|By Nicolas Uvena-Stefanovich Licensed under Creative Commons|
"Wait, what are you doing?"Last week, I had a post about hunting dragons in which I said:
"If you don't put loot in the dungeon, Kovath, then the adventurers won't come to be killed."
"Right, but you can't put that there."
"Because if you put it there, one of the gnolls is going to pick it up and use it."
"And that's... bad?"
"I don't have time to go into gnoll tribal politics right now but trust me, a puissant, flaming, very fine broadsword of penetration will NOT be good for our population numbers."
"Fine. Fifty random coins, then, whatever."
"Don't pout, Zarlazz. It's a nice sword. We can give it to one of the wights."
"All of that said, there is such a thing as too much treasure, and I'm not sure where that line goes for DFRPG yet."To which the esteemed Peter V. Dell'Orto of the DungeonFantastic blog commented in response to me, saying:
After he said that it got me thinking, and I reached out to my players (I've got 7 who've hit a dungeon with me so far). We determined pretty quickly that it would take multiple millions of $ to zero out most delver's wishlist forever, even assuming all those items could be found on a shelf in the shop. It's quite likely that (contrary to my previous statements) there is no sane tipping point after which delvers have too much stuff.
"I'm really curious to see you expand on this. With such a limited supply of purchasable magic items, treasure seems like it'll pretty much be better mundane weapons, better mundane armor (and armor is highly pricey), potions, and healing. Even with pre-DFRPG pricing, which was lower, I had to dramatically increase the treasure in my dungeons just to keep pace. So I'm wondering where you see this line being, and when treasure becomes too much."
What does that shopping list look like?
In theory, you could have a Torc of Exemplary Humanity (as one of my players called it) with +5 ST, HT, DX, IQ and Per for $1,025,000. That's a cool million. That doesn't include a weapon, so let's assume a swashbuckler: the balanced, very fine, orichalcum, silver coated, ornate edged rapier ends up costing $64,000 without enchantments. If we add accuracy, defending, ghost weapon, loyal weapon, penetrating weapon, icy weapon and puissance at their max levels we end up with another $817,000 and we aren't even done. For armor, the aformentioned swashbuckler would probably like what I presently consider to be the world's best adventuring armor combo. First, a fine spidersilk ornate lightened suit of cloth for a total of $18700, 2 DR and only 6.75 lb. Second, a spiked, ornate, dwarven, orichalcum, fine suit of epic plate (only 23.76 pounds and an incredible 10 DR) for $648,000, but why stop there, lets take it to the next level and lighten that ($10k, down to 11.88 lb) and add max levels of Deflect ($400k) and Fortify ($160k) to land us at $1.218 million. There's no adventuring gear in this list, but I've already cleared $3 million assuming you pay sticker price and don't suffer any markups for having to custom order something so insane or pay a mad enchanting markup for speed.
So, why was I convinced such a thing as too much money existed? In a completely different game (in GURPS using the Monster Hunter supplements set in the present day) I gave players ridiculous bounties for completed missions. If magic items aren't available to soak up money, it turns out you can buy everything you care to carry pretty easily. My players got to the point of buying a decommissioned missile silo and several wheeled, floating and flying vehicles "just in case", after which they continued to find silly things to spend it on, but none of it was meaningful. My players found it fun, but all it added to play was a sense of crazy wish fulfillment shopping spree. I could no longer motivate my players with greed (which was fine in that game since they all had other reasons to do what they did) or use money as an obstacle for them. In the end, I don't regret giving them their shopping spree, but wish I'd taken longer to get there in the campaign. I was somewhat worried I'd be facing the same issue with DFRPG, but I'm increasingly convinced it's not a real problem and I nod to the wisdom of Peter in this matter. If anything, I'm convinced that the rate at which loot gets handed out needs to keep going up as there is a gap between the price point on good mundane gear and incredible magical items that's pretty large.
What about your games? What's the most money you've seen thrown around? Did it cause problems?