I'm very new to DMing. So I wan't to get to a good start with the loot I give my players. We usually play in 2 hour sessions at college. This usually ends up being 1 days worth of in-game time. In this time I usually try to drop 2 Minor loot rewards, 1 Greater loot reward, and 0.5 Major loot reward (as I spread that over two 2-hour sessions).

How much loot (in GP) should I be giving my players each session to give them enough to pay for food and living, as well as purchase the occasional weapon or service?

I don't want to drown them in money, devaluing the feeling of opening a chest of wealth, but I also don't want to disappoint them by giving so little. Rather, just enough to keep them alive and going as well as ambitious to continue exploring dungeons and searching camp-sites. As I usually give rewards that are more sentimental or functional at the ends of quests (like Magic Items, Medals, Faction Invitations, and Benefits in the locations of the benefactor).

Because my players are changing in level and if similar DMs with different players refer to this question, could I please have an answer formatted to fit each level?

  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ What are you using as definitions for Minor/Greater/Major rewards? \$\endgroup\$
    – Marq
    Commented Feb 7, 2016 at 11:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ A greater reward would be complete average reward for players of their level. A Minor reward is about half the average and a Major reward would be double the average. Meaning, in the way I distribute them, It should always break even at about an average total reward each session. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 7, 2016 at 12:18
  • 5
    \$\begingroup\$ that sounds like you're giving three "complete average reward"s per session, not one. I think the distribution of total loot into your three categories isn''t germane to the question, and only muddies it. I suggest you tighten up the question a bit to be more focused on "how much loot per session to achieve my DM goals." Lastly, I think we need some info on how much in-game time you expect to pass between sessions. (I.e. does the adventurer need to garner enough loot to live on for a month, or just a few days?) \$\endgroup\$
    – nitsua60
    Commented Feb 7, 2016 at 14:49

3 Answers 3


Chapter 7 of the Dungeon Master Guide has a nice set of tables regarding loot. I recommend giving them a chance. After having used them for a few session you will get to know how well they fit your DM style, and you'll be able to adjust the loot up or down as you feel appropriate.

A nice feature of the tables is that they take into account challenge rating and distinguish between individual loot and hoards. So you can use the first for most encounters and the later for when they have completed a mission or taken down the boss.


It's all relevant to the campaign. There is no hard and fast "give your players X amount of gold every day"

There's a few things to take into consideration when deciding how much gold your party "needs".

  • How much XP you're giving them every day
  • What they can spend their money on in your campaign
  • What your party plans on doing with their money
  • What type and what difficulty of campaign you're going to run

How much XP you're giving them every day

Page 84 of the DMG has an Adventuring Day XP table. A standard campaign, they suggest, should give a party a certain amount of encounter XP per day. It's not so much that they need to hit these numbers every day, but rather what their spells and abilities will be able to handle. At level 1, your party will be able to handle 300 xp per day per character, because they have limited abilities and spell slots. If your characters are having trouble with this, maybe give them more gold to spend. Take this into consideration when determining how much gold they need to keep up with their growth.

What they can spend their money on in your campaign

Your setting will directly influence what your party can spend their money on. If they are far from civilization with nothing to spend the money on, then maybe they don't really need much at all. If they are in a bustling city, trying to get in close with the nobels, they're going to need a lot more to enable a wealthy life style. What are they eating, where are they sleeping, and what are they buying? Does it matter to your party? The DMG is full of information on life style and how much it costs.

What your party plans on doing with their money

Talk to your players about what they want to do in this campaign. I'll say it again: Talk to your players. The types of things your players want to do will directly influence how much gold you're going to throw at them to help (or not) them achieve these goals. If your players want to build a fortress, they're gonna need a way to get a lot of gold. If they don't want to use gold as a big resource, they wont need much at all. For example, in our current campaign we're running a pirate ship. Because we've talked about maybe buying more boats or outfitting our crew, our DM offers us thousands of gold in our quests because we are spending it on our fleet and crew, rather than buying equipment for ourselves. The amount of gold in this example is further reduced by our lack of need for magic items, as we've been outfitted pretty decently in past encounters.

What type and what difficulty of campaign you're going to run

The amount of gold and what they do with it correlates to the dangers they will face in battle and the things your party wants to do. Chapter 7 details treasure hoards for certain levels, and that's a good starting point. If you are unsure of what to give them, use that table as a base line.

The "Starting Equipment" table on page 38 of the DMG gives us a glimpse into a little bit of how the designers distinguish different play-styles. There are 3 collumns: Low Magic Campaign, Standard Campaign, and High Magic Campaign. This table is meant to help you figure out what kind of equipment your characters need for what type of setting. Also, pages 38–41 give you detailed descriptions of the different flavors of fantasy and how they can be played. Certain styles of campaign need less gold than others. Also, your party's level and their enemies influence how much gold they would need for equipment and the like.

Using all this information, you should be able to home in on an appropriate amount. You might not get it right the first time and that's okay. DM-ing is not a science and takes some trial and error.


GP is definitely the most common reward, but say they defeat a particularly nasty monster. Maybe have a chest with 2-3 potions of healing in them. They run fairly expensive, and are useful. Maybe drop a solid silver candlestick. Something they can take to town and get appraised for more or less. Charge them a fee for the NPC appraising the item. Maybe a magic shield. Something that may not be gold pieces now, may be useful and turn into more gold later. If you're worried about not giving them enough valuable rewards, maybe do something along these lines. If they have a weapon they're particularly fond of home brew up a slightly more powerful version of it and they can decide between them who it goes to. Gold doesn't always have to be the decided chest reward.


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