Gold – Too much gained, too less to spend it on?

(This post is pre-DMG)

One of the concerns in the 5e is how to spend your gold. Since magic items aren’t for sale for now, dozens of adventurers are now sitting on enough gold to live their whole life in luxury, never needing to go out to adventure again. How could it happen, if one of the main reasons to become an adventurer is to get a lot of money in a short amount of time?!

LOOT!

Isn’t it much more natural to spend all the money in magic items, to get into even more dangerous dungeons to get even more valuable goods and sell them for even more money, so you can spend more lifetimes in luxury, even though you only have one… OK, I’ll stop being sarcastic, but everyone should consider, if the first thing a character would do with a lot of money would be buying magic weapons or other stuff.

Yes, after some adventuring your character may be lucky enough to call some treasures his/her own (especially after backstabbing his/her party members) and after life expenses, replenishment and one or two nights in a tavern (or more adult place) you (as the player) might wonder, what you can actually do with all this gold.

But after getting a hundred healing potions, enough material components to revive a whole village and other expenses, which are kinda useful or preventing, options will run dry. Even with downtime activities like Training, you won’t spend enough in time to balance out your incoming treasures.

So what to do?

Normally most characters would just retire, get a more safe job as a hobby (like pub owner for a tavern targeting adventurers) and start a new life. But that can’t work, since then the campaign would be over… or is that so? As a DM I wouldn’t generally make a campaign stop, just because the PCs got a new life, let the party reassemble again to fight a new evil, this time because they have a life to protect.

Other adventurers could seek nobility/titles or an own property, this will cost a lot of gold and these could be great adventure hooks, some adventures in the past would make the PCs to landowners, just to bring their land and people in danger.

A third way would be setting a goal, which will take humongous amount of money and other resources. Like building and support an orphanage in every town in your home country. Or to build a big organization which should be able to act over a whole continent. Or maybe you just want to support an organization you already belong to (like the Harpers), so they can expand their influence or at least break even.

The last way would be a very obvious choice: Have fun! Buy a house/villa, instead selling these art objects, shelve them or set them on display, hire some guardians and take the rest to taverns, partying every night, spend it on (wo)men, gamble and see how fast the bailiff will take your art objects and house away, while you still have debts to pay and need a fast way to get money again. Well, time to use the rest of your adventure gear, hoping that you could hide your vital items in time.

And if your character is just an adventure-junkie, seeking the excitement? He won’t need magic items, since they make dungeons less exciting (obviously!) and spend their money for information about the next adventure and the new episode may begin after spending a bit of time and a lot of money for it.
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But even those who are adamant about buying those magic swords, armors and other stuff: Don’t worry, this state of not being able to spend money on items won’t be permanent. The Dungeon Master Guide will come out and there will be advanced rules for magic items, those who played the playtest already know some of them. There were rules to sell items, so even if in the DMG won’t be any to buy them, you can still make your own basing on selling.

And I think the Eberron Campaign Setting will be the latest end, since Eberron is a world, where a lot of magic items exists and in the big cities magic is about everywhere you look.
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Personally, I like the fact, that magic items in normal campaigns are rare again. Somehow it just felt wrong to have a great among of those and a real market system, which considers those. Of course a magic sword could be on sell, but would a non-expert on magic items even know its value? Or just tag a price which seems higher than reasonable and smooth-talk adventurers into buying this Longsword +1 for 10.000gp, selling it for the most powerful weapon in existence?

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So for players: There are more ways to spend money but to gain more power. And DMs, just let your players see ways to spend their money on. Some players won’t be as happy with a character, who gets an actual life and want just the power of personal gear, instead military might, politic connections and other ways to get real power. Those player’s characters are sad people, which are small-minded, short-sighted and without a real drive.

But for now, you get a lot of money and only a few magic items, which means:
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Like good old times.

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