Treasure Maps

I just generated the first treasure map for my player’s, and I think they’ll be chasing after it soon. It’s 24,000gp, which is a fair amount for their level. I’m just wondering how other people have handled generating the dungeons/lairs for the treasure?

I’d probably eyeball it so the danger more or less corresponds to the treasure: say, 10% of the treasure value in monsters guarding it (so 2400 XP of monsters in this case). That’s a bit under the usual 1:4 ratio, but I figure since the map was treasure, part of that treasure was already “earned” as it were…

I’d mostly just use quick, simple lairs created in an hour or two: grab a map (create a cave over at Donjon or use Paratime’s awesome free maps), choose a monster, key and populate the place, and write up short descriptions for the rooms, etc.

Incidentally, 24,000 gp is not that much more than most old starter modules have; IIRC both the detailed levels of The Lost City and The Village of Hommlet have around 15,000-18,000 gp of treasure, and something like 3,000 XP of enemies at the most.

I don’t usually put dungeons and monsters at the end of a treasure map. I look at it as a reward for going on an otherwise low-return wilderness adventure. The wandering monsters in the wilderness are the treasure’s defense.

I like this as a template for it.

I haven’t run a treasure map, but I think it would be neat if they were basically a travel challenge rather than a dungon-clearing challenge. Maybe the map is to a treasure in the middle of the Desert of Dryness, and you need to successfully cross the desert to get there. Or maybe it’s hidden inside Wraith-Lord Monfyr’s Non-Euclidian Labyrinth, a ‘dungeon’ that has no monsters and very few traps but lots of maze to explore.

That is a cool idea and way to look at it. If the treasure is far enough away, the trip there is a danger in itself.

I use a rule (don’t remember where I read it) that the treasure should be 1 hex away per 1000gp value. So, for a 24,000gp treasure, that would generate 24 wandering monster checks, which averages 8 wilderness encounters in the forest, or 4 if they are traveling through relatively safe plains and scrub. That seems plenty dangerous to me.

Oh, and then they have to drag 24 stone of treasure back to civilization, and deal with any wandering monsters on the way back.

if you use the detailed treasure roll replacements, it will probably be even heavier than 24 stone.

If the map was generated as treasure, then I say they’ve earned it. The treasure itself won’t be heavily guarded, or guarded at all. Getting there would be an adventure, though.

I think I agree. To what extent would you all have there be a chance of getting lost on the way to the treasure site? I’m thinking the map is primarily of the site itself, but that might be too narrow.

In my mind, the map is a map showing the path from a known location to treasure.

The known location is, however, known to the maker of the map, not necessarily to the PCs; it might be encrypted or otherwise hidden. The route taken may neglect to mention certain important facts, but it is essentially correct. That sort of thing.

So for a short answer, I think the PCs should have no chance of getting lost if they correctly interpret the map, and a high chance of getting lost if they fail to do so.

I would say using the standard “getting lost” rolls would split the difference between correct and incorrect interpretation. If the party rolls poorly, they misinterpret it, if they roll correctly, they got it right. Similarly, just because you know roughly where you’re going, if it’s in the middle of the woods you could easily end up off by a mile or so and be totally lost.

My “treasure maps” are most commonly notes that have enough information for the PCs to determine which hex the treasure is in, and to find the treasure if they scout the hex using the scouting action in my hexcrawling house rules.

For example: Treasure Map (Giantish (Telkaynie dialect); F7-0615; 18,000gp; “I have collected the three sacks of gold you demanded. You can find them beneath a cairn in a cave in the bare rock face on the south wall of the hidden valley in the hills some 10 miles northwest of Kaz-Ganireth. Good luck retrieving them. See you in Hell.”)

Other than that, I run the wilderness travel normally, including chances for getting lost.

My “treasure maps” are most commonly notes that have enough information for the PCs to determine which hex the treasure is in, and to find the treasure if they scout the hex using the scouting action in my hexcrawling house rules.

For example: Treasure Map (Giantish (Telkaynie dialect); F7-0615; 18,000gp; “I have collected the three sacks of gold you demanded. You can find them beneath a cairn in a cave in the bare rock face on the south wall of the hidden valley in the hills some 10 miles northwest of Kaz-Ganireth. Good luck retrieving them. See you in Hell.”)

Other than that, I run the wilderness travel normally, including chances for getting lost.

I might vary it up, but I’d generally consider the map to contain enough information to recognize the right hex once you’re at it, and to locate it fron some nearby landmark (mountain, bit of coast, city, whatever); standard wilderness travel rules, getting lost, etc. apply.

Once in the hex, the map would be very specific: “Stagger, stagger, stagger, roll…”