How to approach underlying issues with player loot equality


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber

Looking for some opinions on suggestions that are being made by the players on how to distribute loot they find. Personally I get the feeling that there is a deeper issue here about players not trusting one another but I could use a second opinion.
Below is the context of what has happened.

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The players recently started discussing how to distribute out items and what items should become part of general party items.
Within that discussion the topic quickly turned to some people feeling like there was a need to ensure everyone has an equal number of items and also that the worth of these items be equal amongst everyone.

I as the DM had tried to be somewhat removed from the discussion and mostly just act as referee. The way the party distributes items amongst themselves, I felt, was not something I should be controlling and instead be something the players decide themselves.

However the discussion has now spiraled to were a quite involved credit system is being proposed by some of the players.
The main points include:

1. When items are found they automatically go into the party loot. If any player takes an items that player is then in negative credit equal to the worth of that item. If more than one person wants the same item the person with the least amount of negative credit gets the item.

2. Negative credit is removed either by paying gold into the party fund (buying yourself out) or waiting until everyone in the party has some value of negative credit - when this happens the lowest value of negative credit is collectively deducted from what everyone owes.

3. When an item is claimed it belongs to that player and they can sell it if they wish. But players who are in negative credit cannot purchase items until they have cleared their credit.

4. Players are only permitted to engage in a trade of equal worth either through items or exchanging gold - items cannot be passed to someone else for free

5. A tally of credit owed must be kept and updated at the end of each session
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So this is the situation so far. The players recently voted on what to do and there was an even split between using this system and not using it.
I want to step in more before the start of the next game and have a group discussion about why players feel they need such a system in place.
My opinion on it is that this will slow down the game and most importantly remove the amount of fun people are having at the table as every time I introduce new items to the party it will devolve into a banking simulator.
Given the suggestions put forward in this proposed system it sounds to me like there is a distrust from some of the players that items will be distributed fairly, though I have not noticed a huge discrepancy in items people have so far. The group only just hit level 4 so they have only recently started seeing items such as a +1 weapon or +2 attribute item.
For me its natural that not all of them will have these items straight away at the same time but these are instead introduced gradually through play.

Looking around I have not seen or heard of other groups running into such issues and so would really like to hear other views on this and peoples opinion on the system and what the underlying reasons behind it could be.

Lantern Lodge

It sounds like you are using an unnecessarily complicated version of what my group does.

We get loot, figure out what we can sell it for, divide that amount (less a relatively small amount for group stuff, like Wands of CLW) between the PCs. PCs can take items they want at the value of what it would have sold for (usually 50%). We don't usually have a fight over who wants what, but usually agree on front-liners getting first crack at defensive items. Usually, it's obvious who wants and/or can use a magic item.

So, if we get 42,500 gold in items that would sell for 50% (21,250 gold), and we have 4 players, we would allocate 5000 gold to each PC and put 1,250 gold in the party treasury (to buy scrolls, wands, etc.).

If the treasure being sold included a Ring Of Protection +1 (2000/1000), a Rapier+1 (2320/1160), and a Headband of INT +2 (4000/2000), among other items that no one wants, PC1 might take the Ring and get 4000 gold, PC2 might take the Rapier and get 3840 gold, PC3 might take the headband and get 3000 gold, and PC 4 might take nothing and get 5000 gold.

We also usually let PCs take mundane items at no cost (the assumption is that they will use them, not sell them). So, if we found a suit of MW Chainmail, some weapons and a Lantern, if anyone wanted them, we'd just let them have them. If we have a wizard, we usually let the wizard have any scrolls he may want to write into his spellbook at no cost - spellbooks are sold, except a wizard would be allowed to copy the spells out first. Misc magic items useful to the group would usually be retained for the group (potions, scrolls, wands, etc.).

This system only works if you have a DM who allows buying and selling without a whole lot of restriction (the typical Golarion). In very restrictive worlds, this wouldn't work since you can sell items and buy what you want.

Two more points:

1. Artifacts are a problem as they have no value. We usually assign them to a PC as they may be important to the campaign, so shouldn't (in our opinion) be sold.

2. If a magic item costs MORE than the gold allocated to a PC and the PC cannot pay the balance immediately (or borrow from another PC), then the PC essentially borrows from everyone and carries a negative until the next treasure division. The PC gets nothing until the negative is paid off (which usually happens the next time we divide treasure).

Once an item is yours you can do with it as you wish. Use it, destroy it, give it to a PC or NPC, sell it, etc.

Some people have Magic Item Crafting feats, and use the gold they get to craft items they want. In our group, none of the crafters ever charge for crafting. If you want a +2 STR Belt, it'll cost you 2000 gp (and you'll need to wait while it's being crafted).


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber
Captain Zoom wrote:
It sounds like you are using an unnecessarily complicated version of what my group does.

Yeah one of my worries with the currently proposed system is that it is too complicated to be practical for use.

For this post I am the DM and regarding restrictions I guess there would be some. The PC's are in the wilderness at the moment as part of TotH and so there have not been a lot of trader option. I have introduced 1 trader so far though and more opportunities will present themselves as the story continues.

Thanks for providing an overview of how your group handles this. I have never had a game were a loot rule system was used by the players so its interesting to see.

The system you're using sounds like it requires a decent bit of discussion and calculations. Has this slowed down the game at all or caused any arguments between people?
Also out of curiosity is this being done in or out of character?

In your game what prompted the use of this system? Was it something everyone decided at the start or did something happen that brought about the need for such a system?

I don't intend to make any judgments on gameplay or players here, I just want to get a better understanding of how such a system can work and what prompt people to want to use it.

One of the issues i'm having is that half the players want such a system and the other half are against it. So the options I currently see the group having are either to figure out why half the group want this system and see what can be done to address the underlying reasons or come up with a new alternative system that is not as restrictive and both sides can agree on.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber

Pretty much what Captain Zoom says.

Take the resale value of everything the party acquires.
Divide it up fairly*.
Let people "buy out" whatever they want.

We very, very rarely ever have conflict over items. If two people want to "buy out" a particular item, they can flip a coin, arm-wrestle, or whatever they want to decide between themselves.

But again, this peaceful and fair system predicates on being able to convert items into cash and cash into items. In a "let me roll on this table to see if you can find that item... oh so sorry" world, it doesn't.

*We always include a "party" fund. So, if there are four players, divide the loot nine ways. The party gets one ninth, and players get two ninths. That way there's a fund for things like common rope or diamond dust, or wands, etc, and that fund is 1/2 the size of a player's share. Also, generally, "utility" items such as potions of fly or wands that cure, just go straight into the party fund, and are not sold off/divided. Yes, we will figure out who's actually carrying something.


What you're describing sounds like a DKP system. There are pros and cons to it and while it might seem complicated if it keeps everyone happy then I don't see any reason for you to step in. A bunch of DKP trackers already exist that make implementing such a system easy to do in-spite of it's complexity.
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Pros:
When an item drops that everyone wants it offers a relatively fair way to distribute loot. It helps cut down on arguments when it comes to items like this.

Greedy players are least able to abuse such a system. Since it balances the gold value of what loot everyone gets. A player doesn't end up taking an expensive item they have no intention of using just so they can liquidate it into gold at the next opportunity. When another character would actively use said item.
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Cons:
When an item drops that only one person wants that person may feel screwed over. Since they are essentially getting penalized for taking an item even though nobody else wanted the item.

Items that are "fun" but impractical will almost universally be sold and converted into gold. This is because nobody will want to "waste" their hard earned DKP on a "joke item".

Items will get distributed purely by value rather than by what's best for the group. As a result the wizard and archer might have the ring of protection and the amulet of natural armor respectively because the melee fighter got the +2 longsword. Sure, from a gold perspective this is fair, but even if the fighter really needs to shore up their AC they don't get the items that will help them do this because they got stuck with the sword no one else even wanted.
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As a DM this means that you'll want to only have items "drop" that multiple players will want. Instead of handing out class specific items just give the players gold so they can purchase the class specific items they want. Otherwise some characters will be under equipped and those same underequipped players won't want to take an item that is clearly for them because they don't want to get screwed out of the "core items" they still need. Also, you'll want to make sure you don't include one extremely expensive item as part of any loot.

1. The item might get sold rather than used because "no one can afford it".

2. If someone does take it they may be screwed out of additional loot even if they are the only one who can use said items.

As a DM you can step in and put a stop to it, but then if anyone gets upset about how loot is being handled they will blame you for it. Since "If we were using the other system this wouldn't of happened".


Yeah the system they're talking about is very fair in terms of money. It's also way more trouble than it's worth.

We used a system like that for a while. It wasn't terrible, but it was more book-keeping than any of us liked. When we started a new campaign we just ditched it. You can let your players use it if you like, if they're anything like us they'll get bored of it within about 6 months.

The other system you could use - which is simpler - is to simply have every item sold profit the entire party. If you find a +2 greatsword it'll obviously go to the barbarian. Now he has no use for the +1 Greatsword he had, so he sells it and divides the ~1000gp among the entire group. Nobody gets personally rich by selling stuff, but way less trouble.

It does sound like the problem is really people trusting each other though, so addressing that will be more likely to solve this.


Not much of a help or a solution but:

I would come up with my own idea, but let the players carry on with theirs, as long as it works, regardless of how complicated it is, and everyone is happy, there is no need to fix what's not broken.

The game I'm currently in though got to a point where the DM rarely awards actual items, we get gold or Capital resources as rewards because we would end up selling 90% of items we found anyway and then go ahead and craft our own.

There's a part of character building, where sometimes you need rather specific items to compliment your character so unless you directly tell the DM that an item X would be very useful (which feels odd as a part of a loot hoard then), so I feel like most people eventually end up either crafting or buying the items they need rather than depending on random loot awarded by the DM.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber

Thank you so far for all the input! Definitely agree with a lot of the comments that if all the players are happy with the system then just go ahead and try it.
The main issue in our case is that exactly half the players are for this system and the other half is opposed to such a system. So I feel like implementing something like this, at least in its current form, would cause a lot of strife and unhappiness.

LordKailas wrote:
What you're describing sounds like a DKP system.

I was not aware of the DKP system so thank you for giving this a name! I've started using this to find other discussions on systems like this so thats been very helpful. Also for the concise list of pros and cons.

Theres also been a lot of alternative suggestions here so far which im taking note. So thank you to everyone whos provided systems that have worked for them.

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Has there been anyone else who had a group where some of the players wanted to implement a system such as this but others did not? And if so how did you resolve it?
If any of these situations involved a detailed discussion about what the players felt required such a system would anyone be able to let me know what points where brought up?

Im hoping that by coming at this from several angels I can help the group come to a resolution that everyone can be happy with.


Having a system can have merits, but that one does sound overwrought.

Here is perhaps a simpler approach:


  • All gold is pooled, and PCs track the sum value of their individual possessions as measured in gold
  • When loot is found, or when shopping, the PC with the least wealth gets first crack at picking or buying something (they can opt out if they don't want anything)
  • After they do so, whoever now has the least wealth (may be the same person) picks something, which continues until everyone has what they want (in the case of loot, anything unwanted can then be sold)
  • Some items, by agreement, might automatically go to "the party", such as general curatives, rations and so on
  • If a PC no longer wants an item, anyone else in the party can claim it just like found loot, and like loot if no one wants it, it's sold

This system can be gamed, true, for example by claiming a bunch of cheap stuff up to just under the next poorest PC's wealth and then grabbing one big thing, but that level of antagonism will break a party regardless of methods of loot distribution sooner or later.

PS:

Einherjar101 wrote:
Im hoping that by coming at this from several angels I can help the group come to a resolution that everyone can be happy with.

If it's come to divine intervention, it may already be too late.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber
Artificial 20 wrote:


PS:

Einherjar101 wrote:
Im hoping that by coming at this from several angels I can help the group come to a resolution that everyone can be happy with.
If it's come to divine intervention, it may already be too late.

Ah completely missed that and naturally so did spellcheck. Well if Sarenrae suddenly descends and passes judgment on the situation that would certainly be one solution.

That or she just rains down divine fire and we rebuild from the ashes


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Wow. That's super complicated, although I do play in one group that does the same thing.

My other groups keep it simple. We find a +1 sword and ask "who needs this?". If the ranger takes it, it is his. If no one can use it, we sell it and divide the money - with a small share always going into a group fund.

Every now and then we look at the players wealth in items to see who is at, near or below the appropriate Wealth By Level. If someone is below, then they might get dibs on whatever comes next. If someone is above, then they cool their heels for a bit.

Scarab Sages

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Maps, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Every group I have run or played in has been unusually collaborative, based what I see in forum threads. We find stuff, we give people stuff they need, and we sell what’s left and divide the money.

I don’t think that system is feasible for your group, but it is very simple, and everyone is working together.


TomParker wrote:

Every group I have run or played in has been unusually collaborative, based what I see in forum threads. We find stuff, we give people stuff they need, and we sell what’s left and divide the money.

I don’t think that system is feasible for your group, but it is very simple, and everyone is working together.

Yup, that's what we moved (back) to when we got bored of wasting time counting coppers.

We're playing Iron Gods now, ans I'm pretty sure the Android Techslinger has at least 50% more gear by monetwry value - but that's what he gets for bringing an Android Techslinger to the game (as opposed to my Bloodrager, who really only cares about one tech item - the Chainsaw!)

This is really the best method if your group is up to it. It takes the emphasis from laser focused optimisation to more story/character-based decisions, and if nobody's competing for gear then it doesn't feel as bad when you occasionally don't get it.


Most of my parties have just split loot as needed without worrying much about how fair it is. But if your party is fighting over this, you might want to consider using the automatic bonus progression rules, so magic items feel less important.


Melkiador wrote:
if your party is fighting over this, you might want to consider using the automatic bonus progression rules, so magic items feel less important.

So much this. Seriously, ABP alone probably fixes the whole issue. Although the be honest, I'd recommend using it even if the party isn't fighting over loot, as it makes the game so much better!


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I feel like ABP sucks the fun out of loot, but if your party’s dynamic is already sucking the fun out of it, then you don’t have much to lose.


TomParker wrote:

Every group I have run or played in has been unusually collaborative, based what I see in forum threads. We find stuff, we give people stuff they need, and we sell what’s left and divide the money.

I don’t think that system is feasible for your group, but it is very simple, and everyone is working together.

This is what we have always done. The group succeeds or fails together. Splitting hairs over coin tends to result in a less fun experience.

"But what if the wizard never gets any loot because the party has only been finding magic swords and armor?"

As a GM, I consider it my responsibility to make a somewhat balanced spread of loot available, including raw currency or trade equivalent. If someone feels like I'm not dropping enough stuff suitable for their character, I should endeavor to change what's available. I might not drop their extremely specific weird weapon specific to another culture if it wouldn't make any sense, but I'll drop something they can use, even if it's just enough gold to hire someone to enchant their current ESWWStAC.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber
TomParker wrote:
Every group I have run or played in has been unusually collaborative, based what I see in forum threads. We find stuff, we give people stuff they need, and we sell what’s left and divide the money.

Up until this point this has always been my experience with both playing and DMing. But I now have new players playing a campaign and this is the first time i've had this come up. Which is probably why im having so much trouble understanding the reasons behind this system being suggested by one portion of my players.

blahpers wrote:
As a GM, I consider it my responsibility to make a somewhat balanced spread of loot available, including raw currency or trade equivalent. If someone feels like I'm not dropping enough stuff suitable for their character, I should endeavor to change what's available. I might not drop their extremely specific weird weapon specific to another culture if it wouldn't make any sense, but I'll drop something they can use, even if it's just enough gold to hire someone to enchant their current ESWWStAC.

That is the mentality I have had up until this point and definitely something I plan on bringing up to the players when we have our discussion around this.

In my opinion one of the responsibilities of the DM is that the party finds loot they can use and no one feels left out. I don't use random loot generators and so far most of the players have one or two items of magic loot. I even created a custom magic item that had interesting uses and could help them both in battle and survive in the wilderness.

For myself I like finding interesting magic items or creating ones myself and then offering these to my players. So I would probably be averse to needing to switch to the automatic bonus progression rules. But as was mentioned above, if no good solution presents itself and this sucks the fun out of the game then what have we got to loose.

But before we get to that stage im hoping we can have a mature discussion on the topic and hopefully address the underlying reasons why certain people in the group want this. At the moment it just doesn't make sense to me. Since the players have a roughly even number of items and they are only level 4 I can't see any current inequality that could have created this need.

I don't know if its just a lack of knowledge of how loot will become available over time - A melee weapon here a caster item there and a protective item at another point. Maybe some players are under the assumption that when there is loot there should be something for everyone but to me in world that just does not seem reasonable.

Or maybe some of the players have just planned their progression ahead and are worried they will not get the items they need to be useful and progress. But in that case I would have hoped these players would come to me and let me know they are worrying about this. I started the game telling everyone to let me know if there are any issues or topics they want to discuss and have also mentioned it several times though out the game. So beyond that im not sure what more could be done in that scenario.

I'll probably post here when we have had this discussion what tissues where brought up and what we'll try going forward just in case any future groups find it helpful.

But until then happy to hear other peoples experiences, especially if you've already had such a discussion with your group!


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Melkiador wrote:
I feel like ABP sucks the fun out of loot

I'd say it's the opposite, because now magic loot is something cool and new, not just a +1 to something. ABP also opens up some magic item slots - usually almost every amulet, belt, headband, and cloak that's not big 6 gets automatically sold without so much as looking at it. Similarily, magic weapons with unusual stuff are more likely to be useful, and thus more fun to loot.


Derklord wrote:
Melkiador wrote:
I feel like ABP sucks the fun out of loot
I'd say it's the opposite, because now magic loot is something cool and new, not just a +1 to something. ABP also opens up some magic item slots - usually almost every amulet, belt, headband, and cloak that's not big 6 gets automatically sold without so much as looking at it. Similarily, magic weapons with unusual stuff are more likely to be useful, and thus more fun to loot.

But magic weapons without unusual stuff are just masterwork. And there's a lot more standard weapons in most adventures than unusual weapons. Unless the GM is specifically tailoring the loot to the system, you can go long stretches of time without any new magic items. And that's boring in my opinion.

But in the case of this thread, having less stuff to fight over is a good thing, so I think ABP should be strongly considered for this group.


Melkiador wrote:
Unless the GM is specifically tailoring the loot to the system, you can go long stretches of time without any new magic items. And that's boring in my opinion.

I think finding nothing but items that you're going to sell anyway is hardly less boring, but to each their own.


Derklord wrote:
Melkiador wrote:
Unless the GM is specifically tailoring the loot to the system, you can go long stretches of time without any new magic items. And that's boring in my opinion.
I think finding nothing but items that you're going to sell anyway is hardly less boring, but to each their own.

In my experience, most items are an upgrade for someone in the party. Maybe if your party has a lot of downtime for crafting, you already have everything, but that's pretty unusual in my experience.


I just use the wealth-by-level table as a guide. I keep tabs on how each PC is doing gold and item-wise. Then I will 'drop' items that suit specific players that are behind the curve to even things out when necessary. I am open with my players that I'm deliberately adjusting loot to stick to WBL. It does rely on the players not being overly acquisitive towards each other, but if that's happening then an out of game talk about playing nice is perhaps the best way.

Some things are paid from a communal pool of gold. Wands of cure light wounds, plus spell components for group-utility spells like Greater Restoration and Resurrection. We don't make the dead PC pay for all of their own resurrection.

One complexity of calculating WBL all the time is spellbooks. They are a bit of a hassle to do so, but their cost is factored into their WBL I believe. Wizards don't need magic armour or weapons so they save in other ways.

That loot system your players have devised looks onerous and complicated imho. Plus it might have unintended vulnerabilities that can be gamed. Complex things usually do.


Note that the WBL assumes a party of 4. If you have a party of 3, then your wealth should be higher and if you have a party of 5+, then your wealth should be lower.


Melkiador wrote:
Note that the WBL assumes a party of 4. If you have a party of 3, then your wealth should be higher and if you have a party of 5+, then your wealth should be lower.

Not sure about this. Compared to a party of four, a party of three will generally either (a) face lower CR challenges and thus not need more wealth; or (b) level faster, thus getting more wealth per character already. Is there a factor I failed to consider?


Melkiador wrote:
Note that the WBL assumes a party of 4. If you have a party of 3, then your wealth should be higher and if you have a party of 5+, then your wealth should be lower.

I don't think I've ever seen WBL adjusted for party size. The whole APL going up or down due to less or more PC's s was always considered to be used for CR and experience. I suppose you could use it to reflect wealth, but then the adjustments to the other elements don't make sense. If the CR/experience goes up because you've got less members and therefore a more difficult encounter, it hardly makes sense to then also increase the potency of each party member by giving them more stuff.

Melkiador wrote:
But magic weapons without unusual stuff are just masterwork. And there's a lot more standard weapons in most adventures than unusual weapons. Unless the GM is specifically tailoring the loot to the system, you can go long stretches of time without any new magic items. And that's boring in my opinion.

I think Derklord's point is that, when you don't have the "Big Six" to worry about, items that offer more unique, non-passive bonuses don't automatically go in the "sell it to upgrade my cloak of saves/amulet or ring of AC/belt of ability scores" pile.

I don't use the system, but I follow a similar philosophy; if I present my players with an X of Y (+Z) item, it also has a couple other functions to make it interesting while still being potent enough that they don't want to sell it.

At my table, I follow the WBL guidelines and all my players know they can expect to keep up with each other. That's usually enough.
I'd just sit down with them and express your concerns. If they're worried they're going to get cheated, you can reassure them they're not. If they just like accounting, I guess let them have at it?


Typically in my group nobody owns any portion of the party treasure, it's all party treasure used by the best possible person. People who want to use something make their case for it, either arguing against another person's use, or against sale of the item. There are some wildly overpriced items that will never see use, but nobody complains to me about it. I don't think I would enjoy a group that was intent on fairness within the party over success of the party.

The discussion is usually either a person letting the party know that their bonuses are falling behind, or explaining why some unusual item's use would be common enough that it couldn't be replaced by scrolls or a wand of some sort. One player is in charge of stock, buying and selling goods, and determining what is looted.

There are some games where we're playing less collectively and in those, loot is entirely individual and people duke it out in character. Table talk negotiation isn't permitted and there's a large benefit to those who can identify magic items and assess the value of rare materials.

Lantern Lodge

Einherjar101 wrote:
Captain Zoom wrote:
It sounds like you are using an unnecessarily complicated version of what my group does.

Yeah one of my worries with the currently proposed system is that it is too complicated to be practical for use.

For this post I am the DM and regarding restrictions I guess there would be some. The PC's are in the wilderness at the moment as part of TotH and so there have not been a lot of trader option. I have introduced 1 trader so far though and more opportunities will present themselves as the story continues.

Thanks for providing an overview of how your group handles this. I have never had a game were a loot rule system was used by the players so its interesting to see.

The system you're using sounds like it requires a decent bit of discussion and calculations. Has this slowed down the game at all or caused any arguments between people?
Also out of curiosity is this being done in or out of character?

In your game what prompted the use of this system? Was it something everyone decided at the start or did something happen that brought about the need for such a system?

I don't intend to make any judgments on gameplay or players here, I just want to get a better understanding of how such a system can work and what prompt people to want to use it.

One of the issues i'm having is that half the players want such a system and the other half are against it. So the options I currently see the group having are either to figure out why half the group want this system and see what can be done to address the underlying reasons or come up with a new alternative system that is not as restrictive and both sides can agree on.

We've used this system for a long time, through at least 4 different (though related) gaming groups, many APs and capmaigns, etc - actually, thinking back, we used this system back when we were playing DND 3/3.5. It partly grew out of the perceived unfairness of handing out magic items to group members, which usually resulted in one or two people getting all the good stuff and others getting very little (due to what was available, who could use it, etc.). This system still rewards people using what is available as they get it at half price (what we could sell it for), but allows others to buy what they want if the scenario/campaign does not provide the proper type of loot for that character.

It doesn't slow down the game as we do the calculations when we get to the point where we sell the loot (this usually happens at the end of a session, though not always). Usually, there's a bunch of adventuring, then we hit a point where we can travel to the city (i.e. sell and buy). At that point, we do the calculations.

Note that during play, individual characters do USE the loot until we sell it - some choose to retain/buy the item they are using, others not. So, if we found a Ring of Fire Resistance, someone would probably wear it even if no one would ultimately want to keep it (i.e. it would be sold). If we found a Ring of Protection, someone would use it and might very well decide to keep it as part of their share of treasure.

Any system you use needs buy-in. It also helps if people are not too ME ME ME. Yeah, you might want that Two-Handed Sword +3, but the other guy's fighter can use it better, so you let him have it (of course, you get gold instead). I remember back in Living City days, there was this one player who ran a wizard, but if he won the roll to see who picked magic items first, he'd take the most expensive item even if it wasn't something he could use and even if it was PERFECT for another player's character - so the +3 Sword went to his wizard instead of the Fighter who has a +1 Sword and could really use it. Luckily, many of the Living City players weren't like this - I saw many instances of players being gracious to other players who needed or could use an item (or even simply higher level players who gave an extra item they didn't need to a lower level player), but there's always going to be some selfish people.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Maps, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
blahpers wrote:
"But what if the wizard never gets any loot because the party has only been finding magic swords and armor?"

That's worth considering. For my groups, it hasn't really come up. Even if it's all magic swords and armor, people are only taking things they're going to use. So most of those items get sold and the money distributed in the groups I'm playing with.


We have a kind of "need before greed" for us. Take what you need, of it replaces something that's now up for grabs (a +3 replaces a +1 ring) and then of no one wants it you sell it.

If someone keeps taking everything they need to not bid for a while.

Selling in our group is split evenly among the party +1. So 4 players make a 5 player split. The 5th player is the party fund for all wagon rentals, food, rope, rooms etc. Great for wands of cure light for example. If the party uses it it comes from there. If that gets to be too big, (untouched after a while) then divide by 5 and share the wealth.

Statements like need before greed and DKP come from games like WoW and Everquest.

DKP meant Dragon Kill Points. The bosses were dragons like onyxia. Joining a raid for rare loot meant if you killed it you got a DKP. You could spend your DKP to bid on items. Therefore someone who really wants an item or hadn't bid for a while could spend DKP.

It was for raid groups that meant serious business. Like... invest 40+ hours a week to play serious. They likely needed that system in place due to online players adjusting from time to time unlike a group of 4 friends in a basement.

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