Kobold Press

Hoard Magic (Part 1)

dragon hoardThis article presents a direct adaption for 3.5 Edition/Pathfinder Roleplaying Game of the new article in Kobold Quarterly #14 introducing a new type of magic for 4th Edition that arises from the accumulation of treasure.  That monster’s treasure hoard is now just as deadly as it is precious! Check out the latest issue of Kobold Quarterly to learn more about this amazing new take on magic and gold.

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Precious metals embody the distilled perfection of the natural elements.  Hoard magic practitioners magically resonate with this perfection, extending their will through large quantities of precious metals to mold nearby reality.  Hoard magic provides a new way to make lairs more memorable and encounters more dynamic.  It explains the strange allure of piles of coins and expensive regalia to both greedy dragons and selfless kings.

Rules for using hoard magic in 4th Edition appear in the latest issue of Kobold Quarterly.  This web enhancement explores hoard magic using the 3.5 Edition/Pathfinder Roleplaying Game.  Briefly, it helps GMs choose a power level and then create both large-scale environmental effects and combat-focused powers…

Setting the Level of Hoard Magic

Large quantities of precious metals gathered in one place provide the arcane energy behind hoard magic, so the power level of the magic can be determined directly from the amount of gold present.  As a rule of thumb, half the value of a typical treasure hoard consists of coins and other precious metals, so dividing the typical treasure by encounter by two gives the effective hoard wealth.  Use the following table for guidance for appropriate party levels.

Effective Hoard Wealth (Equivalent Level)
8,000 gp (10–13)
25,000 gp (14–17)
70,000 gp (18–21)
225,000 gp (22–25)

For creatures who stereotypically hoard gold—like dragons—assume that all of their wealth is in the form of precious metal, thus making their effective hoard wealth equal to their actual hoard size.  More elaborately, treat a copper piece as if it were worth 1/10 of a gold piece and a silver piece as if it were worth 1/2 of a gold piece for purposes of calculating effective wealth.  This option emphasizes the importance of precious metals and explains why dragons sit on vast piles of copper and silver pieces.  It also allows you to assign more hoard magic power to a monster without giving it an unbalanced amount of wealth.  However, if your players balk at the complexities of recovering tons of copper pieces from a distant dragon’s lair, this variant may not suit your game.

(Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Compatible)

Check out the hoard magic article in Kobold Quarterly #14.