One question I hear regularly from players is: can we use the gold we find that exceeds the cap on treasure or is it just lost? The answer is yes, but with limitations, some of which can be confusing. Let’s begin with an explanation of what gold above the cap is.
There is a hard limit (cap) for the amount of gold a PC can take away from an adventure in Living Greyhawk. That limit varies by the APL, but it is clearly listed on the adventure record you receive on completion of an adventure (a column on the right-hand side labeled level of play). In most adventures, a successful PC gains treasure in the adventure that has a total value that exceeds that cap. In that situation, the gold above the cap is simply lost to the PC. In game, this loss is explained in the form of taxes, tariffs, expenses, bad negotiations on sale of goods, tithes, etc. A PC can use the gold that exceeds the cap (that would normally be lost), and the treasure that it consists of, in a number of ways to gain some value out of it during the adventure.
First, the things you can never use the gold above the cap for:
- Purchasing Items for After the Adventure – You can not use the gold above the cap to purchase mundane or magic items that you plan on using after the adventure ends. You also can’t use it to upgrade such items. Examples: buying a magical weapon, buying a potion and not consuming it during the adventure, paying for a mage to upgrade your magical armor.
- Paying for Services in Future Adventures – You can not use the gold above the cap to pay for a service you plan on using in a future adventure. Examples: paying a bribe to an NPC to gain a benefit in a future adventure, donating gold to a church to get NPC Spellcasting in a future adventure.
There are many things you can use the gold above the cap for:
- NPC Spellcasting Services – You can use the excess gold to pay an NPC, if available, to cast spells on your behalf. This is the most common use of this excess gold. Example: paying a local cleric to cast raise dead on your comrade at the end of the adventure.
- NPC Services – You can use excess gold to pay an NPC for a room at the inn, to provide a bribe to a crooked guard or politician, to hire a tracker, or to pay a fine, for example. Example: paying the toll for your PC to cross a bridge during the adventure.
- Temporary Purchase of Items – You can buy items, mundane and magical, that are available during the adventure for use during that adventure. Anything you purchase with excess gold in this way can not be kept after the adventure ends; it converts back to gold if it hasn’t been consumed. You can also use items you find during the adventure in this manner. Example: purchasing or finding a potion of invisibility during the adventure and using it in the same adventure.
The key to using excess gold is:
- Spend It Once You Find It – You can’t spend the “excess gold” if you don’t have it yet. As you find treasure in the adventure, you can spend it. At the end of the adventure, you deduct that treasure spent from your total gained. In most cases, you find more gold than you can take, so you end up spending gold you would have lost. However, you may be unlucky and find you’ve spent gold above and below the cap. That is a risk you take if you spend it anytime before the end of the adventure.
- You Cannot Replace Your Gold With Excess Gold – If you spend your own gold or expend your own equipment, you cannot replace it with the gold/equipment you find in the adventure. So be sure to spend the stuff you find in the adventure first as it cannot simply replace that which you already possessed and spent.
- During the Adventure Only – The gold you spend must pay for something during or at the end of the adventure. That which you purchase must take effect during or at the end of the adventure and it may not extend beyond the end of the adventure.
Using these guidelines should help clarify the rules for spending gold above the APL cap and give you get some extra oomph out of each adventure.