Best Methods for Party Loot Tracking...?


Advice


Hey guys. I could use some help. My folders are disorganized. My record-keeping system is non-existent. My handwriting is so bad that it once cancelled game night.

So here's my question: How do you go about handling the party loot sheet? Any software recommendations, bookkeeping resources, or general advice to help a bungling quartermaster out? Scribbled notes on random bits of paper clearly aren't working for me anymore. How does your group handle it?


The one campaign we had to go beyond hand-scribbled notes we just used an Excel spreadsheet. One tab for the main list, then one tab per person. All loot on the main sheet was given a GP value with a formula on everyone's personal sheet giving them a share of the total divided by the number of players. I'm sure there's probably easier ways.


I agree with using Excel spreadsheet. You could also use Google Sheets, which is a online Excel spreadsheet program that is free.


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My group handles it by using wealth by level, items that are found can be used by the party without counting against your wealth for the level, but when you level up you have to count the value against your WBL.

So basically, no one tracks loot unless it's an item someone wants. And if someone wants it, it's up to them to write it down.

This works brilliantly to eliminate the problem of giving players too much or too little wealth and remove the burden of loot tracking and divvying up gold to everyone, especially when people keep some items from the group's loot.


We've mostly been using either Google Docs or a journal entry in roll20, but we've been playing digitally these days. Usually broken up by adventure, location, or even occasionally room-by-room.

One of us usually takes party/game notes in text when the GM announces that we find loot or encounter enemies, so it's usually just a matter of copying & pasting it with maybe a little reformatting for neatness's sake or conciseness or clarity.

In retrospect, using Google Sheets would significantly reduce the amount of calculations that would have to be done after setting up the appropriate macro(s).


I let the party handle it. It usually works. When it doesn't, we make our best guess and move on. In practice, the exciting stuff ends up on someone's character sheet immediately and the rest ends up scribbled on a page in someone's notebook.


I'm currently the bookkeeper for our campaign and I just set up a google sheets thing that I've slowly been adding stuff into as I think about it.

It started as a notepad file but that wasn't easily shareable, not to mention it was getting messy... now it has dropdowns for type of loot, columns for acquisition order, magic/mundane, options for marking to-sell and sold/used, etc.

makes calculating how much money we have much simpler.


I also use Google Sheets. I list each item, with columns for:

What it is
Where we found it
Who has it (with 'Party' and 'Sell' as options)
Value
Sell Value
Quantity Sold (for when you find more than one of something)

Then I set up a column with how much we got from each item, add that up to get the total cash value of what we're selling, and divide it by the number of characters. Each player can go in and update the sheet if they're claiming something

The Exchange

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Old Gamer Story time

Back long ago in the days of that other RPG... (actually back in the '80s & '90s) in a long running campaign, I delegated this to two different players. They would switch off keeping the "loot list" in a spiral notebook (the word processor of that age). As each of them was actually selected for having the best hand-writing of the group, and they had to each be able to read their notes...

During the game, after a fight or as treasure was being gathered, I would recite the list of "items of note found" which were written onto the list ("deposited in the bag of holding"). Party expenses would often be deducted from the total ("20gp for Transport across the Lake of Blood" for example), as the group spent money from the common pool. ("Hay, don't we have some old Orcish short swords in the 'hole? We could donate those to the town armory and maybe earn some Mayor Credits for doing that...". Later, back in town, the party would sell off the things they didn't want to keep, then do the treasure split.

humorous side note about Thieves:

It just so happened that the two "Bag Holders" both happened to be thieves ... in more ways then one...

The two record keepers actually were "skimming" from the treasure... it seems that by pointing out that they were both members of the Thieves Guild, they stated that they would have the best contacts for selling off "previously owned equipment" - so the party put them in charge of converting the unwanted items (such as 10 suits of blood stained & heavily worn Orcish Chainmail) into gold. And ultimately in charge of keeping track of the party loot list itself.

Something on the order of 10% of the gold seemed to evaporate before the actual treasure split back at the tavern... the group never actually had anything of note go MISSING mind you, but actual cash money? well...

The funniest part to me was that the two of them would switch off who was keeping the list, and whoever was keeping the list this week would skim about 5% before they then got together with the other Thief and skimmed the Gold again, splitting the Thieves Cut...

And if I as the GM actually "checked the books", the money skimmed would appear as an expense listed... "421.45 gp. Guild Costs" for example, or "84.23 gp Skimmed cost" ... so the PLAYERS weren't (I think) "padding the books"... Though I did think about having them keep two different sets for a while...

Thus gaming taught us real world lessons... we learned about Graft and Corruption and Organized Crime from RPGs...

.


Did those characters learn the time honored tradition of getting killed by your "friends" because you stole from them?

Because I once had a fellow player who tried to do something like that, and when his character was caught he was given two options.

1) Pay back all the money you've taken and accept that you're never allowed to touch the groups money again. You will be paid your fair share.

2) Fight the group to the death and you get to keep everything.

They foolishly chose option 2 and died about 12 seconds later.


One player writes a list of all incoming loot on a piece of paper that is kept with the character sheets (in case the player isn't there for a session). Once desired items are taken from it the loot, the rest is sold and gold split equally. All items and gold taken by a player are from then on the responsibility of that player from then on and must be recorded in their inventory. On the odd occasions we've had mega hauls (like when I ran "Sabre River") we write a full list on the computer and print it out.

We've been doing this since the early 90s and it's practically flawless.

The Exchange

Claxon wrote:

Did those characters learn the time honored tradition of getting killed by your "friends" because you stole from them?

Because I once had a fellow player who tried to do something like that, and when his character was caught he was given two options.

1) Pay back all the money you've taken and accept that you're never allowed to touch the groups money again. You will be paid your fair share.

2) Fight the group to the death and you get to keep everything.

They foolishly chose option 2 and died about 12 seconds later.

LOL! well, I'm not sure.

I do remember that the first guy in the group assigned to keeping the loot list wasn't real happy when he "got stuck keeping track of this crap", and just started dropping stuff off of the list that he didn't want to bother/didn't get time to, write down. Things like the "salvaged equipment" and rounding down all the money totals gained. 10 suits of Orc armor & 1356 gp became 1K gp.

This was discovered when we went started into "G2 - Glacial Rift of the Frost Giant Jarl" and we found that we didn't have at least 2 Flame Tongue swords that we had acquired months earlier but not handed out (they were normally only +1 after all)... they had just never made it onto the Loot List.

Years later one of the other players actually commented that he had figured out they were "skimming", but that they also worked really hard and scrapped every last brass penny out of the adventure... "Salvaging the wood from the doors, the iron from the hinges, the stone from the walls and then renting the hole left in the ground as a Zombie Containment Unit to the local Necromancers guild."

Overall, (I think) the players actually ended up ahead on resources and everyone got to RP in character...

The Exchange

Haley's Loot..


I use an Excel file on Google sheets. Super easy and everyone has access in real time.


Sir Ol'Guy wrote:
Back long ago in the days of that other RPG... (actually back in the '80s & '90s) in a long running campaign, I delegated this to two different players.

Huh... You've reminded me of the other problem that often comes up: people forget what's on the list. I wonder if having two Lootsmeisters is the way to go? Folks are more likely to recall and actually use their random schwag when there are multiple eyes on the list.


One player tracks everything and puts it onto a shared excel document, people will enter the value of items when they can/are bored, the coding will calculate the sale value (different types of items have different columns to be entered into) and divides the total between everyone.
If someone wants an specific item they note it on the file between sessions and write it down on their sheet next session, if someone wants something right away and no one else does they take it. Once things are sold from the list the items are moved to the other page of the workbook so that, if needed, we can refer back to it. (And get a rough idea of what the groups WBL is.)

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