D&D 5E Why I think gold should have less uses in 5e, not more.


Patron Badass
To keep the post brief, I think gold should be used as an exchange of intangible experiences in a game rather than mechanical benefits like trading it in for magic items or XP.

The reason is that when players realize they can expend gold for concrete buffs to their character, they will hoard and only spend their gold on those buffs. But if they don't have that option, and (key point) they are aware that they can expend gold on fun intangible experiences, they will expend it there, increasing immersion and engagement with the world, as well as being a more fun experience having and spending gold.

For instance, rather than spending gold on buying a magic sword, they could go on a vacation to a mystical land where they recieve incite on their own character's magical affinity. Or something to that effect.

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Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
I don’t think this will accomplish what you hope. Players who don’t care about “intangible experiences” won’t suddenly start caring about them just because there’s nothing they actually care about to spend gold on; they’ll just stop caring about gold at all. Likewise, players who do care about them will spend gold on them even if there are tangible things to spend it on.

Distracted DM

Distracted DM
This sort of feels like a tangent of the MagiMart thread- but yeah, I agree with the basic premise of "if players can spend money on magic items they won't spend it on anything else." That includes even strongholds that provide character bonuses! They'll just keep hoarding it hoping something very cool but very expensive becomes available for sale.

This doesn't apply to all players... But it does to many.


In my experience if players can buy magic items then they won't spend gold on anything else. And if they can't buy magic items then they just stop caring about gold and you lose that motivational hook as a method to get players to buy into quest lines

The main reason you can't get players to spend money on intangible things that don't actually matter is that they don't matter so no one cares about them. I don't think you're going to change that


I think the quantity of wealth should be controlled. Yes, a dragon might have a bunch of money, but at that level and up, you should mostly be looking at magical treasures and truly priceless gemstones. It's sort of surreal to assume an ancient stone giant wizard must be some kind of billionaire or something.


So... do you intent to take table time playing out this expensive vacation, or am I paying to not have magic items even harder that the base game insists?

Distracted DM

Distracted DM
So first step to this issue: identify the behavior you want. What do you, the GM, want characters to spend wealth on?

  1. Is this Sword n Sorcery where they spend almost all of it partying, living it up, and then it's time to go on another adventure because they're broke?
  2. Do you want them to invest in the narrative by funding causes/factions/etc that they care about?
  3. Do you want them to invest in the world by building a stronghold and being responsible for an area, guild, etc?
I think for the 1, you need to use a carousing table- there are lots from other games. And carousing should have mechanical impact- again, there are games out there with this.

For 2, I suppose patrons, guilds, etc are the way to go. Organizations- again, with mechanical bonuses. I know 5e has some but I've heard they're weak.

3, there's Strongholds and Followers and A5e's strongholds.

BUT again, you really need to nix gold-for-magic items if any of these are going to work. Either that, or bribe/hope/ask/initiate players to participate so other players see that they can get cool things by engaging with them.
Maybe the first taste is free, that sort of thing ;)


A setting that only have levels 1 thru 8, can increase the number of encounters necessary to advance to the next level.

Then gold can be a reward instead of advancing levels.

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