I’m looking for any guidance (especially from the rules and handbooks themselves) regarding storing treasure. I understand the encumbrance dynamic and that 50 coins weigh one pound (PHB 143) and all carried equipment has a weight. My question is, where do the PCs keep the money/treasure they aren’t strong enough to carry or are not using in their current adventure? Is there some RAW banking system somewhere or is it at the discretion of the DM? We’re assuming they do not have access to magical bags, sacks, or floating disks.

For example, if a PC earns 5,000 GP, that equates to 100lbs. A PC with a low strength score (say 8) only has a carrying capacity of 120lbs (PHB 176) before being encumbered. They would not be able to keep that amount on their person along with the normal equipment they’d be carrying.

For clarification, I’m not referring to transporting the treasure; let’s assume they have a wagon/horse/ship/NPCs for transport. I’m talking about where they physically keep it after the fact.

Is this is addressed somewhere in the rules or handbooks, or is it all up to the DM? I have searched the DMG and PHB and found nothing, although I could have missed it somewhere. I did find Where do adventurers keep all their stuff?, but it refers to a sack or bag.

I also found Rules on Treasure Carrying but its solutions propose house rules and it's for a different edition. I'm specifically looking for information from the rules, guides and handbooks themselves with references (if there are any).


D&D is a rules set, not a setting. Therefore details like this are never RAW, but they may be described in a setting. For example, if you play in the Forgotten Realms, there may be some canon as to the availability of banking there. If it's your/your GM's own world, then it is completely up to you.

In most fantasy worlds there's not widely available normal or magical banking; even in high magic settings it's usually at best local storage. Throughout the years of D&D, PCs generally:

  1. Spend their money on stuff
  2. Spend their money on lands/a keep/whatnot
  3. Make a nice super-trapped chest in a location they pay guards to guard
  4. Get a bag of holding or portable hole and just carry it all with them (usually after conversion into gems or other high value low weight items)

Frankly, #4 is by far the most common. PCs hate letting their money out of their sight and magical items that carry loot are common enough they usually don't have to.

Now, for one positive example in the Pathfinder world of Golarion there's a god of money and such and his temples are banks. IME PCs don't use that much either because, you know, what if you have to waste one of those priests one day, you don't want your money confiscated... And if you want to research real-world early banking and implement it in your game, hooray for everyone learning something. But it's all in your purview as GM.

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I do basically what mxyzplk does for my campaigns. Having some enough coin on you and high value stuff with you really helps with greasing the wheels (it's how one lvl2 PC character managed to arrange a wrestling match as payback for another PC).

But, I'm also providing money lenders and banking systems in my campaign. Just because it wouldn't make sense that bandits would have all their loot in easily portable amounts. Which means my group can find a lot of CP and SP. Banks and money lenders are there to convert this to more convenient coinage or high value items (for a fee of course).

Banks in my campaign are establishment based off the real-world Lloyd's Coffee House. They are the place to go for reliable shipping information, rates on various goods, and rumours and tips about the goings-on throughout the realm as it might relate to your bottom line (hello quest hooks). Essentially, treat them like your local coffee shop were five times as large and also is a stock exchange. Which makes them a great place for finding opportunities for all that wealth PCs amass.

Banks also provide the guard services for important items like high value loot. You might not immediately have a buyer for an item and lugging around 50 lb. of gear you're not using is not practical.

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By approximate weight/volume, a simple 3x2x2 chest (coincidentally the size of a Leomund's secret chest) is capable of holding at least half a million coins (although it will weigh about six tons), with some shake space to spare. The best solution, at high levels, is to encourage your players to settle somewhere and set up a homestead or a keep where they can plunk a chest down. Nothing beats having a proper coffer of gold at your disposal, other than having a proper vault to protect it. The drawback is you have to leave it behind.

A bag of holding can only carry just so much, after all, and I wouldn't advise handing a party more than one. Encourage the use of wagons and carts for short-distance transportation of a dragon hoard. You can SAY you slew a dragon, but nothing proves it faster than a 16th century U-Haul rolled right through town packed with dragon swag (and its SKULL!).

Some of the ways a DM can assist with long range wealth transportation is by Trade Guild Writs or Trade Bars. These are usually backed by pretty strict laws against fraud and forgery by both the guilds or players alike. As long as you're in the same kingdom under the same laws, there shouldn't be a problem unless you're trying to pass off a forgery (which requires more information than just scribbling some words on some paper). These will generally be of no use in small villages or in the wilderness, but any trade-hub town or city should have guild offices.

Trade Writs are a service offered to Guild Artisans/Merchants in good standing. This is a simple voucher for a certain amount of value credit, which can be exchanged for gold within another Guilds' means, but largely for goods & services All these records are maintained in guild ledgers. If the players have a Keep and a guildsman on hire (or in the party), these can easily be sent home by messenger and the guild closest to the keep becomes a safe reserve of payable wages, materials, labor, and accurate accounting of all transactions. The two cities/towns can work out the debt between them in the background just fine without disrupting economies.

A 'Trade Bar" is a serial-marked bar of brass or a wood token (weighing no more than 1lb) that can be exchanged for a value of 100, 500, or 1000 gold. Players can exchange trade bars for gold once the local guild has received an updated ledger marking its serial number as having been issued, usually taking no longer than 30 days. These can be an alternative to the 'sack of gems' style of wealth compression, since truly valuable gems are both rare and in high demand by people of means. This is generally a safe means of transport, as the bars can have a variety of simple security features to ferret out all but the most elaborate forgeries. These are more 'liquid' than writs, assuming a merchant is willing to accept it, and they usually will prefer a simple bar of fixed value over a pile of gems of suspect value.

Innkeepers often have a strongbox that can be rented for a small fee of a few silver and can look after small amounts of wealth or small items during your stay. It's generally considered safe, as long as you're not a wealthy-looking individual paying for a room in a low-rent area to cheap out on expenses. The better the accomodations, the more secure you can safely assume it would be.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ "You can SAY you slew a dragon, but nothing proves it faster than a 16th century U-Haul rolled right through town packed with dragon swag (and it's SKULL!)." - made my day :D \$\endgroup\$ – PixelMaster Sep 2 '18 at 11:12
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    \$\begingroup\$ Hi @Chris L Zourin, welcome to RPG.SE! You might want to take the tour. Your answer would be greatly enhanced by references to the rules where you can add them. \$\endgroup\$ – Jack Sep 2 '18 at 12:22

This is entirely dependent on the DM and the design of his world. There are no rules for this.

This provides a good opportunity for roleplaying, and for rewards that aren't just more treasure -- maybe a noble has a job he wants done, and can offer the characters a safe haven to keep their stuff in if they succeed. In one of the campaigns I run, the party has been hired by a Revenant to help him get revenge and re-take his ancestral castle from some bad guys, and the reward offered was half ownership of the castle.

They can figure out how to carry it. They can bury it like pirates, and make a treasure map to find it again. Maybe the characters buy a ship and hire a crew, and keep their stuff there. Maybe they make a pact with a dragon, to add their loot to his pile on a temporary/occasional basis. Maybe they build a castle, and staff it.

Maybe they can find a moneychanger or a bank in a city. Maybe they start their own bank, and lend their loot to the local nobles and merchants, at reasonable (or unreasonable) interest rates.

Maybe there's some opportunities for adventures there, as other people try to obtain the party's loot. How much fun would an adventure be, for the party to be the dungeon -- they secure their stuff as best they can, set their traps and cast their spells, and have to fend off parties of NPCs (or dragons) looking for treasure.

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The easy (though perhaps not general) solution as a GM is to just make sure that an extra-dimensional storage bag is dropped early in the game. If you like, you can spice it up by making it some other kind of container (particularly if it's a funny one) with the same stats as a small bag of holding. Imagine the party having to get their money out of an old beat-up ale mug or maybe something somewhat inconvenient like a bottomless barrel to nudge them to fix the problem themselves.

Alternatively, they could find the larger cash values in valuable items. Gems are worth quite a bit for their weight, and small art/decorative objects can hide a large value. Plus, it gives them a use for the appraise skill!

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This should be a non issue unless you are really detailed. There are two quick solutions to this conundrum.

1) Bags of Holding.(see DMG p153) Each of my player gets a BoH and any treasure is placed in them. No encumbrance issues. Nothing getting in the way. And preserves the theatrical feel of a hero setting.

2) Have them buy, find, build, or conquer a keep.

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    \$\begingroup\$ This information has pretty much already been covered in Mxyzplk's answer. Can you edit this answer and add more detail to make it more distinct from the others? \$\endgroup\$ – Purple Monkey May 29 '17 at 22:55

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