This page looks best with JavaScript enabled

Gems and Jewellery

 ·  ☕ 10 min read

A Pirate’s Booty

In my home games, often like to have my hordes consist primarily of gems and jewellery. In my opinion, this adds to the feeling of piracy. Instead of mounds and mounds of Doubloons, players get crowns and necklaces and rings, which they must sell to a fence of otherwise utilize to gain that sweet sweet experience. Plus, in any good schlock pirate media, the chests they open wont be primarily gold pieces, there’s going to be a large amount of gems and jewellery in there. Just look at this clip art I found on a wanton google search; sure there are some gold coins, but the quintessential pirate’s chest is full of drip baby, not coins.
Okay so maybe there are more coins than I am acting like, but there is certainly more jewellery than B/X and it’s clones would have you believe (I use OSE). Even the largest hordes have only 50% chance for any Jewellery at all, and that just doesn’t work with the game feel I want; so I made this system that allows me take an amount of gold, and change into an amount of jewellery and a smaller amount of gold, worth approximately the same value (rounding is a cruel mistress).

“Quick” Gemstones

First, let’s take a look at how I generate gemstones. These are primarily used in generating jewellery later, not for basic gems in a horde. The reason why is the method of simply rolling a d20 for a gem’s value is generally faster, but it does leave something to be desired in the way of randomization and uniqueness of gemstones. I start with this generator, as it is much simpler than the jeweller generator, but uses the same basic principle.

There are three methods I use to make gemstones, I decide between them based the desired variance and whatever I feel like doing right then. Each once has a difference in variance and average price of the gem produced, with method 2 intentionally being low variance (more on this in the jewellery section). Of note method 3 has the same variance as the standard generation method, but produces a slightly higher average value than the book, which has an average value of 214 GP

Method 1 (high variance):
  1. Decide price tier between Low, Medium and High
  2. Roll a d4 for Low, d8 for Medium, or d12 for High on the Gemstone
  3. Roll on the Gemstone Cut table,
  4. Multiply the base price by the adjustment
    Average values for each tier are 124, 327, 536
Method 2 (low variance):
  1. Decide price tier between Low, Medium and High
  2. Roll a d4 + price tier modifier (+0 for Low, +4 for Medium, or +8 for High) on the Gemstone table
  3. Roll on the Gemstone Cut table,
  4. Multiply the base price by the adjustment
    Average values for each tier are 124, 530, 954
Method 3 (regular variance)
  1. Roll on the regular gem table (Old School Essentials: Treasure)
  2. Roll on the Gemstone Cut table,
  3. Multiply the base price by the adjustment
    Average value is 260
Gemstone Type
Name Price
1 Jade/Coral/Petrified Wood 10
2 Jasper/Citrine/Tourmaline 50
3 Quartzite/Amethyst/Agate 100
4 Beryl 250
5 Amber 300
6 Spinel 350
7 Tigers Eye/Obsidian/Cinnabar 500
8 Garnet 600
9 Turquoise 650
10 Topaz 700
11 Opal 800
12 Diamond/Ruby/Sapphire 1000
Gemstone Cut
Name ADJ
1 Uncut 1.00
2 Cabochon 1.10
3 Radiant 1.25
4 Brilliant 1.50
An example

Lets say I want generate a high value gemstone, and don’t want to risk the dice swaying it too much because this gemstone is going to adorn something later, and add it’s value to the thing its adorning (spoilers). For a case like this I use method 2, and roll a d4 + 8. In this case, I rolled a 1+8, so my base gem is a Turquoise with a price of 650, not bad. Then I roll a cut, and got a 2, a Radiant cut. To get my final value, I simply multiply the base price by the adjustment, so 650 * 1.25 = 812.5. This I round down for a total value of 812 GP (Astute readers will realize that these are just percentage adjusts, and that 1.10 is an increase of 10% of base price; I don’t list things this way because it makes things easier on me in the second step and I value ease of my being lazy over everything else in my own notes). So our final gem is a turquoise with a radiant cut, worth 812 GP. Not bad. Keep it in mind as we move into the next part, jewellery.

Shock’s Jewellery Shop

Now, on to the good part. First thing, lets post all of the relevant tables.

Jewellery Types
1d12 Name Base Price Embellishments Has Gemstone
1 Earring 100 1 no
2 Ring 200 1 yes
3 Bracelet 300 2 yes
4 Anklet 400 2 yes
5 Amulet 500 1 yes
6 Brooch 600 2 yes
7 Choker 700 1 yes
8 Necklace 800 3 yes
9 Tiara 900 2 yes
10 Coronet 1000 3 yes
11 Diadem 1100 4 yes
12 Crown 1200 5 yes
Name ADJ
1 Wood 0.02
2 Bone 0.05
3 Leather 0.08
4 Bronze 0.10
5 Glass 0.80
6 Iron 1.0
7 Copper 1.25
8 Silver 1.50
9 Gold 6.0
10 Ivory 7.0
11 Iridium 8.00
12 Platinum 9.0
2d6 Name ADJ
2 Broken 0.50
3 Crudely Made* 0.50
4 Blood Soaked 0.75
5 Scratched** 0.90
6 Tarnished** 0.95
7 None 1.0
8 Polished 1.10
9 Detailed Carving 1.15
10 Finely Made 1.25
11 Noble Owned 1.25
12 Aesthetic Magic 1.50
Apply duplicates only once
*If Finely Made is rolled, ignore Crudely Made
**If Polished is rolled, ignore both Scratched and Tarnished

The method for generating a piece of jewellery is much the same as method 2 for gemstones:

  1. Decide on a price tier, low, medium or high
  2. Roll 1d12 to decide what piece of jewellery to start with
  3. Roll 1d4 + price tier modifier (0, 4, 8) on the Materials Chart
  4. Generate a Gemstone using method two and the same price tier
  5. Roll a number of times on the embellishment table equal to the number listed in the jewellery table
  6. Remove any embellishment modifiers that should be ignored
  7. Multiply all the embellishment adjustments together
  8. Multiply the base price of the Jewellery type by the Material Adjustment
  9. Multiply the result of step 7 by step 8
    9a if you jewellery type is an Earring, this is your final value
  10. Add the price of the gemstone generated to the result of step 9. This is your final value.
  11. Round you value down to the nearest gold piece. Any silver value is lost

So, another example: I want to generate a high price piece of jewellery, so let’s do that. First roll for jewellery type, which is a 3 so a Bracelet (300). Next roll a material 3 + 8 so 11, which is iridium (8.0). We are going to use the Radiant Turquoise form the previous example (812) for our gemstone. Finally, Bracelets get two embellishment rolls. The first is a 7, so no adjustment, the second is a 9, so this bracelet has some sort of detailed carving with it. Now for the fun bit. First, adjust the base price by the material

  • 300 * 8.0 = 2400

Then that value by the embellishments

  • 2400 * 1.15 = 2760

Finally, we add our gemstone price

  • 2760 + 812 = 3572

So we have generated an “Iridium Bracelet that is adorned with a radiant cut turquoise. It a series of intricate lines carved around the band.” Generally, most treasure gets reduced to it’s material, type and final price when I am listing off a horde to my players, but having the extra detail makes it easier to differentiate if they find duplicates. Though, usually the prices are different enough this isn’t an issue. I also generally give players full listed price for jewellery and gems, unless they have really upset their fence or jeweller they are working with. I have found that the bit of extra cash isn’t really an issue when eaten up with crew and ship costs (remember, this is for my piratical game).

But now, let’s look what I actually use these tools for, horde reduction! Let’s assume our brave adventurers have been told of a small uncharted island, guarded by a fearsome Sea Serpent(actually an injured Sea Hydra) which holds the legendary Dwarf Pirate, Captain Brinebeard’s lost haul. For this night of sea faring, the only prep I would do would be roll on the Treasure Type I was planning on using. Brinebeard is a legendary pirate, and made a lot of gold in his day. So, I would use Treasure Type G most likely. Rolling that, I get 12,000 GP and 1,000 PP, a respectable amount. However, it’s all in coins, and coins are lame. It want jewellery dang it. So lets reduce it.

The reduction process is pretty simple, just generate jewellery pieces and remove their value from the total gold amount, until it’s reduced the amount you want it. However, you can’t just generate without a plan, it would take forever. That’s where the price tiers come in. Any horde less 1000 GP, generate low tier Jewellery, 1000 or more but less than 10,000 GP, generate mid tier, 10,000 or more, generate high tier. The reason for this is compression. This means you, on average only have to generate 5-6 pieces of jewellery to reduce a horde to the next price tier. This is why the material modifiers for high tier jewellery are so high. There is some wiggle room here, as sometimes you might be right on the edge of a price tier, usually if I’m just a few hundred gold over, I jump down a tier for the last piece and then stop.

So let’s reduce Brinebeard’s horde. We will start with the bracelet we just made (3812 GP)

  • 17000 - 3812 = 13188

Then generate another jewellery. Gems roll: 5, 5, Jewellery 4, 9, 5, 4. Which ended up being a Blood soaked and Scratched Gold Anklet Adorned with a Brilliant Turquoise, worth 2595.

  • 13188 - 2595 = 10593

So now I am close to the next price tier, but I decided to risk it when writing this example up, and rolled big. Gem rolls 8, 1, Jewellery 12, 10, 9, 9, 7, 6, 8. Which was a Polished Ivory Crown adorned with an uncut Diamond and detailed with intricate animal carvings, worth 11626 GP, more than the horde had. I may generous, but not that generous, so I discarded it and rolled a lower tier item. Gem 8, 2, Jewellery 9, 7, 9, 2. A Broken Copper Tiara adorned with Garnet Cabochons and detailed with intricate swirls, 1306

  • 10593 - 1306 = 9287

So now we have a horde of 287 Gold, 1800 platinum and A broken Copper Tiara, a Blood soaked and Scratched Gold Anklet and an Iridium Bracelet, with a total value of 1700 still. Sometimes the total value will get reduced a bit due to rounding during the process, but you can always toss a few coins in if you even check that. I usually don’t worry about it too much, sometimes if a piece is only a little over the remaining value, I just make that piece worth the remaining value and stop there. I usually only reduce down by a single price tier as well, though you could reduce until all of the gold is gone if you wanted.

Anyway, I think that’s about all for this post. This is a process I have been working on a very long time, and it still has some tweaks I would like to make. For example I still think the tiers are a bit too swingy sometimes. The main thing I would like to do change the jewellery table to be a d20 table, like the book has, however I haven’t come up with a good value range that still makes the reduction aspect reliable. Hope someone out there enjoy this tool as much as I do, and see you around

Sail on

Share on