Thursday, June 18, 2015

More Treasure (but now Interesting!)

In the last post I described some mechanics for getting cash value loot.  However, I'm of the firm opinion that loot from critters doesn't always have to be 1000 copper coins or a gem the size of a fist.  Treasure is a reward, and rewards should be more than cash loot.

Recap of the Treasure Tables
These are from the last post, just to put some perspective on things.

 Primary Loot Table 
Loot Details Table
 d6 (1)  Trinkets Knowledge  TreasureMagicRelics
1-3CoinsMapLost ObjectConsumableRing
4-5JewelrySignsTrophyMinor ItemWeapon
6-8GemsBookOddity, brokenScrollArmor
9-10ObjectsNotes Oddity, working  Major ItemWand
11 Damaged Treasure  MysticalHoard Faltering Relic   Weird Stuff 

Loot Descriptions
Knowledge - information is power, and can really set the tone
  • Map- a partial map of the dungeon, another level, or another location
  • Sings - information about a looming threat - dragon poo, an elf nailed to the wall, or huge claw marks
  • Book - books on a topic may impart some knowledge, but most useful for bulking up research libraries
  • Notes - detailed notes on a subject directly related to the dungeon, for example, notes on the different powers of "The Eight Eyes of the Greyjax"
  • Mystical - predictive or direct insight through dream, vision, or otherworldly voice
Magic - items of power, magical spells, and useful wizardly tools
  • Consumables - potions, powders, and other one-off items
  • Minor Item - items that give small bonuses or are of limited use such as the Headscarf of Sassoon (which allows one to change their hair color once per day)
  • Scroll - most likely spells, but also things like summoning or protection scrolls
  • Major Item - bigger ticket items like Yerd's Blade of Infinity (a longsword +2 that allows the wielder to run for 24 hours) or the Elfish Cloak (makes you look like an appropriate plant if you stay still)
  • Faltering Relic - a relic that is on it's last legs ... roll for a relic and reduce the power left in in dramatically
Relics- these are the serious magic items, most come with benefits and drawbacks
  • Rings - magic rings of everything from protection and invisibility to improved blocking with bucklers and storing spells
  • Weapons - magic sword!  magic spear!  likely intelligent and probably either mean or having ulterior motives
  • Armor - magic leather of ignoring acid damage and growing horns, magic chain mail of flying and weeping blood
  • Wands - potentially infinite source of casting a specific spell, these are powerful in the hands of wizards and often useful for the rest of us as well
  • Weird Stuff - All of the uncommon and incredibly powerful magical items the GM can think of including various "artifacts" like hands and eyes of super-evil but really powerful arch-lich daemon lords.  And the apparatus of Kwalishlish (whatever that is).

Using Knowledge Loot
Rather than just handing the players the map that is the loot from the encounter, the players may have to find and decipher it.  A tattoo to a lost island tattooed on the back of a dwarf, a scrap of mouldering parchment tucked under the body of a halfling jammed into the pantry, or perhaps the map is actually written on the back of a painting.

The knowledge loot give an opportunity to expand the setting and tone, create a sprawling living world that seems to intersect here and now where the players are, and allow for side-adventures or tie-ins with other adventures and campaigns. 

A book might be missing a chapter, so tracking down the author (The Right Honarable Sage McLain who was last seen studying obsidian artifacts near Volkem) could give the characters another contact, another adventure, more insight into the contents of the book (Identification of 4th Age Dire Weapons), or just be a wild goose chase into another dungeon where the dumb old sage bought the farm when he was ambushed by a band of savages.

Magic and Relics
These are going to be specific to each campaign and should be fun and interesting items.  A "Ring of Protection +1 Defense" sucks.  "The Ancient Ring of Ignoo" which is a a brass band beaten into shape with the bone of a tiger and worn by the barbarian tribes of Jorhim (which grants +1 defense) is awesome.  Same with spells.  This is where the GM gets to shine.