As you can see from our products like An Army’s Arms or Grain Into Gold, I love detailing out treasure. We’re hoping to release A Baker’s Dozen Treasure Hoards and What Has It Got in Its Pockets, a d1000 random encounter chart for pick pockets. So I’m really into this!
I just had a tour of the Governor’s Mansion. Yeah ... I’ve known this for a while, but this tour really brought it home (no pun intended). No matter how detailed I want to be, I can’t actually detail the loot to be found in the simplest of homes, and REALLY can’t detail a mansion’s wealth.
Look around your house. There are probably 1,000 items in view right now! (This assumes you are not living in a bachelor pad with milk carton shelving, but even then???) Even a poor home would have 100s of kitchen tools and utensils. OK, not all of them are valuable, but anything made of steel likely would have some plunder value. For expensive homes, everything has value. Think about plundering a palace. Some of the items might be valueless on their own, but the fact that they came from the palace would grant them “artifact” or historic value. Even assuming that the looters would not take the heavy furniture (which would be hugely valuable), what about the rest of it?
Honestly, I write up those things that are of obvious value, and sometimes a few that aren’t so obvious. Then, if a character says something like, “This is an office, can I steal some paper or some blank scrolls or something?” I just give it to them. Of course, I make them roll for Scrounging, but come on, that’s a huge + modifier.
What I think is really required, and I will likely do going forward is this: assign some values and some weights. Let’s take a poor home: For 10 pounds, you can loot 25sc worth of miscellaneous. For 20 pounds, you can loot 35sc. For 30 pounds, you can loot 40sc. Maybe a wealthy house is more like: For 15 pounds, you can loot 100sc. For 50 pounds, you can loot 300sc. For 150 pounds, you can loot 600sc. With the poor house, you’re taking bigger and bigger kitchen steel. For the wealthy house, you’re starting to take paintings off the wall and rolling up carpeting. (These numbers are meant as examples and should NOT be used.) I have also done it where the longer you spend searching, the more you find of value, the idea being that you wouldn’t notice the kitchen knives if you just look at the counters, but if you go through all the drawers, then the semi-valuable knives would be found. This also can be used to factor in things like ripping the hinges off the doors and prying the marble out of the fireplace. One important note - don’t let them know the value unless they make an Appraisal roll. Make them decide whether or not to haul all that junk away first, then let them know what it was all worth.