When you look around the table and take stock of all the shiny magic things that aren’t yours, it’s only natural to feel a twinge of jealousy. Does Bob have more crap than me? Yeah, he definitely has more crap than me. And Claire’s bard took the vest of bloviating last session. It should have been mine! This is the dragon-sickness that Tolkien warned us about, and it affects gamers as easily as deposed dwarf lords. So even though it’s hard to say “loot distribution system” with a straight face, I’m actually a big believer in this sort of thing.

Take my long-running megadungeon campaign. There was a growing sense that some of the (many) PCs in the game were getting screwed out of their fair share of the loot. Tempers flared. Suggested Character Wealth by Level tables were referenced. It was clearly time for an audit.

(A word to the wise though: Don’t call it an audit. That’s the sort of word that makes folks uncomfortable in every context, gaming included. You might call it “lootsmanship” or “Pencils & Paychecks” or “Scrooge McDucking” instead.)

Any dang way, I had everyone count up their crap, factoring in a % share for group items like the carpet of flying and the rod of security. A boatload of addition later and we’d figured out how far out of whack we really were. The result? We’ve now got “personal loot” and “group loot.” If it’s stuff that only one PC can use (class-specific items, for example), it stays with the PC in question. Everything else goes on a notecard and into “the umbrella stand.” When you leave the guildhall to go adventuring, you take whatever you need out of the umbrella stand. When you return home, you drop all your notecards back in the box.

That’s worked out OK for my group so far, but what about the rest of you guys? When it’s time to decide who gets the helm of brilliance or that coveted +5 cloak of resistance, how do you decide? How do you keep things evenly distributed at your table? Let’s hear it in the comments!


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