My group geerally works together for loot split.

- If multiple people want item X, they generally roll off for it.
- If the item is an AC item, mellee tends to be deferred for.
- Big 6 items when upgraded tend to hand-me-down the previous to another PC if it would benefit them.
- If you gained an item already from that loot split, you don't roll against another PC who hasn't yet.
- Anything leftover is sold and split evenly.

Sometimes this means a character may not get an item for a few sessions, and other times they can get a couple. My group is ok with this aspect.


@Saashaa, I agree being adults (for my group anyway) any arguments, specifically those over imaginative items should be fully avoidable. Come to find out thought it goes a bit deeper, apparently their GM was for lack of a better word horrible when it came to magic item drops. For example, the monk who is now in my game never got a single item in 7 levels... not even a +1 ring of protection. The campaign had lots of maghic items I'm told so I assume they just ripped each other apart. Could also be why magic items were so scarce in his game though.

Rathendar wrote:


My group generally works together for loot split.
- If multiple people want item X, they generally roll off for it.
- If the item is an AC item, melee tends to be deferred for.
- Big 6 items when upgraded tend to hand-me-down the previous to another PC if it would benefit them.
- If you gained an item already from that loot split, you don't roll against another PC who hasn't yet.
- Anything leftover is sold and split evenly.
Sometimes this means a character may not get an item for a few sessions, and other times they can get a couple. My group is ok with this aspect.

This makes sense, essentially an informal adventuring charter. I was debating on having them write one up but we can see what this brings. The group works great together, lots of fun to be had. But the second treasures rears its ugly head, watch out.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber

I truly can't fathom that situation. Such behavior honestly doesn't make sense to me.

Another option/addition is for any person who gets something out of the pool of loot 'pays' for it. All items get sold at half price, so whenever someone gets a loot item they pay the community loot pool the amount equal to half the market price of the item. This way, monetarily, loot will be divided evenly.


Saashaa wrote:

I truly can't fathom that situation. Such behavior honestly doesn't make sense to me.

Another option/addition is for any person who gets something out of the pool of loot 'pays' for it. All items get sold at half price, so whenever someone gets a loot item they pay the community loot pool the amount equal to half the market price of the item. This way, monetarily, loot will be divided evenly.

Yeah, it's certainly a first for me. For all the years I've played it usually goes to "need vs greed" so there was no issues. But bringing in new people is bound to bring up some new issues here & there.

If the above proves to be ineffective, maybe hitting them in the pocket will solve any group hostility.


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Loot is used as required by anyone until reaching a town where loot is divided into (party+1) lots. One share is put aside for emergency healing/raise dead and party expenses (need to hire a boat - party share pays). If you want to keep an item it comes out of your share of the cash, at half cost. Everything unwanted is sold.
Re-distributing items is common, and so far we've never had to roll of for loot -mostly because I really can't be bothered to make getting hold of magic difficult (it really doesn't add anything to the game), so someone can just get a second if they really want it - it removes all the need to argue.


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I've said it before and I'll say it again...

Far and away, the most fair system is "Buy From Loot". Everything gets sold and split evenly except if a player wants a loot item, then they pay the party half price (selling price) to take that item.

This way, it's completely neutral to the party whether or not you keep the Necklace of Fireballs or sell it, because they're making the same amount of money either way (either they sell it to you or sell it to the merchant, for the same amount either way.) And it's fair to the players, because if you wouldn't even pay half price for an item, then it's honestly not really worth keeping, now is it? (And if two+ characters want to buy the same item from loot, I suppose you could have them bid for it.)

I've played with this system and there are essentially zero arguments about loot, because it's just so fair and clear-cut.


RumpinRufus wrote:

I've said it before and I'll say it again...

Far and away, the most fair system is "Buy From Loot". Everything gets sold and split evenly except if a player wants a loot item, then they pay the party half price (selling price) to take that item.

This way, it's completely neutral to the party whether or not you keep the Necklace of Fireballs or sell it, because they're making the same amount of money either way (either they sell it to you or sell it to the merchant, for the same amount either way.) And it's fair to the players, because if you wouldn't even pay half price for an item, then it's honestly not really worth keeping, now is it? (And if two+ characters want to buy the same item from loot, I suppose you could have them bid for it.)

I've played with this system and there are essentially zero arguments about loot, because it's just so fair and clear-cut.

This is basically how we handle loot.


Treasure can be contentious out of character when people cant grow up.

Treasure can be contentious in-character too when someone has character traits or class features that require a steady reward stream to avoid eating penalties.

It's why the covetous oracle curse concerns me somewhat as appealing as it is. UMD as a class skill with a bonus too? yes please. fairly simple requirements to satisfy? great...except on those times where its NOT so simple.

i do think some combination of the priority roll system and buy from loot should work great though.

have people buy what they want, and if theres a conflict of interest, roll priority.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Cards, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

IMHO, the "buy from loot" system is unnecessarily complex. You shouldn't need to price out everything, and some items have such a high book value that nobody will keep them, even if they ought to.

This said, as a DM, I always leave it up to the players to decide how they'll divide things up. That's part of player agency, and anytime the DM can give the players more choices and more narrative power, he should, especially when it costs nothing to do it.

The last time I saw players come to violence over loot was in the 70s, and the guys involved were teenagers, so I suppose some allowances can be made for immaturity. Also, back then, "rogues" were called "thieves" and some players thought that gave them carte blanche to rob their friends blind.

When I'm a player, we always keep all magic items that we can use. It's usually clear which player can best use an item, weapon or whatever, and when it isn't, we just roll best out of 20 to get it. Anything left is then converted to gold as soon as we can, and divided evenly, regardless of who got what item.

If some other player suggested a "buy from loot" scheme, as a player I would argue against it. As a DM I would keep my mouth shut and let the players decide.


We just go down the list and ask who wants this. If multiple people want something we come back to it. When we go back down whoever has claimed the least gp value so far gets it. You can trade a lesser version of an item in so that it counts for less against you. If nobody wants it but we don't want to sell it then it becomes a party item carried by whoever can use it best. Everything else is sold and gold split evenly. If someone didn't claim very many items the rest of the party will usually vote to give them another share or two of the gold

We don't come out perfectly even but its fairly quick even after big piles of loot and nobody feels cheated


I tailor the loot towards my players, and usually the intended PC gets the item after a quick discussion. If not, I simply throw more similar loot at them or accept the player simply doesn't want.

This works for a rather reasonable group - for other players you might be better off with a different system.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Wheldrake wrote:
IMHO, the "buy from loot" system is unnecessarily complex. You shouldn't need to price out everything, and some items have such a high book value that nobody will keep them, even if they ought to.

In practice, it works very well, complexity isn't a factor, and high-value items usually stick around.

I've got several groups and none of us find it hard. Usually one person scribbles down what we get each session, and spends 5 to 10 minutes of their lives after the session looking up the values, adding it all up (oooooh, math!) and generating a member share value. That gets e-mailed. Done.

As for high-value items, there's a neat real-world simulation that happens. If a session generates a member share of say 4,000gp and there's a 6,000gp item that dropped, players e-mail back and forth and ask for loans. If someone else will loan 2,000gp, the item stays in the group and next session the loan gets paid back. Usually there's someone who isn't spending their loot right away because they're saving up for a bigger-ticket item, so the gold is just laying around for a few sessions anyway.

The beauty is it's fair. Mind you, when I DM, and with the DMs I've played with, purchasing most items is possible. So the whole "items for my crossbow-specialist never drops" problem isn't a thing. But the crossbow you want. If it's super expensive or exotic, sure, it might take a bit to get crafted, but if Ye Randome Magic Shoppe is available and allowed, amazingly everyone's happy... which is the goal of the game.


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The better your team mates are equipped the better chance a player has to survive. If everyone keeps this in mind things are typically fine. The “you need this more than me” philosophy


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

For most of the campaigns I've been in, we don't have too many issues regarding loot. Usually items will go to whoever needs them most, or is the best person to use it. If no one wants or needs it, we liquidate into gold. Anyone who can't agree on an item will discuss the pros and cons of either player taking it and come to an agreement or make the item communal and it's used by whoever needs it in the moment.

However, one thing a lot of parties I've been a part of have done is have a party fund. If we're a four player party, we split all loot (assuming what's unwanted or unneeded has been liquidated into gp) five ways, all players get their cut, and then the party fund gets an equal share too. This way the party always has money for emergencies. If someone dies and we need to resurrect them, or a large purchase that benefits the party as a whole is made, we can use the party fund and we'll either have to tap very little into personal funds or not at all. I find that works quite well.


In all my years and many different groups I've only seen loot come up as an issue with one player. Player A (rightfully so) thought that they should get an upgraded version of something they had (let's say they had a Cloak of Resistance +2 and they wanted the +3 one that we just found). Everyone agreed and let them take it. So Player B said "I only have a Cloak of Resistance +1 so I'll take the +2 from you."
That's when the problem started.
Player A didn't want to give them the now unused cloak because they bought it at character creation so they were going to wait and sell it in town so they would get their gold for it.
I was shocked and, as a player, couldn't understand Player A's thinking. (Heck, I still don't.)
Player B's opinion was along the lines of "well, I know my character doesn't like yours anymore because you're a selfish jerk" and that was kind of the end of it.

I don't know if the GM (or one of the other players) spoke to Player A about it later but they never did give up the +2 cloak but the issue didn't come up again so we never bothered to find a solution. (I don't think it came up again because the game didn't last much longer after that and I don't think Player A had a chance to upgrade any of their loot after that.)

That all being said, if I were to come across that problem again, as a player I'd suggest that people keep track of the amount of valuables they have (within a few hundred gold) and that whenever there's a shopping session we take a look to see how close everyone is an adjust accordingly.

But every other time everyone has looked at what the loot was and if two people both want something they've always been able to go "yeah, okay, it makes more sense for this person to have it over the other" and I don't recall (other than the one time) of anyone even coming close to an argument about dividing stuff.


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My group has been together, with occasional individual's moving away then moving back, for 30 years. Sometimes they divide the loot from right after the end of the encounter and sometimes they wait until the end of the adventure. They always talk over who needs what the most or at least would benefit the most from it and share the cash equally. If anything isn't chosen by anyone it goes into a "community chest" sort of thing until they either end up using it or trying to sell it. In my campaign very few people have the gold to buy most items outright unless they're a noble who collects such things or a high enough level character who wants it for whatever reason.


Tiny Coffee Golem wrote:
The better your team mates are equipped the better chance a player has to survive. If everyone keeps this in mind things are typically fine. The “you need this more than me” philosophy

I agree with this philosophy especially because a martial tends to need more gear than a caster does to be effective in its environment. Any method that tries to keep each character at equal WBL will likely make for some sad martials. IMHO, the very best way is to split the cash evenly but give items to the characters that will make the best use of them to the greatest benefit of the whole group even if it results in overall wealth disparity among the individual members.

In our recent Giantslayer campaign, the wizard in the group had a mere fraction of the proscribed WBL. He was always far behind the rest of the party even though he was given an equal share of cash because he never picked up armour, weapons or shields worth thousands of gold as the rest of us did. He made sure we got the rings, cloaks, belts and headbands before he did and was happy to wait to use our castoffs when we upgraded. He happens to be the only character to survive the whole campaign. I suppose he could have been even more powerful had he insisted on an equal share of loot but he certainly didn’t suffer for it.


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Three words: Ro. Sham. Bo.


I've been redirected here because i'm having some issues, and after a bit of Reading i have one conclussion, of course, this is just my opinion.

Buy from loot system dont seem to be fair for me.

Lets talk with arguments.

In a simple scenario, we have a group of 2 adventurers. After a hard time knoking down the beast, they find a treassure. In the mountain of gold there are 2000 gp, and also an armor, valued in 2000 gp.

With your system, one of the adventurers take the armor, and also have rights over some part of the gold pieces, since the armor is valued only in 1000 gp, to be even, this warrior takes 500 gp, and the other one takes the 1500 gp.

Result: one character has 1500 gp, and the other has 2500 gp in treassure, since his armor counts as 2000 gp when we talk about treassure limit per level.

Well, this seems to be unbalanced for me, so i proppose this to you.

Same situation.

One warrior takes the armor, the other takes the gold. Both of them will have the same armor if they want, since the market price is the same.

You can apply this to every situation you find. If someone of the group wants an item, he has to pay the market price to his comrades, since that's teh price they will have to pay if they need to buy something in the market because the loot is not going well for them.

That's, for me, the real way to make things even


Graelsis wrote:

I've been redirected here because i'm having some issues, and after a bit of Reading i have one conclussion, of course, this is just my opinion.

Buy from loot system dont seem to be fair for me.

Lets talk with arguments.

In a simple scenario, we have a group of 2 adventurers. After a hard time knoking down the beast, they find a treassure. In the mountain of gold there are 2000 gp, and also an armor, valued in 2000 gp.

With your system, one of the adventurers take the armor, and also have rights over some part of the gold pieces, since the armor is valued only in 1000 gp, to be even, this warrior takes 500 gp, and the other one takes the 1500 gp.

Result: one character has 1500 gp, and the other has 2500 gp in treassure, since his armor counts as 2000 gp when we talk about treassure limit per level.

Well, this seems to be unbalanced for me, so i proppose this to you.

Same situation.

One warrior takes the armor, the other takes the gold. Both of them will have the same armor if they want, since the market price is the same.

You can apply this to every situation you find. If someone of the group wants an item, he has to pay the market price to his comrades, since that's teh price they will have to pay if they need to buy something in the market because the loot is not going well for them.

That's, for me, the real way to make things even

Graelsis,

What's fair depends on whether your group crafts or buys magic items.

You seem to be speaking from the perspective of someone who buys magic items and so pays market price.

In my group there's always someone with Craft Arms and Armour and someone with Craft Wondrous Item. And these guys craft items for other party members at craft price.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Cards, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

This is the sort of negociation which should take place *in character* between the players, most likely prior to setting out on their adventure. The DM really shouldn't intervene or even concern himself with these sorts of details. What the PCs do with loot is for them to decide. If one character spends his time hiding loot from the other PCs and they don't succeed the perception checks to see what's going on (or simply aren't present when the thief pockets his loot) then that loot isn't split up. And if the PCs are evil... they might have to accept the decision of the strongest amongst them, and only quibble over his leavings.

Real-life pirates are said to have had charters specifying in advance how loot would be divied up between the captain, various officers and regular crew. Why not suggest players do the same?


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Wheldrake wrote:
The DM really shouldn't intervene or even concern himself with these sorts of details. What the PCs do with loot is for them to decide. If one character spends his time hiding loot from the other PCs and they don't succeed the perception checks to see what's going on (or simply aren't present when the thief pockets his loot) then that loot isn't split up. And if the PCs are evil... they might have to accept the decision of the strongest amongst them, and only quibble over his leavings.

If squabbles about how to divide loot are making the game less enjoyable for one or more players, then it is absolutely the role of the GM to suggest fair strategies for dividing it up.

The "thief pockets the loot" is only viable if the entire group thinks that's a fair way to play what is essentially a cooperative storytelling game.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Cards, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I would agree that hiding loot is a form of PVP behavior, and could easily devolve into PCs fighting with other PCs.

So you're absolutely right to say that this could potentially be a DM group management issue.


Moonclanger wrote:
Graelsis wrote:

I've been redirected here because i'm having some issues, and after a bit of Reading i have one conclussion, of course, this is just my opinion.

Buy from loot system dont seem to be fair for me.

Lets talk with arguments.

In a simple scenario, we have a group of 2 adventurers. After a hard time knoking down the beast, they find a treassure. In the mountain of gold there are 2000 gp, and also an armor, valued in 2000 gp.

With your system, one of the adventurers take the armor, and also have rights over some part of the gold pieces, since the armor is valued only in 1000 gp, to be even, this warrior takes 500 gp, and the other one takes the 1500 gp.

Result: one character has 1500 gp, and the other has 2500 gp in treassure, since his armor counts as 2000 gp when we talk about treassure limit per level.

Well, this seems to be unbalanced for me, so i proppose this to you.

Same situation.

One warrior takes the armor, the other takes the gold. Both of them will have the same armor if they want, since the market price is the same.

You can apply this to every situation you find. If someone of the group wants an item, he has to pay the market price to his comrades, since that's teh price they will have to pay if they need to buy something in the market because the loot is not going well for them.

That's, for me, the real way to make things even

Graelsis,

What's fair depends on whether your group crafts or buys magic items.

You seem to be speaking from the perspective of someone who buys magic items and so pays market price.

In my group there's always someone with Craft Arms and Armour and someone with Craft Wondrous Item. And these guys craft items for other party members at craft price.

Yes, we are not allowed to take crafting feats but inscribe roll and brew potion, so everyone will be needing to pay full the Price of the ítems that we cant find in the loots.


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If someone wants an item, they take it. If more than one person wants it, they figure it out. We don't really worry too much about who has the most wealth unless it's threatening survival chances--items go to the most effective wielder. We're all trying to survive, after all. I'm not going to argue that we have to sell the +2 full plate and divvy the proceeds just because the party cavalier already has a +2 earthbreaker and the rest of the non-heavy-armor-wearing party is less kitted out. I'd rather the cavalier wore it so he could do his job.


Of course stealing from the group was never a problem in AD&D. By which I mean that in my experience players were never upset by it. Their characters might come to blows if someone was caught stealing, but the players wouldn't. But then in AD&D money didn't really mean anything.

Then 3rd Ed made money meaningful because you could spend it crafting or buying magic items. Suddenly fair distribution of wealth became very important to players, especially those who felt they weren't getting their fair share. So nowadays characters coming to blows is the least of a GM's concerns; unfair division of treasure is likely to affect player enjoyment of the game.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Graelsis wrote:

In a simple scenario, we have a group of 2 adventurers. After a hard time knoking down the beast, they find a treassure. In the mountain of gold there are 2000 gp, and also an armor, valued in 2000 gp.

With your system, one of the adventurers take the armor, and also have rights over some part of the gold pieces, since the armor is valued only in 1000 gp, to be even, this warrior takes 500 gp, and the other one takes the 1500 gp.

Result: one character has 1500 gp, and the other has 2500 gp in treassure, since his armor counts as 2000 gp when we talk about treassure limit per level.

This group of 2 found stuff that could be turned into 3000 gp.

The best they could do by just turning it all into cash is each get 1500. If though, one of them wants the armor, they have 3 ways of going about it.

Sell it anyway, then buy it back at a loss (One player gets 1500 gp from the adventure, the other gets armor but has to pay an extra 500 gp for it, for 1500 GP of wealth by level) The party has a whole games the 3000 gp in value from the adventure.

A second way is giving it to the one who wants it and then just dividing the cash, the first person gets 1000 GP (less then if the party had sold the armor) the second person gets 1000 gp and 2000 gp worth of armor. The party as a whole though gains 4000 gp, more than the first scenario.

The other way, buy from loot the one player still gets 1500 gp (he doesn't 'lose' anything) and the other gets 500 gp and an armor that otherwise he would have payed 2000 gp for, for a 2500 gp increase in value. Total party benefit, 4000 gp, 1000 gp more than just selling like the second scenario.

This third isn't 'fair' if by fair you mean equal, but is certainly is fair if by 'fair' you mean not taking away anything someone was entitled too. And of course next time it might be the other player that benefits from something they want, and of course the party as a whole is stronger for it. It is the maximum outcome that each individual, and the party as a whole could achieve out of the situation.


Graelsis, the issue with the system you propose of "Buy from Loot at Full Price" is that unless the armor you find is the exact piece of armor you were going to buy anyway, then it creates perverse incentives for the PCs, in which they end up selling gear that should really be kept.

It's not so obvious in your example that only has 2 PCs, but the math changes when you get to a more realistic party size. Let's assume 4 PCs.

Situation 1a: Party uses "Buy from Loot at Full Price". They come across a 2000 gp armor and 6000 gold.

Player A thinks "To me, that armor is worth 1600 gp. If I take the armor, I am effectively getting 1600 gp. But if we sell the armor, I get my cut of 7000 gp, which is 1750 gp. So, I'm better off selling the armor and using my gold to buy an armor I like better."

Result: The party sells the armor which is valued at 1600 gp for only 1000 gp, so the party effectively wastes 600 gp. Everyone gets 1750 gp.

Situation 1b: Party uses "Buy from Loot at Half Price". They come across a 2000 gp armor and 6000 gold.

Player A thinks "To me, that armor is worth 1600 gp. I'll use my loot cut of 1750 gp to buy it for 1000 gp, and keep 750 gp."

Result: To the rest of the party, this situation is identical to Situation 1a - the result for them is receiving 1750 gp. But to Player A, they receive 750 gp plus an armor worth 1600 gp, so effectively they're getting 2350 gp. Nothing is wasted.

If a situation arises wherein, over and over again loot drops that Player A wants, it is possible that he ends up with significantly more on-paper wealth than the rest of the party. But the important fact is that if Player A had never claimed any of that gear, everyone else would still have the exact same wealth. The fact that Player A has more has still in no way disadvantaged any other player.

So not only is it fair, it's better for the party overall, because it encourages less wasteful behavior. You never have the perverse scenarios like 1a in which the best option for the party as a whole is contrary to the best option for the player.


RumpinRufus wrote:
Far and away, the most fair system is "Buy From Loot". Everything gets sold and split evenly except if a player wants a loot item, then they pay the party half price (selling price) to take that item.

This is also the way our group handles loot, and it works phenomenally well. The only time it's ever been a problem is if the group finds a single powerful item that is more expensive than all loot earned thus far (like, say, finding a Staff of the Magi at 10th level, or a Belt of Giant Strength +4 at level 1), but these are some pretty uncommon or rare incidents. If we ever have a contest of two or more people wanting to buy the same item, then we either negotiate between the two, or straight d20 roll off, if both parties consent.


Warped Savant wrote:


Player A didn't want to give them the now unused cloak because they bought it at character creation so they were going to wait and sell it in town so they would get their gold for it.

Now, if Player A had instead been forced to pay for it at half price, then they could have put their +2 cloak in the party pool, then Player B could have bought it at half price, and player A would have only had to pay the difference between the old and new cloaks at half price.

If you have a group who cannot conscientiously consider one another's needs during loot splits, then the "buy from loot pool" in my experience does cause the least friction.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

We don't end up worrying much about loot distribution, because at every level up, everyone basically has a 'blank slate' and can buy any gear they want up to WBL. If some really cool item was found and it's too expensive, a player can have WBL for the previous level and one item that was found. Used up consumables you don't have any more, so they don't count, only stuff you currently own. If your party members could have crafted the item, it only counts half towards WBL.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32

Just last night in the Shattered Star game I'm running, the group was divvying treasure and I saw an amusing tactic. The player of the goblin alchemist had an item he really wanted, so he spent time convincing each other PC that some other item in the treasure was just perfect for them, and then the goblin picked "last" and got the one item he wanted that he had carefully steered everyone else away from. It was quite amusing to watch.

In general we just try and make sure whoever can best use an item gets it. We're nice enough IRL that we have the opposite problem of most when two people want the same item - they both back down to let the other have it. We've literally had valuable treasure sit in the party loot pile for multiple session because two players wanted it but didn't want to be greedy and take it for themselves.


RumpinRufus wrote:

Graelsis, the issue with the system you propose of "Buy from Loot at Full Price" is that unless the armor you find is the exact piece of armor you were going to buy anyway, then it creates perverse incentives for the PCs, in which they end up selling gear that should really be kept.

It's not so obvious in your example that only has 2 PCs, but the math changes when you get to a more realistic party size. Let's assume 4 PCs.

Situation 1a: Party uses "Buy from Loot at Full Price". They come across a 2000 gp armor and 6000 gold.

Player A thinks "To me, that armor is worth 1600 gp. If I take the armor, I am effectively getting 1600 gp. But if we sell the armor, I get my cut of 7000 gp, which is 1750 gp. So, I'm better off selling the armor and using my gold to buy an armor I like better."

Result: The party sells the armor which is valued at 1600 gp for only 1000 gp, so the party effectively wastes 600 gp. Everyone gets 1750 gp.

Situation 1b: Party uses "Buy from Loot at Half Price". They come across a 2000 gp armor and 6000 gold.

Player A thinks "To me, that armor is worth 1600 gp. I'll use my loot cut of 1750 gp to buy it for 1000 gp, and keep 750 gp."

Result: To the rest of the party, this situation is identical to Situation 1a - the result for them is receiving 1750 gp. But to Player A, they receive 750 gp plus an armor worth 1600 gp, so effectively they're getting 2350 gp. Nothing is wasted.

If a situation arises wherein, over and over again loot drops that Player A wants, it is possible that he ends up with significantly more on-paper wealth than the rest of the party. But the important fact is that if Player A had never claimed any of that gear, everyone else would still have the exact same wealth. The fact that Player A has more has still in no way disadvantaged any other player.

So not only is it fair, it's better for the party overall, because it encourages less wasteful behavior. You never have the perverse scenarios like 1a in which the...

Why do you reduce the Price of the armor?

In your A situation, if you maintain the Price, that character takes a 2000 gp bite, and the rest of his team, 3 lads, take another 2000 gp of gold.

Everyone can reach ítems for the same value of the armor. If a player decide to sell it because he preffers gold instead of the armor, that's perfectly ok.

If he or she decides that selling the armor is prefereable just because he want the armor AND gold, then im afraid we are facing a selfish personality.


Graelsis, one of the beauties of "Buy from Loot for Half" is that it is completely robust to selfish personalities. When you use that system, you simply don't need to care if your "friend" is a selfish a-hole or if they're a saint, because it's the same to you either way. No arguments, no debates. The most contentious things could get to is a bidding war (if that's what you settle on as a tie-breaker,) and you could even avoid that by just rolling off for who gets to buy a mutually desired item.

As for why I "reduce the price", it's because it's highly improbable that the item you find is the item you want. Say that you find a Minor Crown of Blasting, which is priced at 6480 gp. It's almost inconceivable that a party member says, "Oh, I've been saving up to buy a Minor Crown of Blasting, I'll gladly hand over 6480 gp for that!" But it's not so improbable that the rogue would say, "You know, a ranged touch attack could be a useful opener in some fights, that crown is worth 4500 gp to me." In this case, 4500 gp is the value, and 6480 gp is the price. For almost any item you find, the value will be less than the price. If it were the case that the price and value were always equal, then your system of "Buy from Loot for Full Price" would indeed be a good one, but most magic items are overpriced for most characters.

Graelsis wrote:
In your A situation, if you maintain the Price, that character takes a 2000 gp bite, and the rest of his team, 3 lads, take another 2000 gp of gold.

The problem here is that the value of the armor is 1600 gp, although the price is 2000 gp. So if he buys it at full price from the loot, he's effectively just getting 1600 gp, whereas his friends all get 2000 gp. But if he decides the party should just sell it, then he (along with everyone else) gets 1750 gp, which is a better deal for him by 150 gp. But, it's worse for the party as a whole compared to vs if they had let him buy it for 1000 gp, because if he were able to use it instead of selling it he would be a more effective character in helping them.


@RumpinRufus: So, essentially, auction off items so that the bid comes out of the PC's gp share and the minimum bid is the sell price?


Gads, all that sounds so...tiring...and...tedious. But if it works for folks then that's what they should do. We totally ignore WBL, anyway.


DungeonmasterCal wrote:
Gads, all that sounds so...tiring...and...tedious. But if it works for folks then that's what they should do. We totally ignore WBL, anyway.

I think "Buy from Loot" is actually faster and easier than "classic" loot distribution, because you don't have to go down the list: "Is anyone keeping the +1 longsword? Is anyone keeping the eversmoking bottle? Is anyone keeping the scroll of animate dead? Is anyone keeping the sniper goggles?" Instead, one person just totals up every item received for its sale value, and BOOM, they have everyone's loot share, no questions asked! Then if someone does want something, they just chime up, "I'll buy the eversmoking bottle from loot," and the fact that they did that doesn't affect the other players in any way, they already have their loot share added onto their character sheet (assuming the GM lets you immediately liquidate everything) and they don't need to modify their share in any way just because you took one of the items.

blahpers wrote:
@RumpinRufus: So, essentially, auction off items so that the bid comes out of the PC's gp share and the minimum bid is the sell price?

Yup. You could make an argument that "roll off for contested" is better than "bid for contested", because "bid for contested" does allow the possibility of Player B thinking "This item sells for 1000 gp, and it's only worth 1000 gp to me, but I know Player A will pay 1800 gp for it, so I'm going to bid him up so that I get some extra loot once the party splits the extra 800 gp." So if you're really concerned about selfish players then roll off might be preferred, but in most situations I think bidding is probably better.


RumpinRufus wrote:
DungeonmasterCal wrote:
Gads, all that sounds so...tiring...and...tedious. But if it works for folks then that's what they should do. We totally ignore WBL, anyway.
I think "Buy from Loot" is actually faster and easier than "classic" loot distribution, because you don't have to go down the list: "Is anyone keeping the +1 longsword? Is anyone keeping the eversmoking bottle? Is anyone keeping the scroll of animate dead? Is anyone keeping the sniper goggles?" Instead, one person just totals up every item received for its sale value, and BOOM, they have everyone's loot share, no questions asked! Then if someone does want something, they just chime up, "I'll buy the eversmoking bottle from loot," and the fact that they did that doesn't affect the other players in any way, they already have their loot share added onto their character sheet (assuming the GM allows you to immediately liquidate everything) and they don't need to modify it just because you took one of the items.

Yeah, I see where you're coming from. But we just tossed the WBL rules out of the window a long time ago in favor of the way we do it now and always have. It seldom takes more than 5 or 10 minutes and everyone gets what they can use to make the party or themselves more effective in whatever situation arises. I also keep loot and magic down to a much lower level that a lot of GMs do. And arcane crafters are a very rare and wondrous thing, so even getting something made is a pretty heavy price for them. I learned to hate the magic mart way of play back in 1e and have tried to never do that sort of thing, either.


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Graelsis wrote:

In a simple scenario, we have a group of 2 adventurers. After a hard time knoking down the beast, they find a treassure. In the mountain of gold there are 2000 gp, and also an armor, valued in 2000 gp.

With your system, one of the adventurers take the armor, and also have rights over some part of the gold pieces, since the armor is valued only in 1000 gp, to be even, this warrior takes 500 gp, and the other one takes the 1500 gp.

Found your issue; is the armor valued at 2,000gp or is it valued at 1,000gp?

Let me explain. With "buy from loot", things are worth what they're worth, not what they would cost to buy elsewhere. Let's take a suit of +1 mithral chainmail. Chainmail costs 150gp, making it masterwork costs another 150gp, making it out of mithral costs another 4,000gp, and making it magical costs another 1,000gp making for a total purchase price of 5,300gp. But that's not what it's worth. It's worth 2,650gp because if you tried to trade that armor for something else, you'd get 2,650gp worth of that something else, be it gold, diamond dust, or food.

In a dungeon where some +1 mithral chainmail is found, along with a headband of vast intellect +2 and a bunch of gems worth say... 3,000gp you would break things down like this:

armor: 2,650gp +
headband: 2,000gp +
gems: 3,000gp =
7,650gp

If two people found that, they're each entitled to 3,825gp. The warrior type can buy the armor and get 1,225gp as well, while the wizard can buy the headband and get 1,825gp as well.

Don't worry about the idea that the headband costs 4,000gp to buy... it's not relevant in any way because it has two forms of value: its value for purposes of trade (2,000gp) and its value for purposes of usage (making someone's Intelligence score higher). 4,000gp is neither of those. It is an imaginary number, for people who do not have a headband in their hands after a successful dungeon quest.

Now, if a player is able to use found treasure as-is a lot of the time, they will have a wealth-by-level higher than another player who rarely finds things they want. That comes up less often than you'd think, because fighter types will very often find weapons and armor that aren't the kind they want/use.

The final "gotcha" is about what to do if there isn't enough value in a pile for a player to buy an item. For instance, take the gems away from the above example. The total value would have been 4,650gp with each adventurer entitled to 2,325gp. That's enough for the wizard to buy the headband, but not enough for the warrior to buy the armor. That's where civilization strikes. A party (ie. group of people working together) can probably come up with the solution: let's just... not do the "math" right now. Sure, for the next couple days, the warrior has over 300gp of value that he's not entitled to. But in a few days, they'll defeat random encounters and have other crap to add to the tally. It won't be long before there's a nice ring of nobody gives a crap that provides enough cash to even things out. Just... don't do the loot divvy until there is.

My groups also add a 1/2 share for "the party". So a four-member party grants each member 2/9th of a loot divvy. The final 1/9th goes into a communal pile which is used to buy common things like healing wands, or bags of holding or diamond dust for bringing back whoever dies, or for bribing officials, or for buying a hideout, or hiring someone to do something.

This system is literally the most fair possible. It also works very smoothly as long as you've got civilized players. Oh, and someone who can/will do math. (We're nerds, so we have multiple people who volunteer to do it for a given campaign.)

Not to say this is the only way, or even the "best" way, or that any other way is wrongbadfun, but it's certainly fair, and certainly functional. But, like dexi-motri-oxizine, ask your doctor if it's right for you.


dragonhunterq wrote:

Loot is used as required by anyone until reaching a town where loot is divided into (party+1) lots. One share is put aside for emergency healing/raise dead and party expenses (need to hire a boat - party share pays). If you want to keep an item it comes out of your share of the cash, at half cost. Everything unwanted is sold.

Re-distributing items is common, and so far we've never had to roll of for loot -mostly because I really can't be bothered to make getting hold of magic difficult (it really doesn't add anything to the game), so someone can just get a second if they really want it - it removes all the need to argue.

This is exactly how our group handles it - the Party +1 is perfect for when there's a big expensive item that exceeds a character's share (the excess just comes out of the party share) and there's a handy fund for wants of cure light and the aforementioned heals.

Loot is completely fair and even. It's a little extra book keeping, but we just made a spreadsheet to handle it.


RumpinRufus wrote:
DungeonmasterCal wrote:
Gads, all that sounds so...tiring...and...tedious. But if it works for folks then that's what they should do. We totally ignore WBL, anyway.

I think "Buy from Loot" is actually faster and easier than "classic" loot distribution, because you don't have to go down the list: "Is anyone keeping the +1 longsword? Is anyone keeping the eversmoking bottle? Is anyone keeping the scroll of animate dead? Is anyone keeping the sniper goggles?" Instead, one person just totals up every item received for its sale value, and BOOM, they have everyone's loot share, no questions asked! Then if someone does want something, they just chime up, "I'll buy the eversmoking bottle from loot," and the fact that they did that doesn't affect the other players in any way, they already have their loot share added onto their character sheet (assuming the GM lets you immediately liquidate everything) and they don't need to modify their share in any way just because you took one of the items.

blahpers wrote:
@RumpinRufus: So, essentially, auction off items so that the bid comes out of the PC's gp share and the minimum bid is the sell price?
Yup. You could make an argument that "roll off for contested" is better than "bid for contested", because "bid for contested" does allow the possibility of Player B thinking "This item sells for 1000 gp, and it's only worth 1000 gp to me, but I know Player A will pay 1800 gp for it, so I'm going to bid him up so that I get some extra loot once the party splits the extra 800 gp." So if you're really concerned about selfish players then roll off might be preferred, but in most situations I think bidding is probably better.

Oof, I hadn't thought of that. Hard to get in the mindset of competitive loot allocation. : D


The loot buy-in works fairly well since brought up to my attention, good bit faster and no b+$!$ing over who got more money because said player chose to grab the most expensive item in the pile.


In my last game the players all got an equal share of the money they found. I don't give out a lot of money or magic as treasure so they're pretty happy to get what they get. But the big argument now is do they keep the money or give it to the oppressed villagers they just rescued from the grip of a local tyrant? In my group's email chain this is a pretty heady debate.


Here is a link to a sample loot sheet that my group uses. This allows everyone to vote on loot between sessions and everything can be divyed up equitably. It also is a good place to keep track of group items and gold. I have the link set to view only, anyone who is interested can download if they want to take a look. To use it simply reupload to google sheets or similar service and share with your party.


We divide by committee. Generally there are obvious things that will go to certain players. (the only player in the group that uses a Katana for example) But then we get something that NO ONE wants, a Trident of fish command. Things like that go into party loot. Recently our Oracle got the feat or ability to break magic items down into component parts so we do that or we sell the items. Having bags of holding for party loot is better.


Goemon Sasuke wrote:

So we got some new players in the group and they fit the dynamic quite nicely so far. However, when loot makes an appearance it's almost a free-for-all. Our group usually just takes note of what's there and when the adventure is done (unless an item really is needed) everything gets divvied up.

My proposed method was to simply put the item as a community item if it becomes a point of contention or just turn it into gold value.

So I'm wondering what some of you guys do or would in such a situation?

I just play with mature players.

You cannot fix real life personality issues with game rules.

... but if I had to try, I'll just make sure everyone play a different role, and thus, do not need the same kind of items.


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Moonheart wrote:


... but if I had to try, I'll just make sure everyone play a different role, and thus, do not need the same kind of items.

That's actually at the root of the only times I've ever seen it be much of an issue - when players are making judgments on what gear other players' characters should be using. Gets into the whole feeling of 'If I was building your character I wouldn't do it like that'

Especially if some players are more worried about optimisation than others

E.g.
"You don't need that, you're the cleric!"
"Yeah but a hat of disguise is just cool!"


I create a Google spreadsheet called Loot List and share it with all of the players. I divide monetary loot for them. They put their characters' name next to items that their character wants. If an item isn't contested, that character gets it.

If an item is contested and no one backs down, then the other party members vote on which one gets it. I, the DM, only get to vote as a tie-breaker (which very rarely comes up).

The party usually votes for the person who has selected the least number of items. After that, the next criteria seems to be the person who has selected the least value of items. Since I have a regular group that has known each other for decades and they know how the voting goes, usually one player ends up removing his/her name from the contested item on their own.

This process has the major advantage of taking place in between sessions and doesn't bog down table game time.

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