Session 3 (finale) – Rewards at last
“Listen, my children, and you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere,
On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-five;
Hardly a man is now alive
Who remembers that famous day and year.”
– Paul Revere’s Ride by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Welcome back everyone. This tale may not be nearly as famous nor as momentous as that one, but I hope you, my gentle readers, have at least enjoyed the telling. As you may recall we left our heroes in an eerie chamber beneath an ancient statue. They had managed to solve certain puzzles and riddles and had at last acquired some real loot. Let’s see what they got. Fair warning: this post may be a little more “inside baseball” than the previous ones, simply because I want to highlight the process of determining random treasure, and because I want to share some nifty ideas of my own that I came up with along the way.
This was their first real treasure hoard. I wanted it to be significant enough to be memorable. The module provided this helpful advice. “The prize inside the chest depends on the level of the characters, the size of the group and the world in which the campaign takes place. The DM should prepare the treasure in advance.” Great. No real help at all. So, I called a break and pulled out the DMG. It has a wonderful section for just this purpose.
There it was right on p. 133 in big bold letters “Random Treasure”. I flipped through a few more pages and found the Treasure Hoard: Challenge 0-4 table. From here on out it was up to the dice. Starting with the coins I rolled up 14 for silver and 5 for gold. The table would have me multiply these values by 100 and 10 respectively, but I decided not to make my players filthy rich on their first outing. I also opted to ignore the copper. A percentile role of 86 gave me 2d4 art objects and 1d4 magic items. I maxed out both rolls for these. So, there were 8 art objects and 4 magic items. I had an idea for the art objects and let the dice decide the others. What I rolled up was some armor, a leather bag, and two weapons. Here’s how I described the loot.
“You open the chest and find an unusual assortment of items. There are two small cloth bags, one of which is dry-rotted and nearly crumbled to dust. Beneath that are several larger parcels wrapped in old cloth which was probably quite fine when new but is now faded, brittle, and fragile.”
Falconsight was at the chest while Tenzen was some distance away; so, the ranger simply grabbed all the loot, stuffed what he could in his pack and carried it all over to his partner where they could both inspect the contents of the wrapped parcels.
The dry-rotted pouch contained the coins mentioned above. The other looked like new, was made of rust colored cloth and appeared to be empty. The first parcel contained a matched set of eight statuettes carved from a semi-precious stone. (chess pieces, the back row of one side) The next one was much heavier and pulling off the desiccated cloth revealed a scale mail shirt made of an unusual flat grey metal. The second parcel contained a staff that appeared to have been fashioned of petrified wood with metal ferrules on the ends and rings of the same metal spaced so as to break the length into thirds. Finally, the last parcel held a finely crafted bow made of an unusual wood even the ranger could not identify. There were intricate carvings all along its length that had a vine-like, leafy motif.
The duo took their spoils and retired to the entry chamber. “Hee hee! Very good!” Jivew giggled at them when they returned. “You give me shiny, now?” Tenzen flipped him one of the gold coins and the faerie dragon cooed and hugged it close. They decided to rest for a while and see if they could get a better idea of just what they had won from Sergin Melandrus. The eerie voices still repeated their ominous chanting, “283, 283, 283.”
Falconsight started by examining the armor. He had been an apprentice blacksmith after all. He took a piece of cloth and tried buffing a shine into the metal. It took on a black color with a dark green sheen in the light of their torches. He recognized it now as adamantine.1 He immediately swapped out his chain shirt for this one. It was heavier, and would hinder his flexibility a little, but he knew it was a superior metal to what he had worn before.2
Meanwhile, Tenzen was trying out the petrified wood staff. He moved through some practice stances and worked up to more complex motions. The staff felt more balanced and responsive than his old one. He definitely felt he would be more effective with this new weapon. (It is a +1 staff.) Further examination revealed that he could twist the the rings along the length and quickly convert it from a quarterstaff to a three-section staff and back with ease. (I figured a monk needed a cool staff, right?)
Falconsight next turned his attention to the bow. He strung it with an extra bowstring, nocked an arrow and tested the draw. The bow seemed exited to be strung again after so long locked away. It drew smoothly and felt amazingly comfortable in his hands. It was obviously superior to the bow he had been carrying since his days in the garrison. (It is a +1 bow.)
Finally, Tenzen examined the rust colored pouch a little closer. It did not show any signs of age. This alone marked it as unusual. He stuck his hand in it, felt around and found something small and furry. He pulled out a small ball of fur and dropped it on the floor. It immediately grew into a large brown bear. The adventurers were startled and quickly grabbed their weapons. The bear just looked at them and sat on the floor. It proved to be quite friendly. (They had found a Bag of Tricks.)
OK. That’s if for the loot. I was a little hesitant to give them each +1 weapons so early. I had intended this campaign to be a little scarce on such things, but then I reasoned it this way. There are only the two of them. They are about to run through the Lost Mine of Phandelver adventure which has several difficult encounters. They are going to need an edge. What do you think, gentle readers? Should I have been more stingy on the magic items?
I also had another idea while rolling up these items that piqued my interest. I am going to make them evolving items that will gain power by stages as these characters level up. Also, I am going to have the chess pieces figure into the larger arc of the campaign somehow. I haven’t quite decided how, yet, though I do have some ideas. In future posts I will go into detail on both the evolving nature of the magic weapons and my plans for the figurines.
Until then, may you find at least one reason to smile.