Tuesday 21 February 2012

A Hoard for Every Treasure Type - A

Okay, and after last week’s introduction, let’s get started and where better to begin than with Treasure Type A.

What kind of treasure type is it? Well, the settings for the major coin types are set around the 1/3 mark, which, according to my trusty calculator, gives an average gp/xp haul of 3182 (rounding up). That’s not much for a party of five or so (which I tend to use as my standard party number, two fighters, a magic user, a cleric and a thief) – each of them would get 636xp each, which – when you look at the type of monster who’s going to be guarding said treasure - is poor reward; particularly if it’s a Lich.

Brigands and troglodytes might be an easier match.

But wait! Check out those gems and jewellery amounts! This is where a seemingly low-set treasure becomes a veritable haul. An average of 13 gems can range anywhere from 130gp value to 65,000gp worth, depending on the luck of the dice. I’ve rolled some up so you can go with those or do your own. Eight items of jewellery flesh out what is now becoming a very rich treasure type indeed. It also becomes an easily-portable haul, since the majority of the reward is going to be in the gems and jewellery rather than the oh-so-heavy coin.

The magic item percentage is a low third or so – that’s a 70% chance of there being no magic in the haul whatsoever. I’ve assumed that all three are present and you can include them or not as the fancy takes you.

Here are the stats for you again, just for information.


1000s of copper 1-6 25%
1000s of silver 1-6 30%
1000s of electrum 1-6 35%
1000s of gold 1-10 40%
100s of platinum 1-4 25%
Gems 4-40 60%
Jewellery 3-30 50%
Magic items Any 3 30%

Who has it

As previously mentioned, there is an assortment of guardians that ranges from the insanely tough to the rather easy. Find a gang of brigands, kill them (and their 9th level fighter leader, of course – but he is only one man) and take their lovely gems and jewellery. However, being smaller items, they may well be easier to hide as well. I’m surprised that the Lich doesn’t have more in the way of scrolls – adding treasure type T to his repertoire would be an easy adjustment to make. After all, he used to be a magic user (or cleric).
And I’m getting an underwater vibe for the locathah and the giant squid – anyone up for a spot of diving?

Giant Squid

The Hoard

Anyway, without further ado, here is my take on Treasure Type A. Plenty of hooks, quirks and twists in there for DMs to ponder and perhaps use.

215 copper pieces that have been battered, bent, chewed or otherwise mutilated, treated as the poor cousins of the coin world. 26 are housed within a human skull that has been covered with childish scribblings in charcoal.

A large copper jug with odd markings on the side. It is perhaps over three thousand years old and is worth only 75cp unless it is offered to a collector, who may pay a good deal more. The odd markings are a form of writing that is very difficult to translate but if this is done, the script is an account of a burial ceremony for a priest-king who was laid to rest with a large collection of grave goods including precious stones and metals.
The copper jug appears to be stoppered with a substance not unlike pitch. If it is opened, it will reveal 807 silver pieces, struck in the reign of an emperor who died over fifteen hundred years ago. The coins and the jug are not otherwise connected.

127 silver pieces that date to the last seventy years or so. None is particularly noteworthy.

A wooden case that is filled with straw and in which can be found, with a fair degree of rummaging around, six bottles of fine brandy (worth 20sp each). They are well over thirty years old and have aged marvellously. There are very few of this vintage now left in the world and if the party played on their rarity, they could well bump the price up considerably. Hiding in the straw is a nest of spiders who will not take kindly to being disturbed.

736 electrum pieces in, of all places, a tarnished brass chamber pot that has been fashioned to resemble a particularly unpleasant and corrupt politician of the previous generation. The pot itself might fetch a reasonable price from a collector of such things.

Four cedarwood boxes, inlaid with lapis lazuli (worth 30 electrum pieces each) contain partially used blocks of holy incense. This is very fine incense in its own right but it is said that if it is anointed with blood from a virgin (who does not have to be killed to obtain it) and then burnt and inhaled, it will bestow mystical and revelatory dreams. As such, the incense itself is worth 75 electrum pieces per portion.

Three altar cloths, made of finest velvet and embroidered with gold thread. They show scenes of a sacred nature. If they are carefully examined, they will reveal details of a temple building that has long since been destroyed in inter-religious wars but the temple’s location can be determined by geographical landmarks. The temple is the one from which the orb, decanter, goblet and medallion were looted. The altar cloths are worth 55 electrum pieces each but they are also known to the successor cults of the temple as holy artefacts and members of those cults will be looking for them.
At the DM’s discretion, one of the cloths may show the inside of the temple with details of the number and type of the altar services that were once used there.

Nine chests made of ebony, the hinges and catches of silver. They are offertory chests, and while they are easily opened with the right key, smashing them or attempting to force the lock will trigger the release of a minor spirit who will attempt to seize the thief’s heart with its fingers (DM’s discretion as to whether it succeeds or not). If it does, then the thief will suffer from a minor curse until this is lifted by a cleric. Inside each of the chests is
282gp – contained in small linen bags, each holding 20gp. Each linen bag is marked with a script that proclaims the contents to be the property of a particularly tough and vengeful bank.
401gp – 65gp of which is made up of coins that have been cut in two
760gp – 201 of these coins bear the legend of a deposed prince and possession of them is in fact a capital offence, tantamount to treason. Only the desperate or the greedy will take them as payment.
389gp – 77gp of these are coins in the shape of wheels, with no other writing or image on them. 131 have the image of a clenched fist and the legend “Issue of the Protectorate” on them.

Four jars of unguent. The jars are carved from alabaster and are worth 25gp each; the unguent within is much valued by those with chronic skin conditions and will raise the value of the jars to 75gp each, a total value of 300gp

8 platinum pieces, each struck with the image of a high priest who was connected with the destroyed temple. The name of the priest, if researched in archives, may present some fragments of the legend of the temple.

A collection of four exquisitely made statuettes, each representing a season of the year. Each is worth 15pp. If the four are sold together, they will triple their value. If each is sold separately, 15pp is all the seller will get. They will also attract the attention of collectors and their henchmen, since the presence of one will imply knowledge of the whereabouts of the others. They were made for a nobleman, long since dead, whose house was constructed in a cruciform shape, each wing representing a different season.

Fire Opal – this orange gemstone seems to glow with an inner fire, scattering the light across its many intricate facets. Whoever cut this stone did so with an expertise that is nowadays rarely seen. In fact, it was the work of Gethikkar Huun, a gnomish gem-cutter of superlative skill who is said to have perished when the fire giants and salamanders overran the last gnomish city three hundred years ago. Whilst a gem of this quality and beauty would allow whoever holds it to pass unmolested by fire-using creatures (if the gem was left as a gift, of course), it is of greater value to gnomes whose reactions to its discovery will range from animated interest, through covetousness to an avarice that will prompt them to seek the gem at all costs. Its market value is 1000gp but as can be guessed from the foregoing, its worth is far higher.

A large Star Ruby that gleams with a inner fire due to the phenomenon of asterism. This ruby was once one of the eyes of an idol that stood in a temple dedicated to a dark and bloodthirsty god on the Isle of Bronze in the Sea of Fallen Stars. Whilst the cult that prayed to this god has long since been eradicated, there are still those who believe that when the idol has both its eyes restored, it may grant boons to those who have done it the service – or at least not kill them instantly when it awakes. The gem is worth 1000gp on the open market.

A Sapphire of deep cerulean blue, worth 1000gp. It is known in lore as the Tear of the Clouds and is said to have once belonged to a King of the Cloud Giants, before they waged war against the Ki-Rin and were cast down for their pride. It is also said that if the gem is taken to a place where the sky is the same colour, then looking through it will show the lost hiding place of the Cloud Giants’ treasure.

A piece of crimson coral carved into the shape of a shark. It is worth 100gp.

A clay statue, in the form of a man with a Phrygian cap, an elongated chin and nose and a sardonic expression. His eyes are cut glass which resemble gems and down his chest and stomach are three other cut glass imitation gems. This is an image of Phuukh, an ancient god of trickery and jest. Some hieroglyphs are scratched on his back and legs but apart from that, there is nothing of interest on the statue. Inside the clay, however, are three real gems, a piece of jet worth 500gp, a topaz of similar value and a bloodstone that is worth 50gp. They can only be obtained if the statue is broken and when it is, a peal of mocking laughter will ring out and slowly fade away.

A piece of eye agate that may be worth 10gp

A flake of obsidian that has been turned into an arrow head. It is worth 10gp for its gem properties but if it is bound to an arrow shaft, it will give a bonus of +2 to hit and damage, good for one use only.

A cheap necklace made of what appears to be brass. From it hang three gems, a moss agate, a blue quartz and a piece of malachite. Each gem is worth 10gp if removed from their mounts. The necklace is of such poor quality that it actually makes the gems look cheaper than they are.

The jewellery

A pair of very ornate earrings made of solid silver set with gems. The materials alone will make them worth 5000gp but research into their origin turns up an engraving that appears to show a military conquest returning from an expedition into the uncharted southern jungles carrying the severed head of what they claimed was a snake queen; she wears the very same earrings.

A ring made of gold, delicate and fragile in appearance. It loops twice around the finger and then ends in a flourish which appears to be a flower in abstract. It was the property of a celebrated courtesan called the Azure Rose, once a favourite of kings. She lost the ring when a client turned out to be a master thief and swore vengeance. She is now a lot older but nevertheless strikingly good-looking and with a very classy establishment of her own. She would be most pleased to get the ring back. Its sale value is 4000gp.

A buckle made of wrought silver and gold. It shows two bears fighting, one of silver, one of gold. It illustrates a legend regarding warrior kings from centuries ago and on the back, scratched in a very fine script is a short verse that appears to be very similar to one in the major mythology of the party’s home state. The buckle is worth 700gp

A headband made of silver, set with four pink sapphires. Its provenance is unknown but it is worth 2000gp

There are four items that were once part of the altar service of the lost temple detailed on the altar cloths.

There is a gold decanter, set with gems, worth 6000gp, a platinum medallion, also set with gems, worth 7000gp, an orb, fashioned from gold and gems, worth 4000gp and a small goblet made of wrought gold, worth 700gp.

Each of these items matches the style of the others, covered with intricate spirals, whorls and curlicues. The gems are amethysts but of a particular type sacred to the cult whose temple they graced. If the items are handled by unbelievers, they will begin to alter in hue, becoming redder as if blood is curdling within them. If the DM decides to allow one of the altar cloths to show the details of the services, the party can estimate just how much more sacred treasure there is out there, somewhere – an interesting quest beckons if they have the inclination to research further.

Scroll of Protection against All Elementals – a relative youngster amongst the ancient treasure in which it is found, this scroll not only gives protection against all types of elemental but, in a codicil, lists several of their true names. There appear to be, at the very end of the scroll, three lines of script that may be the beginning of another roll. They appear to be some kind of preamble that, if the party looks further into it, matches similar kinds of binding spells.

Plate Mail; this suit of armour is of a style that is centuries old and a person wearing it would appear odd alongside their contemporaries. It was the property of one of the militant clerics of the lost temple, one of the last of his line. Quite what it is doing alongside four holy items from his sanctuary is anyone’s guess. He may have been fleeing with them to save them from harm or he may have been hunting down the thieves that looted them. It has a bonus of +3

A dagger that is housed inside a sheath made of scuffed and scratched leather. The weapon itself has a slightly curved blade inlaid with gold in a savage and spiky pattern. The hilt is in the shape, albeit distorted, of the shoulders (crossguard), neck (hilt) and head (pommel) of a fearsome looking humanoid who, if the design is investigated, will be revealed as a fire giant. The pommel is inset with two rubies, about a quarter of an inch across, which glow vividly if illuminated. It was made by a race plagued by continual wars with giants of various varieties and was intended for use against them, hence its normal bonus of +2 is augmented to +3 if it is used against larger creatures (originally planned for use against the giants but by extension all large creatures). Its name, in the pattern of sigils on its blade is Gwaltashar.


  1. It also becomes an easily-portable haul, since the majority of the reward is going to be in the gems and jewellery rather than the oh-so-heavy coin.

    Unfortunately, unless I'm mistaken the majority of every haul is in the gems and jewellery if you average it out. Take the mighty Treasure Type H, the biggest pile of coins you can get: 28,724 gp average value in coins; 37,069 average value in gems and jewellery. So, I usually treat "jewellery" as including miscellaneous artwork, carpets, statues and so on to bulk out the treasure a bit.

  2. Very enjoyable read, as always; it may inspire me to put a little more effort in creating the treasure in the campaign I run for my kids. Right now, it's little more than an Ultima I-ish:

    ]+3 GOLD

    :) :) :)