i did eventually give them a way to redeem themselves by bringing information about a power play by another noble house to the Duke, and essentially forfieting all their (8th level) magic items to help finance the rebuilding
@tindall such stories always remind me of the gems in my collection of famous last words of releplaying characters - the undisputed crown jewel being: "a dragon hoard? let be to the front, i want to be the first one!" and then (to the dm): "huh? oh - you said 'dragon horde'?"
closely followed by "i attack the weakest member of the other group - the frail old man with the staff and book..."