Figuring out treasure distribution is HARD. You’ve got to calculate average wealth by level, average treasure value by encounter, and then you’ve got to tailor your treasure to the party. It wouldn’t do to pass out too many +2 swords of ogre decapitation for the martial dudes without tossing in a few wands for the magic users. That’s how you get hurt feelings, jealousy, and PVP trips to the pawn shop.

After you’re done with the mechanical bits, you’ve still got to explain why these magical whatsits are sitting around in the dungeon. That’s because the mythic underworld represents an impossible leap into abstraction for many players. Human beings are by and large empirically minded. We want to know the history of stuff. We demand back story, origin story, and rational explanation. That’s why Gygaxian Naturalism is a thing. The evil forest, for example, can’t just be an evil forest. Now the spirit of some corrupted druid needs to lie imprisoned within the heart of the Yadda Yadda Tree, his malice seeping out to infect the waters of the sacred River Et Cetera, which drive the once gentle blah-beasts mad with pain, ruining the fishing tournament at the sleepy town of Yugethe Point.

It’s this same line of thinking that demands to know why supposedly intelligent monsters hoard magical gear without using it to defend themselves. I would suggest that at some point you really do need to suspend your disbelief. Otherwise, you’ll want to remember our advice from last week and be careful what you wish for.


GET YOUR SCHWAG ON! Want a piece of Handbook-World to hang on you wall? Then you’ll want to check out the “Hero” reward tier on the The Handbook of Heroes Patreon. Each monthly treasure hall will bring you prints, decals, buttons, bookmarks and more! There’s even talk of a few Handbook-themed mini-dungeons on the horizon. So hit the link, open up that treasure chest, and see what loot awaits!