Sunday, June 10, 2012
What occurred to me is how a large hoard like the one Smaug sits on is seriously a game changer. Most referees would rule that even after you discover one; or kill or remove the guardian of a hoard you have to get it back to home base before you collect the experience. Now, what happens if you turn the dungeon that you are in into home base? This is pretty much what happens with the lonely mountain. Thorin and Company don't have to transport the treasure anywhere once the battle of the five armies is over, and given the description of Thorin and the other dwarves as they join that battle, it seems like they have leveled up a bit as their eyes are glowing red!
The thought here is that it no matter what the circumstance, the endgame can show up quite suddenly as dice are involved and players are clever. Wise use of a hoard might be what allows a party to truly convert a dungeon into a legitimate home base. Interestingly a megadungeon that can never be settled helps to prevent this. And while something is statistically unlikely, it does not mean that it can't happen ever, or that it can't happen many times in a row. A party could get lucky for example and find a +3 Sword in their possession after a lucky lucky victory. How you handle that may determine what kind of DM you are.