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

Reynard

Legend
Supporter
I still say saddling the PCs with massive debt at the start is a strong motivator for treasure hunting. The only thing is the one holding the debt has to be strong enough to ensure that the PCs can't just roll over them once they hit 5th level or whatever.
 

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Gold is also a temple built for your god, patents of nobility purchased, bribes offered, expensive parties thrown, information purchased, houses in various cities commonly visited, powerful NPCs to aid in an undertaking for a month, and on and on.

I'm always surprised that in a game of imagination, people often don't use theirs to come up with helpful ways to spend gold. I'm always broke because I use it so often to my benefit and the party's benefit.
You need gold to build a temple? That's silly. Use your own muscles to do it (and, by muscles, I mean spells).

Joking aside, If a player wants any of those.... that's a storyhook,not a downtime activity gatekept by an arbitrary number for GP on the character sheet.

In my experience, players want stuff relevant to adventuring or personal goals, not the glossed-over-downtime. If your PCs goal is to track down the assassin that murdered their family, gold generally is not relevant.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
You need gold to build a temple? That's silly. Use your own muscles to do it (and, by muscles, I mean spells).

Joking aside, If a player wants any of those.... that's a storyhook,not a downtime activity gatekept by an arbitrary number for GP on the character sheet.

In my experience, players want stuff relevant to adventuring or personal goals, not the glossed-over-downtime. If your PCs goal is to track down the assassin that murdered their family, gold generally is not relevant.
That’s a good point! “Intangible experiences” can be a lot of fun, when they’re actually part of the adventure. Spending a mountain of gold to be able to say that my cleric built a church off-screen is thoroughly uninteresting to me. But, negotiating with the local authorities for land rights, clearing out monsters from the quarry the stone is being sourced from, defending the construction site from attacks by cultists of a rival god? Those things are fun! If you want players to care about “intangible experiences,” the solution is not to take away their ability to spend gold on other things, it’s to make them actual experiences that take place during gameplay.
 

Vaalingrade

Legend
I still say saddling the PCs with massive debt at the start is a strong motivator for treasure hunting. The only thing is the one holding the debt has to be strong enough to ensure that the PCs can't just roll over them once they hit 5th level or whatever.
And scrying, I assume because I'd just like... leave if I got hocked into debt in a word without credit scores that stalk you forever.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
The problem is coming up with helpful ways to spend gold beyond the obvious improvements to the survival and success of the character. If the temples, patents of nobility, expensive parties, fancy houses etc. are meaningless bling, then that's Not Helpful.

So the GM has to run a game where gold-fueled social interactions are fun for the players, and where the adventure survival imperatives of the characters and the adventure fun imperatives of the players don't push players into spending nearly all their gold on (magical) adventuring gear. The second means that gold can't be used as the limiting factor on the amount and quality of that gear.

Or at least the issue has to be finessed. Trying to control magic gear by making it ruinously expensive will backfire by giving players incentives to become fanatic misers grubbing every last copper and then spending that last copper on more gear. Instead magical adventuring gear has to be cheap enough that PCs will have plenty of gold left over after loading up with all the gear they care to take with them on an adventure.

In econospeak terms, magic adventuring gear has to have a declining marginal utility. (Yes, D&D economics are crazy. But that means a GM needs to think like a crazy economist. "Economists are often accused of believing that everything - health, happiness, life itself - can be measured in money. What we actually believe is even odder. We believe that everything can be measured in anything.")

As a half-baked idea: Maybe go back to old-school "xp for gold" - but only if the gold is spent on those social-interaction luxuries. Maybe there is an in-world reason why successful adventurers spend freely on riotous living, generous donations to charity, and extravagant displays of wealth when they return from an adventure with heaps of treasure.
That isn't my experience at all. What you describe seems to assume that magimarts are there so that PCs can actually save up for what they want, that combat is king so that magic items are necessary to survival(which in 5e they are by default not), and that those other ways to spend gold don't/can't involve adventure and danger as well(which they can).

I've not only not had to render magic items marginal, I enhanced them. I detest the common crappy items that you find tons of. They take away the magic of magic items. Instead of finding a ring of climbing, a ring of protection+1, gloves of missile snaring and some other dinky item, the players will find Gloves of the Giant. Gloves of the Giant will protect like giant skin(+1 AC), allow your grip to be strong enough to aid in climbing(advantage when climbing), grab things thrown out of the air(missile snaring), and 2x per day it will allow you to grab a normal sized rock and hurl it, becoming a giant boulder as you release it. Magic items are much rarer, but much better and actually worth finding.

They will also rarely be found for sale, and if you can't afford it, saving up is likely to be worthless as by the time you get the gold, it has a good chance of being gone. Combine that with the enhancing the other way to spend money, like perhaps the house you buy is haunted, or the patent of nobility you purchased came with an enemy you were unaware of, etc., and you can have all of those extra ways AND still have magic items mean something.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
You need gold to build a temple? That's silly. Use your own muscles to do it (and, by muscles, I mean spells).

Joking aside, If a player wants any of those.... that's a storyhook,not a downtime activity gatekept by an arbitrary number for GP on the character sheet.

In my experience, players want stuff relevant to adventuring or personal goals, not the glossed-over-downtime. If your PCs goal is to track down the assassin that murdered their family, gold generally is not relevant.
Goals change and PCs generally in my experience have other desires besides their primary goal. Going after the assassin isn't all or nothing. You will still need places to stay, and you may want a temple to your god in the city where you think the assassin resides and begin building it while you search for him. And so on.
 

Vaalingrade

Legend
That isn't my experience at all. What you describe seems to assume that magimarts are there so that PCs can actually save up for what they want, that combat is king so that magic items are necessary to survival(which in 5e they are by default not), and that those other ways to spend gold don't/can't involve adventure and danger as well(which they can).
5e says they aren't, but it also says 6-8 encounters a day is a reasonable and fun adventuring day, so grain of salt.

The size of North America.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
5e says they aren't, but it also says 6-8 encounters a day is a reasonable and fun adventuring day, so grain of salt.

The size of North America.
And in 5e they really aren't. Magic items if you hand out too many, make the game go from really easy to a complete cake walk. As a DM I have had to be far more careful with what I hand out and how many items I hand out in 5e than in any other version of the game that I have played. All of the other editions include magic items in their calculations when dealing with monsters. 5e doesn't.
 


Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Mostly because it's terrified of math.
Or perhaps it's because of their stated intent of making magic items actually add to the game, rather than be required for a treadmill. The math doesn't take them into account so that they make a real difference, but that means that DMs have to be very careful, which isn't something the DMG gets into very much, so mistakes are bound to happen.
 

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