... now with 35% more arrogance!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Magic Item Distribution

I've been thinking a little about the way magic items are distributed. In the standard tables, there's a percentage chance that there will be a set number of magic items in a treasure trove, cache or hoard. For example, dervishes have a 60% chance of having three magic items of any type (the highest possible chance.) However, I've always felt that treasure finds should have more mundane items as distractors. If you don't have a lot of Scrolls of Budgeting, Potions of Perfume, or Helms of Bronze in treasure piles, it becomes pretty obvious when a magic item is present. There's no risk in trying to identify the truly magical stuff.

One of the vague ideas I've had is to interpret the percentage not as a die roll, but as a literal percentage: 60% of the precious items in a dervish treasure trove will be magical, up to a maximum of three items. Thus, you could roll a d6 for the number of items:

  1. mundane item only
  2. one mundane, one magic
  3. two mundane, one magic
  4. two mundane, two magic
  5. two mundane, three magic
  6. three mundane, three magic

Of course, that's still a little predictable, so I'm contemplating some other approaches.


  1. Since back when I played AD&D I've taken the DMG-suggested approach of turning some of the coin I'd roll up into that much worth of mundane stuff. 3000gp would mean 3000gp worth of stuff - weapons, armor, common items, adventuring equipment, etc. It's kind of a treasure-killer in that 100 gp worth of old swords won't sell for 100 gp. But on the other hand it adds verisimilitude to the treasure pile and sometimes the PCs really, really need something you just chucked into the pile.

  2. @Peter D - I had been doing something something similar with my Hoard for Every Treasure Type series. It's stalled at present since it sucks me dry of creativity for quite some time but I do intend to start it up again soon.