2014-08-27 Treasure

Johnn Four asked on Google+: “I haven’t run a treasure-based XP game in a long, long time. I have also never designed one. What’s the general process for planning out a treasure-based adventure?”

I said that I find the key to be the following:

  1. distribute treasure and threats such that they correlate roughly; an occasional outlier is great, though: a dragon and no treasure, some lizard men with an incredible fortune, it’s the stuff players talk about; also variable ratio schedule for reinforcement makes players want to come back!
  2. have enough threats for the players to go on and on at their chosen risk level
  3. have enough pointers to more risky and more rewarding stuff (temptation!)

Thus, if players are level 5 and want to keep fighting goblins, they will practically not gain a level anymore. If they want to level up, it’s time to face those trolls or rob that castle…

It’s harder to design the minimum number of rooms per levels for a megadungeon and the mean treasure parcels you want per level. You can do that, sure. I hate this kind of work. That’s why I just design open ended dungeon (if at all): if you explore further, I’ll add further! (Between sessions)

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