Know what I love? Giving gold to my PCs. It’s a great way to give rewards beyond experience points. The trouble with fifth edition Dungeons and Dragons is that the players don’t have a lot of obvious ways to spend gold in large amounts. At a certain point the PCs may have more gold than they know what to do with once they’ve purchased their resurrection diamonds and suits of plate armor. After that gaining gold can become a bookkeeping exercise as players run out of the obvious, especially since buying magic items isn’t an option in many fifth edition Dungeons and Dragons games.
Well in this post I’m going to give you a whole bunch of stuff players can spend their gold pieces on. Stuff that’s useful for players and has a benefit beyond swimming in a pool of gold a la Scrooge McDuck.
Before we begin let me state simply that I know not all these options are right for every game. I wouldn’t include all of these in my own game, but you might allow something I wouldn’t so I’m throwing all the options I can think of out there.
Who doesn’t want to buy a castle? Well in Dungeons and Dragons, you can! The Dungeon Master’s Guide has rules for building your own castles, keeps, temples, and other strongholds during downtime on page 128. What if your players don’t want to wait and have a mountain of gold burning a hole in their pockets? Let them buy something that’s already been built!
Using the list in the Dungeon Master’s Guide, here’s a list for how much it will cost to buy specific buildings in my game.
|Guildhall, town or city||10,000 gp|
|Keep or small estate||100,000 gp|
|Noble estate with manor||50,000 gp|
|Outpost or fort||30,000 gp|
|Palace or large castle||1,000,000 gp|
|Tower, fortified||30,000 gp|
|Trading post||10,000 gp|
Maybe your adventurers don’t want the house, but they might need a car, boat, or airship. The Dungeon Master’s Guide and Player’s Handbook have tons of pricing information on everything from carts to airships.
There’s plenty of mounts PCs can buy to get them from one place to the next. Checkout the Beasts PDF in the Free Game Resources section of this site for exotic mounts which ignore various types of difficult terrain. With so many wonderful mounts to choose from characters might invest in a whole stable full.
Of course if you really want the players to spend their money maybe you make truly exotic equipment available to them like a dragonborn submarine, ornithopter, or maybe you want to allow your players to buy elemental-powered land carts, boats, and airships like the ones in Eberron. We don’t have prices for those (yet!) but here’s my best guess for 5e!
|Elemental airship||100,000 gp||20 mph|
|Elemental galleon||150,000 gp||5 mph|
|Elemental land cart||10,000 gp||15 mph|
Of course if they’ve already got the house and car, they might want to trick them out with a state of the art home security system! Maybe you’ll let your players buy traps or siege weapons. Who doesn’t want to put a crushing room in a fortress or drive around in an elemental land cart with a ballista mounted on the roof? Here’s my best guess at what it would cost for traps and siege weapons. Note that many of these traps and siege weapons are found in the Free Game Resources section of this site.
|Abyssal Gate||5,000 gp|
|Acidic Fall||500 gp|
|Collapsing Roof||100 gp|
|Crushing Room||3,000 gp|
|Electrified Floor||5,000 gp|
|Explosive Object||1,000 gp|
|Falling Net||100 gp|
|Fire-Breathing Statue||5,000 gp|
|Flame Jets||2,000 gp|
|Grasping Arms||5,000 gp|
|Hungry Insects||500 gp|
|Log Slammer||1,000 gp|
|Malicious Harpsichord||5,000 gp|
|Mists of Madness||5,000 gp|
|Object of Deception||1,000 gp|
|Pendulum Scythe||2,000 gp|
|Pit, Hidden||150 gp|
|Pit, Locking||200 gp|
|Pit, Simple||100 gp|
|Pit, Spiked||150 gp|
|Poison Darts||300 gp|
|Poison Mister||500 gp|
|Poison Needle||200 gp|
|Rolling Sphere||2,000 gp|
|Room Filling With Water||3,000 gp|
|Spectral Tendrils||5,000 gp|
|Sphere of Annihilation||50,000 gp|
|Spinning Saw Blades||2,000 gp|
|Widening Pit||5,000 gp|
|Withering Tapestry||5,000 gp|
|Zealous Altar||5,000 gp|
Siege Weapon Costs
|Arcane Cannon||50,000 gp|
|Acid canister||250 gp|
|Fire canister||250 gp|
|Force canister||250 gp|
|Frost canister||250 gp|
|Lightning canister||250 gp|
|Canister shot||50 gp|
|Cannon ball||50 gp|
|Chain shot||25 gp|
|Cauldron, suspended||200 gp|
|Oil (1 cauldron full)||20 gp|
|Dwarven Drill||15,000 gp|
|Mangonel flaming barrel||50 gp|
|Mangonel stone||20 gp|
|Siege Tower||1,000 gp|
|Trebuchet flaming barrel||100 gp|
|Trebuchet stone||30 gp|
Make ‘Em Fly
Know what’s cool? Airships. Know what’s cooler? Flying castles. If you’ve got the world for it, why not allow the PCs to trick out their stronghold by letting it fly? It’s certainly not right for every campaign, but think about it. If you’re campaign takes the PCs all over the map, why would they buy a fortress… unless they could bring the fortress with them! To make a building fly I charge my PCs twice the building’s cost. So it would take 2,000,000 gp to make a castle fly or 3,000,000 gp total to buy a flying castle outright.
Many fifth edition campaigns do not allow PCs to buy magic items, but if you want to allow them to buy magic items during their downtime, there’s rules for that in the Free Game Resources section of this site. These rules don’t allow a player to walk in and buy a magic item right off the shelf of a store so it limits players and ultimately keeps things random an in the hands of the DM.
Of course if you don’t want to allow your PCs to buy magic swords, armor, and bioarcane items, there’s always single use magic items like potions, scrolls, and the like. I always allow my players to stock up while they’re in town to spend some of their well-earned gold. Here’s the prices I use.
|Very rare||5,000 gp|
|Spell Scroll Level||Cost*|
*Plus the cost of any material components used in casting the spell.
If you have something specific in your setting that your players buy that costs a pretty penny. Exploration Age has firearms and bombs you could sell to your PCs. Maybe even some of Exploration Age’s finest mechs are available for sale. Here’s a quick list for you of how much mechs would cost in my game if I made them available for sale.
In some worlds teapots walk across the table and pour themselves, cabinets keep food cold and fresh, and clockwork spiders carry notes from one room in a house to another. If your world is high magic, your PCs might pay for fun and cool little mundane items like these which make their lives easier.
Henchmen and Upkeep
If the PCs are going to have airships and castles, they might need servants, guards, skilled laborers and more to get things off the ground. The Player’s Handbook has some good rules for hirelings which can add up over time.
You might also decide the players need to spend a certain amount of gold maintaining and repairing their prized possessions. Mike Shea of slyflourish.com recently had his PCs acquire a magic flying castle, but in order to keep it flying they have to feed it gold or magic item. Vehicles get damaged in battles and castle walls might fall during a dragon attack. Make sure your PCs are paying for those repairs.
When the PCs have lots of gold it might be in their best interest to give it away. Their gold could turn them into lobbyists with political influence if they give donations to the right government, church, or guild. Know who else loves gold? Dragons. Imagine if one of those owed the PCs a favor…
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