"The treasure was there, heaped in staggering profusion — piles of diamonds, sapphires, rubies, turquoises, opals, emeralds; ziggurats of jade, jet and lapis lazuli; pyramids of gold wedges; teocallis of silver ingots; jewel-hilted swords in cloth-of-gold sheaths; golden helmets with colored horsehair crests, or black and scarlet plumes; silver scaled corselets; gem-crusted harness worn by warrior-kings three thousand years in their tombs; goblets carven of single jewels; skulls plated with gold, with moonstones for eyes; necklaces of human teeth set with jewels. The ivory floor was covered inches deep with gold dust that sparkled and shimmered under the crimson glow with a million scintillant lights."
A staple of role playing games
, video games, movies, TV, and wherever stories are told. A big room full of treasure... money, gold and jewels. Usually not organized very well, it's all just piled in together like an episode of Hoarders: Filthy Rich Edition
. Often the McGuffin
. Often trapped or guarded by a monstrous beast, most frequently a dragon
. Often a cause of Laser-Guided Karma
due to all the Death by Materialism
. Sometimes The Hero
might get all of it, but generally they only manage a choice piece or two, if anything. In many scenarios there will be some sort of cave-in, massive flood, or other such death trap which will inevitably chase the hero/heroes out. And since it would only take a few days or maybe a week to dig it back out, the treasure is clearly Lost Forever
. Apparently adventurers have never heard of modern excavation equipment.
May overlap with Pooled Funds
or Dragon Hoard
. See also City of Gold
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Anime and Manga
- Scrooge McDuck has the Money Bin. Notable in that while it's still as trapped and guarded as any other pile of wealth that violates Euclidean geometry, it's intentionally set aside as valuable for sentimental reasons.
- Averted in a Black Hands segment of the Knights of the Dinner Table comics. The party has fought their way into the dragon's lair... which is completely empty. Except for the dragon. After the pants-wetting fear, the topic of "Where's the treasure?" comes up, and the dragon tells them, "Why would I keep all my gold in a big pile in a cave? It doesn't do any good sitting here. All my money is tied up in investments and growing interest."
- Grunnel has one of these in With Strings Attached. He invites the four to spend as much of it as they want, because "Getting it was much more interesting than having it."
- Heist films live off this trope.
- The treasure room from National Treasure.
- The pirate ship full of treasure in The Goonies.
- The treasure room in The Mummy.
- The film Mackennas Gold had a treasure valley filled with huge gold nuggets.
- The Cave of Wonders in Aladdin.
- Subverted in the Richie Rich movie. The villain thinks the Rich family vault is one of these, but when he finally breaks into it he finds nothing but family photographs and other such keepsakes. The money is in the bank and other investments.
- The gold depository at Fort Knox, in Goldfinger. The look on Goldfinger's face when he sees all that gold in piles is wonderful. In the film he plans on irradiating all that gold. In the book, he really does plan on trucking it away.
- In The Count of Monte Cristo a map leads Edmund Dantes to a hidden vault on that island hiding the centuries old Roman treasure entrusted to his late mentor.
- The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. Obviously overlaps with Dragon Hoard. Peter Jackson has absolutely ruined this trope for any future director by showing us the most humongous treasure vault ever seen on screen. In reality it probably contains far more gold and jewels than have ever existed on Earth.
- The story of "Aladdin" has one of these. Instead of just piled all up anyhow, it's arranged in the form of a beautiful garden... pears on a tree are really emeralds, cherries are rubies and so on. All neatly cut and polished, of course. Aladdin's been told not to touch anything, but of course he picks a few "fruits" for his mom.
- The story of "King Midas" starts with Midas cavorting in his own cave filled with all the gold he's taken from everyone else in his kingdom.
Live Action TV
- One time on The Beverly Hillbillies Granny got it into her head not to trust any banks, so she took her share of the Oil money out of the bank and stuffed it in her mattress. She ended up with a very big mattress.
- Arrested Development: "Remember Michael, there's always money in the banana stand."
- In the two-part Season 9 opener of Stargate SG-1, Merlin's treasure shows up this way.
- In Season 2 of Game of Thrones, Xaro Xhoan Daxos visibly keeps a treasure room with an impregnable Valyrian door, which he keeps the key to on his person at all times. It turns out to be completely empty, and kept just for the mystique.
- Smaug's treasure hoard from The Hobbit. Various Elves in The Silmarillion also have treasure rooms, notably the vaults that Fëanor and later Thingol keep their Silmaril(s) in. Both end up ransacked by the end, the first by Morgoth and the second by dwarves.
- There's a huge treasure chamber in Rudyard Kipling's The Second Jungle Book containing all the gold, jewels and precious artifacts of a now-vanished dynasty. Subverted in that the only person ever to rediscover it is Mowgli, and since he was Raised by Wolves he doesn't want any of it. (Well, except for one shiny object, and that ends up causing more trouble than it's worth.)
- In Robert E. Howard's Conan the Barbarian stories, these feature in "The Tower of the Elephant", "Queen of the Black Coast", and "Black Colossus".
- The Lestranges' vault in Gringotts as seen in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Somewhat more so after the Power Trio's break-in, due to the triggering of the replicating curse.
- One of these appears in My Name Is Red. In this case, it is the personal art treasury of Sultan Murat III, containing the most beautiful objects in the Ottoman Empire. One elderly artist who visits it sees it as akin to nirvana, surrounded as he is with remnants of (what he sees as) a better era. In truth, however, the treasury is dusty and neglected, showing how little the sultan really cares.
- SCP Foundation. Played with in SCP-1888 ("Terraforming Tle"). The limestone pyramid that is SCP-1888 has a large chamber inside nicknamed the "Treasure Room". When a sapient creature (such as a human being) looks inside the chamber they see their heart's desire. However, if the object is taken outside the pyramid it decays into a black substance that mutates any life form it touches.
- In Medieval Madness, defeating the five knights during multiball and then shooting the left castle wall will reveal a treasure room that scores a Super Jackpot.
- Has appeared in too many Dungeons & Dragons modules to name.
- G1 Steading of the Hill Giant Chief. The title hill giant Nosnra has two of these. The Minor Treasure Room has thousands of copper, silver and electrum pieces, some copper ingots and almost a thousand gems worth only one one gold piece each. The Chief's Treasure room has tens of thousands of gold pieces, several thousand platinum pieces and many valuable gems and pieces of jewelry.
- G3 Hall of the Fire Giant King has a treasure cave. It holds tens of thousands of copper and silver pieces, thousands of electrum and gold pieces, expensive gems and jewelry and an assortment of valuable items such as ivory tusks, pieces of rare wood, bales of silk, spices and a collection of minor magic items.
- Q1 Queen of the Demonweb Pits has a treasure chamber filled with coins, 99.5% of which will vanish when the PCs return to the Prime Material Plane.
- U2 Danger at Dunwater. The lizard man lair has a treasure room containing 8,000 silver pieces, 2,000 electrum pieces and three pieces of valuable jewelry.
- Every single dragon in D&D has a treasure hoard. It serves as, including but not limited to:
- A bed (Dragon hide is sufficently thick that a pile of gold feels like a feather mattress would to us)
- A status symbol (bigger and richer hoards = more important dragon)
- An emergency food source (Dragons can eat anything)
- A place to hold various items to trade with other dragons (rarely) or deal with pesky adventurers (more often)
- Shadowrun adventure "Survival of the Fittest" has a treasure room in a dragon's lair.
- The boardgame Dungeon, which was based off of Dungeons & Dragons, featured a dragon guarding a treasure hoard on its box art.
- Central Casting: Dungeons is a generic supplement that assists a game master in building a dungeon for PCs to adventure in. One of the areas it can create is a standard treasure room filled with valuable furs, precious metals and gems, jewelry, ornamental weapons and fine art.
- On Cortez's ship in Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, where you find a Crystal Star.
- The entire of level IX in Super Castlevania IV is a treasure room. At one point you have to swim through quicksand-like pools of coins.
- In both Overlord games, the player has a place in their tower to store their hoard that gets larger as the player acquires more loot during his adventures.
- Donkey Kong's banana hoard in Donkey Kong Country is a cave filled with mountains of bananas.
- The bank vault in V-world in Caprica is like this, one of the only virtual effects in an otherwise real-life game.
- You have to build one of these in the two Dungeon Keeper games, as well as their Spiritual Successor Evil Genius to store your filthy lucre in.
- The fortress King Graham finds in the desert in King's Quest V. And the Sharkee hoard he comes across in AGDInteractive's Fan Remake of King's Quest II
- The Castle of the Crown treasure room his son Alexander finds in the long path of King's Quest VI. It's where Alhazred is storing the other islands' treasures after stealing them himself and then making sure the thefts were blamed on other islands to keep then infighting and unable to challenge him.
- Luigis Mansion has one in the very back of the Gallery. It's also where the Final Boss's picture goes once they're beaten.
- Hidden vaults on some levels filled with gold.
- David's Treasure Zoo, treasure rooms filled with gold and monsters.
- Fort Ludios, with gold, jewels, and more gold. Well-guarded.
- The Castle, with jewels, equipment, and a wand of wishing. Well-guarded.
- The Ultima series always had one in Lord British's castle behind a flimsy secret entrance.
- Shows up as a Bonus Level in Gauntlet and its derivatives.
- Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves has this as the family legacy of the Cooper family, and Big Bad Doctor M's target. Sly himself on occasion has found himself in these, too (not counting when just smashing up the architecture pays for itself, of course).
- The player, being the king, will apparently have one of these in Fable III. Also, the player will reportedly be able to rub the coins on him/herself.
- Banjo-Tooie has the Treasure Chamber in Mayahem Temple, which is filled with piles of gold. You can't take any of it, though.
- In the Soul Series, Voldo guards his dead master Vercci's Money Pit. In each subsequent installment, the Pit seems to have increased in size and grandeur from a small, dirty room to being roughly the size of the Batcave, complete with its own port. Since from the earliest games the Money Pit was supposedly an entire island, we seem to be seeing more of that island with each game. Oh, and under no circumstances should you try to rob the Money Pit.
- The final room in Dragons Lair.
- During a trial to retrieve the MacGuffin in Quest for Glory II, the player comes across a room like this. It's a trap, of course: trying to take any of the treasure kills you.
- Quest for Yrolg has one, dragon included.
- In the Rainbird Text Adventure Legend of the Sword, you encounter such a room. If you examine the treasure, you're told that although everything else in the room is caked in dust, the treasure is spotless. If this doesn't clue you in that something is amiss and you go ahead and try to take it, the treasure is revealed to be an illusion which promptly disappears, the door slams shut and the game becomes unwinnable.
- The room in the centre of Vileshark HQ in Eden Eternal is a stereotypical treasure room, although it's inaccessible.
- The Mayor's Dream is a Treasure Dungeon; the surface you walk on for one half of the dungeon is nothing but treasure. You can't pick it up, though.
- Fallout: New Vegas has a classic example in the Dead Money DLC, which is a Whole Plot Reference to The Treasure of the Sierra Madre. The villain has you and three other saps fitted with explosive collars and forced to open the way to a vault far below a casino. He's actually after most of the Lost Technology inside, not the money, but the trope is still played straight, as also inside the vault are thirty-seven bars of pure gold ... which altogether weigh far more than your character could possibly carry. You can grab a few, but the only way to escape with your head attached is to trick the villain into entering, trap him inside, and run like hell before the collar explodes.
- Unless, of course, you use one of the many exploits that have been discovered to allow you to carry them all.
- Myst subverts this trope in a few places, in that you can't take any treasure with you. In the original game behind Sirrus' Throne on the Mechanical Age, is a secret chamber with several chests containing gold and silver bullion, coins, and one holding a red page. There's also a generous stock of wine. The place is also quite clean compared to other vaults.
- Guildmaster Kadish's vault in Uru'' plays this trope straight, and it's packed wall to wall with treasure.
- But sometime in the future, it'll be emptied.
- Gage Blackwood uncovers one underneath Chateau Guaillard in The Journeyman Project 2: Buried In Time. Aside from collecting a few gold coins, his objective there is to find King Richard I's sword which Agent 3 tampered with by replacing its original jewel with a 4-carat diamond from her future time period.
- On the chapter 6 cover, Sunny O'Reilly from The Overture sits in a huge money room full of gold and treasure.
- Vriska Serket of Homestuck has several loot strongholds, filled with plunder from years of extreme roleplaying as a PETTICOAT SEAGRIFT. Yeah!!!!!!!!.
- Captain SNES has the Treasure Room of Destiny, where Cecil stored his entire inventory after ascending to the throne. It's all in chests, but it still has millions of gill, and several dozen of the same legendary sword.
- Baalah, the demon princess heroine of Pawn, was summoned to guard one of these. In a subversion, the outrageous cost of making the multi-miles deep dungeon, filling it with traps / spells / undead / etc, and summoning a demon princess to guard the actual room at the bottom bankrupted the kingdom, leaving the dungeon a huge deathtrap that guarded... nothing. Except for Baalah, something Ayanah (the other main character) realized.
- In Doodze, they set out in search — and lo and behold.
- In Tales of the Questor, Quentyn wished for everything the fae lord took unjustly be given to the duke. That, it turned out, included many things he had not taken from the duchy. It looks like a dragon's hoard.
- In Cucumber Quest, Saturday accumulated one. Despite Almond's enthusiasm, Cucumber realizes it's stolen goods.
- The treasure hoard of a den of thieves in the Bugs Bunny short "Ali Baba Bunny" is kept in part of a large cave.
- Montana Max's vault in Tiny Toon Adventures.
- In Princess Gwenevere and the Jewel Riders, there's the Jewel Keep room in the Crystal Palace, where all the recovered magical Crown Jewels are "safely" kept (Kale gets there quite easily at the end of the first season).
- Scrooge's money bin in DuckTales (see the Comic Books example above) as well as the many other treasure hoards he finds on his adventures. Oddly, Scrooge almost never gets to keep these treasures after he finds them, even though it wouldn't threaten the status quo in any meaningful way.
- The Herculoids episode "The Raider Apes". A cave with bags of gold coins in the villager's cave system.
- In Wakfu, Ruel holds one deep within his Bag of Holding.
- In My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, the two adult dragons seen in the series live in caves filled with huge piles of gems. Given that in this universe, dragons eat gemstones, this is actually sensible on their part, although the implication that they sleep on the piles is rather less so.
- On Adventure Time, the first room you enter in Finn and Jake's Treehouse of Fun is full of piles of gold and jewels that the pair have collected in their adventures. Amusingly it's just sort of background filler, except for one episode where Princess Bubblegum breaks in to collect taxes from it. Later it's shown that several rooms in the tree house are filled with treasure.
- Later in one episode the treasure hoard has grown so much that the Treehouse will collapse because of it, so they decide to spend it all, and just start from scratch.
- The Disney short, The Golden Touch, being the story of Midas, naturally has a treasure room filled with gold.
- Fort Knox in the United States holds, among other things, 4,578 metric tons of gold in one of its buildings.
- London, Zurich, and Hong Kong also have massive stores of gold but the exact amount is less certain than Fort Knox. Though the Federal Reserve Bank of New York actually holds a larger reserve, but for numerous clients.
- The treasure of the pharaoh Tutankhamun (AKA King Tut), found in his tomb in the Valley of the Kings.