Thursday, July 25, 2013

Division of Treasure

The Player's Handbook has this to say about the division of treasure:

  • Equal shares - division of the total amount of treasure by the number of characters involved.
  • Shares by level is a division whereby the character levels are added together and the total treasure is divided by the number of levels - then each participant is awarded their 'share.'
  • Equal shares plus bonus, to reward excellence by offering an outstanding character or characters in a combat an extra share or bonus item by vote.
  • Non-player characters who are henchmen of the player characters count as one-half characters, or for one half of their levels, and in turn are not permitted bonus shares.
  • Incapacitated or killed characters, subsequently brought back to life, are eligible for a share only in treasure gained prior to such death.
  • Characters who are uncooperative, obstructive, attack party members, behave cowardly, etc., should forfeit from one quarter to all of their treasure as a penalty for their actions, by vote.
Magical Treasure
  • If but one or two items of magic are gained, these can be grouped singly or paired to equal a share of treasure.  If one is of relatively small worth, it can be grouped with money to equal one share.
  • If three or more items are discovered, they can be divided as follows:  a) the best item; b) the next best item; c) third & fourth items; d) 'x' amount of money as compensation for not getting any magic items.
  • Three or more magical items, alternate method:  a) best item; b) second best item & 'x' amount of money; c) third item & '2x' amount of money; d) fourth item & '3x' amount of money.
Can we please discuss variations on the above suggested methods?


Maximillian said...

The issue is that you're a bit stingy with the actual value of the treasure ;)

Given our imperfect knowledge, we're approximating the equal shares method by alternating choice. To be more picky, we're attempting to divide based on utility rather than exp value.

Further, because there's such discrepancy in earned exp to this point, I took it that Ahmet and Andrej were generously allowing me and Lukas to catch up by not including henchmen in the allocation. that has the added benefit of taking less time.

That's my take.

Alexis Smolensk said...

If you don't know what's going on behind a certain door, or in a room inside a building, am I 'stingy' for not giving you that knowledge that you clearly could not have?

If you know nothing about particular objects, why on Earth should your characters instantly be aware of their value, purpose, power or any other feature therein? How is it one ignorance is perfectly acceptable while another is not?

Just as you have to establish a strategy for dealing with the unknown behind a door, you have to devise a strategy for dealing with this unknown. Picking at random is bound to be disastrous, just as 'throw open the door and take random action' is bound to be disastrous.

Maximillian said...

heh, that's exactly what I was stating. "Stingy" was a bit tongue in cheek...

The PH seems to assume that the dm will just tell you the value of each gem, magic item, etc.

Lukas said...

Max, I think we have adequate information to draw conclusions. I think we would have had more information if the appraisal phase were more defined. I think the only item I did not have a fair grasp of value on was the bottle. For a moment I thought it was perhaps NOT a potion. If the appraisal had happened before sorting (detect magic information and opening the bottle) then we would have had a guarantee practically on it's approximate value.

What we're doing is hardly random. Especially given phase 3: Use character abilities and skills to analyze what is in front of us.

Given that, and the fact we are players of DnD, we know a bottle is likely a potion aside from some notable examples, a flail is likely a +1 item. These choices aren't made in a vaccum.

There is no random in this equation. First grab is not rolling a die and getting that item. That said, especially in your low magic setting where +1 items are not sold at local stores, we would rather give a +1 item to someone who would use it than give it to the wizard and have them sell it.

That said, I think this is one area I don't mind telling the PHB to go suck an egg. But perhaps I'm biased as I am benefitting from that arrangement.

Ahmet said...

I think we're way way overthinking this. :)

Lukas said...

I like to think about setting up a fast process. Because the less time we spend looting the more time we spend getting loot. It also frustrates me a tad to spend a day sorting out the treasure when it's something we could speed up a lot.

Lukas said...

Alright so what we have...

1. New post for looting.

2. List of all the loot is posted.

3. Appraisal. Each player with present characters rolls their applicable knowledge, announces their skills and announces special actions and questions in a reply. Preferably one for Alexis sake.

4. Arranging looting tactics. Round robin, special rewards, order and whatnot decided.

5a. First pick for 2000g+ Loot.

5b. Assignment of loot. List out loot in desired order, last poster calculates results if able.

6. PHB sucks an egg.

7. Profit!

Lukas said...

I also wouldn't mind if we nominated a designated loot master to state that Phase X has begun and calculate the results at the end.

Maximillian said...

Yes Lukas, I agree that we have enough information to fairly divide the loot, and I believe we did.

Your steps seem perfect to me.
Actually, steps six and [hopefully] seven seem to be routine for most actions we take.

Alexis Smolensk said...


I have watched a lot of parties divide up a lot of treasure, and I can say one thing without any equivocation.

The Player's Handbook is absolutely dead right about this.

Lukas said...

I think we are taking the opposite approach to the PHB.

Instead of assuming contribution by level, we are improving contribution and survival odds by boosting level of the lowest contributor.

With this system we are setting up all the characters to eventually be at equal levels. Once we reach that point I think we may consider a more share based system.

Alexis Smolensk said...

The share-based system is not the only one suggested.

I think, if you are going to speak of treasure division, however, you should give some thought to how you're going to manage it later, when there are henchmen aplenty, and when ultimately your henchmen have henchmen.

Things get quite complicated ... particularly when you consider that characters that require less experience (thieves, clerics) tend to get more henchmen than high experience requiring characters (monks and paladins); and when characters who produce a lot of damage and take a lot of damage (fighters) excel in level faster than characters who must hang back due to hit points or low armor class (illusionists and druids).

Division based on the number of players choosing gets difficult in those instances ... and so does the matter of how much you give yourselves vs. how much you give your henchmen. Getting other players up with the main players is one thing, but you'll find yourselves doing the same thing with your henchmen, and making your main characters suffer in the bargain.

Maximillian said...

"... making your main characters suffer in the bargain."

The way Ahmet did.

Ahmet said...

I'm all about the team.

Lukas said...

I see your point, I think when we get to that ford we'll float the wagon across with the best thing we have. Which will probably be some sort of equal share system.

The problem will be negotiating what value system we will apply to each item. At a table we can go back and forth in seconds over the value of an item. On a play by post that will be difficult.

The net result could be a 1/2 a turn per henchman and perhaps an extra turn value for high value items. (If you pick X it consumes 2 turns. Henchman only get to pick every other turn.) That way we can still 'logic resolve' things in a short period of time.

Alexis Smolensk said...

Ahmet wound up throwing away 300 experience he could have gained, which Enrico could not gain, by dividing his treasure equally with Enrico.

The offline party is also discovering that, in recent events where all they're henchmen attended, that half a share of treasure to each henchman meant 2/3rds or 3/4ths of treasure went to henchmen, starving themselves quite effectively ... particularly in a situation where all their henchmen together needed perhaps 30-40K to level, while the main characters needed more than 100K.

If Enrico is made the same level as Ahmet, he will still only get half as much experience as Ahmet from treasure ... and that will cause them both to take a long time.

I bring all this up because, rather than crossing the ford when you come to it, I believe the point was to prepare for the future.

Alexis Smolensk said...

Someday, I will stop writing "they're" when I mean "their" ... I know better, I just get caught up in the process of writing. Thank god for editing.

Except, you know, in ^&%$*^% online comment sections. Freakin' goddamn dark ages on these things.

Ahmet said...

It wasn't so much giving extra treasure to Enrico (as Enrico is fanatically loyal anyway), but giving the money to Enrico to pass along to his hirelings. I am hoping that will make a big difference in their morale.

Lukas said...

Well, I mean there's pretty much two ways about it. Equal shares or equal shares +Henchmean cut. Ahmet CHOSE to split his 'equal share' how he did. Enrico didn't actually get his own turn to draw.

Equal shares and allowing the player to distribute their wealth as they see fit seems the best option to me. Though I wonder what the grounds are for 'awarding' XP for gold.

I mean, if Lukas had a henchman after the adventure Lukas said that he takes all the loot and red shirt gets nothing, then turns around afterwards and gives red shirt that plate mail he found... Are there XP adjustments? Or do we just have a mini-game of trying to split the loot as close to 50% of main character as possible before REALLY assigning the loot?

Alexis Smolensk said...

True enough, Ahmet, but it was money given first to Enrico ... and not kept by Ahmet; and the hirelings can't gain experience from treasure they didn't take.

Alexis Smolensk said...

The grounds for 'awarding' XP for gold are what they always are. This is a game. Why award XP for killing? Why award XP for anything?

If it soothes your conscience any, treasure is a pat on the back for a job well done, an effort not wasted, time spend bleeding for a clear and definable gain, the direct application for your personal comfort, the appeasement of your sensory apparatus, the guarantor of future survival for your brain & body, etc.

Lukas said...

I think you missed my point.

Does it only matter that we give the treasure at the point where we are high fiving each other? Can we then turn around and just hand the gold back to someone else after the XP is awarded?

I am perfectly happy with getting XP for gold. The concept does not violate some sacred need for reason. I want to know whether or not I can balance the XP and still not HAVE to keep the +1 mace and instead hand it to the hench after I sucked the XP out of it.

Ahmet said...

Good point. Let's say Ahmet kept all the money, and therefore all the X.P. Then a day later he gives Enrico 100 G.P. Does Ahmet then lose X.P.? Is the trick just to wait until the next "scene"?

Lukas said...

That way Enrico is still able to pay the hirelings, and 'no' xp is wasted.

I'm sure Ahmet was playing on what he thought Enrico was getting long term rather than thinking about the actual XP numbers.

Ahmet said...

Or let us further suppose that Ahmet had 100 g.p. in his backpack.

After the encounter, Ahmet takes all the spoils. But he gives Enrico the 100 gold from his pack.

Again, all the X.P. goes to Ahmet?

Alexis Smolensk said...

At the point of getting the treasure, you must designate who among the participants gets what treasure.

But, lets say Ahmet keeps all the treasure as X.P. Then gives half that treasure to Enrico. Enrico can possess the money, but he gets no X.P. for it.

The money you gave Enrico, he got X.P. for, including the money he gave to his men ... his men can't get X.P. for the coin, because they did not participate in the encounter.

The time between when Ahmet takes the gold and when Enrico gets it does not matter; only the designation of the X.P.

The actual transfer of the coin after you get the X.P. for it doesn't affect the X.P.

Alexis Smolensk said...

I'm trying to say that, in effect, when the encounter is done and you are handing out treasure, you are also designating the X.P. for all the participants FROM the treasure. This is usually the same; and most of my players don't keep separate money sheets for henchmen, because the henchmen don't care who holds the money. You, the player, are going to buy for everyone anyway.

The only reason it would matter how much money you have as opposed to your henchman is for encumbrance reasons, and in case you should become separated for some reason. Keeping money on your hench is like keeping money on your horse; you just need to know where it is.

Ahmet said...

I get it.

James C. said...

I like the idea of meteing out shares by player as currently proposed and its primarily to benefit Lukas, Max and future new players which in the long run benefits me, Andrej and the whole party.

Given enough time, the principals will all be around the same level. Higher level charcters are more likely to contribute meaningfully and to survive, and when characters both survive and contribute, their comrades survive and contribute and the opportunity to win even more treasure increases with all of the surviving and the contributing. To me it's all about making the party function in the best possible manner to the benefit of all its members. I can look ahead to this now becuase I'm confident in the other players not bieng dicks and buying into what we've got here.

SInce Gygax saw fit to mention it in the quoted sections above I'll give my feelings on penalizing bad party-members when it comes to dividing the spoils. We don't need to bother with that. The only bad party member that I recall was shown the door. If the DM doesn't step in, the higher level characters will. I like this game. I like this party. I won't let a disruptive player ruin it.

All that said, Alexis raises a good point re: leaving XP on the table, and any good player should take note and factor it into their treasure dividing. Taking more care in finding out item worth at the time of selection and understanding now that the initial division of treasure need not be who actually ends up using the item should give thos players with henchman ample opportunity to not waste any XP. I may have missed the mark, but it was my intent to give Sophia about 1/3 of the total I brought in as a player on the last looting.

Lukas said...

That said, if everyone is on schedule again perhaps we could create the next post and continue to post here if we have any further thoughts?

Alexis Smolensk said...

Just getting my stuff together.

Andrej said...

Andrej, assuming that there would be no objections from the normally reticent Ahmet nor the still relatively new Max, offers that Lukas should relate the tale of Boroge the Hydra should opportunity arise to do so upon ship. It's not a village full of cheering peasants, but bask anyway my friends. :)

Lukas said...

It's true, there's some oomph lost when you didn't just save all their children, and potential children.