Friday, February 23, 2018

Treasure for Dungeon Fantasy from AD&D

I took a bit of a break from schoolwork the other day and tallied up the lair treasure for every monster in the AD&D Monster Manual, using the worth of each treasure type in this post.

Why that Monster Manual? Well, I own a copy, which isn’t unusual in of itself (I own the core Monster Manual for every edition other than 3.0 and 4, and I’m including the Rules Cyclopedia and Monsters & Treasure). This version is the work of one man, Gary Gygax, and presumably this means we have the nearest to a consistent old school vision in it. It doesn’t key treasure to the Encounter Level or Challenge Rating, which were always prone to error, and instead uses those ugly user unfriendly letter codes.

Anyways, once I typed it up, I analyzed it. I added the Creature Type from the D&D Monster Manual 3.5, wanting to see if there were trends in the data. And there were, and I’m going to apply what I learned to GURPS Dungeon Fantasy, to give guidelines for treasure for it, by monster class. This is to help me assign treasure to monster lairs that are not in D&D.

Keep in mind that this is lair treasure, not personal treasure, and you have to keep in mind how many of that monster makes a lair. Men are rich, but there’s 100-200 in an average lair, and that’s just the combatants. Many of these monsters also have entries for noncombatant women (the sexism in gaming shines through 40 years later) and young. If you have a gang of 10 bandits, there’s no way they should have the full treasure listed.

You also should keep in mind how tough the monster is. These tallies come from the mean treasure worth of those monsters with treasure. If you’re granting loot to demon lords, you should give them twofold these numbers.

I'm leaving out individual treasure. Just use the guideline on p. 49 of GURPS Dungeon Fantasy Adventure 1: Mirror of the Fire Demon, which is (2d-2) × $5 in coins. You can lower it to (1d-1) × $1 for the kobolds.

Also, I'm using the conversion of an AD&D gold piece being worth $1 in GURPS. I'm pretty sure +Peter V. Dell'Orto came up with that. My numbers for each treasure type comes from a forum post on Dragonsfoot; another gives the average value of things like gems, jewelry, and magic items, letting me convert magic item XP to actual items.

Animal. These guys usually don’t have treasure. The exception is if they’re bigger than SM 0 and live in the water, like sharks and whales. If so, they might have treasure—sharks may be near loot that fell off of delvers they ate, and whales may have swallowed loot along with delvers. There isn’t much rhyme or reason as to which underwater monsters have loot, but if one should have some, give it (8d-7) × $1,000 in loot and 1d-3 magic items.

Construct. No treasure. No exceptions. Whoever made them or owns them might have some, but constructs always have Wealth (Dead Broke).

Dire Animal. In D&D terms, these guys are the dumber Magical Beasts, with the smarter ones, like blink dogs, being either Faerie or Mundane. These guys often do have treasure, and they tend to be smarter and have slightly more numbers than the ones who don’t have any. Give them (2d-2) × $1,000 in loot and 1d-3 magic items.

Demon. Oh boy, are these guys loaded. Well, some of them. The big mass of Demons have little to no loot, so don’t be awarding hordes to doomchildren. (AKA “demon dolls” to my players. Incidentally, something related to my game of a couple of weeks ago that I forgot to put in the log is that Roman, one of the players, tried mapping, and threw in the towel after about two rooms when he tried to follow all the twists and turns my wife put in there. She was proud when I told her.)

Anyways, back to loot. A Demon with loot should not be Bestial or have Slave Mentality and have at least IQ 7. They’re going to be at least as big as a man (excepting imps and quasits, who honestly shouldn’t have any loot, much like constructs, since they’re typically serving someone); leave out the foot soldiers of evil. Give them (10d-7) × $1,000 in loot and 1d magic items.

Oh, and counting imps as Demons—I find this whole Blood War to be meaningless background for 99.9% of all D&D games. Demons and Devils are evil, come from another plane, and we can kill them. That they don’t like each other is interesting but hardly important to the key thing, which is killing them, saving the innocents, and taking their stuff. (The demons’ stuff, that is. Maybe the stuff of the innocents too; we’ll get to humans in a bit.) Seriously, you all spend too much ink on this crap.

Divine Servitor: They usually will have bosses, but if they are showing up on their off-time, treat them the same as Demons: (10d-7) × $1,000 in loot and 1d magic items.

Elder Thing. Befitting what they are, these guys defy classification. For the most part, the dumb ones shouldn’t have loot; give it to their bosses. (Many low-level Aberrations in AD&D, like rust monsters and carrion crawlers, do have treasure, likely to reward low-level delvers, but these aren’t Elder Things in Dungeon Fantasy.) Give them (12d-9) × $1,000 in loot and 1d-1 magic items.

Elemental. The standard elementals, being typically summoned, do not have treasure. Their mightier counterparts will have some unless they’re air elementals (Roger De Bris: "I don't know about tonight. I'm supposed to be the Grand Duchess Anastasia, but I think I look more like Tugboat Annie. What do you think, Mr. Bloom?” Leo Bloom: "Where do you keep your wallet?”) For those who can hold loot (Princess Leia: “The more you tighten your grip, Tarkin, the more star systems will slip through your fingers”), they will have (6d-6) × $1,000 and 1d-4 magic items.

Faerie. Faerie always have loot. D&D might be a little tighter with the definition of Fey than Dungeon Fantasy is with Faerie; there aren’t many published examples. For example, I’d call unicorns Faerie, but D&D calls them Magical Beasts, much as it deems harpies Monstrous Humanoids whereas Dungeon Fantasy calls them Faerie. Medusae in D&D are also Monstrous Humanoids, but are Mundane in Dungeon Fantasy. I get it, it’s a judgment call. Regardless, give them (6d-7) × $1,000 in loot and 1d-3 magic items.

Giant Animal. These guys sometimes have treasure, if they’re especially big (like a roc) or nasty. The anomaly for this are giant rats, which have treasure type C, even though they’re just giant rats. I think this was a way to get loot to low-level parties who were likely to have some trouble with giant rats, and they do have an average number in lair of 27.5, which is a lot for Giant Animals, so that’s not too far from fair. But anyways, if you give Giant Animals loot, give them (1d-1) × $1,000 in loot and 1d-5 magic items.

Hybrid. Treat them the same as Dire Animals: (2d-2) × $1,000 in loot and 1d-3 magic items. D&D doesn’t differentiate, and for these purposes, I don’t see why we should either.

Mundane. For published Dungeon Fantasy monsters, these are really four classes:

  • Sapient humanoids who use tools, like men, elves, orcs, hill giants, and reptile men.
  • Lycanthropes or other shapeshifters who are sapient humanoids who can magically change into the shape of something else, like werewolves. EDIT: I guess we could extend this to magical Monstrous Humanoids like medusae too.
  • Dragons and
  • Stuff that doesn’t fit elsewhere, of which the Rock Mite is the one published example I could find. I’m gonna skip them.

Taking these one at a time, we can split the sapient humanoids further into men, demihumans, humanoids, and giants. All of them have loot:

  • Men have big lairs (mean is 126) and big loot to match: (10d-3) × $1,000 in loot and 1d-4 magic items.
  • Demihumans, which I define as being good or neutral guys you’re not normally supposed to kill (my sample is dwarves, elves, gnomes, halflings, and mermen, all but the last being normal player character races), have (8d-4) × $1,000 in loot and 1d-3 magic items.
  • Humanoids are the guys you’re supposed to kill and are man-sized or smaller, and have (5d-5) × $1,000 in loot and 1d-4 magic items. Note that some humanoids, like bugbears and lizard men, don’t have the 100+ populations of other sapient humanoids that are man-sized or smaller; lower loot for them. Keep it up for the more magical ones like medusae, however, even though they have small lairs.
  • Lastly, giants, who will have SM +1 and a small number in lair, so this includes ogres and trolls. These guys have (3d-3) × $1,000 in loot and 1d-3 magic items.

Lycanthropes and the magical Monstrous Humanoids have small lairs, typically under 20, and have (3d-2) × $1,000 in loot and 1d-3 magic items. The werebear, which is wealthy, might be skewing this upwards. EDIT: Now that I include the Monstrous Humanoids, the werebear stops being an outlier, with the earlier figure still just as good.

Dragons are the leaders in loot other than demon lords. Give them (3d-1) × $10,000 in loot and 2d-2 magic items. This is for the tough guys. For wussies like pseudo-dragons and white dragons, tithe the loot and give them 1d-3 magic items.

Plant. Another monster class with few published examples in Dungeon Fantasy. Most will be mindless and thus have no loot. The ones who have intelligence should have (1d-1) × $1,000 in loot and 1d-3 magic items.

Slime. Oddly, two AD&D Oozes, the gelatinous cube and the slithering tracker, do have loot. So, for the smart ones, I’d make them about the same as intelligent Plants: (1d-1) × $1,000 in loot and 1d-5 magic items.

Spirit and Undead. We’ll treat them together, since D&D does and there aren’t many Spirits anyways. The guys who are pure minions, like skeletons and zombies, have no loot, so don’t grant loot to anything with Bestial or Slave Mentality. As for the others, grant them (3d-3) × $1,000 in loot and 1d-3 magic items. Liches should have threefold loot. Oddly, their magic item XP is 1,110, which indicates a lone item (1d-3), which seems low; I’d interpret the treasure type A as rolling that 30% chance for a magic item three times.


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks! I'm starting to wonder if I shouldn't use some Gygaxian Naturalism to determine Number Appearing as well; % in Lair is more wingable.

  2. There are two monsters who stuck out at me as being anomalies worthy of special attention: ghasts and kobolds.

    Ghasts have a risk-to-reward that is low. How low? Well, a ghast is a 4 HD monster. It has some special attacks, sure, but in the end, a ghast is worth 262 XP. There are 1d6 in a lair, so that means 917 XP from your average lair of ghasts.

    How much loot do they have? 28,579 GP and 2,497 XP in magic items. I had to look through my print 2e Monstrous Compendium to double check that my PDF version of the 1e Monster Manual had the right treasure types, and those are B, Q, R, S, and T.

    Type B is low-level stuff, only 3,154 GP and 85 XP (10% chance of a magic sword, weapon, or armor); about a quarter of the loot comes from copper and silver, which are high weight/low wealth. Type Q is a 50% chance of 1d4 gems, or 498 GP. Type S is a 40% chance of 2d4 potions; type T is a 50% chance of 1d4 scrolls.

    Type R, however, is the big one: 24,927 GP. And it's all in the portable stuff: gold, platinum, gems, and jewelry.

    So a goal for 3rd+ level AD&D parties should be to seek out ghast lairs, first and foremost. Specialize in them. They'll be a little tough at first, but the extra money you spend up front in hirelings will be worth it.

    On the other end of the spectrum are kobolds. There are 220 in a lair, and each is worth 7.5 XP on average. That's 1,650 XP from killing or routing. They have treasure types O, and Q (×5), with some of type J (3d8 copper) in their pockets. Treasure type O is all crap, nothing but copper and silver, a whopping 23 GP from that, so basically, they have about 6.25 gems. Altogether, they have 4,193 XP from gold and killing, and you have to loot every last copper to get all that.

    So, think of the kobold for a moment. He's not worth killing. He might be working for someone, but he's likely underpaid. He's surely abused. So, have a high Charisma character try to sway the kobolds to your side, and then lead them to take out some ghasts. Share a little of the loot from the ghasts with them, and you'll have buddies for life.