The other day Jeff from Jeff’s Gameblog posted a question on Google + about wanting to design a firm mechanic for treasure and the amount of time to ascertain the values/etc in conjunction with a wandering monster encounter.
While I may not have an answer that Jeff is exactly be looking for, I did come up with a quick treasure/random encounter solution for shit on the fly.
I am a huge fan of die drop charts since I discovered them on Zak’s blog (Instadungeon Post) and use them for various things (Hubris Instaregion, Hubris Fucked up Mutations, Instatown). I thought about Jeff’s question for a moment (and replied on his thread) that a Die Drop Chart would work for a quick fix/in a pinch.
Simple drop a number of d6’s you feel is appropriate for the amount of treasure you want to generate in a room/dungeon/area. If it lands on a line feel free to lump all those items together in a chest, monster’s stomach, etc. If it lands on a wandering encounter then they will be attacked by some terrible horror that will make them piss themselves.
As far as the length of time simply add up the face value of the d6’s for the treasure of that particular room and that is the number of rounds it will take for them to sift through the shit and value it (to a rough estimate). If they get all gabby and haggley and greedy, well then that takes the number on the dice in minutes. If they the want to really inspect the item to get a specific value take the total number on the die and double it in minutes (hey it take a long fucking time to count 12,000 gold coins and determine that the Golden Scepter of the Creepy Leper King is 800 years old and worth 7,000 gp. If a player argues simply hand them $2 worth of pennies (still in rolls) and a name of an antique and a collectors book. Tell them they have to open and count the pennies and look up that object in the book and determine the value… I’ll bet they won’t complain about “imaginary numbers” after being subjected to that… ever again.).
Again this is not a highly realistic and accurate way to figure this out, but fuck it.. it works, keeps the action where it should be, in the player’s faces and not just slogging through books and making a bunch of random rolls. Drop, look, count, move on! Then have a monster come and eat the player’s feet.
Also as you roll these things on the Instatreasure chart, erase them and write in new shit, that way it always keeps the chart fresh and clean, like recently laundered underwear, if you’re into that sort of thing.