[RPG] Guidelines for speeding up looting process for player characters



As a relatively new DM I've adopted players rolling Investigation when attempting to loot corpses and chests, because I see other Dungeon Masters doing that as well. But since I roll for loot on certain NPCs/chests beforehand, I don't see the relevance of players always investigating for loot.


Often rolling for loot seems tedious and too time-consuming, because my players tend to want to loot each and every corpse they leave in their trail. They agree that the current looting process breaks the momentum of our encounters too much. So I'm thinking of dropping the whole 'roll for loot', unless there's specific items (such as a key) to be found or unless the player character explicitly wants to acquire information from the body. While writing this question though I realised it's unclear to me whether there's a ruling on requiring players to roll for loot.

Are there guidelines for how to speed up the looting process for a PC when attempting to loot corpses, chests, etc? Do players actually need to make a roll for loot or is this optional? I also accept answers based on successful personal experiences.

Best Answer

There are no guidelines.

DMG 133, emphasis added:

The following pages contain tables that you can use to randomly generate treasures carried by monsters, stashed in their lairs, or otherwise hidden away. The placement of treasure is left to your discretion. The key is to make sure the players feel rewarded for playing, and that their characters are rewarded for overcoming dangerous challenges.


A Treasure Hoard table helps you randomly determine the contents of a large cache of treasure, the accumulated wealth of a large group of creatures (such as an ore tribe or a hobgoblin army), the belongings of a single powerful creature that likes to hoard treasure (such as a dragon), or the reward bestowed upon a party after completing a quest for a benefactor. You can also split up a treasure hoard so that the adventurers don't find or receive it all at once.

Therefore, you can have whatever system you want for finding treasure, and PCs are not required to roll anything to find treasure. In fact, the rolled loot doesn't even have to come from the monster itself, and can just be part of the eventual reward that the PCs get for completing the quest.

Personally, I've ruled that PCs automatically find all of the loot as long as they are not in some urgent situation, and I automatically convert all generic loot to gold. As you've experienced, there's little benefit to making looting more difficult, and it tends to slow down the game significantly.