I am new to DMing dungeons and dragons and have bought the following products from the essentials line:

  • Red Box Starter Set
  • Heroes of Fallen Lands
  • Heroes of Forgotten Kingdoms

I have decided to see how my campaign goes before buying more. My problem is that I don't understand how I should hand out treasure and magic items. I have 6 PCs, all currently at level 1. How much treasure should I give out over the course of their 2cnd level and beyond?

I have read various posts on the topic but I have yet to find one that clearly explains how this works in essentials (rather than original 4e, DMG etc).

The PCs classes are:

  • Fighter
  • Paladin
  • Cleric
  • Wizard
  • Ranger
  • Rogue
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ Part of your problem here is that you really don't have a DM guidebook among your books you've purchased. I highly recommend both a DDI subscription and a copy of the Rules Compendium. The DM kit and Monster vaults would both also be good additions. \$\endgroup\$
    – wax eagle
    Commented Nov 3, 2013 at 19:43

2 Answers 2


The DMG and Rules Compendium each have guidance on treasure to be awarded by level. I'm not going to reproduce the whole table here, but I'll provide the first level from the RC for your benefit.

(11–14) 2d6 × 100 sp; (15+) 2d6 × 10 gp; 
(18+) 1d2 gems worth 100 gp; 
(20+) one art object worth 250 gp; 
(13+) one magic item of level 1d4 + 1

Roll 4d20, add or subtract two for each party member over or under 5. Each line represents a separate roll. If the roll for the line meets or exceeds the target then you add that item to the parcel. For magic items an odd roll is common, even is uncommon and a natural 20 is a rare. You should provide about 10 parcels per level for your adventurers.

Another note: please don't give your players random magic items as part of these parcels, if you want to give random treasure, do it separately. The power progression is keyed around folks getting items they will use.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Ok, i have rolled for treasure and rolled a 20 in the magic item section for one of the parcels (lucky PCs). But given the player books contain nothing but common and uncommon magic items i am not sure what to do. Are there any good online sources for magic items, if not are there any books that help here? \$\endgroup\$
    – Strika2000
    Commented Nov 7, 2013 at 21:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Strika2000 The best source is Dungeons and Dragons Insider's Compendium. This can be used in one of two ways. 1. with the paid subscription service (a good investment if you're playing 4e) or 2. to search and find the source book location and backfilled item rarity. \$\endgroup\$
    – wax eagle
    Commented Nov 8, 2013 at 12:41

Since the base systems are almost quite literally the same, you need to pick up a book that explains the current treasures parcels system, which should have tables appropriate to the pricing for the current 4e compatible systems like Essentials. You may wish to spend some money and pick up the actual 4e Dungeon Masters Guide or Rules Compendium as mentioned in another post on this topic. It should have what you are looking for. I don't believe what you maybe looking for exists (e.g. a seperate system).

That said, to reiterate what you probably already know, treasure parcels are divided into 10 "parts" per level. These parts have a total monetary value of X gold pieces. Each part has a recommended item that be included:

Party Level 2 Total Monetary Treasure: 1,040 gp

  1. Magic item, level 6
  2. Magic item, level 5
  3. Magic item, level 4
  4. Magic item, level 3
  5. 290 gp, or two 100 gp gems+ 90 gp, or two potions of healing + 190 gp
  6. 260 gp, or one 250 gp art object + 10 gp, or two potions of healing + one 100 gp gem + 60 gp
  7. 170 gp, or one 100 gp gem + 70 gp, or one 100 gp gem + one potion of healing + 20 gp
  8. 170 gp, or 150 gp + 200 sp, or one 100 gp gem + 70 gp
  9. 90 gp, or one potion of healing + 40 gp, or 60 gp + 300 sp
  10. 60 gp, or 30 gp + 300 sp, or one potion of healing + 10 gp

The reason that you are interested in having 10 parts is because this is the average number of encounters suggested you have per level to maintain a consistent rate of progression through the game (based on XP values and distribution). Each of these parcels potentially represents a group of treasure you might give to your players.

"Or" in this table means there may be one of two or three you select of the encounter. For example, on parcel 10 it is suggest you choose between 60 gp, or 30 gp with 300 sp, or one potion of healing with 10 gp to give your party when they complete that encounter.

Each parcel has 4 magic items, as above - no more, no less (health potions are not included in this count - only solid magic items). All magic item levels start, in order, from one level above the current treasure parcel level:


  • The level 1 parcel chart has exactly 4 magic items: one 2nd level item, one 3rd level item, one 4th level item and one 5th level item.

This lasts through level 26 when you still get exactly 4 magic items:

  • One 27th level item, one 28th level item, one 29th level item and one 30th level item.

Level 27 and 28 are slightly different:

  • Level 27 - One 28th level item, one 29th level item, one 30th level item and one 30th level item.

  • Level 28 - One 29th level item, one 30th level item, one 30th level item and one 30th level item.

The final levels (29 and 30) have four 30th level items each, again no more, no less.

The rest of the basic parcel tables simply give potions, money or valuable objects (art and gems).

The total monetary value for gold and gems for each level is as follows:

Party Level 1 - 720gp Party Level 2 - 1,040 gp Party Level 3 - 1,355 gp Party Level 4 - 1,680 gp Party Level 5 - 2,000 gp Party Level 6 - 3,600 gp Party Level 7 - 5,200 gp Party Level 8 - 6,800 gp Party Level 9 - 8,400 gp Party Level 10 - 10,000 gp Party Level 11 - 18,000 gp Party Level 12 - 26,000 gp Party Level 13 - 34,000 gp Party Level 14 - 42,000 gp Party Level 15 - 50,000 gp Party Level 16 - 90,000 gp Party Level 17 - 130,000 gp Party Level 18 - 170,000 gp Party Level 19 - 210,000 gp Party Level 20 - 250,000 gp Party Level 21 - 4,500 pp Party Level 22 - 6,500 pp Party Level 23 - 8,500 pp Party Level 24 - 10,500 pp Party Level 25 - 12,500 pp Party Level 26 - 22,500 pp Party Level 27 - 32,500 pp Party Level 28 - 42,500 pp Party Level 29 - 52,500 pp Party Level 30 - 62,500 pp

  • GP and PP stand for gold and platinum per standard notation.

  • The parcels can be combined (so you have some encounters without treasures).

  • If you have 4 players or less, it is suggest you drop one magic item parcel per player (e.g. a group of 4 adventurer would only get 3 magic items.) 1 player would get the same as two players but also drops a monetary parcel as well. For 6, 7, or 8 players, add a magic item for each one over 5 (so 6 players would get 5 magic items per level).

  • It is suggested you don't give out more than 3 - 5 health potions a level, though some parcel levels have as many as 7 (I think they intended to really mean "don't hand out more than 3-5 a level in addition to the parcels" but I honestly don't know).

  • Potions and magic items don't count towards monetary totals in general e.g. on Level 2 give out 3 magic items (for four players), 7 potions and some combination of money/gems/art totaling 720gp. Note, however, if you want to add more potions that are not in the basic books (e.g. life restoration magic), you should count these additional potions in the monetary value of the treasure - e.g. 720gp of money/gems/art/specialty potions. Whenever you hand out potions, you should hand out less gold for that encounter (not in total).

  • For purely monetary treasure, you can select whatever method you like of randomly selecting (or not randomly selecting) treasure. Though I will second the other comment made that you should be much more careful about distributing useful magic items.

For some additional chart idea, though technically for 3rd Edition, look at http://www.d20srd.org/srd/treasure.htm it may be helpful.

And not to be subversive to you brand new experience, but I would make a suggestion that it might be worth considering how you or your players might like to see gold and treasure distributed -- not necessarily via the 4th Edition treasure parcels scheme, but as something you decide you would like to have. Have they entered an old farm house? Not much to look at likely, except for one well hidden minor magic item. Likewise, a treasure vault is likely to make up for all that. Once you gain more familiarity with the mechanics of the game, you will most likely be more comfortable with designing your own treasure distribution system. With the possible exception of ensuring your characters remain healthy and are supplied with magic on a regular basis, you can alter price and monetary distribution however you like with the realm of fun game play.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Please note that the DMG does not take into account item rarity as it was introduced after publication. If you're going to use these rules enforce the daily magic item power restrictions and ignore item rarity. If you want to use item rarity, use the rules from the RC in my answer and ignore daily item power restrictions. \$\endgroup\$
    – wax eagle
    Commented Nov 6, 2013 at 20:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ @waxeagle Agreed. This is the way it should be handled. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 7, 2013 at 9:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ I particularly love when characters can carry around and use 10 sets of 'dice of auspicious fortune' because you now have unlimited daily uses. \$\endgroup\$
    – Lokiare
    Commented Nov 16, 2014 at 9:03

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