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  1. #1
    Kitilark's Avatar
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    Conceptually Impaired -please help.

    I have been told that I am culturally out of date, with at least one Game concept. Given my age and the years since I last played this is a perfectly legitimate assumption. I have been given to understand that the Division of treasure found by a group of adventures is divided - even when one or more of the items do not easily divide (i.e. Art work)- This division occurs instead of having items held as communal property. Once an item enters into the possession of a character it is their property and they are free to do with it whatever they wish to do. Perhaps it is my age or the fact that I have always lived in a Communal Property State, but I do not see anything wrong with a communal holding of valuables. Below, I have set-up two fictional group examples of what I see as this Standard Practice. If someone could patiently explain the benefit to this method I would be very grateful. Just understand in my heart I am fond of communal ownership of valuables by the adventuring party. I feel this allows everyone participating in the adventure to receive some of the rewards. But maybe this is really old-school thinking and I need to 'get with the times <man!>'.

    1. Each character in the party takes what they can use. - Example: a party of 5 finds 1 gp, and a +1 sword. The Fighter wants and can use the +1 sword so s/he take it. (here is where things get fuzzy for me); Each member including the Fighter gets 200sp from the division of the 1gp. If this were to repeat four more times, the Fighter would have five +1 swords which s/he could use or sell, and 1gp; while the other four members of the group would only have 1gp each. This uneven division is because the fighter can use the +1 sword and thus benefits the whole party. (The really Fuzzy part) In a non-AL game where selling magic is allowed, the fighter only needs one +1 sword - two max. So, the Fighter is now free to sell the extra unneeded swords for gold. Thus increasing the Fighter's loot well above the other four characters. In the AL rules posted on this Forum (not this thread) Magic is not sellable by PCs - so the extra +1 swords are more of a burden than a benefit to the Fighter, making the Division much closer to perfectly even.
    2. Art and other non-coin valuables: Here there is not a "Use" for the object. I have been told that the Standard Practice is to have all members of the party roll a 1d20 and the highest roll 'wins' the object. (Fuzzy part again) I'll use my above party of five. Over the course of cleaning out a dungeon the party uncovers several treasure stashes. At each stash, the party finds an Art Object of a value that equals or exceeds the value of the coins found. The Party roll a 1d20 to determine the winner of the Art Object, and in all Five instances player #3 does not win. The Gps, Sps, Cps, are divided evenly between the five players, and a Non-magical weapon is given to Player #4 as it is useable by that player. In this case player #3 receives only coin and therefore receives much less than any of the other four characters. If player #4 were to have been the one to receive two of the Art Objects then, they added to the coin and non-magical weapon would likely have made #4 the biggest gain. If one of the Art Objects was exceptionally valuable, then it is possible that the winner of it would have the biggest gain.
    In both Example 1 and 2; I feel the (3 or 4)extra +1 Swords and all the Art Objects should have remained communal property. This Communal Property could then be sold and the coin divided between all five characters. If a player wanted their character to have one of the Art Objects as a trophy, then they should "buy" it from the group, just as if the group had sold the pieces and divided the coins. In other words, the character that gets one of the Art Objects, takes it instead of <some of> their share.

    Thank you,

  2. #2
    dulux-oz's Avatar
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    Division of spoils is (normally, and ESPECIALLY in my games) solely the decisions of the players (as a group). I, as the GM, simply don't get into it.

    However, often I will suggest to a new group what I have found to be the "best" system for division of spoils after observing and running RPGs since 1982: valuables (gems, jewelry, art, etc) are converted to a GP-eqivalent (ie sold) and all of the resulting coins is divided into a number of shares. Each player gets a share, each npc party member (ie henchman) gets a half-share, the party leader gets a half-share (as well as their regular share) and other party positions (ie mapper, quarter master, etc) get a quarter share each. Also, one share is "up for grabs" to anyone as voted on by the rest of the party (this encourages team-work, heroics, etc). Art, gems, etc can be "bought" by a party member out of their share (funnily, almost no-one bothers).

    Magic is divided on a 1d20 roll, with the implicit understanding that you choose items that are more useful for yourself before items which can be used by others. The person who gets the first choice has a -5 on the next roll; the 2nd highest has a -2 on the next roll. It is also possible to "give up you choice" for a 1-time +5 bonus on the next roll. If people choose items and "screw over" the other players then they get screwed over at some time in the future, so it doesn't happen. Potions and other "party-useful" items are held communally by the party, or sold (yes, magic can be sold in my games).

    This system works well; everybody gets some magic, everybody has some money, everybody is happy. It's my job as GM to make sure that the magic items the party is finding is "balanced" for the party - if the GM's not doing this then they're not a very good GM.

    Feel free to ask questions, and I can provide a more detailed explanation if desired.

    Cheers
    Last edited by dulux-oz; September 14th, 2016 at 15:39.
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  3. #3
    GunnarGreybeard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dulux-oz View Post
    Division of spoils is (normally, and ESPECIALLY in my games) solely the decisions of the players (as a group). I, as the GM, simply don't get into it.
    This is pretty much how I have always done it, since the early 80's.
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  4. #4
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    Do not worry. Character #3 is a dirty, conniving sneak thief and he has already come into possession of a number of items that the rest of the party are unaware of.

    In most games that I have played magic has gone where it can be best utilised.
    In addition treasure is often loosely distributed and then redistributed if we find a need for one person to make a large purchase.
    Very few times have I played in games where treasure is of significant consequence - in far more cases I see magic items not claimed by one player or another in case another player may want them.
    Treasure just isnt that important in the games Ive played but the communal bent has far outweighed any other.

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  5. #5
    The group I'm in mostly divides first the items that are obviously useful to one particular character, and then the leftovers are sort of evenly divided. But then, it's not uncommon for one character to go out and purchase stuff for another character. My fighter has purchased healing potions for other party members, or sending rituals for the wizard. So in the end, and lot of gold and items and up communal anyway. We are a small party of adventurers working towards a common goal, and we get along just fine, so cooperation, even treasure-wise pays off. I guess we're just in it together.

  6. #6
    Back when I played dungeon crawl style games, I usually pushed for a Party+1 system, where money, effective money (gems, treasure, general loot), and any gear not currently in use got pooled and split into a number of shares equal to the number of party members with one additional share to cover impersonal things that benefit the entire party, like bribes, wands of healing, or fancy parties.

    Pooling everything becomes awkward in my experience when disputes arise over what coin gets spent on. Fighter needs better gear? The cleric wants to boost his AC, so he takes less damage and the cleric can spend more time doing things besides healing him. The fighter wants to hit harder and do big number like the rogue, so he's in favor of just buying a bigger, shinier sword. Meanwhile the wizard wants him to get fire resistance, so it won't be a problem when not-so-friendly fireballs get dropped on the fighter's head.

    I generally agree with your feelings on loot division, Kitilark. Everything gets split up, unless someone wants to currently use it. In the case of weird consumable items, better that it be sold than stuck in someone's pack and forgotten about (I'm looking at you, Potion of Hide From Animals).

  7. #7
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    In some games like Barbarians of Lemuria (shameless plug here https://www.fantasygrounds.com/store...?id=FFFGBOLBOL) and Dungeon World loot is meant to be spent outrageously between sessions. You get rewarded for turning up penniless, hungry and hungover with a tale to tell just in time for the next adventure!

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  8. #8
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    About the only thing most of the groups I know do is to only roll once for magic items. Then the party has a list, much like initiative, and the top of the list gets next dibs on the next item they can use. Then whoever has the fewest items and is on the top of the list gets next choice. Almost always everyone only chooses items that they can best use. When I'm DM, the most involved I will get is to keep the list up to date.

  9. #9
    I have not game mastered in many years and am just now trying to get back into playing and DMing but when I did it was always communal with some caveats.

    The value of all the items were added up and the coins were split equally. If someone wanted something for their character that was beneficial to the party they got it and its coin value would be deducted from the pool. It was understood that this could happen for any character and as DM I tried to make sure that each character would get an item they could use so that everything balanced out. Not very realistic but it was practical and no one complained.

  10. #10
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    I let the players decide. I usually establish this right before we start session 1, or even in session 0 depending on how time allows.

    I usually start everyone a percentage of the way to 2nd level to simulate an established group that has had and survived at least one adventure together. As a result they have a parcel of money and goods that are level appropriate to share out among themselves. This process can really set the group dynamic solidly before we've even broached the first RP or combat encounters. There are usually items that are "obviously" best going to a specific character (i.e. ownership of a light warhorse with leather barding for a fighter or knight or paladin), others that anyone could benefit from (i.e. potion of healing), and yet others where there is no clear best destination.
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