I could talk a lot about the treasure parcel system for 4E (and likely will do just that in later posts). For the most part, I like the idea of the parcel system. I like that DMs are given a general yardstick every level on how much treasure a party should get.
Somethings fall a little flat. I really miss having random treasure tables. There is a random treasure generator for 4ED, I’ve used in the past that is pretty nifty. It’s too bad that WotC has not provided something similar with DDI, I certainly hope so.
Another problem I have is that the treasure parcel system is a little too structured at times. You’ve got 10 little piles of loot to spread out over a series of adventures. Recommendations are given to combine a few, and leave a few encounters with nothing at all. Not bad suggestions, but I’d like the flexibility of handing out some treasure when I want too, without worrying about dipping too far into the remaining parcels. All the while, I don’t want to be throwing too much coin my player’s way (or short-changing them). So there are some quick and dirty rules I’ve used with treasure parcels.
Rewarding parcel 10 – I see parcel 10 as optional. I like to use that parcel as a guideline for any monetary quest rewards. Depending on the adventure, if I think my group need a little more economic incentive for tackling a quest, I throw in some gold pieces equivalent to parcel 10.
Usually, I drop this parcel from encounters if the group is handling an adventure that would have this as a reward. Typically, I’m giving a little extra coin throughout a series of adventures on route to that next level. As long as each ‘reward’ is up to the gold value of parcel 10, I don’t worry about handing a few extra out. WotC recommends freely using parcels as quest rewards, but I typically like having the big stuff for the players to find directly.
Splitting up parcel 8 – I also like to split parcel 8 up three ways as additional treasure parcels (8A, 8B, and 8C). I use these parcels for small booty rewards. If I ever run a small random encounter where I think a little coin would be appropriate, I use one of these parcels. Say the group runs across some gnoll slavers. I would expect that they would carry some treasure, but likely not be hauling around some fantastic magical weapon. In that case, I’d add some coin from one of my newly split parcel 8s.
As things progress towards the end of the level, if I’m a little short on opportunities to hand out the remaining parcels, I tack on the remaining hordes from parcel 8. I really like doing this as I can give out a bit gold coin if I want to, and still keep within the guidelines of the parcel system.
So treasure parcels. Love em? Hate em? What tweaking have you done in using them?