How much gold would ransom a noble?

Yeah the entire question is in the description but since the gold system is rather nebulous, I’m wondering how much you think some kidnappers would charge for a noble’s ransom. I’m asking for the son of a lesser noble, but just for the sake of it, go ahead and tell me what you think a more important person would go for too.

The table on page 303 of the Core Book says that one palm full of jewels is worth 20 Gold, so maybe that?

I think the book also said somewhere to be careful with such high monetary PC rewards (if this is the situation for you), maybe to limit them to 10 Gold, though I can’t immediately find that caveat now.

I hate trying to do market comparisons, myself, so my practice is generally to go to the die. 1=1 Gold, 2=2, 5-6=1 Gold and something else interesting. For set items for an average adventure it’s 5 Gold starting + 1[CD].

(If PCs Loot Minions, it’s #d[CD] x #Minions. If a 1 is rolled anywhere=1 Gold for the lot, but I don’t have players who are this grubby yet. Toughened I’d probably add the 2, and anyone else I’d add the Effect.)

I’m envisioning a scenario where the PCs are entrusted to deliver a ransom payment, and I’m not sure what amount that would realistically be. Maybe the place to start would be to research real-life historical ransom?

Remember the ransom doesn’t need to be gold. Political favors, arranged marriage, exotic goods, land and more can be offered, for just a sample. Given the context you are providing I would say what matters more is how valuable the noble is perceived to be.

Scenario A: The noble is not all that valued. The ransom may seem like a lot, but it’s clearly just throwing money at a problem to make it go away. The players are hired instead of a proper retinue to deliver the money and bring the noble back.

Scenario B: The noble is highly valued. The delivery of the ransom is an event all unto itself. It’s like a glorious parade. The players are hired, but considered subordinate to the “proper” guards.

One key with Gold is this. You can have as much on display as you want. What matters is how much gets into the players’ greedy mitts.

First to answer your question: I think 20 gold would be a good match if he is in hands of another culture or criminals who want money. A different thing for me would be, when the ransom is common practise like in a medieval society where both are from the same culture and the ransom is more for “sport”, like they did in Medieval Europe (meaning a ransom- practise to prevent that the noble families don´t slaughter each other all the time) I would go lower to 12-15. Basically 20 when they are in danger and 12-15 when it´s custom to handle it this way. But I completely pull it out of my aXX here, so take it with a grain of salt, I just say what I would do.

Further: Gold is not really logical in Conan, a factor I really like, as it brings the focus to the game itself away from bookkeeping and coin juggling: What is valuable for the players? The prizes don´t have to make sense, and I find this very liberating.

So, I would go for a route to set a gold value depending on the role the ransom plays in the story: Do you want to tempt the players to steal it: 25 gold! Do you want the players to NOT be tempted to steal it: 12-15 gold. Do you want it just as a plot device: No gold value, just a trunk full of gold pieces, does not matter how much it is. That´s how I would do it.

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I like the way you put it,

and I agree it is a good thing. As a long-time D&D player, bookkeeping is the least appealing part of the game. The way the rules hand-wave all that bean counting was one of the major draws for me. Thanks for putting it in perspective like that. All the players know is that it’s a big box of money; if they decide to run off with it, then they find out how much Gold it is. It’s perfect.

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He’d be worth “his weight in gold”… :wink:

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Ive learnt chestfuls are the norm historically for paying for the Heir back.

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