The value of currency seems to have shifted in 5th edition DnD in comparison to earlier editions. With magical equipment being much less common, and the prices for goods and services having changed as well, I'm wondering if an amount of gold in, say, 4th ed. is the same as that value in 5th.

When converting a campaign from 4th ed. to 5th ed. DnD, do players have the same amount of gold, or is there a sort of economic conversion that must be made between the editions? In other words, does 100gp in 4th equal 100gp in 5th?

If not, is there an official conversion rate? And again if not, is there a good house-ruled approximation?

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Hey there! Paul over at blog of holding dug into the glimpses of 5th edition's economy. \$\endgroup\$
    – Lexible
    Nov 2 '14 at 0:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ A cool discussion, but discusses 5th ed. vs ACKS, not other editions of DnD. Valuable, though, for the information about 5e's coin values. I'm hoping for a straight conversion (if one is needed). \$\endgroup\$
    – Jason_c_o
    Nov 2 '14 at 1:09
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Sure, @Jason_c_o my comment was just that a comment not an answer. I hope you find a good answer before too long. \$\endgroup\$
    – Lexible
    Nov 2 '14 at 5:25

The big changes in the economy are in two areas, magic items and armor. The rest of the economy is largely unchanged.

In 4th editions magic items were not only a key part of the economy they were a super important part of making the math work across the system (particularly in the areas of to-hit, damage and defenses). If you didn't have on level or so magic equipment, you weren't effective.

5e is built to be different in this way, it is expected that in most campaigns magic items will be rare and the math is built in such a way as to make them optional, and powerful when available.

In 4e magic item purchase and sale was handled two different ways over the life of the edition. Originally there was no limits on what could be purchased when beyond what the DM ordained. Later in the edition all magic items were given a rarity value (common/uncommon/rare) and it was ruled that only common items were available for purchase and that uncommon and rare items could only be found. Items of any rarity could be sold though (and at a rate dependent on their rarity).

In 5e magic items are not generally available for sale and are so far never listed with prices, though rarity is still very much a thing (though I hesitate to enumerate the list until we get the DMG as I'm not sure my enumeration would be complete.).

However, we can take a look at the overall economy by getting a flavor for the mundane price differences. Let's take a look at a longsword, a shield and a day's rations in each edition:

 weapon       4e price       5e price
 longsword:   15gp           15gp
 shield       5-10gp         10gp
 rations      5gp/10days     5sp/1

From this randomish selection of items, it looks like the economy is expected to be about the same with regard to mundane items. I haven't done an item by item comparison, but the only big differences is that armor prices increase to prevent low level characters from having things like full plate at L1.

Presumably wealth by level or some similar mechanic for awarding treasure in general will be presented in the DMG, but for now, since treasure has very little impact on the game (it impacts cost of living and armor quality, but not much else), it should not be a problem to simply convert an old adventure verbatim on cash.

  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ The main difference is that in 4e, they have a lot more stuff to spend their gold on. In 5e, the intent is for magic items to never be buyable, and for them to either exist as treasure or not at all. As the DM, you can put them in and such, but the rules have no provisions for buying magic items (unless I missed something). \$\endgroup\$ Nov 2 '14 at 3:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Jason_c_o Perhaps whether the currencies are worth the same wasn't the question you needed answered, then. Perhaps you need to ask a new question about... an adventurer's expected "cost of living" being different, maybe? And how to adjust for the difference? \$\endgroup\$ Nov 2 '14 at 4:19
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @Jason_c_o Unfortunately those guidelines don't exist yet. The answer to that question is almost certainly going to be no, since they don't need gold equivalents of magic items. We'll have to see what they do about it. 4e was tightly bound with a treasure parcel system, I don't think 5e is going to look anything like that. \$\endgroup\$
    – wax eagle
    Nov 2 '14 at 12:26
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ That said, since treasure overall has less impact on the game, I wouldn't be worried about using the treasure values straight from an old adventure. It will certainly be enough, it might be too much, but that's really no big deal. \$\endgroup\$
    – wax eagle
    Nov 2 '14 at 12:28
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ The answer above is basically, "Gold has roughly the same value as it did in 4e. But if you give your players the same amount of gold they won't have anything to spend it on because all the expensive toys were taken out of the shops." Until we get the DMG, I think that addresses the question pretty well, actually. \$\endgroup\$
    – MEP
    Nov 3 '14 at 17:36

Is the value of currency significantly different between 4e and 5e?

This question does not have a simple answer. While many mundane items are priced similarly, the value of gold pieces to the PCs differs quite a bit.

By design, 5e characters are not supposed to depend on getting certain magic items at certain levels. As long as they can afford their mundane gear and consumables, they can use the extra gold as they please. This gives them a lot of options if they receive 4e-like scaling wealth with nothing they "must" use it on.

For example, a 10th level treasure from 4e could be worth something like 20k gp. That money could hire a thousand skilled hirelings for a season. How valuable is that? No idea, depends on the adventure, the GM etc. So...

When converting a campaign from 4th ed. to 5th ed. DnD, do players have the same amount of gold, or is there a sort of economic conversion that must be made between the editions? In other words, does 100gp in 4th equal 100gp in 5th?

There is no DMG yet, with guidelines, so the best we can do at the moment is to look at published adventures. A few of the later treasures in Hoard of the Dragon Queen have 5k-10k gp worth coin/gems. At that point the characters are supposed to be level 7. Take that as you will.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.