I cannot think of a better reason to brave all the dangers of adventuring than acquiring some goodies... and neither can my characters. Hoards is intended to aid the DM by providing a wide ranging yet balanced array of items with which to tempt and reward adventurers. It is a combination of level-based tables of likely treasure and some fine individual items that will be treasured by those fortunate enough to find them. There are also 'themed' hoards, as it is likely that the goodies you can steal from a necromancer's tower and somewhat different from what you'll find in the back of a bugbear's lair.
The first part provides a range of tables to help you decide what treasure there is to be found. It is all cross-referenced according to the CR of whoever the adventurers beat up to acquire it, very useful for those who require precise game balance at all times - and a useful guide for anyone who wants realistic and sensible amounts of loot to be found.
Coins and metals - and a few gems - are the subject of the first few tables. This is a lot more interesting than it might sound, as a selection of ideas for antique coins, strangely-stamped ingots and the like are provided, it is not a case of merely increasing the size of the adventurers' wallets! Like all specific items mentioned in this book, as well as its appearance, weight and value there is a 'Background' section which puts a bit of a story to it. Naturally, some of them won't fit in with your world, but the ideas are valuable and details can always be changed to suit.
Next come what are described as 'art objects' - a mix of works of art and some things that might be better described as trade goods. Still, imagine the adventures that might ensue if our intrepid explorers return with a beautiful bolt of purple silk and sell it to a dressmaker, prompting much intrigue in town as the fine ladies vie to have the best ballgown for the forthcoming New Year Ball! There are also 'mundane items' - many far from it! - which can be mixed in to create a hoard that is unique and interesting in more ways than just its monetary value.
Magic items have not been forgotten, of course, and there is a fine collection of well-detailed things - including armour, shields and weapons - to add to your hoard. Bardic knowledge skills will be handy to discover as much as you can about what you find, usually advisable just in case... Rings, staves and other common magic items are not forgotten either.
There are some fun wondrous items listed - I like the idea of a pair of gloves which become attuned to a task and carry on even after you have taken them off. Imagine the reaction of a nervous horse which suddenly finds that it is being groomed by a pair of gloves holding the appropriate brushes with nobody in sight! The Chest of Infinite Spell Component will come in handy in any campaign where mages are expected to account for component use... although it has a habit of distributing random components rather than the one you are actually after. While many of the items will spawn ideas just as you read about them, a few specific plot hooks are scattered throughout the book for the DM to use if he so wishes.
After a few intelligent or cursed items and a couple of minor artifacts, the work moves on to some ready-made sample hoards, including 'themed' ones designed to be used in specific situations. A table of hoard value against encounter level is also provided, so that DMs can select or swap out items without making their hoards too unbalanced. It winds up with fun ideas like a table of antiques, and ways of randomising the appearance of otherwise normal hoard items to make them a bit more unusual or distinctive.
Overall, this is an incredibly useful work that deserves a place in every DM's hoard - it will make the task of providing treasure for eager adventurers to loot so much easier.
Return to Hoards page.
Reviewed: 14 February 2007