Equipment, Wealth, and Money

Enhancements, equipment, and other externalities in the e20 System.

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Equipment, Wealth, and Money

Postby JaredGaume » Sun Feb 21, 2010 10:27 pm

d20 Modern went with using a Wealth Check instead of money, an abberation from every other d20 game. The reasoning was that in a modern economy you have a variety of ways to generate the money you need to buy stuff. You can have direct cash on hand, checks, credit cards, lines of credit, requisitions, fraud and abuse, identity theft, and so on. Your wealth bonus represented how well you could leverage various financial sources to buy the stuff you wanted. This was done to reduce the possible book keeping you might have to do in order to track all your financial resources, credit limits, and so on. After all, we want to play a game, not recreate real life in d20 form.

There were some real problems with the Wealth Check system. The big one was if you managed to get your character a +24 wealth bonus (Rich) you could start dropping wealth in a hurry just because you buy an expensive enough gun. Note: this was entirely possible at first level (+8 max roll +6 for Dilettante SO, +6 for 2x Windfall, and +4 for a high (roll 20 + 4 wis + 4 skill + 2 windfalls = 30) Profession check).

Someone with a +24 wealth bonus can buy something that costs up to $2,000,000 at their most intense financial leveraging. That nails them with a 2d6 hit to their wealth bonus, about -7 wealth bonus on average. Taking that kind of financial hit drops their buying power down to +17 but they have a $2,000,000 dollar piece of property as well. Now their buying power (+17 WB) maxes out at $275,000 as so much of their financial resources got tied up in that $2,000,000 purchase. That is perfectly fine and expected.

Conversely that same rich character buying a Colt M1911 (purchase DC 15) for roughly $351-$500 takes an automatic wealth hit of -1 for purchasing anything that costs DC 15 or higher. That drops the character's wealth bonus from +24 to +23, going from being able to max buy something worth $2,000,000 to max buy something worth $1,500,000. I am rich and purchase a trivial item for $500 and I take a $500,000 hit to my purchasing power :shock: . Maybe if I bought a crate with 1,000 M1911s then I should expect to take that kind of hit.


I think the d20 Modern Wealth Check system can work almost as it is, but with a couple of minor tweaks.

1. You may lose wealth when you purchase something that has a DC higher than your Wealth Bonus.

2. You do not lose wealth when you purchase something that has a DC less than or equal to your Wealth Bonus.

Purchase DC:
1-10 points higher than current Wealth Bonus = -1 Wealth.
11-15 points higher than current Wealth Bonus = -1d6 Wealth.
16 or more points higher than current Wealth Bonus = -2d6 Wealth.

I expect there are additional tweaks needed to make the Wealth Check system work right.

Some potential glaring problems and abuses:

1. Purchasing lots of items that have a purchase DC less than or equal to your Wealth Bonus. If my wealth bonus is say +15, I can buy an infinate supply of M1911s.

2. Handling "treasure" parcels. You take out the drug kingpin and find his personal stash of $2,000,000 divided say four ways, $500,000 each. Eddie with his +0 WB gets what, a +19 WB bonus; while Nora with her +24 WB gets a +0, maybe a +1 WB bonus. Conversely, if everyone gets the same wealth bonus boon, say a +6, then someone with a low WB is basically getting next to nothing, while someone with a high WB is getting a massive windfall.

(Those are the two that immediately stick out, I am sure there are more).


That leads me to two questions:

1. Should we use a Wealth Check system like in d20 Modern?

2. Or should we use a Cash system like Star Wars?

Both have good and bad points, as illustrated above for the Wealth Check system.
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Re: Equipment, Wealth, and Money

Postby Imagist » Mon Feb 22, 2010 12:26 am

Having run a lot of modern I can tell you without any doubt in my mind the wealth system needs some serious help. However, being what it was and doing what it does, it worked well enough. One of the big issues I found with it was any character who plugged maximum ranks into Profession became very rich, very fast. In a few levels time they quickly gained wealth bonuses from their profession check each level (which I thought was lame anyway since it could be two days or two months in game before you got to make another check). Since we aren't looking to have profession skills, we may have to think outside the box on how to handle characters having a job.

One idea is that they do not have a job. They are heroes and as such as above such trivial things (like rent... and bills... and car payments... and cell phone minutes...). Besides, what they can't afford they can always loot off of thugs, drug lords, and kobolds.

Another idea is that they don't have steady jobs, but because of their unique skill sets and heroic specializations they are never without people wanting for their "mad skillz" and as such can use down time to "go to the office" and earn some quick cash. Not as much cash as say taking down a gang of bikers or robbing an evil bank (im sure that is a good act somehow), but they can still pay off their car or get pizza.

We could go a hard money system (I am thinking something much like the credits from SWSE... lets call it gil) and in our core modern setting have all currency fall under the new "Global Income Leverage" so things cost a certain amount of gil, and you dont have to balance a check book, take out a loan, or do your taxes. Okay, maybe during your down time you do your taxes... but otherwise it would be like standard D&D when buying stuff. This is of course assuming a great many things about the core modern setting... such as global economic unity, technology that allows us to store/transfer financial data from a dead kobold's wrist embedded shepherd chip, and a number of other unforeseeable things.

I could go either way. If we go cash-money we don't have a lot of work to do mechanically, but we have some footwork to get started on settingwise. If we go wealth check we have a lot of mechanical work, but little in the way of setting or flavor since the system is vague enough to cover most of itself.

I guess we choose our battle and go from there.
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Re: Equipment, Wealth, and Money

Postby JaredGaume » Mon Feb 22, 2010 1:37 am

Some time ago I wrote up a wealth class system. It was designed to work off the idea of using money instead of a Wealth Bonus. Your wealth class was a general background describing your home life and starting money. It was assumed that you pretty much maintain your wealth class given your background/occupation, your "day job". From a game standpoint you were going to have to gain money as a reward for play to keep your character moving forward.

Where I described annual income, this was more from an average perspective rather than an absolute value. I think there may be some good bits here to consider.

For what it's worth...

Wealth Classes

Very Poor
Starting Money = $2,000
Annual income of less than $10,000 a year
Possess virtually no assets. Lifestyle is largely subsidized by others such as friends, family, or the government. Largely describes children who still live at home with their parents, most students at all levels of education, or the destitute. Residence usually consists of a single room and lives and shares resources with others in either an apartment or home. They rely heavily on public transportation, others, or walking to reach destinations. Members of this wealth class find it virtually impossible to support a family.

Poor
Starting Money = $4,000
Annual income of approximately $18,000 a year
Possess very few assets. Is barely able to meet living expenses, relies heavily on government assistance, and usually spends more than they are able to earn. Residence is usually a small low-rent apartment or house. They may own a cheap, heavily used, and barely functional vehicle; but usually rely on public transportation or walking to reach destinations. When they have a family it is a constant struggle to barely meet the basic needs of spouse and children.

Working Class
Starting Money = $6,000
Annual income of approximately $30,000 a year
Possess some small property and modest savings. Provides a modest lifestyle for self and family with finances generally “paycheck-to-paycheck. They are able to rent, lease, or finance a small residence and a low-end vehicle. And may finance and possess one or two “big-ticket” items like a computer, big-screen television, specialty appliance, and so forth.

Middle Class
Starting Money = $8,000
Annual income of approximately $60,000 a year
Possess some assets such as property, savings, retirement account, and so on. Provides the means to meet the needs and lifestyle of self and family with some ability to save and manage finances. They are able to lease or finance a medium residence, and a mid-grade vehicle; and maybe even an RV, or light boat. And likely own one or two “big-ticket” items and may finance a few more; like a computer, big-screen television, specialty appliance, and so forth.

Upper Class
Starting Money = $12,000
Annual income of approximately $100,000 a year
Possess any number of assets but is far from independently wealthy. Provide the means to an upper class lifestyle for self and family. They are able to lease or finance a large residence and a luxury vehicle; and may also lease or finance one: RV, small private plane, light boat, or small yacht. And likely own several “big-ticket” items, and may finance a few expensive or luxury items as well. They may employ one or two domestic staff.

Affluent
Starting Money = $25,000
Annual income of approximately $200,000 a year
Independently wealthy with assets totaling over one million dollars, these provide principle income. Provide the means to an upper class or wealthy lifestyle for self and family. They either own a large residence outright, or finance a mansion on a small estate. They own a luxury vehicle, and they may own one and may finance one or more of the following: a second large residence, a second luxury vehicle, RV, small private plane, large private plane, private helicopter, light boat, or a small yacht. And they easily possess several “big-ticket”, expensive, and luxury items. They may employ one to four domestic staff and likely own and possibly manage one or two small businesses.

Wealthy
Starting Money = $50,000
Annual income of approximately $500,000 a year
Independently wealthy with assets totaling over ten million dollars, these provide principle income. Provide the means to a wealthy lifestyle for self and family. They own a mansion on a small estate and a luxury vehicle; and they may own one and finance one or more of the following: a second mansion, one or two large residences, several luxury vehicles, RV, small private plane, large private plane, private helicopter, or a yacht with a light boat. And their residence(s) are outfitted with “big-ticket”, expensive, and luxury items. They employ one to ten domestic staff and likely own several small businesses or manage a large corporation.

Rich
Starting Money = $100,000
Annual income of approximately $1,000,000 a year
Independently wealthy with assets totaling over one-hundred million dollars, these provide principle income. Provide the means to a wealthy lifestyle for self and family. They own a mansion on a large estate, several luxury vehicles; and they may own one or more of the following: a second mansion, several large residences, RV, private planes, private jet, private helicopter, and a luxury yacht with light boat(s). They employ five to twenty domestic staff and likely have an entire large corporation in their employ.

Super Rich
Starting Money = $1,000,000
Vast annual income that is difficult to even estimate
Independently wealthy with assets totaling over one billion dollars, these provide principle income. Lifestyle and investment choices move entire markets or even affect the fortunes of one or more small countries. They own a palatial mansion on a vast estate, many other mansions, a fleet of luxury vehicles, private planes, private jets, private helicopters, luxury yachts, and so on. They employ ten to fifty domestic staff and likely have one or more large corporations in their employ.
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Re: Equipment, Wealth, and Money

Postby fodigg » Mon Feb 22, 2010 9:52 am

I've played with the Shadowrun wealth checks and it never broke anything because our GM told us up-front that buying anything was strictly based on availability (i.e., GM fiat), so we never tried to game the system.

I'm actually pretty impressed with the "Rep Economy" rules of Eclipse Phase, as the favors-based economy is tied directly to how many quests you do or how impressive your achievements are. It certainly makes you care about your reputation and your character a lot more. I would argue it feels more like a resource than a "choose-your-own-reward" system, as you're frequently trading "rep" of different types to gain favors. But then that game assumes you're a part of an interplanetary organization that will fund you with the bare necessities for your mission regardless of your economic situation, so it's okay to constantly burn your rep and credits to the hilt.
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Re: Equipment, Wealth, and Money

Postby GMSarli » Tue Feb 23, 2010 3:44 pm

Just for anyone who is interested, here's an article I wrote many years ago (back when I had just barely started working professionally in game design) that patches several of the problems in the original Wealth mechanic and adapts it to the SWRPG (Revised Core Rulebook, but it's not too hard to make it work for Saga Edition). This article should give you some idea about how I might change and update the Wealth mechanic.

For the record, I'm currently leaning toward making any Wealth mechanic something that would be optional or, at most, peripheral to the main rules for equipment and the like. It's useful in certain settings (e.g. any modern credit-based economy, anything where the heroes are expected to have a "day job" that brings in steady income outside of adventuring, etc.), but it adds a layer of complexity that's not really needed in something like heroic fantasy.
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Re: Equipment, Wealth, and Money

Postby JaredGaume » Thu Feb 25, 2010 7:44 am

That's where that went, I remember reading that so long ago... Good stuff in there.

I do wonder though, the wealth system is a bit much for a side-bar. As an optional rule, it takes up quite a bit of space.
Maybe have a hybrid system where you usually have to use cash when barreling through an adventure. But you can leverage your wealth inbetween adventures to get things set up.
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Re: Equipment, Wealth, and Money

Postby Darl_Loh » Fri Mar 05, 2010 1:54 pm

I posted this as a seperate thread but it has applications here.

When we are creating characters, I think we can group the statistics that we give characters into two broad categories: 1) those things that primarily describe how the character interacts in combat and skill based challenges and 2) those things that describe pretty much everything else (equipment, personality, reputation, membership in organizations, relationships, etc). Obviously there is always overlap between 1) and 2) but that is beside the point. I would like to introduce a mechanic that deals with all of 2) and then some- Aspects and Fate points.

Aspects- these are very similar to the aspects used in the free game, Spirit of the Century (SotC; http://www.faterpg.com/dl/sotc-srd.html). All characters start with 10 Aspect points. Each Aspect can be used just like in SotC; spend one Fate point to compel the Aspect at an appropriate time and get a +2 to the roll. The character can also compel the Aspect to alter the game in an appropriate way. The GM can compel the Aspect to get a player to do something by offering the player a “carrot” (Fate point or other bonus) if the player complies and a stick (must pay a Fate point) if he doesn’t. However there are some important differences:

i. Types of Aspects- SotC uses Aspects as all encompassing of the character’s traits. Aspects as I am proposing them are meant to define 2) (see above). For example, “Big as an Ox, (and half as dumb),” is an appropriate (and humorous) Aspect for SotC. However, if you want a big, not so smart character for e20 give him a high MASS and average INTELLIGENCE (if you like my ability scores if not then high Con and low Int). Basically, Aspects cannot cover physical attributes, mental attributes or particular talent in any area.

ii. Aspect Categories- All characters have seven required Aspect categories they must satisfy; all characters choose 2 x personality Aspects, 2 x relationship Aspects, 2 x organization Aspects and 1 x resources Aspect. Each Aspect costs 1 Aspect point. A clever character may be able to satisfy more than one of these requirements with a single Aspect. For instance, Han Solo’s player might use “Afraid I was gonna leave without giving you a goodbye kiss?” to satisfy his relationship Aspect with Princess Leia as well as a personality Aspect signifying his cockiness. After the character has satisfied the requirements, he should have 3 Aspect points left over. He can use these to upgrade current Aspects or buy more Aspects. What do I mean by upgrade?

1. Upgrades- This depends on the tone of the game. For instance, if the campaign is based around the characters as members of Rogue Squadron then it is appropriate for the characters to pick an aspect where they are members of Rogue Squadron and of similar rank. Should one of the characters want to outrank his fellow party members (in a significant way, such as two ranks higher or being an officer among enlisted) that would require an upgrade, although GM approval would be almost assured, since this upgrade is fairly inconsequential. On the other hand, should one of the characters want to play Rogue Leader, it would likely require 2 x upgrades and GM approval would be unlikely because one PC in such a powerful position right from the start could cause issues. For another example, let’s take resources. If the campaign concept is a Serenity or Cowboy Bebop style crew that is basically scraping by, job to job without even the guarantee of enough food, then a character taking an Aspect such as “Trust fund baby,” or “Bestselling Free Lance writer,” would be subject to GM approval and require one or more upgrades. However, those same Aspects might be the norm if the characters are playing a group of young Coruscani socialites that become embroiled in the rebellion. By the same token the character can take a downgrade, by being generally worse off than the tone of the game. Although this gives characters no bonus in creation, it will give the character extra roleplay opportunities and time in the spotlight as his character deals with his shortcomings. It should also be noted, that throughout play, Aspects will likely up- and down- grade quite often and they may even morph considerably. For instance, a character’s relationship Aspect for the love of his life, may morph into a personality Aspect about his desire for revenge against the Empire that killed her, to a personality aspect of greater moral understanding that killing only begets more killing and doesn’t end the hurt.

2. Destiny- this is an optional type of Aspect. Unlike Saga, the destiny can be much less grand or galaxy shaking and may be used as a character goal. For instance a character might have the Destiny to become the best Podracer in system X or to become an Admiral in the Imperial Navy. I see these types of Destiny’s as great tools to guide the GM to in building adventures, events and rewards (enhancements) to satisfy the player’s goals for their character. Alternatively (or in addition) the GM can give the party a secret Destiny that they fulfill through playing the story and thereby gain some new reward.

iii.Example of Aspect choices (Format = Aspect type Aspect #- specific object of Aspect: “Aspect name”)
1. Han Solo: Personality 1: “Never tell me the odds”; Relationship 1, Personality 2- Princess Leia: “Afraid I was gonna leave without giving you a goodbye kiss?”; Relationship 2- Chewbacca: “The life debt is greater than any one life”; Organization 1: “Imperial Academy dropout”; Organization 2: “Reluctant rebel”; Resources: “Kessel run in less than 12 parsecs”; Equipment- Millennium Falcon: “Fast ship? You've never heard of the Millennium Falcon?”; Destiny: “Hero of the Rebellion”; Relationship 3-connections: “Friends in low places.”; Relationship 4- Jaaba: “You may have been a good smuggler, but now you're Bantha fodder. “

This mechanic is very open ended thematically and potentially game effect wise. It is like this on purpose. Why?...Well IME it seems like whatever system a game uses to describe 2) (see above), ends up being used, modified or not used based more on the tastes of the GM and group rather than the strength of the system itself. The Aspect system is so broad that pretty much anybody can pick it up and play with it, or add to it to heart’s content. For instance, if for resources/organization a character chooses FBI Agent. Some groups might want to actually track how much money the character takes home after taxes and bills as well as how much money the agency actually gives the character to buy equipment. Other groups might want to take the “reasonable man” approach and say, “Ok, does it make sense that FBI Agent John Smith starts the game with a two story house with a 2-car garage, swimming pool and satellite TV in a middle class suburb?” Sure. “Does it make sense that John Smith also starts the game with a 2010 Porsche and a one of kind custom Chopper from West Coast Choppers.” Probably not; unless of course the character also took the Aspect “Russian Spy.” Yet other groups might not want the super detailed nor the completely story driven approach. They might like the roll a check approach: roll level bonus + appropriate ability score vs target number to see if you can get a mortgage on the house and buy the Porsche. I think if you use these Aspects, make sure that everyone playing in a genre has a good idea of the value of the money in that genre and have a table with DCs appropriate for different level characters, you cover all your bases. That lets the group do things their way. The other thing Aspects does is force players to include personality, relationships and organizations on their character sheet. This might seem inconsequential, or the GMs job to do, but making it part of the character creation process 1) gets the mind thinking about these things and 2) gives an easy, flexible mechanic for both GMs and players to use these “intangibles” in actual play. Which I think will only help to encourage good roleplaying.

b. Fate (Force) Points- See table for effects. Characters get one Fate point for each aspect they have. Characters renew these at the start of each game session or story; depending on the specifics of the campaign. For instance, if during a game session the characters complete 3-4 encounters and advance the current plotline, it is probably appropriate to refresh their fate points at the start of the next game session. On the other hand, if the group has only a short game session and only play through one minor encounter, then a refresh of fate points is probably not warranted. A refresh may even be warranted mid way through a game session depending on its length and how far the story advances.

Fate Points_________Effect
1_________________Compel an aspect
1-3________________Inconsequential story manipulation
4-6________________Minor story manipulation
7-10_______________Significant story manipulation
11+________________Major story manipulation

Fate points end up being really flexible. I think this is where we would want to do deal with situations where there is a specialized encounter and only one specialized player. The specialist takes a few minutes to train the other characters or shouts direction to them during the encounter in order to help them. Each affected player spends 1-2 Fate points (inconsequential story manipulation) and gets +2 to relevant checks for the encounter.
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Re: Equipment, Wealth, and Money

Postby JaredGaume » Sat Mar 06, 2010 12:08 am

I'll comment on your aspects thread over there.

In regards to equipment, wealth, and money, I picked up on a couple of lines about that. Darl_Loh, could you flesh that out specific to this topic rather than in general?

If I understand you, wealth would be an aspect of your character and play into how easily they could acquire resources. In d20 mechanics, how would that work in play.

* At character creation, how would my wealth aspect influence my ability to acquire equipment?

* During play, how does my wealth aspect help or hurt my ability to acquire new equipment?
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Re: Equipment, Wealth, and Money

Postby Imagist » Sat Mar 06, 2010 2:45 pm

Why not just evolve the money system, say to a universally recognized unit or denomination of credit (like a credit or gil or something)? That way you begin play with starting credits, spend credits on gear, earn credits through adventuring, and keep track of credits on your sheet. Might burst the bubble of those in favor of different economic systems playing out with different modules (the Harry Potter module would suffer if we couldn't unclude galleons, sickles, and knuts). Plus, I do hate the idea of carrying around 2-3 arts and gems...

Changed my mind. Wealth System please. ^_^
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Re: Equipment, Wealth, and Money

Postby Imagist » Sat Mar 06, 2010 3:26 pm

Wealth as HP?

Use wealth bonus as normal, but a job could have a "wealth score" that is like a baseline average for your profession. Meaning, if your wealth drops below this wealth score you can recover wealth by "working" during down time. Since working at your job usually happens between adventures, just like resting between adventures, you can recover lost wealth up to a certain point. Say spend a week/month "working" to earn back some wealth (rather then making a wealth check whenever you level), but only up to your job's maximum wealth score. A maximum wealth score would represent the maximum wealth bonus you could attain just by working at your job (a police officer cannot gain a wealth bonus above his Law Enforcement wealth score... unless he is earning money on the side) and wealth gains from adventuring are simply temporary wealth that is depleted when you make large purchases, as normal.

Say Detective Able Mandrel (Law Enforcement) has a wealth score of 10 due to his line of work. He begins play with a wealth bonus of 10 + modifiers (windfall, GM bonuses, story blah blah blah). He buys starting equipment using the wealth system, and it drops his wealth bonus to 6. He adventures with his party, stumbling across a stash of treasure, netting him and each other adventurer a +2 bonus to their wealth. After the innitial adventure the GM declares some down time, two weeks worth, so Able decides he is going to focus on his job (spending 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, working at the station). During the two weeks he regains 1 point of wealth, bringing his total wealth bonus to 9. During the course of the next adventure, Able and crew defeat an evil crime lord and earn a +3 bonus to each character's wealth bonus, bringing Able's wealth bonus to 12 (two points over his Law Enforcement wealth score of 10). Able cannot gain any more bonus to his wealth bonus by working until his wealth bonus drops below 10.

Some jobs could have wealth score minimums (like the Heir profession in d20 Future) where the wealth bonus cannot drop below a certain number. Retraining into a new job could be done by a character maintaining the requirements of the new job (training in a certain number of skills, a certain feat, special social restrictions or economic variables). For example, an Emergency Services character trained in Medicine could retrain into the Doctor profession if they met the "age" prerequisite, or into the Law Enforcement profession if they were trained in the Sidearms combat skill and maybe one or two other skills offered as bonus trained skills by that occupation. Actually... something like that could be pretty fun to stat out.
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Re: Equipment, Wealth, and Money

Postby Stacie_GmrGrl » Sun Mar 07, 2010 2:18 pm

I like how FantasyCraft does their wealth system...its pretty cool in that it uses a monetary system based on silver pieces, but for any items beyond the basics, like magic items, holdings, and other things that would cost beyond 500 silver, it uses its Reputation system for everything else. It's really superb, maybe i should write out more on this, but I'm just tired right now, and I have to get ready for work.
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Re: Equipment, Wealth, and Money

Postby Darl_Loh » Wed Mar 10, 2010 1:38 pm

JaredGaume wrote:* At character creation, how would my wealth aspect influence my ability to acquire equipment?

* During play, how does my wealth aspect help or hurt my ability to acquire new equipment?


So let's say I am playing a superhero game and my character is a famous wealthy rapper by day, caped crusader by night. So I pick the aspect, "All about the benjamins." I discuss what it means with the GM in that this aspect simultaneously represents the character's career, resources and personality (greedy, vain, flashy). So as the GM I pretty much let the player have any item he wants assuming he can get it legally or illegally with little hassle. I.E. he can readily gain Cuban cigars but can't obtain military grade anti-vehicle weaponry without at least a little roleplaying. Then throughout the game the same pretty much applies. As a multimillionaire the character can get just about anything. Larger purchases would just have to be roleplayed out (such as starting a new clothing line).

Let's say I pick something more mundane, "Counter Narcotics Detective." So I can probably start play with a 2 story house, 2 cars, a variety of personal items and all of the standard issue police gear plus some additional personally bought gear. Throughout play I would say single purchase over a few hundred dollars would require the character to spend some down time saving or acquire a loan or other method of payment.

Or you could go much more specific and actually give the character some amount of money based on the specifics. Figure out how much a detective actually makes or actually give the rapper a net worth. Then track the money (or at least the major purchases/bills).

Basically the aspect system allows the GM and players to set the framework for the game. There shouldn't be a universal framework to the game because who says the characters can't start poor and without equipment or super rich with massive resources at their fingertips. I think that having some kind of wealth system is a holdover from D&D because in that game your wealth an power level are inorexably tied together. Inseperable because of magic items. In say, a modern campaign, the characters could easily acquire the best possible equipment fairly early in the campaign.

Whatever we do, I think some kind of wealth bonus system should definitely not be in the rules. Well let me back up. You could use one if you don't want to track credits/dollars/etc. But I don't think the bonus should be figured into any of the game mechanics because that makes it potentially abusable. I think the wealth bonus should simply be assigned based on the nature of the campaign and then only influenced by story factors, never by different feats or talents that characters buy. At least not directly. A character good at burglary could use burglary to break into some place and steal money, thereby increasing the wealth bonus. But there should not be a "wealthy" feat that automactically gives characters extra money.
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Re: Equipment, Wealth, and Money

Postby astralcataclysm » Sat Mar 13, 2010 12:28 pm

One thing I was toying with, was having character backgrounds determining economic class, which in turn wouldn't impact the quantity of starting possessions characters would have, but rather the quality. For example, a dead broke player might start with 1 cheap item, and some number of improvised items. A poor player might start with 1 normal item, and any number of cheap items. etc, increasing in quality with each wealth level.

The big problem with PCs of varying wealth levels, and the ability to trade off wealth for other benefits, is that you will tend to have one very wealthy PC arming the rest of the party, who all play dead broke to trade off for other bonuses. This is particularly abusable in GURPS, for example, but it happened in d20 modern too. In effect, you either need to make sure characters start and progress at the same rate in wealth and gear, or you need to make wealth and gear not that important to game balance.
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Re: Equipment, Wealth, and Money

Postby JaredGaume » Sat Mar 13, 2010 12:38 pm

You could also just give each character a pile of cash. For poor characters it is all they have. For wealthy characters it is an easy outlay. In any event you could say no matter your background, you get $10,000 to purchase your starting equipment. If you get any other wealth benefit, that is something for later.

That gets me thinking though. If you restricted your starting skills by say occupation/profession/background, and wealth was a feature of that selection, you could get the wealthier class character to trade high wealth for fewer and possibly less useful skills. A dilletante has a few good social skills, but they are going to burn feats at first level to gain combat or technical skills, but they get a lot of money. Conversely an adventurer has a wide variety of technical and combat skills, but they don't have very much money overall.

You could still limit everyone to the same amount of starting money, however, and still give them the benefit of great wealth, poverty, or something in between. Wealth could also be more a desciptor of overall possessions, but not necissarilly translate into direct cash on hand.

There are a wide variety of ways to handle this.
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Re: Equipment, Wealth, and Money

Postby Darl_Loh » Sat Mar 13, 2010 2:00 pm

same rate in wealth and gear, or you need to make wealth and gear not that important to game balance.[/quote]

I think you hit the nail on the head with this statement. The only campaigns where wealth and gear won’t really matter are the ones where the PCs are super rich or have the best resources available. The only thing the game needs is a method to establish the campaign’s baseline economic level. This is why I am suggesting that trying to come up with any type of wealth system, especially one that is integrated tightly into several aspects of character design is useless and will lead to balance issues. I am sorry Jared, but this idea:

JaredGaume wrote:That gets me thinking though. If you restricted your starting skills by say occupation/profession/background, and wealth was a feature of that selection, you could get the wealthier class character to trade high wealth for fewer and possibly less useful skills. A dilletante has a few good social skills, but they are going to burn feats at first level to gain combat or technical skills, but they get a lot of money. Conversely an adventurer has a wide variety of technical and combat skills, but they don't have very much money overall.


…is completely the opposite from the direction I think we want to go. From a game balance standpoint we are best off having the character’s wealth be determined completely separately from any aspect of character creation having to do with attainment of skills, feats and talents. Otherwise we end up with problems like astralcataclysm mentioned. Not to mention that is a little counterintuitive to expect that the more skilled guy will always have less money.

JaredGaume wrote: In any event you could say no matter your background, you get $10,000 to purchase your starting equipment.


Not a bad idea. But here is my thing. What if you come up with a cool idea for a campaign where all the characters are royalty? Are you going to arbitrarily stick to the 1st level money limit or are you going to fudge it because it makes more sense to give the characters more money? What about if you have an idea for a campaign where the characters start off as gladiatorial slaves on a brutal outworld planet in a Space Opera campaign? Essentially the characters have no possessions. Are you arbitrarily going to give them 10,000 credits worth of stuff in a safe deposit box somewhere? To me the whole idea of having to spell out starting equipment and how much equipment you should have at x level is outdated. Sure it might be useful for a one shot Gen Con game, but if that is all we are doing it for, they could just as easily come up with a $ limit for the specific game that makes sense within the scenario.
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Re: Equipment, Wealth, and Money

Postby JaredGaume » Mon Mar 15, 2010 10:20 pm

From e20 lite, it looks like the default system is going to be Resources mechanic. From e20 lite this was only shown in a chart of example backgrounds.
There is a Wealth feat that lowers the cost of items by 2 resource points.

It looks like resources will work somewhat similar to d20 Modern's wealth bonus, though I expect some differences.

By calling it resources instead of wealth, this opens up a whole different way of looking at these things. It also is functional across genres as resources in different setting mean different things (cash, credit, gold coins, cattle, land, etc...).

Question for everyone:
How do you feel about a Resources mechanic, and how do you think it will work?
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Re: Equipment, Wealth, and Money

Postby Imagist » Mon Mar 15, 2010 10:32 pm

Hopefully better than in d20 Modern. I swear, if we roll at each level earned for Resources... we cannot call this evolution. Resources should be earned over time... game time... not the time it takes to gain a new level, and we certainly have to figure out a better system for starting Resources, especially at higher levels.
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Re: Equipment, Wealth, and Money

Postby jigsawjones » Tue Mar 16, 2010 6:08 am

One of the things that attracted me to d20 in the first place was the concept of the Wealth mechanic. To move away from actual currency and into a sort of "credit line" that can bend a bit to suit the story's needs seems brilliant. Of course, the actual implementation of Wealth in d20 was, as pointed out, a bit crap. Not that I have any idea how to fix it.

So I'm pleased, in theory. Need to see more of Gary's starting concept on this one.
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Re: Equipment, Wealth, and Money

Postby Deviousknowledge » Thu Mar 25, 2010 6:35 am

Money could be like force points. Every level you get so many and then you are done until you go up level or the dragon hoard contains 4 wealth points and the secret agent has a brief case full of 5 wealth points. Genre appropriate descriptions in game and mechanic appropriate numbers for the character sheet.
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