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


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Lorithen

Explorer
Interesting conversation. As some background, I'm a fellow player in the homebrew game that Lanefan also plays in (he describes our treasury division routine in message #19). As we're currently playing online, we're using a OneDrive Excel spreadsheet that all players can see and edit in order to enter item and coinage values, calculate each person's share, and record what they chose from the treasury. Treasury division actually takes a bit less time than one might think, as items are entered into the spreadsheet as they're found (thanks, Lanefan!).

When we were playing in-person (pre-COVID), Lanefan or someone else would keep a hand-written list as items were found, which was then typed into a spreadsheet, printed, and passed around for people to make claims.

I can see how sharing items around and ignoring item values can work in a campaign where a party stays together for the whole campaign and every character is there for every adventure. (Possibly this might be a relatively short-ish campaign?) But our campaign will be 42 yrs old this April (not continuously though - there was a break from 1998 to 2007), with 458 PCs and NPCs played over the course of the whole thing. Characters join parties and depart from them at the end of an adventure (usually), often to join other parties but sometimes to attend to other events in their lives (politics, family obligations, building keeps, etc.). Just the nature of how it has worked.
 
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Everyone in the group carefully reads the description of each magic item. Then they discuss together how that item can be used to make the group stronger as a whole. It's amazing how nice they are to each other.
 

cbwjm

Legend
I can see how sharing items around and ignoring item values can work in a campaign where a party stays together for the whole campaign and every character is there for every adventure. (Possibly this might be a relatively short-ish campaign?) But our campaign will be 42 yrs old this April (not continuously though - there was a break from 1998 to 2007), with 458 PCs and NPCs played over the course of the whole thing. Characters join parties and depart from them at the end of an adventure (usually), often to join other parties but sometimes to attend to other events in their lives (politics, family obligations, building keeps, etc.). Just the nature of how it has worked.
Glad it's working out for you, but even if my group was in the same situation, the cost of items wouldn't factor into it, it's just not something we think about. All that matters to us is who can make best use of it currently. If a character leaves with a staff of the magi, then that's an item that is gone.
 

amethal

Adventurer
Call it selfishness if you will, but if the wizard gets the 40,000 g.p. staff (and can then turn around and sell it later!) and the fighter gets the 2,000 g.p. longsword then someone's getting the short end of the stick here.
We use the same method as most other people on this thread - divide the gold equally, magic items go to whoever wants them (with the "most useful" being the tiebreaker if more than one person wants it; the wizard is only getting an amulet of natural armour once everybody else already has one) and unwanted items are sold.

However, any magic items which are sold go back into party treasure, regardless of how they were acquired. So in this case the wizard would be splitting the proceeds with the rest of the party - even if he'd bought the staff with his own share of the treasure.

Party "expenses" also come out of party treasure, including expensive items such as raise dead - although there might be a delay, since the "expenses fund" is normally only a few hundred gold pieces.
 

amethal

Adventurer
I'm talking about beginner groups of teenagers, some who have never played an RPG, many of whom are not already friends, and some of whom have weak social skills. So it inevitably spills over into hard feelings. We talk about it in advance at Session 0 when we agree on the ground rules, but quite often someone gets overly excited or just decides they really want that thing or whatever, and then I intervene right away and remind them of the "no stealing from the party rule" and why we have it.

There could, of course, be situations where this rule would be violated because of story reasons, but in those situations I just make sure that it is obvious why the rule is being violated and no one gets upset.

TLDR: working with brand new teenaged players, some of whom have autism and other neural differences, means that sometimes you have to make things a bit more explicit.
We once had a campaign where one player had a ferret (or similar) as an animal companion that was trained to steal shiny items; basically it would start to loot fallen foes during combat, so it's owner would be effectively skimming a few gold pieces out of the party treasure each time.

I was the GM and mysteriously none of these fallen foes ever had any valuable gems on them that could be stolen in this fashion, and I explained to the other (very experienced) players that I was in fact upping the treasure levels to compensate for the handful of gold pieces they were missing out on, and the player character who was benefitting wasn't dominating proceedings. As the other characters never even knew it was happening there as no scope for intra-party conflict.

And it still caused some out-of-character resentment. Hard feelings are perfectly natural when you think you are being exploited, even over negligible amounts.

One of my favourite RPG moments was when I joined a new group that had started, and most of the players didn't really know each other. The characters didn't know each other at all, and circumstances had basically brought them together as an adventuring group. At the initial "team meeting" my character pulled out a length of rope, saying "I always carry this with me, just in case it turns out we have a thief in the party."

The look on the face of the player of the party's rogue was priceless.
 

Horwath

Hero
We always discuss how an item will benefit the party most. Unless it's characters family heirloom or patron gift or similar.

Also, there are disappointing moments for DM when he crafts 4 unique homebrew items with cool effects and history and we have "vendored" all of them in next city as they were mostly useless for our party. We got some +1 and +2 items instead.
Yeah, lame from our side, but +1/+2 works all the time and it's reliable.
 

Lorithen

Explorer
We use the same method as most other people on this thread - divide the gold equally, magic items go to whoever wants them (with the "most useful" being the tiebreaker if more than one person wants it; the wizard is only getting an amulet of natural armour once everybody else already has one) and unwanted items are sold.

However, any magic items which are sold go back into party treasure, regardless of how they were acquired. So in this case the wizard would be splitting the proceeds with the rest of the party - even if he'd bought the staff with his own share of the treasure.

Party "expenses" also come out of party treasure, including expensive items such as raise dead - although there might be a delay, since the "expenses fund" is normally only a few hundred gold pieces.

That's an interesting variation and I definitely like it - the idea that if an item is sold, the proceeds go back to the party and that "personal expenses" such as raise deads come from the party treasury. Question: If a character leaves the party, let's say to retire or sail back to their homeland to visit their parents, do they have to hand back their magic items to the party, or can they take the items with them?

The main reason why our system evolved as it did was that in the older 1e campaign (with a different DM) which spawned it, the idea was that magic was shared, as you do, it with whomever theoretically could use it best. And no-one really knew what the items values were, other than players who were also DMs or (in one case) had snuck a peak at their brother's DMG. But how it ended up was that most assertive/vocal/experienced players got the best items for their characters, and the new/quiet players got relatively less. The eventual result was quite a disparity, e.g. a 4th level Cleric/Ranger with only a +1 long-sword and +1 armour to their name, while other party members had better armour and weapons plus various items like fireball wands and invisibility rings, a cube of force, flight devices, etc. The DM left it to players to sort out among themselves. Thus when this new campaign was spawned by a player in the older one who started DM'ing, we decided to use a different approach.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
We use the same method as most other people on this thread - divide the gold equally, magic items go to whoever wants them (with the "most useful" being the tiebreaker if more than one person wants it; the wizard is only getting an amulet of natural armour once everybody else already has one) and unwanted items are sold.

However, any magic items which are sold go back into party treasure, regardless of how they were acquired. So in this case the wizard would be splitting the proceeds with the rest of the party - even if he'd bought the staff with his own share of the treasure.
This assumes the wizard is even still with the party at that point, which IME isn't necessarily a given. It also assumes the rest of the party hasn't turned over, also not a given.
Party "expenses" also come out of party treasure, including expensive items such as raise dead - although there might be a delay, since the "expenses fund" is normally only a few hundred gold pieces.
Here, people usually pay for their own revival-from-death costs* but sometimes a party will choose to foot the bill if the death was particularly heroic and-or the deceased simply can't afford the costs.

* - by far the two most common questions asked in Speak With Dead spells are, exclusively in this order, "Do you want to come back to life?" and "What of yours should we use to pay for that?".
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Glad it's working out for you, but even if my group was in the same situation, the cost of items wouldn't factor into it, it's just not something we think about. All that matters to us is who can make best use of it currently.
That's how we do it when the party is still in the field. Once back in town, however, it gets divided fairly by value.
If a character leaves with a staff of the magi, then that's an item that is gone.
Only until the rest of the party track that character down... :)
 

Clint_L

Hero
Interesting conversation. As some background, I'm a fellow player in the homebrew game that Lanefan also plays in (he describes our treasury division routine in message #19). As we're currently playing online, we're using a OneDrive Excel spreadsheet that all players can see and edit in order to enter item and coinage values, calculate each person's share, and record what they chose from the treasury. Treasury division actually takes a bit less time than one might think, as items are entered into the spreadsheet as they're found (thanks, Lanefan!).

When we were playing in-person (pre-COVID), Lanefan or someone else would keep a hand-written list as items were found, which was then typed into a spreadsheet, printed, and passed around for people to make claims.

I can see how sharing items around and ignoring item values can work in a campaign where a party stays together for the whole campaign and every character is there for every adventure. (Possibly this might be a relatively short-ish campaign?) But our campaign will be 42 yrs old this April (not continuously though - there was a break from 1998 to 2007), with 458 PCs and NPCs played over the course of the whole thing. Characters join parties and depart from them at the end of an adventure (usually), often to join other parties but sometimes to attend to other events in their lives (politics, family obligations, building keeps, etc.). Just the nature of how it has worked.
This campaign sounds amazing! I'm jealous! Also, you must have really good chemistry to have been playing together that long! (I've been playing 43 years, so your group is one year shy of my whole time playing this game - mind-blowing). Probably your sensible rules about loot sharing are a part of your secret.

I'm at sort of the opposite end of the spectrum - my two home games have been very sporadic since Covid and with folks moving all over the place, having babies, etc. So most of my play is with student groups that I DM for, which is fun but kind of like doing my job, too.

I'm hoping to get into a campaign as a player but don't know where to start to find a new group. So I'm super jealous of the situation you guys have going on!
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
That's an interesting variation and I definitely like it - the idea that if an item is sold, the proceeds go back to the party and that "personal expenses" such as raise deads come from the party treasury. Question: If a character leaves the party, let's say to retire or sail back to their homeland to visit their parents,
...or, more significantly, to join a different party...
do they have to hand back their magic items to the party, or can they take the items with them?
I put the above clause in because our games tend to be multi-party within the same setting; @Lorithen could, for example, pull a character out of one party while that party is in town and then slot that character into another party sometime later. If that character couldn't keep its magic items during this changeover it just wouldn't make sense.
The eventual result was quite a disparity, e.g. a 4th level Cleric/Ranger with only a +1 long-sword and +1 armour to their name, while other party members had better armour and weapons plus various items like fireball wands and invisibility rings, a cube of force, flight devices, etc.
I ended up with a similar situation about 20 years later than what Lorithen describes, when a group I was running decided to divide by draft rather than value. One player (mostly in-character, in fairness the character was a greedy little thing!) drafted purely for value rather than usefulness, then once the treasury was finalized and the items were hers she turned around and sold off what she'd just claimed, sought out or commissioned items that were of actual use to her, and pocketed the rather large amount of change.

Over the course of three adventures that one character scored as much value as the rest of the party put together. Then the rest of the party caught on, and one legendary in-party firefight later they went back to the by-value division method.
 

amethal

Adventurer
That's an interesting variation and I definitely like it - the idea that if an item is sold, the proceeds go back to the party and that "personal expenses" such as raise deads come from the party treasury. Question: If a character leaves the party, let's say to retire or sail back to their homeland to visit their parents, do they have to hand back their magic items to the party, or can they take the items with them?
It's never come up - we tend to "sign up" for complete campaigns, and whilst in theory someone could get bored with a character and want to try a new one, in practice it has never happened.

What I think would happen was if a character was retiring from adventuring then they might leave behind some items they had no further use for, especially if they had been one of the "winners" from our treasure distribution system in the past.

If the character was moving to another campaign, and so still needed the items, then I guess they'd keep them and the remaining players would start whinging to the GM that the party was now under-resourced and that the loot available needed to be increased in the next adventure.

In a way our system is self-balancing, since if the cleric (say) has never been getting anything they can use then eventually the GM will throw in something for them.

One of the DMGs - I think it was the AD&D second edition one? - had an alignment discussion where the example given was the party distributing the treasure and how the various alignments might approach it. I think it was the Lawful Good character who wanted to split the treasure after paying to restore dead/petrified etc. members. So maybe our group of players tends towards LG (although I doubt you'd think that if you met us!)
 
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Lorithen

Explorer
This campaign sounds amazing! I'm jealous! Also, you must have really good chemistry to have been playing together that long! (I've been playing 43 years, so your group is one year shy of my whole time playing this game - mind-blowing). Probably your sensible rules about loot sharing are a part of your secret.
Players have come and gone over the years. Some have moved out of town and a few even out of country. Two passed away. Some have played in the campaign since the early '80s, and some joined fairly recently. Several campaigns have "hived off" from this one over the years, when some players started DMing (@Lanefan's own campaign began this way, in 1984. Trivia: Lorithen of Ravenwood was one of my characters in it, a Ranger/Illusionist).

I asked our DM for stats, and this is what he provided, current as of today:
  • Total number of players: 50
  • Total number of sessions: 1,958
  • Total number of adventures: 140 full adventures, 10 mini-adventures, 5 background adventures, and 5 "one-off" anniversary games.
  • Total number of player characters: 246
  • Total number of NPCs: 212
The typical party has from 4 to 6 players at any one time, usually weekly sessions (more often when we were all young university students), but sometimes we still have two D&D sessions in a week, with different parties adventuring. Some players are in both adventuring parties (playing different characters).

For anyone whom Lanefan has shared the link to the private website, this campaign is the one linked with the green banner.
 
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amethal

Adventurer
We always discuss how an item will benefit the party most. Unless it's characters family heirloom or patron gift or similar.

Also, there are disappointing moments for DM when he crafts 4 unique homebrew items with cool effects and history and we have "vendored" all of them in next city as they were mostly useless for our party. We got some +1 and +2 items instead.
Yeah, lame from our side, but +1/+2 works all the time and it's reliable.
In our current campaign, the party were each been given a magic item which allows them to contact their patron (a very knowledgeable dragon) and ask one question each level. (Retail value is nil, since it is personal to each member.)

They are now 13th level, so with 4 characters they could have asked 52 questions by now. I haven't kept track, but I suspect the total is probably around 6. You never know what is going to appeal to players, so I have long given up worrying about it. At least once all those +1s are on the character sheet they don't get forgotten about, unlike the more "interesting" stuff they find.

And when I'm a player you can bet I'll get my Cloak of Resistance up to +5 as soon as I possibly can, since I know what can happen if you don't.
 

Lorithen

Explorer
I'm at sort of the opposite end of the spectrum - my two home games have been very sporadic since Covid and with folks moving all over the place, having babies, etc. So most of my play is with student groups that I DM for, which is fun but kind of like doing my job, too.
When COVID hit, we moved the game from in-person play to online, using Roll20 for the VTT and Discord for audio (our DM bought the $US50/yr Roll20 subscription). We have a website as well where our modified 1e rulebook ("The Blue Book"), adventure logs, character log, spell lists, geographic maps, etc. are posted for players to access. So far, other than minor glitches when someone's computer crashes during a session, it's worked out fairly well.

I'm hoping to get into a campaign as a player but don't know where to start to find a new group. So I'm super jealous of the situation you guys have going on!
Sometimes MeetUp is a way to find in-person groups to join, or if your town has a local gaming store. Also, Roll20 has a "Find Games to Join" option for prospective players: Roll20 . Have you tried these options?
 
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Lorithen

Explorer
It's never come up - we tend to "sign up" for complete campaigns, and whilst in theory someone could get bored of a character and want to try a new one, in practice it has never happened.

Just curious: How long, on average, are your campaigns? And do they have set end-points, and if so, what are these?
 

amethal

Adventurer
Just curious: How long, on average, are your campaigns? And do they have set end-points, and if so, what are these?
We play Pathfinder, and mostly play adventure paths, so we play from 1st level to around 16th / 17th level. So they end when the publisher (usually Paizo) wants them to end. Paizo's published adventure paths do include a "Continuing the Adventure" section at the end of the final installment, but we've all had enough of high level play at that point so we've never carried on.

I don't really know how long that takes us - a couple of years, maybe. (We play weekly, but we chat a lot.)

When the GM (whether me or somebody else) comes up with their own campaign it follows a similar model, since that's what we like.
 
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Lorithen

Explorer
We play Pathfinder, and mostly play adventure paths, so we play from 1st level to around 16th / 17th level. So they end when the publisher (usually Paizo) wants them to end. Paizo's published adventure paths do include a "Continuing the Adventure" section at the end of the final installment, but we've all had enough of high level play at that point so we've never carried on.

I don't really know how long that takes us - a couple of years, maybe. (We play weekly, but we chat a lot.)

When the GM (whether me or somebody else) comes up with their own campaign it follows a similar model, since that's what we like.

Definitely a very different gaming style. We're doing a highly-modified 1e, with no "adventure paths" per se. The DM might design a set of two or three adventures that follow and relate to each other, but you would only gain 2 or 3 levels from those (at most). The longest set of connected adventures I've seen in our 41 yr long campaign was a set of 5 adventures ("The Frost Keys Saga"), where my character (a Cleric) started at 6th level and at the end of the 5th adventure in the series was 7th level. The lowest level party member, a Ranger, started "The Frost Keys Saga" at 3rd level and ended at 5th.

The speed of advancement is different as well. Your campaign: usually two years to get from 1st to 16th/17th level? After 37 adventures (389 sessions), this Cleric of mine that I mentioned is now 13th level (tied with 3 other characters for highest level ever reached in the campaign) and it has taken me a total of the equivalent of about 25 years of game-play (not sequentially -- I've also played other characters at times while this one was doing non-adventuring stuff or was dead; and in half those years, her party's sessions weren't weekly).

So, I can certainly see how in shorter campaigns where all characters are on one adventure path, one doesn't need a treasury division system like ours (spreadsheet, item values determined, total value divided into "shares", etc.) like in a much longer "open ended" campaign with multiple characters running around all over the place and switching from one party to another over the years.
 
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Mad_Jack

Hero
Trivia: Lorithen of Ravenwood was one of my characters in it, a Ranger/Illusionist).

In all my decades of playing, that's only the second ranger/illusionist I've heard of - which is sort of odd, given just how much fun that combo was to play....
(And downright nasty under the right circumstances...)

Mine was a female 1/2 elf named Iris Palebow.
 

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