Well, I did today the work I do for every AP I run, calculating the WBL pay-off of the individual modules, to adjust treasure allocation for the group(s) I am running this AP for. Quite a bit harder here, since I need to calculate the gear for the main NPCs, too.
What came out of all these calculations was a bit surprising. Past APs where I've done this ( Kingmaker and Carrion Crown ) had pretty much kept with the formula of WBL = 120% of what a party of four PCs would get. This calculation was done with the assumption that players would find all gear and that they would sell every magic item for 50% market price.
Turns out that Jade Regent, in regards to the last four modules which I combed through today, only pays out 90-95% of WBL for a four character party, with the exception of Tide of Honor, which gives out a bit too much.
Not that I had a big problem with that, after all players can be expected to keep some of the equipment which comes in during their adventures, but it seemed a curious change in treasure allocation. Any particular reason why this was done?
I can't speak to the reasoning for it, but I can say that early in the final book, at 13th character level, our character wealth is about right.
Now, it looks like everything from this point is going to simply happen too fast for us to make any significant gear upgrades (except swapping out for lucky finds) until the AP has concluded.
Hard for me to care much about the missing resources if we won't have time to tailor them to our needs anyway . . ..
Yeah, I've already decided some months ago that I'd slow the narrative of the last module waaaaaaay down. Organizing a rebellion should take weeks and months, IMO, not a few days.
I'm actually throwing the group(s) a ton of additional loot before the palace assault, since I think it should be implicit that they won't get the time to spend their aquired money after the attack has started.
Party crafting is explicitly how we are at expected wealth at 13th level. (Yes, I'm ignoring the old post that says crafted gear counts at crafting cost not list price.) Oh, and I'm not counting the value of the seal, but I am counting both Suishen and the comparable bow.
There was a LOT of time to craft during the crossing.
I'm glad you did this. I'd been worried that my party had too much wealth, especially since they want to craft over the Crown. I'm adding in four PFS modules, "Baleful Coven," "Under Frozen Stars," "The Harrowing" and the "Ruby Phoenix Tournament," as well, so mine will be well over.
My wealth problem is a little different. I have a gunslinger, a bladebound magus, a ninja and two casters. The ninja gets all the cool early-game weapons, and the gunslinger and magus don't want any besides the one they have. My party, in other words, is not that interested in magic item drops. They're selling almost everything, which means that I have to add in the extra adventures, or else they'll be even farther behind, I think.
Not that much, really. As I said in the OP, I calculate that exact scenario, where PCs sell everything which has a price tag, coming out with 50% of market price on all magic and mundane items, while selling gems and art objects at 100%.
A party of four will be at 90-95% WBL if they find everything and no extra costs accrue, like raising party members.
OTOH, since the caravan will be a factor until at least Forest of Spirits, that drops WBL a bit more and you can't forget that the NPCs are supposed to accompany the PCs sometimes and also have to level. So, yeah, you might want to adjust due to that. In total, I came out with having to add 1.900.000 GP to the loot over the last four modules with the six PC group and 1.450.000 GP for the second one with four PCs ( and Koya as a player character ). That is market value, not sell value, btw., but I'll assume that they will keep some of this stuff, so they'll come out well ahead. I'll have to adjust encounters anyway. ;)
I hesitated to post this, since it's tangential to the thread, but I decided it's closely enough related that it might help someone who is running JR.
I like to encourage players to do extra stuff, OOCly, to help me out. For example, I have a player who writes excellent "diary entries," another who handles tracking in-game passage of time and loot, and so on. I struggled for a while on how to reward this behavior, because there's a tension between giving so much that it's unfair (XP, for instance, falls in this category, IMO) or so little that it's no encouragement.
Finally I settled on something I like a lot: I call it "Custom Treasure Points" or TP for short. Basically, I give points per session for the activities -- ranging from very little (50 TP/level) for tracking initiative for the session -- to a usual max of 200 TP/level (for writing a great, fairly lengthy, log).
Players can trade in these TPs for me to replace extant treasure in the adventures with custom treasure of their choosing. I "charge" TP equal to the value of the item if it were sold.
So far, for instance, I have placed a mythic oni-detecting breastplate for the barbarian/ranger, a headband that allows some minor divination and other effects for the life oracle, and a choker that combines some magical vocal abilities with a Charisma-boost for the bard.
It's working out really well in Jade Regent. It gives them a little bit of a boost for WBL -- see, I told you it tied in -- because it gives them full value for stuff they'd otherwise get half-value for, and it allows them customize stuff for themselves with my direct input and oversight. (The way it has worked it that I get a general idea of what they want, I create the item and tell them what it'll be in TP, and then place it (or, if necessary, tweak it and repeat).) They become sort of attached to the items, which feel "special" in a way that a headband of alluring Charisma +2, for example, doesn't.
But at the same time, it isn't so much of a boost that the folks who aren't interested in earning TPs fall behind unduly, because the customized items do still come out of their recipients' shares of treasure. (And that's if it goes to them at all. I've sorta been waiting for someone to ask me to place something mundane like a belt of strength +2 and watch the melee guys fight over it once it's found ... but that hasn't happened yet.)
Not enough wealth? We're just going into book 6 and it sure feels like Jade Regent has given us an order of magnitude more than CoCT or RotR did!
We keep a treasure spreadsheet with all the stuff we've found... The distributed treasure tab is 507 items long and has 180k in just stuff we've sold off, not counting the stuff we've kept. My samurai has like $180k in gear not counting the random priceless artifacts (Amatatsu Seals, Akumi's Bonsais, tea sets, etc...) That's with not much crafting, not turning a profit on the caravan, and a DM who just goes by the book.
And that's good! In this story, we give away a LOT of swag. Not just to the "big 4" NPCs but to other caravan members, potential allies... I like feeling flush enough on cash to say "Nine Pawn ronin? OK, here, take 9 +1 katanas as thanks! Don't worry about it. Vote Ameiko!" We keep every "special" weapon instead of melting it down to get a +3 Out Very Own Custom Weapon... We've felt rich and enjoying it!
Well, we sold most stuff off, had PC crafting going on, and as we entered Book 6, my character was RIGHT AT recommended wealth (which, as a two-weapon warrior, means both weapons were less powerful than expected for a single weapon warrior at the same level), the Paladin/Synthesist wielding Suishen WITH Suishen's value was only a little past recommended wealth, our Archery Ranger (Yes, he's using THAT bow, now) was under wealth and our Witch was WELL under wealth.
We're in the final stages (4 floors to go, I'm told) now, Level 15, and the group is under recommended wealth fairly significantly at this point. No more upgrades for my weapons, as an example.
If we had the gear we want for the final fight, though, I don't think we would be anywhere near as afraid of the potential conclusion as we are, though. The shortage from recommended wealth just ups the challenge a bit. That's not always bad in a story-first game.
I'll just quote myself from the other thread where I actually posted the number I got.
Alright, here are the approximate treasure values in modules 3 to 6. Assumption is that every magic item and non-magical equipment gets sold for 50% market value and gems/art objects for 100%:
The Frozen Storm (7-10): 144.000 GP
Forest of Spirits (10-12): 254.175 GP
Tide of Honor (12-13): 230.206 GP
The Empty Throne (13-16): 654.505 GP
Caveats for the last module:
- 13-14: 172.180 GP
- 13-15: 366.605 GP
Those last numbers are just in case someone wants to do the same as me and stretch out the timescale of the last module a bit. I personally think it's ridiculous to compress this very long-duration AP into a week in the last module and thus deprive the party from exploring Kasai properly and getting ready for the final confrontation. Also, inciting rebellions should take longer and require better planning, something on the scale of one or two months at the least.
Those numbers translate into the following WBL for a four party member group, discounting the NPCs completely:
The Frozen Storm: 36.000 ( actual WBL from 7-10: 38.500 )
Forest of Spirits: 63.543 ( actual WBL from 10-12: 46.000 )
Tide of Honor: 57.551 ( actual WBL from 12-13: 32.000 )
The Empty Throne: 163.626 ( actual WBL from 13-6: 175.000 )
"But, wait!" you say, "Those numbers actually add up very well and seem to be exactly on spot or even better than expected!"
The problem here is that, as I pointed out in the OP, other APs did a calculation with 120% WBL and I just calculated with only 100% for four PCs. So, here are the actual numbers for 5 party members, which is the right number to divide with if we go with the other APs.
The Frozen Storm: 28.800 ( actual WBL from 7-10: 38.500 )
Forest of Spirits: 50.835 ( actual WBL from 10-12: 46.000 )
Tide of Honor: 46.041 ( actual WBL from 12-13: 32.000 )
The Empty Throne: 130.901 ( actual WBL from 13-6: 175.000 )
Aaaand those actually add up and only don't pan out for the last level, which, as written by the author, doesn't allow for much beyond throwing the treasure into your portable hole anyway. Hm.
Alright, maybe I was just juggling final numbers when I first wrote the OP, so I came out this wrong. I can't really say anymore a few weeks after the fact. But, as a caveat and somewhat of a save-facing measure, the individual level values and the final value for the last module are really below WBL as is The Frozen Storm, only that for the latter the next two modules make up that difference handily.
I haven't played CoCT (but being a 3.5 AP i can guess that the case is the same) but i have run (and completed) RotRL and i have to say that if you use the aniversary edition the WBL is pretty much correct for 4 players (maybe a tad lower) but if you play the 3.5 version then you aren't just with 3.5's WBL (which was lower than PF's WBL) but if my calculations are correct you are well lower than the 3.5's WBL.
@Ernest MuellerI haven't played CoCT (but being a 3.5 AP i can guess that the case is the same) but i have run (and completed) RotRL and i have to say that if you use the aniversary edition the WBL is pretty much correct for 4 players (maybe a tad lower) but if you play the 3.5 version then you aren't just with 3.5's WBL (which was lower than PF's WBL) but if my calculations are correct you are well lower than the 3.5's WBL.
Yeah, we played them when they first came out - RotR in 3.5 and CoCT under PF Beta. Man we were poor all the time... Didn't help that everything was Small or Large and we were out in the sticks where we couldn't liquidate stuff like that all the time. Then we played some other systems for a while and now we're doing Jade Regent and we're feeling like Daddy Warbucks!
I guess my personal gut feeling as a GM that Jade Regent has been pretty poor in terms of WBL allocation happened because I am giving the main NPCs 50% of WBL of what the party and them find and that one of my groups has six PCs. I've been adding treasure like crazy. Not sure why I thought the numbers don't add up before after extrapolating them, but maybe I divided by one too many or something like that.