D&D Treasure

Handling D&D Treasure Troubles: Tips for Counting Coppers

Salutations, nerds! Today we’re going to talk about party funds and how to manage your gold flow in fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons. Hilarious that I’m the one talking about this one, right? If you have a Dungeon Master who doesn’t like to dole out a ton of treasure, or if you’re playing the early levels, here are some tips and tricks for making your gold pieces go farther and streamlining treasure distribution at the table.

D&D treasure troubles share the loot Waterdeep Dragon Heist
More gold, more problems. A gold dragon protects a pile of golden dragons as seen in the fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons Waterdeep: Dragon Heist. [Image courtesy Wizards of the Coast]

I got 99 coppers but a gold ain’t one

I’m going to put this in order of what I have found least to most helpful, so take some of these earlier ones with a grain of salt and a pinch of jest.

Maybe: Loot everything

Let’s start off with the obvious. If you’re really pinching pennies you’re going to want to do this, for sure. That goblin you just bisected? It probably has a couple of copper pieces and you know, ten of them make a silver.

I’m not suggesting you be that guy and rob every NPC you encounter blind, but if you kill it you have right of conquest. Let’s see what they’ve got in their pockets, shall we? Oh, and those swords the bandits who just jumped you were using? You can get some silver out of those. They’re probably poorly cared for and not worth their listed market value, but there’s going to be someone out there somewhere looking for a discount sword.

PS, don’t be a pain in the butt about this if you can avoid it. If you start pushing, “I take all the things off of this corpse including the clothes” your DM will pull “and all of that weighs about eighty pounds, are you encumbered yet?”

Maybe: Spend sparingly early on

I know, I know. Who wants to sleep in the communal tavern room and eat the crappy food? But when you get to a higher level you’ll thank yourself because you’ll have an easier time buying the really good stuff.

Then again, you should be making more gold at that point to, so it should even out on its own.

Maybe: Haggle

Not everyone likes to play this out, but that’s what Persuasion and Intimidate rolls are for. If you do like to play this out, haggling can be fun. That NPC offering to pay you to do something they don’t want to do? They can probably do a couple of silver better.

Just don’t lose sight of the fact the NPC is a person in this world and isn’t going to pay you enough to ruin you. And sidebar, if you start doing this, the DM will know and start their payments lower so they end up giving you the gold they actually wanted to give you anyway.

Long story short, haggle if you like to roleplay haggling, but realize there are pitfalls.

Strong maybe: Pit fight

I can hear you laughing but I’m actually 45 percent serious. If you use the downtime rules, prize fighting is legitimately the thing that pays off the most the most often. It’s almost like hitting people is more lucrative than having a normal job.

Your wizard probably isn’t going to be very good at this, given it involves a lot of physical skill checks, but roll for roll, this is the way you’re going to want to go. Low risk and lucrative.

Definitely: Have a designated treasurer

In my home game, we always have one designated player who writes down what all the treasure is and does the math to make sure everybody gets their share. We all know it’s a dick move to be that guy who finds a loot drop and doesn’t share, but when you have a treasurer writing it all down there’s no chance of that happening.

Give this role to a player everybody trusts to be fair, and that person will write down all the treasure throughout the game and at the end and/or during breaks, will divvy it up properly. Sometimes there’s some weirdness, as in the case of art objects or books that the party doesn’t want to sell, and the treasurer keeps track of that and divvies up the coins accordingly.

A word of warning, my party has gotten a little extra with this at times. We keep track of every copper piece. That said, though, it makes them happy to do it and far be it from me to ever tell anyone they are having fun wrong.

Definitely: Have the party satchel

If you keep up with Scarlet Sisterhood you’ve seen us do this, but one way to help the math with things like tavern stays and food consumption is to split the treasure into one extra share and make that share the general party bag.

This gold is set aside for things that benefit the entire party. It’s like adventurer’s insurance. Your average stay at the tavern is covered, your average meal is covered, any party bribes needed are covered, and if we all need to hire the same person we take it out of the party fund. This is great for those moments where no one in the party took the identify spell, as well.

In Scarlet Sisterhood we once let the paladin take gold from the community satchel to get better armor because we decided it would be beneficial to all of us in the long run. Your group might decide to let the wizard take gold from the party fund for specific spells that are beneficial to the party.

Whatever you decide to do, decide together.

Share the loot

How do you handle your gold distribution? Has this ever been a problem for you? Tell me your D&D treasure troubles in the comments below!

Thank you for your consideration and as always, until next time stay nerdy!

If you’re looking for ways to spend all that phat loot your adventurers save up, here’s a playlist of Nerdarchy classics with some ideas for you. And speaking of loot, there’s 500,000 gold pieces just waiting around in Waterdeep for a party of intrepid adventurers to make the big score — or at least keep the Xanathar, Jarlaxle, Manshoon or the Cassalanters from stealing. The newest Dungeons & Dragons adventure Waterdeep: Dragon Heist has been released!

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Speculative fiction writer and part-time Dungeon Master Megan R. Miller lives in southern Ohio where she keeps mostly nocturnal hours and enjoys life’s quiet moments. She has a deep love for occult things, antiques, herbalism, big floppy hats and the wonders of the small world (such as insects and arachnids), and she is happy to be owned by the beloved ghost of a black cat. Her fiction, such as The Chronicles of Drasule and the Nimbus Mysteries, can be found on Amazon.

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Speculative fiction writer and part-time Dungeon Master Megan R. Miller lives in southern Ohio where she keeps mostly nocturnal hours and enjoys life’s quiet moments. She has a deep love for occult things, antiques, herbalism, big floppy hats and the wonders of the small world (such as insects and arachnids), and she is happy to be owned by the beloved ghost of a black cat. Her fiction, such as The Chronicles of Drasule and the Nimbus Mysteries, can be found on Amazon.

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