Amazing Treasure Hoards!

Do long-time rpg’ers get desensitized to treasure? I think I was 11 or 12 when I first saw the Basic box cover and was fascinated by the treasure and items in those colorful illustrations. I was equally fascinated by Mel Fishers treasure hunting and dreamed of becoming a marine biologist or treasure hunter myself.

My first D&D adventure was just me and my friend and he ran me through a very simple layout: stairs, corridor, pit trap, slime, metal bars, and a treasure chest. Like you, that simple format hooked me into D&D and roleplaying from then until now. I wonder if it was the inevitable monty-haul, or just the sheer amount of treasure needed to level up when 1gp = 1 exp. Over at RM Forums there was a short discussion of generic treasure (for instance 2000 gp, 5000 sp, 10000 cp and a gold sceptre) but that feels more like an accounting tally than an awe-inspiring treasure hoard. After playing for 30+ years, can you recover that sense of wonder and delight? I think part of OSR is due to older gamers wanting to recapture those golden days when roleplaying was “an elegant weapon for a more civilized age”.

I’m not sure we can ever relive those heady days, I tried re-playing Basic, Expert and AD&D and it sucked! However gaze in wonder at real life treasures for inspiration in your own adventures and campaigns.

Bronze Age microscopic gold work from around Stonehenge.

The Malagna Treasure.

The Eberswalde Hoard.

The Treasures of Troy.

The Staffordshire Gold Hoard.

Varna Man.

Scythian Treasure 

Intricate worked gold, delicate jewelry, master crafted vessels. Treasure can be more than gold coins, they can be works of art.


2 Replies to “Amazing Treasure Hoards!”

  1. I think you can, to a degree, add a bit more wonder again by describing treasures in detail. Especially if they are valuable, bulky, fragile and hard to get out in one piece.

  2. I agree that if you add an amount of poetry to the description of the hoard it just sounds better.
    “nearest you sat atop a pile of green tinted copper coins sits the broken top half of a fine white porcelain urn that is filled with untarnished gold coins, each one the size of your palm. Behind, standing up at a drunken angle is an old hat stand made from polished antlers and every point is decorated with strings of beads, pearls and the finest gold chains.”…and so on.

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