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D&D General Treasure - how much, how often, and how does your group divide it

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Two or three threads have recently drifted into covering very similar territory around treasure in the game, so I thought starting one just for this topic might make sense.

So, treasure. Lots of questions here just to get things rolling.......

How much do you-as-DM tend to give, either overall or relative to guidelines? Flip side: how much do you-as-player like to get?

How much of your treasure is magic items vs non-magic?

How do you "place" it in adventures? By this I mean is it sitting there easy to find, is it hidden, is it always guarded, is your expectation that the PCs will find all of it or miss some, etc.

How does your group divide treasure and who decides the method used? Also, how often (if ever) does your group divide treasure?

Who owns the treasure before division? After division?

How easy is it in your game for treasure and-or PC-carried possessions to be destroyed, stolen, or lost? Are your players cool with possession loss and if not, why not?

Can magic items be bought, sold, or traded; and if not, why not?

There. That ought'a get us going. :)
 

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Lanefan

Victoria Rules
From another thread:
S'mon said:
I've not seen a concept of a 'party owned item'.
Everything has an owner. Either a PC owns it, or several PCs share ownership of it, or the party as a whole owns it.

Any item found while adventuring but in an as-yet-undivided treasury belongs to the whole party that found it. Doesn't matter who happens to be carrying it around; and if someone walks off with it that's flat-out theft from the party.

After division, items claimed by a PC as part of a share then belong to that PC. Unclaimed items are sold, with rare exceptions: sometimes nobody can afford to claim something really useful and really expensive, so it gets carried forward into the next treasury as a party-owned item.
 

S'mon

Legend
Two or three threads have recently drifted into covering very similar territory around treasure in the game, so I thought starting one just for this topic might make sense.

So, treasure. Lots of questions here just to get things rolling.......

How much do you-as-DM tend to give, either overall or relative to guidelines? Flip side: how much do you-as-player like to get?

How much of your treasure is magic items vs non-magic?

How do you "place" it in adventures? By this I mean is it sitting there easy to find, is it hidden, is it always guarded, is your expectation that the PCs will find all of it or miss some, etc.

How does your group divide treasure and who decides the method used? Also, how often (if ever) does your group divide treasure?

Who owns the treasure before division? After division?

How easy is it in your game for treasure and-or PC-carried possessions to be destroyed, stolen, or lost? Are your players cool with possession loss and if not, why not?

Can magic items be bought, sold, or traded; and if not, why not?

There. That ought'a get us going. :)

So, it varies hugely by campaign, and until recently I was normally using published material. My current game is probably over half home-made. For current 5e game:

Placing - about 1/5 of encounters will have a Hoard. About half of these are hidden I think, or otherwise hard to get. Treasure without monsters is basically always hidden, otherwise someone else would have got it.
I use the 5e Hoard tables, sometimes tweaking the result, usually to give more permanent stuff like a +1 weapon instead of two Rare potions.
Typically the party either divides loot at end of session, or there is a treasurer who tracks all the loot, and hopefully divvies it up now and then. Loot division is for the players to sort out IMO. But I have taken to warning passive players of the risks from never asking for a loot division.
After division loot belongs to the PC holding it. Before division it is in a quantum state.
Permanent magic items are rarely destroyed, this being 5e. Items leave the campaign with the PC who possesses them.
Items can be crafted and sold. Some items can be bought.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Again from another thread:
S'mon said:
If only the treasurer has the loot record, either they carry all of it (likely in bags of holding at higher level) or it's in their storage. Other PCs aren't carrying stuff they have no record of and don't even know exists!

It's usually not a big issue, but playing 5e in the Pathfinder/Golarion world (high magic, high treasure) there was a break IRL and in-world, and when we resumed the treasurer player didn't rejoin. The other players had just let the treasurer hoard all the loot for umpteen sessions and had no money on their high level PC sheets. I remember I had to just arbitrarily give them 12,000gp each. I justified that on the basis they'd been domain rulers for several years in the break and would surely have some cash on hand.

I try to discourage this kind of player passivity, but some just don't want to have to track treasure - or argue with a domineering treasurer that they'd like some loot now, please.
Your non-Treasurer players have no-one to blame but themselves here. They don't want to track treasure? No skin off my nose if it turns out they don't have any.

At time of finding you-as-DM tell them what they find as they find it, right; as in "At the back of their cave the Ogres have stashed away 453 g.p., 6 half-decent gems, a nice-looking longsword, and a bundle of ten fancy-looking Elf-made arrows". Which means all the players heard what was found and thus in theory know it exists, as would their PCs. Do they then forget about it?

Further, do the other players not now and then ask what's in the treasury? Further yet, is the treasury never divided and shares handed out?
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
So, it varies hugely by campaign, and until recently I was normally using published material. My current game is probably over half home-made. For current 5e game:

Placing - about 1/5 of encounters will have a Hoard. About half of these are hidden I think, or otherwise hard to get. Treasure without monsters is basically always hidden, otherwise someone else would have got it.
I mostly agree here, though one thing I've always liked is the idea of Bilbo stumbling over the most magical item in his world just while walking down a passage. :)
I use the 5e Hoard tables, sometimes tweaking the result, usually to give more permanent stuff like a +1 weapon instead of two Rare potions.
Typically the party either divides loot at end of session, or there is a treasurer who tracks all the loot, and hopefully divvies it up now and then. Loot division is for the players to sort out IMO. But I have taken to warning passive players of the risks from never asking for a loot division.
Agreed that loot division is the players' purview, and responsibility. As DM I do try to make sure they divide it after each adventure, though, if only to save us all from having to argue with several adventures worth of treasure at once with maybe not all the relevant PCs still even anywhere to be found.
After division loot belongs to the PC holding it. Before division it is in a quantum state.
See above re 'party-owned'. :)
Permanent magic items are rarely destroyed, this being 5e. Items leave the campaign with the PC who possesses them.
Of course; if you own something it's yours and you're free to take it with you.
Items can be crafted and sold. Some items can be bought.
Do you do random shopping lists, or have only common items be buyable, or ?
 

S'mon

Legend
Again from another thread:

Your non-Treasurer players have no-one to blame but themselves here. They don't want to track treasure? No skin off my nose if it turns out they don't have any.

At time of finding you-as-DM tell them what they find as they find it, right; as in "At the back of their cave the Ogres have stashed away 453 g.p., 6 half-decent gems, a nice-looking longsword, and a bundle of ten fancy-looking Elf-made arrows". Which means all the players heard what was found and thus in theory know it exists, as would their PCs. Do they then forget about it?

Further, do the other players not now and then ask what's in the treasury? Further yet, is the treasury never divided and shares handed out?

I tell the whole group what the treasure is, of course.
It varies by group whether the other players ask what's in the treasury, or ask for shares to be handed out.
I've been in groups as a player where I feel I've been looked at weirdly when I ask for my treasure share at the end of the session. As if I'm being overly aggressive. But I've seen what happens when no one ever asks. Even if the treasurer stays in the game, it's quite possible for groups to go an entire campaign without a loot divvy up. I've seen 12th level PCs still in their starting AC 16 chainmail! Coming from old school gaming I find it really weird, but there you go.
 
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S'mon

Legend
See above re 'party-owned'. :)

Do you do random shopping lists, or have only common items be buyable, or ?

'Party owned' - surely this is up to the PCs. If most of the players aren't tracking an item it's hard to see how they 'own' it.

My current acquisition & sale rules:

>>Shopping in Downtime

During Long Rests in civilised areas you can assume you can meet with travelling merchants and exchange coinage into gold pieces up to 500gp without penalty. You can also sell treasure of listed values up to 500gp for list value, likewise. Higher value treasures may require a trip to a city like Ravensburg the capital of Camarthan Duchy to sell for value, this can usually be done during a downtime Long Rest likewise but let me know.
Likewise you can normally acquire non-magical equipment of value up to 500gp during the course of a long rest. Some Common magic items like potions of healing may also be available, but in restricted amounts, and may cost more than the list price. Non-magical equipment of value over 500gp (eg full plate armour) can generally be acquired in a city like Ravensburg.

Purchasing Magic Items
Making Magic Items - eg level 1 Scroll 25gp & 1 day, level 2 scroll 250gp & 3 days
Crafting Magic Weapons - eg +1 warhammer 250gp & 2 work weeks
Crafting Magic Armour - eg +1 shield 200gp & 2 work weeks, +1 plate 4000gp & 10 work weeks.

Mundane Crafting Rates

PB+2: 10gp per work day, 50gp per week
PB+3: ", 20gp per work day for item worth 100gp+, 100gp per week
PB+4: " ", 30gp per work day for item worth 200gp+, 150gp per week
PB+5: " " ", 40gp per work day for item worth 400gp+, 200gp per week
PB+6: " " " ", 50gp per work day for item worth 800gp+, 250gp per week<<

From Purchasing Magic Items
Purchasing Magic Items

This can be attempted in Downtime during a 1 week Long Rest, one item per PC. The PC chooses an item to search for, then rolls an Investigation check against the listed DC. NPC assistance may give Advantage on the roll. Acquiring the Formula for an item has the listed Investigation DC+5.

1. Bag of Holding DC 23 - 2000gp
2. Boots of Striding and Springing DC 21 - 1000gp
3. Cloak of Elvenkind DC 22 - 1500gp
4. Gauntlets of Ogre Power DC 25 - 4000gp
5. Gloves of Swimming and Climbing DC 21 - 1000gp
6. Goggles of Night DC 21 - 1000gp
7. Headband of Intellect DC 25 - 4000gp
(etc)<<
 

Two or three threads have recently drifted into covering very similar territory around treasure in the game, so I thought starting one just for this topic might make sense.

So, treasure. Lots of questions here just to get things rolling.......

How much do you-as-DM tend to give, either overall or relative to guidelines? Flip side: how much do you-as-player like to get?

How much of your treasure is magic items vs non-magic?

How do you "place" it in adventures? By this I mean is it sitting there easy to find, is it hidden, is it always guarded, is your expectation that the PCs will find all of it or miss some, etc.

How does your group divide treasure and who decides the method used? Also, how often (if ever) does your group divide treasure?

Who owns the treasure before division? After division?

How easy is it in your game for treasure and-or PC-carried possessions to be destroyed, stolen, or lost? Are your players cool with possession loss and if not, why not?

Can magic items be bought, sold, or traded; and if not, why not?

There. That ought'a get us going. :)
There's not actually any guidelines in 5e for how much to give out but the 2edmg had a great section about giving out treasure that still holds true. I tried for probably a year or two to push players towards giving treasure distribution, but the magic item budget is so low with 5e designed to assume n feats & no magic items that there is not much room for them to save for anything do I can't really blame them for not caring much if they don't do a split at the end of the session like always seemed to happen when I ran past editions/pf. Eventually I got to the point where I didn't really care & just told them that they could buy reasonable stuff with a bill to their boss if they pretty much ignored it.

I gave out a lot of one time use trinkets that did things like a necrotic fireball or a flaming cloud of daggers plus fun fluff items but they pretty much almost never got used because the risks they face even against "deadly" encounters are so low

I ejoy designing cool magic items for my players that let them do neat stuff but it goes back to the magic item budget so either they are like +4 & +5 equivalent or "meh, guess it's better than this"

Magic items can be bought sold & potentially even custom ordered but it's not much of somethingthat seems to really interest my players much once they realize the way things are structured & have a +1 it's eitherartifact grade or meh
 

TheSword

Legend
I’ve tried a few different systems. The one I settled on uses this formula.

Character Wealth (Gold) by Level - Dungeon Masters Only - Dungeons & Dragons Discussion - D&D Beyond Forums - D&D Beyond

Note those lists are wealth only, and don’t include magic items.

Yes Magic items can be bought and sold using the downtime rules in Xanathars Guide. This keeps item sale to higher levels.

When it comes to divying up treasure, players take by utility first (and I balance treasure to utility) then they roll off for things that are equally useful to several players. If a player was getting behind in terms of items through bad luck. I’d make sure they get some more suited to them. The group chose that method. Because... well... because they’re rational human beings.

Treasure gets split out when it’s sold. Magic item value isn’t considered at all.

Normal equipment has no value. Finely crafted items become the equivalent of art objects so would be sold for their value and are part of treasure. This lets me give the orc chief a nice weapon and it stand out from the rest of the Orcs, without it being magical.

Stealing treasure is a bit of a douche move. I may use such a plot once every couple of campaigns but I would be very careful. They would probably have chance to get it back.

Magic Items are given as per the Xanathars Guide distribution. With the exception that I give scrolls and potions on top of this. I sometimes combine items effects into a single item for common items.
 
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Puddles

Explorer
I give out quite a lot of treasure as it is such a feel good for the players, but there is usually never just a stash of coins hanging around.

Baddies might have coin purses on them, and I'll get the players to roll the amount. A band of goblins might have 3D6 copper on them in total, while a more wealthy enemy might carry silver or gold.

Then, I give my players lots of gemstones and art objects. I make extensive use of page 134-135 of the DMG for this. Players find gemstones, rings, lockets, earrings, brooches etc all over the place. I'm not sure if its a common thing in other games, but I grew up playing Neverwinter Nights and it's a fun call back to that.

In turn, that makes their local Jeweler one of the most important NPCs to the party, and they generally have to haggle over the sale of items to convert it into cold hard cash.

I have a hard limit of 1,000 gold coins that can be carried by a player at any time (regardless of strength) before they are encumbered and 5,000 total (again regardless of strength). This means they are encouraged to keep some gemstomes and art objects on them if they want to carry more wealth around. The local dwarven town has a "vaultery" which operates like a bank.

I also plan ways for the party to be able to spend big sums of cash. They recently bought a 30% share in the local tavern at the combined cost of 2,500gp. This was about half of their total wealth accumulated so far. The party is of 3 and level 4.

There are lots of ways they can upgrade this tavern moving forward which I think will spend a big portion of their gold if they choose to.

As for magic items. I award them as treasure, and they are usually tailor-made for the party. When it's spell scrolls or potions I have them roll on a random table to determine what they are.

Players cannot buy magic items on a regular basis, but there is a "Night Market" that appears from time to time in the local town. I come up with random tables for this and have the players make investigation rolls to see what they find in the Night Market.

The local jeweler also dabbles in alchemy and has a few potions he can brew. Some need specific ingredients first, and all take at least 24 hours to prepare.

As for how the party divides the treasure they find. Well, that's not my job so I let them decide! Usually with the gemstones and art objects they tend to play "finders-keepers", rather than divide the sale, so it's a bit of fun when they go to the jewelers and get everything evaluated.
 

pming

Legend
Hiya!
Two or three threads have recently drifted into covering very similar territory around treasure in the game, so I thought starting one just for this topic might make sense.

So, treasure. Lots of questions here just to get things rolling.......

How much do you-as-DM tend to give, either overall or relative to guidelines? Flip side: how much do you-as-player like to get?

How much of your treasure is magic items vs non-magic?

How do you "place" it in adventures? By this I mean is it sitting there easy to find, is it hidden, is it always guarded, is your expectation that the PCs will find all of it or miss some, etc.

How does your group divide treasure and who decides the method used? Also, how often (if ever) does your group divide treasure?

Who owns the treasure before division? After division?

How easy is it in your game for treasure and-or PC-carried possessions to be destroyed, stolen, or lost? Are your players cool with possession loss and if not, why not?

Can magic items be bought, sold, or traded; and if not, why not?

There. That ought'a get us going. :)
1) How much? I still use the 1e/Hackmaster/BECMI treasure tables (re: "Treasure Types A - I, + J - Z" ...for Hackmaster). I can usually find an 'equivalent' monster in those previous editions to fit with a 5e version. As a player, when I do get to play, I don't much care as long as it's enough to pay for my characters basic needs (food, armour repair, horse/tack, etc). Everything above that is gravy! :)

2) See above; it's all rolled randomly, based on those tables.

3) See above again; but if something gets way out of whack...I try and come up with a REASON for it and note it in the adventure. If I can't come up with something (unlikely), then I re-roll. For example, if a dozen kobolds in their lair end up with 20 rubies, diamonds, emeralds and topaz worth 23,500gpv (HIGHLY unlikely, put possible), then I might make them all be part of some nearby Princess's royal tiara that were stolen a week ago. Somehow the back of pried-out gemstones ended up in the hands of the kobolds...from their I just wait for more inspiration to strike as play unfolds. So if, say, the PC's are now travelling back to the city to spend their fortune, and a Random Encounter indicates a Griffon...maybe it's a slightly wounded griffon, with a saddle on it's back...and it's dead rider at it's feet...the dead rider being....? See? More cool stuff to come up with! :)

Oh, and with my group, I never expect them to find treasure. It almost seems like an afterthought for them! Seriously! They'll go through 4 hours of play in a dungeon, slaying evil monsters and evading traps, then exit the dungeon to go heal up, and someone will pipe up "Hey...uh...we didn't get any treasure, did we?". ...to which I reply, "NOW you think of treasure?!?! NOW?! None of you even hinted at searching for treasure, looting the bodies, or anything. Don't look at me... I didn't do it...". LOL! Kwazy kidz! ;)

4) Magic items... all have the "...possibly...I guess...maybe..." answer. There is no "magic shoppe" and no real "magic item market". Just like there's no real world-wide "market" for unopened classic beverages like a Coke from 1922, or a can of beer from 1943. If you want one, you can probably find someone who has one...if you want to sell one, someone probably wants to buy it....but there isn't really any "place" you can go to do it. Just send out the feelers and hope for the best. :)

5) When they DO remember to search for treasure, they almost always take out a 'share' for "Party Treasure" that they use to replenish supplies and pay for the first night at an inn. What's left they decide if anyone needs any particular 'upgrade' in equipment; so maybe someone lost their horse...so a new horse, saddle, tack, etc is purchased from Party Treasure. Then they divide it as equally as possible. Anything too expensive to sell/exchange is tossed into Party Treasure (say, a 5,000gpv gem when they are in the Village of Hommlet, for example). Any "odd" coinage is also tossed into Party Treasure.

6) The treasure is owned by "everyone in the group" (re: "Party Treasure" as default) until divided in a safe environment.

7) Treasure getting lost, stolen, destroyed....all pretty subjective, really. If the situation calls for it, then it calls for it. I don't try and "help or hinder" my PC's ability to keep their hard-fought coin. If one PC takes his 1,200gp's and goes out drinking it up on the town, I'll typically have them roll a Charisma Save or some appropriate Skill Check. Depending on the result, they wake up with a certain amount of it missing. A badly failed/low roll and they probably blew it all on hook....er...uh... "stuff and things" or had it stolen; might have 100gp's left in their pocket. But another PC who doesn't advertise their wealth and takes pains to hide/secure it...probably nothing. Then again, I DO use "Item Saving Throws" when needed (it's a 1e/Hackmaster thing; if you get a Fireball in the face, some of your items/equipment might go bye-bye...just sayin'... ).

^_^

Paul L. Ming
 

akr71

Hero
Before finding a bag of holding (that is, at low levels while the party is poor), the coins are divvied up and other loot is held until it can be sold.

Loot (coins, art, gems & jewels) generally just gets thrown into the bag of holding and party expenses come out of that. If any party member particularly needs or wants an item it is discussed and usually the request is granted as it is typically gems as spell components or minor valuables as a trophy.

Magic items go to the person who wants it the most, can make the best use out of it, or whoever happens to pick it up. Trading happens with some items that are useful, but no one feels particularly attached to (ring of xray vision). The current group is pretty diverse, so players rarely covet another's magic item - there's only one druid, so no one else can use the Staff of the Woodlands for example.
 
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Treasure award and division is pretty straight forward.
1) Random monsters almost never have treasure save for their equipment.
This help making players not want to have random encounters and thus, enforce the 6-8 encounters per day. Also of note, random monsters do not count toward the total monsters in an adventure and might not even give experience. A fight with random monsters must be deadly to give experience and to have a chance to give off any treasures.

2) Magic items are relatively rare. You might end up hearing that someone is selling one, but this is not a common occurrence. What is common though, are low level potions and scrolls. Alchemist and scroll scribes are a thing. It is their way of living and thus there is a market. Uncommon potions and scrolls can be obtained through special orders and must be paid fully in advance. The same applies with rare and up but it is not a sure thing to find such rare individuals able to make them.

3) Permanent magic items are rare and hard to come by. Again, you might be able to commission the creation of such an item, but it must be paid fully in advance and results are not guaranteed. Finding someone being able and willing to make such items is hard and will always include a quest for the creator and after that, you will have to ensure the creator's safety foe the whole duration of the creation process.

Selling is a much more easy endeavor but also has risks associated with it. Thieves might get bad ideas and finding a buyer able to pay the full price in coins is almost impossible for the high end magical items. What you might end up with is promises of help, land, titles and even services of military nature.

4) Treasure division works on equal shares basis. Magic items are awarded/given to whomever might be able to use them and if no one wants an item, it will be attempted to sell it. Either for gold, goods or services.

5) Getting the full cash value of something is always a bit hard. Trade for other items or services will always net better results.
 

How much do you-as-DM tend to give, either overall or relative to guidelines? Flip side: how much do you-as-player like to get?

How much of your treasure is magic items vs non-magic?

How do you "place" it in adventures? By this I mean is it sitting there easy to find, is it hidden, is it always guarded, is your expectation that the PCs will find all of it or miss some, etc.

How does your group divide treasure and who decides the method used? Also, how often (if ever) does your group divide treasure?

Who owns the treasure before division? After division?

How easy is it in your game for treasure and-or PC-carried possessions to be destroyed, stolen, or lost? Are your players cool with possession loss and if not, why not?

Can magic items be bought, sold, or traded; and if not, why not?
Feel like I'm filling in a questionnaire lol!

1) I tend to eyeball treasure rather than follow guidelines in 5E because like, it doesn't really matter that much. 5E doesn't have good rules or even guidelines for spending money (unlike, say Worlds Without Number), doesn't do treasure XP, and by default you can't easily buy/sell magic items (I usually provide some opportunity to do this in a campaign, but it tends to be limited).

In 3E and 4E I tended to carefully follow guidelines because they operated on different principles. 2E I used a lot of tables, but also eyeballed it.

As a player, interesting treasure matters hugely more than amount of treasure, unless the edition has specific expectations/requirements money-wise (i.e. to buy magic items, level-up training or the like). Only in the latter case do I care. Otherwise I'd much rather have a minor and interesting magic item (even like, really minor) or some cool piece of jewellery than XXXX GP.

2) I love to hand out interesting and niche magic items, often that I've made up, and which are often not directly useful for adventuring, because I love to see how players use them, so I think maybe more of it is magic items than some groups, but perhaps fewer permanent-and-powerful ones (permanent and semi-useless/niche though, plenty!).

3) All of the above re: placement. In editions where X treasure was required/expected at Y level, I'd ensure the bulk of that came from relatively obvious sources, like direct payments or gifts from NPCs, hard-to-miss treasure hoards, and also put some "bonus" treasure around, not all of which would be expected to be found (I could always be less generous next time if they found too much of it). Not always guarded, but if it's not guarded/owned, it's probably hidden, at least accidentally.

4) Since my wife started playing (early 4E) there is always one player who has "the treasure sheet" which lists all the loot and who is carrying it and so on. Coin is usually divided up on the spot unless there's an awful lot of it. Never seen them not do an even split, and magic items are typically just handed to the person who can use them most with no regard for value (this has been true across an awful lot of groups), though there can be some "discussion" if someone seems to be getting "too many" magic items (which has lead to a PC who was maybe the second-best person to have one using it).

5) The individuals own the treasure after division, unless they're putting money into a pot for something like repairs to an airship or buying a stronghold or a resurrection fund, in which case all will contribute equally to it.

6) Relatively hard/rare for stuff to be destroyed/lost, as per rules approaches in 4E/5E which suggest this. It's not invulnerable but the rules basically strongly promote the idea that you can't just break people's stuff with rando spells or attacks, nor declare items to have fallen down a hole or whatever without good reason. True stupidity will of course have an impact - like the genius who insisted he was going to carry all the party's potions in his backpack because he was the cleric, and who then fell 30' off a rope he was climbing, and logic dictated he'd land on his back...

7) Can magic items be traded or sold? Yes, it's not like there's a divine edict preventing it, and if you can sell a nuke, you can certainly sell a +3 Shortsword or whatever. However, in practice there tend to be relatively few opportunities to do this in my 5E campaigns. It's much easier to sell or trade than it is to buy a specific item. Items with less practical use or demonstrable powers will be harder to move (meaning you'll need to accept a lower price, or wait for the right buyer). Magic items are pretty high-value for their bulk so are good targets for thieves, so whilst it's unlikely they'll mess with adventurers going about their business, if the adventurers are hanging around trying to sell stuff, they may need to take precautions.

Just like there's no real world-wide "market" for unopened classic beverages like a Coke from 1922, or a can of beer from 1943.
Pretty sure there is IRL and it's called eBay. ;) But there's certainly no guarantee they have the thing you're looking for.

And prior to eBay there have always been specialists in certain kinds of goods, and networks to acquire certain kinds of goods (no exceptions that I'm aware of, and even in the neolithic you see trade routes for things like copper or bronze axe heads - the magic items of their day - thousands of miles long). Nothing that has value doesn't attract trader and sellers, and the lighter and more portable something is for its perceived value, the more likely people want to get hold of it. In a typical faux-medieval D&D setting you aren't going to get "magic item Target", but it seems like there would be some wealthy specialists and brokers who would trade in certain items (probably specific types), particularly in large cities on trade routes. But they'd be more likely to buy than sell, and even the speculative buying might be limited due to the amounts involved (unless the item was obviously easy to move - a wand featuring an offensive spell usable by anyone, for example) - brokers would be about setting up sellers with potential customers. Is you approach similar?

Fakes and cons and tricks and so on would also feature, though they'd be harder to pull off with Detect Magic and so on. Certainly PCs desperate to acquire a certain item would attract con-men and chancers like flies, if they made it known to too many people.

Also if we were looking at a more apocalyptic/post-apocalyptic scenario it's easy to see how magic items might seem to have little value compared to, say, food (though so, potentially would gold/jewels/etc.).
 
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Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
I'm really lazy and when it comes to treasure probably boring for some people (not that my players complain). For the most part I assume even distribution of wealth and I tell people how much, if any, they get at the end of the game session. Occasionally I'll have some magic placed for specific individuals but just as often I'll give things out as rewards by a benefactor. I also have a limited magic mart for uncommon goods.

As far as how much I use the attached document I got from some forgotten thread as a general guideline. It shows wealth and expected magical items. Lately I've been cutting the amount of gold, especially at higher levels down quite a bit but it depends on campaign and if there's a specific need for it like building castles or funding small armies.
 

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As a DM, treasure is placed wherever the owner puts it. Most intelligent creatures have a secure place they put it, either on their person or in their quarters (plus the occasional vault). Unintelligent creatures usually have it scattered about their lair, as part of the remains of previous meals, but some take to "shiny" objects, keeping them close.

As a player, I'm not a fan of my group's treasure distribution system. Everything is held in trust until we eventually get around to selling it (which can be a half dozen sessions or more sometimes). If people want any of the specific loot they can buy it out of their share before it's sold, although I'm the only person who ever does. Magic items are given to whomever the group feels could use it best. When there's a disparity (and there always is one), the ones without usually wind up with the goofy, hard to use items instead. When someone upgrades or gets close to attunement limit, they gift the unused items to someone else in the party.

Most people aren't this generous, and when the PCs act this way it takes me out of the moment. I'm old school, and like regular distribution of treasure that belongs to them. When there's an unequal division of magic items, those who gain items should receive less coin and other monetary treasure. Items are usually better than straight coin IMO, especially with the "money doesn't do anything" view of 5E.
 

Most people aren't this generous, and when the PCs act this way it takes me out of the moment. I'm old school, and like regular distribution of treasure that belongs to them.
I mean, you say that and I totally believe you feel that way, but I've played with a lot of D&D groups since 1989, and not a single one of them didn't have an approach that was basically identical to what you're describing (i.e. gold splits evenly, magic items go to whoever can use them best, people who don't get as many get left-over stuff they can use, etc.). That said the six weeks w/o splitting is mildly surprising - virtually every group I've played with splits monetary treasure or gems (where practicable) at the soonest possible opportunity - but harder to move items like jewellery, furniture, golden ewers, dragon-hides and so on get held until they can be moved (or indefinitely).

So how old-school are we talking? 1970s? Was the approach drastically different there? All the "older" D&D groups I heard about from older kids in 1989-1994 tended to described in ways that basically seemed like they either got no treasure ever, or it was full on Monty Haul so no-one cared.
 

ART!

Hero
I make a point of playing characters who have little interest in wealth or other treasure - but I also make a point of having as little to keep track of at the table as possible - both as a player and as a DM.

That said, our group - the players and the PCs - usually get along very well, so magic items usually go to whichever character would get the most use out of it, and/or whose use of it will most benefit the group as a whole.

If there's a Bag of Holding in the group, whoever owns/carries it kind of becomes the PC group's treasurer.

As a DM, I tend to be overly generous with magic items, but a lot of them are weird ones I make up - they usually aren't very powerful, but just spice things up a bit. The PCs find them wherever they decide to go, meaning if I want them to have magic item X, it will be wherever the PCs wind up poking around.
 

payn

Hero
How you buy/sell/trade, how much you give out, and what type, is way more important in 3E/4E/PF1 than it is in 5E and some OSR games. So the answer will really depend on system.

Many many folks never understood that the game math in 3E/PF1 depended on you getting magic gear to compete and so the "stingy" GM was really screwing over their players. I think its best to design a game where the treasure/magic item number dependency has been off loaded to chargen and leveling so it just happens. Its more fun for magic items to do cool things than to just do more numbers.

That said, I have treasure found in all sorts of ways. In chests, in enemy possession, hidden in secret places, etc. Mostly depends on the type of adventure and location.

How easy magic items are to create, buy/sell really depends on system too. 3E/PF1 should be easy to find in cities. Having the gold to purchase is the limiter usually. This helps keep gear relevant to the character and their strengths. In systems where magic items are not assumed, then its fun to make magic marts scarce and often something the players work towards in form of an adventure.

When I GM, I put the responsibility for tracking and distribution on the party. I keep an eye on things in 3E/PF1 so to make sure the party is somewhat balanced, but I dont worry about it in 5E or OSR stuff.

Taking, losing, or destroying items is also system dependent. Wealth by level guidelines do expect some expendable item usage. How much? Hard to say so I limit going after the characters gear unless its a good moment in the adventure to do so. In other systems, both adventure and random cases are fine because its less important to making the game work.
 

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