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Treasure

As PCs gain levels, they acquire treasure and better equip­ment, including magic items. The Pathfinder RPG assumes that all PCs of equivalent level have roughly equal amounts of trea­sure and magic items. It’s important to moderate the wealth and magic you place in your adventures—too little and the PCs are struggling to survive, but too much and they have an easy time defeating difficult challenges. How much treasure the PCs should get is determined by the Challenge Rating (CR) of the encounters they face—the higher an encounter’s CR, the more treasure it can award.

The Character Wealth by Level table lists the amount of treasure each PC is expected to have at a specific level. Every time the PCs level up, check how much money, equipment, and magical treasure they have. If it’s lower than the amount in the table, give out more treasure for the next few sessions. If it’s higher than this amount, give out less treasure for the next few sessions.

CHARACTER WEALTH BY LEVEL

PC LEVEL* WEALTH
2 1,000 gp
3 3,000 gp
4 6,000 gp
5 10,500 gp

The Treasure Values per Encounter table lists the amount of treasure each encounter should award based on the encounter’s CR. Easy encounters (where the CR is below the average PC level) give less treasure, while difficult challenges (where the CR is above the average PC level) give more treasure. Remember that this is an average t reasure award, and you can award more or less treasure for a particular encounter as long as it averages out over time to about this much.

For example, the average treasure value for CR 2 encounters is 600 gp, so an adventure could have three encounters worth 600 gp each, or two encounters worth 900 gp and one worth 0 gp, and so on, as long as the average overall is about 600 gp. Animals, constructs, mindless undead, oozes, and traps are good choices for “low treasure” encounters.

TREASURE VALUES PER ENCOUNTER

ENCOUNTER CR TREASURE VALUE
1 300 gp
2 600 gp
3 900 gp
4 1,200 gp
5 1,600 gp
6 2,000 gp
7 2,600 gp
8 3,400 gp

BUILDING A HOARD

While a treasure chest overflowing with coins is certainly a great reward, it’s more interesting to mix up what kind of loot PCs get—gems, jewelry, luxury trade goods, treasure maps, and magic items are exciting, too!

GEMS AND JEWELRY

There are many kinds of gems, ranging from low-quality ones worth 10 gp (obsidian or turquoise) to medium-quality ones worth 100 gp (amethyst, jade, or pearls) to jewels worth 1,000 gp (emeralds, opals, or diamonds). Jewelry may use exotic wood, furs, ivory, or precious metal, and can be plain or adorned with gems.

TRADE GOODS

A small crate of salt or spices may be worth good money to a noble, rich merchant, or famous chef. Likewise, rare wines, silk, tea, and other luxuries are valuable and portable.

TREASURE MAPS

These items are an easy way to start a new adventure. Throw in some Knowledge History checks about who made the map and rumors about what the treasure contains, and the PCs have a reason to explore a new location.

MAGIC ITEMS

These are often the most useful sort of treasure for adventurers. Generally, you should think about what magic items to place in a hoard rather than generating them randomly—a fighter who uses a longsword will get frustrated if she keeps finding magical battleaxes. However, it can be fun and save time to generate magic items in a treasure hoard randomly.

RANDOM TREASURE

If you need to quickly create a random treasure hoard, roll d% on the appropriate table below. Remember that some monsters have equipment listed (such as armor and weapons)—this equipment is separate from treasure, but the PCs can still get money for selling the equipment (though at higher levels, most PCs stop selling every cheap sword or piece of armor they find, as this extra gold is insignificant). Just remember to keep an eye on character wealth by level!

MINOR RANDOM TREASURE (CR 1-3)

d% Roll TREASURE
1–20 3d6 gp
21–48 5d10 gp
49–63 5d10 gp, 5d10 gp worth of gems/jewelry/goods
64–73 2d10 gp, 8d10 gp worth of gems/jewelry/goods
74 Masterwork weapon
75–99 Minor magic item
100 Roll again, add treasure map

MAJOR RANDOM TREASURE (CR 4-5)

d% Roll TREASURE
1–5 Two rolls on the Minor Random Treasure table
6–15 Three rolls on the Minor Random Treasure table
16–37 10d6 gp
38–49 10d6 gp, 20d6 gp worth of gems/jewelry/goods
50–54 Masterwork weapon
55–79 Minor magic item
80–99 Major magic item
100      Roll again, add treasure map