We’re up to five sessions of The One Ring on Twitch.tv/actualplay. I thought we were going to get to use the treasure hoard rules for the first time. The fellowship (aka party) was exploring a barrow tomb following a lead on a man they’re tracking. But a player had one of those good stressful decision points. They added a twist into the game session, so maybe next session!
I really like the way The One Ring handles treasures. Especially - distinctive, magical, precious treasures. There are three magnitudes of a treasure hoard. Upon finding one some dice are rolled to determine the value of the hoard with an optional table for deciding what’s actually in there. Every value point of treasure is worth one load of encumbrance. Nice neat tidy.
But that’s not the thing! We’ve seen wealth, resources get abstracted out before. Frodo was meant to have the ring, as Bilbo was meant to find it. Gandalf says — or something like it.
Once the base value has been determined another roll occurs to determine what precious, special things are present if any. The players decide of these things who keeps what. That’s kinda all cool, but still, it all seems the same. The randomness is just distributed a bit more.
That’s the thing, it’s not really all that random. There’s a Treasure Index the Loremaster makes for the campaign. It is the definitive list of things magical, wonderous, and famous. The magical treasure rolls made during a session determine what magnitude of item from the Treasure Index is found. The Loremaster ultimately decides what item — but it was part of the campaign prep. Decided on before discovered in the barrow tomb. Meant for Nendor to find! That’s the part I’m loving. The idea that the campaign has a definitive list, big or small of not just magical stuff -but magical treasures relevant to the campaign.
I will consider this going forward in fantasy games that I run. An index implies deliberate choices about what will be in the series of games. What exists, maybe a little who and how. The uniqueness (or not!) of the items tells a story. A story that can add color to the fiction we’re generating.
And if Gandalf is right, what is your character meant to do with that precious artefact?