[5e] What Do We Do With Gold?

Azimer the Mad

Knight of Chaos
Validated User
#1
I'm happily running my first fifth edition campaign through Dragon Heist right now, but I know I'm about to hit a snag in my dungeon master knowledge.

In our Rules Cyclopedia games, gold was there for experience points and the running of strongholds.

In 3/3.5, gold was there for the constant replacing of magical items to stay on parity with the monsters.

What kind of options do players have with their hard-earned gold in fifth edition? I mean, I know they have Troll Skull Manor to renovate, but aside from that?
 

Crimson Carcharodon

Registered User
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#2
Not a whole lot, really. With Xanathar's Guide, you get rules for buying and crafting magic items, but there isn't a lot of official stuff to really make gold relevant in this edition.
 

BeholderThief

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Validated User
#4
Nothing official per rules. There are various downtime activities that you can sink hold into but the scale is a little on the low side.

There are things you can do to make spending gold useful, but it has to come direct from your specific campaign. Which is maybe why there isn’t much guidance by rules. Every campaign is different and every economy is going to be unique to the group.

But some things to allow spending gold on:
1. Tithing to the churches for divine favor and access to spell casting
2. Guild fees... thieves guild = access to skeleton keys it a rogue lock picker, mage guild = access to library for research
3. Carousing... can lead to rumors or information
4. Patron to the arts... add to a character’s social standing
5. Followers and retainers.... pay to have backup characters and companions that join the party.
6. Lifestyle expenses... the more you pay in lifestyle expenses then better access to the city’s movers and sharpers you can get

All of these and more can be things your players can invest gold into to further their agendas. You just have to work it out for your campaign.
 

Matrix Sorcica

Embodied Movie Quote
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#5

Siphonaptera

up to no good
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#7
You can go through 3650 gold each year living a priliveged life at 10 gold a day. Easy to burn through it even faster if you step it up from there by becoming a socialite or starting some failed businesses.

Even without specific rules this can be used to represent getting social contacts, gaining favors, paying bribes, etc that can have in game effects without fiddly bookkeeping.

Most of my players like camping in the forest and skip the part where they mix with society, even off screen :(
 

Zeea

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Staff member
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#9
AD&D 2e has the same issue. You don't get XP for gold, you don't get to buy magical items, and other than really nice full plate armor, nothing costs enough that people need to really save up for it past the first couple of levels. The PC in my longest running 2e campaign ended up just storing all his coins under the floorboards of his room at the inn, until the basement ceiling was bulging downward from the weight.

My advice, if your players don't instinctively go and spend them on living better or making friends, would be to consider making up some cool expensive non-magical items that the PCs might buy as prestige pieces. Like a really cool dragon statue or a nice house or a mine with an entrance to the Underdark.
 

Dragon_Blooded

Social Justice Main Tank
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#10
AD&D 2e has the same issue. You don't get XP for gold, you don't get to buy magical items, and other than really nice full plate armor, nothing costs enough that people need to really save up for it past the first couple of levels. The PC in my longest running 2e campaign ended up just storing all his coins under the floorboards of his room at the inn, until the basement ceiling was bulging downward from the weight.
Most 2e classes attract followers of one kind of another when they reach level 9 (a small army, in the Fighter's case), and it's contingent on building a stronghold of some kind (a keep, temple, tower etc) in most cases, IIRC. So it takes a while (because it takes a looooooong time to level up in 2e, due to the lack of XP-for-gold), but you do have a serious use for gold baked in the system (there's also hirelings and henchmen, but they play a much smaller role than in 2e, and the game barely talks about them outside the PHB and DMG).

Eduardo Penna
 
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