Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Some things never change

We've focused a lot on the class changes, the combat changes, and the general change in style of 4e compared to 3.5. We even mentioned how the new treasure parcel system might make loot a bit easier to handle, and that it might make payout in adventures, especially in Wizards of the Coast ones, properly balanced.

We were wrong.

Our group just finished The Keep on the Shadowfell, the first 4e adventure. The parcels for their progression can be found on p126 of the Dungeon Master's Guide. Rounding down to just the first three levels (the party hit fourth level a few encounters before the end), the characters sure ended up short.

By my calculations, they were short over 400gp during level 1. Level 2 was missing a level 6 magic item, but had some extra gold and a level 1 magic item, to account for about half of that. Level 3 was missing a level 4 and level 7 item, had an extra level 2 and level 3 item, and had a bunch of extra gold to only partially compensate.

All told, converting to gold, the module is short almost 3000gp worth of treasure. Add in the various optional rewards reduces that by 750gp, and adding in the Side Treks could boost that by another 350gp (the party did all but one of these). That's still almost 2000gp short in treasure.

Why is this so important? Well, for one thing, our party's cleric died once early on, and party gold had to be pooled to pay for a ritual to bring him back. Rituals in general appear to be a good gold sink in the game, once they become a little more available and familiar to the party. And, having played through all 8 of the original 3rd edition adventures and belly-aching about the paucity of treasure there, I think we'd like to see our adventurers rewarded with a little more than gratitude from the local villagers for a change.

I guess I'm so surprised because the 4e rules and the new Dungeon Master's Guide go to all the effort of making loot doling so easy -- here are ten packages of loot, spread them out accordingly. Why can they not follow their own instructions?

We're starting the second adventure soon, the Thunderspire Labyrinth, and I think the module is going to need a once-over for the loot before we start, so the DM (which might not be me this time around) can pad a few things, including making up for the poor showing in the first module.

1 comment:

Jamwes said...

This is good to know because I'm playing through the adventure as well. Although everyone says that Keep is supposed to be hard. The lack of treasure could be one reason.