Monday, August 2, 2021

Even Simpler Treasure Codes

I wanted to take a break from endless treasure codes posts, but they keep reeling me back in…

I started a thread on the OD&D forums to get more feedback, and got some that caused me to think of alternatives to making the system even simpler. Two of the main goals of coming up with a new treasure system are:

1. Keeping the codes short but readable, and
2. Reducing the amount of die-rolling.

Switching to roman numerals for base values and reducing the main treasure codes to three is good, but as waysoftheearth pointed out in the thread, having two capital letters with two completely different domains of interpretation right next to each other can cause confusion. But if we replace the codes B, E, and A with actual words like “coins”, “gems”, and “magic”, or even use the standard coin abbreviations in place of “coins”, we still have a fairly short descriptive phrase while making things easier to understand.

We could also eliminate the need for a “chance of treasure” index by making the target number for a d20 roll = HD +/- hp modifier. So, a 1+2 HD creature has treasure on 3 or less on d20 (because 1+2 = 3.)

This still leaves the roll for “how much treasure”. One thing I considered early on, but couldn’t figure out how to do, was making the chance roll the same as the quantity roll. But we could use the chance roll result to set the quantity as well.

So let’s try this treasure code format:

5+1 HD monster, gp D, gem C x10, magic

How to use this code:

1. Roll 1d20 for coins. If <= 6 (HD + hp adds,) there are coins.
2. Multiply the result by 4 for number of containers. The code gp tells us these are gold coins. The roman numeral D tells us there are 500 gps per container.
3. Roll 1d6 per HD (in this case, 5d6.) Count the number of 1s and 6s you get, tracking them separately. Multiply each by the d20 result for the number of containers of coins of lower value and higher value.
4. Repeat Steps 1 and 2 for gems. In this case, if there are gems, also multiply the result by x10. This is the total number of gems of base value C (100 coins in value.) You can skip figuring out higher/lower value gems until a PC tries to appraise them.
5. By default, the roll for jewelry is the same as the roll for gems, even if not listed. However, some codes may say “no jewelry” or give a different value/multiplier.
6. Roll 1d20 for magic or other items. If <= HD/2, round up (in this case, 3,) there are items in the treasure. The result is the number of special items, but the target number (HD/2) is the total number of items, so there may be “duds”.
7. Roll 1d6 per special item. On a 5+, it’s a treasure map. Otherwise, it’s magic.