Archive for May 9th, 2010


pillaging by the numbers pt 1

They are excited because they found the perfect gift for Mom

Rather than spend time with my mom, I have gone through the B/X monster roster and cross-referenced with the treasure tables.  Tom Moldvay helpfully estimates the expected value of each treasure type (B45), which I’ll reproduce here.

Table Expected Value Critters
A 17000 (magic!) Centaur, Men (Expert set), Mermen, Bandit, Troglodyte
B 2000 Caelica, Hydra, Nixie, Berserker, Bugbear, Carrion Crawler, Ghoul, Halfling, Wight
C 1000 Blink Dog, Devil Swine, Hellhound, Treant, Gargoyle, Gnome, Goblin, Harpy, Lycanthrope (any), Minotaur, Neanderthal, Ogre (+1000 gold), Owl Bear, Giant Rat, Thoul
D 4000 Cockatrice, Displacer Beast, Dryad, Manticore, Mummy, Purple Worm, Troll, Gnoll, Hobgoblin, Orc
E 2500 (magic!) Cyclops (+5000 gold), Giants (any, +5000 gold), Gorgon, Griffon, Spectre, Wraith, Wyvern, Doppelganger, Elf
F 5000 (magic!) Basilisk, Chimera, Salamander, Vampire, Medusa, Shadow
G 25000 (magic!) Dwarf
H 50000 Dragon (any), Dragon Turtle, Sea Dragon
I 800 Roc
J 25 Kobold
K 125
L 250 Rat, Stirge
M 15000
N 0 (magic!)
O 0 (magic!)

Some caveats:

  • I’m only considering the “lair” treasure types
  • This chart only lists the expected value of by-the-book treasure.  YMMV.
  • The chart only mentions magic items if odds are more than 15%.
  • I also have calculated treasure-per-hit-dice-of-encounter, but I’m not sure how to present the data as there are several “special cases.”  Maybe later.

Anyway, with those cautions in mind, here are some points of interest:

  1. So . . . Dwarves, eh?  I hear they said bad things about your parents.  Let’s get ’em!
  2. Men have great treasure, but in the Expert set it’s usually found in heavily defended wilderness camps.
  3. Giants too have pretty good loot but, dang, they are Giants and their lairs have zillions of beasts.
  4. Of the usual suspects Troglodytes have the best treasure by far.
  5. A lot of dangerous monsters – Djinn, Efreet – have no treasure in B/X.  In fact, treasure is generally better among the Basic monsters than in the Expert set.
  6. Treasure Type C is a headache.  Either the critters have lots of Hit Dice or enjoy significant special abilities, or the pushover critters are extremely numerous.  Either way it’s a fair amount of work for pretty meager reward.
  7. Treasure Type F seems to be largely reserved for critters that can one-shot your sorry ass; even Chimeras and Salamanders are pretty tough.
  8. Several of the sea monsters have pretty good treasure, but how are you going to collect it?
  9. A lair of regular ol’ Rats has, on average, 10 times more treasure than a lair of Kobolds.

Past Adventures of the Mule

May 2010

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