A Cash Strapped Party

It’s been noted in various discussion threads on the Open Table that the party is low on funds. A quick review of the Campaign Log shows the last haul was in Session 34 (7 sessions ago), and was actually relatively minor considering the party’s current level: 1453sp in gems.

That haul itself is a while back, but going back even further through the log, while there have been some small finds, it has actually been a very long time since there was any haul commensurate with the party’s skill & power. We have to go back to Session 20, when a very small group of low-level characters hauled 1000sp out of the River Temple (this amount, though small, was reasonable when considering that this was a “side quest” on an off night, with only 2 primary PCs).

Now, it’s my belief that part of the interest (fun?) in old-school play is in resource management at various levels. Our situation currently is that we have a cash-strapped party who cannot afford to do some of the “bigger picture” things they’d like to do (hire sages, spending on public funding, clear paths through the wilderness, take longer widerness expeditions, maybe even look toward establishing a stronghold). It isn’t necessarily a bad thing that the PCs are in this position: the narrative of having to go back to the miserable dungeon in order to find some loot so they can continue to spread their influence on the surface is compelling (at least to me).

So I’m not out to “fix” the situation in any way (I trust that the players will take care of that, and probably sooner than I think!). But I am curious as to why & how the current situation developed.

My first consideration, just off the top of my head, is that the party has done a lot of fighting recently. Thousands of XP from monsters defeated over the past dozen sessions or so. They’ve survived, because they are actually quite tough when facing low-level opponents – but there have been some close calls! And while they’ve earned a lot of XP, the gains in treasure have been small. It is possible their toughness could be leveraged in other ways – such as to press further & deeper into the dungeons, while avoiding combat as much as possible.

I’ve done a quick survey of the five active dungeons in the campaign, and note the following: three of the dungeons have substantial treasures remaining in their 1st-depth areas; only in one dungeon has the party ever ventured beyond the 1st-depth to any great extent; and of course there are substantial treasures (in some cases, huge treasures) awaiting on several of the deeper levels.

Without giving too much away, the party has done a good job on the whole of seeking out hidden treasures within the areas they have explored. The treasures remaining are, by and large, in areas that have not been explored.

I’m not sure what conclusions to draw from the above observations, though I will note that the party has apparently been reluctant to push on below 1st depths in any of the dungeons they’ve discovered.

As context, I’ll note that most of the dungeons in this campaign follow old patterns: the upper levels are less dangerous, and less rewarding, while the deeper one delves, the more difficult (but rewarding) the challenges become. And to be specific, the upper levels of most dungeons in this campaign are roughly suitable challenges for low-level characters. Depending on who is on a given delve, our current party actually verges well into mid-level territory (mainly denoted to me by the presence of 3HD Heroic-tier characters).

I offer the above merely as observations, and partly to satisfy my own curiousity as to the overall treasure-richness of the campaign (which, as you may know, is growing organically as time goes on – see Bare Bones Setting).

I’m very curious to see where the party goes next & where they focus their energies!


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This page last updated: 2020.06.22