• COMING SOON! -- Level Up: Advanced 5th Edition! Level up your 5E game! The standalone advanced 5E tabletop RPG adds depth and diversity to the game you love!
log in or register to remove this ad

 

D&D 5E Do We Really Need a Lot of Gold? (D&D 5th Edition)

MGibster

Legend
Since as far back as I can remember, acquiring massive amounts of wealth in the form of gold, gems, and magic items has been part and parcel of the D&D experience. In fact, treasure used to be tied to experience points which caused some problems as characters accumulated ridiculous amounts of the stuff. But then there were plenty of things for characters to spend their gold on including training to advance to the next level, some spell components were quite costly, and you could hire henchmen and build strongholds. Assuming you actually bothered to do any of that stuff. I don't know about you guys, but when I sit down to play D&D I want to go out and adventure not stay in my stronghold and figure out how to decorate the place.

My memories of 2nd edition are fuzzy (I'm a 7 percenter now and getting older), but at least by 3rd edition treasure had been complete divorced from experience points but we still continue to accumulate a ridiculous amount of gold in 5th edition. Once you reach the point where you character is living like a rock star and wearing clothes and bling so excessive that Liberace would decry it as "tacky" there's not much else to spend you gold on. Is there any reason we actually need all that much gold in D&D?

As a player, even when playing a Rogue, I don't really care about gold. My character might, but it doesn't make much of a difference to me. I'm not interested in building strongholds because the core game play for me is adventuring and sitting around my house is not adventuring. So it makes more sense to me to either include mechanics designed to drain PC's wealth or just stop distributing so much gold. In Conan by Modiphius games, the PCs are expected to either spend their money on partying like it's 1999, on getting information, or to thieves or other misfortunes. I don't want to eliminate all wealth from D&D, but what's the point of doing all that extra bookkeeping keeping track of treasure when it doesn't add any significant fun to the game?
 

log in or register to remove this ad

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
If magic items can’t be purchased (or don’t need to be purchased), then no, there’s really not much point to gold and valuables in 5e.

Theoretically, D&D has two avenues of character advancement - class features, which are predictable and fixed, and equipment, which is unpredictable and modular. As you adventure, you gain experience, which automatically advances you along the fixed track, and find treasure, which will include some amount of equipment and some amount of gold, which you can spend on more equipment. As well, you should have the ability to convert undesired equipment into gold, which you can then convert into desired equipment, at a surcharge.

Its a well-designed system, but it only really works if undesired equipment can be sold and desired equipment can be bought, with gold. Since lots of 5e DMs are averse to magic item marts, and the books donlt really provide much pricing guidance to DMs who do want to make magic items buyable and sellable, the gold and equipment side of this system kinda ends up breaking down. Furthermore, XP has gone out of fashion, so the XP and levels side breaks down too.
 


Aldarc

Legend
scrooge mcduck 80s GIF


I would probably have gold be useful and the primary currency for the first half of levels, but once you get to 11+, then the currency of choice becomes the sort of precious goods that makes sense of a society where powerful magic exists.
 

pukunui

Legend
scrooge mcduck 80s GIF


I would probably have gold be useful and the primary currency for the first half of levels, but once you get to 11+, then the currency of choice becomes the sort of precious goods that makes sense of a society where powerful magic exists.
4e tried that with its astral diamonds.
 


Raith5

Adventurer
As someone who has played since 1e I do find the lack of avenues in 5e to spend gold quite distracting.

I think there is a good space for spending gold on potions, masterwork weapons, armour and spell foci. I also think quality mounts and pets could be an important outlet (aside from strongholds etc at higher level). Ultimately, I think character customization should be a more important thing in D&D which would cost gold.

I also think that there should be significant costs in lifestyle and tithes for religious folks that should figured in 5e which proves another need for money.
 

Immoralkickass

Explorer
Why would you NOT want a stronghold? Its a place for crafting, a place to sleep, storing your loot, and other downtime activities. Doesn't mean you should be constantly sitting in it. Its like the Avengers Tower, not every single Avenger is in there all the time.

I always find the statement 'not much to spend gold on' really weird. Every DM i played with have magic shops to buy gear from. And they can cost a lot of money.
 

Horwath

Hero
Magic items should have a fixed suggested price.
Then settings/DMs can dictate availability and/or factor of that price.

Yes, strongholds are a very nice, but what about characters that are not interested in that, but just want a really, really good sword?

Lifestyle expenses have their use at low levels, but at higher, unless you are supporting multiple mansions, they are almost irrelevant.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
Other than during that whole Role Playing aspect of the game.....
Yes, obviously. Given that the OP started with “I don't know about you guys, but when I sit down to play D&D I want to go out and adventure not stay in my stronghold and figure out how to decorate the place,” I figured it was a given we were discussing non-roleplay uses for gold.
 


Immoralkickass

Explorer
This has not been my experience, and in general I get the sense that magic shops are shunned by a lot of 5e DMs. I don’t know about you, but I remember during the open playtest process there was a overwhelming anti-magic-shop sentiment.
Yes I've heard that before, and i find that opinion quite stupid. If magic items exist in your setting, how else are they created? Drop from the sky? Obviously the legendary artifacts would not be sold over the counter, but the basic +1 weapons and armor should be. Its not believable that such things would exist and nobody would put a value on them, or there is no economy around them, or that every owner of such items would never sell them.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
Yes I've heard that before, and i find that opinion quite stupid. If magic items exist in your setting, how else are they created? Drop from the sky? Obviously the legendary artifacts would not be sold over the counter, but the basic +1 weapons and armor should be. Its not believable that such things would exist and nobody would put a value on them, or there is no economy around them, or that every owner of such items would never sell them.
You don’t have to tell me - I’m advocating for magic items being buyable and sellable. I’m just saying, your experience of never having had a DM that didn’t include magic item shops is, from what I can tell, very uncommon.
 

AnotherGuy

Explorer
The management of gold requires admin in order to bear its fruits - acquisition of masterwork items, components & consumables, basic enchantments, sourcing knowledge arcana or otherwise, better mounts, maps and vehicles, acquisition of land & buildings (via titles offered as rewards), commissioning of artwork as well as the use of life-style expenses table for the mundane expenditure.

If one is forever gallivanting and the need for acquisitions is minimal then of-course the value of gold in the game decreases to the point where it it no longer a worthwhile exercise.

The same can be said for other admin-heavy parts of the game such as encumbrance or XPs.

There are plenty of great options online one can find to substitute the record-keeping systems for simpler ones.

Our table's characters are 12th level and I can honestly say between lifestyle expenditure, inflation due to an ongoing war and the commissioning of items, gold still has value.
 
Last edited:

Aldarc

Legend
You don’t have to tell me - I’m advocating for magic items being buyable and sellable. I’m just saying, your experience of never having had a DM that didn’t include magic item shops is, from what I can tell, very uncommon.
I think it's the problem of D&D being a game containing competing aesthetics, resulting in a game world that is not entirely consistent with its own fantasies, though I do think that Eberron actually tried to address this.
 

Yes I've heard that before, and i find that opinion quite stupid. If magic items exist in your setting, how else are they created? Drop from the sky? Obviously the legendary artifacts would not be sold over the counter, but the basic +1 weapons and armor should be. Its not believable that such things would exist and nobody would put a value on them, or there is no economy around them, or that every owner of such items would never sell them.
There's sort of a big difference between (even low level) magic items being rare and precious items like unique art pieces by renowned (and probably long-dead) artists and being mass produced stuff that can be bought from a shop. In either case they can technically be bought, but in the former case finding what you want is much harder. I prefer the former over the latter, but I have no super strong feels about this; it depends on the setting which works best. Magic marts certainly make perfect sense for Eberron for example.
 
Last edited:

King Babar

God Learner
Count me amongst the anti-magic shop crowd. To me nothing saps the wonder out of setting faster than a magic shop.

Commissioning a blacksmith to craft a custom magical weapon or suit of armor? Maybe even involving the acquisition of a rare and exotic ingredient? Super cool. Buying a magic weapon of a rack? Dull as hell.

5e doesnt give many official avenues for spending gold, most just ideas. It's gotten to the point where I prefer giving out favors and reputation as a reward instead of actual money.

Don't even get me started on the badness of 5e's currency system.
 

TerraDave

5ever, or until 2024
Yes, obviously. Given that the OP started with “I don't know about you guys, but when I sit down to play D&D I want to go out and adventure not stay in my stronghold and figure out how to decorate the place,” I figured it was a given we were discussing non-roleplay uses for gold.

There is more to it than that.

As a DM who has had many uses for gold over the years...its like there is a missing pillar or something. Essentially the argument is made is that the PC wants money to be better at their job. Versus being good at their job to get money, the normal relationship, and the normal one in almost all times and places, given the vast range of things money can be used for.
 


It really depends on the DM. For one, I don't give out a lot of gold in general (except for the occasional hoard). Secondly, I charge for a lot of things: taxes, sages, travel expenses, etc. In addition, I occasionally have wealth draining events, such as theft and massive inflation due to war, famine, etc. While my PCs might eventually accumulate a significant amount of wealth overall, they usually find a use for it.

As for a magic item shop, I use a barter economy instead. Using the Buying an Item downtime, I instead have options for the party to trade for. They won't necessarily get exactly what they want, but it's a way to get rid of undesired items for useful ones.
Personally I wish 5th had in some way really came up for rules to create factions and strongholds. Starting and funding an international thieves guild would be both cool and useful.
Strongholds & Followers is a 3PP from Matt Coleville, and it's probably just what you're looking for.
 

Level Up!

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top