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5E "What Do You Mean, They Don't Have Any Loot?"

jayoungr

Explorer
One set of players for whom I run games always, always, always loots the bodies. Ever since 5E started, one of their recurring complaints has been enemies who don't have anything on them, and I think it's fair to say that the published adventures generally don't have any sort of guideline as to how much cash random thugs, or whatever, would be carrying.

I thought as time went on, they'd become adjusted to the "new normal," but they still seem to miss the fun of writing down new loot on their character sheets after every fight. And if that's what they enjoy, well, fair enough.

Has anyone made or found a simple resource with suggested loot levels for various types of common enemies? Like, "Sewer scavenger, loot 2d4 silver" type entries?

ETA: To be clear, I'm looking for something that breaks it down in more detail than the DMG tables. A low-level merchant will probably be carrying more money than a low-level street urchin, for example.

ETA2: To be extra-clear, I'm looking for a guideline for cash, not mundane or magical items.
 
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Fanaelialae

Adventurer
I don't have my DMG on me, but IIRC there are tables for each tier listing treasure for individual creatures, as well as hordes.
 

jayoungr

Explorer
Those tables are a good start, but I was wondering if anyone knew of something a little more granular.
 

aco175

Explorer
I used to write in the adventures that you fine 20cp and 15sp on the bodies, but not I have that you find 1d6cp and 1d4sp on each dead body. It mostly works out the same, but the player get to roll more and are surprised if they roll very high or low.

I tend to have small creatures have just copper and silver with small gold on leaders and such. Goblins and bandits do not have much treasure. Some if because I give out more in a lair with a bigger monster to make up for it and some so that if I do give something big to a low-level threat, the players will think something is up.

I do not really follow the DMG treasure rules and give what I think is appropriate. Copper seems to go away after 5th level since it tends to be not tracked and the players say that goes to things like buying torches, washing clothes, sharpening weapons and such. I also tend to give out more magic than listed. Some since my games only go to level 10 or so and each of the PCs tend to get a weapon by level 3 or 4.
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
XGtE has a section on awarding magic items over the course of a campaign. There's a sidebar in that section that reveals the expected number of Treasure Hoards the PCs will uncover. You could perhaps base Individual Treasure rolls on those numbers, either following them exactly or by multiplying by some factor then seeding them among your NPCs and monsters.

There are a number of random treasure generators you can turn up in a Google search that will give you specific results quickly by CR, based on the DMG tables. As for the desired breakdown you have ("ETA" bit), I would suggest letting go of that. If you're using a random generator, part of the deal with that in my view is that sometimes you get weird results (a street urchin loaded down with gold you say?) and the challenge and fun there is figuring out why that makes sense. This may generate new areas for exploration and adventure hooks.

And because one of my posts wouldn't be complete without unsolicited advice: My players have been trained that looting after a fight is pretty much pointless - all the good stuff is found through exploration challenges, not combat challenges (with the odd exception). You get XP for combat and social in most of my campaigns and you get rich by exploration. My substitution for gold after a fight in XP, which I reward immediately, and they can level up straight away if they earn enough XP (since there are no rules about resting being required to level up). That seems to fill the desire for getting "something" to record on their sheets after a fight. Perhaps it might do the trick with your players as well if you're not already doing that.
 

Xaelvaen

Explorer
Has anyone made or found a simple resource with suggested loot levels for various types of common enemies? Like, "Sewer scavenger, loot 2d4 silver" type entries?

ETA: To be clear, I'm looking for something that breaks it down in more detail than the DMG tables. A low-level merchant will probably be carrying more money than a low-level street urchin, for example.
I've not found a chart of any sort along these lines - instead, I ask the players to make search checks every time they loot a body (or group of bodies). Anything under 11 total gets them some coins and the obvious - what a person was wearing or carrying. Even a useless half-rusted goblin shortsword must be worth something to someone - of course, I inflict stricter carrying capacity rules if they try to take things that really aren't worth the time to gather.

If the roll is 11 or higher, I'll throw in one or two small items of value dependent on the situation. A silver ring that the merchant was wearing (worth maybe 10sp). Natural 20s of course give them sidetrek quest starters with far more reward to be had in the long run, if they remember to write it down and follow the clues. That's worked for the loot issues in my groups, thus far.
 

Teulisch

Villager
non-monetary loot is a wonderful thing... an NPC with a sack holding 5 pounds of carrots? hey, thats loot. they may have tools, or other random odds and ends.

in general, i would suggest just going with whatever feels like common sense for the enemies in question.
 

Quartz

Explorer
Has anyone made or found a simple resource with suggested loot levels for various types of common enemies?
The loot is what I - the DM - want the PCs to have. If they have something special that I want the PCs to find and the PCs search then the PCs find it. And critters outside their lairs will have minimal cash loot. Remember the cardinal rule: you should only call for a roll when the result is in doubt. It also gives me the opportunity to fix earlier problems.

For example, the PCs come across a slaughtered caravan but fail to search, so they fail to find the letter of introduction secreted on one of the bodies. So later they encounter some of the bandits. The bandits have wealth way beyond the ordinary, having just raided the caravan, but most importantly, they have the letter. Of course, much of that loot may be spoiled in the battle - Fireball does a real number on silk, you know?
 

Tony Vargas

Adventurer
I thought as time went on, they'd become adjusted to the "new normal," but they still seem to miss the fun of writing down new loot on their character sheets after every fight. And if that's what they enjoy, well, fair enough.

Has anyone made or found a simple resource with suggested loot levels for various types of common enemies? Like, "Sewer scavenger, loot 2d4 silver" type entries?

ETA: To be clear, I'm looking for something that breaks it down in more detail than the DMG tables. A low-level merchant will probably be carrying more money than a low-level street urchin, for example.
As often seems to be the case, I feel like I already have this resource from back in the day. 1e had Treasure Types, they were pretty generic, so many lbs (coins were 10/lb!) of each type of metal, including electrum, so many gems, items, etc.

I wanted to spice it up so I went through equipment tables and categorized anything/everything into equivalent value:weight of those various metals. So if a creature had 2000 cp, I wouldn't just have them in penny rolls, or sacks, I'd pick items with that value:weight ratio that seemed appropriate for the creature to have or have lying around from past victims.

So it could be very detailed and verisimilitudinousnessossitish.
 

Retreater

Explorer
I think there's a disconnect between player expectations (from video games and previous editions) and the tools 5e actually gives DMs. Every session I run, after every encounter, in every group I run, players always search for treasure. They look for coin, they look for potions, they look for magic armor and weapons. To date, no official published adventure I've used has addressed this. None have used the guidelines in the DMG or Xander's Guide to Whatever. My party of 5th level characters are still so impoverished, they haven't yet gotten a single permanent magic item. (They've received a handful of potions.) The writers at D&D should follow their rules when creating adventures.
 

Tony Vargas

Adventurer
To date, no official published adventure I've used has addressed this. None have used the guidelines in the DMG or Xander's Guide to Whatever. My party of 5th level characters are still so impoverished, they haven't yet gotten a single permanent magic item. (They've received a handful of potions.) The writers at D&D should follow their rules when creating adventures.
The baseline assumption in 5e is no magic (items), no wealth/level, and no make/buy. Your game should be running /smoother/, the encounter guidelines working better for you, than if you had let a few items drop.
 

MechaPilot

Explorer
Virtually every humanoid has some loot on their corpse. It might be mundane weapons and armor, or it might just be the bloody and pierced remains of their clothing. At a couple coppers per foe, you might just be nicking and selling their boots and belts.
 

Retreater

Explorer
The baseline assumption in 5e is no magic (items), no wealth/level, and no make/buy. Your game should be running /smoother/, the encounter guidelines working better for you, than if you had let a few items drop.
The DMG has a paragraph that states (paraphrasing): "a party can expect to roll on the treasure hoard chart x# of times per level." This sets a guideline to how many times a DM should award treasure during a campaign.

However, the one time I followed this, characters were stuffed to the gills with magic items and trounced most encounters. (I wonder if my copy of the DMG is the only one that has this paragraph in it, because no one - including the game designers - seem to remember it. Haha.)
 

Fenris-77

Explorer
Lower Class - d12 cp and d4 sp
Middle Class - d12 cp, d10 sp, d3 gp
Upper class - d12 sp, d10 gp, plus a goodie worth 10gp

Adjust as necessary. In my games the more the players bitch about it the smaller the dice I roll.:cool:
 

Fanaelialae

Adventurer
The DMG has a paragraph that states (paraphrasing): "a party can expect to roll on the treasure hoard chart x# of times per level." This sets a guideline to how many times a DM should award treasure during a campaign.

However, the one time I followed this, characters were stuffed to the gills with magic items and trounced most encounters. (I wonder if my copy of the DMG is the only one that has this paragraph in it, because no one - including the game designers - seem to remember it. Haha.)
They're not mutually exclusive in terms of game design. You can design a game whose baseline assumption is no magic items, but also include distribution guidelines for tables that use treasure. Which is what the designers of 5e did.

I'm away from my books but I believe there is also a section in the DMG which states that if you give out magic items, you may need to account for the added power in your encounter design.

The primary alternative to that design would be to take magic items into account, which is what 3.x did. But that has it's own issues, in that DMs who deviate from the standard distribution will find that the encounter building guidelines no longer function properly.

Personally, I prefer the 5e approach. I find it easier to make encounters a bit tougher for parties with a lot of magic items, than I did in adjusting encounters for parties in 3.x that had less than the expected amount.
 

jayoungr

Explorer
Thanks for the suggestions so far. To be clear, I'm not so concerned with items or treasure the mooks might be carrying. They're mooks, and I just expect them to be carrying a little cash and maybe an interesting mundane item or two. I've found resources for things NPCs might have in their pockets--the system-neutral "I Loot the Body" series from Raging Swan Press is useful for this--but I'm never sure how much coin the mooks should have. I don't want to be unreasonably stingy, but I don't want to unbalance the game by giving the PCs too much cash too early either.
 

Tony Vargas

Adventurer
I don't want to be unreasonably stingy, but I don't want to unbalance the game by giving the PCs too much cash too early either.
There's very little in 5e that hinges on wealth. Expensive material components and the best Armors are about it. Too much wealth too soon, and the heavy-armor types AC will be 1 higher than expected. Too little wealth and there are some spells that won't be practical to cast - but there are a /lot/ of spells to choose from.

Not much potential to break the game, there, IDT.

OTOH, giving out magic items...

The DMG has a paragraph that states (paraphrasing): "a party can expect to roll on the treasure hoard chart x# of times per level." This sets a guideline to how many times a DM should award treasure during a campaign.
But using said chart in the first place is optional, no?

Because MM was very up-front about the design assumptions not including magic items.

However, the one time I followed this, characters were stuffed to the gills with magic items and trounced most encounters.
That's consistent with design goals & expectations, AFAICT.
 
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Uller

Explorer
I think there's a disconnect between player expectations (from video games and previous editions) and the tools 5e actually gives DMs. Every session I run, after every encounter, in every group I run, players always search for treasure. They look for coin, they look for potions, they look for magic armor and weapons. To date, no official published adventure I've used has addressed this. None have used the guidelines in the DMG or Xander's Guide to Whatever. My party of 5th level characters are still so impoverished, they haven't yet gotten a single permanent magic item. (They've received a handful of potions.) The writers at D&D should follow their rules when creating adventures.

What adventureshave you run? I ran Sunless Citadel out of Tales from the Yawning Portal...they got a +1 Longsword and a wand of entangle. Now they are in Forge of Fury and are about to find a couple more similar items.

I guess some adventures have more than others? I know in Out of the Abyss there is a sunblade that low level parties can find if the DM puts a certain side quest in front of them.

In general if no treasure is listed in a published adventure I just use the DMG tables for individual treasure.
 

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