I am a fan of the training rules. A trend I've noticed in lower level published adventures is that the treasure the PCs can acquire never seems to keep up with the gold they'll need for training. The PCs end up being stuck at a level after they’ve gained enough experience points to advance, or they’re forced to sell the few magic items they come across. It’s like there’s a fear of being perceived as too Monty Haul. It’s a trend that has shown up in the dungeons I’ve designed, by using the modules as guidelines. I’ve been going through some of the encounters I’ve designed and adding more loot to account for the expenses.
T1 seems to be the exception in published adventures. The massive haul the party gets after defeating Lareth seems to be designed to cover NPC expenses and training costs.
Once you get over 4th level or so this doesn’t seem to be a problem.
Don't worry the PCs can do town chores like chase foxes out of barns and find the lost milk maid for 20 sessions to waiver training costs.. I'd laugh but I was in a hideous campaign like that in the early 90's!
I didn't consider B2 since I'm not sure what the training costs are, if any, in Basic.
I’ve been reading/running Castle Zagyg, which is ostensibly a D&D dungeon, and I do like the dungeon material, but the treasure is peanuts. Dark Chateau is similar. Same is true for adventures like Bone Hill, Reptile God, the U series, most of the under 5th level stuff.
It’s bad enough if you fudge it and say every player was perfect in their behavior and only has to pay the minimum, but if you do rate based on performance like you’re supposed to, and throw the recommended monthly expenses on top of it too, the rules break down. Or you're chasing foxes and looking for milkmaids.
Post by geneweigel on Jul 22, 2014 10:59:55 GMT -5
I think the way to address this correctly would be to ignore any qualms about treasure rules.
I think that this is THE biggest hang up of the Lorraine Williams D&D era. I recall this DM in 1987 just babbling about withholding more treasure in accordance with a Dragon article and everyone having a look of exasperation and yet if someone said the same thing today they would be looked at like a legendary gaming master by all.
In Second Edition some of the behaviors of First Edition like winning treasure on a mean are completely removed for a mistaken view of this paragraph in the DMG (1979) pages 91=92
All monsters would not and should not possess treasure! The TREASURE TYPES given in the MONSTER MANUAL are the optimums and are meant to consider the maximum number of creatures guarding them. Many of the monsters shown as possessing some form of wealth are quite unlikely to have any at all. This is not a contradiction in the rules, but an admonition to the DM not to give away too much! Any treasure possessed by weak, low-level monsters will be trifling compared to what numbers of stronger monsters might guard. So in distributing wealth amongst the creatures which inhabit the upper levels of dungeons/dungeon-like areas, as well as for petty monsters dwelling in small numbers in the wilderness, assign it accordingly. The bulk of such treasure will be copper pieces and silver. Perhaps there will be a bit of ivory or a cunningly-crafted item worth a few gold pieces.
"Meant to consider the maximum number of creatures" often was ignored to mean you should roll even less for a mean number. (Of course, this didn't give any logical reason for 2E to gut the entire system but I thought it should be mentioned considering how many people think 2E is exactly the same as AD&D)
How I handle it is complicated. I use many factors.
The 1E random dungeon generator is something I still use as inspiration. The treasure table there is poverty inducing. When I hear stories about Gary DMing, he was nothing like that. There was always healthy treasure to be found, even on the first dungeon level. 'You kill the giant centipedes and discover a cleric scroll in the nest litter.' 'There are a handfull of gems in the pouch of the beetles' last victim. Etc. Nothing over the top, but it seemed to keep up with the expenses that were expected from the PCs. There are also many stories of him throwing monsters at the PCs that were way too tough for them, to see if they were smart enough to run away. This has been the source of many 'killer DM' stories told by those players that weren't.
I am a fan of the training rules. A trend I've noticed in lower level published adventures is that the treasure the PCs can acquire never seems to keep up with the gold they'll need for training... T1 seems to be the exception in published adventures. The massive haul the party gets after defeating Lareth seems to be designed to cover NPC expenses and training costs.
I often wonder if it could be due to many DMs, even in the early days, not using the training rules. Didn't EGG say he didn't use them? Or at least that he didn't use them all the time?
For example Eric was notably penurious, yet it never stopped us from advancing in levels. Eric was into that low-powered philosophy even before it became a thing in the late 80's.
I was just talking to Wes about it last night, and Wes was remembering how Eric would do things like have our spell-books get stolen when we were low level. So we would have to play an episode or two as low level magic-users without spells, or magic items -- just AC 10 guys in robes with daggers. Wes said we should have given up magic-use, because at least then we could have worn armor and used swords and hired ourselves out as men-at-arms!
Some DMs are just like that: they want to keep you poor and hungry and put the screws to you.
Personally, I don't like the training rules. They feel too much like an arbitrary game-mechanic and illogical as well. Who trains the highest level guy in each profession? But I don't like poverty, either. Turning the players into penny-pinching accountants goes against the spirit of the game, IMO, so I'd rather they have a bit too much rather than too little, to be able to do things they want like buy equipment, hire henchmen and hirelings, buy horses, etc.
I think in many cases maybe it was a lack of familiarity with the training rules, but EGG was never selfish in his AD6D modules. I don't know how many AD&D campaigns he DMed. Almost all of the gaming stories you hear are OD&D, and I can't remember if there were training costs.
You never need a trainer. It's just faster without one, and once you hit a certain level everything is self-trained.
Post by geneweigel on Jul 23, 2014 16:44:42 GMT -5
I just spelled out all the money yield by dungeon level according to original 1974 D&D:
For each room 33% chance monster, if monster 50% chance of treasure, if no monster 16.66% chance of treasure, silver always in treasure, gold 50% in treasure, gem/jewelry/magic in treasure as indicated by level
I ran another session in my Greyhawk Dungeon last night. My son Gavin (Finn, a 3rd level fighter), my nephew Mike (Leoric, 1st level fighter), and a group of NPCs. Hagerstaad (1st level dwarf fighter), Tharendell (1/1 gray elf fighter/magic-user), Saul (1st level cleric), Ingo (gnome 1/1 fighter/thief), and Mazlin (1st level magic-user). Mike tried to convince Gavin that the party was too big, and they’d have to split up the treasure and experience too many ways, five would be fine, but Gavin thought it was too dangerous to cut anybody. They entered the dungeon via a cave on the side of the bluff where the castle sits. The elves and half-orcs that guard the entrance greeted the returning adventurers and opened the gate to the 1st dungeon level. The party proceeded to an unexplored section to the north, along the way passing a barricaded hallway where two goblins sneered at them as the passed, and another where orcs threatened them if they didn’t leave. They worked their way up a bone littered 20’ wide passageway that reeked of a feral, musky odor that got stronger the further north they went. The bones were all cracked, gnawed, etc. An archway to the east accessed an abandoned wine cellar. They tried a door north, but gave up after one try to force it open. Further north up the 20’ hallway it opened into a 60’ x 30’ area with a well in the center. They could not tell how deep the well was, and continued north. Another archway to the east accessed another old wine cellar, this one strung with webs. Michael/Leoric looked up and saw a large black widow spider directly above the door. It dropped on the party, and two more spiders came racing through the webs. The party killed the spiders without much fuss. IN the room they found a drained gnome corpse with a pouch of coins. A door south, towards the stuck door they left previously, was also stuck, and they moved on after one try to force it. Across the hallway to the west they discovered a room heaped with garbage and broken equipment, all of it covered with urine and dung. The poked around tentatively and were attacked by four giant centipedes. The bugs came up through the garbage at different locations, one under Mazlin. The magic-user was bitten and was killed by the poison. The rest of the party killed the bugs quickly. There was a very short discussion about heading to town, or continuing on. Nobody else was wounded, and Saul and Tharendell still had there spells, so they decided to continue up the 20’ passage. Heading north the passage ended a short distance further. The bones were heaped here. A portion of the wall collapsed to the east near the end of the passage. As they approached, a giant wolverine rushed out of a tunnel behind the collapse. It sprayed them with a musk that blinded everybody except Finn and Leoric, and everybody lost 4 points of Str, Dex, and Con. Every round of the melee for initiative I rolled a 2 first, and then Gavin rolled a 1. Finn hit, Leoric missed. The beast lunged at Finn, I rolled three single digits for its claw/claw/bite routine, all misses. The next round both fighters missed. The wolverine attacked Leoric, three hits, Leoric went down. Finn stood alone with the monster and killed it 2 rounds later after taking some serious damage. The party decided to go back to town. After Saul cast a heal on Finn and Leoric they headed home, all of the NPCs still blind. They used a rope to keep the party together. Leoric worried that the orcs or goblins would attack if the party seemed too weak, so they did their best to fake it as the passed their guard posts. The humanoids gave them more dirty looks and hurled a few insults about they way they smelled, but did not attack. Just as they thought they were home free they ran into a wandering group of 7 bullywugs. After hurling javelins, the batrachians hopped to attack (hop = charge). The froggies were using spears, good for double damage on a charge, and they inflicted heavy damage on the banged up party, Finn taking 12 points from a single, max, double damage hit. Finn and his blind companions fought desperately. After several rounds the bullywugs were dead, and the dwarf and elf were unconscious. The dragged themselves back to the cave of the elves and half-orcs, who let them rest a bit there before they limped back to town.
It was a fun, dramatic expedition, but again the treasure haul was pathetic, a few coins in the pouch of the gnome corpse. The treasure in the re-stocked part of the level, and the levels below are probably more appropriate for the by the book training rules.
Mike tried to convince Gavin that the party was too big, and they’d have to split up the treasure and experience too many ways, five would be fine, but Gavin thought it was too dangerous to cut anybody.
This part made me laugh. Mike seems to be like a lot of players, not wanting to share treasure with NPC's. You know, as if NPC's are somehow qualitatively different from the PC's point of view (as in "You're just an NPC -- a second-class nobody run by the DM -- and you don't deserve a share of the treasure!")! That always makes me think of Eric as a player, too. Greed has been the cause of death for many parties. But Gavin thought it was too dangerous to cut anybody from the team... good for him. Like father, like son!
Last Edit: Aug 11, 2014 12:45:29 GMT -5 by GRWelsh
I am going to try to make the next game night. I’ve decided that I am woefully inexperienced with port. I’ve bought a few bottles and have been waiting for the right company to share it with. If the mountain won't come to Muhammad then Muhammad must go to the mountain.
The not-having-enough-to-pay-for-training issue is mostly a problem for thieves and clerics - fighter and MU (and multi-class) XP requirements are high enough that it's more likely they'll have accumulated 1500 GP in loot by the time they hit 2nd. I'm okay with that, on the understanding that thieves are likely to get their training from a guild and clerics from a temple, both of which will likely to be trade service for gold. So they only have to pay 1000 GP (or however much they have) but they also have to perform some mission on behalf of the guild or temple - possibly immediately, possibly held in reserve as a future obligation.
Regarding treasure generally, at low level the results are always "swingy" and it's likely the players will go several sessions earning miniscule treasure (handfuls of coins; barely enough to break even, especially if they're using up lots of oil flasks, etc.) but then they'll break though and get a big treasure with gems, jewelry, and/or magic items that will be worth several times everything else they found combined. I think that's a nice dynamic for new players - at first they think the game is really hard, bordering on impossible, and are probably starting to get discouraged but then BANG they hit a rich score and it's thrilling and they're hooked