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5E Deconstructing 5e: Typical Wealth by Level

tankschmidt

First Post
Page 133 of the *DMG* tells us how many treasure hoards a party is expected to find over the course of a typical campaign. If we make a few assumptions, we can use this information to estimate how much wealth a character has accumulated at each level of his career.

My assumptions going into producing this table are:
* Treasure is split evenly among four members of the party.
* The hoards are evenly distributed throughout their appropriate level ranges.
* The players use individual monster treasure as “petty cash,” spending it on lifestyle expenses, carousing, replenishing supplies, bribing officials, hiring retainers, etc.
* The party always finds the average total value of all coins, gems, and art objects in each hoard.

Given these assumptions, a character who has just hit level 5 should have recovered about 560 gp from the Challenge 0-4 hoards. By level eleven, he will have recovered an additional 23,500 gp from the Challenge 5-10 hoards. He will have found an additional 110,000 gp by level 17. And he will have secured another 684,000 gp by retirement, presumably at level 20. Quite the nest egg!

We can break this down into each level as follows:

Level| Typical hoard treasure acquired (gp)
1|0
2|140
3|280
4|420
5|560
6|4500
7|8400
8|12,300
9|16,200
10|20,100
11|24,100
12|42,400
13|60,700
14|79,000
15|97,300
16|116,000
17|134,000
18|362,000
19|590,000
20|818,000

The idea of a suggested table of wealth by level is at odds with how I think D&D should play. Still, having these numbers on hand helps us to understand how the designers intended big ticket expenditures -- like building strongholds, buying ships, and creating magic items -- to fit into a typical campaign.

For instance, a character could commission the construction of a palace or large castle only by level 19, although he and three friends could go in on it together by level 17. A keep or small castle is affordable by a single character at level 13, a fortified tower at level 9.

If creating magical items is more your speed, the first common item can be built at level 3 and is limited by the minimum level requirement rather than the creation cost. A character has earned enough to make an uncommon item by level 5. A rare item must wait for level 7, a very rare item for level 13, and a legendary item for level 19. Seems appropriate, I suppose.
 

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GMforPowergamers

First Post
I wish the treasure tables had options in them... but I guess my low magic settings will just ignore magic items rolled, and my high magic settings will just add more items in...
 

Henry

Autoexreginated
It does seem like you're pretty poor and starved for the first five levels -- does this include magic items? I take that it doesn't...?
 

tankschmidt

First Post
It does seem like you're pretty poor and starved for the first five levels -- does this include magic items? I take that it doesn't...?
Nope, this does not include magic items. So your characters could have more money by selling their items -- if you allow them to do so.
 

Kryx

First Post
Thanks so much for the work.

I've used your data to help me convert RotRL to 5e. Though I must say I expected the values to be much lower.
 

tankschmidt

First Post
You are very welcome. It was a labor of love.

Thank you for the RotRL conversion! I certainly plan on stealing some of those NPCs and monsters.
 

Gustavohvg

First Post
Nice table. It differs significantly from the table on DMG page 38, specially in level 17 (in which players would have about 27k - including magic itens).


Maybe the authors thought that players would loose big amounts of money in adventures. It could be spent paying messengers, guards, getting assaulted, loosing their real state properties, paying to revive characters and using expensive magic components (there are a lot in high levels).

This table also shows that the authors don't expect players to have a 'very rare' magic item in level 17.
 

tankschmidt

First Post
Nice table. It differs significantly from the table on DMG page 38, specially in level 17 (in which players would have about 27k - including magic itens).


Maybe the authors thought that players would loose big amounts of money in adventures. It could be spent paying messengers, guards, getting assaulted, loosing their real state properties, paying to revive characters and using expensive magic components (there are a lot in high levels).

This table also shows that the authors don't expect players to have a 'very rare' magic item in level 17.

Yes, my analysis gives a result that is remarkably different than the table on page 38. I wonder why the designers decided to make it that way?

Frankly, there really is not a mechanism for losing substantial amounts of money over the course of an adventurer's career. On the whole, material components are quite cheap. Raising the dead is a pittance to what a typical character will have amassed from treasure hoards. And the cost for hiring skilled labor is truly minor.

I can only assume that the table on page 38 was intentionally written to be overly modest so a DM would not feel pressured to give new characters the moon and the sun. An adventurer acquiring the typical number of treasure hoards will have way more than this, not even counting magical items. FireLance wrote a very nice post on typical magical item distribution (http://www.enworld.org/forum/showth...-of-quot-Typical-quot-Magic-Item-Distribution), which is also at odds with the table on page 38.
 

CapnZapp

Legend
Frankly, there really is not a mechanism for losing substantial amounts of money over the course of an adventurer's career.
This, very much this.

The vibe I'm getting is that things aren't truly well thought through.

And that is a big problem for me.

They removed the magic shoppe, but they did not come up with a directly comparable alternative.

Not all groups care for building castles or starting churches. Lots of groups just want to move on to the next exciting adventure, the next monster-filled dungeon.

For these groups, there really isn't anything to spend your gold on past, perhaps, level five. Having a guild or a wizard tower simply have no bearing.

Having a brand new +1 longsword would.

I haven't found a good solution yet. Adventurers will collect hundreds of thousands of gold: but if you don't care for a new castle, there really isn't anything to spend it on. Not that can match the utility and therefore desirability of a magic shoppe.
 

tankschmidt

First Post
Adventurers will collect hundreds of thousands of gold: but if you don't care for a new castle, there really isn't anything to spend it on. Not that can match the utility and therefore desirability of a magic shoppe.
You are right that there are few ways in the DMG to spend the 10,000s and 100,000s of GPs that a typical adventurer will earn from level 8 or so up to level 20. But there are two options -- building strongholds and creating magical items.

I interpret these two options as a compromise on the part of the designers. Players who are more familiar with TSR D&D will often want to build strongholds and add their lasting legacy to the campaign world. Such a stronghold will set them back 10k to 500k and will require between 100 days and three years to build.

Compare that to magical item creation, which is likely to more appealing to players coming from the magical item shop experience of the WoTC editions. Building high level magical items will cost from 5k to 500k, very similar to the cost of a stronghold. It will also require time. A single character can create a rare item in 200 days. A very rare item can be created in about a year and a half, if the entire party takes part (note that any characters beyond the first must only meet the level prerequisite). The time scales are pretty similar to those in the stronghold construction option.

On the other hand, creating a legendary item is something else entirely. A legendary item requires truly a legendary amount of time to build. It requires an entire party of four to devote nearly 14 years to its construction! Imagining the adventurers hitting level 17 and entering a pseudo-retirement, perhaps adventuring once every few years to knock the rust off. Fast forward the world a decade, and the party has sewn their own Well of Many Worlds.
 

tankschmidt

First Post
It seems like a default assumption to the high level game is that characters will go long times without adventuring.
 


CapnZapp

Legend
Yes, my analysis gives a result that is remarkably different than the table on page 38. I wonder why the designers decided to make it that way?

Frankly, there really is not a mechanism for losing substantial amounts of money over the course of an adventurer's career. On the whole, material components are quite cheap. Raising the dead is a pittance to what a typical character will have amassed from treasure hoards. And the cost for hiring skilled labor is truly minor.

I can only assume that the table on page 38 was intentionally written to be overly modest so a DM would not feel pressured to give new characters the moon and the sun. An adventurer acquiring the typical number of treasure hoards will have way more than this, not even counting magical items. FireLance wrote a very nice post on typical magical item distribution (http://www.enworld.org/forum/showth...-of-quot-Typical-quot-Magic-Item-Distribution), which is also at odds with the table on page 38.
I do want to point out that you are misunderstanding the purpose of the DMG Starting Equipment on page 38.

This table is not meant to represent what an average character have accumulated at all. I don't think comparing your results with it gives any meaningful data whatsoever.

It merely tells you what to give a newly hatched PC created above level 1.

And, not-too-incidentally, send across the message that even high level heroes aren't expected to have (and thus need) much loot at all.

In my mind, this is the true purpose of this table. It says "It's quite okay to give a level 20 character only three magic items (none of more than Rare rarity) and only 20000 gold". It, like no other table in the book, really screams MAGIC ITEMS NOT EXPECTED OR NEEDED EVER.
 


mlund

First Post
Compared to living expenses for downtime days starting adventurers are living hand-to-mouth in a bad way. They can barely afford to feed themselves and replace their starting equipment if stolen / destroyed. You've got to start pulling down level 5-10 treasure to really move out of the sell-sword gutter.

Marty Lund
 

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