It seems the two approaches you might take when making a table of treasure types are:
- List ever possible permutation so that the system will be useful for a DM / monster designer in whatever type of treasure they need. -- If this were true, knowing the first few entries of a table should allow you to recreate the whole table.
- List "types" of treasure in the sense of a bandit hoard being different from an undead hoard, so that the system carries meaning about, not just the treasure a monster has but, probably why it does, or what type of monster it is. -- If this were true you should be able to predict that similar monster types will have similar treasures.
It seems like they are a kind fancy footnote. But the data they record is really pretty small, a series of what, 6-12 numbers? Wouldn't that be more useful to have closer to the monster entries themselves?
It could have been worth the DM's while, if turning back to the table gave a more extensive treatment of what treasure type A meant, for example. Okay, this is the treasure of a bandit's wilderness camp, tell me what kind of commercial goods they may have on hand, stolen from merchants: how many barrels of ale, how many bales of cotton, pounds of spice. Tell me if there is any seasonal variation: are the camps richer during the time of the big regional fairs? When would those most logically occur? If your thinking, "A DM could figure all that out," you're missing the point; a DM could much more easily decide how much gp/sp/cp a bandit wilderness camp would have, and thus not need the table at all.
If we had a treasure type table like that it could be useful communicating with each other in the community, too. Maybe my Rebelling Peasants have a variation of type A because they leave travelers with all coins, but take their goods to live off of. Or whatever.
What "types" of treasure might there be? Here are some ideas:
- intelligent creatures more likely to have books and scrolls
- undead hoards or bands of humanoids more likely to have personal jewelry and armor
- lairs of gross stuff like jellies and such, less likely to have much but magic items that would survive
- giants and ogres might have a bunch livestock and foodstuffs stolen from locals
- cults would have candlesticks, and other religious paraphernalia in precious metals, maybe carpets.
- It seems like the classic pile of coins would be pretty much unique to dragons
- animals lairs like bear caves might only have incidental treasure left over from previous victims.