Low Level Adventures & Monster Treasure

Yeah, I’ll be taking your treasure now. You kids have found some good stuff!, but don’t you be worrying about it, I won’t leave you empty handed, you see, I’ve got some advice for you to take with you. I know that you are going to hate me for this, but some day, you’ll be thanking me because if you are as good as I think that you are, you’ll be doing this to when you get to be my age too. I also know that you think that you’ve earned it, but let me tell you something. You didn’t earn nothing yet!

You want to talk about earning something, try staying up all night in the pouring rain and having to march all day on the next! Try having to leave your brother behind because he broke his leg any you’re surrounded by half-mad ogres! When you can survive a week on your own in the Troll Finns, THEN, young one, then you have earned it.

You see, we in the business call this paying your dues. You can’t just come into the city and expect to find work! This is my work, I’ve got enough competition around here without lazy little piles like you stealing from me. You’re lucky that Strumtum didn’t catch you before I did, he would have taken more then your treasure, and that is a promise. You see here you are a very tiny fish in a very big ocean, and you’d think with a population as big as this city has, that it could sustain just one more band of adventurers, but let me tell you, it can’t! We who stay here, and call this place home, we are cut-throats because we’ve got to be.

I’ll tell you what I’m going to do. I’m going to rent you a room for the night, and make sure that you get a decent breakfast, and then you and your friends here are going to leave this city, and I’ll tell you why you want to do that.

Out there in the country, they need people like you. Here wannabe adventurers are a dime a dozen, but out there beyond those walls, there are folks out there that are willing to work with you. You go find a town, a really small one, and you’ll find adventure, trust me. There are lots of bad things out there in the world right now, evil seems to be creeping up from the streets itself. You do that, you go to some little hole in the wall village that nobody’s ever heard of, and you call it home. You protect it, you make yourself known, you make yourself available, you make a real name for yourself, and you’ll get something that is worth more then this here treasure that I’m relieving you of, you’ll get respect!

Pay your dues. Folks like me and Strumtum are too damned old to be tramping around the countryside, besides, we’ve done our time doing that sort of thing. Our backs are twisted from sleeping on rocks, our bodies covered in scars, we’re tired, young one. But you aren’t, and that is exactly why you need to go out there. Leave the easy city-work to us old men, and you go take care of the crap that we can’t, and when you’re done, and if you survive it, you’ll find an empty soft bed that you can call home every night waiting for you long after I’m gone.

Well, I’ll be leaving you now. Once you get out of those ropes, you boys head on over to the Aging Dragon Inn and tell them that I sent you, they’ll fix you up good so that you can prepare for your journey.

City work is dangerous, yes you have more resources, better equipment, cheaper prices, and better chances to fence the stuff that you’ve earned for usable gold, however like the story above illustrates, the demographics aren’t in your favor. If you think about it, a large city has a huge population of real classed adventurers. The best fighters, the strongest wizards, the sneakiest thieves, hell there are probably Paladins in the city. This translates to loss of work, and it ruins a low level parties chance of success.

Leaving the city, and taking your adventures out into the country puts the demographics more in your favor, while a city houses hundreds, if not thousands of 1st level fighters, a tiny village being harassed by bandits probably has just 1 or 2 1st level fighters, if any at all!


A player can really give a DM a headache, and upset the balance of the game simply by collecting all of the enemies weapons after a melee and selling them. We can quickly snuff this kind of deal by not having a market for them to sell their wares. A small town’s shop will be centered around the industry that it has access too, of course some arms will always be present, for personal defense, but not enough of a market for the merchant to justify buying a large lot of swords.

Also, if one thinks about it, bladed weapons require care and maintenance to keep them in functioning order, a classed humanoid may properly care for his weapon, but as a general rule, it is up to you to determine how industrious the humanoid in question is. A goblin horde with their own weapon-smith would be very dangerous! Typically a goblin will own a weapon which he found or stole from some place, and he won’t have the common sense, or know-how to properly maintain it. Instead, he’ll just replace the old dull blade with a better one from defeated enemies. More often then not, humanoids will use weapons that don’t require that much care, your bludgeoning-type weapons would be more desirable to them then a sharp blade, unless they know how to sharpen it, it would only serve well for a week or two, maybe less under lots of use.

Because of this, whenever we roll a 1 or a 20 with a humanoid weapon (or any found weapon really), we’ll roll a saving throw for the item against crushing blow. A broken weapon will have to be replaced. I know that lots of fighters, who when they change weapons, just drop what they were using and draw the new one to save on attack time, well a humanoid would be all over that! A good sharp sword would be a rarity, and something to risk your life for.

Armor is much the same way, the many humanoids don’t wear armor, especially not sophisticated stuff because it needs to be oiled and hammered out too, and they just don’t have access to that kind of skill. A critical hit (or a 20 since I don’t really use crits) would also have to make a saving throw else lose a point or be ruined completely depending on the situation and how the DM wants to call it.

Any found weapon or armor would be subject to this rule, with the exception of an enchanted weapon. Enchanted items are more durable and can be left unattended for long periods of time, they are magic! They cut through sharpening stones, resist bending, and repair themselves on their own. At lower levels of play, however, one is typically dealing with +1 weapons, these aren’t necessarily enchanted, they are just of a better quality then the normal blade. Their cost should be double, but if a 1 or a 20 is rolled, you can enforce the item saving throw, if it is failed, the blade doesn’t break, but the +1 is gone. Of course you should modify this saving throw in the players favor, because this is a quality sword and should be able to put up with some punishment. I have heard of folks giving items hit points which I suppose works, but is just way to much paperwork for my liking.

In other words, what I just did was lowered the value of humanoid weapons. They are tarnished and dull and junk, who is going to buy them? I suppose that a really industrious player could restore the blades, but would that really be worth their while?

Food for thought!


Jayson said...

Fascinating thoughts here, and timely in my case, as the group I'm running is showing signs of getting into the business of selling anything they can get their hands on--I needed the reminder that there isn't always a market.

Heck, even if the PCs come into a trove of usable arms (Keep on the Borderlands has a big one), and works out the logistics of moving it all back, they may end up having no options except donating it to the local town's militia. Or perhaps the Castellan appropriates it for the war effort!

Nope said...

Haha classic intro!

RipperX said...

hey, welcome back kaeosdad! I've missed you :)

Tkhamon said...

I love it. I encourage my players to be industries and find ways to market their goods, but if things get out of hand I can always use a shift in demand to kill the "cash cow."

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