Thursday, October 11, 2012

As I See It: Even Thousands of GP

Every adventurer isn't rain man. They look at a heap of coins and say "That looks like 600 GP to me." It's a form of significant figure and with all things being equal, as we assume that adventurers are competent at adventuring matters, all of their estimated coin totals total up to something that's close enough to the actual realistic total that it's not worth slowing down the game to worry about it.

The same way that we don't have things like "Hit Points: blood left: 47543.26 millilitres; compound fracture of left anterior tibia; 2nd degree burn on upper right arm from fingertips to shoulder" and "Sword, long, steel, high carbon, 54 rockwell hardness, blade length: 107.5 cm, entire length: 129.2 cm, single-edged, hollow-grind; sharpness: 63% of maximum; weight: 8.2 kg" on our character sheets for heck's sake.

If say, a theoretical DM, decided that even thousands of coin was unrealistic and would subtract 500 coins and add a d1000 roll to have true scientific realistic treasure hoards, they would find out pretty dang soon that it's a pain in the ass for the DM and the players to deal with that degree of accuracy. Not that I ever learned that lesson the hard way...

12 comments:

  1. As a compromise - for fewer big round numbers, more variability, but still quick - it's possible to replace that 600 GP with say 1d10 x 100 GP, or maybe 2d6 x 100 GP. The averages aren't a perfect match for that number, and might not be in other direct replacements, but the approach makes its own loose tiers.

    At any rate, I see the point. It's interesting to see discussions of things like this ripple out.

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  2. I agree... though I have run into too many players who want an actual realistic total, not to say "that's a rough figure, at a glance - do you seriously want to sit down and count out each coin, now, in the middle of the dungeon?" ...and make ready with the wandering monster checks

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    1. That's the crux of it, unless you sit down and count it all it out you won't know exactly how many coins there are. Sort and count a jar of change, it takes forever. And usually people miscount, so then you still don't know what the number is, so you have to start over again....

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  3. Maybe you do get hordes of exactly 3000 gold pieces, but only in the underworld.

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  4. I am even worse - I make sure that the number of coins I hand out is divisible by the number of characters in the party!

    (I found out that players tended to do this anyway, usually 'rounding up' as they did it lol)

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  5. I would suggest that creatures of the underworld are, in fact, OCD "counters" and every treasure horde must be a product of 5 or 10 or they suffer extreme anxiety (-1 to hit/saving throws).

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  6. You hit the nail on the head. Slowing the game down over little details isn't much fun to me, or most of the people I game with. I also figure that they will have some time to count the money before they get back to town to spend it.

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  7. The only OCD "counters" I can think of, off the top of my head, are vampires - and possibly only Chinese vampires (as the classic way to escape them is to drop a bag of rice and then leg it while the vampire is compelled to count all the rice grains and this, incidently, may be why the Count on Sesame Street has a number fixation) so if players want exact totals of cash, they may have to put up with Chinese Vampires, which doesn't sound much fun at low level!

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  8. Chinese vampires it is then. Problem solved with pizazz.

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  9. For the love of gawd, people...just add one coin. Two-thousand and one copper coins. Problem solved.

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  10. Even numbers of coinage are unrealistic, but it's logical that wizards only memorize so many spells per day then forget them, and so on. Guys, it's all just a game. Giving 2,947 GP instead of 3,000 is a help to no one, and just anal and geeky in a bad way. And nothing you do will ever make D&D seem realistic. It's a losing battle.

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  11. "And nothing you do will ever make D&D seem realistic. It's a losing battle." Amen.

    As a GM, I *did* learn the pain of 'realistic non-round numbers of coins' the hard way.

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