Level Up (A5E) Is there a reason why the wealth curve in A5E is considerably lower than O5E?

Ondath

Hero
I've gotten really into the expected wealth by level tables in A5E as well as O5E. For O5E, people mostly calculate the expected wealth by level using the expected number of Treasure Hoard rolls (the person in charge of A5E's treasure calculations Paul Hughes even calculated them in his own blog in an old post). While the curve in O5E is by no means perfect (especially since there is nothing to spend the money on), I thought it made sense that the amount of wealth gained would increase by orders of magnitue at each tier: In levels 1-5, you earn your gold in hundreds, in 6-8 you earn it in thousands, in 9-16 you earn it in tens of thousands and by level 17 each level brings almost 100 thousand gold. By the end of level 20, you have around 800 thousand gold pieces to your name.

But when examining A5E's wealth curve in Trials and Treasures (or in a5e.tools), I noticed that the curve is lowered all around - and it's especially noticeable in Tier 4. You start earning tens of thousands per level only at level 14, and by Level 20's end you only finish with 257 thousand gold, almost a quarter of O5E's wealth curve.

My question is: What is the design intent behind the reduced numbers? Do things like the price of strongholds and magic items take the reduced wealth curve into account? Would following O5E's wealth curve change the game significantly?
 

log in or register to remove this ad

W'rkncacnter

Adventurer
from the linked page on a5e.tools:
The Gold Acquired This Level column indicates how much wealth, in gold pieces, a single adventurer is likely to find or earn during the course of that character level. This accounts for their share of the coins found as well as the value of nonmagical treasure.

The Magic Items Acquired This Level column indicates the probability that an adventurer finds one or more magic items each level (roll 1d100 to determine which), and lists the treasure tables that offer appropriate magic rewards for that level. Over the course of their career, an adventurer should find about 24 magic items: 18 consumable magic items or enchanted trinkets as well as 6 permanent magic items.
so in a5e, the gold you mentioned is in addition to any magic items. i would guess that if you converted the magic items column into gold, you'd get similar gold amounts to o5e. maybe i'll do the math on that. not right now though, it's 2 am.
 

Ondath

Hero
from the linked page on a5e.tools:

so in a5e, the gold you mentioned is in addition to any magic items. i would guess that if you converted the magic items column into gold, you'd get similar gold amounts to o5e. maybe i'll do the math on that. not right now though, it's 2 am.
I'm pretty sure the wealth curve in O5E does not include magic items. In fact, Blackball's alternative treasure system (which was posted to ENWorld in 2018 here) does involve magic item pricing, and the result becomes insanely inflated as a result (though I think Blackball also inflates the amount of treasure a PC would gain over the course of adventuring, and I have no idea why his math came out that way), to the tune of a Level 20 character having ONE MILLION gp worth of treasure (including magic items) at the start of Level 20. So I think the difference between A5E and O5E must be explained by a deliberate reduction of the wealth curve.
 

W'rkncacnter

Adventurer
I'm pretty sure the wealth curve in O5E does not include magic items.
well, i mean...yeah. you're not expected to buy any magic items in o5e. they don't even have proper prices. also, from page 136 of xanathar's:
Characters and monsters are built to face each other without the help of magic items, which means that having a magic item always makes a character more powerful or versatile than a generic character of the same level.
and then you know it goes on to mention how to handle enemies with immunity/resistance to non-magical weapon damage if you want to play a campaign without magic items depending on party composition. but aside from those immunities/resistances, xanathar's basically says magic items aren't even expected in encounter balance. why would they be part of your wealth curve?
So I think the difference between A5E and O5E must be explained by a deliberate reduction of the wealth curve.
i think (again, assuming that the magic items you're expected to gain over leveling do approximately level out the wealth curve between a5e and o5e) that it's to account for the game actually expecting you to have magic items.
 

W'rkncacnter

Adventurer
maybe i'll do the math on that.
so, i did the math on that. i averaged out the prices of every magic item on each table accounting for probability. i did include cursed items, and i did put in the quiver of the hunt as 1150 gold pieces because neither table it's in lists if you get the 300 or 2000 gp version when you roll it, so i just took the average. the quiver shouldn't matter too much though, it's only a 1% chance in each list. anyway, final results:


LevelMagic Items in GP (tables with same percentages averaged)Magic Items in GP (separate table odds)
1​
480.449​
1091.952​
2​
480.449​
1091.952​
3​
669.6074​
1979.64​
4​
669.6074​
1979.64​
5​
669.6074​
1979.64​
6​
756.9561​
2154.337​
7​
756.9561​
2154.337​
8​
1053.893​
3959.235​
9​
6457.22​
20782.29​
10​
6457.22​
20782.29​
11​
6457.22​
20782.29​
12​
7187.568​
25869.69​
13​
7726.52​
28024.92​
14​
7726.52​
28024.92​
15​
7726.52​
28024.92​
16​
15111.01​
60331.81​
17​
16714.96​
63539.71​
18​
16714.96​
63539.71​
19​
16714.96​
63539.71​
20​
16714.96​
63539.71​
Total
137247.2​
503172.7​
the middlemost column was calculated by averaging out the tables with the same odds and then multiplying them by said percentage before adding them to the other tables, while the rightmost column was calculated by simply multiplying each table by the listed percentage (so e.g. looking at level 1, the middle column would be a 60% chance to roll on either table 1 or 2 and a 35% chance to roll on any of tables 4, 5, or 6, while the rightmost column would be a 60% chance to roll on table 1, another 60% chance to roll on table 2, a 35% chance to roll on table 4, another 35% chance to roll on table 5, and another 35% chance to roll on table 6). when added to the gold already given out at each level, a level 20 character ends up with about 394847.16 gold using the middle column, and about 760772.7 gold using the rightmost. if you're asking why i did both calculations, it's because, uh, quite frankly, i don't know which method the game expects.
edit: rereading the section, it sounds like the game expects the middle column, so a level 20 character in a5e will be about half as wealthy as a level 20 character in o5e. very strange.
 
Last edited:

VanguardHero

Adventurer
It is an interesting data point for sure, but with o5e lacking any actual economy besides like...scrolls? I think are the only thing given costs scaling upwards? Anything from o5e is just Calvinball, regardless of if there was at one point a design intent behind the treasure tables. There's also an argument that o5e is lying about Magic Items being purely optional considering the low levels that "Immune to nonmagical physical damage" first appears at. I feel like mostly this is a good thing to be aware of if running an o5e Adventure in Level Up to keep an eye on how much gold the party gets.
 

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top