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In a lot of D&D 5e discussions, you run into people complaining about not having anything to spend their gold on if there are no magic item shops. I wrote up this list and add new items to it every time I post it to social media.

Remember that until 3e, there were no magic item shops and there was even MORE gold since in 1e and prior editions gold was basically the only source of XP. So if you had 40,000 XP, odds are you had at least 36,000 gp.

It’s not a weakness, it is part of the design of the game.

Other things to do with your gold:

  • Purchase expensive cheeses
  • Purchase expensive wines to drink with said cheeses
  • Hire someone to figure out why all your clothes aren’t already ermine-trimmed
  • Hire someone else to correct the problem
  • Hire minstrels to travel the land telling tales of your exploits
  • Get books written about your exploits
  • Jewel-Encrusted Ear Hair Plucker
  • Send money home to the husband and kids
  • Build a shrine to your favourite deity
  • Build a shrine to your second favourite deity
  • Build a temple to the pantheon of your favourite deities around these shrines
  • When it turns out these deities aren’t part of the same pantheon, fund an entirely new church that claims otherwise. You can even name the heresy after your character!
  • Acquire a taste for imported fish eggs
  • Experiment with strange and foreign narcotics
  • Establish an espionage agency
  • Hire mercenaries and send them on vacation
  • Get involved in local politics
  • Get involved in regional politics
  • Get involved in national politics
  • Get involved in international politics
  • Get involved in transdimensional politics
  • Run for president of Mechanus
  • Purchase a distillery and then hire away the best distillers from their existing employers to take over as the source of elite spirits.
  • Hire a team of exorcists to make sure everything you own, buy, touch or look at is not controlled by evil spirits.
  • Buy wedding presents.
  • Buy birthday gifts.
  • Pay the dowry on your child’s wedding.
  • Buy a boat.
  • Buy a fleet.
  • Man that fleet.
  • Send them off to explore.
  • Invest in local business.
  • Bribe the king.
  • Hire an assassin to take care of that person that insulted you at level 1.
  • Invest in high grade halfling pipeweed
  • Smoke your investment – trust me, totally worth it.
  • Grind up gold into powder and then see if it gets dwarves high when they snort it.
  • Establish trade routes with nearby cities.
  • Establish trade routes with distant cities.
  • Establish trade routes with nearby planets.
  • Establish trade routes with the outer planes.
  • Tithe to the church you claim to worship at, the cult you actually worship at, the local baron, the king, and your guild (there goes 50% of everything)
  • Get married.
  • Get divorced.
  • Have children.
  • Establish a network of informants.
  • Solve homelessness in your city.
  • Feed the poor.
  • Feed the rich.
  • Build a mansion with a massive banquet hall and ballroom.
  • Host grand balls with all the most elite families invited.
  • Host great banquets with all the movers and shakers invited.
  • Hire watchmen to make long rests safer.
  • Hire rangers to hunt while you travel so you don’t have to bring rations.
  • Hire a wagon train to carry rations for those rangers and watchmen.
  • Buy nicer furniture for your home.
  • Hire the weird architect that draws really messed up designs, and give him a huge budget to actually make them real.
  • Hire a team of scribes to follow the weird homeless guy around writing down everything he says.
  • Buy yourself a title (this takes a lot of money, since you basically have to make yourself be the “right kind of person” to get a title, and then likely bribe all the people above you to get it).
  • Hire sages in every major field so when an adventure hook lands on your lap you can spend money hand over fist to learn more about it.
  • Buy art.
  • Commission art.
  • Get a life-sized statue of yourself made of solid gold (that’s 1,500 pounds of gold… that’s a LOT of gold pieces).
  • Get a larger-than-life-sized statue made of yourself in solid gold.
  • Platinum cutlery
  • Gem-encrusted platinum cutlery
  • Buy the cricket in the silver cage that the seller claims was caught on the moon and can tell your future.
  • Set up a crazy wizard in a tower for you to consult on an as-needed basis.
  • Start a gladitorial stable and get involved in the local gladitorial combat scene at the management / owner level.
  • Ivory playing cards
  • Has no one named a town after your character yet? FIX THAT IMMEDIATELY, make your own town! With blackjack and hookers!
  • Assemble incredibly ornate and overly-detailed “kits” for various things. Like your silver-plated vampire-hunting kit in an expensive wooden case that contains a set of stakes made of pungent foreign woods, a hand-crossbow with six different holy symbols on it, a variety of garlic-delivery devices, holy water in expensive bottles, etc.
  • Equip an expedition to find the centre of the planet.
  • Hire dwarves to construct a massive dungeon complex for you to import monsters into.
  • Get involved in horse-racing.
  • Become a respected horse-breeder.
  • Collect a stable of well-bred horses.
  • Hire jockeys and race your stable of horses.
  • When you are bored of your horses, invest in a glue factory.
  • Experiment with exotic perfumes made from monster parts.
  • Flood the healing potion market with cheap knock-offs (guaranteed not to kill you, or your money back!).
  • Hire a team to go into every town before you and equip the town with gold-plated spitoons for your convenience.
  • Outsource the protection of the local forest to high-priced elven mercenary druids.
  • Life insurance in the form of pre-purchased resurrection spells & components.
  • Be the “cool aunt” or “cool uncle” and blow a few grand on each niece or nephew’s birthday.
  • Create a new school of wizardry.
  • Build Hogwarts.
  • Hire a team of gnomes to try to figure out the mechanics behind a man-portable fire-blasting gattling-crossbow
  • Go dragon-turtle hunting.
  • Invest in the dragon-bellies market.
  • Build a flying dragon-turtle-shell boat with ballista turrets.
  • Hire sages, magi, and engineers to explore the option of “nuking the site from orbit”.
  • Commission statues of your adventuring companions in heroic poses.
  • Pay to have all your enemies stuffed and mounted after killing them.
  • Hire monster hunters to increase the size of your stuffed monster collection.
  • Invest in the lead-into-gold alchemy “business”.
  • Make sure your spellbooks have dragon-leather covers, pages of the rarest fine leathers, and ink made of gold and celestial blood.
  • Make a warhammer with a 15 pound solid emerald head.
  • Build the tallest tower in the world.
  • Have masterpieces painted on all your armour.
  • Establish a huge network of mirror-towers to transmit information around the world.
  • Hire shipbuilders and a madman to build the largest ship ever.
  • With sails made of dragon wings.
  • Lashed to a score of water elementals to pull it.
  • Hire a tutor.
  • Hire translators.
  • Learn an exotic language and stop speaking common, instead having your translation team to translate to common, dwarven, etc for you.
  • Get your adventure maps drawn by the renowned cartographer Dyson Logos.
  • Fletch your arrows with phoenix feathers.
  • Hire engineers and try to make every trap from the Grimtooth’s Traps series.
  • Raise an army.
  • Raise a second army.
  • Build a nice vantage point from which to watch your armies clash.
  • Hire a third super-secret army to swoop in and crush the remaining forces.
  • Hire seven soothsayers to examine and interpret your dreams.
  • Buy only the best poisons to feed to the soothsayers who fail to properly interpret your dreams.
  • Pay for the most grandiose funerals for the failed soothsayers so everyone knows how seriously you take this stuff.
  • Bribe the right people to have your horse knighted.
  • Collect the instruments of long-dead famous bards.
  • Buy an inn at every town on the map (or have one built) so you always have a place to stay where they know your name.
  • Griffon-Egg Omelettes.
  • Wereboar Bacon.
  • Mithril chainmail for your pets.
  • Diamond-encrusted cockatiels.
  • Finest marble stables for your horses.
  • Finest marble statues of your horses to go in those stables.
  • Purchase a set of ever-grander mausoleums to eventually bury your worldly remains.
  • Once the biggest mausoleum is done, put smaller ones inside it. Matryoshka Mausoleums!
  • Fund that crazy guy who is building a volcano lair – you know he’ll be a good adventure seed later on!
  • Fund a death cult. This is one that takes care of itself when you get bored.
  • Build a legacy in the form of a travelling halfling circus.
  • Hire someone who’s job it is to hire the exact someone you need.
  • Set up effective counter-espionage to deal with John Creed’s spy network.
  • Try gold-plating your enemies.
  • Hire a team to bring your gold-plated enemies back home and have them jewel-encrusted.
  • Feed your new best friend, the Xorn you adopted in the Elemental Plane of Earth.
  • Start collecting “freaks and oddities” to accompany you and show off just how perfect you are.
  • The material components for “Summon the World Emperor” is a billion gp. There’s no ritual, just have a billion gold and the World Emperor is pretty much certain to show up to claim it.
  • Have a lovely palanquin built so you don’t have to get your very expensive shoes dirty.
  • Buy exotic slaves to carry that palanquin.
  • Start minting coins with your face on them. Sell them at reduced prices to get them into circulation.

Some artwork copyright William McAusland, used with permission