I don’t know how immediately useful these thoughts are, I guess we’ll see based on wherever I wind up when the dust has settled. I noticed a correlation between the Average Treasure Per Level idea and the 4e Parcel System for treasure.

Last night a friend showed me the new “Appendix A” in the 5e Dungeon Master’s Guide, and I was looking at it fresh from having reviewed the AD&D Appendix A. First, I noticed it was “streamlined” to some extent.

For example, instead of one table leading to a series of subtables, it was more like 2-3 tables each with a subtable apiece. I’ll have to review the 5e Appendix A in greater detail, but this approach was something I appreciated.

Where I think it went wrong was in volume — I’ll have to come back to this later after more carefully reviewing the material, but whereas the 1e Appendix is comprehensive in under 4 pages, the 5e Appendix goes on, and on, and on

A quick glance put the random dungeon generator at eight-plus pages.

Now, I could be wrong but to me it looked like after the initial few pages of dungeon generation, it turned into tables of features and stuff. I guess that’s okay, it was just — too much — at one time. Something seemed a bit off.

Like, if dungeon generation was going to be ‘so big,’ why was it buried in an appendix? Why wasn’t it a chapter unto itself? Maybe it’s just me, but I tend to build dungeons in layers. Layout, features, encounters, treasure. Stuff tends to get added in layers when I don’t have ‘complete’ ideas for rooms.

I really would have liked to see that get a chapter to itself.

I didn’t get so far as 5e treasure placement, but it did put me right in the mindset to review the AD&D Appendix A — particularly with regard to random encounter and random treasure placement. A bit of Column A and Column B.

AD&D assumes less than 15% of treasure found won’t have a monster standing over it. That’s cool, I’m down with that. I found it interesting the actual number of little ‘hoards’ assumed by the tables averages six to seven.

You’re actually supposed to lump most of them together though, I mean when you roll for treasure ‘with monster,’ you roll twice. So you get a little mix of two little treasures (and sometimes you get 2,000 copper pieces guarded by rats).

Well, the 4e Parcel System didn’t stray too far from this.

In 4e, you really need magic items for the enhancement bonuses, or you get destroyed. (Though in retrospect, I wonder if this was actually true.)

What the above means, is that you have certain ‘guaranteed’ magic items in addition to the heaps of coins and stuff, right? Those magic items could still be consumable/disposable things, but they were magic swords often enough.

Apart from the magic item bit, the difference was really in the quantities of loot found — treasure in 4e was more gradient level for level, as opposed to the exponential loot gains in the random dungeons of AD&D.

You know, I think 4e may have just adopted “DM as designer” more readily that other editions. The Parcel System provided hard numbers, a palette, for the DM to work with — instead of tables to ‘dice.’

Bah! I can see that I’m reaching for something here but I don’t know what it is. I’ll have to come back to this later.