Thursday, 4 July 2013

Dungeon Generation Pt3 - "I'm rich! I'm wealthy. Yahoo! I'm comfortably well off!"

Part 1
Part 2

Treasure time.
So, treasure tables are pretty fun. Lots of things to roll. Big numbers of coins. Glittering jewels.

Buuuuuut the treasure tables make little sense to me. How did they come up with all the treasure categories, and why are the values the way they are? I'm sure there are reasons for all of it, and I'm sure if you looked up which monsters carry which treasure type you could probably figure out the gist. But on the surface the tables are an enigma. And when you dig below the surface, it just gets more confusing.
When you roll on the table to determine treasure on anything that isn't a monster lair, you're asked to pick the type yourself. There is a rough guide as to how much most of the categories are worth on average, so you can pick based on that I suppose. Just kind of weird to me and makes me have to think more about pixel bitching to balance the dungeon out.

I'm a PC in a game of ACKS at the moment and while I have a lot of issues with how it plays, I think they did a great job on the economics side. ACKS explains their treasure table based roughly on the idea that gp in treasure should be about 4x the amount of xp from monsters.

Now that, I can get my head around.


So, the other tables have basically been simple hacks of existing rules to fit in to a d12 table. However, after spending way too long trying to decipher and reverse engineer the treasure tables I have come to the conclusion that they are simply incompatible with the format and I've had to devise a mechanic almost from scratch.

What do we want from a scaling random dungeon treasure hoard?
  • Simple to calculate total treasure value at any dungeon/monster level (DL=HD remember)
  • A little bit of variety so treasure hoards can appear to be somewhat individualised and random and players don't try to game the system.
 Presenting my super complicated and extremely well thought out treasure table:

      Value Type
1-4 -  Low (-1HD) Incidental (1 coin 50%, 2 any 25%ea) 
5-8 -  Med (=HD) Raider (all types, 20% each)
9-12 - High(+1HD) Hoarder (2 coins 35%ea, 1 any 30%)

How to use this table:

When rolling for monster lair: Roll to determine if the hoard is of low, medium or high value. Then figure out how much the hoard is worth based on the 'adjusted HD xp value' and '# appearing' multiplied by 4. After that, just pick a type (incidental, raider, hoarder) based on the monster and divide the gp value between the listed types and ratios. Keeping up? No? Don't worry.

The types are: coins (cp, sp, or gp), gems, jewels.
I've omitted electrum, platinum and magic items from the list out of personal preference. I play with LotFP's silver piece standard (1sp = 1xp).

If your monster doesn't normally have a treasure type (like most animals), then simply roll twice on the table to determine a random value/type and assign that treasure as a bonus on top of another or between all other treasure hoard(s) elsewhere on the dungeon level.

Example: I'm on Level 1 of the dungeon and roll a HD1 Elf lair on the monster table. # appearing is 2d12. I rolled 12. I roll on the treasure hoard table to determine value, rolling 5 for a medium value (no adjustment). Under LotFP, a 1HD creature is worth 10xp. 10x12=120xp. 120x4=480sp. I've decided Elves are filthy raiding scum and therefore have a balanced assortment of goodies. 480/5=96sp for each category. I fiddle the ratios around a bit to make the hoard less obviously averaged.
960cp, 154sp, 1gp, 2 gems worth 40sp each, 1 golden necklace worth 100sp.

When rolling for an empty room or trap with treasure: Roll on the monster table to determine a proxy monster (and # appearing), then roll twice on the treasure table to determine value and type, same as lair.

Wandering monsters: Don't typically carry treasure around, but occasionally have a few coins or baubles in their pockets. If you like, you can roll 1d12 to determine if a wandering monster is carrying treasure. 9 or higher and it is. If it is, it is only carrying equal to its xp value (rather than x4), and only one type of thing (pick or roll: d12 - 1-3=cp, 4-6=sp, 7-9=gems, 10-12=jewels).

What about magic items!?: Personally, I like to hand place magic items. LotFP is balanced around a lack of arms-racey-magic-swords. Also, BECMI stipulates that magic items don't count for xp purposes, so that would throw the xp scaling in this system off. But, I think there is a place for the occasional potion or scroll to show up in a treasure hoard. As such, I propose the following: If you've picked gems and/or jewelry in your hoard, then roll a d12. on a 12 you may add a magic item (or items) that are of equal or lesser value than your gems and jewels combined. Or value of the entire hoard if you're feeling generous.

Treasure sure is complicated, isn't it?
I hope I've created a system that makes sense and is balanced. And as such, I shall be creating a dungeon using these methods over the next series of posts. If you want to try it in the meantime, be sure to let me know how it went in the comments. Also, if I've left anything out, not explained something properly, or gotten something horribly wrong; do let me know.

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