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D&D General Time to divide loot, treasure, items….

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I'm old school, but I've been part of several different styles. My preferred method is based on "shares." Players draft magic items until there's none left. Players who didn't get a permanent magic item get 2 additional shares of treasure, while those who only got 1 consumable item get 1 additional share of treasure. If there's enough items to go around, the extra shares is based on the remainder. Gems, jewelry, and art objects could be chosen as part of a share (in reverse draft order).

In 3E, I played in a group that was insanely strict on perfectly equal division. Since magic items had a cash value, if you wanted an item, you had to reduce your share equal to the amount. This led to some insane situations that I strenuously objected to, but was outvoted. We sold a suit of Plate Mail +1 of Acid Resistance... so that our fighter had enough money to buy a suit of Plate Mail +1. We sold off a powerful staff that could only be used by our wizard, because it was worth more than the wizard could cover (it was almost twice as valuable as the entire horde), then later suffered because we didn't have that staff. I understand the desire to be as equal as possible, but this level of selfishness was taken too far.

My current group is the opposite, of sorts. We technically divide up treasure... but items are largely considered communal. I've had items taken away from my character because they were suddenly more suitable for someone else (no compensation was given in exchange). While this might make the group more powerful as a whole, I feel like my characters have no private property rights. It's irritating, but technically better than the 3E group.


Follower of the Way
What are methods your party is using currently?
1. Is it something specifically useful to one of the characters in the party? Then it goes to them.
2. Does it fill a gap or weakness that one of the party members would like to resolve? Then it goes to them.
3. Would it be particularly useful if the party could duplicate or improve upon this item? Then it goes to their NPC artificer friend.
4. Has someone in the party gone a while without getting any phat lewts? Then it goes to them.
5. Does someone in the party find it just really awesome/exciting/entertaining? Then it goes to them.
6. If the answer is "no" to all five of the above questions, it will either be sold (with artificer-friend having a right of first offer) or broken down for raw materials.

This is pretty much the flowchart (minus the specific "their artificer friend" bits) used by every group I've ever played in, and certainly this is the one used by the group I run for. Adventuring parties are small enough that "dibs" and an obligation to do right by your friends and loved ones is enough to make sure everyone's got some cool toys.


Loves Your Favorite Game
Typically, the group discusses any items that are going to be immediately equipped, or need to parceled out like healing potions, and it's never been unnecessarily protracted. Art objects/loot as treasure, or anything else that doesn't have a purpose at the moment, gets written down by one person so that there's no double accounting or losing track of them. Gold/Silver/Copper is split evenly on the spot. When someone buys something like a diamond for resurrection, there's generally a little cajoling for people to chip in, but it tends to be one or two people magnanimously taking the lead rather than every giving x%.


Ideally this is discussed during session 0. Most of the time I've seen people just divvy up gold and monetary treasure evenly with items discussed by the group. I (now) forbid stealing from other party members because it just leads to grief and it's only fun for the person doing the theft.

In some cases we've set up a pool of group funds for things like potions of healing and whatnot since the brunt of the damage seems to typically go to the front line person or two. I don't generally allow raise dead (it's complicated) but people chip in for revivify cost as well.

Just depends on the group and what they want to do of course.


Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
As DM I don't get involved except to tell them to work it out during Session 0. I don't allow PvP which would include stealing from other PCs as part of the social contract.

When I'm a player, magic items go to whomever can use them best, including "you get this cool weapon, and pass your slightly less cool weapon onto someone else". Almost always.

But money gets treated differently. Usually everyone gets an equal share. Though sometimes it everyone gets a share and there's a "group share" that goes for group costs like horses, healing potions, or lodging, but also resurrection and expensive material components. Sometimes even copying spells into a spellbook was considered group costs since the spells would be for everyone.
One group we gave up money to pay for items taken. This was a game where items were also for sale, so this way the people who didn't get items had bigger shares of treasure to get items of their own.


For pretty much every game I've ever played in, dividing up treasure was something that happened amongst the party without much DM input once they'd determined what treasure we'd found...

Everyone gets an equal share of the monetary treasure and any larger art objects sold for cash. Gems and jewelry are considered the same as coin for distribution purposes.
Non-monetary stuff like expensive mundane equipment or permanent magic items usually goes to whoever can use them at the cost of that character paying some agreed-upon amount of cash to get divided between the rest of the party. (Less expensive items like weapons or gear are generally up for grabs without needing to pay for them. Pretty much everyone in the party should be rocking a couple spare daggers and a back-up mace or crossbow after a few levels.)

Things that are basically party-wide resources like ammunition, extra rope or healing potions generally get issued to party members by consensus based on who has room to carry them or who can make the best use of them.

I tend to consider dividing up loot to be a role-playing opportunity for the players. Could be really quick or could be drawn out, that's really up to them. As DM, I don't control how the PCs think, speak, or act - that's explicitly up to the players - so I stay out of their loot negotiations. Happy to sit back and watch it play out and, if it truly seems to be dragging on too long for any of the players, I'll introduce a hook to move the action along.


Victoria Rules
So in every adventuring party there is that moment when tangible rewards of encounters get divided out.

What are methods your party is using currently?

Do you keep a separate share for group funds or everyone pays their own and loot divided out equally without a separate party fund?
During the adventure we keep a party treasury, with found items used in the field by whoever makes sense. Party expenses come out of that treasury, but individual expenses e.g. training costs are up to the individual to pay.

Once back in town after the adventure, division goes as follows:

1. Everything in the treasury includng magic items is IDed, evaluated, and given a monetary value; this is added to the coinage found to give an overall total. (let's say this total comes to 50,000 g.p.)
2. Individual shares are assigned based on how much of the adventure a character was in; the most common being full shares for everyone. (let's say there's 5 characters each getting a full share)
3. Share values are calculated (here, each character's share would be 10,000 g.p.)
4a. Anything essential to the ongoing mission is given a 0 value, pulled from treasury, and carried forward ot the next treasury (thus if there's a crystal rod in the treasury we know we'll need as a key later, it gets zeroed out and carried forward)
4b. Characters can claim items out of the treasury as part of their share, at their listed value (thus if there's a 2,000 g.p. sword in there, someone could claim that and have 8,000 left over as cash - the total that character gets still adds to 10,000)
4c. Items worth more than a single share are sometimes bought by more than one character acting together, or money is loaned, or whatever
5. Conflicting claims are settled by roll-off (thus if three characters each claimed that sword, they'd roll for it)
6. Anything not claimed is sold off.

The slow parts here are 1 (IDs and valuations can drag a bit) and 4b (indecisive players/characters can really bog it down). Dividing a big treasury can easily eat up a session.

Why do we do it this way? Simply put, fairness. Any other division method we've ever tried has quickly led to vast wealth imbalances within the party.


Victoria Rules
As a DM I intervene when one player is "playing in character" by stealing from the party. This only ever happens in beginner campaigns. And I intervene because it almost inevitably blows the group up.
Depends on the group, I suppose, but to me this is and always has been part of the game; so as DM I let it go. That said, if the characters want to fight about it in-character, I let that go too.

The only hard rule is that what happens in character stays in character. No hard feelings at the table.

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