Gold Ain’t No Thang

I’m breaking my hiatus.  I can’t promise I’ll update regularly, but I have started a new campaign so I’ll have a few things on my mind.  This is as good a place as any to get them off my chest.  Plus it seems like people keep checking in periodically by the site statistics, so I figure I’ll put something up.  This is going to be far more stream of consciousness than my previous posts, though, so be warned.  I tend to meander sometimes.

One thing that came to my mind today was gold.  It’s a motivating factor in D&D games going all the way back…but it isn’t anymore really, is it?  Your average peasant probably makes a handful of gold per year.  Yet by the time a party of 5 first level adventurers reach 2nd level, they should amass a fortune worth 720 gp plus 3040 gp worth of magical items.  That’s 752  gp each.  That is more gold than your average craftsman would earn in his entire lifetime.  Another 1072 gp should be received by the time they reach 3rd level would be a fortune.  Why not retire?  Live in a life of luxury for the rest of his days, similar to what Bilbo Baggins did.  One adventure and he lived out his days with his treasure.  Why aren’t your characters doing the same?

Gone are the days where your DM nickels and dimes you for every little thing.  There used to be tables for tracking the wear and tear on your boots so you’d have to have them cobbled or replaced.  Tracking every crossbow bolt, arrow, meal…when you’d be lucky to find a few silver on the corpse of the fallen, picking up their gear just so you could sell it to get more jerky for the next delve.  If your DM still makes you do this, you know he played back in the day when this was the norm.  But after first level, there’s not even a reason to keep track of non-magical projectiles.  With just a single treasure parcel in 4e, you can buy enough arrows, bolts, daggers, throwing axes, or anything else you can throw at an enemy.  More than you can carry even.  So what’s the point of tracking non-magical items anymore?  Even tracking healing potions can get cumbersome by 7th or 8th level.

So if you’re so rich so quickly in your adventuring career, why do you keep doing it?  Well, odds are there’s a plot going on as to why everyone’s doing it.  They have to stop Big Bad Evil Guy from his Big Bad Evil Plans don’t they?  But even that may not be enough depending on your game.  It actually came to me as I was writing this out.  The Deadliest Catch.  Those guys risk life and limb to go out on boats and hunt crab.  Why would they put themselves through that?  Because for two weeks of work, they can earn more than I’ve made in any single year in my entire life.  And the sort of people who sign up for missions like that tend to be the sort who thrive on that level of excitement anyway.  So yes, I’m saying the reason your characters keep poking dragons with sticks and walking into crypts they know have mummies and zombies and skeletons and liches is because they’re the same as base jumpers.  It’s not about the money, it’s about the glory.

Published in: on February 19, 2011 at 4:42 AM  Leave a Comment  
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