27/30 Bad Things about Treasure
So your PCs have won their quest, be it slaying a mighty dragon with a magical weapon of old, beating a crime boss, or vanquishing a mighty wizard or wight, and they have taken possession of the treasure. Chest after chest of gold and silver coins, gold bars, and every kind of jewel and gemstone is theirs for the taking. If they are not careful, they may find that their trouble has only just begun.
1-Be careful what you try on
If that treasure hoard is big enough, it may have all manner of jewelery up to and including crowns. Some of that jewelery may well be magical, and not all of that magic is always useful or beneficial to the wearer. It may be just silly-for example, that jewel encrusted ring one of the male PCs put on could be a Ring of Girlishness that some exasperated noble made long ago for his tomboy daughter, that is enchanted so it can't be taken off and makes the wearer act like a girly girl. It could be far more serious.That gold signet ring that would look so good on your finger might be a Binding Oath Ring compelling the wearer to go on some random quest, guard the treasure from being taken, or some other thing totally against the interest of the wearer. It could be much worse. It could be a Ring of Procrastination preventing the wearer from getting anything done, or even a death trap such as the Band of the Revenant that seems a true boon until it is too late.
2-It rightfully belongs to the Dead
Especially if the PCs gained that treasure from looting a tomb, but perhaps even in other treasure hoards too, there may be Funeral Gold and Grave Silver amongst the treasure, which can bring it's own problems. If it was recently laid in the tomb, the PCs could face trouble both legally and otherwise for tomb robbery. If the tomb they robbed was that of a recently dead King or Queen, this is near certain. But even if it belongs to the long dead, it can both attract Undead to those who possess it and cause unwanted hauntings and nightmares until it's either spent, given up, or exorcised by someone with the proper knowledge.
3-The Treasure is a Trap
If the treasure has not already been found/stolen, there may be a reason for this. The treasure itself may be the deadly Vridian gold causing a great deal of pain if kept for more then a few hours and death if kept for more then a few days. And passing on it's curse in lesser amounts when spent, creating a trail of sickness and making the PCs very unwelcome wherever they go, as they will be thought to be diseased. One line of monarchs places large amounts of this cursed treasure in the barrows of the dead monarchs, as a punishment for grave robbers.
The owner of the treasure knew powerful magic, and really, really did not want the treasure to be stolen. As soon as the treasure is touched by anyone but the rightful owner or owners, it forms into a mighty Coin Golem, snatches up a jeweled sword, and attacks the would-be thieves. And if the treasure hoard is a large one, then the Golem will be large as well and will take a lot of effort to *kill*, causing it to collapse into a heap of coins again. It may be that after their fight to gain the treasure, the PCs are already weak, in which case they may be driven away or even slain by the hoard itself.
Unknown to the PCs, the treasure hoard has a tracking spell placed upon it, showing where they are taking it. And meaning that law enforcement, the armed servants of the treasure's rightful owner, or both, can come down hard on them within hours forcing them to abandon the treasure and run. But if they take even one coin from the hoard, it will mean they can be tracked down until they either spend it or dump it.
As the PCs start helping themselves to the treasure, there is an explosion in the roof and the PCs-and most of the treasure hoard-is covered with paint. The paint may be itself poisonous or highly irritating until washed off-even if it's not, the treasure is now covered in paint and clearly marked as stolen unless/until it is scrubbed clean and literally laundered, otherwise most shopkeepers and innkeepers won't accept it in case they get into trouble later for having it.
7-The Cops Are Coming
If the PCs stole the treasure from a bank, from a wealthy noble or from a recent royal tomb, it will be regarded as the crime of the century and the police, city guards or whatever law enforcement exists are going to be coming for the PCs to arrest or indeed to kill them. It could be best for the PCs to lie low for a while. Even if this is not the case, if average PCs suddenly start spending lavishly on things that only nobles can afford, the police may have a few questions for them about how they gained so much money.
8-I'll make you an offer You can't refuse
If the treasure is large enough, and certainly if it was stolen violently, then the underworld is going to hear about it. More so if it was stolen from the biggest crime boss in town. He or his minions in such a case would be sending their gangsters to try and track down the thieves and kill them as punishment and an example. If the PCs want to buy illegal items or need to launder the money, they will have to use the underworld to help them, but it's members cannot be trusted and might steal from the PCs, outright extort from them or worse.
9-A Dragon Is Coming
If the PCs stole the treasure from a dragon without killing it, then that dragon is going to be searching for them and will be furious. And will threaten to burn down villages or even whole towns if information leading to the location of the thieves is not given. Even if they killed it, perhaps by using The Black Spear other dragons when they find out are not going to be happy that humans killed one of them and stole his or her treasure hoard. Even if dragons generally hate each other, allowing humans to kill one of them and get away with it might encourage other humans to do the same thing and so the dragon has to be avenged.
If the treasure hoard is big enough and is found outside a town, and the PCs are not content to just stuff their pockets, purses and backpacks with the loot and abandon the rest of it, then they are going to need to hire horses or other pack animals and perhaps carts to transport the treasure and use part of the hoard to transport the rest of it. Tongues may soon start wagging unless the PCs are careful, which could cause banditry or other trouble for the PCs later on.
Unknown to the PCs, one of the more ornate items of treasure is the phylactery of a very old and very powerful Lich, who will do anything to get it back, such as sending Undead servants to find it or even coming after it Himself.
As word of the PCs being very rich spreads around, all manner of genuine disabled people and false beggars start begging them for money. Although they are not much of a danger to healthy, well armed PC's, they are annoying and can vector far more dangerous people towards the PCs. If the PCs are greatly weakened due to the gold itself being cursed (see #3) then the beggars may indeed overpower the PCs, only to die soon from the cursed gold, but not before spending some of the gold and thus spreading the trouble around.
13-Pay Me, Now!
If the PCs owe debts as some PCs do and their debtors find out then they can find themselves the targets of legal writs, bailiffs, sheriffs and outright heavies all trying to claim the debts. Some debts may be genuinely owed, others partly or totally invented. Paying the debts encourages others to come forward, but not paying them can get the PCs in serious trouble with the law.
Even if the treasure was legally acquired and the country is not known for being particularly corrupt, if the size of the treasure is large enough then the taxman may well find out and demand some of it in taxes. If the country is socalist, or the taxman, the ruler, or both are corrupt, then the PCs face either paying most of the treasure in taxes, or trying to fight their way across the border, perhaps needing to pay people to fight with them.
Even if the PCs are not busted by the police, attacked by the underworld, or downright robbed by the taxman, they face another problem-inflation. If they are traveling in wet or arctic conditions and there are only a few inns around, the prices will shoot up. In a village or town, the effect will be slower as there are many more shopkeepers around, but if they stay in any place for more then a few days or weeks, news will get out about the treasure and as everyone wants some, prices will dramatically increase for everything from weapons, armour and rare items to food, drink and clothing. Which as well as being annoying for the PCs, is likely to lead to...
16-Anger amongst the locals
Because the PCs have come to town and are spending so lavishly, the prices have shot up and are now partly or completely out of reach of many of the locals who are now having trouble affording even basic food. They may outright attack the PCs, try and trick them, inform thieves of the PCs presence or just beg the PCs to leave down before they totally distort the local economy. Maybe they explain to the PCs that because of them they can no longer feed their children properly. Good PCs will move on.
All manner of outright crackpots come forward with ideas for the PCs to fund, promising them a share of the profits. Anything from a spice company buying and selling spices from the East to a new weapon or steampunk invention. A few of these ideas might indeed bring the PCs a very healthy profit, making them as wealthy as nobles, but most will be a big waste of any money sunk into them. Some will be downright scams, which brings one to...
18-Not all robbers rob with weapons, some use pens instead
Amongst those with good ideas to invest in and the many crackpots will be scammers, who will try things such as
-selling the PCs land that can't be developed, either because it is in a national park, is owned by someone else, or a Dragon considers it is or her hunting ground and won't let anyone build on it.
-selling the PCs substandard or outright cursed equipment and bad or poisoned food
-selling the PCs *invisible* things that don't exist or *magical* items that are anything but
and other such things.
19-Nobody expects the (insert name of country here) Inquisition!
The Church of the country may ask for or outright demand a godly donation to the Church's coffers. Failure to do so may mean anything from public excommunication to stirring up trouble with preaching to an outright Crusade being declared against the PCs. Some religions may outright have their own military forces (see 101 Knightly Orders for ideas) to send against what they see as the 'heretic' PCs. Or...
20-Cursed By the Gods
If the PCs have robbed a church or temple and the religious authorities cannot directly get their stolen treasure back, or in some cases if the PCs just refuse to donate to them, then they may call down the wrath of their God or Goddess upon the PCs. How much this has an effect varies. If there are no real gods/goddesses in your world, or they are very remote from humans, then the effect might just be that the PCs have to pay a little extra money to get people to deal with them. But maybe the only acceptable magic or indeed the only magic that works is clerical in nature, and suddenly the PCs can no longer use any sort of magic. Wounds and diseases cannot be healed magically until the godly curse is somehow lifted.
Or maybe a powerful avatar of the God or Goddess even comes after the PCs-whilst it can be defeated, it will be a hard fight. Or all sorts of little things start going wrong for them (if it is The God of Small Things ). If it is Mathom, the God of Delays that is against them, they may be cursed with so many delays that they find it difficult to get to the shops to spend the treasure.
21-I'm your biggest fan!
The PCs find they now have a huge amount of fans, most of which are only after their money. Women throw themselves at them, and try either to drug the PCs with love potions or get pregnant and then demand child support. People won't leave them alone even when the PCs want them too, and sorting out true friends from false friends is nearly impossible.
22-I can't sleep
PCs will find it hard to sleep with so much treasure around them, both because of the very real danger of being robbed or even killed in one's sleep and the fear of that happening to them. Indeed, the fear of being robbed may make it as hard to get to sleep as the danger of real robbery. And because there is so much treasure around, using sleep spells, sleeping potions or sleeping pills is not recommended as it leaves one open to theft.
All sorts of rumors start to circulate about how the PCs obtained the treasure-some are merely irritating whilst others could make the PCs into pariahs in the local area or get them into trouble with law enforcement or it's closest equivalent.
If the treasure belonged to the fairies, or the fairies thought it did, then the PCs might have trouble from them. It could start with little things-bags split, ropes tethering pack animals break, shoelaces are tied together in the night, and escalate from there. Some fairies have deadly bites despite their small size, or powerful magic and nasty curses that they can let loose against the PCs.
25-Arguments between the PCs themselves
If the PCs themselves have different ideas about how to spend their loot, they themselves could end up arguing, splitting up the group or even fighting over the treasure with weapons if they are not careful. This is much more likely if the treasure has a subtle spell on it that causes such arguing to take place.
26-The Ruler is informed
The amount of treasure is so much that the PCs are summoned to the royal court or equivalent to meet the ruler of the country. What happens next depends on the ruler, the GM and how the players behave.Obviously he or she will want at least some of the treasure, but if the PCs play their cards right they might end up ennobled and in high positions at court instead of facing being robbed or worse. Knowing how to behave at court would help the PCs a lot. Of course if they decide to flee instead of going to see the ruler, the royal army will be sent after them and the treasure.
27-One of the PCs is kiddnapped
One of the PCs or someone they care about is kidnapped for ransom and the PCs have to decide if they will pay the ransom, let the victim be murdered or try and find a way to rescue him or her before it is too late.
27-Many of the coins are counterfeit
It will take a trained eye to detect them. Spending any large amount will most likely mean a good chance of getting detected. Rulers would move to eliminate this problem as soon as possible to keep the economy stable. Not to mention the receiver of such coins would want to speak with the PC's too.
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? Responses (9)
Update: I'm not sure where to take the rest of this sub so maybe the rest of you can come up with the other three ideas?
A nice sub for bringing a bunch of older subs to light again. Haven't finished with this sub, will come back to vote later.
This will help when giving PC's a lot of loot but not wanting them to just buy everything they cane think of.
Nice job here, always fun to come up with ways to thwart PCs, even after they have found the 'great treasure'! The links are nice, though I think if the same (your favorite) links are used for any new idea over and over again (Mathom, etc) it take a bit away from the piece.
A good solid sub with fair utility value.
A great sub Checka. I did something similar to my son recently and he put on one of the items I created in y necro subs. Needless to say it didn't end well.
Needless to say, putting on an item that brings a small form of consciousness to an undead does not bode well for someone who is alive with their own intellect. Conflicting memories, voices, etc... he went a bit crazy for a time. And by the way, I read this again and I love the idea of number 11.
4/5 Coin Golem , Cool!