Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Miscellaneous Treasure

Treasure, and the hunt for it, have been at the heart of D&D since the beginning.  Tables for randomly generating the fantastic wealth to tempt adventurers long have been a staple of the game.  The OD&D treasure types included chances for copper, silver, gold, gems, jewelry and magic items.  AD&D changed these tables but little, adding only electrum to the treasure spectrum.  Conspicuously missing from these lists is a staple of Hollywood style treasure hoards – miscellaneous objects of value, such as tapestries, ivory, works of art and so forth.

When Arneson & Snider wrote Adventures in Fantasy, a lot of old ideas were reworked and repackaged, body types and hit location from Supplement II, for example.  Treasure Types were another idea that received a re-skin.  There are none of the familiar lettered treasure types in AiF, but there is treasure still.  The same categories are there – copper, silver, gold, gems, and jewels, but rather than assign a particular type to particular monsters with varying chances in each category as D&D does, AiF uses a one-size-fits-all 10 x 10 table allowing the possibility of almost any treasure being assigned to any eligible monster.

A different approach, to be sure; but, for the most part, familiar hordes of silver and gold result.  However, of the 100 possible treasure options, 4 contain a new category of either 1 or 2 objects of Miscellaneous treasure.

The category of Miscellaneous Treasure is one of the most interesting and potentially useful distinctions found in AiF.   Basically, it works as follows; when a miscellaneous treasure is called for a roll is made on a table containing these ten categories:

Kegs (various goods)
Decorative weaponry
Riding Tack
Ivory (raw)

Except for kegs and ivory, each category has a value modifier that is multiplied times an amount of coin – 5 gp for example – determined randomly on a table.  Some items’ value modifiers are fixed at 1 and some have a range of 1-4 or 1-10, so some items, such as a tapestry can range from a few coppers to thousands of gp in value.

There is also a subtable for the contents of kegs:

The keg items have fixed gold piece values, except for perfume, which ranges in value from 100 to 600 gp.

For the most part, details, such as what kind of clothing or sculpture or piece of art, are left to the referee to invent.

All in all, The Adventures in Fantasy miscellaneous treasure is a fairly simple yet versatile way to add some real color to your treasure haul. 

Integration with D&D is fairly seamless too.  In AiF there is always a 4% chance any given treasure will contain a miscellaneous item or two.  In D&D there is likewise always a chance any given treasure could contain gems or jewels, so all one needs to do is add one more roll when generating a D&D treasure and allow a chance for a miscellaneous treasure too.  I go with 5% instead of 4% just because chances on the D&D tables are always in multiples of 5.

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