So, you’ve cleared out a dungeon. All the monsters are slain, the traps disarmed and the treasure looted. Most adventurers move on to the next quest. Let me tell you this, those people are fools! FOOLS! They are leaving gold in the chest.
Dungeons are not just places that contain treasure, they are places that make treasure. Here are a few ideas on how to make gold with an empty dungeon.
1- Fixer Upper. While most D&D characters are much better at destruction than construction, there’s no reason to not to polish up those home decoration skills. Once you dispose of the monster corpses, wash off the bloodstains, and give the place a proper scrubbing, you will have a very valuable property on your hands. A fresh coat of paint and some new furniture and you have an underground palace. Flip that labyrinth for even more gold! Or break it up into smaller units and just watch the rent pour in!
2- We Have A Zoo! Sure you could just kill all those monsters but think about this, lots of people will never see an actual Owlbear or Purple Worm and if they do, it will be the last thing they see before being devoured. Just carefully cage up those deadly critters in a simulation of their natural environment, and hire some scholars and Rangers to keep an eye on things. This is like a spell that makes gold but with no material components. Warning, if the monsters escape this could go horribly, terribly, tragically wrong. But I’m surethat will never happen. What sort of Dungeon Master would do that?
3- Mall of Merchants. Who wants to go to market in the rain or snow? No one, not even the merchants. What if you put all the shops under one roof? That way folks could get everything they want in one place! Offer cart rides to the entrance, covered in inclement weather, and let the coin flow. You set up a large tavern in the middle and call it the Court of Food. Watch out though, surly teens will loiter but you fought a beholder, so no worries. Right?
4- Mega Inn. The average inn usually is short of beds, so there is a lot of sharing. Ugh! What if you took that huge empty complex and turned it in to a five star resort? Most adventurers, after a certain point have more gold than they know what to do with, so really, you’re doing them a favor. Turn that acid pool into a swimming pool. Hire a team of Halfling chefs to feed the guests. Book well known bards to entertain. Set up a casino. You could put this in the middle of a wasteland and people would come. Remember, what happens in the dungeon, stays in the dungeon.
5- Storage. What do people need more of? Space. Sure you could give away those magic weapons you no longer use because they are less powerful, but you might need them some day. Better lock them up in an armory. Gold and gems are heavy, why not have your own personal vault? Just reinforce the doors, set up some vicious traps and station some guards, and maybe even put a few monsters in there. Just a deterrent. Wait, this just sounds like a regular dungeon. Circle of life and death.
So as you can see, you need not loot and run. Turn those ruins into something spectacular! Just because some place is called the Cursed Castle of Certain Death, doesn’t mean you can’t rebrand. The possibilities are endless.