This is interesting.
I've been thinking about the players who will be at the table for my upcoming Fallen Empire campaign. It at-this-very-moment appears that the several players want to start with a megadungeon style campaign of mostly episodic forays into Castle Triskelion. The last campaign we just finished was an epic sweep through the Realm fighting for the future of the free peoples of that realm and so forth; rescuing gods and fighting battles with a cast of tens of thousands.
So now my bloodthirsty and goldlusting players want something more visceral and down in the trenches.
There is literally no way to forsee all the problems we will have at the table (in the dungeon? Yeah, I've got that.) But based on what I know about the personalities of the several players, it's going to be important to get them thinking about how expenses are paid and how treasure is divided up. This is a gold-for-XP game with a hint of HD-for-XP for flavor. The distribution of financial resources will be critical.
Therefore I have written a contract. The fiction is, any group of adventurers needs a patron to raid this particular megadungeon. If they don't have one, they will be fair game for other groups both in the dungeon and for the authorities in town.
The reason for the fiction is, I want to make sure that more aggressive and/or avaricious players do not take advantage of more agreeable and/or generous ones. It's all there in black and white and they all sign on ahead of time which should prevent many hurt feelings later on.
If the players want to, they can suggest changes to the document at the time we ratify it, but I'll keep veto power over those changes.
Here is the text of the document. Please look carefully at sections 3.b.v subsections 1 and 2; this is a decision the players need to make. Only 1 or 2 will be in effect at any time.
1) Section 1: Definitions
a) A SHAREHOLDER is a PC member of the Adventuring COMPANY.
b) COMPANY is the sum of all PCs adventuring together.
c) PATRON is the warranting organization which makes a COMPANY official.
i) A warranted COMPANY will have legal concerns handled by the PATRON.
ii) A warranted COMPANY is at liberty to keep what it salvages from
(1) areas outside of normal human occupation and
(2) contested areas within the areas of human occupation.
d) A HENCHMAN is a contract worker, subordinate to an individual SHAREHOLDER, who works for a set amount of money for a short period, usually one adventuring session.
i) The Referee will decide whether orders given to these types will be followed.
ii) Some contract workers are not HENCHMEN; only those who agree to enter the dungeon are counted as HENCHMEN for the purposes of this document.
iii) Elfs will not Hench for Dwarfs and Dwarfs will not Hench for Elfs. No exceptions.
e) A RETAINER is a special NPC who functions as a sidekick and special assistant to a PC for a long period of time and is usually but not always played by the same player as that PC.
i) The Referee has final say on any questionable Retainer actions.
ii) Some NPCs such as loyal animals or subordinate monsters will count as Retainers for some purposes, but will never count for the purposes of dividing up treasure. They are compensated as the PC sees fit.
f) An ADVENTURE is the time SHAREHOLDERS are together on official business for their COMPANY PATRON.
g) A CONSENSUS is achieved if all living, attending members of a COMPANY are present and agree upon a measure.
h) REIMBURSEMENT means that the COMPANY pays costs
i) and then submits receipts to the PATRON,
ii) which will then pay some or all of those expenses
iii) based on agreements made below.
i) INSPECTION means that the COMPANY submits items to the PATRON for the purposes of examination and cataloguing.
i) INSPECTION will last no more than ten days excepting Sundays and Holidays and no more than 13 days in any case.
ii) Objects so inspected remain the sole property of the COMPANY in the interim.
iii) Objects subject to INSPECTION are magic items found or won in the course of Adventuring as a COMPANY.
iv) The PATRON reserves the right of first refusal on any sale of items so INSPECTED.
(1) Such sales are not subject to a 10% PATRON fee
(2) And do award XP for gold.
2) Section 2: Expenses
a) Before PCs are paid they must pay expenses.
i) A warranted Company pays its patron 10% of all takings.
ii) The Company submits all magic items for inspection. Magic items will be returned to the Company after inspection.
b) Paying NPCs.
(1) The Henchman is paid up-front before the adventure by the individual PC employing him. No exceptions.
(2) The Henchman is not entitled to any percentage of the take.
(3) Then Henchman is not entitled to any magic items found.
(4) After the adventure, a surviving Henchman will divest himself of all gear the PC has given to him for the adventure.
(a) If the PC wishes for the Henchman to keep that gear, the PC will say so upon its return.
(5) Then the Henchman will depart and immediately Squander all money earned.
(6) A dead hireling of any kind, including henchmen, is awarded 25 gp for his next of kin. No exceptions.
(a) This payment applies even if he is later brought back to life and is non-refundable.
(b) If his PC employer cannot afford it, the PC will be given a loan by the Company patron at 10% interest compounded four times per year.
c) Other Expenses
i) A dead PC gets 25 gp for his next of kin. No exceptions. This payment is made by the remaining living shareholders of the Company.
ii) This payment applies even if he is later brought back to life
(1) and is non-refundable.
(2) If the Company cannot afford it, the Company will be given a loan by the Company patron at 10% interest compounded four times per year.
iii) A PC made to be Cursed or otherwise fallen ill by magical means will be cured at the Company’s expense.
(1) This payment will be made. If the Company cannot afford it, the Company will be given a loan by the Company patron at 10% interest compounded four times per year.
(2) If this is an officially-warranted Company, the cost of this procedure will be reimbursed up to 50% by the Company patron.
iv) By consensus of the surviving Shareholders, and at their expense, a PC made dead may be Raised or brought back to life in some way.
(1) This decision must be made by consensus among surviving shareholders.
(2) If you are an officially-warranted company, the cost of this procedure will be reimbursed up to 50% by the Company patron.
v) By consensus of the Shareholders and at their expense, gear used by the Company may be replaced or purchased from this money.
(1) These expenses may include but are not limited to: replacing or acquiring new
(a) Holy Water, Flaming Oil, dungeon dogs, pack animals, vehicles, and specialty dungeoneering equipment.
3) Section 3: Compensation
i) For the purposes of this section, “Money” will be defined as all items of value salvaged
(1) including art, jewelry, trade goods, furniture, non-magical gear, etc.
ii) In the case of no SHAREHOLDER having a RETAINER,
(1) All money which remains after expenses are paid will be split evenly among SHAREHOLDERS of the COMPANY.
iii) In the case of one or more SHAREHOLDERS having one or more RETAINERS,
(1) Divide the remaining money into equal shares such that
(a) SHAREHOLDERS get two shares and
(b) RETAINERS get one share.
(2) Award each SHAREHOLDER two shares and each RETAINER one share.
(3) Do not count monstrous or pet retainers in these calculations.
iv) All RETAINERS and SHAREHOLDERS are paid simultaneously.
b) Magic Items
i) Magic Items award no XP. Magic is its own reward.
ii) If a Magic Item is sold immediately after the Adventure and not kept or used, the proceeds will count toward XP.
(1) This sale is not subject to the normal 10% payment to the PATRON.
iii) Those Magic Items which are kept shall be awarded to one or another PC.
(1) The awardee may then do with it as he pleases, but selling it awards no XP.
iv) Magic Items are awarded when other treasure is awarded after the award of Money.
v) A Magic Item shall be awarded by the following method:
(1) By chance, as rolled on dice
(2) By auction. If so the auction will proceed in this manner:
(a) Each SHAREHOLDER may bid Money for the item.
(b) Once the high bid has been decided, that SHAREHOLDER gets the item.
(c) The SHAREHOLDER pays the Money to the COMPANY
(i) Once all Magic Items have been so awarded,
(ii) The COMPANY pays the Money out equally to all SHAREHOLDERS (including those who placed winning bids.)
c) Services and Other Unusual Awards
i) Those awards which do not have an obvious cash value shall be awarded by the same method detailed under (3.b.v.)