Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Too much treasure?

I was thinking yesterday about the spread of treasure in my megadungeon.

What I've been doing is just rolling on the Moldvay/Mentzer random dungeon room contents (roll d6 twice, first is room contents 1-2 empty, 3 trap, 4-5 monster, 6 special; the second is treasure in the room or not).  I'd then switch some things around for certain rooms or areas I know I want to have a monster, trap, or special, or occasionally adjusting for density (if, for example, there are too many specials in a cluster).

Anyway, what I've been doing, if the room has a monster and treasure, is to roll on the creature's lair treasure type.  This results in an awful lot of treasure.  Just on the upper works (level 0, as it were), a lucky and clever party of 4-5 1st level characters could reach 3rd level before they even venture down into the dungeon proper.

I like that, as it allows for PC attrition.  Some characters will die early, and get not treasure.  Others will survive a session or two, gain some XP, then die.  The high amount of treasure allows for this.  It also allows for a party to not feel the need to "clear" the dungeon level like you would in a video game like Diablo.  You can leave some white space on the map if you choose.

But one house rule I've taken to using recently is that XP totals are earned by the PLAYER, and carry over to their next PC.  With my very infrequent gaming schedule, it would take forever to have characters level up otherwise.

So I was wondering if I've been doing the tables wrong.

Obviously, the empty and trap rooms just get treasure from the 'Unguarded Treasure' table.  But should rooms with monsters and treasure listed from the random roll also use this (usually) lower value treasure?  Should the 'Lair' Treasure Types only be for purposely placed monster lairs within the dungeon?

It would really lower the amount of gold there is available on each level.

I'm not going to change the way I've been doing it, but it's food for thought.  Just wondering though, how do the rest of you use the second roll on that table for treasure in a room?


  1. I'm not sure if Mentzer follows the same logic, but Gygax's version was that the treasure type assumed at least the average number of creatures from the "number appearing" column. So, for Orcs, it would be assuming there were around 150 of them (or whatever the "mean" of 30-300 equates to). It always seemed like a messy system, more easily stated as "use your best judgment."

  2. I don't stock my megadungeon randomly. I probably should do more a bit random, but on the first level especially there's not a lot of room for goofing around. I put 20,000 gp worth of loot (enough to level 10 characters - I figure with a party of 5 players, each will go through a fatality or two) in there, and what they find, they find.

  3. The way we handle it is to roll lair treasure for monsters and then divide it up as makes sense among all the creatures that would logically come from that lair. Don't reroll lair treasure each time you randomly get, say, a goblin, on the random stocking tables. Just assign the new goblins to the lair of the old, and they all share the treasure, carrying whatever makes sense.

  4. Yup. i'm with anonymous. That's exactly what I do. Generally speaking, the "lair" consists of a number of rooms (I swop randomly rolled room contents about deliberately to ensure all the monsters of a given type are clustered together in the dungeon. One room has the majority of the treasure -though the coins often appear in the form of trade goods, weapon stockpiles and supplies rather than money siting in a pile. The rest of the treasure is spread around as small change carried by individual monsters. Jewellery is assigned to particular monsters (usually a leader type or a leaders mate) to wear, same with magical weapons, armour and so forth.

    Also, if my total number of the creatures rolled in less than the average number encountered, I modify the rteasure proportionally. Note that I usually multiply the total number of creatures rolled by something between 0.5 and 1.5 to establish the number of offpsring present as well (unless the lair represents a military outpost or raiding base rather than a settlement). However, the youngsters do not count towards the total monsters for the purposes of establishing just how much treasure is actually in the lair.

  5. I guess I should say that I haven't been randomly rolling monsters in rooms, only which rooms will have a monster. I always decide myself what monsters are where.

    If there's a cluster of monsters, that tends to become a humanoid lair, and as anonymous and Brian stated, I spread the lair's treasure out around the place.

    It's rooms with solo or small group monsters--the medusae, the displacer beasts, the hellhounds--where a single room randomly rolled as 'monster with treasure' gets full lair treasure.

  6. I think your treasure total is about right... In mine, I don't expect every copper to be uncovered, so having more than is necessary... no biggie.