Hello, adventurers struggling to pay their inn’s fees! In DnD, not just fighting makes the world go round, but cold hard coin also does the trick in many situations. Unfortunately, making money in DnD 5e can be a struggle. Even more so when your DM refuses to give you well-paying quests or if the loot you are getting is subpar.
This guide will discuss some of my favorite money-making schemes and strategies in 5e DnD. We will also give Dungeon Masters tips on incorporating these options in their campaigns. We are not just going for the most effective method; and we are also going to look at some original and fun ways to earn gold in 5e. We also included a few ways to make downtime money.
Great and creative ways to make money in 5e DnD
Since the world of D&D is vast with endless options, there are plenty of ways for you to make money. We are sure we have missed a few suitable methods, but we did our best to find some of the best and most creative ways to earn a decent chunk of gold in 5e DnD.
Good old adventuring
The most fun way in DnD is to make money and do quests. Are there rumors about Cult Fanatics stealing from villagers to fund their evil plans? Are there bandits on the road stealing from travelers? Has a goblin cave popped up next to a small hamlet, and are they now killing cattle?
Ask around! Don’t just go off the adventurers guild bulletin board, as they’re likely a filter or a fee for posting assignments there. You can also ask around town if you can deliver items to nearby towns and villages if the roads are particularly dangerous.
Make sure you have a bag of holding to take as much loot, herbs and other things you come across with you to sell.
Using Suggestions to convince others
Suggestion and mass suggestion are unique spells if you want to get better prices, make a favorable deal, and make the target do things they would normally not do.
Note: Dungeon masters, suggestion is only a level 2 enchantment. Every mid-tier shopkeeper and merchant will have an item that makes charming them harder or impossible.
Here is a good scam that won’t land you into trouble. Go to an inn in a busy town and tell them you can get more people through the door. You ask for a % of the profits of people who tell you referred them. Then, suggest they order a lot of expensive drinks and food in the inn.
Of course, this does not have to be an inn. The place you recommend can be an armor shop, a jeweler, etc.
Offer to heal and revive services
Generally speaking, people do not enjoy dying. However, suppose you have a life domain cleric or another party member with sound healing and necromancy abilities in your party. Then, a ton of exciting spells can aid you in making money in DnD.
At the beginning levels, you can help people heal with the prayer of healing spell. At later levels, you can raise dead. Especially being able to raise the dead is a valuable skill as people will pay high amounts to have their loved ones revived.
You can also offer another service like removing curses from items or persons. Make sure you ask enough for your time and materials to make a good profit.
Offer special training
Even as a level 1 fighter or mage, you are probably among the 10% most gifted people in the world. You can thus easily offer tutoring services regarding arcane art, combat, and self-defense.
There are a couple of ways to go about this. First, you can offer group tutoring if your place is not very wealthy. You don’t need to take coins but can also take items you can sell. If you are in a higher-end region, you can offer more expensive 1-1 tutoring for the upper middle class. High nobels will probably already have their tutors.
The fighting pits
Are you a Goliath Barbarian? Do you have a ton of muscles and nothing to do with them? Then, try your chances in the fighting pits. If there are none, you can start your own (illegal) pit fighting ring. Just ensure you rig the odds and stay out of trouble before you land in jail and get fined much more than your profits.
There are, of course, other options than fist fights. You can also do magical battles where wizards have to defeat golems or undead, and those who survive the longest get a price. The options are endless if you are creative.
Get information and sell it
There are plenty of ways to get information from interesting NPCs that can sell quite a few coins. For example, you can use Mind Spike 5e on a minion and let him live. Then, for an hour, you will know exactly where he goes and is. That way, you can quickly find the lair of the villian or where a person of interest is.
Make sure you do not make too many enemies in the process or break essential laws. You don’t want to draw too much attention to yourself when stalking and spying.
Dnd 5e downtime money: Renting out minions, slaves, creatures, and undead
As you amass wealth and power, you will get minions and undead that follow you. You might also have a few people who owe you pretty big favors. Get your minions and undead and send them on a work trip during harvesting season or in the nearby mines. Make sure you ask for a high wage and enjoy the passive income your minions bring in.
Similarly, you can also guard duties. If you have creatures that are loyal to their master, like the Guard Drake, you can rent these out for a fee to help protect certain areas. Even better are monsters and creatures that do not need food or other upkeep. A great example is the Helmed Horrors and Skeleton. Again, make sure you ask your DM how to obtain these followers.
Another great thing to do is to rent out your horse to work on the farm. The optimal way to do this is by having the spell Find Steed, which gives you a free horse that you can command telepathically from 1 mile away. Let that spirit beast work hard labor while you sleep.
Hunting and poaching
Hunting and poaching are good ways to get meat and pelts for you to sell at the market. However, fresh food and high-quality animal materials always fetch a reasonable price. Animal friendship 5e is a fantastic spell for this purpose. It convinces the animal that you mean no harm and stops it from fleeing. So you can take it down. If you want to stalk more interesting pray, you might want to read our guide on Wood Elves in 5e.
Some other creatures can give you additional rewards too. For example, let’s look at one of my favorite starter quests monsters, the Giant Toads. If you kill them, you can give your players frog meat and the contents of their stomachs (jewelry and steel from eaten victims) as a reward.
You can do many evil things in D&D to make money. Just think about kidnapping, stealing, intimidation, and so on. While these actions will not make you any friends, you will surely get a ton of gold and loot if you do it right. Just be aware that this will probably put a permanent target on your back and might bar you from cities and guilds in the future.
Tip: looking for a great distraction? Then the Incite greed spell might be just what you need!
Selling bodies to necromancers and schools
You have just wiped out another bandit lair and now possess many fresh bodies. While there are spells like Animate Death that grant you a few extra followers, it might be more profitable to sell your euh… materials to other interested parties.
Selling these bodies to necromancers and scholars might save you a lot. You don’t have to limit yourself to humans; other (rare) creatures like the Fire Snake might fetch you a good amount of money. As a bonus, you might also get some gems as loot for defeating these monsters.
Other creatures like the Four-Armed Giant Gargoyle can earn you some coin for the materials they are made out of. So make sure you ask the DM what materials the creatures are made out of and how much they would fetch in the market.
No, not that kind. Trade routes might be dangerous for merchants. While someone selling vegetables and meats will not pay high sums for escorts, a merchant with high-level goods and magic items will.
DMs, make sure you think about these kinds of opportunities logically. Nobody is going to hire no-name adventurers to protect their goods. Even if they are powerful, there is no reason to trust them. For all they know, your party is planning on robbing the cart themselves while on the road (and they might actually be).
Minor illusion magic and good music and singing can deliver quite the performance. However, in a world of magic, plenty of people have already seen whatever you are doing. So you will need to be spectacular and original to make some coin out of your performance. Location is also essential, if you are performing in the capital, there will be a ton of (better) competition, and in the outskirts, people might not have the gold to enjoy entertainment.
You can also set up a gambling ring where people bet on the results of the Chaos Bolt output. But, again, make sure you read the article to know how to ensure the house has the edge!
Don’t have any relevant skills? Well back to good old manual laboring. You might be able to work as an apprentice and pick up a side job in blacksmithing, Alchemy, Fletching, or Sewing. Other jobs might be good to earn cash, like helping during the harvest or logging in dangerous woods.
These jobs won’t pay a lot of coins as the barrier of entry is relatively low. However, this kind of task might be just what you need to make some friends and connections in the city and get contacts with wholesale buyers and -sellers.
Tips for Dungeon Masters to help players earn gold
Players should not get a (too) easy way to get gold at the early levels if you are doing a realistic campaign. Quick money-making schemes should have significant drawbacks, or other adventurers would pick them up.
An excellent example of this is hunting for meat. While a druid or a ranger can surely catch a ton of good meat (elk, boar, etc.) from nearby forests and sell them at a reasonable price, there likely is a catch. First, who owns that land? You might need a hunting license as game is rare and valuable, and overhunting would deplete it. So if you want to poach, you will likely need to sell your game far away as word will travel quite fast that you are selling illegal meat.
If you have found a legitimate business to get in-demand materials, there is no way you will get the market price for them. No doubt that there are merchant and trade guilds who control the market, and people won’t trust you if they do not know you. So you will have to sell in bulk to a merchant or a trader. In most cases, you will get about 30% of the actual market price.
Finally, don’t make this too strict if you are trying to play a less realistic fantasy DnD campaign. For example, while earning some gold coins is fun, having to work in the mines for five IRL sessions to make ends meet is not.
Final Thoughts and Advice on money making schemes in 5e
Making money in D&D can be hard and tedious. However, there are plenty of ways to make use of your status as a powerful adventurer to make extra gold. You can do quests, sell your knowledge, tutor people or just heal and revive the dead.
Make sure you take into account the materials you are spending and don’t do anything too illegal. If you want to avoid taxes and the law in general, staying out of trouble is crucial.
Make sure you ask your Dungeon Master what your expenses are, how many coins you can make doing a certain activity, and what rules there are regarding taxes in his world.