D&D’s Most Valuable Item?

An Easy Way of Making Money

Most characters are working class. The children of goat herders who go off in search of fame and fortune. The first few levels are full of daring adventures and close shaves that bring wealth and experience but after a while a character will be thinking ‘Now What?’

What has the average character got to look forward to other than an early death in some damp, dark dungeon where his bones will be picked over by diabolical monsters? With some money in their pocket, most people would be considering a safer line of work. So after a few years adventuring, how can a character earn a good living in their retirement?

They can open a bar, like so many before them but running a bar is hard work and not very profitable. Spell casters can sell their services but at 50gp for a Cure Light Wounds, most people cannot afford them. Retirement for your average adventurer can be a very bleak future unless they have D&D’s most profitable item.

The Smart Bard’s Retirement Plan

For a Bard of 9th level or higher who invests his money wisely, a peaceful and profitable retirement awaits. With the right magic item and a few hours work a week, they can look forward to a life of luxury.

All they need to buy is the Lyre of Building.

This is the single most valuable, or at least profitable, item in the DMG and yet most people are not aware of it. Costing 13000gp it has two major functions, the first of which is to protect buildings versus attacks. For our Bard seeking an easy life, being in buildings that are under-attack is not part of the retirement plan. It is the second function that makes money.

In 30 minutes, the Lyre of Building can do the equivalent of 300 man days of labour. It can construct buildings, dig mines, tunnels, fortifications and anything else than is built by labourers. The book price for one labourer doing one days work is 1sp. In an hour the lyre can earn its owner 60gp.

To use the lyre for more than an hour, the user has to make a DC 18 perform check or else the lyre is useless for a week. A 9th level bard will have 12 ranks in Perform plus at least a couple of points in charisma bonus. They will fail in less than 1 in 4 roles allowing a decent bard to get four hours a week out of the lyre.

4 Hours x 52 weeks x 60gp = 12480 gp per year.

Not a bad income for half-a-day’s work a week.

Image Credit – Lyre by Judy van der Velden – CC-BY-NC-ND-2.0