5E D&D

D&D Treasure — When Gold Isn’t Enough

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When it comes to rewarding players in Dungeons & Dragons, there is gold and silver coins, magic items, titles, and more. But what if that isn’t enough or your player’s characters don’t care about that? This is an an issue that came up in a recent game of mine. Now I’m left diagnosing what to do. You ever hear someone, but still not really hear them? I thought I knew where my player was coming from. I was still way off base as the Dungeon Master. In retrospect it seems my player really craves and feels rewarded from the bonds in the game more so than the accumulation of standard D&D treasure. Now there were other types of D&D treasure injected in the game. There was a mystical chalice that refills each day with the feyglo. Or the kind, old crazy woman who adopted the pair of goblin clowns. Maybe she wasn’t a traditional type of D&D treasure, but the players really seemed to enjoy their interactions with her.

5E D&D treasure — is gold in Dungeons & Dragons useless?

I feel bad as a Dungeon Master for not recognizing the nature of the problem until near the end of the campaign. That being said it’s an opportunity for me to learn to be a better DM. The takeaway will be understanding this particular player better to improve our experience at the gaming table whether we are playing 5E D&D or another role-playing game.

Quote from Anthony from the comment he left on our D&D treasure video

“Dave and Ted keep making videos about my quibbles but misrepresenting my opinions. Gold is as useful to role-playing as it is detrimental. Maybe I don’t want to play a rich character? Maybe I built a character that wants to be an adventurer, a rambler, self sufficient, doesn’t like showing off wealth? Maybe I’m playing a character who’s main goal is to get money but if they do get that money then they don’t have any more reason to go out adventuring?

Saying things like go buy a castle or fancy clothes or hire servants are only solutions for characters that want those things or players who want to see their characters get those things. Did my character start down the path of a ranger, monk or druid so they could buy stuff and own keeps? I generally don’t play a fantasy game to fulfill/live out aspects of the real world I don’t like such as vanity, capitalism, or banal life issues so telling me to go buy stuff and show off your wealth isn’t fun or meaningful to me, This doesn’t mean I want the game to be a video game.

Also even if I took the money seriously there is just a point/level where it stops being appropriate to the magnitude of the concerns of the party. Getting a 200,000 gp value gem when your trying to save the world from a demon invasion and you already have a city you built that serves you seems like a pretty weak reward from the GM not because the player isn’t role-playing enough to understand what they can buy with gold but because the GM isn’t reading the characters values/situation at all.

If I’m on a sinking boat and my rescuers toss me a bar of gold I’m gonna give them dirty looks as I sink. “Hey what did you do with that gem? Oh we bought another village or two a couple miles down the road from our castle.” Hardly seems like good role-play anyway. But that example is silly in its simplicity you say? Want to get more involved in it? OK but I’m not playing a fantasy role-playing game to play CIV or Mall Madness. Getting racks of gold also is a incredible problem from the GM if the setting isn’t right. If we work out of a podunk town on the border of the wild lands with a probable total value of under 100 gp, that doesn’t sell anything that costs more then a few silver, then coming back to that town with 1000 gp seems sorta pointless.

Are we suppose to move our campaign to a bigger city so we can show off our wealth? What if we like this podunk town and the people in it for role-playing reasons? The challenges and problems a party faces in a D&D campaign are not money problems generally so money rewards are not rewards if they cannot be turned into help solving those challenges and problems.

Who is at fault ? The player that says gold isn’t a reward to their character or the GM that keeps rewarding them with gold? Who is role-playing poorly?” – Anthony Amato

I’ve been playing D&D from first edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons all the way up to 5E D&D. Our current group, as well as my first gaming group, have played a ton of different RPGs. The thing is no matter how long you’ve been playing RPGs there are always things to take away from them, whether it’s different players you haven’t played with before or new games you have never played before.



5E D&D treasure Dungeon Master
Did someone say something about a reward? A big ol’ hoard like that could very well hold a magic sword of great power.

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Follow Dave Friant:
My name is Dave Friant I've been gaming off and on for over 27 years. But here is the thing it's always been a part of my life I've kept secret and hidden away. I've always been ashamed of the stigma that gaming and my other nerdy and geeky pursuits summon forth. Recently I decided screw it! This is who I am the world be damned. From now on I'm gonna be a geek, nerd, or however folks want to judge me and just enjoy life. Currently one of my greatest joys is introducing my 13 yr old son to table top RPG's.

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