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How Big is that Treasure Hoard?

In fantasy games, when the PCs slay the fell beast and claim its hoard, it can be tough to conceptualize just how large that hoard actually is.

Enter The MegaPenny Project [1], which lets you visualize that most humble of American coins in large numbers. Very large numbers — like 50,000 pennies [2] (a lot of money, but not a big pile), 1,000,000 pennies [3] (an epic hoard, and yet still not that huge) and the economy-crushing 1,000,000,000,000,000,000 pennies [4] (which is ginormous).

Substitute “gold pieces” for “pennies,” assume the gold pieces are a bit larger than pennies, and you really get a sense for just how large that dragon’s hoard might be. (Via Boing Boing [5].)

5 Comments (Open | Close)

5 Comments To "How Big is that Treasure Hoard?"

#1 Comment By John Arcadian On September 5, 2006 @ 4:12 am

That’s just nifty. I’m using that next time a player says, “Sure I could carry that much.”

#2 Comment By Cassandra On September 5, 2006 @ 6:08 am

Great model, Martin! That would have been really helpful when we were working on The Mother of All Treasure Tables. Writers kept sending things in like “Before you, you see an enormous pile of coins…” and then they would give a number that, when piled up, was only about a foot high. It was still a lot of money for a medieval fantasy game, but physically was not as impressive as everyone thought. There is one treasure with a pile a few feet high, but it took millions of coins to make it that way. That gives a perspective on the amount of treasure of Smaug, the dragon in “The Hobbit.” A pile of coins big enough for a dragon to lie on must be wealth collected through generations.

#3 Comment By ScottM On September 5, 2006 @ 9:22 am

Cassandra’s thought was exactly mine– wow, Dragons hoards are even larger than I thought, since they support a whole dragon.

A very useful and fun site. Thanks.

#4 Comment By Martin On September 5, 2006 @ 12:07 pm

I definitely wish I’d known about this site when I was writing my chunk of MoATT — I’m sure I was guilty of turning in at least one “massive” hoard that would actually have fit in a duffel bag. 😉

I’m glad folks are enjoying this link. I had fun looking through the site, and I love visualizations like this.

#5 Comment By drow On September 5, 2006 @ 7:48 pm

now we need The MegaOrc Project. =)