Whether it’s gold and precious gems scattered beneath a slumbering dragon, or pieces-of-eight and rare spices decorating the cabin of a fearsome pirate, loot and treasure items serve important roles in worldbuilding. They stand as a signifier of wealth, a reward or temptation, and if used in game worlds can act as a score or marker of progress. Battles have been fought for these precious artifacts, heists have been planned, and daring adventures have been had to uncover them.
Common Treasure Items
|An ornate drinking vessel
|A glittering prize
|Who's face is on it?
|An ornate drinking vessel, perhaps used in a ritual
|Fit for a King
|A slender band
|Some portion of all that glitters
|Is it a simple band, or engraved, or with a stone?
|What is it made of?
|A decorative necklace
|Pearl, gold, silver, or other?
|A mineraloid and not a mineral
|Silver with ivory inlay? Or a gift from the in-laws?
|Fine China, or something else?
|What is it of?
|But of what?
|A fine painting
|Detailed and well preserved
|Silks and finely sewn
|In this economy? Yes! Hand it over!
|A precious gemstone
|A precious gemstone
|A red gemstone
|Worn around whose wrist?
|What picture does it contain?
|A rare crystalline
|Only for the richest hair
|Decorative pin for holding clothes together
|For masquerades or for sacrifices
|An ornate lockbox
|A necklace, or is it attached to something?
|Does it have jewels as well?
|An unadorned band worn on the head
|A gift from the sea
|A better gift from the sea
|Good oral health is really the better thing to treasure
|Of what god?
|A fine vintage
|Pipe, cigar, or cigarette?
|A precious blue-green mineral
|Wielded by kings
|From what age?
|A bizarre object but someone will pay good money for it
|Silver or gold?
|Straight from the ground
|Carved with intricate designs
|It's nice and all, but how are going to move it?
|Inlaid with jewels
|Fort Knox is knocking
|Fit for a Prince
|A precious gemstone
|To where and what?
|A ransom note, blackmail, or something else worth something to someone?
|Hope it's not a mimic
|Bag of Gold
|Sack of gilt
|An expensive time piece
|For hair or for clothing?
|To hide a finer face
|Last Will & Testament
|What does it state?
|From where and what age?
|What is it and is it still in the original packaging?
Weapons as Treasure
Weapons can also be treasure items, either because they serve a mainly decorative purpose, or because they are rare (perhaps magical or legendary) in nature. Weapons (as well as any item) can serve the dual purpose of both being a treasure item, as well as a useful tool once obtained.
|A generic sword
|A simple bow
|A long rod of wood
|Welcome to the club, pal
|Load up with pebbles
|An ancient dagger
|A billhook machete
|A pole weapon topped with a thick blade
|Could they be poisoned darts?
|Heavy ball weights attached to the ends of cords and thrown to entangle
|An aerodynamic throwing stick. Some are designed to return to the thrower
|Good for a bar fight
|A bladed weapon in the shape of a circle
|A wide-bladed dagger that is five fingers broad at the hilt and evenly tapers to a point in a triangular shape
|A large two-handed great sword
|Like a bow that's angry. Crossbow.
|Deer Horn Knives
|Double crescent blades often wielded in pairs
|A thin thrusting sword used to fence
|Don't flail me now
|A long, flame-bladed sword
|A mace with flanges covering the striking head
|Narrow, straight-backed single edged weapons that range in size from long knives to swords
|A short sword used by the Romans
|A polearm with a blade attached to the pole
|A two-handed pole weapon topped with an axe and spike
|A sword with a curved end for ensnaring foes and weapons
|A dagger with a short, broad, curved blade
|A throwing spear
|A sickle-like weapon
|A curved, single-edged sword used by a samurai
|A push knife
|A sharply curved dagger in the shape of the letter 'J'
|A sickle-shaped sword designed to be able to trap opponent's arms and legs
|An intricately designed, wavy-bladed knife
|A machete or knife-like weapon with a recurved blade
|A leaf-shaped blade with a handle and ringed pommel that may be attached to a rope
|A long spear used from horseback
|A bludgeoning club
|A four bladed knife that may also be thrown
|A pole weapon with a semi-circular, spiked trap meant to ensnared necks
|Used to entangle and trip foes
|Two hardened rods connected by a chain
|A short club of uniform diameter
|A wooden throwing club
|A thrusting and slashing sword used to fence
|A three-pronged piercing weapon
|A single-edged, curved sword
|A thin axe used both as a weapon, and as a walking stick
|A long, curved sword
|A throwing star
|A mace with spikes covering the striking head
|A pole weapon topped with an obsidian, grooved, sharpened head
|Three Section Staff
|Three hardened rods connected by chains
|Sharp, short blades designed to fit over the knuckles
|A single handed axe that may be used in melee or thrown
|An ornately carved hardwood club with a central spike
|A three-pronged spear
|A reinforced folding fan
|A long length of leather or chain
|A long, large, two-handed sword
|A magical rod
|A magical length of wood for spell casting
|A simple knife
World Specific Treasure Items
Your world may require more unique treasure items more tailored to your specific fictional world. If this is the case, consider what people in your world value or what elements are most prized. Perhaps Vinyl B-Sides are rare and desired, or perhaps new memories are the items most treasured. In post-apocalyptic settings, soda pop and pop rocks may be what is hoarded. If your fictional world contains fictional beasts, perhaps they themselves are treasured or their scales, hides, or horns are. If your fictional world contains unique materials, consider if that material is something rare.
Treasure specific to your world can be a great opportunity to help set the world tone.
Treasure Locations and Maps
Treasures are often located in dungeons (not necessarily actual dungeons, but rather areas of a world with a concentration of enemies, puzzles, traps, or other threats). This is because often treasure is presented as a reward for successfully navigating some difficult challenge. Often, maps or puzzle-solving is required to properly locate and obtain these precious items.