Thursday, September 06, 2012

The burden of treasure


Bullion weighs a lot and burdens the party down.  But sometimes the nature of the bullion weighs down even more.  I want to take a moment to consider the wonderful (mis)adventures that can rise from the successful return from a dungeon with a great deal of treasure.  What can the GM and players get going to create exciting settings and adventures derived from gaining a large amount of treasure.  Here are some ideas:

Old currency
It turns out those coins have been underground way too long and are no longer minted in the realm.  It turns out they have the current king's "not so appreciated" grandfather on them.  Thus you can't really use coins which are out of circulation unless you change them to new ones or melt them back to gold bars.  Good news is money tended to lose its value so you probably have more gold and silver in the old coins than in the newer ones.  Explaining ownership of 100 old coins is easy.  Explaining ownership of 50,000 old coins is quite another thing.  How do you trade in your old coins for new?

Ransom money
It turns out part of your treasure is specially minted coins used to pay for a noble's ransom.  Unfortunately the noble was found dead and the kidnappers never found at all.  It seems you're the newest lead to solving this case and in medieval settings that spells guilty.  How does your party escape persecution?  How did that money end up in the dungeon?  Can the party figure out the money trail left?  Go back and investigate the dungeon.  This opens up a nice little investigation in which the party must succeed before the local authorities catch up to them.

Currency from another realm
The better part of your treasure is in coins from another realm.  Unfortunately for you your kingdom is at war with that realm.  Ups!  Can't go around buying stuff with that money.  They might think you're the enemy come to shore to buy supporters and wreak havoc through sabotage and infiltration.  Birth certificates and passports to prove your nationality??? Come on this is the freaking middle ages.  Good luck using your hard earned cash.  The party is forced to flee and live on the run while the whole war settles and they can explain what happened.

Too much treasure
Ok ok, so there really isn't such a thing as too much treasure.  Just like there isn't such a thing as too much chocolate.  But lets be honest a lot of treasure will call a lot of attention.  Like I mentioned in my previous article.  Lords will want a share of that money.  Taxes will be an issue.  Too much money also threatens the lord if he believes your party could subvert the land with it.  How do you go about keeping the most possible amount of it?  What do you spend it in?  Remember all that money can buy a lot of influence.  Think of the local temple.  How does your party cleric feel about this?  Does he or she belong to the local temple?  If not what are the consequences of not supporting the local temple?  A creative GM can create interesting NPC that interact with the party, that have their personal agendas and seek the players to promote interest and support to their plans.  Lots of role playing opportunities here.
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