What to do with loot

Traditionally, loot is kind of a boring thing

You don’t actually need much money in elf games, because the things we spend money on (and the reasons we spend them on things) in real life aren’t part of the game

Nobody cares if their character’s shoes are uncomfortable. Nobody’s paladin notices their socks are getting holes. Nobody’s wizard ever pines for a more vibrant robe

(if they do, it’s out of the joy of roleplaying, and, again, that’s not really covered by any rules, nor should it be.)

But that leaves a conundrum. What, exactly, are people going into those tombs for? It’s dangerous in there! There’s a reason nobody’s been in there yet to take the loot and it’s not because nobody can use the money.

Old school dnd assumed you would spend the money on building a castle and creating some sort of realm. There were rudimentary rules for this, although I don’t think they were used often

Do people play like that? Do people stop adventuring to draw big castles and balance budgets and hire people to adventure for them?

My tentative bronze age collapse system/setting gives a couple good, built in reasons why you might want to have a hoard of wealth or two:

  • You are working on behalf of a king, governor, (or perhaps an Emperor themself) to recover ancient wealth to pay for soldiers and trade. Failure might mean your homeland collapses just like everyone else’s is doing!
  • You are working on behalf of an illegitimate actor-warlord, raider, etc. You also want money to pay soldiers and buy food from afar – But your inherent goal is destabilization for one reason or another
  • You want the money for yourself, to get the heck out of here. Travel is expensive and difficult, and if you want to survive in a strange new land, you’re going to want some wealth!
  • You are also going to want some gifts handy to pay off raiders or get other randos to help you

Remember, coins don’t exist yet, and seafaring vessels tend to be large and oared. It tends to take a lot of people working together to get anything done, and it’s a lot easier to get people to do things if you can give them a reward.

Of course, this being the very ancient world, you can also force people into working for you with threats or violence. (This has its own drawbacks, naturally)

But WATCH OUT! Carrying around giant piles of precious gems will attract notice, and it will attract thieves and raiders who will just kill you and take it. How do you stop them?

You might be a mighty Warrior or clever Thief but can you fight off 30 axe wielding, feather-hatted raiders?

See? Now the game starts to take form. Every step of the process is dangerous, difficult, and fraught with challenge.

Welcome to The Collapse!

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