Treasure ideas that aren't gold or magic
There are things more valuable than gold pieces.

In most RPGs, there’s always a few gold pieces in that goblin’s pocket or hidden in a small alcove in the wizard’s tower.

But all that gold (and occasionally electrum and platinum and silver and whatever), can get a little boring.

It’s a lot more fun for everyone when they find something of value that isn’t something to throw in their pockets and spend at the next magic item shop they can find.

If you’re as bored of gold as we are, use these treasure ideas in your next game.

Art. When players open the treasure vault expecting bags of gold coins or piles of gold bricks, they find a collection of priceless art. A whole host of adventure threads will spill out when they try to figure out who the art was stolen from or where they can fence the items to get the gold they want. Or which ones they want to hang on their wall.

Property. The deed to an old fort or a wizard’s abandoned laboratory is way more exciting than another gold necklace worth 15 gp. What are you gonna do with it? Rehab the fort and make it your party’s hideout? Raid the wizard’s lab and find some magical wonderment within? 

Keys. Unlike some dungeon-delving video games, there aren’t enough keys when playing D&D. Maybe the key unlocks a special room in the dungeon or maybe it unlocks a completely different building or dungeon altogether.

Books. Adopt something from a favorite video game. In Skyrim, you’ll often find books on the shelves in dungeons and houses. They have lore about the Elder Scrolls world or are sometimes a short story. But every so often, you’ll read a book that gives you a bonus to a skill. You can drop books into homemade dungeons that give a player a permanent or temporary bonus if the spend rest time reading them.

Favors. When the king gives a quest, he often promises a monetary reward. But what if the kingdom is strapped for cash? The king can offer a favor. Accomplish a task, and he’ll owe you one. It will invest your players in the story, and it gives them a way to solve a future problem. Someday, they may find a foe that seems too tough to defeat, but they could call in a favor with the king for some help.

Disguised items. Maybe an expensive gem is hidden in the hilt of a plain-looking axe, or a magic scepter has been turned into a strange centerpiece on a banquet table. Or perhaps the magic sword you’ve been questing after has rusted over time.

People. Instead of a treasure room or a pile of gold, maybe players find a room full of imprisoned people bound for the slave trade. It could be fulfilling for players to free them plus they may gain a couple loyal followers in the process. We once found a friendly goblin imprisoned in a sewer lair, and he ended up helping out party on multiple occasions. He was more valuable than any masterwork dagger.

Something not from this world. Another fun idea is to drop anachronistic or simply otherworldly items into a medieval fantasy realm. What’s this motorcycle doing here and how does it work? What is this laser gun? 

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