Planned and Random Encounter Treasures
It is important for the DM to distinguish between placed treasures and those
found with random encounters. The scale of the two is vastly different.
Monster descriptions in the Monstrous Compendium differentiate between treasures found in a creature's lair, den, or base and
those carried by individuals. Treasure gained through a random encounter will
be smaller than treasure gained through a planned encounter. If a random
treasure is larger or more significant than a placed one, the players are going to
remember and value the random encounter more than the plot.
Treasures should be used to build the adventure, develop a plot, and reward
intelligent and daring play. If they just appear randomly, not only is the DM
throwing away a useful adventure-building device, he is threatening his overall
campaign. In general, a large treasure should be a planned part of an adventure,
a way to motivate players, or a goal to be achieved by the characters.
And remember, as important as treasure is, it need not be the sole motivator
for a story. Indeed, there are times when it will be unimportant to the
adventure. In these cases, the plot doesn't need the outside motivation of cash to
interest the players. Still, small rewards should still be made available to the
players. A treasure reward, no matter how small, gives the players the feeling
that their characters are succeeding and moving ahead.
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