D&D Loot Calculator
Bring home the bacon
There may be no more necessary resource in Dungeons & Dragons than money. With enough gold and platinum, a player character (PC) can solve almost any worldly—or otherworldly—problem. Unable to muster the strength to defeat your foes? Hire a mercenary or two. Need more magical might? Buy yourself a Ring of Spell Storing or a Pearl of Power. Desperate to be an inspiration? Purchase an Ioun Stone or the Tomb of Leadership and Influence. You can even pay someone to track these items down, so you don't have to.
Much like the real world, money keeps Toril spinning. However, not all quests result in piles of coins or the confiscation of a dragon's hoard. Though altruism and charity are worthy endeavors, having little to show for back-breaking labor or life-endangering dungeon crawls can be frustrating for many. Fortunately, with a little in-game downtime, some creativity, and a bit of luck or skill, players can find several alternative ways to accumulate some coins.
Back in business
When you need cash, a background's significance can far exceed the skill proficiencies, language, and equipment bonuses that come with it. Many provide players with the opportunity to create items of value. Specific backgrounds like the Clan Crafter or Izzet Engineer give PCs the skills to develop finely crafted tools, armor, weapons, and things that expertly combine magic with technology. Aside from those, many other backgrounds allow players to select tool proficiencies like the brewer's supplies, carpenter's tools, or painter's supplies. With the Game Master's (GM) permission, these skills would allow players to sell their wares and perhaps even open an independent business that operates outside their adventuring duties.
Along with your manufactured goods, you can also offload everything the party has been squirreling away in their bag of holding. Using the rules found in Xanathar's Guide to Everything, with the right buyer, players can potentially make a great deal of money from magical items the group no longer uses. Though, sell these items with caution. Even things that seem inconsequential can significantly impact the right situation.
Offer a service
With enough creativity, many backgrounds can act as income generators outside of forging or inventing. Pirates or sailors with access to a ship can become smugglers, carriers of various goods, or transport for those looking to travel by sea. Knights or soldiers can use their familiarity with the land to become escorts or guides. Even their combat skills could translate well into the world of sellswords, mercenaries, or wartime advisors. Perhaps more obviously, bounty hunters could use their off-hours to track down low-level criminals like thieves, poachers, and traitors.
Performers like entertainers and gladiators can also help make a quick gold piece. Nearly everyone likes a show, whether minstrels, storytellers, acrobats, or skilled combatants. These backgrounds not only allow players to locate a decent hot meal and lodging but also find a place to perform. These venues could go beyond the traditional tavern, including a circus, a theatre, or even a noble's court.
Gladiators or other skilled fighters can also take advantage of pit fights or additional strength tests involving cash prizes. Not only do they have a history of such activities, but most adventurers tend to be a might bit hardier than your standard villager. Fencing, arm wrestling, boxing, jousting, or simple brawling can create opportunities within the right circles and a proper arena. Those proficient in Athletics and Acrobatics might find these alternative ways of working with their hands to be an incredibly lucrative source of income.
High rollers and high treason
Not all ways to make money are the most reliable or honest activities. Gambling can be a high-stakes way to double your money almost instantly. Betting on black, the right man, or trying your luck in dice or cards can earn a great deal of income, but you can just as quickly lose everything. It's also worth pointing out that many people struggle with gambling addictions in real life, so be cautious about adding this element into your games before talking with your GM or party members.
Crime is also an obvious route for those who may have a less respectful relationship with the law. Depending on a player's skill in Dexterity and Deception, the only limit to their schemes is their imagination. Those clever enough and bold enough can steal from a friend, a shopkeeper, a noble, or even a king. But don't be concerned with the consequences too much. After all, gold can buy you almost anything.