Monday 13 July 2015

Drop a Gem on 'Em

Yes, this table of gems as found object is cool but it's intended to work backwards, after you've determined gem value rather than before. And running Castle of the Mad Archmage as I do, more than once I've been brought up short by a treasure description that reads just, "6 gems."

The first time, I devised some method of multiplying d20's and d10's that generated rich enough gems to insta-bump the party a level or so.

The second time, I thought "Let's roll 3d6, take the lowest as the number of zeros, and d10 as the lead digit." Then after rolling a couple of gems, "OK, lowest minus one."

(Later, I figured out that the first method gives an average gem value about 50,000 and the second, 5,000. Lowest of 4d4 x d10, however, gives an average value of about 700. All heavily skewed, ofcourse; the typical gem will be closer to 50.)

And then I really wanted a gem table, and of course because AD&D or 3e is not good enough I had to roll my own. Including fantasy gems. It's weird that all the gem tables in D&D have not included otherworldly gems. Like the glowing green "gromstones" I imagined as a teenager, or some possibilities that arise from the infrared spectrum. And there are real stones that sound like the products of fantasy - iolite (renamed here "Jolite" to stop being misread as "LOLite") and alexandrite.

The true gems are really rare (only about 6% chance) but you can bump things up for richer hoards by making some or all the dice d6, maximum 4.

Uncut gems are a cool find. Will they discover a flaw, or a rare inclusion? Can scrying magic bump your sales price?


  1. "more than once I've been brought up short by a treasure description that reads just, "6 gems.""

    Curious, do you players care? Unfortunately mine don't. So I stopped caring.

    1. I think they appreciate it, but it's not like they went on a hunger strike for gem depictions or anything.

  2. When I wanted to expand my gem, metal, and stone repertoire for my games, I went old-school fantasy -- RoleMaster. They've got a couple of unique magical materials, of which the most interesting gemstone (IMO) is laen.

    Laen is enchanted volcanic glass mined only deep within the earth, that gets softer as it gets colder (in contrast to metals). In magical cold-forges, you can smelt laen into shapes to make armor and weapons.