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Wealth Troubles

Wealth Troubles

I have a pretty bad problem with not giving my party enough goods, We are always under the recomended wealth total for the level and it can sometimes lead to a poorly equipped party nearly getting killed... Any advice on how to fix me?


How severe a wealth shortage do you have?

My advice is, put the PC's up against a couple well-equipped mobs; if they decide not to use the items themselves they can sell em and buy something they want. If the PC's aren't looting, that's not your problem. I'm inclined generally to say, if your PC's aren't trying to tote the non-magical gear on the mobs and taking their pelts, your wealth level is generally within tolerable bounds.

Really though, as long as your party isn't being accidentally starved for wealth you're OK. The wealth total by level is a guideline for easy mode games.

Are your PC's trying to do creative things to make money? Maybe you should nudge them in that direction.

It is fairly severe Wealth shortage,

Ex: My last campaign, (Went levels 1-7) And I constantly forgot to give the characters anything of value (NOt that they tried to loot the corpses or anything...) At level 7 they had level 1 equiptment...

Um... remember to give them money next time? And make it a lot of money? If the problem is a lack of money, put more money in. Just have a wealthy benefactor give a big advance.

I have a problem with being stingy, too. Mine is borne of my first few campaigns, which turned into Monty Haul games. I skewed way to the other end of the spectrum and wound up stiffing everyone. I still do, to an extent, but I've learned to try hard to give people Stuff when I can. Some of the things I do:

1. Use people bad guys who are appropriately equipped. When they kill such people, they get the equipment.

2. When I use monsters that don't use equipment, I usually put goodies in their bellies. Gems, rings, coins, and other small items could all logically be in the digestive tracts of critters that attack people.

3. Macguffins are generally surrounded by gems and/or coinage.

4. When the PCs decide to search someplace for some reason, I sometimes drop small things into the area. Example: my PCs stopped at a spot along the side of the road where they were hoping to find some clues about a Macguffin. There weren't any clues to find there, but I went ahead and let them find some random minor magical trinkets and a couple of low value gems because they made the effort.

5. When you want the PCs to do something, offer a monetary reward, and let them take part of it upfront for supplies. Or let them raid the palace supply closet to restock their healing potions and rations and such things.

6. Design neat, unique magic items for each PC that enhance or complement one of their abilities. I enjoy doing this and rarely concern myself with the actual value, just the cool factor from the player perspective. Once I've designed it, I always want to see the PC use it and will find some way to get it into their hands. Example: I gave a dual dagger wielding spellthief a dagger that adds some spells to his spells known list and lets him cast with that dagger in his hand, instead of having to have a free hand.

If you have players who are sticking around for 7 levels with what basically amounts to half a character, it must be because you're running a good game on the fluff side of things. If you want them to be happy with the wealth you give them, make it a part of their roleplay.

Say they're in the habit of shunning monetary gain in return for the warm fuzzies that come with being a ragworn monk (actually, we'll make the example a monk, they're a prime suspect in most campaigns for this sort of behavior). Give him a strong in-character reason to be using a piece of equipment. Such as an amulet that was handed down from master to master in a monastery of which he is the last living member. He doesn't need to know it's a magic amulet, and with the right player, you may even just want to ask to borrow his character sheet every now and then and "upgrade" the quality of an item as a reward for good play or something. They won't refuse that. If the campaign has urban scenes, throw one in that shows the guy that he's truly powerless among the aristocracy that he's trying to influence unless he can throw gold on the grass like water. Show the reward of ulitizing wealth as a tool toward their goals and allow them to make the choice to use the tool. Throw some zen wisdom in it about mockingbirds and glass, make it obvious that his goals are unachievable without money, whatever. Then make the wealth available, and he will take it. If he doesn't use it all for his goals, he may keep the excess for another such occasion, or he may not. Depends on the player.

There are lots of ways to give the players cash. One of the easiest ways? Have them stumble upon a thieve's den that's also the perfect base of operations for them. If you need to give them a boost up later because they aren't looting, you could do something like have a leak in the roof which reveals the edge of a hidden door to a vault or something. The more creative you are with the wealth's presentation, the more the players will appreciate it's appearance and will be more likely to utilize it.

If your low to mid level adventurers aren't bothering to loot the non-magical bows, crossbows, and any armor heavier than hide, then in the players' opinions they're doing just fine in terms of wealth. You may consider upping the difficulty of the encounters a little bit; once they face an encounter or two where everyone's using wands of fireball, flaming burst swords, invisibility potions and exploding crossbow bolts, they'll get the idea. And if they don't loot everything I just listed, just throw it at them again. That's all stuff that a level 7 character can reasonably expect to run into and most of it is cheap, expendable "cost of adventuring" type stuff (not the flaming burst sword, of course).

Of course, sometimes it's fun to run a campaign where player inventory lists look like "Club, improvised; crude, improvised hide armor; The Guard's helmet; Leather belt with belt buckle, 5' long; 3 arrows (no bow, mind you)"

Sample encounter to help gear them up at level 7:
Chaotic Evil level 6 elf bard with mithril breastplate, flaming crossbow, 10 bolts of +1d6 frost damage, potion of Eagle's Splendor x3. And a masterwork rapier. Bard optionally has some crossbowmen following him, who would each get one of his frost bolts.
Neutral Evil level 7 human cleric with full plate armor +1, tower shield +1, poisoned warhammer+1. Cleric has 3 skeleton minions and a bunch of necromancy feats (Skeletons do 1d4+3 damage, +1d6 negative energy; explode for 3d6 negative energy radius 30' reflex DC 16 for half, and negative energy heals them; 2 hd each). Just for fun give the cleric a couple of invisibility pots too.
Chaotic Evil ogre fighter 2 barbarian 2, large +1 chainmail, large +2 flaming spiked chain (

The level 5-7 evil wizard is going to be in his shop making a doomsday device. After all, we want the players to survive right?

Originally Posted by diremage View Post

Of course, sometimes it's fun to run a campaign where player inventory lists look like "Club, improvised; crude, improvised hide armor; The Guard's helmet; Leather belt with belt buckle, 5' long; 3 arrows (no bow, mind you)"
I ran a game like that. I loved it and my players loved it. But you certainly need the right kind of players and mindset to do it.

I think one of the PC's Character Sheets looked something like:
Deerskin cloak - back
Antler daggers - hands
Braided vines (rope); 10 feet - waist
A makeshift sled made out of a broken barrel

The "player's are not opening up the monsters to see if they have treasure inside like piņatas so it's their fault they're poor" thing.. eeh, i can't agree with you people there. Nor with throwing them a more difficult encounter so they start looting.

Some gaming groups loot everything not nailed to the floor; some won't steal from the dead or lack the knowledge that the foes are in fact piņatas, but have no problem helping themselves to a dragon's hoard; and some will only take things that are blatantly given to them as specific rewards absolutely needed to kill the BBEG.

Unless you're aiming specifically for a low gear campaign for the fun of it, you want your party properly equipped, regardless of their looting practice. That way they can fight proper monsters and not rats, as a DM you have less problem figuring out what CR should they fight, and as a storyteller you can have them grow in strength as the threats increase.

As for giving them loot, first figure out how much under the budget they are. Then, depending on their loot practices, drop the treasure on them in whichever form you prefer: a piņata foe, a hoard, magical gifts of awesomness from uber NPC wizard, your pick.
Since you are greatly upgrading their capabilities, you should also upgrade their foes, not only in CR, but in plot as well. As your party grows in power, so should the greatness of their deeds. Their BBEG of turn should now threatens kingdoms instead of villages.

You could just have their plot narrator npc (You know, the one who always goes, "I Have A Quest For Ye, Noble Adventurers") shower them with magic items. That gets boring after a while though, and in my opinion is way, way too reminiscent of WoW. But some people like to play the campaign like that.


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