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Party Treasure: How Do You Divvy?

Kastil

First Post
A recent discussion came up amoungst online buddies of mine on how party treasure is divided between players. They are in a game I choose not to participate in (trying to limit myself to two games a week) and some of the other player's suggestions threw them for a loop.

For example, one suggested they use some sort of buying system. Meaning, you have to buy said item at PHB price or some such and there can be bidding 'wars' ALA E-Bay. If you can't buy it then and you're the only person the party capable of wielding it, the item is loaned to you until you pay it in full. All money found is split equally.

Okkkaaay....that said (the short and skinny of it anyways), I will now state the way every group I've ever played in divvies treasure:

As above, all money is split equally. Gems, with the exception of useful ones like pearls for the mage's Identify spell, are sold for 'cash'.

If an item is useful to any party member, it is given to said party member especially if it will enhance the party as a whole. Basically we share the wealth and don't bicker (MUCH) like children.

Same goes for any magicial items. Granted, it took some heavy convincing to tell the fighter of the group a magical bastard sword is better suited to them than the rogue of the party.

Do some of the party members have magicial items while my character doesn't? Yes. Do I care? Not really.

In my opinion, as long as the party as a whole is balanced, it shouldn't matter who has what and divvying down to every red copper is just insane. Perhaps if you were a band of mercenaries with no 'companionship-like' ties to one another, the nickel and dime system would be for you but most adventuring parties aren't like that. We all pay our dues and shed our blood for whatever task we take as a team and as a team, we all get our fair share. If not right away, it comes soon enough.
 

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Crothian

First Post
Most of the money goes into a group fund for the party to decide to do with later. Items go to whomever needs them.
 

Henry

Autoexreginated
Money is split equally.

Magic Items usually follow the policy of Need before Greed; the person to get the unarguable best use out of an item (say, a plate-mail wearing fighter getting the ring of swimming) gets it, then it's down to personal preference and bargaining with your share of the money.
 

clark411

First Post
Character Wealth System

Fundamental Concepts
All Items have a value equal to .5 market price.
All Cash Items have a value of 1.0 market price.
All Items bought at character creation have a value equal 0.0 market value.
All Items acquired out of encounters (say, by followers, rogue solo spelunking) equal 0.0 market value.
Save unique situations, Character Wealth never decreases. CW the history of what you've earned in adventuring, not what you have on you at any given minute. Selling 2 .5 value shields at .25 to buy a .5 value sword (at full 1.0 market price) does not lower your CW, for example.


Step 0- Sort out obvious items from non obvious items and Cash
In this step, the Paladin gets the Holy Avenger.. The Ogre hatin' ranger gets the +5 Dagger of Ogre Slaying.. the Wizard gets the Scroll of Prismatic Wall.

Step 1- Evaluate Character Wealth (CW = sum of market value)
Step 2- Lowest Wealth Character picks item.
Step 3- Re-Evaluate Character's Wealth.
Step 4- Return to Step 2 until no items remain.
Step 5- Divide Cash items (art, gems, coin) until all Characters are as close to even as possible.
Step 6- Record Character Wealth for each character at the end of the game session.

Step 7 (for Some)- Question why you put the LN Cleric with a tendency towards fairness and bookkeeping in charge.
 
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ArielManx

First Post
All items, magic and mundane, are divided based on who needs/can use them most. Sometimes one character comes away with more loot than another, but it all evens out in the end. Items that no one wants are sold or donated to local folks who need them (like MW weapons to the local militia).

Coinage and gems are added together for a total value (those 100 gp pearls excluded), which is divided by the number of characters to determine everyone's share, and then everyone rolls a d20. Highest roll gets dibs on the nice gems and platinum pieces...the poor schmuck with the lowest roll is left with the silver and copper after everyone else is done picking out their share.

We've found this to be the easiest and quickest method with little arguing involved. We all hate dividing treasure - takes time away from the crux of the game - so we aim to get it done as painlessly as possible. We also deem one player (me) to keep track of the treasure so there's no, "What about that shortsword we got off the bugbear?" "No, that was a longsword!" "I thought it was a scimitar..."

Ariel
 

Dark Jezter

First Post
All money is divided equally among the party members.

Gems and art objects are sold off, and the money divided up among the party members.

When magical items are found, they are usually given to the person who can get the most use out of them, such as the party's archer getting the Quiver of Ehlonna. Magic items that are of little or no use to anybody in the group (such as a +1 Guisarme) are sold off and the money divided among the party members.
 

LcKedovan

First Post
Kastil said:
A recent discussion came up amoungst online buddies of mine on how party treasure is divided between players. They are in a game I choose not to participate in (trying to limit myself to two games a week) and some of the other player's suggestions threw them for a loop.

For example, one suggested they use some sort of buying system. Meaning, you have to buy said item at PHB price or some such and there can be bidding 'wars' ALA E-Bay. If you can't buy it then and you're the only person the party capable of wielding it, the item is loaned to you until you pay it in full. All money found is split equally.

Okkkaaay....that said (the short and skinny of it anyways), I will now state the way every group I've ever played in divvies treasure:


Oddly (?) enough we had one guy in our group early on who insisted on calculating every cent worth. Like that suggestion. So if someone got a ring then they had to pay the rest of the party. It was a bit rediculous, especially when it was something say only the mage could use. Eventually the mage said "Ok, you can have it, and pay me the difference". Since they would lose money, and the usefulness of the item, he eventually got the point that working as a team and trying to be fair about magic item distribution rather than bean counting is generally more productive.

-W.
 

hunter1828

Explorer
LcKedovan said:
Oddly (?) enough we had one guy in our group early on who insisted on calculating every cent worth. Like that suggestion. So if someone got a ring then they had to pay the rest of the party. It was a bit rediculous, especially when it was something say only the mage could use. Eventually the mage said "Ok, you can have it, and pay me the difference". Since they would lose money, and the usefulness of the item, he eventually got the point that working as a team and trying to be fair about magic item distribution rather than bean counting is generally more productive.

-W.

There was a guy in our group for a while (Ariel mentioned him in another thread here as a "magic hoarder") who frequently insisted on magic items being purchased from treasure recovered by the party ("I'll hold on to the large icy burst bastard sword, even though I can't use it because I'm too small and I'm not proficient with it...but if you want it you can pay up"...or something to that effect).

I'm the DM, and I always want the treasure divying done as quickly as possible so we can get on with the story. When he played we would sometimes need two or three hours just to divide up treasure... :mad:

He would frequently argue in favor of magic rings and amulets going to his wolf companion instead of a PC that could use it. That really infuriated some of the others.

hunter1828
 

hunter1828

Explorer
ArielManx said:
All items, magic and mundane, are divided based on who needs/can use them most. Sometimes one character comes away with more loot than another, but it all evens out in the end. Items that no one wants are sold or donated to local folks who need them (like MW weapons to the local militia).

Ariel

Two things you guys do that I really like:

1) Make sure new PCs and NPCs are properly outfitted. If you guys have something better already than what was found you almost always insist on new members of the party taking the new stuff so they can do a better job.

2) Hand-me-downs: If one PC picks and takes an item that he/she already has a less powerful version of, that PC puts their old one back into the mix to be divided. e.g. Ariel's character picks a Ring of Protection +3 but already has a Ring of Protection +2, you replace the +2 with the +3 and put the +2 back into the mix.

hunter1828
 
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Thresher

First Post
Most of the good-guys games its a case of need before anything else and thats rather civilised even with the inevitable chaotic alignments. No one really gets all that upset if they dont get an additional toy if its going to someone who desperatly needs it, after all, theyre the ones who'll be looking after you if you buy a dirt nap later on.

The real fun is in the 'evil' game though. :p
In an email to my DM I mentioned I was swapping out my CE dark elf for something far worse, but as a token gesture of love I did want it stealing everything before buggering off into the sunset. Well, the character did feel it was getting slightly gipped in the divvy it spent a lot of time gathering info for.
The result of said character nicking everyones stuff that physically wasnt nailed to them was in short.
"Delightful"
Man! Some of them spat the proverbial dummy, threating dire acts of violence and other unmentionables if they ever caught it, it was bloody funny and taken very personally by one guy. But I nearly broke a few ribs trying not to be screaming in diabolical laughter.
Now, the evil characters all woke up one day with a little iron ring on their finger which so far has caused immense amounts of agony and cant be removed if they try physical violence on each other. So far no one has managed to gank anyone else successfully, but I think its only a matter of time before someone bites a finger off and goes psycho.
As for loot divvy in that group of characters its sort of a mix of need and whatever you can steal, we dont have a rogue so the stealing is pretty minimal so far. The characters do realise that they are in a situation of being surrounded by vile goodness and low on hit points, they may be evil but they arent stupid enough to deprive someone who is 'useful' to them in the inevitable scraps they get into. At the moment its a LE cleric, a LE fighter, who get along quite nicely, then theres the NE Orc barb who's mostly fair if a bit self centred and lastly, the CE succubus/incubus who is played true to part as I can to being a machine of molestation and evil incarnate. Unfortunatly for the rest of them the fiend, as much as they would like to tie to the boat anchor and send to the bottom of the ocean, dosnt sleep and is constantly reading their minds so they cant really gip it on the lewts. However fortunatly for them, the fiend isnt really that into trinkets but it is looking into ways of getting them to sign a bit of paper in their own blood and is quite happy taking its 'share' in captives or any open orifice presented to it as a trade.
 

Desdichado

Adventurer
Crothian said:
Most of the money goes into a group fund for the party to decide to do with later. Items go to whomever needs them.
That's essentially what we do. Although we deviate substantially from the "kill a monster, take it's treasure" paradigm anyway, so it's not as much of an issue as it would seem.
 

drnuncheon

First Post
Two games, two very different methods of dealing with it.

In the Freeport game, it's very loose. Items are swapped, sold, traded, given to cohorts, all with the thought that it will even out in the end. Since there's only two players, they're probably right.

In the online Planescape game, we tally up the total value of the treasure and split it into 7 parts - one for each member and one of 'party funds' which go towards things that benefit the party as a whole - rent on our 'home base', items that benefit everybody (like the lenses of identify that we bought, since we lacked a wizard). If someone wants a particular item, they 'buy' it at book value. Anything we don't want, we sell. This works OK because it's a high-level game, and the treasure isn't largely bound up in a single item like it might be in lower levels.

J
 

DMScott

First Post
It depends somewhat on the characters involved (roleplaying and all that), but the basic structure is usually:

- Distribute items to those best suited for them as they're found

- Unwanted items and all other valuables go into a party kitty for conversion to cash when possible

- Party money is used to replenish group assets (mostly healing items, also teleportation scrolls, and top up a fund to raise dead members or otherwise pay for necessary spellcasting)

- The remainder can be distributed to group members upon request. Many just take enough to have some walking-around-money, some take their full share

- Those who didn't take their full share agree as to how the remainder of the money is to be spent - usually on a big ticket item for one party member

That way, instead of having everybody accumulate their own money and take care of their own stuff when they get enough, usually one or two members will get a shiny new magic item or upgrade to an existing item each time the group hits town. A vaguely communist setup, but it works well enough. Those who take a full share in step 4 handle their own upgrades and such; usually it's character personality that determines who does this rather than player personality. For example, a wizard has ongoing spellbook expenses that usually mandate taking a full share, whereas the same player running a barbarian might only take enough out for the obligatory carousing between adventures.
 

mmadsen

First Post
A few Articles of Agreement:

Article One
Every man shall obey civil command; the captain shall have on full share and a half in all prizes. the Master, Carpenter, Boatswain, and Gunner shall have one share and quarter.

Article Seven
That Man that shall not keep his Arms clean, fit for an Engagement, or neglect his Business, shall be cut off from his Share, and suffer such other Punishment as the Captain and Company shall think fit.
 

diaglo

Adventurer
the only thing i require of my fellow players:

who is carrying what.

just b/c the stuff is equally divided doesn't mean it goes into some computer generated bag of holding and can carry infinite number of coins.

otherwise we divide the stuff up evenly. with magic items going to those who can use or need them the most.
 

Wombat

First Post
I let each party work it out for themselves.

I rarely play, only gm, I don't get my hands dirty with such decisions, although I sometimes throw in NPCs who mess up smooth workings ;)
 

Limper

First Post
We divy based on who can best use it as our first priority for magic and equipment.

Cash (and gems and jewelry and art etc.) is an even divy.
 

Mark

CreativeMountainGames.com
Although ultimately this needs to be something the players agree to do, I'm adding this to the DMing Advice thread.

Sometimes the metagaming of players can cause an inequity in the division of treasure that turns the actual character relationships upside-down, and a DM should have some options to steer the division, or to suugest to the players, so that they can best manage to survive through high levels in a campaign.
 

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