Over the weekend, I transcribed the 5e treasure tables to a spreadsheet.

There are nine of them, tables A-I. I also looked at the probabilities each table has for producing numbers and types of magic items.

I found some interesting patterns.

I’m not exactly sure how to . . . quantify all of them. I think I need to compare these tables (and their math) with a couple other editions before I have a good idea of what’s going on, exactly. It’s complicated.

For starters, I know 4e was big on awarding several magic items per level. It was a whole thing, with planned obsolescence for magic items. Bonuses got bigger and bigger, and monster defenses also got bigger.

And some of that thinking seems to have stuck.

A typical 5e treasure hoard will drop between 1d4 and 1d6 magic items. Now, these will vary from potions and scrolls to magic swords and baubles, but it’s uncommon that you should find one magic item. You’ll usually find 2-4.

Now, I found it super-annoying that every entry would alternate some number of gems or some number of art objects, and that the values would be more or less, and that coins were rolled separately but more than that . . . coins were kind of an afterthought. So I took the tables and broke them apart.

First roll coins. That’s easy. Roll and multiply. Math.

Next, roll “gems versus art.” This needs work.

Finally, check for magic items, then the number of items present.

What I found, while trying to generate 45 treasure hoards by hand, was that this was just . . . too many steps. I want to be able to roll them up and be more or less done for the campaign. I don’t want to think about it.

But I want to do it by hand. I want to be the one to roll the dice, because an automatic treasure-generator is too distant, too abstract. I want to look up the items myself and decide where they can be found. Me.

So what I need is an easier procedure.

Well, after trying to roll up 45 treasure hoards using this method, I realized something fantastic. There are some variables which are assumed or predetermined, which means I can find averages.

5e assumes players will find between two and two-and-a-half treasure hoards per level. That’s great. I can work with that. I can use that to determine the average number of rolls are needed from each treasure table.

And then I can roll those separately from hoards.

If I can figure, for example, that a typical campaign will need 16 magic items from Magic Item Table F, then I can roll sixteen items, note their order, and assign them to hoards as they are needed. This can be done first, or last.

It really depends on when you, as a GM, want to know what kinds of magic items are in your campaign. I can’t even begin to explain how helpful it would be to know how much “wealth” of treasure is in a given campaign area.

And if I can determine that in less than an hour, so much the better.