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We are playing Frog God Games' Pathfinder version of Rappan Athuk with a party of five player characters. We are playing seventh level characters, but our wealth is of fourth or fifth level characters. When we were creating characters, I decided to be a support-ish character and invested in the Create Wondrous Item feat so we can have more suitable equipment to stay independent from any merchants. It also saves half of the gold that we would have to pay, but the way things are now, it does not compensate for the shorting in our wealth. We cannot afford to make magic weapons or other items that should be common for characters of our level.

A majority of encounters that we have end with little to no treasure at all. Our GM says that there is no treasure mentioned in the book, so we get nothing. As far as I know, the book is just referencing monsters, and I think the GM is just ignoring the treasure that regularly the monster should have. For example, we fought 3 bonesuckers and a bunch of zombies. A little later we faced 2 vrocks. From both of these encounters we got no treasure at all.

Is he running this adventure correctly?

Is there any guidance in the adventure saying that the player characters are to be under-equipped compared to the normal WBL, maybe to make it even more challenging, or is my game master misinterpreted what's in the adventure and distributing less treasure than the adventure calls for?

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    \$\begingroup\$ What are you looking for in an answer? That is, would an answer look at your party's progress through Rappan Athuk and confirm your GM's honesty? If that's the case, the site needs more info. \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Jul 31 at 12:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ At 9th you can permanently fix all wealth problems with Fabricate. At 3rd you can mitigate your wealth problem significantly by just constantly crafting Robes of Useful Items and taking the money options to get extra money to restart the crafting process. Is player-based wealth creation disallowed in this campaign for some reason? \$\endgroup\$ – Please stop being evil Jul 31 at 16:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ @thedarkwanderer Fabricate just lets you be a hyperefficient crafter. You still need to acquire raw materials, find someone to sell to, and so forth. If you haven't invested in a crafting skill, you probably aren't able to make anything that's worth all that much money, either, and spell slots are finite. \$\endgroup\$ – Ben Barden Jul 31 at 16:54
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    \$\begingroup\$ @thedarkwanderer I suspect "some reason" is a gentleman's agreement against nigh-infinite wealth or a DM's ban on any methods to achieve nigh-infinite wealth. Perhaps you should pose a question like Can the game still be played largely as written with a post-scarcity economy? Sincerely, I'd love to read about your experiences in an answer that says Yes! \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Jul 31 at 17:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Ifusaso I rolled back your addition of the tag as we don't make tags for 3rd party publishers as per this meta. \$\endgroup\$ – linksassin Sep 3 at 6:57
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No, treasure is not low in Rappan Athuk

But that is due to the adventure's nature: It is a sandbox campaign.

What does that mean? There are treasures hidden in places you can't even imagine, but you have to look out for it. Not all treasure is in plain sight, rewarded after defeating enemies. Especially because you will hardly defeat all enemies in the campaign.

Sandbox campaigns in general have an issue where random encounters will not generate enough treasure, while at the same time inflating the XP (and thus the group's level), which makes it so you need even more treasure to be within the expected for your level. This may also happen if the adventure has a lot of traps (and it does), since those naturally won't have a lot of treasure (dead enemies are probably looted by denizens).

As a result, you will feel like the adventure is not rewarding you enough, and that even may be true for the first few levels, or based on the direction the adventure has moved. If your group happens to have picked the leads that won't award very well, it's just bad luck. If your group had a lot of outdoors encounters, either while travelling or while camping and got attacked by random enemies, then you likely won't have a lot of treasure either.

But keep in mind that it's ultimatelly a dungeon campaign, meaning that the focus of the designers was in the designing of the dungeons, and the deeper you go, more treasure you will be rewarded.

I decided to be a support-ish character and invested in the Create Wondrous Item feat so we can have more suitable equipment to stay independent from any merchants. It also saves half of the gold that we would have to pay, but the way things are now, it does not compensate for the shorting in our wealth.

Crafting magic items does not shorten your wealth. It transfers your wealth from "unwanted treasures" to "wanted treasures". Example, if you dislike that an enemy dropped a +1 halberd because nobody in the group can use or wants to use it, then you can sell it for half price (market value 2,000 gp, thus 1,000 gp) and buy material components to make that +1 longsword that your fighter really could use (1,000 gp in components). See how the net wealth did not change? It is merely transferred from one type of item to another.

Have a little chat with your GM

See if he isn't ignoring the fact that some random encounters should have treasures with them, and he happened to forget about them because such items aren't always listed in enemies's statblocks. This doesn't have to be monetary or magic items, but are supposed to increase the party's wealth accordingly.

For instance, you know that Bonesuckers (and Vrocks) have a Standard treasure, right? Even if the monster can't really equip magic weapons and armors, their lair should have the remains of their previous victims, or you could rip their belly off and find that they had eaten a few precious gemstones, or even, you heard that there is a merchant paying a good sum of money for a few bonesucker tentacles.

So, it's possible that your GM forgot to account for this extra treasure from those encounters, and that's why your group is under the average wealth for your level.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Though I’m somewhat familiar with the adventure and how much treasure it has, I haven’t run it, so I went looking for GMs’ experiences (SPOILERS). It sounds like, yes, in practice parties often actually exceed WBL because of the sandbox-style treasure placement it has instead of the PF standard of encounter-based granted treasure. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Jul 31 at 18:13

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