Thursday, December 22, 2022

Mad Mashup: Sorcerers

This one here is for those who love push-you-luck mechanics.  


It’s one of the more complicated classes, and possibly the hardest to translate to other games.  This works in my games because I have players who love to make trouble for their characters.  So I can do something like this and work with the player to come up with a thematic list of magical misfires.  Of course, the DM can do it themselves and adjust the table as needed so the difficulty matches the player’s level of skill and comfort with risk.


While some inspiration comes from Robert Howard, I leaned much more into the works of Clark Ashton Smith, especially his Xotique stories.


I use the Cleric tables from B/X for hit-points, to-hit, and EXP needed to advance in level.


You were not born with power, and the long slog of study and asceticism is either not an option, or not a price you’re willing to pay.  Instead, you’ve made a pact with a demon.  Or perhaps you were tricked into such a pact.  Or, the rarest of circumstances, you’ve actually bent a demon to your will, and forced it to reveal the secrets of magic to you.

Regardless, you associate with demons and that association has granted you magical powers.  You can do things today that wizards your age won’t be able to do for decades!  Though there is a price for attempting to command powers you can barely control.


  • You roll a d6 for your hit points.
  • You may use any armour and shields, and any weapon that’s not a longbow.  
  • You may only cast spells if you are at most Heavily Encumbered and able to speak.
  • You have a pact with a demon.
    • If you have the upper hand, you’ll have to make sure you keep it.
    • If the demon has the upper hand, you’ll have to endure its punishments when you displease it.
  • When you cast a spell, roll a d20, add your level, and subtract the level of the spell.  If you roll 11+, your spell goes off without a hitch.  If you roll between 1 and 10, the spell goes off but there is a backlash.  If the total is less than 1, the spell doesn’t go off and there’s a backlash.
  • At character creation, and every level afterwards, roll one d6 for every level you’ve earned, add them up, and consult the Sorcerer’s Boons Table to see what you get.
  • You use the Wizard’s saving throws.



  • Every level, you get to add one more spell of any spell level from the Wizard’s list to your repertoire.  You can cast each of these spells once per day.
  • Sorcerers may use any magic items that Wizards can use.
Sorcerer's Boons                   

Die Roll     Boon          

1        Has night vision out to 60'.            

2        Can brew a healing potion 1/day at a cost of 100 gp in materials and 10 hours of uninterrupted brewing.             

3        Can read any writing (but not necessarily understand codes and cyphers).           

4        Can cloak themselves in shadow, making it easier for them to hide.             

5        Can turn into a mouse for one hour per day.            

6        Can Turn normal animals as if a cleric of the same level.            

7        Can make a single weapon enchanted for purposes of hitting foes who require it for one hour once per day.         

8        When cut, spines emerge from the sorcerer's cut skin.  Any creature in melee combat with the sorcerer takes 1 point of damage from these spines per cut.  They vanish after 24 hours or when the sorcerer is healed.         

9        Any person the sorcerer brings to orgasm must answer one question truthfully. This power may only be used once per year on any person.                 

10      The sorcerer becomes an hermaphrodite.                 

11      The sorcerer gains the ability to appear larger and more intimidating with glowing eyes and a booming voice once per day to intimidate others.          

12      The sorcerer gains complete control over their own fertility.               

13      The sorcerer may increase either their Intelligence or Charisma score by 1.            

14      The sorcerer may brew a potion of hill giant strength once per month for 300 GP in materials and a full night of uninterrupted brewing.                  

15      Randomly pick a 1st level magic-user spell.  The sorcerer may cast this spell once per day.               

16      The sorcerer may brew a love potion once per month for 500 GP in materials and a full night of uninterrupted brewing.  The cost is cut in half if it is brewed under a new moon.                

17      The sorcerer may craft an amulet that grants +2 to AC and saving throws against demons at a cost of 800 GP and a full week of uninterrupted work once per month.                

18      The sorcerer can brew a healing potion for 100 GP in materials and two hours of uninterrupted brewing.             

19      Pick a cleric spell of 1st or 2nd level; the sorcerer can cast this spell as a 1 hour ritual once per day.              

20      The sorcerer may cast protection from evil on themselves once per hour.               

21      The sorcerer may cast Curse as a 1 hour ritual if they have a bit of the target's blood or hair.              

22      If the sorcerer knows the name of the target of a spell the sorcerer is casting, the target has disadvantage on a saving throw.  This power may be used once per day.                  

23      The sorcerer may re-roll any 1 on any die, but must take whatever the reroll is.                  

24      The sorcerer may cast Contact Other Plane as a 1 hour ritual.  If it is a night of a new moon, they double their level for purposes of determining madness, etc.                

25      The sorcerer may turn into a cat at will.  As a cat, the sorcerer cannot use any magic that is not granted by a boon.                

26      Once per day the sorcerer my immediately put a Curse on anyone who has physically harmed the sorcerer in the last hour.                 

27      The sorcerer may summon a demon as a 1 hour ritual.  Add the sorcerer's charisma (and subtract the demon's hit dice) from the reaction roll.  A favorable roll (or defeating the demon in combat) forces it to serve the sorcerer until sunrise.              

28      The sorcerer may impregnate anyone they have sex with under a new moon.  In 9 weeks, that person will give birth to 1d3 imps who will serve the sorcerer for a week.  If the person didn't have a womb or vagina before, they do now.                

29      Add a magic-user spell of 3rd level or less to the sorcerer's repertoir.           

30      With a drop of a person's blood and a full night's ritual under a new moon, the sorcerer may enchant a knife so that it will kill the person if used in a succesful attack on them.             

31      The sorcerer may spit poison once per day at a range up to 12'.  The target must save vs. poison or be blinded for 1d4 turns.              

32      Add a cleric spell of 3rd level or less to the sorcerer's repertoir.           

33      The sorcerer may remove any current effects of a magical backlash.  If they have none, ignore the next backlash roll.         

34      The sorcerer is immune to non-magical attacks when naked and the sun is not in the sky.          

35      The sorcerer can cast clairvoyance once per day as a 10 minute (one turn) ritual.                  

36      The sorcerer can brew one potion of invisibility for 500 gp in materials on a night of the new moon.                  

37      The sorcerer can turn themselves into a wolf when the sun is not in the sky.          

38      No mundane animal will attack the sorcerer.           

39      The sorcerer can summon and command the obedience of a nightmare for one week in exchange for sacrificing a living sophont to the nightmare.             

40      The sorcerer can fashion a staff capable of casting one spell in their repertoir flawlessly.  The staff as 1d4 charges per 100 gp spent in its crafting.  The sorcerer may only possess one such staff at a time.               

41      The sorcerer may magically disguise themselves as any individual whose name the sorcerer knows while the sun is not in the sky.  The disguise does not grant them any of the powers of the person they are impersonating.            

42      The sorcerer gains the ability to cast spells even when encumbered.            

43      The sorcerer gains advantage against spells cast via items (wands, rings, etc.)                  

44      The sorcerer can hear and see through the eyes and ears of anyone they've given an orgasm to in the last week.                

45      The sorcerer can craft a wand that will allow them to cast one of their spells flawlessly.  The wand will have 1d4 charges for every 100 gp spent in its crafting.  The sorcerer may have up to 3 such wands.              

46      The sorcerer has advantage when saving against any magic used by a servant of Order.            

47      Once per day, everyone who can hear the sorcerer's laugh must save vs. breath weapon or be stunned for 1 turn.            

48      Once per night the sorcerer may animate 2 skeletons or 1 zombie per their level.  They must have the bodies at hand to do this.  Each undead has a 5% chance of falling apart every dawn.              

49      Every full moon the sorcerer may brew a potion of True Seeing at a cost of 500 gp in materials and a full night spent on the brewing.                

50      The sorcerer may gain 1 hit point in healing for every three points of damage they inflict on another.  Their hit points may never go higher than their usual max this way.            

51      The sorcerer may add Summon Elemental to their repertoire.  If they already have it, they may add one cleric spell of their choice that is 3rd level or lower.               

52      Roll three times on this table.  They sorcerer may choose which boon they wish from the three options rolled.                 

53      The sorcerer can summon a crown of fire once per day.  They may do 1d6 fire damage to any individual they can see (who can save for half damage).  They may do this once per level, and can invoke multiple uses in a single attack.              

54      The sorcerer can summon a crown of darkness once per day.  While thus crowned, they cannot be spied on magically, nor their thoughts read via ESP.  They are also impossible to see if standing in shadow or darkness (though they will be seen if they move from where they are standing).            

55      The sorcerer can summon a crown of serpents once per day.  Any successful attack by the sorcerer inflicts an additional 1d4 points of damage per level (save vs. poison for half).           

56      The sorcerer can sprout bat wings at will, allowing them to fly at double their normal movement rate.                 

57      The sorcerer can store their life in a small jar of gold and lead, costing at least 1,000 gp to craft.  They can only be killed by someone possessing this jar.             

58      All serpents must obey the sorcerer's every command.               

59      The sorcerer may cast any magic-user spell of 5th level or less as a 30 minute ritual.                 

60      The sorcerer traps their mentor in a ring.  They are freed from their pact but can still wield all their powers so long as they possess this ring.       

UPDATE: As requested, here is a Sorcerer Miscast table used by one of my players.  The PC is a cambion, which is why there are so many references to demons in this.  (Since this was made, I’ve written up cambion as a playable PC race-as-class I’ve made for my mad-mashup game.  But that’s a tale for another day…)

When the Sorcerer rolls a miscast, roll a d20 and add the level of the spell to the roll.  If the Sorcerer has a spell cast on them (beneficial or otherwise), add an additional +1 to the roll.


  1. Tipsy-giddy until end of next long rest: disadvantage on Dex-based checks, advantage on Chr-based checks.  (Yes, I’ve totally stolen Advantage/Disadvantage for my mashup game.)
  2. Her tongue doubles in length and turns forked like a serpent’s for 1d4 days.  During this time, nobody believes her lies and 25% won’t believe her even when she speaks the truth.
  3. Tongue turns black, lips crack and bleed.  She can only speak in Abyssal but everyone can understand her.  Those she speaks two shift towards a negative reaction (though they also suffer a penalty on morale checks) and her spit is poisonous until the end of her next long rest.
  4. When she speaks, flower petals fall from her mouth until the end of her next long rest.  Disconcerting, but otherwise harmless.
  5. When she speaks, frogs appear in her mouth until the next sunrise.  Makes it impossible to carry on a conversation and she must pass save vs. Poison to successfully cast a spell with a verbal component.  1-in-6 chance the frogs secrete a hallucinogenic slime, giving her disadvantage on all rolls for up to an hour after the last frog has popped out of her mouth.
  6. A glowing crown of St. Elmo’s Fire surrounds her horns, hovering over her head until the end of her next long rest.  During this time, sneaking is impossible without the halo being hid by an illusion.
  7. She starts to exude powerful pheromones.  Increases the chance of random encounters, and increases the chance of a baddie targeting her.
  8. Her sense of smell becomes incredibly sensitive until the end of her next long rest.  At least a 10 minute warning before any random monster encounter, bonus on surprise checks, but disadvantage on all saves vs. gas attacks (like poison gas, stinking cloud, or troglodyte musk). 
  9. Until the next sunrise, Aezlyth’s STR drops to 6 unless her bare skin is touching the earth.
  10. Until the next sunrise, whenever Aezlyth takes physical damage, long spines or thorns erupt through the wounds in her skin.  Each such eruption does an additional 1 point of damage to Aezlyth’s target when she makes a successful attack in melee.  The damage counts as coming from a magical weapon.  The spines and thorns last until moonset.
  11. A dark miasma lightly veils her until sunrise.  Has a 75% to successfully hide in shadows.
  12. The spell fails to go off, but a random demon gates into this world inside the body of the spell’s target.  The demon rips through the target, killing it instantly.  The demon’s opinion of Aezlyth is determined by rolling 2d6.  2: immediate attack; 3-5: hostile; 6-8 Uncertain and confused; 9-11: doesn’t attack and may consider offers from Aezlyth to join her side in this fight; 12: friendly (for a demon). 
  13. Aezlyth acquires one of the mild insanities from page 83 of the DMG.  Every moonrise, she gets to roll a save vs. Poison to shake off the madness.
  14. Before (or just after) the party takes a rest to reacquire spells, Aezlyth encounters a tent of midnight blue silk stitched with golden stars.  At the peak of the tent is a golden crescent moon, horns pointed down.  Outside the tent is a suc/incubus wearing nothing but sheer silks.  They will welcome Aezlyth and her friends to “the Phantasmagorical Seraglio of Valentine the Sly.”  They will also be instructed to take off their shoes before entering.  (Anyone not barefoot when they enter the tent will feel off-balance and fuzzy-headed, and suffer disadvantage on all saving throws while in the tent.)  Inside are more incu-succubi serving a richly gowned arcanaloth smoking from a hookah.  Valentine is a fixer, information-broker, and advocate for the powers of the Lower Realms (specifically demons and devils).  Exactly what he’s up to and what he wants is up to the DM, but this is an opportunity for the PCs to purchase magic, information, or help at a very steep price.  It’s also an opportunity for Valentine to deliver any messages from a demon to the PCs.
  15. Hag-ridden!  As soon as Aezlyth settles down to sleep, she’ll vanish in a cloud of foul smoke and a wicked, cackling voice will promise to return her in eight hours.  She’ll be pony-girled up and hitched to a night hag’s chariot, forced to transport the hag through the Ethereal Plane on her foul errands.  She’ll be returned at the end of 8 hours still trussed up in pony gear.  She will not get the benefit of any rest and, if exhaustion is used, she probably acquired some.
  16. A stinging pain, like a shirt of nettles, descends on Aezlyth’s back.  Her back is now tattoed with a rainbow of scintillating script in Abyssal.  Roll a d6 to find out what the script says.  1: the truth about Aezlyth’s parentage (1-in-20 chance it includes her father’s name or other details about him); 2: a beautifully written description of Aezlyth’s last erotic experience; 3: a charm that, if read aloud, will force Aezlyth to obey any non-suicidal command the reader gives her until the end of the reader’s next long rest; 4: the true name of a randomly determined demon; 5: what claims to be the true name of a randomly determined demon, but it’s not accurate; 6: a randomly determined spell that can be cast like a scroll from her back.  The tattoo vanishes as soon as the magic is used or the night of a new moon ends. 
  17. After their next sleep, Aezlyth and her companions wake up in the Wandering Bazaar, a plane-hopping marketplace populated by demons, modrons, yugoloths, drow, etc.  When they leave the bazaar, they find themselves wherever it was they’d started that long rest.
  18. The next spell-casting creature Aezlyth kills turns into a green slaad. 
  19. Until the next sunrise, domesticated animals fear Aezlyth. 
  20. During her next sleep, Aezlyth is visited in her dreams by a powerful demon.  She is forced to play dragon chess with this being (some of the pieces look disturbingly like her friends).  She must out-roll the demon (who has a +3) to win the game, using her INT the first time, her CHR the second time, and either for every roll after until one of them has won a total of three rolls. If she loses, she owes the demon a service.  Her body will be marked with a tattoo or brand until she clears the debt.  If she wins, she acquires a new spell of her choice from the Magic-user list.  In either case, she wakes feeling fully refreshed.
  21. During her next sleep, Aezlyth is visited in her dreams by a quintet of succubi who claim to be her cousins.  She’s forced to play dragon poker with them.  When the game is over and she wakes, roll a d6 to see what happens.  1: she’s completely naked and covered in hickies, having lost her clothes in the game; 2: lost half her money (rounded down); 3: returns with a lovely collar of lace and velvet locked around her neck, owing one of her cousins a favor (even if she gets rid of the collar, she still owes the favor); 4: lost one magic item of her choice or, if she has none, all her gold pieces or, if she has no gold either, see 3; 5: doubled her gold pieces; 6: acquired one randomly determined magic item.  In any case, she wakes up feeling fully refreshed.
  22. Aezlyth spends the next round vomiting up a quasit.  She can take no other actions during this time.
  23. The target of her spell acquires a random mutation.
  24. The target of her spell spends the next 1d4 rounds vomiting up a red slaad each round.  While the target can do nothing else, the slaadi fight to the death to protect the target.
  25. Her spell-casting has been noticed!  The chance that the next random encounter the group has is with demons or those who serve demons is increased.
  26. A pride of lamia (1 male and 1d6 females) will begin to hunt Aezlyth and her crew.  Unless they do something to hide their tracks, the lamia will catch up to Aezlyth in 1d4 days.  If they defeat our heroes, the lamia will drink their blood (leaving each with a single hit point) and steal all their jewelry.   



Monday, December 19, 2022

Solving the DM-drought with the VTT

While responding to Dennis “What a Horrible Night to Have aCurse” Laffey, I suddenly thought of a way to promote DMing via the planned Virtual Table Top they’re working on at WotC.  My first ideas were nothing big, just offering some freebies to DMs, like tokens redeemable for personalized digital items you can use in your adventures.  But then I thought, well, how would they know I was DMing?


Obviously, you’d log into the VTT as a DM in order to have access to the DM tools, sorta like you do with Roll20.  Well, how do they know I’m actually DMing and not just futzing around?  They’d count the players as well, and to make sure you and some friends are not just sitting around logged in while you do other things, the VTT can track interactions: dice rolls, moving minis, interacting with your character sheet, etc.  So you’d end up with some sort of algorithm that calculated the number of players, the number of interactions, and the number of hours you played, and gave the DM running the game a score in tokens they could use to buy stuff from a digital store.  They could measure the tokens in Waterdhavian coins or something. 


But why stop with digital goodies?  Rack up enough “DM EXP” and maybe you get a physical patch, t-shirt, or dice branded to tell everyone what a dedicated DM you are.  (There will almost certainly be digital “badges” and achievements and the like; that stuff is low-hanging fruit.  I’m thinking what they could do to make everyone sit up and take notice.)  Maybe you get access to exclusive chat boards where you can converse with the designers and get sneak-peeks into upcoming new rules or adventures, and maybe even take part in polls to influence the final shape of the content. 


If DMs are, in fact, a bottleneck in the hobby, and WotC can get their VTT off the ground, there are all sorts of cool ways they could encourage people to DM.  And more DMs mean more players paying a monthly subscription to use the VTT and other digital goodies they’ll have on offer.  Yes, there are all sorts of ways to game this system, but this is one area where having a lot of ex-Microsoft people around can be very helpful. 


Will WotC do something like this? Damned if I know.  If their marketing data indicates that a lackof DMs actually is a problem, I imagine they’ll at the very least have badges and achievements you can festoon your profile with.  But I have no idea what sort of market research their doing this time, or what they see as their biggest hurdles. 

Sunday, December 18, 2022

Is D&D Under-monetized?


Is D&D under-monetized?


Hell yes. 


Listen, D&D has insane levels of brand recognition.  Everyone knows what it is (or thinks they do) and it defines its niche the way Kleenex and Coke define theirs.  This should be a huge cash cow.


And nobody has figured out how to monetize it.


During the TSR years, all sorts of crazy schemes were tried, and one of them, pushing out lots of product, was a big part of what killed TSR.  (Here’s a dirty little not-so-secret of the RPG business: the more you publish for your RPG, the worse it gets.  Every book makes it that much harder to get into and that much harder to run as a GM.  That’s why in early 5e under Mearles & Co they had a PHB+1 book rule and they dripped out new official material slowly.  If you really needed new stuff, there was Unearthed Arcana, but that wasn’t official, and if you were not feverishly mainlining D&D, you probably didn’t even know it existed.)


This weekend, my wife and I played B/X D&D, using some house rules and the same blue-and-red books I got for Christmas back in the early ‘80s.  Thanks to the OSR, there is now so much material for that edition of the game that I doubt anyone could possibly play all of it.  I don’t have to ever buy another D&D book ever again, and I can have untold hours of fun playing the game.


Is D&D undermonetized?  Hell, yes, and the disconnect between playing the game and WotC cashing in is a big reason for it.


Publishing new books is bad for an RPG, but publishing books is about the only way anyone knows to monetize an RPG.  This is why WotC is casting about for some other way, any other way, to monetize D&D.  If past performance is any guide, when 6e comes out, roughly half the current player base will adopt it, and the other half will stick with 5e.  Because the 3e OGL exists, someone will likely create a 5e emulator and suck up all those “abandoned” players and do to 6e what Pathfinder did to 4e. 


You can’t grow your income via printing new books, and you can’t really grow it by not printing new books.  So how to monetize D&D?  You can try to sell the IP, but what is the D&D IP?  It’s mostly the beholder.  Sure, it’s also the mindflayer and some named gods and Elminster, but the mindflayer looks like a sci-fi refugee, nobody cares about gods who isn’t playing a cleric, and Elminster is Gandalf but randy (and he’s not all that randy since Greenwood stopped writing him). 


So what does that leave?  Squeezing some pennies out from licensing?  Been there, done that.


The current crew running D&D has a lot of background in Microsoft, I think?  Doesn’t exactly bode well for innovation.  And now people are paying attention to D&D, which makes real innovation even scarier.  Maybe they can make the digital push work this time? 


I really don’t think WotC is planning to do what the gloom-and-doomers are wailing about right now: going all digital, micro-transactions to get all the core rules, etc.  I doubt they’re going to do much to the OGL (though I fully expect them to include digital resources in it, and methods to sell through their new online portal thingy).  The kind of money they are “leaving on the table” is the sort Hasbro loses in its couch cushions. 


I absolutely see them pushing the “lifestyle brand” thing.  There’s no reason for them not to, and if it takes off, they’ll be able to move a lot of merch.  But I don’t see that having any effect on the game itself; I doubt there will be a drinking-shots mechanic added to the game in order to sell official D&D bar accessories. 


That being said, I certainly did not expect the debacles leadingup to the release of 4e, so I could be completely wrong here.  However, I’m not overly concerned.  Turns out, my 40+ year-old B/X books still play just fine, and signs are promising for a whole lot of new content over thecourse of ’23.

Monday, December 12, 2022

Leveling Up the Old School Way

I've discussed this before, but I'm seeing a lot of new folks in the conversation who have no memory of D&D before 3rd Edition/Pathfinder, so I figure it's worth going over again.

Here's an example of how leveling-up worked in AD&D (aka 1st edition, and what the kids in Stranger Things are playing). In order to get to 2nd level as a Fighter, you'd need to accrue 2,001 EXP. Killing the average orc nets you 14.5 EXP. So in order to gain 2nd level, a Fighter would have to slaughter 138 orcs. And they'd have to do it by themselves, because if they have help, the EXP are divided evenly. So if the Fighter has even just three companions (a small party by 1e standards, though considered average in 5e), a total of 552 orcs must be slain. This the equivalent of over 3 average orc tribes (according to the Monster Manual). As a practical example, the classic adventure Keep on the Borderlands has an orc tribe with only 23 "average" orcs plus a bigger, badder chieftain. Your total EXP for slaying all of them would be roughly 400 EXP. But the treasure they have includes 830 GP (and so 830 EXP) in gems and coins. If you sell their weapons and armour, that's another 195 GP. (There's also another 2,500 EXP worth of magic items, but the PCs only get those EXP if they sell the magic items, and they'll probably keep them and use them. So by AD&D rules, they'd get 550 EXP for the magic items, and 100 of those would only go to a character who could actually cast the spell on the scroll.) And here's another wrinkle to the rules from 1e: most encounters didn't result in immediate combat. Unless the adventure dictated otherwise, when the PCs first encounter a monster, the DM would roll a d100. Only on a 5 or less would combat immediately ensue. A roll of 6 to 25 meant "Hostile, immediate action." Which meant combat was only likely (and not even guaranteed) in one out of four encounters before you adjust for a high Charisma score. And the way the Caves of Chaos in Keep on the Borderlands are set up implies the PCs will ally with some tribes against other monsters.

But wait; there's more! Even if a fight did start, it wasn't necessarily to the death. Every monster had a morale score. You'd check morale when 25% of the monsters were slain, when 50% of the monsters were slain, and when a leader was KOed or slain. If the monsters failed their morale check, they might try to retreat or even just surrender. Orcs had a base 50% to keep fighting when morale was checked, so most fights would likely end before more than half of a group of orcs was slain. And orcs who'd failed their morale check would happily part with treasure in exchange for getting to run away. (A note on morale; not everyone played with it. It was an easy rule to miss if you started with AD&D. But it was a big deal in the Basic rules, so you were more likely to use it if you started with that set.) So it's entirely likely that the PCs will kill only enough of one tribe of monsters to extort them to leave the area and surrender some of their treasure, and be paid by another tribe to do it. (There's also a very mercenary ogre in the caves who is willing to fight with others in exchange for gold.) And that would be a much more economical way to earn EXP than just slaughtering everything they came across. This is why many consider combat in TSR-era D&D to be a "fail state." If you're fighting, you're expending resources that are not easily recovered (natural healing only returned 1 to 2 HP per day spent doing nothing but resting, for instance) and for uncertain gain (if you were not in a monster's lair, there likely wasn't much treasure to be had; the orcs mentioned above have only a handful of coins each on them, and none of those coins is a gold piece). This was why wandering monsters were such a pain. They typically had no treasure at all, making them a resource sink rather than an opportunity to earn EXP that they are in 5th edition.

Coins made with Stable Diffusion and GIMP. Sad Manticore by JB Murphy.