Treasure

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Treasures were a common feature of early IF games; the more valuable items you found, the more points you scored. Although this is a much less common feature of IF than formerly, many modern games also display this behaviour - although in these cases it is likely that the player will end up with goals more important than acquisitive scavenging.


Representations

Treasures will usually appear as objects that would be of high monetary value in the real world. Generally games involving treasures are set in fantastic or historical environments, and in this context most treasures will be made of precious metals or gemstones, be of very fine craftsmanship, or be very old. Sometimes the values of treasure items will be listed in your inventory. If any item with other uses - a sword, clothing, furniture - is described as being ornate or well-crafted, it may be a treasure. Some games assign a cash value to every object, from broken stick to fist-sized diamond.

Scoring Points

  • Treasures sometimes score points if and only if they are in your inventory or (or inventory container). If you drop or otherwise lose them, you lose the points.
  • Other games may require you to store the valuable items somewhere secure - a trophy case, treasure chest or safe - before you gain points from them.
  • Yet others may assign a cash value of some sort to treasures, but not give out any points for them at all. These values may or may not be visible to the player, and you may or may not be able to sell them for their full value.
  • MacGuffin. A treasure may not be assigned any definite value whatsoever - it might appear in a game where scoring is not used, for instance - as a motivation for the player.

Opulence is Always the Result of Theft

Some NPCs may not be particularly happy about you absconding with their treasures; others may be extremely happy to abscond with yours.

  • Don't leave treasures lying around unguarded. They might not stay there.
  • It may be wise to avoid grabbing treasures when law-abiding NPCs are about, and to stow them somewhere hidden once you've got them.
  • If you're carrying illicit treasures, keep away from authority figures.
  • If there is a trophy-case or similar safe-dropoff point, return to it and drop off your goodies whenever you get new ones.

NPC Uses

  • Trade. In the words of the poet, 'money can be exchanged for goods and services.'
    • Sometimes, treasure may be given directly to NPCs with things you want; this differs from the normal find-the-thing-NPC-wants puzzle in that the NPC might accept anything over a certain value, and may respond differently depending on how generous you're being.
    • In other cases, treasure can be pawned or sold in exchange for money.
    • In either case, you'll want to consider whether you'll be able to get the treasure back again, or if you need it for other uses first.
  • Bait. NPCs can be slippery fish, but their fingers are downright sticky. If you want to find a way of luring one somewhere, treasure might be the answer.
  • Distraction. Throw a gemstone into the guardhouse, then sneak past when they're fighting over it.
  • Ornamentation. Depending on the setting, wearing a bunch of gold jewelry may change the reactions of NPCs to you.

Other Uses

  • In fantasy games, highly ornamented, valuable items are fairly likely to have magic powers of some kind.
  • Gold and silver are heavy, and very good conductors of electricity.
  • Gems refract (and sometimes colour) light.
  • Puzzles involving alchemy or similar systems often make use of gold, silver and gemstones.