I can't see the harm in having a few things to search.. When I'd write half-arsed HQ games, I'd have annoying little puzzles scattered among the pieces of furniature.. I think one game even relied on all of them being found for the players to leave.
I'd write little scrap-notes to hand to them, to represent their find, and they'd have to follow vague clues to find the next piece..
Mankinds first mistake; Questioning why those around him, are dying.
In my group's games each piece of furniture is individually searchable as well as the room itself which represents things the dead monsters might have been carrying and so on.
To indicate what has been searched for treasure we place 'Looted' counters on items of furniture and 'Room Looted' counters on the Floor.
As for having default starting treasure for each quest - we don't bother as our continuity is character based - new character start with only their basic equipment and characters that have been used before of course retain all their Gold, Potions, Equipment and in the case of our games EXP too.
If your worried about a quest being too difficult for a party of new Heroes it's easy enough to 'scale' any given adventure to the abilities of your Heroes by taking away or adding to the number of monsters in each room (or swap them out for other monsters) and putting in extra healing potions or Traps.
For instance lets say you have a room with a Troll in it and a table and cupboard - to make the encounter easier replace the Troll with a weaker monster like an Ogre or a Black Orc and put a healing potion in the cupboard and maybe another one hidden under the table. To make the same encounter harder add a second Troll or have it accompanied by some Orcs, put a useless item like half a brick in the cupboard or have a Spear Trap go off when the Heroes open it
'Boss Monsters' can be 'scaled' by altering the number of Body Points, giving them extra equipment or magic items and/or special rules.
For instance if the dungeon is ruled over by an evil Warlock, you can make it an easier encounter by giving him less spells and lowering his Body Points. To make it harder simply do the reverse - give him extra spells (maybe one that lets him summon monsters to his aid) and increase his Body Points, maybe give him a magic sword to adds to his Attack too.
Keep on playing a let us know how your next quest goes!
~The ravings of a single mad Goblin is bad enough, but such a power-hungry, malice-filled creature as Mortis can never hope to be understood~
In my game, when a Hero search in a room he or she is allowed to draw a treasure card like usual. If he or she search in a specific furniture, if in that furniture there's actually something hidden (specified in the quest, for example a scroll in the desk), the player is then allowed to record in the sheet the object found (and he doesn't draw any treasure card).
When a new player with a new "1st level" Hero starts a Quest 2 or above (or a new difficult quest), I simply grant to him or her two or three equipment cards.
This system usually works fine.
+ Other planes lie beyond the reach Of normal sense and common roads But they are no less real Than what we see or touch or feel. +
This is also an nice one we often use:
when we play a game that's not in our campaign (or playtest some new rules),
we grant the hero party a sum of gold to buy equipment, potions, scrolls and perhaps even an extra set of three magic cards.
I must point out though, that we have developed a game system where the heroes start with completely no weapons and basic stats of A and D 1 instead of the usual standard stats of the HQ heroes. So they can boost those stats only by buying weapons and armor.
Photoshop and Illustrator are my best friends, for they can make anything happen for tiles and cards!