Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Reading Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Part 7

Player Character Starting Money: A brief section explaining that PC's begin the game intentionally poor, so that they are always striving for something. It also clarifies that starting funds are intended to represent equipment, supplies, and inherited possessions, not money, though what's left over does represent the sum of the character's "life savings," as it were. Nothing really new, here.

The next paragraph advises, if you have a difficult campaign, throwing out one or two minor special goodies such as perhaps a +1 dagger or suit of family plate mail as a bonus, but advises if you do this to lower starting funds accordingly. Here begins the age-old feud between stingy and "Monty Haul."

Player Character Expenses: This section is an oft-overlooked one in AD&D. It lays out monthly expenses for the maintenance of weapons and armor, re-supplying food, perishable items and other consumables, and general room and board for travelers. The advice here is that the cost is at least 100 gps per level per month (representing the old truism "the more you have, the more you spend.")

I had players complain about this exact rule when they saw the d20 Conan game by Mongoose (which admittedly is even steeper in its inflicted expenses) but I like it, and as I understand, WotC's Living Greyhawk campaign imported a version, calling it "upkeep costs."

There are also upkeep costs in this section for henchmen and strongholds, something I get the impression a great many players (deliberately or not) overlook. "What, you mean my henchmen want PAID?? What's that all about?"

Value and Reputed Properties of Gems and Jewelry: This is a fun, nearly two-page breakdown of how to value gems in the AD&D campaign. It includes charts for determining base value of stones, the number of each found in a treasure hoard, whether the individual stone is base value, higher, or lower, Jewelry, and the reputed magical properties of various stones (for reference purposes).

Finally, it discusses the values of other "rare commodities," including furs and pelts, tapestry, ivory, etc.

Again, I sort of feel this would be better located in the "Treasure" section, though the money for player characters bit fits here because "Equipment" follows next.


  1. I'm reading along with these, and I really appreciate your posting this series. :D


  2. I'll have to re-read the Character Expenses section again. I have always used a flat 10% for expenses such as upkeep in any treasure find. It might not sound like a lot, but given the size of some hordes and what the common man is likely to need it is actually quite a lot.

    This is another example of how the 1st Ed DMG is still a good guide regardless what version of D&D you are playing.

  3. These posts are great. I have off/on project to reformat the PHB and DMG, encompassing some of the same ideas (treasure section) you have.