2019-01-01 Treasure Type Again

Looking at treasure types again, this time I’m taking the treasure types I postulated based on the ecology of the monster and comparing it to the ad-hoc treasure I assigned. Surely some of these new treasure types would result in a drastic increase or decrease in treasure value. Let’s see where the discrepancies lie and whether I can find an in-game explanation for it, or wether these monsters should get a different treasure type.

Treasure Types

None: bear, giant bee, giant beetle, boar, giant cat, centaurs, giant centipede, giant crab, crocodile, elephant, giant fish, giant goat, hell hound, horse, ifrit, jinni, invisible stalker, jinni, giant lizard, marid, pegasus, giant scorpion, sea serpent, shark, skeleton, giant snake, giant squid, giant toad, giant weasel, wolf, giant worm, zombie.

Previously, some of these monsters did in fact get treasure:

The bees’ gelée royale is worth 5000gp. I’m going to call that “ingredients” instead of “treasure”, much like the value the horn of a unicorn has.

Centaurs used to get about 8100gp on average. This is way too much, I think. Centaurs are wild and free, they don’t carry around hoards. Why should they care about treasure?

The elephants’ tusks are worth 700gp on average. Same thing: change the label to “ingredients.”

Hellhounds were guarding a treasure worth 1700gp. I think it’s OK to relegate them to guardians that don’t have any treasure themselves. Hellhounds or winter wolves are used by giants as guardians, for example, and thus the treasure they are guarding is the giants’ treasure, not their own.

Strangely enough, marid had huge treasures in their palaces but afarit and jinn did not. All three are usually found in a prison object, however. This makes no sense and thus marid get no treasure, just like the other two.

Giant scorpions don’t have any treasure, but if they are accompanied by warlocks, then the warlocks have treasure. Hm, what to make of this! Perhaps warlocks should be a separate monster category?


Poor: Intelligent creatures that live in ruins, finding the things others have left behind (giant apes, doppelgänger, gargoyle, goblin, frogling, gnoll, kappa, lycanthrope, minotaur, myconid, nixie, giant spider, treant). These have very little treasure.

I moved minotaurs here because they didn’t seem to be “robbers”.

Average treasure is 1000–2500gp. Except froglings get way too much treasure: 17000gp on average! I think we should be aiming for 1000gp.


Baubles: Creatures that collect shiny things like gems (golem, swamp crane).

Average treasure is either 200 or 800. I think it makes more sense to get rid of this treasure type. Swamp cranes should be treated like animals because they aren’t really all that poisonous. They make for a good intro adventure. No treasure is more appropriate. This leaves golems. We could simply move the gems to “ingredients” and remove them from the treasure discussion. So both of these move to “None.”

Humanoids: Creatures that live in settlements (halfling, human, lizard people). These have a lot of silver and gold coins and a lot of magic items, but few platinum coins, gems and jewelry.

The treasures I assigned without giving it greater thought shows a very uneven distribution. The average treasure haul for halfings is 1300gp, for lizard people it is 2300gp, but for humans it is 17000gp! This is an incredible amount for bandits, pirates, and villages. A tenth of that would be more appropriate.

I think we should aim for something like 2000gp.


Rich: Creatures that get presents from others (giant, gnome, rakshasa, vampire). They have a lot of coin but also gems, jewelry and magic items.

The treasure averages are in the range of 5300gp (vampire) to 11300gp (rakshasa). Fair enough. I think we should aim for something like 8000gp.

Robbers: Creatures that rob merchants and travellers (ettin, hobgoblin, manticore, ogre, orc, troll). They tend to have a lot of silver and gold coins, and some gems, but few magic items and no platinum coins.

The treasure averages are in the range 800gp to 4500 with a few of them at the upper end. I think that’s fair and the the ones at the lower end should probably be moved up. I think we should aim for something like 4000gp.

Ancients: Creatures that are remnants of ancient empires (elf, spectre). These have magic items and platinum coins.

Average value of treasure is 2400gp to 4100gp. That sounds OK, given that magic items have no gp value. I think we should aim for something like 3000gp.

Scouts: Creatures travelling in small groups (bugbear, tengu). These may have some magic items and some platinum coins, but very little else.

These are basically in the service of the “ancients”, so same mix, but less. I think we should aim for something like 1000gp. Currently the treasure averages are 1600gp and 1800gp.

Terrors: Creatures with magical powers cursing the land (basilisk, chimera, gorgon, harpy, hydra, medusa, naga, salamander, shadow). These treasures have a lot of magic items because of all the failed heroes that tried to kill them.

Treasure averages vary between none and 5300gp. I’m not sure what to think. Is too low? I think we should aim for something like 5000gp.

Dead: The graves yield what people bury with their dead, mostly coins and jewelry (creeper, ghouls, mummy, wight, wraith).

Treasure averages vary between 1600gp an 2000gp with mummies being the “outlier” with 4100gp. I think we should aim for something like 2000gp.

Tags: Halberds and Helmets


Updated the PDF!

– Alex Schroeder 2019-01-02 22:06 UTC

Interesting note: B/X Loot vs. Danger, using XP as a stand-in for danger. The use of XP as a measure for danger deserves a separate discussion. What do you think?

– Alex Schroeder 2020-05-26 13:59 UTC

Please make sure you contribute only your own work, or work licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. Note: in order to facilitate peer review and fight vandalism, we will store your IP number for a number of days. See Privacy Policy for more information. See Info for text formatting rules. You can edit the comment page if you need to fix typos. You can subscribe to new comments by email without leaving a comment.

To save this page you must answer this question:

Please say HELLO.