Help w/ Party Loot Tracking

Fauchard1520

Explorer
Hey guys. I could use some help. My folders are disorganized. My record-keeping system is non-existent. My handwriting is so bad that it once cancelled game night.

So here's my question: How do you go about handling the party loot sheet? Any software recommendations, bookkeeping resources, or general advice to help a bungling quartermaster out? Scribbled notes on random bits of paper clearly aren't working for me anymore. How does your group handle it?
 

Salthorae

Imperial Mountain Dew Taster
In 5e as a player? I take notes on my Fight Club app as a player for all the things the GM hands out.

As a DM/GM? I use a combination of Google Docs/Sheets/Keep (their version of notes) so that I can access the lists/game notes on the fly and I don't lose the paper scraps somewhere.

I try to spend at least 10 minutes re-capping and noting things that happened after my players have departed in my online notes so I don't forget the next week what happened.
 

Fenris-77

Explorer
I have one player do the secretary thing and I glance at the results at the end of a session. My job is to build and run adventures, not track party finances. When encumbrance is softly tracked it's not a big deal to keep the party loot all in one pot, with items parceled out to specific players. Leave the copper, maybe take silver, and take everything else - my mantra since 1986.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
I think I can help you here. :)

The system we use is this:

Whenever an item is found, whether magical or not, that's to go into party treasury for later claiming or sale, it gets a unique item number. I-as-treasurer (when I play I usually end up as treasurer) note this item number down on the party treasury sheet, along with whatever we know about it and - if relevant - who's carrying or using it.

The DM, meanwhile, has a sheet going on which is also recorded the item's number at time of finding or purchase, along with what it is and does and sometimes where or on whom it was found or purchased. (this sheet is also the DM's adventure notes and log, so it's not something that's ever going to get lost).

What this looks like in practice, partway through a campaign/adventure:

Player treasury:

157. Longsword (cl 3)*, elven runes (Lanefan)
158. 3 gems, nice
159. Wand? (cl 3)* from MU's desk (Mialee)
160. Various books and papers from MU study (Mialee)
161. Book (cl 5)*, evil? (Aloysius)

DM adventure log:

157. Longsword +2, +4 vs Dwarves, ancient Elvish runes "Shear the Beard", only Elves can use
158. 3 gems, 550 g.p. total
159. Wand: Paralysis, 45 charges, rechargeable
160. Books and papers <placeholder; if these are important there'll be notes elsewhere about them>
161. Book of Vile Deeds

Treasury isn't divided for real until we get back to town; it's considered to be party possession till then, on loan to whichever character might be actually using it at the time. The DM relies on the players to track who's carrying what; if they don't and it becomes relevant, then it's random.

When characters claim and receive items from the treasury on division the players are expected to record the item numbers on their character sheets, along with what it is. That way, if there's any question some years later about what an item is or does, the DM has half a chance of being able to look it up in the archived adventure notes.

If it's of any use, here's a link to an example of a recording sheet that would be used by the players:

Treasury Recording Form

* - where it refers to "class", that's our numeric expression of whether an item radiates as faint-weak-moderate-strong-very strong-extreme when hit with Detect Magic, on a 1-6 scale - easier to write a number than the words every time. :) Also, the g.p. conversion values on the form would have to be adjusted to suit each campaign's currencies.
 

Azzy

Cyclone Ranger
Yeah, in my groups, we usually elect a player to be party treasurer.

Having been party treasurer, I just used Word (though any other word processor would work).
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
As the DM, I don't keep track of any of that stuff. Once found, it's on the players to keep track of it.
A nice theory, that. :)

In practice, between players coming and going over the long run and few if any of them being any good at records management, it's beyond useful if the DM keeps a mirror track that at least tells what each item is and does.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Yeah, in my groups, we usually elect a player to be party treasurer.

Having been party treasurer, I just used Word (though any other word processor would work).
That would imply having a computer at the table, however, which I don't. It still has to be recorded on the fly somehow.

It all gets plugged into Excel come division time at the end of the adventure, between sessions.
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
A nice theory, that. :)

In practice, between players coming and going over the long run and few if any of them being any good at records management, it's beyond useful if the DM keeps a mirror track that at least tells what each item is and does.
The players have an incentive to keep up on this stuff - it affects the capabilities of their characters. It's no loss to me as DM if they don't.

Plus in D&D 5e, you know what magic items do by just taking a short rest and fidgeting with them. So there's very little of that "throw it all into a bag and we'll use it sometime in the future after we have it identified" in my experience.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Plus in D&D 5e, you know what magic items do by just taking a short rest and fidgeting with them.
Ah, yes.

An awful horrible ghastly mechanic with which I will never play, and upon whose inventor I bestow a thousand curses. :)

So there's very little of that "throw it all into a bag and we'll use it sometime in the future after we have it identified" in my experience.
Even then, you still have to get it all evaluated come division time; item numbers make this so much easier.
 

Shiroiken

Adventurer
We play on Roll20, so this might not be anywhere near as convenient IRL. For each campaign, we create a google drive that each player can at least partially access. Part of this drive is a group loot document, where treasure found and xp gained for each session is tracked. One DM just gives out the value of everything (because it's simple) while I often give a location note so when they sell it I know its value. At one point we used the document for which character kept which item, but that quickly became a long document that took forever to load.
 

ccs

39th lv DM
As part of my prep I create a master log of all the treasure in the adventure - published or brewed - I'm running.
It looks like this:
(treasure/item) -- (source) -- Page # if applicable -- (status/who has it) -- (notes)

I don't make this to aid the players. And I don't tell them it exists. Because I'm not their secretary. I make it to aid me in crafting future adventures.
 

aco175

Adventurer
Wow, I can see where others go through a lot more than I when making adventures and tracking things. I make the adventures and let the players determine how to divide things. In 5e, I tend to tell them what they found without going through the detect magic and identify trying to get clues on most everything. Weapons tend to have some cool powers in my games, so I give the players a sheet with the item description.

One of the players tracks the other loot and minor items and they tend to divide it when they reach town. Sometimes the group saves some of the cash to pool the money in case someone need to be resurrected. Sometimes they would save some cash for the mage to make scrolls or potions and such, but that was more in prior editions.
 

Zio_the_dark

The dark one :)
I was first using cards and tokens made with a custom magic set editor template to keep track of all of this but it was time consuming (needed to make, then print cards on 300g paper to make it a bit durable then putting all of this in mtg protecting sleeves...), now I mostly use my custom excel sheet to track adventure and loot notes, even if geared toward specific system it can be used for almost everything if you don't use the stat keeping/battle part of it...

Cards++: players can see what they have and organize their loot (a bit like power cards)
Cards--: time consuming
Excel++: well if you know how to use excel it can do almost anything for you...
Excel--: need a computer at the table (may be used for online sessions too on the GM side!)
 

LordEntrails

Adventurer
When I run games I use Fantasy Grounds, it tracks everything for me and the players using the Party Inventory, even lets items be identified or unidentified.

When I play not using FG, one of the players tracks the party loot. Right now that's me. I try to keep a note of who/where the item was found. It seems fairly frequent that it might be a long time before we identify something and the DM might not remember where it comes from.

I really like the unique ID number suggested earlier. I would also suggest using OneNote, it allows multiple people access with update/changes tracking etc. It's really nice when you go in it highlights the changes since you were last in the file and it tells you who made the change.
 

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